Do People with Diabetes Pose a Higher Risk for COVID-19?

If you’re a person living with diabetes, you may be wondering why you are considered to be at greater risk for COVID-19.  The general consensus at this time is people with diabetes (PWD) are not more likely to contract COVID-19, however, PWD may be at higher risk of experiencing serious complications.

Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders of carbohydrate metabolism.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd.

Type 1 Diabetes

Is characterized as high blood glucose levels as a result of insufficient production of the insulin hormone

Type 2 Diabetes

Is characterized by the ineffective response of cells to insulin

For either diagnosis, managing your blood glucose level is your personal empowerment opportunity to take care of your health. Your physician and dietitian are your major allies to support and guide you in this endeavor.

When you manage your blood sugar (glucose) your risk of getting very sick is likely lower. If you experience high blood sugar or fluctuating blood sugars your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised therefore increasing your chances of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

For PWD, hyperglycemia (high levels of glucose in the blood) can cause your immune system to not function well. If your immune system is not functioning at its maximum potential then it cannot fight off all of the viruses and bacteria entering your body. High blood sugar or fluctuating blood sugar weakens the immune system making you more vulnerable to become seriously ill if you contract COVID-19.

You can reduce your risk of infection by making lifestyle choices that will keep your blood glucose levels within normal limits.  Treatment of hyperglycemia is even more difficult when you are running a fever, experiencing unstable food intake, and/or dehydrated. To achieve optimal glucose control you will need to check your blood glucose more frequently and make informed adjustments with your food intake, exercise, fluids and medication based on the glucose levels you are seeing.

Diabetes tips to forestall COVID-19:


  • Control your blood sugar to keep your immune system at is best
  • Monitor your blood sugar more frequently during stress
  • Be more intentional to plan balanced meals with managed carbohydrate intake
  • Be sure to keep at least two weeks of fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables on hand
  • Exercise daily to help manage your blood sugar  and your mental health
  • Get plenty of sleep; place a curfew on the internet and news
  • Practice meditation, prayer, and optimism

Banister Nutrition provides Telehealth— give us a call to schedule an appointment. We would love the opportunity to help you to achieve improved blood sugar during this very uncertain time. ☺




Make Sleep a Priority

Amerian culture does not value sleep.

Sleep is an important part of a healthful lifestyle. While you are sleeping, your immune system works to repair damage and clean up cellular messes in the organs. The nervous system mends while memories are being formed during dream time.

Research has shown that inadequate sleep puts you at risk for diabetes (and it’s complications), obesity, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Some studies have found that even one night of poor sleep (less than 6 hours of sleep) increases insulin resistance.

Poor sleep can increase levels of your appetite-stimulating hormone (ghrelin), stimulate the production of your stress hormone (cortisol) and decrease glucose tolerance. It is optimal to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. 

Tips to Improve Sleep:

  • Quiet time: Spend a half-hour with meditation, prayer, relaxing music or other quiet time prior to bedtime. 
  • Routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even the weekends).
  • Self-talk: Tell yourself, “I’ve done all I can for today. I will do the rest another day. Now it’s time to sleep.”
  • Sunshine: Sunshine promotes sleep by causing the body to produce melatonin (which helps the body with sleep).
  • Activity: Get in some physical movement during the day, so your body will be tired when it’s time to sleep.
  • Environment: Set up an environment conducive for sleep – have a comfortable bed, dark room comfortable temperature and quiet. 

Things to Avoid at Night: 

  • Vigorous exercise: Vigorous exercise revs you up. It can be good for the daytime, so you are bedtime. Stretching or yoga work better at night.
  • Intake: Avoid a large meal before bedtime, which can cause heartburn. Avoid drinking a large amount of liquid before bedtime, which can wake you up during the night to urinate.
  • Alcohol/Caffeine/Nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants. Alcohol keeps your body in a light stage of sleep and prevents deep sleep required for healing.
  • Technology: Technology will stimulate your brain and can make it difficult to fall asleep.


Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Diabetes

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a diet that cycles between periods of fasting and non-fasting. Some Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics use IF in attempts to lose weight or decrease blood sugar levels. This dietary strategy that focuses on when you eat, rather than what you eat.

