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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Diet'

Omega-3 for Vegetarians with Diabetes

April 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

Many of us want to manage our diabetes by following a vegetarian diet. Most vegetarians object to eating meat because of ethical motivations stemming from respect for sentient life or for environmental concerns. These are worthy motivations.

Others are vegetarians because they believe that avoiding meat is healthier. Until now, however, a vegetarian diet is clearly less healthy in at least one crucial respect.

Getting enough heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids has been essentially impossible without eating fish or supplementing our diet with krill or fish oil. Many of us have the mistaken belief that vegetarian sources of omega-3 from chia or flax seeds will satisfy the requirements of our bodies for this essential nutrient.

But typically only 4 to 8 percent of the type of omega-3 fat found in these vegetarian sources get converted into the the long-chain fatty acids that our bodies need. This is according to a special report on “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiac Arrhythmias: Prior Studies and Recommendations for Future Research” in Circulation, the official journal of the American Heart Association.

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Confused About Diabetes

April 14th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Most of us are confused about diabetes, even our doctors. The confusion is mostly about how to manage this chronic disease, rather than what we want to achieve.

Most of us want to live as normal a life as we can. We know our goal, but not the roadmap to get there.

Normal for those of us who have diabetes means having a normal blood sugar level as measured by an A1C test. That level is certainly below 6.0 as I wrote in “The Normal A1C Level” and probably 5.4 or below as I wrote later in “How You Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attacks.”

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Diabetes Without Sugar

April 8th, 2013 · 5 Comments

When I decided to live with diabetes but without sugar, I had no idea how hard reaching my goal would be. Three-fourths of all the foods for sale in America have added sweeteners, according to an analysis of 85,451 foods that Dr. Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina and his team studied.

As a careful shopper, I thought that I could kick added sugar right out of my life. After all, I buy all my groceries at Whole Foods and at an even more selective local natural foods store. As Humphrey Bogart said in the film Casablanca, “I was misinformed.”

Ever since 2007 I have followed a very low-carb lifestyle. You might call it my diet, but I prefer to think of it as the way I prefer to eat for the rest of my life. On this so-called “diet” I have kept my A1C and weight levels right where I want them to be.

Added sugar doesn’t fit in my life. Sugar is not only empty calories, which people might think of as being neutral, neither good nor bad. But one sugar in particular can also be hard for our bodies to handle.

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The Best Yogurt for People with Diabetes

March 28th, 2013 · 8 Comments

Yogurt can be one of the best foods for people with diabetes to eat. Or one of the worst.

It is the probiotic food that we eat the most. These foods have friendly bacteria that help us to drive out the bad ones. This can be good for our health, the U.S. Government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says.

But to get this benefit from yogurt or other probiotic foods, we have to avoid any of them that say on the label that they were heat treated after culturing. That kills the active cultures.

Even worse is when we eat the usual yogurt preparations that are loaded with added sugars. This includes not only frozen yogurts but also what most of us think of as regular yogurt. For example, a little 6-ounce container of “Yoplait Original Blackberry Harvest” sounds great. But its 13 ingredients include so much sugar that it packs 33 grams of carbohydrate, according to the Nutrition Facts label on the company’s website.

When we want to eat a healthy yogurt, we have to start by limiting our selection to plain ones. Then, if we like, we can add a little fresh fruit and perhaps some non-caloric sweetener. I often add a few organic blueberries and a small sprinkling of stevia.

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Healthy Eggs for People with Diabetes

March 26th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Eggs can be one of the healthiest foods for people with diabetes to eat. But some people still doubt that fact. And the way many of us prepare them aren’t healthy.

One large fresh, whole, raw egg has just 72 calories. It has a bit more than 6 grams of protein, a bit less than 5 grams of fat, and less than one-third of a gram of carbohydrate, according to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database. No wonder that those of us who follow the low-carb lifestyle usually eat eggs.

Eggs have complete protein with an optimal balance of the nine essential amino acids. The fats are largely monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The carbohydrates don’t include any sucrose or fructose.

Yet some people are still concerned about the amount of cholesterol in eggs. A large one has 186 mg. The standard diet that our doctors have been recommending for decades is to consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.

However, some of the most advanced medical minds know that the cholesterol we eat has little effect on our blood levels of cholesterol, high levels of which supposedly lead to heart disease. Actually, more than 20 years ago The New England Journal of Medicine  reported that an 88-year-old man regularly ate 25 eggs a day and had a normal cholesterol level. Then, the influential Framingham Heart Study found “no relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease.”

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When Should People with Diabetes Eat?

March 16th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Experts on nutrition are slowly beginning to realize that not all calories are created equal.

Many people still believe the colloquial phrase, “a calories is a calorie,” meaning that two diets with the same number of calories can’t lead to losing a different amount of weight. “We conclude that a calorie is a calorie,” write Andrea Buchholz and Dale Schoeller of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the influential American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

But those people don’t know what they are talking about, as Professor Richard Feinman of the Department of Biochemistry, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, cogently proved in his article,“‘A calorie is a calorie’ violates the second law of thermodynamics” in the BioMed Central Nutrition Journal.

