Today I would like to feature bits and pieces of information on diabetes with the caveat that I am not a doctor and these comments are not to be taken as a Â diagnosis or recommendations. Rather, I hope they will stimulate you to do your own research on the areas of interest to you.Â Since this is National Diabetes Month, this may be a good time to get a blood sugar checkup if diabetes runs in your family, as it does in mine.
My mother died at age 66 of a massive heart attack, brought on by the combination of her obesity and diabetes, now called diabesity. This newly coined word aptly illustrates the close association between weight and diabetes, since 97% of all cases of Type 2 diabetes are caused by excessive weight. This is a concrete example of the wider cluster of symptoms of a metabolic disorder known as insulin resistance Metabolic Syndrome X. (Source: http:www.carbs-information.com)
The website www.heartlandnaturapathic.com was sent to me by my friend Coll and has excellent information on Insulin Resistance Syndrome.Â What I learned on this website is that white, granulated sugar and other sweeteners, including honey and maple syrup, are only the tip of the iceberg. Here is what Dr. Randall Bradley says on this website: â€œAnd the cause is sugar, not just white sugar or other refined sweeteners, but also refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and desserts made from white flour and sugar.â€
Photo of white bread before baking. Choose whole grains instead!
So the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is not conducive to staying healthy, because so many of our foods are made with refined carbs and the desserts are mostly white flour and white sugar. Eating more whole, unrefined, and lightly processed foods without being stripped of nutrients seems to be the key for preventing all kinds of health problems, not just diabetes.
In an article by David Seaman,a chiropractor (magazine unknown), I read about Â pain andinflammation and its causes. Here is the quote from that article:
“The foods that cause inflammation and lead to pain include refined sugar, refined grains, and related flour products (bread, pasta, bagels, etc.), refined oils, and obese meats.”
I grew up with bagels, so when I have a craving for one, I look for pumpernickel, rye, or whole grain bagels. Â White is usually too pasty for me.
This next tidbit is from O Magazine (August 2007) and I found hard to believe, so I am printing it with surprise.
“Something in coffee seems to help insulin do its job: Women who drank three to four cups of coffee a day and a 29% lower risk of diabetes, according to a study from Finland.”
There has been a great deal of controversy about the pros and cons of coffee in the last few years, so you need to make up your own mind after doing the research, but I thought this was interesting enough to print.
The three or four cups suggested in the study seems excessive, so check with your doctor if this information interests you.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) seems to be in every processed (sweetened) food. According to Wise Traditions, the newsletter of the Weston Price Foundation, HFCS accounts for more than half the refined sweeteners used in the U.S. food supply. Â It is sweeter and less expensive than regular white sugar and represent a major change in the American diet over the past 40 years.
The articles explains how HFC is free, unbound fructose, which is not the same as the fructose in fruit. Fruit fructose is bound with other sugar and is part of a complex that includes such things as fiber, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Thus, HFCS is a refined sweetener and, as such, is converted into triglycerides and body fat.
A chronic, high triglyceride level, in turn, translates to increased insulin resistance, inflammation, and heart disease, according to this article. The article also notes that some people are more sensitive to fructose than others, which may also affect how much damage results from ingesting HFCS regularly.
Again, if this is a concern, do some research on your own and then consult with your doctor and/or a nutritionist. (I hope to do a special report on HFCS soon.)
Mexican soft drinks, HFCS-free
Finally, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. has many pages on diabetes. The summary is succinct and includes diet, supplements, botanical medicines, and exercise. Â Here is just an excerpt from the summary:
“All simple, processed, and concentrated carbohydrates must be avoided. Complex carbohydrate, high fiber foods should be stressed, and fats should be kept to a minimum. Legumes, onions, and garlic are particularly useful.” (p. 429)
These two definitions from www.ivillage.com are very clear:
- Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly. Many simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals. Examples include fruits, fruit juice, milk, yoghurt, honey, molasses and sugar.
- Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are usually packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals. Examples are vegetables, breads, cereals, legumes and pasta.
Legumes include, but are not limited to:Â Adzuki Beans,Â Black Beans,Â Black-eyed peas,Â Cannellini Beans,Â Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans),Â Edamame (Green Soybeans),Â Kidney Beans,Â Lentils,Â Lima Bean,Â Navy Beans,Â Pinto BeansÂ Split Peas.Â (Beans are an important part of my diet as a source of protein, good fats, and fiber. ES)
The information on diabetes is almost overwhelming, but I think one thing is clear: a healthful diet is an important part of prevention and treatment, so if diabetes is in your family and you are concerned about your blood sugar levels, be sure to ask your doctor for the proper tests and treatment and a nutritionist for dietary tips. Â In the next posting I will review The Diabetes Revolution Workbook by Janet Sanders, a local resident of Philadelphia. Watch for it!