Fasting may be for days or a few hours during the day. Three of the most popular IF methods include:

  • 16:8 method: This strategy focuses on skipping breakfast and restricting the daily eating period to 8 hours followed by a 16 hour fast in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This strategy focuses on fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • 5:2 method: This strategy focuses on consuming only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

The purpose behind IF is to reduce total calories consumed to produce reductions in weight, glucose, and A1C. Current studies have shown IF and continuous caloric restriction both produced similar weight loss results.

Sustainability and safety of any weight loss strategy are imperative to its success. 

For people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there are several factors to consider such as high-risk glycemic events and medication management. Those being treated with insulin or sulfonylureas such as glipizide, glyburide or glimepiride are at risk of hypoglycemic events. Hyperglycemic events as serious as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may occur during periods of non-fasting if carbohydrate consumption is too high or medications are adjusted incorrectly.

If an individual with diabetes is considering IF the keys to the safety of this method include: 

  1. Closely monitoring blood glucose to catch and treat low blood sugar events  
  2. Extensively review of nutrition and carbohydrate management
  3. Adjusting medication dose and schedule, when necessary 
  4. Adjusting exercise
  5. Reviewing hypoglycemia risk, symptoms, treatment
  6. Increasing awareness of the potential to overeat after periods of fasting.

Common side effects from fasting are decreased energy, continual hunger, and irritability which may interfere with one’s desire to continue this plan. Currently, there is not enough evidence to support the benefits of IF versus the potential consequences for people with diabetes. 

If you have diabetes and you’re exploring IF, contact Banister Nutrition.


Phytochemicals’ Lead To Good Health

What are phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and are classified according to their chemical structures and functional properties. There are various terms to describe phytochemicals, such as, flavonoids, flavonols, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins.
Cardiovascular Disease: Soy, cocoa, and black and green teas have been studied extensively, and the consumption of each one is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The consumption of whole grains rich with phytochemicals also lower blood pressure, which aids in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Cancer: The consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean diet that emphasize these foods, have been associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including breast, lung, and colon.
Type 2 Diabetes: Research suggest that phytochemical rich foods may decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, most likely by reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity, and indirectly by preventing weight gain, the most important risk factor of the disease. Studies have shown that the polyphenols in tea and cocoa also may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity and lower type 2 diabetes.
Source: Todays Dietitian, Vol. 15 No. 9, September 2013

Paula Deen Shares About Her Type 2 Diabetes on Rachel Ray


Rachel Ray had Paula Deen and Bobby Deen on her show this morning.  As you all have probably heard- this famous southern belle announced early last year (2012) that she has Type 2 Diabetes.  What caught my ear this morning was her exclaiming that her A1c was now within normal range at 5.8. Rachel was asking her if that was ‘good’ and she said she had been working hard to get it under control. See a clip here:
Paula partnered with NovoNordisk, who makes a diabetes drug and her diagnosis has led her to a weight loss of more than 40 pounds. She discussed on the show today that starting in January, she started to really control her diet. Although she had been on the diabetes drug- she decided to ‘walk the walk’, rather than simply ‘talk the talk’, in her words. 
Paula’s success is shared with her family as her support system embarked on their own weight loss journey as well. Some sources report her son’s Jaime and Bobby have lost 45 and 33 pounds, respectively and her husband Michael has shed 77 pounds!
Bobby Deen is in the spotlight these days with a hit show on the Cooking Channel, ‘Not My Mama’s Meals’. He takes his mom’s delicious, yet heavy recipes and creates lighter versions. He showcases the differences in nutrient content between the recipes.  I have watched the show several times and think his approach is great- enjoying comfort-food classics with a healthy twist. Regardless of the inspiration for his lighter cooking- his efforts support his family’s health and the challenge Paula faces with her diabetes. With her son’s support and efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle- Paula is successfully controlling her diabetes and STILL cooking! This clip shares Paula’s advice for loved ones ‘sabotaging’ your weight loss efforts.
I wanted to share this story with you today because facing the challenges of controlling Type 2 Diabetes and/or weight loss requires more than knowledge. In addition, you need support and a determination to continue living your life with adjustments necessary for your health. As you can see, Paula is still cooking but she has made some major changes and has her family involved.  
Inspiring, if you ask me! sls