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Diabetes Diet, Exercise For Diabetes

The New York Times: “Is Sugar Toxic?”

In 1961 I started to read The New York Times when I went to work in Washington. But its magazine always disappointed me.

Until Sunday. This week’s issue focuses on “Health and Wellness 2011.” All four of the magazine’s main articles are essential reading for everyone.

The cover story by Gary Taubes, “Is Sugar Toxic?,” makes the case against sugar. This isn’t his first time to tilt at the medical establishment in this magazine. Nine years ago his article, “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?,” began his crusade to expose the myth that fat was bad and carbohydrates are good.

His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, built on that article so well that it convinced me and thousands of others to follow a very low-carb diet. In “Addicted to Carbs” I wrote here three years ago about how that book changed my life. With his book, Why We Get Fat: and What to Do About It, Taubes takes his argument to a wider, non-scientific audience.

In Taubes’s new article in The New York Times Magazine, he brings to a large audience the groundbreaking work of Dr. Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. Dr. Lustig is the pioneer in reseaching the effects of high-fructose corn syrup and of table sugar (sucrose), which is half fructose. My 2007 article here, “The Trouble with Frucose,” focused on Dr. Lustig’s research about what fructose does to our liver.

Another important article in the new issue of The New York Times Magazine, asks — and answers — the question, “What’s the Most Unhealthful Thing You Do Every Day?” The answer that James Vlahos gives is that sitting is the worst thing we do, and you can read the online version of his article at “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?

This article is about the inactivity research of a doctor who I have also covered here. In this case the doctor is James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and nutritionist, and five years ago his research convinced me that it’s great to be inefficient. My article, “Inefficiency is NEAT,” was about Dr. Levine’s research showing that being efficient in our movements leads us to be heavier.

Simply put, we sit too much. Vlahos also looks at the research of Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. Her research following 123,000 Americans shows that the more we sit the shorter we live.

After reading Dr. Patel’s research last year and reporting on it here at “Standing Up for Your Heart,” I got to thinking how I could stand up more and sit down less. I hired a handyman to make me a stand-up desk, as I wrote here at “A Stand-Up Guy and his Desk.” I don’t know how many people I inspired to do the same, but when I told Dr. Patel what I had done, she replied, “Congratulations! I hope to move from sitting on my exercise ball to a stand-up desk soon myself.”

I now have two desks. On my old sit-down desk is my iMac, which I use mostly for photo editing with Aperture 3 and personal finance with Quicken. On my new stand-up desk I do most of my writing on my MacBook Air connected to an external monitor and keyboard. My email and documents are all “in the cloud.” Here is what it looked like early this afternoon as I drafted this post.

My Stand-Up Desk

The third major article in this week’s New York Times Magazine asks another question, “What’s the Single Best Exercise?” After interviewing a number of exercise scientists, the bottom line that Gretchen Reynolds, the author of this article, offers is high-intensity interval training. Running up steps is one example.

This is another article that brings to the general public research that I have previously reported here. Two years ago my post “Efficient Exercise for Glucose Control” reviewed how efficient brisk walking is for quickly bringing down high blood glucose levels.

The two other major articles in this issue of the magazine are also interesting. Maggie Jones writes about “How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With?” and Siddhartha Mukherjee asks “Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer?

Each of these articles is well worth your time to read — hopefully while you are standing! But the first three that deal with some of the post important aspects of diet and exercise are particularly relevant to those of us who have diabetes.

The New York Times has to be commended for bringing these studies to a huge mainstream audience. I think that it is a part of the mission of Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. for the Times to be “the last man standing” (no pun intended) in the massive migration of readers to the Web and emerge with even more readers.

While I shifted my journalistic focus to the Web about 15 years ago, print is still in my blood. My first love affair — before I discovered girls — was newspapers. Sixty years ago I cleaned Linotype machines and covered sports at the The Banning Record, the weekly newspaper in the Southern California town where I went to high school.

In college I was the assistant sports editor of the Riverside Enterprise, the daily in the county seat. Later, I became the senior editor of Hispanic Business magazine in Santa Barbara.

I’ve written for many newspapers and magazines, but still love The New York Times the most. This week I am delighted to see that its magazine has finally become relevant to most Americans and particularly to those of us who have diabetes.

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

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