Ask the Expert: All about diabetes, prevention, and nutrition, with Constance Brown-Riggs

With our rushed lifestyles and declining nutrition, it’s understandable that diabetes would be a growing worry for many of us. During this week’s Ask the Expert webchat, we were joined by award-winning registered dietitian Constance Brown-Riggs to address these concerns. Constance is also a certified diabetes educator and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the author of The Diabetes Guide to Enjoying Foods of the World, Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes and The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, the latter of which received a ‘Favorably Reviewed’ designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Here are the highlights from our webchat with Constance Brown-Riggs. Please keep in mind all user participation is anonymous.

Understanding the impact of family history

QUESTION — “If there is a history of type 1 diabetes in the family, am I more prone to developing type 1 diabetes even though I am at a healthy weight?

Constance Brown-Riggs — “Type 1 diabetes only occurs in about 1 out of every 10 people who have diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live. Obesity is not a risk factor for type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is strongly hereditary. There are genetic tests available to determine if you are at risk for type 1 diabetes.

Eating too much sugar

QUESTION — “If you have chocolate or desserts every day, are you guaranteed to become diabetic?”

Constance Brown-Riggs — “Chocolate and desserts every day will not cause you to have diabetes. Sugar does not cause diabetes, however, too much sugar can cause overweight or obesity, which are major risk factors for diabetes. Within the context of a healthy diet and with controlled portions, chocolate or desserts can fit in your diet.

Age and diabetes

QUESTION — “At what age does diabetes typically become an increased concern?

Constance Brown-Riggs — “Historically, type 2 diabetes develops in adulthood after the age of 45. However, due to the obesity epidemic in children and younger adults, we are seeing cases of type 2 diabetes in children as young as 5 years of age. Anyone, regardless of age, who is overweight is at risk for diabetes. Obesity is a major risk factor.

Don’t miss our next Ask the Expert session!

If you weren’t able to catch our webchat with Constance Brown-Riggs, you can always sign in to your LifeSpeak account to read the transcript. And be sure to log on December 9 at 12PM EST to chat with Jennifer Kolari, who will be answering your questions about getting along with loved ones over the holidays. If you don’t have a LifeSpeak account, please have your HR team reach out to us about your company subscribing.

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