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Diabetes Update: Evaluating Meters

October 1, 2005

By David Mendosa


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Flatirons with Poppies, Boulder
Flatirons with Poppies, Boulder

My most recent article is:

Updates:

  • When to Go to an Endocrinologist
    Dr. Bill Quick is my favorite endocrinologist and a good friend. We have worked together for the last 10 years to bring accurate and helpful information about diabetes to the Web. He has one of the very best websites about diabetes at diabetesmonitor.com.

    Back in August 1998 an editor at the former Diabetes Interview magazine (now Diabetes Health) assigned me to write an article about “When should a patient with diabetes be referred to a specialist?” I thought that it would be a great subject, and so did that editor. But as often happens in the publishing world, a new editor came in and killed the article.

    Meanwhile, I had asked my friend Bill for some of his thoughts on the subject. Bill’s response was so good that I suggested he turn it into a Web page on his site. Ever since then I have referred many people to it. Now, you can read it here at When to Go to an Endocrinologist.

  • Even More Strategies for Controlling the Dawn Phenomenon
    Nothing has stirred up more interest here lately than the several proposed strategies for controlling the dawn phenomenon (where morning blood glucose levels are higher than when we went to bed). And nothing has been more frustrating for those of us who have tried to control it. Here are some excerpts from messages that correspondents wrote me this month on the subject:
    Raub in Arcadia, California writes:
    Reading your article about the reader with the dawn phenomenon who claimed her blood sugar results were improved in the morning after taking vinegar pills at bedtime got me curious enough to try. I went out and bought the same GNC Apple Cider Vinegar pills. Typically, my glucose numbers in the morning are 250 plus; however, last night was the 5th night in a row that I took 4 Vinegar pills at bedtime and found my morning blood sugar readings to range from 88 - 103.

    Cindy writes:
    I tried the vinegar supplements mentioned in your last message. It took about 1 week before it began to work, but when it did my blood glucose readings dropped by about 10 and has remained that way. I am heavy, so I took two pills in the evening after dinner and both my night blood glucose reading and my morning fasting blood glucose reading each went down by at least 10. I can’t wait to see what my next A1C blood work will show! You may want to give it a try again but use it for a longer period of time instead of alternating days of using it and not using it.

    hmasher writes:
    I tried those pills for 2 weeks now & my dawn nos just keep getting worse.

    Linda in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, writes:
    My physician suggested I have a bedtime snack of 1/2 oat bran English muffin with 1-2 tsps. of natural peanut butter, and it has put an end to my high morning readings.

    Stan writes:
    I tried the apple thing, no help.

    But one-self study of me: If I eat after 8 pm, I have the problem. Nuts are the worst. But, if I finish by 8, 7:30 pm is better, then only a minor problem, or none at all. [In a subsequent message he says that he goes to bed “Anywhere from 11-11:45 pm, 90% of the time. Later the other 10%.”] It’s all in which foods provoke the liver more. I suspect fats the most, carbs next. Don’t usually have a high protein snack in the eve. Examples: Late snacks (9-11 pm) of cheese and nuts are bad, EXCEPT mostt of the time for pine nuts; if I have about 1oz (pine nuts) 11-11:30, little effect, but if have the same thing 10-11:00, then there is a significant effect!

    I am type 2, 65, 3.5 years a discovered diabetic. Well controlled by diet, 2000 metformin. But the key IS diet! A1c varies 5.5-5.8.

    I do encourage more correspondence on this subject. So many of us really need to get a handle on the dawn phenomenon!

Book Reviews:

Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution

Stress, Depression, Hostility

  • The Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution

    And now for something completely different.

    Just when I thought that I couldn’t possibly read a book about diabetes with a totally new approach, along comes one that is not primarily about diet, exercise, or medication — the three standard components of diabetes treatment. Richard Surwit’s Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution adds a fourth component — mental diabetes. He is vice chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the division of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center.

    He deals first with stress, which can raise blood glucose and may well be the most important mental factor. The other two are depression, which is well known to be correlated with diabetes, and then with hostility, including cynicism, anger, and aggression.

    Most people with diabetes probably know stress, depression, and hostility all too well. If any of them are your regular companions, you might well study this book with special concentration on the two mind-body techniques that Richard Surwit advocates — progressive muscle relaxation and cognitive behavior therapy. If you apply one or both of these techniques, you will almost certainly be rewarded with better control over your diabetes.

