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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Diet'

The Tasty Bean that Doesn’t Raise Your Blood Sugar

August 17th, 2015 · 4 Comments

It would be great if you could eat tasty meals that are high in carbohydrates while keeping your blood sugar low. Actually, even if you have diabetes and otherwise follow a very low-carb diet, you can do precisely this.

If you have had diabetes for a while, you know that when you chow down on carbs, your blood sugar level is sure to go up. But there’s an exception. In the United States this food is a little-known secret, but in India it’s well-known.

It’s my fault — at least in part — for keeping this special carbohydrate food a secret. I have known about it ever since 1994 when I began to gather information on the Glycemic Index. I’m not sure when I first wrote about it on my own website, but it was in 1998 or earlier, and I have eaten it since then even as I otherwise follow a very low-carb diet. I have mentioned this food in passing here at HealthCentral.com, but I just realized that I never previously gave it the attention here that it deserves.

Chana Dal

Now the secret is out: I’m talking about chana dal, which in India is sometimes also known as Bengal gram dal (or dhal) or chholar dal. Its scientific name is Cicer arietinum Linn, which actually doesn’t help us, because this the same scientific name as that of garbanzo beans (chick peas), which have a higher Glycemic Index.

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The Insulin Index Is Better for Managing Your Blood Sugar

August 15th, 2015 · 4 Comments

The Insulin Index is better for managing your blood sugar that the Glycemic Index. It is more recent than the Glycemic Index, which dates from the publication of  “Glycemic index of foods” in 1981. The first publication of the Insulin Index came in 1997 with “The insulin index of foods.”

The insulin index is broader than the Glycemic Index, which shows only the effect of carbohydrates on our blood sugar. The Insulin Index takes into account not just carbohydrate but also of all the dietary factors and their interactions that influence insulin demand.

Most of the current research on the Glycemic Index and essentially all of it on the Insulin Index comes from Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller and her laboratories in Australia. Among her other titles, she is a professor of molecular biosciences and director of the Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service. I’ve known her for more than 20 years, and we wrote my first book, What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…and Down? together.

jennie.jpg

Dr. Brand-Miller and Me
International Diabetes Federation Convention, Busan, Korea

The original article that I published back in 2003 on the Insulin Index included only 38 foods that Dr. Brand-Miller and her colleagues studied then. Yet few of my older articles generated more interest than this limited study.

The most interesting finding of that early study, published in a 1997 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was that foods rich in protein and baked foods rich in fat and refined carbohydrates elicited “insulin responses that were disproportionately higher than their glycemic responses.”

Now 18 years later, the Insulin Index includes 120 foods in 1000 kJ servings. This study confirms that the Insulin Index of these foods eaten alone and in mixed meals better predicts the insulin demand than either the Glycemic Index or the Glycemic Load (which is measures the effect of the glycemic index of a food multiplied by its available carbohydrate content in grams in a standard serving).

You Can See the Entire List Here

This greatly expanded list of foods tested for their Insulin Index is freely available online. The Glycemic Index, the Glycemic Load, and the Insulin Index for these 120 foods are in Table 1. I found it to be too difficult to read online, but printed it out and studied it on paper.

The five foods highest in their Insulin Index are these:

  • Jellybeans, 117
  • The Aunt Jemima Original Pancake & Waffle Mix, 110
  • Honeydew melon, 93
  • Boiled russet potatoes, 88
  • Baked beans, 88

No big surprises, except for the baked beans, which has an Insulin Index exactly twice as high as its Glycemic Index. But all of these foods are high in carbohydrates.

Foods that Are Much Higher in Their Insulin Index

Several foods in addition to baked beans have an Insulin Index that is at least twice as high as their Glycemic Index. I exclude here a few foods that have quite low indexes):

  • Low-fat strawberry yogurt, Insulin Index 84, Glycemic Index 31
  • Skim milk, 60, 29
  • Cream cheese, 52, 10
  • Kraft low-fat processed cheese, 42, 10
  • Low-fat cottage cheese, 52, 10
  • Reduced fat cottage cheese, 40, 10
  • 93% fat-free cheddar cheese, 20, 0

Each of these foods are high in protein. Previously we have known that protein has a moderate influence on the glycemic index, while fat has no influence.

Dairy is the Difference

The conclusion that I draw from the expanded Insulin Index reinforces  part of the findings from the original 1997 study: we need to take into account the protein in dairy products.

