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

Entries Tagged as 'Food'

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Two Large Meals a Day for Diabetes

June 28th, 2014 · 7 Comments

Until now, some experts on health have recommended that we eat several small meals a day to help us lose weight. It also seemed logical that eating smaller meals would have less of an impact on the blood sugar of those of us with diabetes.

But a new study demonstrated that some people with type 2 diabetes who ate only breakfast and lunch lost more weight than when they ate six smaller meals a day. In this randomized crossover study they also had bigger decreases in fasting blood sugar, bigger improvement in insulin sensitivity, and bigger improvements in other markers of better diabetes management.

Researchers in the Czech Republic worked with 54 people with diabetes for 24 weeks to have them eat the same number of calories spread over either two or six meals a day. The people in the study followed diets of eating six small meals a day or two large daily meals for 12 weeks. Then they switched to the other diet plan for 12 more weeks.

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The Glycemic Index Still Matters for Diabetes

June 15th, 2014 · 9 Comments

The glycemic index is about foods that are high in carbohydrates, and the easiest way to manage our diabetes is a very low-carb diet. But low-carbing is basically taking the glycemic index one step further.

A low-carb diet isn’t a no-carb diet. In fact, the glycemic index is as important for those of us who eat 50 or fewer grams of carbohydrates a day as for people who use insulin or pills.

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At the end of 2007 I switched from relying on pills and the glycemic index when I decided that a very low-carb diet was safer than using medicine, which always has side effects. Before then, my first book was about the glycemic index. I co-authored What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…and Down? together with the world’s top glycemic index scientist, Professor Jennie Brand Miller of Australia’s University of Sydney, and her associate Kaye Foster Powell.

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Managing Diabetes with a Strange Fat

May 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Of the four major types of fat that we eat, polyunsaturated fat is the strangest. But it’s the type that those of us who have diabetes most need to take time to understand.

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Wayne Shows a Sockeye Salmon He Caught

Last week I reviewed a huge — and hugely important — new study that vindicated saturated fat. That study, “Saturated Fat is Back for People with Diabetes,” analyzed data from 72 cohort studies and randomized trials with more than 600,000 participants from 18 countries and concluded that total saturated fat was not connected to the risk of heart disease.

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Saturated Fat is Back for People with Diabetes

May 15th, 2014 · 19 Comments

A fundamental pillar of misguided medical dogma fell last week. A massive study has just exposed the belief that saturated fat, the type of fat in dairy products and meat, causes heart disease. It doesn’t.

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But for almost 60 years this fear of saturated fat, unsupported by any good science, has stopped the safest and most effective way we have to manage our diabetes. For the first 13 years after my diabetes diagnosis in 1994 it stopped me from eating low-carb — which requires high-fat for energy — making tight blood sugar control and weight management impossible without drugs.

This fear is probably also the basis for the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity that plagues the modern world. Until now the medical establishment has pushed us to eat “whole grains” and other high glycemic carbohydrates that make preventing and managing our diabetes so tough and contributes so much to our collective gain in weight.

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Seven Diabetes Challenges When You Low Carb

February 18th, 2014 · No Comments

Those of us who have diabetes have many good reasons to eat few carbohydrates. Two of the best reasons are better blood sugar control — getting a very low A1C level — and losing weight — getting down to a low BMI.

But getting started has its challenges. Here are some tips to make it easier.

1. Decide why you want to follow a very low-carb lifestyle. It can be to reduce your blood sugar or your weight. It does both. It will also make you healthier and happier. Decide which of these aspects is important to you.

2. Set a goal.  Very low-carb means 50 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per day. But you may prefer to set an intermediate goal of 100 or 120 grams per day. Set the goal in terms of total carbohydrates, not net carbohydrates. Total carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fibers, while net carbs exclude fiber. But fiber does affect our blood sugar. Starches and sugars have 4 calories per gram; fiber has 2. See “The Trouble with Fiber.”

Whatever goal you set, you will need to measure the carb content of what you eat for a while until you know what your favorite foods contain. See “Nutrition Scales.”

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Diabetes Diets Don’t Work

February 17th, 2014 · No Comments

Diets are shortcuts to weight loss, which is to be high on the priority list of almost everyone who has diabetes. But like all shortcuts, they can take us astray and fail to get us to where we want to go.

