Diabetes and Holiday Foods: 8 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Holiday Balance

Medically Reviewed by: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Holiday celebrations offer temptation for party-goers to abandon healthy nutrition habits, but calorie-laden festivities pose a special challenge to the more than 20 million Americans who have diabetes. "The key to successfully navigating the holiday season is to remember that even though you can take a holiday, your diabetes never does," says Philip Barnett, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Anna and Max Webb & Family Diabetes Outpatient Treatment Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, is a metabolic disorder that affects the way the body uses and stores glucose (sugar). During the holidays, people with diabetes should avoid an overabundance of sugary desserts and rich foods and follow a regular exercise routine, says Dr. Barnett, who leads the medical center's nationally-acclaimed diabetes outpatient program.

"People with diabetes can enjoy the wonderful foods of the holiday season--only in moderation. Regular exercise and sensible daily meal planning should be especially important during the next few weeks," Dr. Barnett says.