Tag: heart disease

Nov

27

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

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Nov

19

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.
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Aug

4

Health Benefits Of The Paleo Diet For Diabetics

Health Benefits Of The Paleo DietSo what does eating paleo mean, what is the definition of paleo? I have several friends that keep throwing out the words paleo diet and swearing by it, especially when it comes to helping stabilize their blood sugars. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of “diets” in general but after doing a little research on paleo, I can certainly understand why they are so giddy over living paleo!

The Paleo diet is certainly not a new idea. Coming to popular attention with the publication of a book on the subject by Walter Voegtlin in 1975, its central concept is to mimic the diet of humans that lived 25 to 50 thousand years ago, during the Paleolithic Age. Voegtlin claimed distinct benefits are associated with what he claims was the high protein and low carbohydrate die of the ancients. His plan is occasionally called the caveman diet, the Stone Age diet and the hunter-gatherer diet. Proponents of the Paleo diet continue to practice it, and it has been somewhat validated by the emergence of other similar low-carb diets.

Health Benefits Of The Paleo Diet:

For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any particular form of eating, aka “a diet”. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.

With a very simple shift the paleo diet not only removes the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and brings us back to the way our ancestors ate…eating unprocessed foods like meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts as well as seeds.

Paleo Diet For Diabetics:

There are a number of studies investigating the effects of Paleo diets on type 1 and type 2 diabetics and results are impressive. A study published in July 2009 in “Cardiovascular Diabetology” compared the Paleo diet to the Mediterranean diet in subjects with type 2 diabetes over a period of three months. The researchers found that the Paleo diet reduced fasting blood sugar levels, hemoglobin A1C, plasma insulin levels and insulin resistance significantly compared to the Mediterranean diet, indicating potential benefits of the Paleo diet for people with type 2 diabetes.  Here are 5 more studies and how they help stabilize blood sugars, feel free to check them out.

Pro’s Of The Diet:

Right off the start you can see how well this diet is going to control blood sugar levels. In a world where many of us experience roller coaster-like blood sugar fluctuations, this aspect alone proves to be an extremely beneficial aspect of the set-up.

As most of us know, the more stabilized our blood sugar levels are, the less likely you’re going to be to experience food cravings, to battle ongoing fatigue, and to be at the potential risk of developing diabetes down the road.

Since the paleo diet is also chalk full of healthy fats from all the seeds and nuts that are being consumed while also being low in saturated fat due to the restriction of dairy and high fat meat sources, this is also going to work to improve your cholesterol profile and help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

When using the paleo diet you shouldn’t find you have any issue getting enough protein in either, which is something that’s critical for both the fat loss and muscle building process as you’ll be including lean meat sources with each meal. By choosing to incorporate a wide spectrum of fruits and vegetables in your menu, you’re also going to help to keep calorie intake on the lower side, so this will be beneficial from a fat loss point of view.

If you are someone who happens to actively looking to build muscle and thus require that higher calorie surplus, you can simply add larger doses of nuts and seeds into the plan to help boost your calorie and healthy fat intake up higher.
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Oct

26

Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency

Signs Of Magnesium DeficiencyThere is no doubt that magnesium and other essential minerals are a valued and sought-after part of our diets.  Our bodies require minerals for all aspects of life and smooth functioning.  Most people rarely get enough minerals in their diet. Essential minerals, like other essential nutrients, cannot be metabolized from within the body; they must be consumed.  Many of us are well aware of the sources and benefits of calcium and potassium, but what about magnesium?

Why We Need Magnesium:

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.  Two-thirds of it is found in your bones and the rest in your tissues.  This amazing mineral is absorbed into the body through the intestines and is then transported through the blood to your cells and organs where it’s stored.  Because the body can’t produce it (unlike some nutrients like vitamin A), you need to eat enough magnesium rich foods on a daily basis to remain healthy.

Researchers know that magnesium plays a wide variety of roles in the body.  Your cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands and brain all rely on the mineral to accomplish even the most basic tasks.  And scientists believe it may play an important role in preventing or treating dozens of health conditions including asthma, autism, heart disease, eclampsia, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, PMS and lupus.

