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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Diet'

Fast for Diabetes and Weight

November 30th, 2016 · Comments Off

Fasting is easy because it simply means not voluntarily eating. While most diets are about all the things you have to eat and not eat, fasting is simple. You just stop eating anything for as long as you choose and drink water, tea, coffee, or broth.

How long you fast is up to you. Some people fast for just 12 hours, others for as long as three months or even more. You can fast once a day or once a year.

People fast for health, spiritual, or other reasons. I often make short fasts to manage my weight because I have Type 2 diabetes and know that when I have a normal weight, my body’s insulin sensitivity will be better.

My weight was up several pounds after I got a cold about a month ago and ate lots of yummy fats as comfort food. I was into my sixth and last day of intermittent fasting by eating nothing after the lunch hour. Then, I happened to read that a diabetes expert had just published the first book about fasting that I think is worth reading.

The book

Jason Fung, M.D., wrote the book, “The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting,” after searching everywhere and finding “no good books on intermittent fasting.” The book is available now in either a paperback or Kindle edition.

He is a nephrologist, weight loss, and diabetes health expert who probably has more experience with practicing and teaching fasting than anyone else in the world. Dr. Fung “has used a variety of fasting protocols with more than 1,000 patients, with fantastic success.”

His program

His Intensive Dietary Management Program, based in Toronto, Canada, focuses on treating the metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. I have been reading his Intensive Dietary Management Blog since August 2013 when he started it.

Dr. Fung wrote the book with health podcaster Jimmy Moore, who has extensive experience with fasting and low-carb dieting after losing 180 of his 410 pounds. Nine years ago, Jimmy interviewed me for his article and podcast, “Most Famous Diabetes Writer David Mendosa Chooses Low-Carb Living.”

Synergies with low-carb

Fasting and low-carb diets have synergies. Both have the goal of lowering insulin, which Dr. Fung believes is the key driver of obesity.

“I prefer for my clients to stick to a good, nutrient-dense low-carb diet and get fat-adapted for a while before experimenting with fasting,” writes nutritionist Amy Burger in a sidebar within the book. “I think it’s easier and more pleasant to fast when your body isn’t still screaming out for carbohydrates.”

Especially for diabetes

Fasting is especially important for anyone who has diabetes, and many of us already follow a low-carb diet. For people with diabetes, the heart of the book is Chapter 6, “Fasting for Type 2 Diabetes.” But the other chapters in this 304-page book provide many valuable insights, including fasting tips and healing liquid recipes.

Almost anyone can benefit from fasting. But the book advises that pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with excessive low body fat shouldn’t fast. “Anyone who feels poorly in any way must stop fasting immediately and contact a healthcare provider.”


Fasting does come with some challenges. I emailed Dr. Fung to ask him what problems people might have with fasting, in addition to sharing an experience that I once had, when I had a headache for a few minutes while I hiked during a fast.

“That’s about it,” he replied by email. “Headaches are common the first few times people fast. They mostly go away by themselves. Sometimes it helps to take a little extra salt. When someone with Type 2 diabetes fasts, all that happens is that his/her body is forced to burn some of that sugar for energy, so you don’t need to take so much medication to bring the blood sugar down.”


Fasting has many more benefits than these few challenges. Briefly, here are some of the benefits that the book covers:

  • Improves mental clarity and concentration
  • Induces weight and body fat loss
  • Lowers blood glucose levels
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Increases energy
  • Improves fat-burning
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
  • Extends life
  • Reverses aging process
  • Decreases inflammation

Enough benefits?

This is plenty!

This well-written book gets its authority both from that of Dr. Fung’s experience and from the sources in the professional literature that he cites in endnotes. Get this book now. Reading it can inspire you to put this knowledge into practice and help change your life.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.


Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Show Respect for Diabetes this Holiday Eating Season

November 25th, 2016 · Comments Off

You can be thankful that the chronic disease you have to live with is diabetes. Almost everyone whom you or I know has a chronic disease now or will have one if he or she lives long enough, and many of those diseases are much more challenging.

Type 2 diabetes is different from every other chronic disease that I have ever heard of. The disease that you and I have is a wake up call. Think of diabetes as a kind message to your body, a warning that you need to act now to avoid serious trouble later.

Even Type 1 diabetes isn’t that friendly to the people who have it. You can’t stop taking daily insulin injections and reverse Type 1 diabetes. But you can reverse Type 2 diabetes and even reverse almost all of the complications that unmanaged diabetes can cause.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Stop Big Sugar from Corrupting Your Diabetes Management!

November 22nd, 2016 · Comments Off

While sugar is sweet, the sugar industry sure isn’t. It uses underhanded tactics that undermine the health of people with diabetes.

