Tag: blood glucose

May

17

Blood Glucose Control and Exercise, Get Moving!

Blood Glucose Control and Exercise, Get Moving!Most of you already know that I love to exercise.  My day starts out at 4am, early yes, but its the only time that I get to myself during the day.  As a stay at home dad of 4, I consider this a small sacrifice for my sanity as well as to benefit my bottom line as a type 1 diabetic, my health!  

What makes exercise so important?  Well I think we all know the answer to that question as there are so many benefits including better control of our overall blood sugars.  There is a list of exercises you can do, but lets take a closer look at how you can exercise safely for better control!

Diabetes And Exercise:

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, diabetes and exercise should go hand in hand, at least when it comes to the management aspect of the disease. Not only can exercise can help you improve your blood sugar control, boost your overall fitness, it can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, provide more stable blood sugar readings, and help lower blood pressure ~ all risk factors that we face.

While exercise is great for us and the benefits are well documented, as diabetics it also poses some unique challenges. To exercise safely, it’s crucial to track your blood sugar before, during and after physical activity. You’ll learn how your body responds to exercise, which can help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations.

Exercise And High Blood Sugars?

This was one of the biggest hurdles for me when I was first diagnosed.  My numbers would skyrocket after a workout or even during a gym session.  The issue is that exercise triggers the body to release stress hormones, like adrenaline. Adrenaline tells the liver to release glucose, or cortisol which makes you more resistant to insulin, and since strenuous activity triggers an increase in these stress hormones,  chances are (even temporarily) your blood sugars are often increased.

That being said different exercises affect us differently and we also know that we’re all very unique, and lets face it, type 1 diabetes effects everyone differently and no situations are ever the same. Our blood sugar response to exercise will also depend on our level of physical fitness and personal exertion. Generally speaking, 30-40 minutes of high intensity interval training will bring different results than an hour of running, doing the stair climber or even walking the dog so it will be important to closely monitor your blood sugars during exercise and see how these activity levels effect you.

Continue Reading

May

10

Ketoacidosis In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs.

Ketoacidosis In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs.As a type 1 diabetic I am quite familiar (unfortunately) with the signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from lack of insulin associated with high blood levels and your body starts to produce high levels of blood acids called ketones.  Diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with significant disturbances of the body’s chemistry, which resolve with proper therapy.

This usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, but DKA can develop in any person with diabetes.  Since type 1 diabetes typically starts before the age of 25, diabetic ketoacidosis is most common for this age group, but it may occur at any age with both males and females are equally affected. So is DKA something that we should be worried about? Lets take a closer look!

What Causes Ketoacidosis ?

So what’s the deal when our results come back showing ketones in urine? Circumstances arise for people with type 1 diabetes when the individual does not have enough insulin, a hormone the body uses to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood for energy. When glucose is not available to feed our cells due to high blood sugars, fat is broken down and used as fuel vs glucose and this is particularly not a good thing.  As fats are broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine.  In high levels, ketones are extremely poisonous.  This condition is known as ketoacidosis.

Blood glucose levels rise (usually higher than 300 mg/dL) because the liver makes glucose to try to combat the problem.  However, the cells cannot pull in that glucose without insulin.

DKA is often the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who do not yet have other symptoms.  It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin, or surgery can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis in people with type 1 diabetes.

Although not common, people with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is rare and typically triggered by a severe illness.

What Are The Warning Signs Of DKA?

DKA usually develops slowly. But when vomiting occurs, this life-threatening condition can develop in a few hours. Early symptoms per the American Diabetes Association include the following:

  • Thirst or a very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood glucose (blood sugar) levels
  • High levels of ketones in the urine

Then, other symptoms appear:

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
    (Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than 2 hours, contact your health care provider.)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fruity odor on breath
  • A hard time paying attention, or confusion

Any of these symptoms should immediately be discussed with your doctor and they will let you know the next course of action, including treatment options or better yet, a trip to the ER may be in order especially if you can flush them from your system.  Speaking of treatment options, what can you expect?  Lets take a closer look.

Continue Reading

Apr

21

The Glycemic Load And How It Helps Manage Your Blood Sugars.

