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Leigh Perreault Part 3, Environmental Tips for A Healthier Lifestyle

In part 3 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Leigh Perreault shares her recommendations for healthier eating in a conversation with Diabetes in Control Medical Editor Joy Pape during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California.

Dr. Leigh Perreault is an associate professor of medicine, physician and clinical researcher at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO. Her research interests include understanding the different pathways by which people develop type 2 diabetes, developing tailored strategies for diabetes prevention and the human microbiome.

Transcript of this video segment:

Joy: What do you teach your patients when it comes to some of these environmental things, and tips that you give them and teach us and teach our patients, that people can really do and live with?

Dr. Perreault: The first thing is eat real food. Oh my goodness, I think all of us go to the grocery store and when you look at the ingredients on it you think, “wow…all these funny chemicals!” Those are not really foods, they are chemicals or preservatives they are things that make them have a nice mouth feel but in my opinion not really food. So the first thing I tell patient is please, you don’t need supplements you just need to eat real food. Anything you can pick from a tree, a plant, get from the ground or get from an animal, that’s real food. Some people say if you see something in the grocery store that has more than 5 ingredients, maybe shy away from it. The other thing I tell people to get all white food out of their diet, that means pasta, bread, potatoes, sugar. Those are really high-carb foods and the irony is, even though there are calories in those foods, eating them makes us hungrier. By getting rid of them it makes us less hungry and eat less total calories. Those are two simple tips I give my patients in respect to what to eat.

Joy: What about if they go out and have a cup of coffee? What kind of cup do you tell them that they should use? (laughter)

Dr. Perreault: Right, so, I must admit. When I have a chance, I do use a re-usable mug or even if I’m in a hotel, I’ll try to use a ceramic mug more than a paper cup. It’s not always possible. I mean people have to live their lives and whatnot, but I tell them to just be careful; just know that there are things out there beyond the calorie. You read a food label, you see how many calories are in something, but there are foods that actually change where we get calories and how our body burns calories, and even processed foods….newer data coming from lots of interesting, major research labs showing that the processing of food can actually change insulin sensitivity in our bodies beyond the calories. So, when patients telling you they’re not necessarily eating that much, they might be right.

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