For years, the sugar industry has been complicit with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in promoting sugar. Until 1994, the ADA told us that we should avoid sugar, which like starch raises the blood glucose of people with diabetes. But in May of that year, the ADA published a new position statement that focused instead on the total amount of carbohydrates in our diet. The ADA still recommends a high-carb
diet of “about 45 to 60 grams” per meal.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Manage Your Diabetes With A Low-Carb Vegetarian Diet

November 15th, 2016 · Comments Off

The importance of eating low-carb, especially for diabetes management, but also for reducing weight, still isn’t widely appreciated. Nor do most people follow a vegetarian diet. But some people with diabetes, including the more than 3,700 members of The Vegetarian Low Carb Diabetic Healthy Diet Society, do follow both.

You can manage your diabetes on both a vegetarian and low-carb diet and get the benefits of both. These diets have many advocates and are healthful and satisfying. But I doubt if anyone would say that it’s easy to be a vegetarian and a low-carber at the same time.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

The Sugar Scandal Against Diabetes

October 16th, 2016 · Comments Off

You probably have heard about the recent report that the sugar industry paid three Harvard professors to play down sugar’s role as a cause of heart disease and instead to put the blame on saturated fat. But if you have diabetes, you might well have assumed that this scandal, which just now surfaced, doesn’t have anything to do with you.

In fact, the connection between diabetes and the diet that you follow to manage it couldn’t be more direct.

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Posted in: Diabetes Developments, Diabetes Diet

Does More Fruit Matter?

October 10th, 2016 · Comments Off

September was the “Fruits & Veggies–More Matters” month. But does it matter to those of us who have diabetes?

Fewer than 1 in 7 American adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables, the U.S. government says. The recommended amount isn’t much: just 2½ cup-equivalents (2½ cups of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, 5 cups of leafy salad greens, or 11⁄4 of a cups of dried vegetables).

Significantly, what our government considers to be vegetables do not include grains, which are a separate food group. Nor does the vegetable group include nuts, seeds, and soy products, which are considered to be a protein food.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Eat the Carbs Last

September 24th, 2016 · Comments Off

When you eat protein and vegetables before eating food that’s high in carbohydrates, your blood glucose and insulin levels won’t spike as much after the meal as when you eat the carbs first. This is the main message of a new study previewed in June.

Alpana Shukla, MD, presented her findings in a poster, “Food Order Has a Significant Impact on Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Excursions,” at this year’s annual convention of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans. This is the world’s largest scientific meeting focused on diabetes, and I represented

The findings make an important point for those of us who have Type 2 diabetes. Until now, the conventional nutritional advice has been mostly negative — what not to eat, eat less, and so on. But it turns out the timing of what we eat matters too.

This new study is a small one, involving only seven people with Type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese. Dr. Shukla and her seven Cornell associates measured the blood glucose levels of these participants every half hour for three hours after they ate the same amount of calories in protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates in a different order on separate days.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

How Much Protein Do You Need?

June 23rd, 2016 · Comments Off

One of the most important diet questions for people with diabetes is to decide how much protein you need to eat each day. Yet it’s something that few people consider.

While the debate still rages over how many grams of carbohydrates and fats that we should eat, people with diabetes tend to ignore the key role that this third macronutrient plays. Your body uses protein to build and repair bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood as well as to make key chemicals in our bodies, including enzymes and hormones.

Not until a couple of years ago did I pay much attention to how much protein my body needs. Only when I adopted a vegetarian diet in addition to the low-carb lifestyle that I have followed for years to manage my Type 2 diabetes, did I realize I would need to get more protein now that I don’t eat fish or meat.

If you are a vegetarian, like me, or a vegan, you are a part of a large group of people who need to make a special effort to get enough protein.  The people who are trying to lose weight also need to give attention to how much protein they consume. But if you have kidney disease, one of the potentially most serious complications of diabetes, the amount of protein you eat can be even more important.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

You Can Keep Off the Weight You Lose

June 16th, 2016 · Comments Off

The “Biggest Losers” didn’t keep off the pounds they lost. If you believe the stories in the media how 14 of them regained most of their weight, you could give up hope of ever being able to maintain a normal weight.

But their failure doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed.

If you have type 2 diabetes, nothing makes it harder for you to manage it than being overweight or obese. This extra weight stops the glucose in your blood from getting to the rest of your body that needs it for energy. When you don’t keep your blood glucose level in the normal range — below 6.0 percent — you increase your risks of complications exponentially.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

How to Manage Your Diabetes with Coffee

May 20th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Coffee can reduce the blood glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. This is the conclusion of a study just published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

This cross-sectional study compared four groups of people:

  • 48 people who have type 2 diabetes and do drink coffee
  • 42 people who have type 2 diabetes and don’t drink coffee or any caffeinated beverage
  • 143 people who don’t have diabetes and do drink coffee
  • 57 people who don’t have diabetes and don’t drink coffee or any caffeinated beverage

All of the coffee drinkers in the study had drunk 3 to 4 cups of filtered coffee daily for at least 16 years. And all of the people with diabetes in the study took oral diabetes drugs and were free of diabetes complications.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

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