“A calorie is a calorie” sounds nice and has a certain poetic ring about it that is equivalent to “a rose is a rose is a rose,” as Gertrude Stein wrote in one of her poems. But just like roses do come in different colors, calories come in different intensities.

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Living Low Carb

February 26th, 2013 · No Comments

The high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet that the authorities recommend we follow has been the longest uncontrolled nutritional experiment in history. The results have not been good.

This is essentially the way Jonny Bowden starts his powerful book onLiving Low Carb just published on January 1 in a revised edition of his 2010 best-seller. Since I didn’t get a copy of the original edition until last year, too late to review here, I made sure to write this review as soon as possible.

Dr. Bowden’s PhD is in nutrition, and he is also a certified nutrition specialist credentialed by the American College of Nutrition and Certifying Board of Nutrition Specialists. He is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. In spite of his academic credentials and the encyclopedic nature of Living Low Carb, he writes awfully well. Everything he writes is easy to read and his style couldn’t be more friendly.

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My Current Diet

February 4th, 2013 · 14 Comments

The question that people ask me the most often when they learn that since 2007 I have been following a very low-carb diet to manage my diabetes and my weight, is “What can you possibly find that you really like to eat?”

That’s a good question, but one for which I have an equally good answer: “I eat so much healthy and delicious food that I have a hard time stopping myself.”

In my continuing quest for these fine foods, I eat some old standbys, but have also discovered many foods that aren’t common in this country yet. I still keep discovering great additions to my diet and keep on writing about these foods here.

Essentially, my diet is to eat no more than about 50 or 60 grams of total (not net) carbohydrate per day. My typical meals keep changing. But lately this is what I generally eat when I am at home:

Breakfast: Two poached eggs, 4 oz. of smoked wild salmon with capers added, and a little kimchi or sauerkraut.

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Holiday Eating that Respects Diabetes

January 31st, 2013 · No Comments

The huge amounts of food on our tables during these holidays and the stress that often goes with these big family meals don’t have to destroy our diabetes management. Even when we eat too much, we have a way to make up for it and at the same time relieve the stress of these gatherings.

Not overeating in the first place would, of course, be better. But just like nobody has a perfect body, none of us has perfect discipline. And we have no better time than the holidays for making exceptions.

Don’t ever tell me that you cheat on your diet. If you ever cheat, it’s when you take something from someone else or from all of us that you don’t have a right to have. On the other hand, when we make an exception to what we know is good management of our diabetes, we do it for our immediate gratification at the expense of our long-term benefit. W all do this sometimes: we would have to be a saint or enlightened to manage our impulses perfectly all the time.

Any overeating exceptions that we make, particularly when we eat more carbohydrate-rich foods than usual, will raise our blood sugar levels. At that point we might react by kicking ourselves. That might help a bit, because each kick will stir up our metabolism. But a less painful way would be to use one of the sure-fire ways that we know will immediately bring our blood sugar levels back down.

People with diabetes can use one and only one diabetes medication to immediately counteract the effects of too much food: insulin. If you use insulin, you know that you can “cover” the excess food you eat with a shot of fast-acting insulin. I’m no fan of using insulin in that way, because more insulin makes us more hungry and can lead to a vicious cycle of overeating. So it’s harder on our bodies than not going high in the first place, but in an emergency it does work.

Much better is just a few minutes of brisk walking around the block. At a holiday meal this is an exceptionally good idea because the walk will give us a break from the noise and stress of a large gathering. Just be sure to have a small flashlight at hand, because the neighborhood might be dark.

The best time to go for a walk is right after dinner, so our blood sugar won’t have the opportunity to stay high for a long time. Actually, when the other people at the table are stuffing themselves with desserts, you could take a quiet, stress-busting walk.

Our chances of getting a dessert that won’t make our blood sugar go sky-high are slim. Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or any sort of cake are sure to wreak havoc with our numbers. The only dessert that I would ask for is either a cheese platter or a bowl of fruit, especially blueberries and cream. Of course we can bring one of these deserts to the occasion and then right afterwards go for our walk.

Respecting your diabetes in this way can actually be an inspiration for others at the table. In a large family you are quite likely not to be the only one who has diabetes. Our genes have a lot to do with our getting diabetes in the first place and you share some of these genes with other members of your family. In addition, some of your relatives at the holiday table are almost sure to have pre-diabetes. You can be a role model.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.

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Big Gulps are Out, Starch is In

November 27th, 2012 · 2 Comments

In the Big Apple the Big Gulp is out, and I think that’s a bad idea. However, my good friend “My Bariatric Life,” who writes about obesity for HealthCentral.com, says that for her “Big Gulps are Out, and That’s Ok by Me.”

I hope that you will read both my take and hers on this big issue. We remain friends, while the national war on sweeteners has begun.

Throughout America starch is still in. We eat a colossal amount of corn. Potatoes are plentiful. And bagels are bigger than ever.

“Seeking to reduce runaway obesity rates, “the New York City Board of Health last month approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at restaurants and concession stands.


Down with Big Gulps!

But is sipping sugar and high-fructose corn syrup why we Americans have so much trouble with our weight? Is this why more than two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight andmore than one-third are obese? Does this explain why 8.3 percent of Americans have diabetes?

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