Diabetic Lifestyle FAQs
Q: How do I know the appropriate amount of calories to eat daily?
A: The USDA considers 2,000 calories a day the average amount required by most adults. However, the amount of calories an individual requires can differ depending on age, sex and activity level. Meals in the DineWise Diabetic product line range between 300 to 500 calories. DineWise offers Diabetic Friendly Meal Plans to suit people of different sizes and activity levels.
• 1,500 calories per day for women who want to lose weight
• 1,800 calories per day for women maintaining their weight
• 1,800 calories per day for smaller stature men who want to lose weight
• 2,000 calories per day for smaller men maintaining their weight
• 2,200 calories per day recommended for men who want to lose weight
We created this online tool to help you calculate a recommended caloric intake based on your sex, frame size, and activity level. This helpful Caloric Needs Calculator will open in a new window.
Q: Do I need to limit all carbohydrates in my diet?
A: Many people mistakenly believe diabetics can’t eat carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in every plant food and should make up a large portion of any healthy diet. The key is to choose carbohydrates wisely; eat smaller portions throughout the day and focus on complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. Simple carbohydrates in foods such as refined breads and pastas, pastries, candies, and soda offer little, if any, "good carbs" or fiber per serving.
Here is a sample of complex carbohydrate foods on the DineWise Menu:
• White and Wild Rice
• Green Beans Almondine
• Roasted Red Potatoes
• Broccoli Florets
• Asparagus Spears
• Corn and Asparagus Medley
Q: Does having diabetes mean that I cannot eat any sugar or sweets?
A: Eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes and it is not necessary to eliminate any food completely from your diet. It is the total amount of carbohydrate that is consumed that is more important to consider. Desserts or sweets can have their place as an occasional treat; just keep the portions small and remember to monitor your blood glucose levels appropriately.
Each diabetic meal plan has extra calories to be used at your discretion. Check nutrient facts labels when making dessert choices to ensure that your indulgence will still keep you within an optimal daily calorie and carbohydrate intake.
Q: Why should I make any changes to my diet if my doctor has prescribed insulin or medication to manage my blood sugar levels?
A: Without modifying your diet, the medication or insulin that you take for diabetes has to work harder to lower your blood glucose. You’ll feel better every day if you combine your medication with a healthy meal plan and physical activity. Likewise, following a nutritious diet can be more effective in managing the complications of diabetes than just taking medication alone.
A diet that is portion controlled like the DineWise Diabetic Meal Plans can help those with diabetes to build consistency and stability between the dosage of medication and food consumption. A low fat and low calorie diet can also promote weight loss, which is beneficial for most people with diabetes.
Q: My doctor said that I need to lose weight to improve my diabetes. Can I lose weight on the DineWise Diabetic Meal Plan?
A: Yes! Our Diabetic Meal Plans are balanced, portion controlled, and designed to promote healthy weight loss. Work with your health care provider to integrate your meal plan into a weight loss program. Supplement your menu selections with lots of fresh vegetables when snacking. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, and exercise.
Q: I have high blood pressure and need to limit my salt intake. Can I still eat the diabetic meals?
A: The DineWise Low Sodium section has meal plans that are also suitable for diabetics.
Q: Where can I find nutritional information for your diabetic meals?
A: Nutritional information for each meal can be found at the bottom of their respective meal pages. In addition, nutritional information for the meals and meal components can be found in our nutritional meals section. Just click on the link labeled Nutritional Info. This info sheet can be taken to your personal physician to help plan a menu that works with your medication or insulin dosage.
Q: I am a senior and have trouble preparing meals at home. How easy is it to prepare the DineWise Diabetic Meals?
A: Our Diabetic Breakfast Meals and our Diabetic Lunch & Dinner Meals are perfect for seniors, as they come in single portion, microwaveable trays that are ready to reheat in the microwave or conventional oven. You need only to remove the protective outer layer of plastic.
Our Diabetic Mix and Match Meals come individually packaged as Entrée, Side Dish and Vegetable servings. Simply cut one end of the pouch and microwave.
Q: What is diabetes?
A. Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by inappropriate hyperglycemia (high blood sugar/glucose) resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both.
Q: How many Americans have diabetes?
