Native American Diabetes Project

Meeting 3: Eat Less Sugar

It's so nice to see you again. We are so happy that you are here! You and your family are important to us. As we usually do, let's take a few minutes to review our last time together.

blood sugar.

So far we've talked about exercises and fat in the foods we eat. We said healthy exercise is that you do:

At least 20 minutes, all at one time.
3-4 times per week.
Your heart beats faster.
You sweat a little.
You breathe a little harder than usual.
You feel you are working a little.
It's easy enough to talk to someone
       while you're exercising, and
It's fun!

Eating less
fat is
for everyone!
We said eating less fat is important and ways you could eat less fat are:

Cook with less butter and lard.
Buy leaner cuts of meat.
Rinse and drain cooked ground meat with hot water.
Trim the fat off of meat and chicken
       and throw it away before cooking.
Skim fat off soup and stews.
Bake, broil, and boil meat instead of frying.
Drink low fat or non fat milk
       instead of regular whole milk.

So how are
you doing?
Let's look at your calendars. What kinds of exercises are you doing?

What are some of the ways you are eating less fat?

Does anyone have any success stories to tell about exercise or eating low fat foods?

As we
our jouney.
The Eagle has seen our ancestors exercising their bodies and eating foods that are naturally low in fat and sugar.

Our ancestors did not have foods that had lots of sugar. For a sweet treat they used plants that are naturally sweet, like the prickly pear, berries, and corn.

Today the Eagle sees us buying many foods that have lots of sugar, like soft drinks, Jell-O, and candy. But, in this vision, he can see that we are learning ways of eating less sugar, by making one change, then two.

What's the
big deal
about sugar?
Everyone should be eating less sugar, not just people with diabetes. When you eat food, your body changes the food you eat into sugar and uses the sugar for energy. When you have diabetes, your body is not able to use the sugar for energy. The sugar floats around in your blood. That is why people with diabetes have too much sugar in their blood.

Too much
sugar in
the blood
is a bad
Too much sugar in your blood over the years can lead to serious complications, like blindness, amputations, foot problems, and kidney problems! That is why your health care provider is always checking your blood sugar. Regular exercise and eating less fat and less sugar will lower your blood sugar and prevent or delay these bad problems. It can also prevent or delay diabetes in our family or friends.

How can
I eat less

1. Learn which foods have lots of sugar and eat less of them.

2. Learn how to prepare foods using less sugar.

3. Learn how to make low sugar choices when you eat away from home.

These foods
have lots
of sugar:







ice cream

sweet rolls

regular pop

fruit drinks

all kinds of pudding

Kool-Aid and Hawaiian Punch

Can I ever
eat those
foods again?
It's okay to eat these foods once in awhile, but not everyday. After a meal, a small treat is ok. Remember that the size of the portion is really important. Small is better. You can use less of these foods, eat a smaller portion, make low sugar choices, and use less sugar when cooking, and still enjoy foods that taste great!

Some foods
have sugar
Where does all the sugar come from?

Sometimes sugar is found in foods naturally, as in fresh fruits, dried fruit, molasses, and honey. You can enjoy these foods, just don't eat too much at one time or eat them too often. Two servings of fruit a day is a good amount and remember to eat different kinds of fruit. Fresh fruit makes a good tasting, and sweet dessert.

with sugar
makes foods
high in
Often when we cook or bake foods we add sugar. And, guess what? We have foods that are high in sugar! Try using less sugar in your recipes, or a sugar substitute.

Food     Made With
Cakes Sugar     =     high sugar food
Cookies Sugar     =     high sugar food

sugar to
foods makes
them high
in sugar!
At other times, we add sugar to foods at the table.

Food Add    
Cereal Sugar     =     high sugar cereal
Iced tea, Coffee Sugar     =     high sugar drink

Sugar can
hide in
your food.
Some foods have hidden sugar.

Food     Contains
2 tablespoons of ketchup 2 teaspoons of sugar
One 15 ounce milk shake 15 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 cup of ice cream 3 teaspoons of sugar

Sugar has
many names!
Did you know that sugar has lots of names other that sugar? It's true! All of these words are other names for sugar. Take this list with you the next time you go shopping and check the labels.









corn syrup

maple syrup

corn sweetener

juice concentrate

natural sweeteners

1. Eat less
sugar, and
less often.
So how can we eat less sugar? Here are 5 easy ways to eat less sugar!

1. Learn the foods that have lots of sugar and eat smaller portions and drink sweets in smaller amounts and less often. Less is better.

2. Use less
2. Use less sugar in your recipes.

Gradually reduce the sugar in your recipes. Try to reduce the amount of sugar by half. Try using natural sugar fruit juice, with no added sugar, instead of sugar to add sweetness to foods.

