Today we celebrate World Diabetes Day to raise global awareness of a disease that affects an estimated 382 million people worldwide. The theme for 2014 is Healthy Living and Diabetes, so I asked Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND, a nutrition counselor and diabetes expert, to join me today so we could learn more about diabetes.
As a registered dietitian, I’ve been trained to encourage people to eat in moderation. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? So, well, er … moderate. I was feeling pretty smug about the moderation message until recently when someone threw down a tweeted gauntlet.
What IS moderation?
There it was. The tweet was challenging me to define a very subjective term – and in no more than 140 characters! I thought for a moment and tweeted in reply: “Moderation is eating less than you’d like of the foods you like!”
OK, I know my somewhat smarty-pants tweet didn’t really answer the question, but I will try to do that now that I have much more space to post a response.
Moderation is Personal
Dietary and caloric needs vary from person to person which means that what is moderate intake for one person can be excessive or inadequate for another person. The first step to define moderation for you is to determine your recommended target intakes for grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein as well as the total number of calories you should consume each day. An easy way to do this is to go to the USDA’s SuperTracker site.
After you create a profile and enter in your age, height, weight, gender, and physical activity level, the site will give you a personal plan that shows your daily food group targets including what and how many servings to eat within your calorie allowance. Then you can enter what you’re actually eating each day in Food Tracker to see where you stand. Are you getting enough vegetable servings each day? Are you getting too many grain servings? How about total calories?