Dear Heloise:

You printed a reader's sugar-free recipe in a recent column.

Now is a great time to remind people that diabetics need to limit their intake of all carbohydrates and not just sugar.

All carbohydrates raise blood glucose, and sugar is only one type of carbohydrate.

I think that is one of the most misunderstood facts concerning diabetes.

Depending on the individual treatment plan, many diabetics would not be able to eat even sugar-free cake, except as an occasional treat.

Diabetics often face well- meaning friends who, with the best of intentions, make them sugar-free foods that are still not good for them to eat. It's best to ask what a diabetic is able to eat, as this varies not only from person to person but at various stages of the disease's progression.

I encourage your readers to learn all they can about this disease, as it has dramatically increased in recent years, and type 2 -- the most common type -- is no longer just a disease of adults.

Odds are that everyone reading this knows someone who has or will have diabetes.

Children are increasingly being diagnosed, and this is often attributed to our increasing obesity rate and our high-carbohydrate diet.

Debra Carmichael

Huntsville, Ala.

Debra, it is a good idea to check with friends or relatives before gifting them with food, not only for diabetes but also for different types of food allergies.

Dear Heloise:

With the holidays approaching, I have a great suggestion for making peanut brittle. The temperature of the candy is very hot, so I spread it out on a preheated, greased cookie sheet. It spreads quickly and easily.

Julie from Minnesota

Dear Heloise:

To keep your kitchen trash can smelling fresh between washings, place a bar of strongly scented bath soap in the bottom of the can under the bag. Keeps odors away for months.

Beth Silverman

Baton Rouge

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(c)2004, King Features Syndicate