Cheese, milk, and yogurt stimulate a rise in our blood sugar that is considerably more than predicted by the glycemic index alone.

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

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Foods Addicts Have Help Here

July 23rd, 2015 · 4 Comments

When I joined a meeting of Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous recently I introduced myself by saying, “My name is David and I am a food  addict.”

I’m a food addict and I am in recovery, but I’m not anonymous. I lost half of my body weight and have kept it off. It has been a struggle and continues to be one that almost all of us with type 2 diabetes share. Until I went to the annual convention of the American Diabetes Association in June, I didn’t know about Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. Had I found it soon my journey to a normal weight would have been much easier.

before-after-weight-loss

These are before and after pictures of someone I am calling “Eric, because in public members of FA don’t use their full names or reveal their faces.

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Eat Mindfully to Lose Weight

July 18th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Do you eat when you aren’t hungry? Do negative emotions or responding to external food cues drive you to eat? Are you obsessive about food? Or do you sometime go on a food binge

Many of us who have diabetes have these forms of disordered eating, says Carla Miller, a professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University. The diabetes professionals who stayed to the final day of the American Diabetes Association’s annual convention in Boston in June were able to hear her presentation of “Mindful Eating — Am I Hungry?” I was there.

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Cutting the Low-carb Cost

June 29th, 2015 · 7 Comments

Did you think that it would be cost a lot to follow a low-carb diet? This is a widespread myth that is setting back successful management of diabetes. That myth makes the assumption that a low-carb diet means reducing the inexpensive fat in our diet and at the same time increasing how much expensive protein we eat.

steak

We actually increase the amount of fat that we eat when we eat low-carb. And we don’t eat more meat or other protein on a low-carb diet than people following the Standard American Diet — appropriately abbreviated as the SAD — do.

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Low-carb is the Best Diet: 5 Reasons Why

June 22nd, 2015 · 13 Comments

All of us who has diabetes have five persuasive reasons to eat very few carbohydrates. For years, however, we have been misled.

1. Managing Our Metabolism

One of the strangest things about diabetes is that some people still consider a low-carb diet to be controversial. This is in spite of the obvious fact that diabetes is a disturbance of our carbohydrate metabolism. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body produces essentially no insulin; if you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use the insulin that your body produces well enough.

salad

Consequently, it should be clear that the first thing that we should know about managing our diabetes is how much carbohydrates we can eat. Based on the experiences and testing of Dr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who lived for 11 years among the Eskimos in Northern Canada, we have known since 1930 that we can thrive on a diet that includes no carbohydrates.

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The Five Principles: Your Body Knows What You Need

June 19th, 2015 · 4 Comments

We get a wake-up call to change the way we eat when we find out that we have diabetes. But then when we start looking for diet advice, we hear so many different voices that it’s almost worse than before.

teardrop (1)

Yet it’s worse to throw up your hands in despair and continue in the old ways. We can find a way out of the swamp of diet data and confusion. Within each of us is inner wisdom that our body has when we listen to it.

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Shopping Lists Save Money and Health

June 16th, 2015 · No Comments

Do you make a list and check it twice, like Santa Claus does to see if you’re nice? Everyone from Santa to airline pilots and brain surgeons are doing that now. Except perhaps food shoppers.

list

For those of us who have diabetes, nothing is more important than the type and amount of food that we eat. Making a grocery list helps us to make sure that we don’t run out of what we need. That’s been a reason why I keep a list on the side of my fridge and take it with me whenever I go to the store. But even more important, according to a new study, is that taking a shopping list with us when we go to the market helps protect us from being too spontaneous.

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Alcohol Is Especially Challenging for Diabetes

June 13th, 2015 · 11 Comments

The apparent benefits of moderate drinking have gone up in smoke. Especially for those of us who have diabetes, any amount of alcohol presents special challenges.

get drunk

The liquor industry continues to claim that moderate drinking of alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease. But those supposed benefits are now evaporating especially for people with diabetes.

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The Saturated Fat that Helps Prevent Diabetes

June 12th, 2015 · 3 Comments

A new study indicates that the people who eat high fat dairy products reduce their risk of developing diabetes. But eating a lot meat increases the risk.

butter

Published just this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study included 26,930 people from the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study in Sweden. During the 14 years of follow-up 2,860 people in the study were diagnosed with diabetes. Only the abstract is free online, but the lead author, Ulrika Ericson, a PhD nutritionist from Sweden’s Lund University, provided me with the full text of the study.

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