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

Entries Tagged as 'Food'

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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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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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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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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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Gummy Owls for Weight Loss

June 7th, 2012 · 2 Comments

One type of soluble fiber has so many benefits for people with diabetes that I have been recommending it for years. But only now do we have a good-tasting and low-calorie product that can help us lose weight.The fiber is glucomannan, which some people call konjac fiber because it is the main component of the root of the konjac plant (Amorphophallus konjac) that grows in China and Japan. They call it a yam, but it’s totally different from American or African plants of that name.Eight years ago today I wrote in Number 70 of my “Diabetes Update” newsletter that we have scientific proof that it reduces our blood cholesterol levels and helps us control our diabetes since it slows digestion and the rate of nutrient absorption from the stomach and intestine. It blunts the rapid rise of blood glucose after a meal. Together with liquid, it forms a gel, absorbing lots of water in our stomach, producing a sensation of fullness.

The new product is just as neat as its name, “Gummy Owls.” Basically, it’s glucomannan sweetened with sugar alcohols and stevia. Each of the little owls has just 4 calories.

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Medical Misinformation Can Kill Us

May 22nd, 2012 · 1 Comment

We have laws that help protect us from medical misinformation given out by people who aren’t licensed to practice medicine and who don’t actually examine us. When we rely on friends, relatives, or anyone who voices an opinion on the Internet, we risk our health and even our lives.

But no laws can protect us from medical misinformation that our doctors, nurses, and nutritionists can sometimes give us. We have to remember that medicine is still largely an art rather than a science. Medical knowledge, particularly knowledge of nutrition, is always growing. It hasn’t yet arrived at total truth. We also have to remember that our medical team works for us, which means that we don’t have to obey them.

Of course, I don’t know the total truth either. Nobody does. Besides, as we often say, “YMMV,” which stands for “your mileage may vary,” meaning that everyone’s body reacts a little different for anyone else. That’s why they call us individuals.

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Which Starch for Dinner

May 16th, 2012 · 1 Comment

“Which starch would you like with your dinner?” the waiter asked.

He wanted to know if I prefered a baked potato, rice, or corn on the cob with my fish and steamed veggies. Or maybe a side order of pancakes.

His question surprised me, and I could have shot back a question of my own: “What makes you think that I like to eat any starch?” But I remained civil and simply declined his offer.

While starches and sugars are the cheapest foods and are the mainstay of the typical American diet, they aren’t for me. Truly, they aren’t for anyone who has diabetes because diabetes is a disturbance of carbohydrate metabolism where our blood glucose level rises above normal. Starch breaks down into simple sugars in our digestive system and raises our blood glucose levels higher and faster than anything else we possibly could put in our mouths.

Cutting out sugar is easy, even if we have a sweet tooth. We have some great sweeteners that don’t have any carbs or calories. But we don’t have any alternatives to starch — we simply have to eliminate it or at least cut back on it as much as possible.

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Protein Powder for Diabetes

May 2nd, 2012 · 4 Comments

“Is taking whey protein powder good or bad for people with type 2 diabetes?”

This was a correspondent’s recent question. I told him that this is such a good question that I would answer him here.

Many people supplement their protein intake with a daily scoop or two of protein powder. Years ago I did that myself.

We have a wide variety of types and brands of protein powder to chose from. Besides whey protein, we can get casein, soy, and egg white protein powder from many vendors.

Some years ago I decided that using the most complete protein was the best idea. I discovered that egg protein powder was the most complete. That means it has the best balance of the nine essential amino acids that comprise protein.

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Myths about Coconut and MCT Oils

April 28th, 2012 · 15 Comments

One type of saturated fat is especially valuable for those of us who have diabetes. Oils like coconut and MCT are the easiest for us to use, as I have written in my last four posts here, including “The Best Saturated Fats.

But too many people avoid these great fats because they believe myths about them. When I interviewed Ron Rosedale, M.D., recently, he addressed these concerns.

Dr. Rosedale is one of my most trusted experts on what to eat. His website is “The Rosedale Program,” and he also wrote one of the best weight-loss guides, The Rosedale Diet.

I asked him about the concern that some people have that coconut oil raises our LDL cholesterol level. “But, I noted, “this may be a question of small dense versus big fluffy LDL.”

“Exactly,” Dr. Rosedale replied. “That’s what it is. It has nothing to do with coconut oil per se. Lowering carbohydrates and increasing fats is going to increase the size of the LDL particles. This is a good thing, and if you are only measuring the total quantity of LDL, it will probably increase that too — but that is also a good thing.”

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Coconut, Palm, and MCT Oil

April 24th, 2012 · 5 Comments

The fats that our bodies can burn most easily are the ones that have medium-length chains of carbons, as I discussed in “The Best Saturated Fats.” This is especially important for those of us who have diabetes when we transition to a very low-carbohydrate diet, which gives us almost all of our energy from fats.

These fats are those that we call medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. But what are the best MCT fats for us to use? If MCT fats are good for us, then shouldn’t we be using pure MCT?

Coconut oil has the highest proportion of MCT of any common oil, Ron Rosedale, M.D., told me when I interviewed him for my article, “The Trouble with Saturated Fats.” Two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is MCT, according to the USDA National Nutrition Database.

Among the common oils, palm kernel oil ranks a close second. But it is much harder to find in our stores and on the websites. I have bought red palm oil at my local Whole Foods Market. But I don’t know if it’s the same as palm kernel oil, and I don’t like its taste anyway.

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