American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month! Do you or does someone you know have diabetes?  By 2050, it is estimated as many as 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes.

Diabetes is an endocrine condition where the body is resistant to insulin or the body does not produce the insulin that is needed to move sugar out of the blood and into the body for use as energy. The result of having diabetes, especially if uncontrolled, is having a high blood glucose/sugar level which causes damage to tissues and organs.  

There are different types within the condition of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes or commonly referred to juvenile diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin. The term juvenile is misleading since someone can develop Type 1 diabetes at any time in their life. There is an autoimmune and genetic component to Type 1.  The treatment for Type 1 is insulin injections.  

Type 2 diabetes is lifestyle related and can also present at any time during someone’s life. While adult onset is more common, children can develop Type 2 as well. Type 2 is different from Type 1 in that the body still produces some insulin, but not enough and/or the body becomes less receptive to the insulin that is produced so the insulin does not work as well compared to unaffected, healthy individuals. 

Gestational diabetes is similar to Type 2, but only affects women while pregnant and generally resolves after the baby is delivered.  While gestational diabetes goes away, women who had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.

We cannot control our risk for Type 1, but can for Type 2 and gestational diabetes.  By eating a nutritious diet, being physically active, and getting adequate sleep (which provides energy to be active and helps control appetite), we can delay or even prevent the on-set of diabetes.  If you are worried about your risk for diabetes, please ask your doctor or healthcare provider for assessment.  

Many are surprised to learn that a diabetes friendly diet is no different than a healthy balanced diet.  Everyone should follow a diabetes friendly diet if they want to be healthy and prevent diabetes along with other chronic conditions.  

The key to a healthy balanced diet to prevent and control diabetes is:

  • filling half of your plates with veggies and fruit
  • choosing whole grains when possible (brown rice, whole grain bread/pasta/crackers/tortillas/etc, light or no salt popcorn)
  • including a lean protein with all meals and snacks (lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes/beans, nuts, and seeds)
  • consuming three servings of diary each day either as milk, yogurt, or cheese (diary foods contain protein so popcorn with string cheese is a great snack!)
  • and following appropriate serving sizes / portion control

Individuals with diabetes can and should eat carbohydrate foods including fruit and whole grains; they just need to eat these foods in moderation and along with other healthy foods such and protein and veggies.  For example, at dinner, we should eat 1 cup of whole grain pasta vs a very large, unmeasured bowl.  We can even eat cookies and ice cream as long as we eat small portions and not on a daily basis.  A low carb diet can also be healthy for individuals with diabetes as long as they make sure they are consuming many high fiber veggies and lean meats along with healthy fats. Check out our Living Well grocery list.

Nuts and seeds are foods that are sources of healthy fats as well as protein and a little fiber.  Great with an apple or popcorn for a snack, topping on a salad, or even a spoonful of almond butter, peanut butter, walnut butter, or sunflower seed butter, nuts and seeds are a healthy food to include in your meals and snacks.  

Here is a delicious and nutritious recipe using Wonderful Pistachios. This recipe is perfect for bunch, a holiday gathering, or even dessert!

Roasted Pears with Brie & Pistachios
Recipe from:  EatingWell

•    2 tablespoons Our Family honey mustard
•    1 tablespoon Our Family extra-virgin olive oil
•    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
•    ¼ teaspoon Our Family salt
•    ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
•    2 ripe pears, preferably Bosc
•    2 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 4 slices
•    4 teaspoons Wonderful pistachios, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar-size) metal baking pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Whisk mustard, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. 
  3. Cut pears in half lengthwise, hollow out the core and slice a small piece off the other side so they will lie flat when served. Brush all over with the mustard glaze and place cored-side down in the prepared pan. 
  4. Bake the pears for 30 minutes, basting halfway through with the glaze. Gently turn them over, baste again and place a piece of Brie in the hollow of each pear. Bake until the pears are tender and the Brie is slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle each pear half with 1 teaspoon pistachios.

"This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition."

Stephanie Edson Wellness Specialist SpartanNash Company
Stephanie Edson - Regional Wellness Specialist
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.