Food Stamps Affecting Diabetes?

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STATELINE (WIFR) – Diabetics on food stamps could be more likely to end up in the emergency room towards the end of the month.

“I sleep more, I have no energy because I am not getting the food intake that I get at the beginning of the month,” said Kathy Harris.

The end of the month is a struggle for Kathy Harris who was diagnosed with diabetes eight years ago. For the last three years, she’s relied on $130 a month in food stamps. She says the disease gets worse when she starts running low on money considering she doesn’t have enough cash to buy healthy food.

“Not knowing if I am going to be okay, my blood sugar drops real low and then real high, so I get different feelings of dizziness.”

A recent study published in the Journal of Health Affairs says doctors are seeing a major increase in the number of diabetics that end up in the ER at the end of the month. Researchers believe that’s when people using food stamps run out of money, forcing them to buy cheaper foods which are typically high in carbohydrates and sugars.

“Are you overeating? That would be something I would think about at the beginning of the month when you have more food available,” said Shirley Poole, a dietician at SwedishAmerican Hospital.

Poole says diabetics on food stamps need to carefully manage what they buy so their food isn’t being wasted.

“I’m skipping meals. I eat once a day.”

Harris says she wishes she could add more protein and fruit into her diet but says she just can’t afford to do so.

Poole suggests for diabetics on food stamps to buy canned fruit and vegetables. Even though it’s not fresh, it will last longer and its better than loading up on carbs and foods higher in sugar.

Doctors say diabetics suffer with dizziness, sweating, and nausea when they’re not eating the right foods or enough food. Over 8% of the population is diagnosed with the disease.

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