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

We Might Yet Win the War with Big Sugar

December 20th, 2016 · Comments Off

The American public is waking up to the dangerous of Big Sugar. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that people with diabetes, prediabetes, and those at risk of prediabetes have won the war yet.

The people of four American cities — Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, California — passed taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages on November 8, 2016. Previously, only one American city — Berkeley, California — had voted for this tax (although the Philadelphia city council imposed such a tax in June 2016). Earlier, the sugar industry had campaigned successfully against taxes on sugary soda more than 40 times, and in 2014 won its suit defeating New York City’s Board of Health 2012 ban of the sale of large fountain sodas.

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Fast for Diabetes and Weight

November 30th, 2016 · Comments Off

Fasting is easy because it simply means not voluntarily eating. While most diets are about all the things you have to eat and not eat, fasting is simple. You just stop eating anything for as long as you choose and drink water, tea, coffee, or broth.

How long you fast is up to you. Some people fast for just 12 hours, others for as long as three months or even more. You can fast once a day or once a year.

People fast for health, spiritual, or other reasons. I often make short fasts to manage my weight because I have Type 2 diabetes and know that when I have a normal weight, my body’s insulin sensitivity will be better.

My weight was up several pounds after I got a cold about a month ago and ate lots of yummy fats as comfort food. I was into my sixth and last day of intermittent fasting by eating nothing after the lunch hour. Then, I happened to read that a diabetes expert had just published the first book about fasting that I think is worth reading.

The book

Jason Fung, M.D., wrote the book, “The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting,” after searching everywhere and finding “no good books on intermittent fasting.” The book is available now in either a paperback or Kindle edition.

He is a nephrologist, weight loss, and diabetes health expert who probably has more experience with practicing and teaching fasting than anyone else in the world. Dr. Fung “has used a variety of fasting protocols with more than 1,000 patients, with fantastic success.”

His program

His Intensive Dietary Management Program, based in Toronto, Canada, focuses on treating the metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. I have been reading his Intensive Dietary Management Blog since August 2013 when he started it.

Dr. Fung wrote the book with health podcaster Jimmy Moore, who has extensive experience with fasting and low-carb dieting after losing 180 of his 410 pounds. Nine years ago, Jimmy interviewed me for his article and podcast, “Most Famous Diabetes Writer David Mendosa Chooses Low-Carb Living.”

Synergies with low-carb

Fasting and low-carb diets have synergies. Both have the goal of lowering insulin, which Dr. Fung believes is the key driver of obesity.

“I prefer for my clients to stick to a good, nutrient-dense low-carb diet and get fat-adapted for a while before experimenting with fasting,” writes nutritionist Amy Burger in a sidebar within the book. “I think it’s easier and more pleasant to fast when your body isn’t still screaming out for carbohydrates.”

Especially for diabetes

Fasting is especially important for anyone who has diabetes, and many of us already follow a low-carb diet. For people with diabetes, the heart of the book is Chapter 6, “Fasting for Type 2 Diabetes.” But the other chapters in this 304-page book provide many valuable insights, including fasting tips and healing liquid recipes.

Almost anyone can benefit from fasting. But the book advises that pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with excessive low body fat shouldn’t fast. “Anyone who feels poorly in any way must stop fasting immediately and contact a healthcare provider.”


Fasting does come with some challenges. I emailed Dr. Fung to ask him what problems people might have with fasting, in addition to sharing an experience that I once had, when I had a headache for a few minutes while I hiked during a fast.

“That’s about it,” he replied by email. “Headaches are common the first few times people fast. They mostly go away by themselves. Sometimes it helps to take a little extra salt. When someone with Type 2 diabetes fasts, all that happens is that his/her body is forced to burn some of that sugar for energy, so you don’t need to take so much medication to bring the blood sugar down.”


Fasting has many more benefits than these few challenges. Briefly, here are some of the benefits that the book covers:

  • Improves mental clarity and concentration
  • Induces weight and body fat loss
  • Lowers blood glucose levels
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Increases energy
  • Improves fat-burning
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
  • Extends life
  • Reverses aging process
  • Decreases inflammation

Enough benefits?

This is plenty!

This well-written book gets its authority both from that of Dr. Fung’s experience and from the sources in the professional literature that he cites in endnotes. Get this book now. Reading it can inspire you to put this knowledge into practice and help change your life.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.


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Give the Gift of the Season

November 26th, 2016 · Comments Off

If you have a chronic illness that limits your activity, this new book is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. If you have friends or relatives for whom the holidays are challenging, also give them a copy.

But don’t wait until Christmas! You need this book now.

The book is “Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness” by Lene Andersen, the Community Leader of HealthCentral’s rheumatoid arthritis site.

Nobody is better suited for writing it than Lene Andersen. She is not only a person who has to manage a chronic illness but is also an accomplished writer. And Christmas is Lene’s favorite holiday, which she writes about in an upbeat and inspiring style.