What Is The Glycemic Load?Ok, so I was researching some information the other day when it came to certain foods and I came across a term that was unfamiliar to me.  As diabetics we are so use to hearing about the glycemic index (that’s all that was preached to me upon my T1D diagnoses 11 years ago) and why we need to make sure our foods are on the lower end of this scale to make sure our blood sugars remain more stable and do not skyrocket, but as I was researching these particular foods, I came across something I’ve haven’t really heard much about…the glycemic load.  What is this glycemic load?  Is it the same as the glycemic index?  Will it have a direct impact on my blood sugars?  All great questions so lets take a closer look! 

Difference Between Glycemic Index And Load?

Just to quickly review,  the glycemic index  is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and are categorized into 3 categories.  

The categories are as follows:

Low = GI value 55 or less

Medium = GI value of 56 – 69 inclusive

High = GI 70 or more

Lower glycemic index foods, unlike high GI, will not cause your blood glucose levels to spike and crash, meaning you get sustained energy from the foods you eat.   So now that we’ve reviewed that tid bit of info, how does the glycemic load compare?

How About The Glycemic Load?

The glycemic load of food is a number (just like the glycemic index) that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it. One unit of the glycemic load approximates the effect of consuming one gram of glucose, but the difference is that the glycemic load accounts for how much carbohydrate is in a particular food and how much each gram of that particular carbohydrate will raise ones blood glucose levels (now you can see my peaked curiosity).

Foods with a low glycemic load keep blood sugar levels much more consistent, meaning that you avoid experiencing those quick spikes and dramatic lows that we can become accustomed to. The reason being is that you are accounting for that particular carbohydrate with it comes to bolusing for your meals.

By watching the glycemic load of the foods you ingest you can dramatically impact your overall health in many ways.  A diet focused on foods  with a low glycemic load can:

  • Make it easier to lose weight and avoid the dreaded diet plateau
  • Avoid the roller coaster effect and maintain stable blood sugar levels (yes, please!)
  • Help you burn more calories
  • Help with insulin resistance 
  • Lower your risk for heart disease

How Do I Calculate The Glycemic Load?

Ok, so this is probably the most important question.  The glycemic load (GL) is a measure of both the quality (the GI value) and quantity (grams per serving) of a carbohydrate in a particular food. A food’s glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate the food contains in each serving, then dividing that by 100.  Confused a bit, lets take a look at this example of an apple.

So the Glycemic Load = GI x Carbohydrate (g) content per portion ÷ 100.

Using a small apple as an example: GI value = 38.  Carbohydrate per serving = 15g

GL = 38 (glycemic index) x 15 (grams of carb)
                                     100

So the glycemic load of a typical apple is 6.  Great, now your probably asking yourself, what do you do with this information?

Well, similar to the glycemic index, the glycemic load of a food can be classified as low, medium, or high reflecting on how quickly they will raise your blood sugars:

  • Low: 10 or less
  • Medium: 11 – 19
  • High: 20 or more

For optimal health, it is recommended to keep your daily glycemic load under 100. However, the simplest way to use the GL is to choose foods with the lowest GI within a food group or category and to be mindful of your serving sizes.
Continue Reading

Mar

7

What Is C-Peptide? How Does It Play A Factor In Your Diagnosis?

What Is C-Peptide? How Is It Used To Diagnose DiabetesIts a fantastic question and was a test that was run on me to confirm my type 1 diagnosis. A c-peptide!  What is it?  What is the purpose and why do they use this particular test in order to confirm a type 1 diabetes diagnosis?  Lets take a closer look! 

What Is C-Peptide?

C-peptide, similar to the hormone insulin is produced in the pancreas.  Both are released simultaneously from the pancreas where a compound called pro-insulin is split into two pieces.

As we are aware by now, Insulin is responsible for regulating the body’s glucose levels. Glucose, the body’s main source of energy, is a sugar that comes from foods.  After a meal, our bodies break down the foods we eat into glucose and other nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream to give us the energy we need in order to fuel our bodies. Glucose levels in the blood rise after a meal and trigger the pancreas to make insulin and release it into the blood, and when insulin is released, so is C-peptide.

Although both are released into the blood stream simultaneous, C-peptide has zero effect on our blood sugar levels. That being said, it is extremely useful as its used as a marker of insulin production, since the pancreas typically releases C-peptide and insulin in about equal amounts.

In a nut shell, high C-peptide levels are associated with increased insulin production, while low C-peptide levels indicate decreased insulin production.

Continue Reading

Feb

20

The Hormone Amylin, Can It Help With Weight Loss & Blood Sugar Regulation:

The Hormone Amylin And Type 1 Diabetes:So after have a couple of amazing conversations over on the Facebook page, a lovely young lady asked me if injecting insulin was the reason why she was gaining weight after her type 1 diagnosis.  

