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Diabetes Update: Acidic Foods

Number 67; February 1, 2004

By David Mendosa

Grand Canyon and Colorado River

Grand Canyon and Colorado River
1968 photo by David Mendosa

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

  • 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 contribution is:

  • Acidic Foods
    I’ve been getting more and more questions about how certain acidic foods can help us control our blood glucose. At the same time few people have any idea how certain vinegars, lemons, limes and even sourdough bread can help us control our blood glucose levels.

    I wrote about it once before in my book What Makes My Blood Glucose Level Go Up—and Down? Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell and I are the joint authors. But since I doubt if all of you have the book—and because I added new information—I think most of you will find this a useful article. It’s on my website at Acidic Foods.


  • I keep updating my favorite My Favorite Low Carb and Low GI Foods as I discover good new foods that I love. That Web page is not a cookbook; it includes few recipes. Usually, it is my recommendations for products that you can buy as is. But here is an exception.

    Some time ago I realized that hearts of palm are very low carb. In fact, I list them on my Free Foods Web page. But you know, don’t you, how hard it is to eat a new food? It is for me, so my only can of hearts of palm languished in my cupboard until I got brave a couple of weeks ago. In the event I was most pleasantly surprised by the mild taste of the hearts of palm. Even more, I am delighted that the recipe on the can calls for a vinaigrette, thus offering the advantages of the acidic foods that I write about this month.

    The recipe, which is also online at My Favorite Low Carb and Low GI Foods is:

    Hearts of Palm with Vinaigrette
    1 can hearts of palm (7.75 ounces drained)
    1 white onion, finely chopped
    1 tomato, finely chopped
    1/3 cup black olives, sliced
    1/2 cup cider vinegar (you can substitute white wine or red wine vinegar)
    1/2 cup olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    Mix together all ingredients except hearts of palm.
    Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
    Add hearts of palm to mixture, stir, and serve.

  • As a member of the Diabetes Team for Children with Diabetes I often answer questions from visitors to the site. Some of these queries are about questionable products. For example someone in Virginia wrote in November that “My brother in Germany has a tea (ready to consume in sachet and boxed) that has already been tested in clinic overseas and lowers blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Do you have any advice as to how to get it tested here (if needed) or perhaps how to market this?”

    My reply was short and to the point:

    The first thing your brother needs to do in order to get his tea accepted by people with diabetes and those who treat them is to make it available to scientists and researchers. They can then carry out studies of its use by many test subjects. These clinical trials should ideally be randomized, placebo-controlled, and double blind. Finally, the scientists and researchers need to present the results of their research in a peer-reviewed publication that is included in PubMed. Only then will people with diabetes and those who treat them in America accept the validity of your brother's claims.

    Later, as I mulled over that question and my reply I realized that the Web needs to do a better job of exposing unsound “cures” and other treatments of diabetes. While I don’t have the medical credentials to debunk these claims, my friend Bill Quick, a respected endocrinologist, does. I asked him to continue to Diabetes Quackery page that he and his wife Stephanie Schwartz had developed for Diabetes Monitor before they sold the site. They immediately agreed as noted in the announcements below.

    At the same time I kept reflecting on my reply that clinical trials should be randomized, placebo-controlled, and double blind. I had learned those requirements from Steven Bratman, M.D., the creator of The Natural Pharmacist Natural Medicine Encyclopedia (TNP), a world-class database of information on alternative medicine, when I interviewed him four years ago for my American Diabetes Association column on Alternative Diabetes.

    Consequently, I wrote him last month to see if he had any update to what he had told me. He certainly did and authorized me to reprint it here. His article on Double-Blind Studies is a beautifully written and outstanding analysis of one of the 20th century’s major scientific advances and one with consequences of a magnitude greater than is generally understood.

    When I interviewed Dr. Bratman four years ago he told me that studies of alternative therapies in Asian countries including China, India, and Thailand are suspect, however, because they almost always get positive results—something that doesn’t happen in real life. But the countries he mentions in his article are China and Russia.

    “Personally, I don't trust any double blind studies from Asia (not even Japan) nor Eastern Europe,” he replied, when I asked him about this difference. “But the objective evidence of unreliable results regards China and Russia.” And he sent me his source for that statement, an article that systematically reviewed controlled trials.

    Note that Dr. Bratman is no longer associated with The Natural Pharmacist Natural Medicine Encyclopedia. There was nothing better for evaluating alternative medicine claims, but it is no longer being updated. The version at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville was updated most recently.


  • Let The Buyer Beware
    This is the first article in an exciting new part of A Diabetes Website, (which can now also be reached at the URL, sponsored by endocrinologist Bill Quick and his wife, nurse and diabetes educator Stephanie Schwartz.

    This section of their website, which they call “Too Good to be True?,” exposes scams, quackery, and simply questionable treatments and purported cures for diabetes. There are probably no better people for this task than Bill and Steph. When they ran Diabetes Monitor, they developed a useful Web page summarizing some of the more egregious schemes to separate you from your money. That page is still available, and its address is Diabetes Quackery.

    These efforts by Bill and Steph complement those of Dr. Stephen Barrett on his Quackwatch site. I interviewed him for my column on the American Diabetes Association website, which is now online at Dr. Barrett has an large and outstanding site that does include some diabetes quacks. But there are so many quacks at large that he simply doesn’t have time to debunk many of them. That leaves a huge hole for Bill and Steph to fill. But I have known them for years and know that they are up to the challenge.

  • 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
  63. Diabetes Update Number 63: Hot Tubs of October 1, 2003
  64. Diabetes Update Number 64: Home A1C Testing of November 1, 2003
  65. Diabetes Update Number 65: Detemir of December 1, 2003
  66. Diabetes Update Number 66: Erectile Dysfunction of January 1, 2004

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