Glossary of Diabetic Terms - F

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Fasting plasma glucose test (FPG): The preferred method of screening for diabetes. The FPG measures a person's blood sugar level after fasting or not eating anything for at least 8 hours. Normal fasting blood glucose is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL. A fasting plasma glucose greater than 100 mg/dL and less than126 mg/dL implies that the person has an impaired fasting glucose level, but may not have diabetes. A diagnosis of diabetes is made when the fasting blood glucose is greater than 126 mg/dL and when blood tests confirm abnormal results. These tests can be repeated on a subsequent day or by measuring glucose 2 hours after a meal. The results should show an elevated blood glucose of more than 200 mg/dL.

Fats: Substances that help the body use some vitamins and keep the skin healthy. They are also the main way the body stores energy. In food, there are many types of fats; saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans fats. To maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near the normal ranges as possible, the American Diabetes Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol in our diets. Saturated fats contribute to blood levels of bad LDL cholesterol. The amount of saturated fats should be limited to less than 10% of total caloric intake and the amount of dietary cholesterol should be limited to 300 mg/day.

Fructose: A type of sugar found in many fruits and vegetables and in honey. Fructose is used to sweeten some diet foods, but this type of sweetener is typically not recommended to diabetics because it could have a negative effect on blood sugar.

Yesterday, I heard a patient advocate say he was thankful for diabetes. He said, “If I had to choose a disease, type 1 diabetes isn’t a bad choice. Sometimes I feel thankful for having it.” The 40-something who said this was speaking on the radio as I was driving. I nearly swerved off the road.

In the next two articles we’re going to discuss the concept of "normal" blood sugar. I say concept and put normal in quotation marks because what passes for normal in mainstream medicine turns out to be anything but normal if optimal health and function are what you’re interested in.