While I’ve heard this several times, is it the insulin that is causing the weight gain, or could it be something else?  Perhaps a hormone that as type 1 diabetics we also stop producing since our beta cells have died off.  

Have you ever heard of Amylin? Could the lack of this hormone be the reason why she is seeing an increase in her weight? What is amylin anyway, and is it something we should be concerned with if we are no longer producing it?

These are all great questions and honestly this was news to me as well as I’ve never heard of it.  So lets take a closer look at what this little hormone does and if it has a direct impact on our overall health as type 1 diabetics!

Function Of Amylin?

So what is amylin? Or as its also called, pramlintide, and how can it help us? Amylin is a peptide hormone (insulins partner in crime) which is released by the beta cells in response to ingesting food. This hormone, is also released at the same time as insulin, but in different quantities and its primary function is to help aid in the digestive process by helping to control the rate of digestion.

The complete range of functions of amylin is still not fully known, but its main function has been determined to be to help to slow the speed at which food is digested and glucose is released into the bloodstream after a meal. Essentially, amylin keeps too much glucose from appearing in the blood in the first place.

Amylin accomplishes this in a number of ways. It decreases appetite by promoting a feeling of fullness, hence reducing food intake. It slows gastric emptying and inhibits the secretion of digestive enzymes, all of which slow the appearance of glucose in the blood after a meal and it also slows the secretion of glucagon, which otherwise causes additional glucose release by the liver at mealtimes.

In short, the release of amylin minimizes glucose spikes that often occur after meals. I know, frustrating right!  I mean this disease is already hard enough, now this.  Fortunately for us, we do have another option to replace this important hormone that has also died off with our beta cells so go ahead and keep on reading.

 

Continue Reading

Dec

19

Diabetes And The Glycemic Index, Is It Really Accurate?

Diabetes And The Glycemic Index, Is It Really Accurate?As a type 1 diabetic, the glycemic index use to be near and dear to my heart, well, that’s until I found out the glycemic load. How do the two differ?  Last week I posted about the the glycemic load, but what is the glycemic index and how do they differ?  Lets take a closer look!

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level.  A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.

An awareness of foods’ Glycemic Index can help you control your blood sugar levels, and by doing so, may help you prevent heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, prevent insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, prevent certain cancers, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.  A substantial amount of research suggests a low GI diet provides these significant health benefits. So, it’s worth taking a look at the basic principles of a low GI way of eating.

Why The Glycemic Index Is Important?

Your body performs best when your blood sugar is kept relatively constant.  If your blood sugar drops too low, you become lethargic and/or experience increased hunger.  And if it goes too high, your brain signals your pancreas to secrete more insulin.  Insulin brings your blood sugar back down, but primarily by converting the excess sugar to stored fat.  Also, the greater the rate of increase in your blood sugar, the more chance that your body will release an excess amount of insulin, and drive your blood sugar back down too low.

Therefore, when you eat foods that cause a large and rapid glycemic response, you may feel an initial elevation in energy and mood as your blood sugar rises, but this is followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy, and more hunger!  Although increased fat storage may sound bad enough, individuals with diabetes (diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2) have an even worse problem.  Their bodies inability to secrete or process insulin causes their blood sugar to rise too high, leading to a host of additional medical problems.

The theory behind the Glycemic Index is simply to minimize insulin-related problems by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar.

High Glycemic Index Foods And Health Problems:

What researchers have learned is that high glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. In addition, people who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods tend to have greater levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI). High BMIs are linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

High glycemic index foods include many carbohydrates such as:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Low-fiber cereals
  • Baked goods

Continue Reading

Mar

28

Diabetes, Insulin Sensitivity And Apple Cider Vinegar

Diabetes, Insulin Sensitivity And Apple Cider VinegarOver the past year plus, I’ve incorporated apple cider vinegar into my diet and I absolutely  love it and here’s why!   Apple cider vinegar benefits are plentiful. Its wide-ranging uses include everything from curing hiccups to alleviating cold symptoms, and some people have turned to apple cider vinegar to help fight high blood sugars, heart problems, high cholesterol, and weight issues.  It’s effective for pretty much anything—your skin, your hair, your house, and even your pets can benefit from its qualities. Raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized, apple cider vinegar is so much more than a salad dressing!