3. Use a
3. Use a sugar substitute

Try Equal, Sweet-n-LowTM, Sugar TwinTM, or Sweet OneTM (Sweet One can be used in cooking). You can also use SunetteTM for baking. Sorbitol and monitol are also sugar substitutes, but they may cause diarrhea if too much is eaten.

4. Eat
4. Use sugar-free products. They taste good!

Try sugar-free Jell-O and sugar-free pudding.

5. Drink
drinks and
5. Drink sugar-free drinks.

Try sugar-free punch, diet pop, or sugar-free Kool-AidTM. And don't forget the best beverage of all, water!

How to
handle a
sweet tooth.
Are you thinking about how your family will feel if you ask them to eat fewer sweets? Here are some low sugar ideas to keep the sweet tooth in your family satisfied.

Take this list with you on your next shopping trip. The list shows foods that are low in sugar or sugar-free.

These foods
have the
Fresh fruit

Diet soft drinks

Simply Fruit jam

Sugar-free Jell-OTM

Sugar-free pudding

Sugar-free Kool-AidTM

Sugar free jams and jellies

Canned fruit, packed in its own juice

EqualTM, Sweet OneTM, Sweet-n-LowTM, Sugar TwinTM

Often sugar is added to foods that are already sweet, as is done with canned fruit. Before eating canned fruit, drain and rinse the fruit to get rid of the extra sugar. Better yet, buy canned fruits packed in water or their own juices.

foods are
lower in
Today there are many foods that are made with lots of sugar. Intraditional times, there was no such thing as pop, or punch, or Jell-o, or candy bars.

For a sweet taste, our ancestors used plants that had natural sugars in them, such as the prickly pear, berries, and corn. While these traditional foods contain natural sugar, they contain less sugar then many of the other foods we eat today.

Besides having fewer sweet foods, our ancestors did not eat sweet foods as often as we do today. Traditional sweet foods were used in smaller amounts and only on special occasions.

What examples of sweet, traditional foods can you think of?

Let's get
the sugar
out of
Instead of these
high sugar foods
Try these
lower sugar foods
Apple Cinnamon CheeriosTM with sugar Plain CheeriosTM
Toast with jam
Toast with low sugar jam
Coffee with sugar
Coffee with sugar substitute

Now you
try it!
How can you get the sugar out of breakfast?
Instead of these Try these
_________________________ _________________________
_________________________ _________________________
_________________________ _________________________

on our
Let's review what we have learned. Here are:

Five Easy Ways to Eat Less Sugar!

1. Eat sugar-free Jell-O and sugar-free pudding.

2. Use a sugar substitute in your coffee.

3. Drink sugar-free pop, punch, and Kool-aid.

4. Eat smaller portions of sweets like cakes, pies, cookies and sweet snacks.

5. Use less sugar in everything you eat and cook.

Plan to eat
less sugar.
Just like with your garden, your exercise, and eating low fat foods, you have to plan how you will eat more low sugar foods. Take a few minutes and think about some ways you can plan to eat less sugar this week.

This week, in order to eat less sugar, I will

(I will drink sugar free pop)

I will ask a friend or family member to help me

(I will ask my wife to buy sugar free pop.)

My reward at the end of the week is

(I will take my grandson to the movies)

I promise to do the best I can with my low sugar eating plan.

A new vision
for you!
Before we leave, close your eyes and imagine the eagle soaring over us now. As the eagle soars overhead, he is proud of what he sees. People are getting together and making changes in their lives to make them healthier. The Eagle sees that not only are people exercising more, but they are eating less fat and less sugar.

Foods are being chosen with health in mind and include more fruits, more vegetables, more grains and less of the sugary kinds of foods.

Our children and grandchildren are learning from us, by example. We must give them the wisdom of the Eagle and keep their sugars down, too.

Thank you, Great Spirit, for the sweet rewards that come from the soil that we work with our hands. May the rewards be plentiful as our families grow healthier to live longer and healthier lives.

Thank you for coming.

What do
you think?
Before we finish, take a few minutes and tell us what you think about this meeting. Be as honest as you can, we want to know what you really think. This information will be used to make our program better.

What did you like best about today's session?

What didn't you like about today's session?

What would you add to this session to make it better?

Thank you for coming to the meeting. We will meet again in two months, and you will hear from us before then through the mail.

Remember to bring your calendars next time! Thank you for cming to the meeting.

  |Native Diabetes Project |Back to Top of the Page|
|Meeting 1: Exercise More! |Meeting 2: Eat Less Fat|
|Meeting 3: Eat Less Sugar |Meeting 4: Together We Can|
|Meeting 5: Staying on the Path!|

Copyright January 1995, First Edition, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131.