09 October 2010

Some foods you should eat – Part 3

Another food that you should consider eating a small amount of is peanut butter. This food is high in fat and you must be careful as it is also a source of many calories. So please use sparingly as just a tablespoon contains about 90 calories. Peanut butter does provide protein and folate, a B vitamin for the healthy development of new cells.

Next time you are in the grocery store or supermarket, take time to read the labels. You may decide not to eat peanut butter. A serving size of two tablespoons is normally suggested. This can be about 200 calories, but what you need to watch is the amount of sodium. I try to find a real and natural peanut butter that has less than 6 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 75 milligrams of sodium. Fat is going to be high, but it should be a majority of good fat. One brand did have some trans fats so it stayed on the shelf. Most brands do not have trans fats.

Peanut butter can be good for people with diabetes as it is a good source of protein and fiber. I am not sure why there is so much difference in calories among the different brands unless it is the method of processing.

When comparing peanut butter labels, make sure that you look at the natural peanut butters as well. Whether the peanut butter is the real thing or not will depend on the ingredients. Many have several additives that help preserve the peanut butter so that it does not have to be refrigerated. Real peanut butter does require refrigeration after opening and are often in the refrigerated section.

If you are vegetarian, then you may stop reading. This is about beef and why I eat some, but not a lot. Beef has saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, and people with heart problems need to limit their intake and use lean cuts. Beef is a good source of protein and iron. For women especially, this iron source is important for during childbearing age as women are often deficient in iron.

Unless you are following a vegetarian diet, beef is still good for you and even though you may not care about the fat, lean cuts are generally the best for those of us with diabetes. A good leafy salad with a tasty steak do make a good meal.

This is the last post in this series.

08 October 2010

Some foods you should eat – Part 2

This is about chocolate. Do I hear cheers? Just be very cautious with this food! You need to eat dark chocolate. Worry more about the calories than the other ingredients as this will cause weight gain if you ignore them in your calorie count for the day. So like many foods, planning is the key so that you are allowed treats like dark chocolate.

Another key often not mentioned in most articles is exercise. Exercise, even moderate exercise has a positive effect in lowing blood glucose and cholesterol. For those able to do more strenuous types of exercise, this will help even more. Always make sure that your doctor knows that you are exercising, as he may want to have some input and may have knowledge that may limit the amount of exercise when starting, or because of a lab test result may want to limit your exercise.

Many people with type 2 diabetes are able to have small quantities of dark chocolate. This is not a license to gorge yourself. You don't need the consequences of too much sugar. I urge you to plan for it and keep the carbs in your meal down to allow for this treat.

One of the biggest health benefits from dark chocolate is the flavonoids which act as antioxidants which help protect your body from the aging caused by free radicals. The free radicals can cause the damage leading to heart disease. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants by almost eight times the number found in strawberries.

Flavonoids also help reduce blood pressure by producing nitric oxide and balance certain hormones in the body. Besides being good for your diabetes if planned for, dark chocolate is good for your heart. First, it does help lower blood pressure and second, it has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol.

Other benefits are – it tastes good, it stimulates endorphin production, it contains serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant, and it has theobromine, caffeine, and other stimulants which may not be all that favorable.

While only one third of dark chocolate is bad for you (saturated fat), the real problem is eating too much. Dark chocolate is high calorie, high-fat food. The recommendation is that you limit you chocolate to 100 grams or about 3.5 ounces per day to get the maximum benefits. It is not stopping with this that causes the problems. The 100 grams is about 200 calories. So adjust you other calories to allow for the chocolate treat.

I will tell you to avoid the milk chocolate and white chocolate. They are not healthy and the dark chocolate has about 65 percent cocoa content. Look for the pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel, or a few other flavorings. Avoid anything with caramel, nougat, or other fillings. I will also warn you not to wash the chocolate down with a glass of milk as this can prevent the antioxidants being used by the body.

07 October 2010

Diabetes Needs a New Organization

This may not be a new idea for many; however, it is past time that the people with Type 2 diabetes were represented by an association or organization that was for and by the people with diabetes. We deserve to be represented in a manner that will put us as patients first.

