Stay in Charge of Your Diabetes This Holiday Season

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Holiday meals and traditions don’t have to disrupt your diabetes control. With a little preparation, you can be ready to face any holiday head-on and still enjoy it.

Dr. Natalie Strand shares five simple tips to help take charge of your diabetes and help prevent gum disease this holiday season. She managed her own diabetes while also winning a popular endurance reality TV show, is an assistant professor in clinical anesthesiology and a practicing physician at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

1.  

Enjoy Your Party, but Not to Excess

    Eat slowly and enjoy every bite of the foods that you may only have once a year. If the meal is served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrates that you normally would at that time of day. If you plan to have dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course. Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings. Remember that alcoholic holiday drinks can add a significant amount of calories to your holiday intake. Limit your glasses of wine or eggnog to no more than 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men.
 
2.  

Overindulged? Get Back on Track!

    If you eat more carbs or food than you planned for, don’t feel like you have failed, but get right back in the game. Stop eating for the night and focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you. Focus on the morning after your celebration including extra exercise, monitoring your blood glucose levels, and jumping right back into your usual daily habits.
 
3.  

Talk to Your Doctor and Your Dentist Before Holiday Parties

    Your doctor plays an integral role in helping you to manage your diabetes health, but your dentist can be equally as important. Make sure your doctor and your dentist know how to contact each other and are sharing information so they can work together to help you tailor your holiday plans to accommodate your health needs.
 
4.  

Focus on Family and Friends

    The best and brightest part of the holiday season is being around the people you care about most. Play games, volunteer, or spend time outdoors enjoying the winter weather together. You can be active, entertained and still enjoy a delicious meal without the entire focus of your gathering being about eating.
 
5.  

Brush Your Teeth

   

Research suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes can go two ways, and serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed a lack of awareness about the various health issues associated with diabetes – particularly oral health. More than one third of Americans living with diabetes are not aware of the possible link between diabetes and oral health, and while more than half of people with diabetes report one or more symptoms of gum disease, an astounding 67 percent do not discuss their oral health with their doctor. One simple step is to brush and floss for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste specially formulated for gum health, such as Colgate Total, the only toothpaste both approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent gingivitis and accepted by the American Dental Association to fight plaque and gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease. Try brushing both before and after your holiday meal to avoid any complications from your celebration.