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Diabetes Update: Hot Tubs

Number 63; October 1, 2003

By David Mendosa

This newsletter keeps you up-to-date with new articles,
Web pages—and books—that I have written.

  • I list and link most of these on my Diabetes Directory at and in the site’s menu.

  • From time to time Diabetes Update may also include links to other Web pages of special interest.

My most recent contributions are:

  • Hot Tubs
    When one of my doctors told me I needed to soak in hot water, I began an investigation of the literature on hot tubs. While my interest was personal, I am pleased to share it with you, because it has implications for all people with diabetes. My site’s menu lists it under the heading of exercise. That might seem strange until you read the article.


  • Tagatose
    A couple of years ago I reported that a new sweetener, Tagatose, was coming. It is now finally arriving in commercial products. The first to go on the market with it is 7-Eleven's Diet Pepsi Slurpee.

  • Magazines
    There are so many magazines dealing with diabetes that it is hard to keep track of them all. But I try. When I announced my article about them in last month’s Diabetes Update, Barbara Toohey, one of the authors of many book on diabetes, including The DiabeticĂ­s Total Health and Happiness Book (which I reviewed in the same issue) wrote me requesting that I include addresses of the magazines so their publicist could offer them review copies. I thought that was such a good idea that I not only ferreted out the addresses but also advised the publicist for my book, What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…And Down?, which I announced in the same issue.

    In the previous issue of this newsletter I announced a survey to help an innovative manufacturer of products for people with diabetes decide whether and how to proceed with two new products. The products are visual test strips that do not require a monitor. Almost 10 percent of you, about 200 people, responded. That is considered a great response rate, and the manufacturer and I are both pleased.

    When you were asked about adopting no-wipe visual test strips as part of your regimen, 33 percent said you would or may; the remainder said you probably or definitely wouldn’t. Unfortunately, given these results, the manufacturer is not very optimistic about the prospects for their visual strips in the US or other developed countries. I believe, however that there remains a huge market in the underdeveloped world.

    To me, your most interesting responses were to the question asking the top three factors that most influence your choice of blood testing products. Tops was accuracy, 61 percent. Ease of use was second with 38 percent, and convenience and size of blood volume required tied for third with 36 percent each.

    Considering the real lack of standards for meter accuracy (see, I hope this can serve as a wake-up call.

    As promised, the manufacturer has donated $1 to the American Diabetes Association for each of the 200 respondents.

Research and Regulatory News:

  • Saponins and Wine
    I always thought that saponins were something you wanted to get rid of when you ate quinoa. This is a tasty pseudo-grain from the Andes that is high in protein. However, it can be bitter unless you wash away the saponin covering first.

    Now, saponins “are a hot new food ingredient,” according to Andrew Waterhouse, professor of enology (wine chemistry) at the University of California, Davis. He described his findings at the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in September.

    Saponins are linked to the ability to lower cholesterol, something quite important to most people with diabetes. They are glucose-based plant compounds found in many foods. Previously, however, nobody thought that they were wine. Everyone attributed the so-called French Paradox—the association between red wine and less heart disease—to resveratrol, a compound found in grapes that acts as an antioxidant. Now it looks like saponins could be just as important.

    Dr. Waterhouse studied six varieties of California wines—four reds and two whites—and compared their saponin content. He found that the red wines he tested have three to ten times as much saponin as the whites. Red Zinfandel had the highest levels. Syrah had the second highest, followed by Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, which had about the same amount. The white varieties tested, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay, contained much less.

    For some reason Dr. Waterhouse didn’t analyze Merlot for this study. He believes, however, that it is comparable to the reds he tested.

    My friend, Derek Paice, won’t be surprised to hear that. Derek, the author of Diabetes and Diet: A Type 2 Patient’s Successful Efforts at Control, has dramatically increased his good (HDL) cholesterol level by drinking Merlot every evening. He wrote me recently that over a period of years one glass of Merlot per day eventually raised his HDL from 39 to 66 mg/dl. Two glasses per day further raised his HDL to 89 mg/dl. In this ongoing experiment, his bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels remained about the same.

    He says that it took a while, “but I now enjoy the taste of my ‘liquid medicine.’”

  • FDA Actions
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a liquid form of the most common diabetes pill, metformin (brand name Glucophage). This alternative form is for patients who find it difficult to swallow the tablet form. On September 11 the FDA approved Riomet, which is manufactured and marketed by Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Princeton, New Jersey. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited in New Delhi, India’s largest pharmaceutical company.

  • HTML Format
    I send out Diabetes Update e-mail in HTML format, which all Web browsers and most modern e-mail programs can display. HTML has live links to all the sites named in the text so that with a simple click of a mouse you can connect to the site you have just been reading about.

  • My Guarantee
    This newsletter is free and will never include advertising. Nor will I ever sell, rent, or trade your e-mail address to anyone.


