Diabetes on the Rise in Hispanics

(ARA) – Diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent in Hispanic populations in the United States, according to 2008 statistics from the National Institutes of Health. 
This trend has serious health implications because of the increased prevalence, the greater number of risk factors and the greater incidence of complications. In general, Hispanics are diagnosed with diabetes at twice the rate of Caucasian Americans, and about 7 percent have undiagnosed diabetes. 

More than 10 percent of Hispanics in the United States older than 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the NIH. Among Hispanics, diabetes prevalence rates are 8.2 percent for Cubans, 11.9 percent for Mexican Americans and 12.6 percent for Puerto Ricans. 

One of the most common questions people with diabetes ask is “Can we eat sugar?” The answer is “yes”, but in moderation. The recommended diet for people with diabetes has changed in the past decade. Diabetics now learn about and can enjoy less restrictive diets. Diabetes experts say that diabetics can include sugar as part of the carbohydrates allotted in their overall diets. 

However, diabetic diets still need to be personalized. Patients with diabetes need to consider their medication, age, height, weight, blood sugar levels, physical activity and carbohydrate intake recommendations as they plan their diets. 

One way to continue enjoying “sweet” foods is to include non-nutritive sweeteners in the diet, but the role of these ingredients often is not well understood by consumers. “My clients often have questions about aspartame safety and other non-nutritive sweeteners,” says Ximena Jimenez, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “I reassure them that while there is an unusual amount of misinformation on the Internet about aspartame, it probably is one of the most thoroughly researched food ingredients available today and it is approved by the FDA.” 

Aspartame contains almost no calories compared to regular sugar and is a very simple ingredient that breaks down to two amino acids and a small amount of methanol. Each of these components is also found naturally in common foods, including meats and dairy products, fruits and vegetables. (For more information, visit http://www.aboutaspartame.com/home)

The American Diabetes Association stands behind the safety of low-calorie sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose, “ace K,” saccharin and “reb A.” You’ll find these in many food products such as diet soda, baked products, light yogurt and sugarless candy. These sweeteners, which are only needed in tiny amounts, can reduce or replace sugars and calories in foods and beverages, offering people with diabetes greater variety and flexibility with their total carbohydrate intake. People with diabetes are more likely to comply with a healthful meal plan when they are able to eat foods that they enjoy. 

With governments and leading health care organizations around the world encouraging everyone to reduce the amount of sugar consumed, the role of low-calorie sweeteners in diets likely will be increasingly important. 

To learn more about living with diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association’s Web site at www.Diabetes.org

Courtesy of ARAcontent