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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Diet'

The Best Sources of Potassium

December 24th, 2015 · 10 Comments

You always knew that you should be eating more fresh veggies and fruit. But after reading this now, you will know why you need to and where you can get the potassium you need in your diet.

A study that the American Society of Nephrology published online November 12 in advance of print in its Clinical Journal, discovered that when we get more potassium in our diet, we have fewer kidney and heart problems. While only the abstract is free online, the lead author, Shin-ichi Araki, M.D., Ph.D., from the Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan, kindly sent me the full-text of the study.

It found that among more than 600 people with type 2 diabetes that they followed for an average of 11 years the more potassium they pee (technically “urinary potassium excretion”) the fewer of these problems they had. What goes in must come out.

Now, the Dr. Araki and his colleagues recommend interventional trials to see if increasing our the amount of potassium we get in our diet will help us. We don’t need to wait years for these studies to be set up, analyzed, and reported. We can increase the amount of potassium we get from our food now.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Do You Get All the Fiber You Need?

December 9th, 2015 · 9 Comments

Few Americans get all the fiber the experts tell us we need to eat. If you follow a very low-carb diet, following their advice is much more difficult. Grain, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables are the only sources of dietary fiber in our food, but when we go low-carb, we eat little if any grain or beans.

But it’s likely that the experts are wrong.


The National Academic of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) recommends that adult men and women 50 and younger get 38 and 25 grams of fiber and that older men and women get 30 and 21 grams respectively. That’s not easy for anyone and just about impossible on a very low-carb diet.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

A Diabetic Brain is a Grain Brain

November 15th, 2015 · 1 Comment

David Perlmutter’s 2013 book Grain Brain has a prominent place in my diabetes bookshelf. Grain Brain is one of the important books ever. This book that the renowned brain specialist wrote two years ago holds a prominent place on my diabetes bookshelf.

Re-reading it recently reminded me how closely connected that our brain health is to excellent care and treatment of diabetes. The book is about how wheat, carbs, and sugar are destroying our brains. This connection with diabetes is far too close for comfort. These are the same things that raise our blood glucose the most.

grain brain cover

The higher the A1C level we have, the greater is our risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most dreaded form of dementia. As I wrote here last month at “High Blood Glucose Can Lead to Dementia,” people with type 2 diabetes who had A1C levels of 10.5 percent or higher are 50 percent more likely to get a diagnosis of dementia than those with levels of 6.5 percent or less. In fact, one M.D., Suzanne M. de la Monte, has named Alzheimer’s disease as “Type 3 Diabetes.”

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

If Pesticides Cause Diabetes, Will Organics Help Us?

October 24th, 2015 · 1 Comment

The pesticides in our food may explain why some of us have diabetes, a new study suggests. You still have time to switch to eating organic food, which has much less pesticide residue in it than conventionally grown food does. Pesticides that you eat seem to explain why some of us have diabetes, according to a new study.

usda organic

Even when we have diabetes we can benefit from eating organically grown food. What leads to our diabetes in the first place can make it harder to control when we have to manage it.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

The Food Insulin Index Trumps Carb Counting

October 19th, 2015 · 24 Comments

The new food insulin index can work much better than carbohydrate counting, which for years has been considered to be the gold standard for improving glycemic control. For those of us who have diabetes, this index is also a more comprehensive guide to blood sugar control than the glycemic index.

For years the limitation of the food insulin index (also known as just the insulin index) was the few foods tested. The original 1997 study, which in 2003 I reviewed in detail for the first time in the article “Insulin Index”on my personal website, tested only 38 foods.

We had to wait until 2011 for the index to grow to about 120 foods in “Prediction of postprandial glycemia and insulinemia in lean, young, healthy adults.” I reviewed that study here at “Manage Your Blood Sugar Better with the Insulin Index.”

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

This Is the Only Bad Fat Now

September 21st, 2015 · 19 Comments

We were wrong about saturated fat, which was probably the most terrible mistake in the history of nutrition. Not long ago we called trans fat the worst fat, as I wrote in 2002 at “New Label for Worst Fat” for Diabetes Wellness News. But now we know that it is the only bad fat, because saturated fat is off the hook.

food label

Nutrition Facts for Pop Secret “Jumbo Pop Movie Theater Butter”

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Why You Need to Cut Your Carbs

August 30th, 2015 · 6 Comments

More and more of us are beginning to follow a low-carb diet as the American medical establishment is starting to accept the wisdom of this way of managing diabetes. But if you have diabetes, why should you cut your carbs? And anyway, what do we mean when we say  “low-carb?”


A critical review of “Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management,” in the journal Nutrition early this year presented the evidence for its several big benefits:

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

The Tasty Bean that Doesn’t Raise Your Blood Sugar

August 17th, 2015 · 23 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, 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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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

The Insulin Index Is Better for Managing Your Blood Sugar

August 15th, 2015 · 21 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.


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
  • 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.


Posted in: Diabetes Diet

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.


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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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

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