I am pleased that JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) is expanding their role to serve people with Type 1 diabetes of all ages. This is in the fledgling stage to be sure, therefore there will be some unforeseen problems and missteps, but the future is looking brighter for the adults to be appreciated for their successes and experiences. The JDRF should be a stronger organization for this.

Many people with diabetes look to the ADA (American Diabetes Association) for help and assistance. Because of the nature of the ADA, it does not truly represent the people (us) with diabetes. It is primarily concerned about meeting the needs of the medical community and is supported by the medical community, the drug and equipment manufacturers, and diabetes supply companies.

What is missing from the ADA is leadership and timely support for people with diabetes. Yes, they do provide some guidance, but to the medical community to assist them in making medical decisions about how to diagnose and treat us. The question haunting many is – are those of us with diabetes being better served as a result. I would not be writing this if I thought we were being served in an efficient and timely manner.

Do we still need the ADA? Yes, they do have a purpose. It is a shame that the organization is so bogged in the quagmire of their own making, that we have to wait years for decisions that could be made in less than a year. The ADA sets policies for the medical community that often to not allow for the individual nature of diabetes. Their one size should fit all policy leaves much to be desired.

That is why we, as people of Type 2 diabetes, have a need for an organization that will work for us, and support the actions of the JDRF, JDRF International, IDF (International Diabetes Federation), and even the WHO (World Health Organization). Supporting means giving them credit when it is due, cooperating when and where possible, and working together to educate people about diabetes, and the differences between the types of diabetes, and in many other endeavors.

Yes, the new organization will need to support the ADA in some areas. The important work of the organization will be for support of the people with Type 2 diabetes. Fund raising will be necessary to bring new ideas to the table for review and action. It will be required to follow research and fund research for finding what may affect a person with diabetes and see that it gets the recognition it needs. There will need to be many more objectives and goals.

Naming the new organization will require thought to reflect its goals and objectives. Finding qualified people to serve in the initial stages will take care and people who are willing to serve. They must be creative, knowledgeable, and represent the broad spectrum of specialists needed to bring the objectives and goals to fruition.

There are many goals and objectives that the new organization could embrace, but I will leave this for another blog and see what responses this one generates.

These are just a few of the thoughts jamming up my mind as I see the lack of clear and meaningful support from the ADA for all people with diabetes.

06 October 2010

Some foods you should eat – Part 1

As with so many other foods that have gotten a bad rap by supposedly independent scientists without an agenda, research will normally out these scientists that had agendas and falsely reported misguided research that wrecked havoc on certain foods.

No, I am not telling you that you must eat certain foods. If after reading this, you feel differently – that is your prerogative. I just hope that these foods become more interesting and potentially part of what you eat.

Eggs have had the bad rap because of the cholesterol in the yoke of the egg. Even the ADA has labeled them bad because of the foods they are eaten with, like sausage or bacon. Even added how they are cooked. I eat eggs regularly and use them in various recipes. Do I believe that the bad rap they have received is valid? To a point, but not enough to eliminate them from my menu. Mostly the bad rap is is because they are lumped in with other heavy cholesterol foods and not thought about if eaten by themselves.

Are eggs bad for your heart? If not eaten in moderation, they can have an effect, but generally this cholesterol is part of the dietary allowance you eat every day and should not create problems unless you eat more than two per day. The experts of today generally agree that one egg per day causes no problems. The body normally will compensate by producing less cholesterol. They also agree that saturated fats and trans fats have a far greater influence on raising blood cholesterol.

Many people are so worried about the cholesterol in an egg that they forget about the nutrients and good parts of the egg. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that research today links with reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. Even the American Heart Association has removed the limit on the number of egg yokes a person may or may not consume in a week.

A compound in eggs, lecithin, can reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Phospholipid, or lecithin, found in egg markedly inhibits the cholesterol absorption. The inhibition is not 100 per cent, but does demonstrate why eggs are not the bad guys of dietary cholesterol.

