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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Asian American Diabetes Initiative



Chefs Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang prepare diabetes-friendly meals



This week, the Joslin Diabetes Center’s annual tasting event gathered chefs such as Joanne Chang and Ming Tsai to benefit the center’s Asian American Diabetes Initiative, which aims to promote awareness of the greater diabetes risks for people of Asian descent.

Regardless of whether you are East Asian or South, we see a greater risk of diabetes at a lower body mass index,” says Karen Lau, head of the initiative. “The usual BMI for diabetes risk is around 25%, but we see it at 23% for Asians. That small percentage is a greatly increased risk, and it’s more likely to go undetected.”

But regardless of ethnicity, Lau says a diabetic-friendly diet can prevent the condition: “Healthy eating is for everyone. A family can struggle with a different diet for a diabetic member, but a healthy diet is healthy for the whole family.”

 Lau's diabetic-friendly diet tips:

Brown carbs vs. white carbs  “What affects blood glucose most are carbs, and certain types of carbs,” she says. “Simple carbs — like white flour and white rice — are bad, while complex carbs like brown bread and brown rice are better. Complex carbs have higher fiber, which helps stabilize blood glucose levels.”

Fat counts  “Often times, a high-fat diet is not good for blood glucose. Fats increase insulin resistance too. So the amount of dietary fat has to be controlled.”

Lose the salt  “Watching salt intake is important,” Lau adds. “The dietary guideline for the general population is 2,300 mg of sodium a day. That’s about one teaspoon. People with diabetes should have less than 1,500 mg. Use spices, garlic, scallions and onion to bring out flavor instead.”

Portion control “There’s a greater risk of diabetes if you’re overweight. But as we see with the Asian population, a thin person can be at risk. Even eating too many complex carbs will increase blood glucose. Too much of a good thing can be bad.”

Watch the sugar  “It’s a common misconception that sugar causes diabetes,” Lau says, “but it still should be limited. Look at product labels and watch out for foods which have sugar or high fructose corn syrup at the top of the list.”

Nutritionists at the Joslin Diabetes Center approved these two recipes from Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang as diabetes-friendly  - Chicken-Onion Meatloaf with Sambal-Worcestershire Gravy and Joanne Chang’s Thai Ginger Chicken Salad

Click here, and scroll down for recipes

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