We love walking the line right between Natural and RX, using science as our guide when it comes to figuring out the best way for you to approach managing your blood sugar levels, sugar cravings, and T1/T2 diabetes. To help dig in a little deeper when it comes to why diabetes is so prevalent, we asked endocrinologist & Sugarbreak advisor, Dr. Mary Kellis, MD a few of our most burning questions — from the role of blood sugar in our daily lives & longevity, to how experts suggest self-managing your health.
The Diabetes Break Down with Dr. Mary Kellis
As a staff physician in the Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Mary Kellis is a leader when it comes to educating patients and other physicians about diabetes and treatment. We’re grateful to have a resource like Dr. Kellis at Sugarbreak and even more grateful she explained some of the ins and outs of diabetes today.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at the Cleveland Clinic.
I am a native New Yorker. I was born in Brooklyn and went to Columbia College for Undergrad. I got my medical degree from Albert Einstein Medical School in the Bronx and did my residency, Chief residency and fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center. I moved to Cleveland when I married my Ohioan husband in 2012. I joined the Cleveland Clinic at that time in the Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute and I have been a Staff Physician there since.
- How does diabetes play a part in your everyday life at work?
As an adult endocrinologist, I see many patients with diabetes and take care of many patients with blood glucose issues who have not yet developed diabetes. There is a very high incidence of diabetes here in the United States and in the World. Those with Diabetes have a higher incidence of developing other complications. My goal is to help patients prevent these complications and keep them as healthy as possible. I am passionate about helping them reach their goals in controlling their blood glucose.
- What kind of treatment options are available to diabetics?
For centuries before there were any pharmaceutical drugs for diabetes, there were herbal and natural products that were used to help with blood glucose. Up until the 80s and 90s there were not as many pharmaceutical treatment options for patients with diabetes. Some that were available also had hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) as a potential side effect. Over the last twenty years we have seen many new classes of diabetes drugs become available which have different mechanisms of actions. These drugs work together to achieve normal blood glucose. There are newer classes of drugs that we now have that not only help with diabetes management but may also have cardiovascular benefit. In addition to these, there are also natural supplements such as Sugarbreak available and herbs and spices that we know that can have glucose lowering effects.
- What do you typically recommend to your patients to maintain a healthier lifestyle as a diabetic?
I like to tell my patients with diabetes that the word “diet” can seem too restrictive. It is better to think of this as a healthier lifestyle change. For example, what I would recommend for someone with diabetes is not much different from someone who does not has diabetes. I would recommend lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and I advise that they limit refined sugars and sweets. I recommend daily activity whether it be walking (for someone who is sedentary and starting out) to more physical activity several times a week. I also recommend finding ways to reduce stress. I know for myself, I only most recently started to use meditation which I have found very beneficial especially when dealing with work life balance (I have 5 year old twins! Enough said!) You can do as little as 5 minutes of meditation a day and this can make a big difference. Stress plays a big role in blood glucose regulation.
- What is the most rewarding part of being a Staff Physician in the Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute at the Cleveland Clinic?
I love my community. My colleagues with whom I work are some of the best and brightest in the World. We have a very collaborative team and we work together to continue to improve the care we provide to our patients. We are working on diabetes initiatives to help improve health and outcomes in all of our patients with diabetes.
To learn more about the amazing doctors we work with, click here and feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
As always, consult with your doctor first before making any changes to your healthcare regimen.