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Show Respect for Diabetes this Holiday Eating Season

November 25th, 2016 · Comments Off

You can be thankful that the chronic disease you have to live with is diabetes. Almost everyone whom you or I know has a chronic disease now or will have one if he or she lives long enough, and many of those diseases are much more challenging.

Type 2 diabetes is different from every other chronic disease that I have ever heard of. The disease that you and I have is a wake up call. Think of diabetes as a kind message to your body, a warning that you need to act now to avoid serious trouble later.

Even Type 1 diabetes isn’t that friendly to the people who have it. You can’t stop taking daily insulin injections and reverse Type 1 diabetes. But you can reverse Type 2 diabetes and even reverse almost all of the complications that unmanaged diabetes can cause.

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Stop Big Sugar from Corrupting Your Diabetes Management!

November 22nd, 2016 · Comments Off

While sugar is sweet, the sugar industry sure isn’t. It uses underhanded tactics that undermine the health of people with diabetes.

For years, the sugar industry has been complicit with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in promoting sugar. Until 1994, the ADA told us that we should avoid sugar, which like starch raises the blood glucose of people with diabetes. But in May of that year, the ADA published a new position statement that focused instead on the total amount of carbohydrates in our diet. The ADA still recommends a high-carb
diet of “about 45 to 60 grams” per meal.

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Marijuana Component May Help Manage Diabetes

November 21st, 2016 · Comments Off

Marijuana can get you high. But for people with diabetes the news is better.

One of its components might also help you manage your blood glucose. This is the startling conclusion of a study in the October 2016 issue of Diabetes Care.

British researchers studied 62 people with Type 2 diabetes with high lipid levels at four centers in the United Kingdom. The study met the high standards of being randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled.

Only the abstract of the study is free at the Diabetes Care website. But the full text of the study’s un-copyedited manuscript is online at the University of Westminster, where one of the researchers work.

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The Best Time for a Short Walk

November 18th, 2016 · Comments Off

The best time for people who have Type 2 diabetes to get physical activity is right after eating. But current physical activity guidelines don’t yet reflect this new knowledge.

When people with Type 2 diabetes walk after eating, blood glucose levels averaged a drop of 12 percent more than at any other time of the day. This is the conclusion of a randomized crossover study that the journal Diabetologia first published online in October 2016. The study’s lead author, Andrew Reynolds, Ph.D., of the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, New Zealand, sent me the full text.

The researchers prescribed walking to 41 people with Type 2 diabetes in two-week blocks, separated by a month. The people in the study were instructed to walk either for 30 minutes a day or to walk for 10 minutes after each main meal, starting within five minutes after they finished eating. When they took their 10-minute walks, their post-meal blood glucose levels averaged 12 percent lower than when they took a 30-minute walk at sometime during the day.

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Manage Your Diabetes With A Low-Carb Vegetarian Diet

November 15th, 2016 · Comments Off

The importance of eating low-carb, especially for diabetes management, but also for reducing weight, still isn’t widely appreciated. Nor do most people follow a vegetarian diet. But some people with diabetes, including the more than 3,700 members of The Vegetarian Low Carb Diabetic Healthy Diet Society, do follow both.

You can manage your diabetes on both a vegetarian and low-carb diet and get the benefits of both. These diets have many advocates and are healthful and satisfying. But I doubt if anyone would say that it’s easy to be a vegetarian and a low-carber at the same time.

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Don’t Skip Your Flu Shot This Year

November 14th, 2016 · Comments Off

You probably haven’t got your flu shot yet, and you may not be planning to get one this year. But skipping the shot could be a deadly mistake for someone who has diabetes.

A large population-based study of 124,503 adults in the UK who have Type 2 diabetes found that those who got a flu vaccine had a 24 percent lower death rate than those who didn’t get vaccinated. Flu vaccinations also resulted in a 30 percent reduction in hospital admissions for stroke and a 22 percent reduction in heart failure admissions.

Researchers from Imperial College London used one of the world’s largest computerized medical databases of primary care records, the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in England. They studied the results for seven flu seasons between 2003 and 2010 and reported their findings in CMAJ in July 2016.

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Profile of Diabetes: Amelia Montes

October 25th, 2016 · Comments Off

Amelia M.L. Montes is many things: a university professor, a writer, and a person who is successfully managing her diabetes. One thing she is not: a diabetic.

“Diabetes is a chronic disease that I have and that I daily manage,” Dr. Montes says. “It is not who I am.”

Describing herself as a Chicana and a Latina, she was born in Los Angeles and then raised in East Los Angeles, the largest Hispanic community in the country. Dr. Montes’s parents were recent immigrants from Mexico, and she spent her childhood living on both sides of the border. Her publications always use her full name and title, Amelia María de la Luz Montes, Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Professor Montes Works Out

I have known her as Amelia ever since she emailed me six years ago to write that her doctor had told her three days earlier that she had diabetes. “I’m upset, freaked out, depressed, and scared,” Amelia wrote me then. About nine months later when she visited me in Boulder, Colorado, she was doing better. Now, she has become a role model for her success in managing this disease.

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