(BlackDoctor.org) — If you’re diabetic or hypertensive, the holiday feasts can wreak havoc with your blood sugar and your blood pressure.
But do you really know how much is too much?
How Much Sodium?
The average individual without hypertension should consume no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day. For those with hypertension, doctors will often recommend less than 1,500 milligrams for many patients, and even less for those with more serious disease.
While raw turkey is relatively low in sodium, many commercially processed turkeys are injected with salt water to make them appear more plump, and the preparation of turkey in the kitchen can add a great deal more sodium as well.
And when it comes to other holiday treats like mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, stuffing, gravies and casseroles, the sodium content of a holiday dinner can skyrocket. According to some websites, even a slice of pumpkin pie can contain up to 300 or more milligrams of sodium.
How Much Sugar?
Turning our attention to sugar, most Americans are urged to have carbohydrates make up no more than 40 to 60% of their daily intake of calories. For many diabetics, this number should be considerably lower, depending on the severity of disease and doctors’ individualized recommendations. And some diabetics need to limit their overall calorie intake to no more than 1,500 per day.
At holiday meals, many foods are often laden with sugar and with carbohydrates. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie, breads, desserts and alcoholic drinks all add to the carbohydrate load of the holiday meal.
Softening the Blow
Sitting at a holiday meal and feeling like you can’t eat anything is not a good feeling. However, if you have moderate or severe disease in terms of diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, the stakes are relatively high. While overindulging for one meal is not necessarily a life-threatening occurrence (but can be very problematic, for instance, in someone with severe diabetes), most Americans tend to overindulge for the entire holiday season, not necessarily for just one meal.