    Originally published in a 2004 hard cover edition, Marlowe & Company published this 267-page trade paperback in September 2005 for $14.95. The ISBN is 1-56924-363-8.

Product News:

  • Low-Carb Potatoes
    A few days ago Peter in Florida called me to ask some questions about the glycemic index, which he is trying to follow more closely. Along the way I mentioned the wonderful low-carb Dreamfields Pasta. That was exciting to him, but in return he mentioned something that was just as exciting to me: low-carb potatoes. He says they are delicious, and asked his wife to grab the bag they came in so I could check them out.

    These “SunLite All Natural Low Carb Potatoes” come from SunFresh of Florida Marketing Cooperative Inc. The website says:

    Members of the group consulted Dr. Chad Hutchinson, program leader at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Research farm in Hastings, Florida, in search of a better tasting potato. Hutchinson and his team screen about 400 new varieties of potatoes a year for taste, shape, color and skin quality.

    They eventually tested and suggested the SunLite variety, developed by Netherlands-based seed potato company HZPC, because it consistently led all others in taste, texture and appearance. Researchers later discovered that the new variety has 30 percent fewer carbohydrates and 25 percent fewer calories than the standard Russet potato.

    If you live in Florida, like Peter, you can probably buy SunLite potatoes in your local supermarket. Otherwise, you can order them from the SunFresh website. They cost $16 for 9 pounds, including tax and shipping.

    I followed up with emails and a call:

    1. SunFresh’s Hank Whetstone wrote, “Sorry, we don’t have that number and have not tested [their potatoes for their] glycemic index.”

    2. The one previous time I heard about low-carb potatoes was from Dr. Jon Anfinsen, the inventor of Dreamfields Pasta. When I interviewed him in April 2004, he told me that they were also working on a low-carb potato product. So I was curious whether Dr. Anfinsen was involved with the SunFresh potato or knew of it. He told me that he wasn’t involved with SunFresh, but was aware of their potato. “The only problem is that the SunLite potatoes are high in moisture level,” he said a few days ago. He added that when you fry these potatoes, they splatter a lot.

      However, Mr. Whetstone denies that. SunLite potatoes, he says, “have slightly higher moisture. But they don’t splatter any more than other potatoes. Moisture comes out a basically the same rate as other potatoes. It just takes proportionately longer to boil out the additional moisture.”

      As for Dr. Anfinsen’s research, he says that they are working on mashed and extruded potatoes, looking at two new technologies to reduce the digestibility of starches. “The work is going very well, and we will launch next year,” he concluded.

    The website for SunLite potatoes is SunFresh of Florida Marketing Cooperative Inc..

Announcements:

  • This Newsletter
    Diabetes Update 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 at Diabetes Directory and in the site’s menu.

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

  • 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:
    1. Is and will remain free.
    2. Nor will I ever sell, rent, or trade your e-mail address to anyone.
    3. I will link sources of information.
    4. I will disclose any conflict of interest.
    5. If and when I learn of any errors of fact, I will correct them.

Archives:

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
  67. Diabetes Update Number 67: Acidic Foods of February 1, 2004
  68. Diabetes Update Number 68: Net Carbs of March 1, 2004
  69. Diabetes Update Number 69: Glycemic Index of April 1, 2004
  70. Diabetes Update Number 70: Dreamfields Pasta of May 1, 2004
  71. Diabetes Update Number 71: Cholesterol of June 1, 2004
  72. Diabetes Update Number 72: Meter News of July 1, 2004
  73. Diabetes Update Number 73: Pill Splitting of August 1, 2004
  74. Diabetes Update Number 74: GlucoMON of September 1, 2004
  75. Diabetes Update Number 75: Coding of October 1, 2004
  76. Diabetes Update Number 76: Sleep Apnea of November 1, 2004
  77. Diabetes Update Number 77: Keynote Address of December 1, 2004
  78. Diabetes Update Number 78: Mangosteen of January 1, 2005
  79. Diabetes Update Number 79: Noninvasive Dream of February 1, 2005
  80. Diabetes Update Number 80: Pelikan Sun of March 1, 2005
  81. Diabetes Update Number 81: Medtronic Monitors of April 1, 2005
  82. Diabetes Update Number 82: ExtendBars of May 1, 2005
  83. Diabetes Update Number 83: GlycoMark of June 1, 2005
  84. Diabetes Update Number 84: My British Book of July 1, 2005
  85. Diabetes Update Number 85: Disintegrating of August 1, 2005
  86. Diabetes Update Number 86: Meter Research of September 1, 2005
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