Dining with Diabetes Down East

Important information concerning diabetes and coronavirus

Dining with Diabetes Down East class participants and instructor
Dining with Diabetes Down East class with Alan Majka.

Diabetes is a large and rapidly growing public health problem for Maine and the United States. Maine’s most northern and eastern counties tend to have the highest rates, in part due to older populations. Type 2 accounts for approximately 90% of all diabetes cases. According to the American Diabetes Association Standards of Care, lifestyle management is a fundamental aspect of diabetes care and includes self-management support and nutrition therapy. UMaine Extension complements health care by providing accessible community-based self-management support and practical nutrition information.

Researchers confirmed type 2 diabetes treatment goals in a March 2018 Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice article. The authors reviewed Veterans Administration electronic medical records for 53,120 patients with type 2 diabetes.

They compared the risk of long-term health problems of those who met all three goals with those who only achieved two, one, or no targets. They found that those who were under good control for all three of the following measures had the best outcomes:

  • A1C blood sugar
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

Those who met guidelines for two goals did better than those who met only one or no goals. The Dining with Diabetes website includes four publications and a series of 7 videos to help you meet these goals.

For decades, Cooperative Extension has offered diabetes education in many states. For example, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension developed the Rite Bite Diabetes Cooking School in 1995 and in 1998 West Virginia University Extension Service started the Dining with Diabetes program that later became a model for Extension diabetes programs in other states.

There are a number of ways to plan meals for someone with diabetes or prediabetes. In an effort to simplify diabetes meal planning, a group of dietitians in Idaho adapted a teaching tool originally developed in Sweden. They called it the Idaho Plate Method. The plate method has been tested and has become widely accepted. In fact, it’s specifically listed as an effective meal planning approach in the American Diabetes Association’s Nutrition Therapy Recommendations for the Management of Adults With Diabetes. The plate method became the basis for the original Dining with Diabetes program and is used in UMaine Extension’s Dining with Diabetes Down East.