    I now send out Diabetes Update once a month. Previous issues are online:

    1. Diabetes Update Number 1: Diabetes Genes of December 10, 2000
    2. Diabetes Update Number 2: DiabetesWATCH of December 18, 2000
    3. Diabetes Update Number 3: Starlix of January 3, 2001
    4. Diabetes Update Number 4: Native Seeds/SEARCH, Tepary Beans of January 17, 2001
    5. Diabetes Update Number 5: Insulin Makes You Fat of January 31, 2001
    6. Diabetes Update Number 6: Available and Unavailable Carbohydrates of February 15, 2001
    7. Diabetes Update Number 7: Dates of March 1, 2001
    8. Diabetes Update Number 8: Quackwatch of March 15, 2001
    9. Diabetes Update Number 9: The Cost of Insulin of March 30, 2001
    10. Diabetes Update Number 10: Sof-Tact Meter of April 2, 2001
    11. Diabetes Update Number 11: iControlDiabetes of April 16, 2001
    12. Diabetes Update Number 12: Cinnamon, Tagatose of May 2, 2001
    13. Diabetes Update Number 13: Glycemic Index of May 15, 2001
    14. Diabetes Update Number 14: Eat Your Carrots! of May 31, 2001
    15. Diabetes Update Number 15: Glycemic Load of June 21, 2001
    16. Diabetes Update Number 16: Homocysteine of July 2, 2001
    17. Diabetes Update Number 17: Chana Dal Tips of July 15, 2001
    18. Diabetes Update Number 18: Lag Time in AlternativeLand of August 2, 2001
    19. Diabetes Update Number 19: Fiber of August 15, 2001
    20. Diabetes Update Number 20: How Diabetes Works of August 30, 2001
    21. Diabetes Update Number 21: Insulin Resistance of September 14, 2001
    22. Diabetes Update Number 22: Trans Fats, Honey, CU of October 1, 2001
    23. Diabetes Update Number 23: Pedometer Power of October 15, 2001
    24. Diabetes Update Number 24: Is Glycerin a Carbohydrate? of October 31, 2001
    25. Diabetes Update Number 25: Kill the Meter to Save It of November 15, 2001
    26. Diabetes Update Number 26: Protein, Fat, and the GI of December 1, 2001
    27. Diabetes Update Number 27: Insulin Index of December 14, 2001
    28. Diabetes Update Number 28: Fructose of January 4, 2002
    29. Diabetes Update Number 29: Aspirin of January 14, 2002
    30. Diabetes Update Number 30: Stevia of January 31, 2002
    31. Diabetes Update Number 31: Gretchen Becker’s Book of February 19, 2002
    32. Diabetes Update Number 32: The UKPDS of March 4, 2002
    33. Diabetes Update Number 33: Financial Aid of March 18, 2002
    34. Diabetes Update Number 34: Pre-Diabetes of April 1, 2002
    35. Diabetes Update Number 35: More Glycemic Indexes of April 15, 2002
    36. Diabetes Update Number 36: Gila Monsters of April 30, 2002
    37. Diabetes Update Number 37: Is INGAP a Cure? of May 15, 2002
    38. Diabetes Update Number 38: Native American Diabetes of June 3, 2002
    39. Diabetes Update Number 39: FDA Diabetes of June 19, 2002
    40. Diabetes Update Number 40: Diabetes Support Groups of July 1, 2002
    41. Diabetes Update Number 41: New GI and GL Table of July 15, 2002
    42. Diabetes Update Number 42: Diabetes Sight of August 1, 2002
    43. Diabetes Update Number 43: DrugDigest of August 18, 2002
    44. Diabetes Update Number 44: Hanuman Garden of September 3, 2002
    45. Diabetes Update Number 45: Guidelines of September 16, 2002
    46. Diabetes Update Number 46: Trans Fat of October 4, 2002
    47. Diabetes Update Number 47: Nutrition.Gov of October 16, 2002
    48. Diabetes Update Number 48: Our Hearts of October 31, 2002
    49. Diabetes Update Number 49: Our Kidneys of November 15, 2002
    50. Diabetes Update Number 50: A1C<7 of December 2, 2002
    51. Diabetes Update Number 51: Diabetes Searches with Google of December 16, 2002
    52. Diabetes Update Number 52: e-Patients of January 2, 2003
    53. Diabetes Update Number 53: Email News of January 16, 2003
    54. Diabetes Update Number 54: Third Generation Meters of January 31, 2003
    55. Diabetes Update Number 55: Hypoglycemic Supplies of February 14, 2003
    56. Diabetes Update Number 56: Food Police of March 1, 2003
    57. Diabetes Update Number 57: Vitamins of April 1, 2003
    58. Diabetes Update Number 58: Lancets of May 1, 2003
    59. Diabetes Update Number 59: Accurate Meters of June 1, 2003
    60. Diabetes Update Number 60: Chromium of July 1, 2003
    61. Diabetes Update Number 61: Traveling of August 1, 2003
    62. Diabetes Update Number 62: My Book of September 1, 2003

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