Soul Food Light, a program designed to
encourage healthy eating for diabetic African Americans living in rural areas,
successfully helped people adapt to their diabetes. By modifying their
diets without drastically changing their lifestyle, they lowered their body
weight and improved their blood sugar control and blood cholesterol levels.
The 10-year study, which was supported by NIH's National Institute of Nursing
Research (NINR), involved 49 participants, most of whom were female, obese and
diabetic. The participants attended classes on making healthy meals with
reduced fat, making healthy choices when eating away from home and developing
personal health goals. Teaching methods included demonstrations,
story-telling and role modeling. Many classes finished with a shared meal
made using low-fat ingredients and modified cooking techniques.
Discussion groups and telephone follow-ups from a nurse case manager were also
part of the study.
Soul Food Light participants learned how to use healthier ingredients
to lower their fat intake and lose weight. As a result, they were able to
improve their diabetes control without giving up familiar foods.
If you'd like help preparing healthier meals without sacrificing the foods you
love to eat, ask your doctor or nurse to recommend a dietitian who can help
you. You can also take time to explore the many "cooking light" books and