Yesterday something interesting happened within the online diabetes community. USA Today Health collaborated with the Mayo Clinic to host a live Twitter chat about diabetes. At 1pm ET Twitter users (tweeps) were encouraged to tweet questions about healthy eating during the holidays. To link all the tweets together to resemble a chat room, all of the participants included the hashtag (#) "MayoUSAToday" in each of their tweets. Questions were seen by anyone who clicked the hashtag and then answered by Jennifer K Nelson (@jknelsonRD), the director of Clinical Dietics/Nutrition at the Mayo Clinic.
The Twitter-chat was inspired by USA Today Health's recent article "Taste-test 5 diabetic cookbooks." Since eating healthy is such a huge part of managing diabetes, and holiday food tends to be rather unhealthy (but delicious)--yesterday was the perfect time to hold the chat. Jennifer K Nelson, who is new to Twitter but very comfortable with offering smart, simple nutrition tips (as you can see in her blog on the Mayo Clinic's website) delivered quick, accurate responses to all of the eager chat participants.
Though it was a relatively small chat, lasting only an hour (with only about 95 mentions of #MayoUSAToday), it was a great way for people to come together and discuss tips that anyone with diabetes could benefit from. In fact, I'm hoping that sometime in the near future, the actual twitter Q&A transcript will be published so those of us who missed the chat can still read what was discussed in an orderly manner. And, if this happens, future Twitter chats (for diabetes or other health conditions) will also be able to borrow ideas and expand upon what was discussed.
Curious what people asked?
Well, here are a few of the best questions and answers from the chat (due to Twitter's 140 character limit - there's a bit of abbreviated language):
AmyTieder: "What's best? 1-2 alcoholic drinks or what do you recommend?"
jknelsonRD: "@AmyTieder - If drink - with food - not empty stomach. Drink = 12 oz beer, 4 oz wine, 1.5 oz spirit with sugar-free mx"
chupieandjsmama: "What is the biggest mistake those w/T-1 diabetes make during holidays?"
jknelsonRD: "@chupieandjsmama - Biggest mistake - not checking bl sugar regularly and adjusting diabetes meds"
ltlRedX: "I have not been able 2 drink alcohol w/o feeling overheated. Is this a diabetic side effect?"
jknelsonRD: "@LtlRedX -Not feeling well after drinking alcohol is common - be sure if you drink to eat at same time. Drink only sm amt too"
tahughes: "What do you think of the new studies that say drinking coffee and tea lowers diabetes risk?"
jknelsonRD: "@tahughes It's difficult to draw conclusions about a particular food and disease. Both bev's can be part of healthy diet."
USATODAYhealth: "Here's one: Realistically, how much & what type of dessert is "safe" to eat if you have Type 2 #diabetes?"
jknelsonRD: "@USATODAYhealth - Most desserts fit. Just important that they are occasional and your bl sugar is in good control... Best desserts: whole grain, fruit, just small amount of fat and sugar - like biscotti, muffin, fruit parfait
USATODAYHEalth: "Here's another: Should diabetics encourage family to eat same foods as their diet? Will kids get right nutrients?"
jknelsonRD: "@USATODAYhealth Yes - everyone in family can benefit from great tasting, healthy food that is a part of good diabetes mgmt."
~Check out all of Jennifer K Nelson's tweets about diabetes and healthy holiday eating at her Twitter page.
~Read the USA Today Health article about the diabetes cookbooks here and see if you've come across any of the books that were taste-tested by USA Today's selected nutritionists, diabetics, and endocrinologists.
What do you think of the idea of a Twitter chat with a diabetes expert?
Would you participate in a chat like this in the future?
What would you have asked Jennifer K Nelson?