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

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If you have diabetes, it’s very important to eat a healthy diet. Here are some of the methods for healthy eating that many people with diabetes find helpful:

  • The plate method. Use your plate to create balanced meals in moderate portions without measuring or counting.
  • Diabetes food pyramid. Food groups and portion sizes help you plan calories and carbohydrate amounts that are right for you.
  • Carbohydrate counting. Count servings or grams of carbohydrates (foods with sugars and starches) to control your blood sugar.

The Plate Method

The plate method uses a 9-inch dinner plate to create a balanced meal and smaller portion sizes. Many people like this method because it does not require calorie counting or measuring with cups or scales. 

To use this method, imagine a line down the middle of your plate. Now imagine another line in the middle of one side of the plate. Your plate now has 3 sections. Prepare your plate with:

  • Nonstarchy vegetables or salad in the largest section.
  • Carbohydrates such as whole grains, whole wheat bread or tortilla, pasta, rice, corn, lentils, beans, or starchy vegetables (such as potatoes) in one of the small sections.
  • Protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, or tofu in the other small section.

Add an 8-ounce glass of low-fat or nonfat milk, or a small piece of fruit, to your meal.  

The Diabetes Food Pyramid

The diabetes food pyramid, helps you manage your weight. It also helps you track carbohydrate intake to manage your blood sugar. The diabetes food pyramid includes 6 food groups:

  • Grains, beans, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn, sweet potatoes). 
  • Vegetables. 
  • Fruits. 
  • Meat and meat substitutes (fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, tofu). 
  • Milk and yogurt. 
  • Fats, sweets, and alcohol. 

Each group includes foods and portions equal to 1 serving. Each serving in a specific food group has approximately the same amount of calories and carbohydrates. The number of servings to eat depends on your calorie needs and food preferences. When using the diabetes food pyramid, choose:

  • Fish and poultry more often.
  • Whole fruits more often than juices.
  • Whole grains: whole grain breads and cereals, oats, and brown rice.
  • Beans (not refried) as a good source of fiber.
  • Sweets less often because they are high in fat and sugar.

Carbohydrate Counting

Carbohydrate counting, or “carb counting,” is a flexible meal planning method for managing blood sugar. You need to eat enough carbs to fuel your body, even though they break down into sugar. If you eat too few carbs, you may feel low in energy, and may be eating too much protein and fat.

Carbs are counted in grams or numbers of servings. If you use insulin, this method can help determine how much to take.
To count carbs, learn which foods contain them and what a portion size looks like. Start by measuring food with a measuring cup. With practice, you will soon be able to eyeball or estimate portion sizes.

Foods to Count

Foods high in carbohydrates include:

  • Grains like breads, rice, pasta, cereal, and tortillas. 
  • Dried beans, lentils, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn, sweet potato). 
  • Fruits and fruit juices. 
  • Milk and yogurt. 
  • Sugars, sweets, chips, and crackers. 
  • Combination foods like casseroles, lasagna, and pizza. 

You don’t need to count foods that don’t contain carbs. These include:

  • Protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and tofu. 
  • Fats like oil, butter, margarine, and many salad dressings. 

We recommend limiting these foods to moderate portions for good nutrition and heart health.

Nonstarchy vegetables are very low in carbs. You don’t need to count them unless you are going to eat more than 1 cup.

Finding Carbohydrate Information

Learn the carb content of foods you eat often. Good sources of information include:

  • The diabetes food pyramid. It lists food portions containing 15 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Carbohydrate food guides. You can find these in our Health Education Department or most bookstores.
  • Food labels. Read the nutrition facts on packaged foods.

How many carbohydrates to eat depends on your calorie needs, activity level, and medical history. For many adults, an average carbohydrate range is:

  • 45 to 60 grams of carbs at each meal. 
  • 15 to 30 grams of carbs for snacks. 

Your individual carb targets may be different. If you are trying to lose weight, aim for the lower end of the range. If you are more active or trying to maintain weight, aim for the higher end. If you exercise strenuously you may need even more carbohydrates in your diet. If you’re not sure how many carbohydrates are right for you, talk to your care team for more specific information that fits your needs.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) tells you how high your blood sugar may rise after eating a specific carbohydrate food. Foods are ranked as low, medium, or high glycemic.

Food is just one of many factors that affect blood sugar. As a result, most people find that the glycemic index works best when combined with another meal planning method. 

Additional References:

Related Health Tools:

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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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