A: Currently, there are about 20.8 million Americans with diabetes and of those 14.6 are diagnosed and 6.2 are undiagnosed.
Q: What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A: Frequent urination, thirst, weight loss, increased hunger, blurred vision, fatigue, headache, occasional muscle cramps and poor wound healing.
Q: What are the different types or classifications of diabetes?
A: Type 1, type 2, and gestational.
Q: How do the different classes of diabetes differ?
A: Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age but typically does so before the age of 30. It is characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, requiring exogenous insulin to sustain life.
Approximately 90% of all diabetics are Type 2. It, too, can occur at any age but typically after the age of 30, although currently, younger people are being diagnosed. It is characterized by either normal, increased or decreased levels of insulin production, and insulin resistance is typically present with impaired glucose tolerance. Over half of those diagnosed with diabetes are obese, which is considered one of the major risk factors.
Gestational diabetes is a diagnosis that applies to women in whom glucose intolerance develops or is first discovered during pregnancy. The occurrence of gestational diabetes increases the future risk for progression of type 2 diabetes.
Q: How is diabetes diagnosed?
A: Diabetes is diagnosed in basically three ways:
Fasting (no caloric intake for 8 hours) blood glucose level equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL.
A casual (any time of day without regard to food intake) blood glucose level equal to or greater than 200 mg/dL.
Two-hour post-challenge test (75 grams oral glucose dose) of blood sugar levels equal to or greater than 200 mg/dL.
Q: What is the prediabetes blood glucose range?
A: Blood glucose levels equal to or greater than 110 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL constitute a diagnosis of Prediabetes.
Q: How can Type 2 diabetes be treated?
A: The best treatment plan for Type 2 diabetes is a healthy nutrition and exercise lifestyle program. Sometimes diabetic medications and insulin are needed to control hyperglycemia.
Q: What impacts the blood sugar levels of a person with diabetes the most?
A: Diet has the single biggest impact on blood sugar control. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the odds of developing type 2 diabetes or minimize complications in those who already have diabetes. For some, healthy diet changes along with other healthy lifestyle changes can control or even reverse diabetes.
Q: Which of the three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrate and fat—affect blood glucose levels the most?
A: Carbohydrates will raise blood sugar levels the most with protein raising glucose and insulin levels slightly.
Q: Are all carbohydrates created equal?
A: No. Carbohydrates are composed of different length chains of sugar molecules along with different types of fiber. Carbohydrates include all fruits, vegetables, and grain-based foods, and some dairy products also contain carbohydrates. Within each of these categories and for each food there is a difference in the amount of sugar chain molecules that make up that food.
Q: What affects the impact a carbohydrate has on a diabetic's blood sugar levels?
A: First, the type of sugar that is present in a carbohydrate food. Some foods have very few sugar molecule chains while others contain many sugar molecule chains. The amount and type of fiber present will also affect the impact a carbohydrate has on blood sugar levels. The more fiber, the lower the rise and the longer it takes for a blood sugar rise after eating that food. Protein and fats also present in a meal will affect blood sugar levels.
Q: How many carbohydrate grams should a person with diabetes eat each day and at each meal?
A: It depends on many variables but most Americans get 40–50% of their calories from carbohydrates. For example, a diabetic who is following a 1,600 calorie per day diet would need between 640 and 800 calories from carbohydrates. This is 160–200 grams of carbohydrates per day. This amount should be divided into three meals and two snacks to aim for consistent blood glucose levels each day.
Q: What is the glycemic index and how does it fit into a diabetic's meal planning?
A: The glycemic index (GI) is a research tool based on a scale of 0 to 100 and is used to examine how individual carbohydrate foods affect blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI score are digested and absorbed by the body more quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. Foods with a low GI score are converted into sugar more slowly and do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.
Q: How does exercise affect blood glucose levels?
A: Activity and exercise generally lower blood glucose levels depending on the type, intensity and length of activity. Adjustments in carbohydrate intake or medication dosages need to be made based on activity.
Q: How much sodium should a person with diabetes have per day?
A: It is recommended to limit sodium intake to between 2,000 and 2,300 mg/day. Diabetics with high blood pressure may need to further limit their intake to 1,500 mg/day.