Last year was the hottest year on record, although the temperatures in most of the U.S. seem to be rather chilly now. But even if you aren’t too fond of the cold, this seasonal weather can actually be good for people with diabetes.
But we have to know how to take advantage of the chill. Doing so can be easy and yet challenging.
All we have to do is turn down the thermostat. Researchers have discovered that when we get mildly cold, which they define as being cool without shivering, our bodies burn more calories. As a result, managing our weight can be easier.
You probably have heard about the recent report that the sugar industry paid three Harvard professors to play down sugar’s role as a cause of heart disease and instead to put the blame on saturated fat. But if you have diabetes, you might well have assumed that this scandal, which just now surfaced, doesn’t have anything to do with you.
In fact, the connection between diabetes and the diet that you follow to manage it couldn’t be more direct.
The year 2015 brought more good news to people with diabetes than any year since a doctor told me 22 years ago that my A1C level of 14.4 meant that I had diabetes. At that time I weighed more than 300 pounds and didn’t get any exercise.
But because I have been a journalist for most of my life, I decided to learn everything I could about diabetes. For the past two decades I have written about diabetes here, and for the past 10 years I have shared what I know about managing it in my posts and slideshows at HealthCentral.com.
I know that diabetes isn’t a progressive disease, in spite of what some people think. I also know that well-managed diabetes causes nothing. From my personal experience I know that you can be healthier than you ever were — if you get more active, lose weight, take your medicine, and cut your stress.
Everyone eats differently on vacation than at home. Those of us who have diabetes probably vary our diet less than others, but being away from our usual places always means eating different food.
On vacation we eat out more and usually go to restaurants that we have never seen before. For me, that’s one of the joys and surprises of vacation.
Since New Year’s Day I have been vacationing with a friend in a rented condo on Pine Island in Southwest Florida. Neither of us had ever been to this relatively undeveloped barrier island off the coast from Fort Myers and Cape Coral before.
Another friend, Dyveke Kanth, lives in Sweden and like me, follows a low-carb diet. She writes for the Swedish low-carb high-fat website LCHF.se and has followed a very low-carb diet for years. “I think that it is the only right way to eat even if you do not have diabetes,” she says.
When I wrote Dyveke that I was vacationing in Florida, she asked me, “How is it going with the food in Florida? Is there anything for you to eat there?”
A Reddish Egret Catches a Fish for its Breakfast
(Estero Island, Florida, January 15, 2013)
Good questions! I had the same concerns as I planned my vacation here. But finding good low-carb food here has not been as difficult as Dyveke and I had thought it would be.
A big new review shows that people who don’t use insulin are wasting their time and money when they test their blood glucose.
And I still recommend that everyone who has diabetes test his or her blood.
Do I contradict myself? I don’t think so.
The new review comes from the Cochrane Collaboration, the most respected group that reviews scientific studies. Six European experts reviewed a dozen randomized controlled trials of 3259 people with diabetes. The review, “Self-monitoring of blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are not using insulin,” just appeared in the Cochrane Library.
The main conclusion of the study is that, “Glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin is small up to six months after initiation and subsides after 12 months.” I’m surprised that it has even a small effect.
Actually, blood glucose testing doesn’t have any effect on our levels. Testing is a tool that we have to learn how to use. And few of us are lucky enough to have a doctor or nurse who will take the time to show us what to do.
A few years ago I started to track the iPhone apps for people with diabetes. For more than 10 years on my website I have been tracking software programs that we can use to manage our condition. But I soon gave up the chase for diabetes apps.
We have far too many even to name. This afternoon I counted 355 iPhone apps for “diabetes.” All of these apps also run on the iPod Touch as well as the iPad. Another 111 are optimized for the larger screen of the iPad.
Since I have diabetes, an iPod Touch, and an iPad, these apps interest me greatly. Until now, the top app has probably been Glucose Buddy. Of the 639 ratings for the current version, 419 people give it 5 stars, the top rating. Glucose Buddy is easy to use.
But an important challenger has just appeared. I happened to learn about it while waiting for a bus at the Medicine 2.0 convention that I attended at Stanford University earlier this month.