Alkalize Your Body With Apple Cider Vinegar:

There’s that word again, Alkalize! Some alternative practitioners recommend using apple cider vinegar to restore a healthy alkaline/acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet is that our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45) and that our diet should reflect this pH level. A diet high in acid-producing foods leads to lack of energy, excessive mucous production, infections, anxiety, irritability, headache, sore throat, nasal and sinus congestion, allergic reactions, and increased risk of conditions such as arthritis and gout.

Despite being an acidic solution, apple cider vinegar has an alkalizing effect on the body. As such, one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water as a daily health solution to help alkalize your body.

ACV For Heartburn:

Apple cider vinegar can also be very helpful in reducing gas and bloating. Just take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in water or tea before a meal. It can also help alleviate symptoms of heartburn. Take a dose as soon as you feel heartburn symptoms coming on.
Continue Reading

Mar

22

Coconut Palm Sugar And Blood Sugars:

Coconut Palm Sugar And Diabetes Recently on my Facebook page, I fielded a question about coconut palm sugar and its health benefits.  So, for all my fellow diabetics on The Organic Diabetic, this is for you!

One might think that coconut sugar is produced from coconuts, but its not. Coconut sugar is a product of the coconut tree, or more specifically the sap obtained from coconut tree’s flower buds. It is sometimes called coco sap sugar or coconut palm sugar. The blossoms are cut and the nectar is collected into bamboo containers. As a sweetener, especially for diabetics, how safe is coconut sugar? Lets take a look!

Why Coconut Palm Sugar:

As diabetics we all know the importance of eating low glycemic items to help prevent glucose spikes. Coconut palm sugar is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it’s completely natural and unrefined. It’s acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar. This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that’s naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins including over 16 amino acids, minerals and phytonutrients including potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6.

It is never refined or bleached like white sugar. So the nutrients it was made with are still there. That’s rare for sweeteners, most of which are highly refined. Even stevia is highly refined in its white powder form.
Continue Reading

Jan

6

Cacao Nibs: Cacao Health Benefits

Cacao Nibs: Cacao Health Benefits I mean, who doesn’t live a little chocolate! Cacao is a type of tropical tree, part of the evergreen family, that produces the world’s chocolate in raw form, before all that lovely fat, sugar, and other “sweeteners” are added. The cacao tree grows in a few specific regions of the world naturally, including Mexico and South America, where most of the cacao or chocolate beans/seeds come from. Cacao trees only grow in tropical areas with the right combination of climate, temperature, and environment factors. You can’t just plant a cacao tree anywhere – it won’t grow or survive in the wrong conditions.

Cacao And Antioxidants:

Cacao is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that make it almost a super food or natural Multi-Vitamin! The beneficial ingredients found in the cacao nibs (raw chocolate) are Antioxidants, Theobromine, Phenylethylamine, Essential Minerals and Vitamins.

One of the main health benefits of chocolate is its high concentration of antioxidants. Although processed chocolate still has a good concentration of antioxidants – the processing and cutting (adding new ingredients and mixing them together) of the raw cacao seed tends to lower that amount. If you want the best hardcore antioxidant power of cacao beans/seeds, then you will want to get it in its natural raw state – nothing added, nothing taken away.
Continue Reading

Sep

25

Is Swerve Sweetener Safe for Diabetics?

Is Swerve Sweetener Safe for Diabetics?So here we are with another artificial sweetener hitting the market, swerve sweetener!  Let me first start out by saying the words “all natural” just flat out scare me and here’s why. Unfortunately, in most cases, its a marketing ploy and most companies just throw in the term “all natural” because there is no laws, or regulations that prevent them from doing so.  I mean lets face it, certain street drugs that are manufactured in basements around the world can be considered “all natural”. Would you go around adding them to your favorite baked goods or coffee, probably not. So what about Swerve the “all natural” sweetener? How does it stack up against all the other safe “artificial sweeteners” on the market, lets take a look!

What is Swerve?

Perhaps you’ve seen it while strolling down the baking aisle at your local health food store, Swerve, the “all-natural sweetener” with no synthetic chemicals, no aspartame, and no genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), but is Swerve really a healthy sweetening alternative for diabetics and health-conscious individuals trying to cut refined sugars from their diet?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not necessarily a simple yes or no. While preferable to artificial sweeteners like Equal, Sweet’N Low, and Splenda, Swerve sweetener is still a highly-refined sweetening agent made primarily from erythritol a type of sugar alcohol naturally found in plants.
Continue Reading