My father has diabetes and his doctor says frozen packaged food is not good for diabetics.

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My father, who lives in Israel, is 86 years old and has non-insulin-dependent diabetes. He just told me that one of his doctors says that frozen packaged food (or perhaps any food that is frozen) is not good for diabetics. Is there anything to that? Please let me know.

Some frozen packaged foods (frozen vegetables and fruits) are OK for a person with diabetes; some are high in sugar, fat, and salt and are not OK. Perhaps his doctor was trying to steer your dad away from dessert type frozen foods or perhaps his doctor also wants your father to reduce fats or salt. Otherwise, his diabetic nutrition therapy can include fresh, frozen or canned foods as long as it follows his diabetic nutrition therapy. I think he should talk to a registered dietitian or if he has access to the Internet, suggest he read this diabetes topic. Abnormal blood glucose occurs in 90% of persons over the age of 70 so it is not surprising that your father has diabetes.

The nutrition therapy for non-insulin dependent diabetes (type 2) is a low- fat meal plan and exercise. Weight loss may be recommended as body fat increases a person’s resistance to insulin. He may or may not be taking pills that stimulate his pancreas to produce more insulin or taking insulin shots daily if his blood glucose is no longer normalized by oral medication.

A diabetic nutrition therapy includes 3 average sized meals per day and if your father is taking pills or injecting insulin, will need a snack at night. A Kosher eating plan is very good as the food is usually cooked from scratch, but he needs to lower the fat content in the foods he eats to around 30% of calories from fat. One simple method is to choose foods low in fat, nothing fried, then add 1 teaspoon of trans-fat-free margarine, mayonnaise, oil or 1 tablespoon salad dressing to one food at each meal. He can choose which food to add fat.

Exercise improves a person’s blood glucose response, increases the rate at which the body burns calories and helps to reduce appetite. Any activity like walking that he can do for 30 to 60 minutes daily would be beneficial. People lose muscle mass as they age so moderate weight lifting would help maintain muscle mass for your dad.

An Israeli registered dietitian could find out what he eats on a usual basis, read his medical chart and give him a meal plan that would take his likes and dislikes into consideration.