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

Entries Tagged as 'Food'


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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Posted in: Food

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 Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.


Posted in: Food

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, 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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Posted in: Food

How Will You Celebrate Success?

October 22nd, 2012 · 4 Comments

Losing weight can be easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.

Mark Twain actually said that about stopping smoking. But losing weight and stopping smoking have a big difference.

When you stop smoking, you stop. When you lose weight, you still have to eat something. This makes losing weight even harder to do than to stop smoking.

But, you might think, that to stop smoking is harder because tobacco is addicting. So you think that you aren’t addicted to the food you eat?

Wheat is Addicting

If you eat wheat in any form, you probably are addicted to it. Wheat, which is almost everyone’s dietary staple, contains opioids.

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Posted in: Food

The Crunch Factor for People with Diabetes

October 2nd, 2012 · 3 Comments

Those people who don’t have diabetes yet take the crunchiness of their food for granted. Who doesn’t eat tons of potato chips, corn chips, and nachos?

Those of us who need to manage our diabetes, that’s who. The most popular of the crunchy foods are high in carbohydrates that quickly raise our blood sugar levels a lot.

But just because we have diabetes doesn’t mean that we stop loving the crunch factor in our foods. Fortunately, some crunchy foods are low enough in carbohydrates that they won’t literally do a number on our blood sugar.

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Posted in: Food

A New Way for People with Diabetes to Lose Weight

September 23rd, 2012 · 11 Comments

We have many tips and tactics on how those of us who have diabetes can get down to a healthy weight and then keep off those pounds. I have written about many of them here, and each of them probably help some of us some of the time.

Like just about everyone else who has diabetes, I have struggled most of my life with my weight. So many of us are overweight, in fact, that one government study that I have cited here several times says that more than 85 percent of all people with diabetes — including both type 1s and type 2s — have an unhealthy body mass index of 25 or more. This compares with the one-third of all Americans who are overweight. And for us being overweight is not only much more common but it also makes it much harder to control our blood sugar level.

I was able to shed most of those unneeded pounds starting in 2006 when I started taking Byetta. The next year, when I wanted to stay thin without any diabetes drugs, I lost even more weight when I switched to a very low-carb diet.

Losing that weight was one of the hardest things I ever did. But keeping it off proved to be even harder. I eventually set my goal to get down to a BMI of 19.5, the low end of the normal range, and actually reached it from time to time. But as I wrote here a year ago, after my weight increased when I took a cruise on a small ship, I simply failed at maintaining the weight I wanted to have.

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Posted in: Food

Nectresse Challenges Stevia

September 19th, 2012 · 37 Comments

When we want to use a natural no calorie sweetener, we have had only a Hobson’s  choice. Until now.

But about two weeks ago another natural no calorie sweetener began to be available in supermarkets and supercenters like Wal-Mart and Target. This new sweetener is ready to challenge stevia, which previously had been our only such choice. Nectresse (pronounced neck-TRESS) is the name of the new sweetener.

I have started using Nectresse myself, and while I have a few reservations about it, this new sweetener promises to be big. It comes from McNeil Nutritionals, which also markets Splenda, the nation’s top selling low calorie sweetener.

Another reason why I’m sure that Nectresse will be big is the marketing muscle behind McNeil Nutritionals. This rather low-profile company is one of about 230 subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson. Another J&J subsidiary that many of us are familiar with is LifeScan, which makes the OneTouch meters and test strips that many people with diabetes use.

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Posted in: Food

Chia Seed Power

August 31st, 2012 · 1 Comment

If my article on Chia Seeds that I wrote here in 2007 didn’t convince you to eat them regularly, probably nothing will. Of the more than 600 articles that I’ve written here, that article is probably the one that received the most attention. Certainly it has received the most comments — 134 so far — and almost all of them are positive.

But now I am trying again. And this time I have more support from the man who rediscovered this ancient Aztec superfood. He also developed the system currently used to harvest and clean chia seeds.

Dr. Coates Races

That man is Wayne Coates, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the Office of Arid Land Studies at the University of Arizona. His latest book is Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood. This 190-page trade paperback is available on his website for $12.95.

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Posted in: Food

Low-Carb Travel Food

July 19th, 2012 · No Comments

If you’re planning a road trip this summer, you’ve got a problem. For once, it’s not the price of gasoline, which the experts say will be lower this summer. The problem is what you put in your body, not your car.

The problem only gets worse when you leave the road and your car behind and head off into the wilderness, the shore, or any trail away from civilization. Any hike will give us the activity and experience of nature that we all need. But it makes eating right all the harder.

Staying with a very low-carb diet, as I do to control my diabetes, is a special challenge. Since I’m leaving tomorrow on a road and hiking trip in northwestern Colorado, I have this challenge very much on my mind.

A correspondent named Cindy is also concerned. “Since you do so much traveling and hiking in remote areas, I have been wondering what you take with you in the way of road food,” she wrote me a couple of days ago. “I would love to read an article about how you manage your low-carb diet while traveling and what kind of meals/snacks you recommend for taking along when there is no refrigeration.”

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Posted in: Food

Omega 3-6 Balance Food Score

July 5th, 2012 · 3 Comments

Most of us know that omega-3 is good for us. Some of us are aware that more than just a tiny bit of omega-6 isn’t. But hardly anyone can tell how to get the right amounts.

Now, we finally have a tool that makes it much easier for us to get our omega-3 and omega-6 in balance. This tool is the Omega 3-6 Balance Food Score. This score summarizes into a single value the balance among all the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids for 5,108 foods.

Bill Lands and Etienne Lamoreaux started with the 13,200 foods in theUSDA Nutrient Database. This data is the gold standard of nutrition information. Then, they deleted redundant servings and foods that we seldom eat, like brains and raw meat to get down to a more manageable number of foods.

Dr. Bill Lands is the leading expert on omega-3 and omega-6. Until he retired in 2002 Dr. Lands was a senior scientific advisor at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Etienne Lamoreaux is a computer specialist there.

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Posted in: Food