For those of you insisting on specialty eggs, please read this. Some will insist on cage free or range eggs, but they have no more nutrition than every-day white shelled eggs. The demand is high for these specialty eggs and it does cost more to produce them. I am just happy that I did not grow up in a culture that likes fertile eggs or fertile eggs with the embryos at a certain age.

Also remember the key to lowering cholesterol is exercise and if you have diabetes it will aid in lowering blood glucose levels as well. If you are medically unable to exercise then you will need to depend on your doctor for advice to control cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

05 October 2010

Diabetes is Not Your Fault

It does not matter what type of diabetes that is diagnosed, it still comes with a jolt, a shock, or a big dread. Once the pronouncement has been made, then the anger, guilt, denial, depression, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, and fear can set in. Hopefully they don't all arrive at once, but much of this can happen.

If it is Type 2 diabetes, then many people develop a lot of self-blame, or the feeling that the diabetes is their fault. It is unfortunate that good diabetes management generally involves losing or maintaining weight. This is where people want to lay a guilt trip on the person with diabetes.

Why is it acceptable in America for people to blame others for getting diabetes? This is very hurtful and generally inaccurate. Lifestyle can be the cause, but generally it is the people who are genetically disposed that get type 2 diabetes. Genetics will affect why when two people can both live a sedentary and unhealthy eating lifestyle, only one gets diabetes and the other does not.

The problem is that you did not cause the diabetes you have. It does not mean that you are a bad person. It is just that your body has decided that it wants to behave differently than we would like. At present, there is no way of knowing what triggered your body to develop diabetes, just that you were capable of getting diabetes.

The good news is that there is an upside, yes, I said upside, and I did not stutter. Since type 2 diabetes is generally a lifestyle disease, exercise and diet will have an effect on diabetes. You have the opportunity to change your lifestyle and delay or even prevent any complications. It is up to you!

The other advantage of having diabetes it that it is manageable. All it requires is an effort on your part to turn your life around. And no, I did not say cure, but diabetes is manageable and you can manage it.

For those that wonder why them when no one else in their family has diabetes, I will not tell them that someone in their past may have been predisposed to diabetes, but never was diagnosed. I will not tell them that they just don't know. Many people from past generations were very secretive about their health. I know, my father's family was that way. You just did not talk about health issues with them. My mother's family was a little more open, but they still were not a fountain of information.

04 October 2010

Our faulty tests for diagnosing diabetes

Tell me why this is not unexpected. This news has been known for some time, but with the lack of other tests, we were rather limited to criticize them too much. Now the science of our tests is being exposed and everyone can see the faults of both tests.

The data is alarming, or should be for those who may have diabetes, but have not yet been diagnosed. This is why the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have opposed the A1c as the standard for diagnosis. Yet, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) chooses to forge ahead with a defective test. See this reference and start reading at B. Diagnosis of diabetes Recommendations. This is below table 1.

The ADA claims that the A1c test has been standardized, but really folks, who are they kidding. There are still too many variables that exist that keep it a faulty and defective diagnostic tool by itself. It might work well of some races, but for others it will give faulty readings. So I have to ask, WHEN is the ADA going to wake up and learn. Never, if this is the way they continue to do business.

I say quite openly, when those of us with Type 2 diabetes have an organization like the adult Type 1 diabetes people seem to now have in JDRF, then we might find our way into the twenty-first century. As long at the ADA continues to be by and for the medical community, those of us with diabetes (the patients) will continue to be ignored and given lip-service.

To go along with this, I am finding more and more diabetes news on the BBC, Reuters, and Telegraph UK. The US has a few sources, but more researchers are reaching out to news organizations outside of the US to get their research recognized. In the US, it gets buried inside the ADA website and unless a few good sources like Diabetes in Control dig or mine the information, it stays hidden in the ADA archives.

Most of us do not have the time to mine the information on the ADA website. I occasionally find something there, but I am lucky most of the time. I admit that I find more information on government agency websites that I do on ADA.