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Released: June 17, 2004

Diabetic Diet Beneficial to Most

MANHATTAN, Kan. – People newly diagnosed with diabetes typically experience a mix of emotions – many are afraid they may never again be able to enjoy food or have a dessert, said Sharolyn Flaming Jackson, K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Riley County.

“Most people can learn to manage the disease successfully and still enjoy food,” said Jackson, who teaches Riley County Extension’s “Dining with Diabetes” classes.

“Those who come to the classes are aware that they are facing changes in their eating habits and lifestyle,” said Jackson, who surprises participants by serving peanut butter cookies. She makes them with a combination of sugar substitute and sugar and serves them to convey two important messages – that favorite foods usually can be part of a diabetic diet and that serving size is key to managing carbohydrates – and diabetes.

“The truth is that diabetics need to eat like we all should eat – most people can benefit from eating a variety of foods and balancing meals and snacks with physical activity,” said Jackson, who offered these tips:

* Read food labels and recipes, and watch for ingredients that contribute to health. Ask yourself, is the product – or recipe – high in sugar? Fat? Salt?

* Measure a recommended serving until more familiar with serving sizes, and consider stir-frying meat or poultry with vegetables to make down-sizing portions less obvious.

* Use a luncheon or dinner plate, rather than larger, restaurant-style plates.

* Start the day with breakfast, which is necessary to break the overnight fast.

* Plan regular meals, snacks and desserts.

“Sugar substitutes can play a role in managing diabetes and weight, but shouldn’t be considered a license to overeat,” Jackson said. “Commercial sugar-free products may not be low-fat or low-calorie products.”

In baking, results may vary with the sugar substitute used, said Jackson, who uses a sugar substitute to replace the majority of sugar in the peanut butter cookie recipe.

“Diabetics typically want to be like everyone else. Plan a dessert – like angel food cake, for example – that everyone can eat, rather than preparing or choosing one dessert for the diabetic in the family and another for everyone else,” Jackson said.

For more information on food, nutrition, health and “Dining with Diabetes” classes, contact the local K-State Research and Extension office or check Extension’s Web site: . More information on diabetes also is available from the American Diabetes Association’s Web Site at: .

“Dining With Diabetes” Lighter Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 3/4 cup Splenda TM granular sugar substitute
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 oz. Neufchatel cheese
  • 1/4 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 11/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar, reserved

In a mixing bowl, mix sugar substitute with brown sugar, peanut butter, Neufchatel cheese, margarine or butter and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate about two hours or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1-1/4-inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip a fork in reserved granulated sugar before using it to flatten dough in a crisscross pattern. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool. Store in an air-tight container. Makes 21/2 dozen cookies each with 90 calories, 4 g fat, 11 g carbohydrate and 520 mg. sodium. One diabetic serving is two cookies.

Source: Sharolyn Flaming Jackson, K-State Research and Extension, Riley County


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Nancy Peterson
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Sharolyn Flaming Jackson is at 785-532-6350 or