Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Jeremy Swartzberg

Jeremy Swartzberg, MD

Hospital Medicine

Welcome to My Doctor Online, a web site that my colleagues and I developed to make it easier for you to take care of your healthcare needs. On this site you will find answers to many of your questions about my clinical practice. Also included are several online features that will allow you to e-mail me, check your laboratory results and refill prescriptions. I hope you find its content informative and useful.

My Offices

Oakland Medical Center
Appt/Advice: 510-752-1190

See all office information »

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Healthy eating is an important part of managing your diabetes and reducing the risk of complications. There is no single "diabetic diet." You do not need to eat special diet foods. Healthy foods for you are healthy for everyone in your family. With diabetes, it is important to pay attention to:

  • When you eat. Eat regular meals to prevent overeating and control blood sugar. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar to swing too high or too low. Eat a meal or healthy snack at least every 4 to 5 hours.
  • How much you eat. Eat portions that are right for your weight. Eating too much can cause weight gain and high blood sugar. Eating too little means you won’t get enough energy to fuel your body.
  • What you eat. Choose a variety of foods from all food groups. Include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products.

Eating Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are foods that contain natural and added sugar. Healthy carbs include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes (dried beans and peas), and milk and yogurt. Even though carbs break down into sugar, it’s important to eat enough carbs to fuel your body.

Managing your carbohydrate intake

If your blood sugar is high, you will need to eat fewer carbs. Keep hydrated by drinking water because high blood sugar can be dehydrating. 

Here are some ways to reduce your carb intake:

  • Drink water and other noncaffeinated, sugar-free beverages instead of regular sodas, juices, and juice drinks.
  • Eat 3 meals each day. If your meals are more than 4 or 5 hours apart, add a small snack between meals.
  • Eat fewer sweets and sugary foods. Cut out candy, cookies, and pastries. If you eat a sweet, aim for a small serving such as ½ cup ice cream or 2 small cookies.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables with meals and for snacks.

Try the plate method for planning balanced meals.

Additional References:

How to Eat Fats

Eating fats

Eat a moderate amount of foods that contain healthy fats. Healthy fats come from nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive and canola oils. These fats are good for your heart and for maintaining a healthy weight.

Managing your fat intake

Choose foods that are low in saturated fat (animal fat). Avoid all trans fats. Trans fats are artificially created fats found in many processed foods. Fat in food does not increase blood sugar, but it can affect your cholesterol and your weight. Here’s how to eat less saturated fat and trans fat:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables.
  • Eat 2 to 4 small servings of fruit daily.
  • Choose small portions of lean meat.
  • Choose fish several times weekly.
  • Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
  • Eat healthy fats such as olive or canola oil, walnuts, almonds, and avocados.
  • Eat less butter, gravy, cream, and fried foods.
  • Eat fewer packaged items like pastries, cookies, and chips.
Additional References:

How to Change Your Eating Habits

Start with one small change and then make additional changes a step at a time. For example, switch to drinking water and unsweetened beverages instead of regular sodas and juices. Eat a small breakfast rather than skipping breakfast.

Make more changes gradually. Eat less fat, count carbs, or use a meal planning method. Making lifestyle changes takes practice, and going off track is normal. Know that you can get back on track.

We recommend that you:

  • Make small changes over time.
  • Think about what would help you be successful in making changes.
  • Learn about diabetes, healthy eating, and meal planning.
  • Set up your surroundings for success. Keep healthy foods available. Take unhealthy foods out of your refrigerator and pantry.
  • Get support from family, friends, or a support group.
  • Keep a food diary or journal to track what you eat.

Strategies for Eating Out

For many people, dining out means eating larger portions of food that contain more fat and carbohydrates. Consider how often you eat out and seek ways to make healthy choices. Try:

  • Sharing a meal.
  • Taking home leftovers. Ask for a takeout box at the beginning of the meal and fill it. That way, you won’t be tempted to eat everything.
  • Ask your server about portion sizes and how food is prepared before you order.
  • Choose baked, broiled, or grilled menu items.
  • Choose foods without creamy dressings and sauces.
  • Ask for sauces, salad dressing, and gravy on the side.
  • Drink unsweetened beverages. Limit alcohol.
  • Balance a larger meal with physical activity such as walking.

Reading Food Labels

Food labels help you choose foods with less calories, fat, and sodium. They also help you count carbs. Look for:

  • Serving size. This is the suggested size of one serving. If you eat more than one serving, then you have to increase the other numbers, like calories, fat, and total carbohydrates.
  • Calories. If weight loss is your goal, choose foods with fewer calories. 
  • Total carbohydrate grams. These include starches, fiber, and sugars.  
  • Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that does not increase blood sugar. Choose foods with plenty of fiber.
  • Sugars. Sugar grams are already included in total carbohydrate grams.
  • Saturated fats and trans fats. Choose foods low in saturated fat and trans fat to control your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Cholesterol. Eat less than 300 mg cholesterol daily for heart health.
  • Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure.

Substitute Sweeteners

Substitute sweeteners are a safe way of adding sweetness to food without adding sugar or calories. Because they taste very sweet, you may want to start with a small amount. Add more according to your taste. Substitute sweeteners include:

  • Aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low or Sweet Twin)
  • Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf)

Using substitute sweeteners is a personal choice. Many people with diabetes can include small amounts of regular sugar in their meal plans. 

For others, too much sugar may cause high blood sugar or high triglycerides (blood fats). A substitute sweetener is one option for limiting your intake of sugar.

Related Health Tools:

Interactive Programs

See more Health Tools »

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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