Diets don’t work. But don’t give up, because we can still lose weight and keep it off. Whether you call it a behavioral change or a lifestyle adjustment, we have to dig deeper than just what we put in our mouths, although that is certainly important too. Only when we realize that we can’t have it all, that we face a tradeoff, can we lose weight and keep it off. Success comes to us only when we really appreciate that we must pass up transient pleasure to invest in our future well-being.

Diets are, at best, temporary fixes to long-term problems. As a society we know this is true. Dieting among Americans is at an all-time low, while the proportion of Americans who are overweight is at an all-time high. We have largely given up on diets.

Only about 20 percent of us told the market research firm NPD Group a year ago that they were on a diet. Yet the most recent count by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 69.2 percent of us are overweight.

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Marvelous Macadamias for Diabetes

December 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments

If all that you demand of what you eat is that it is healthy and tastes good, macadamia nuts are a wonderful choice for those of us who have diabetes. But no food is perfect.

Unlike all other nuts, eating macadamia nuts won’t wreck your ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats, which are both polyunsaturated fats. The absolute amount of polyunsaturated fats in even a large amount of macadamias is so low that relative amount need not be a concern. As long as we get a ratio of 1:1 or even twice as much omega 6 and omega 3 in our total diet we are doing fine. We can do that by eliminated from our diet soybean, corn, canola, and cottonseed oils and by eating fatty fish like salmon or sardines or mackerel or by taking fish oil or krill oil capsules.

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Diabetes without Drugs

December 15th, 2013 · 12 Comments

If you have type 2 diabetes, you can manage it well without any drugs — without any oral medications and without insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will always have to take insulin injections, but you can likely use less than you do now.

To manage diabetes well means keeping your blood sugar level down in the same range as that of people who don’t have diabetes. The way we check this level is the A1C (sometimes called glycated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c). This test tells you what your average blood sugar level was during the previous two or three months by using a drop of blood about as small as that you use on your regular fingerstick tests that tells you what your level is right then.

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Drinking and Diabetes Don’t Mix

December 8th, 2013 · 8 Comments

Compared with some other stuff we put in our mouths, the trouble with alcohol might not seem to be a big deal for most of us who have diabetes. We all know, of course, that even a little alcohol can mean big trouble for those of us who can’t handle alcohol in moderation.

More than 30 percent of adult Americans have “experienced alcohol use disorders during their lifetimes,” according to a 2007 study in JAMA Psychiatry. That study also found that 17.8 percent have alcohol abuse problems and that 12.5 are alcohol dependent.

Our genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The other half is our environment, which includes our friends.

If you were sure from your experience that you can handle a little alcohol and if you were a middle-aged or older man who didn’t have diabetes, a little alcohol might actually be good for you. That’s because the response of some people to different amounts of alcohol seems to be quite unusual. It’s not something that could be plotted on a straight line. Researchers call it a U-shaped or J-shaped curve, where among middle-aged and older men, abstinence seems to be a little worse than moderate consumption, while heavy consumption is much worse.

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The Trouble with Peanuts in Managing Diabetes

November 18th, 2013 · 3 Comments

If you have diabetes, beware of peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil.

Some people think that because most tree nuts, like almonds, are so healthy, that peanuts should also be good for us. But peanuts aren’t nuts at all. They are a legume, and unlike most nuts we can’t eat them raw.

Actually, we can’t eat them at all if we want to avoid some of the side effects that we can get from them. Some of these side effects can be quite serious.

I can think of only nine reasons why we have to avoid peanuts or anything made from them. Maybe you can think of more, but these eight might be enough to give anyone pause:

1. Peanuts have a lot of carbohydrates, which raise our blood sugar level. Take a look at the US Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, which is the gold standard of nutrient facts and is fortunately back online today now that the government shutdown has ended. When you exclude the water content in peanuts, they are 37 percent carbohydrate, 39 percent fat, and 24 percent protein.

“One tablespoon of natural, unsweetened peanut butter contains 3 grams of carbohydrate and will raise my blood sugar 15 mg/dl,” writes Dr. Richard K. Bernstein in the 2011 edition of his book Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. “Imagine the effect on blood sugar of downing 10 tablespoons!”

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