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Oct

5

Health Benefits Of Mangosteen

Health Benefits Of MangosteenMangosteen is a dark purple fruit with white on the inside of the fruit from Southeast-Asia, Thailand being one of its largest producers in the world. Even though mangosteen sounds like a mango type, it is really very different mango. Now it is always available at Asian markets across North America. Mangosteen is delectably sweet and juicy fruit that offers numerous health benefits of both the fruit itself and its skin which are incredibly potent disease fighters. Delicious as it is useful, the mangosteen fruit is always rich in xanthones, which may promote healthy physical function

Mangosteen And Inflammation:

Systemic inflammation in people who are obese may lead to further health problems including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers studied mangosteen juice to see if it could lower signs of inflammation in obese volunteers. An article in “Nutrition Journal” reported that volunteers who drank mangosteen juice twice daily showed a significant reduction in inflammatory markers in their bloodstream, while markers for inflammation in a control group that received a different juice concoction didn’t change. The authors cautioned that more studies are necessary to confirm the benefits of mangosteen juice and determine if there are any negative side effects.

Importance Of Vitamin C:

Mangosteen is good in vitamin C and provides about 12% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

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Sep

21

Advantages And Health Benefits Of Eating Cabbage

Advantages And Health Benefits Of Eating CabbageRich in phytonutrients, this cool season leafy vegetable belongs to the “Brassica” family of vegetables, which also include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, and broccoli. It is one of the widely cultivated crops around the world, but were you aware of all the amazing health benefits that cabbage nutrition provides?  They are plentiful, but here are some of my favorites!

Cabbage Nutrition And Eye Health:

As a diabetic and for those who suffer from diabetes maintaining our eye health is imperative. Rich source of beta-carotene, so many people, particularly as they get older, turn to this vegetable for its ability to prevent macular degeneration and generally promote good eye health and the delay of cataract formation. Beta-carotene has also been positively linked to reduced chances of prostate cancer, which is an extra bonus on top of the other anti-carcinogenic effects!

Perfect For Weight Loss?

Cabbage is frequently recommended for people who want to lose weight in a healthy way, especially for anyone suffering from diabetes. Since its packed with so many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, it is a healthy dietary option for people to eat a lot of, and it is quite filling, since it has high levels of fiber, which add bulk to the bowels. However, its extremely low in calories, only 33 calories in a cup, cooked. Therefore, people can go on the popular “cabbage soup” diet, and eat plenty of food to stay healthy, without gaining excess weight!
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Mar

31

Health Benefits Of Sage And Type 2 Diabetes

Health Benefits Of Sage And Type 2 DiabetesSage, Salvia officinalis, is a desert herb native to the Mediterranean. It prefers shallow, rocky soils and large amounts of sun. Cooks rely on this herb for its distinct flavor and aroma, and the herb also offers a number of potential health and medicinal benefits. So what are the associated health benefits with this amazingly, powerful herb, lets take a closer look and see how you can incorporate this into your healthy lifestyle!

Sage And Diabetes:

This wonderful herb may have other potential health benefits, including protecting against diabetes. Studies on laboratory animals published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” found that this paticular extract might be hypoglycemic, lowering the animals’ blood glucose by blocking release of stored glucose from the liver, a function the liver performs in response to a hormone called glucagon. The authors compared these effects to those of a common diabetes drug, metformin, and suggested that sage might be a useful preventive against Type 2 diabetes. However, studies on human subjects are needed to confirm its potential for this use.

Sage For Hot Flashes:

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Mar

19

Health Benefits Of Figs

Health Benefits Of FigsWhen I first hear the term fig, the first thing that immediately comes to mind are the infamous fig newton cookies, but what are figs really? Figs grow on the ficus carica tree which belongs to the mulberry family. Dried figs are better concentrated sources of minerals and vitamins but lets take a closer look at some of the amazing health benefits!

Figs are a great source of dietary fiber and make you feel satiated. So, it’s a great option for those who want to lose weight. The fiber content is also excellent for the digestive system and helps relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). What is it about  amazing fruit that makes them so vitally important to our diet, lets take a look!

Figs And Fiber:

One of the most impressive nutrients is its fiber. Fiber helps keep your digestive system working efficiently. A fiber-rich diet also helps lower your overall cholesterol levels. Eating a diet rich in fiber is also a smart way to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, and potentially reduce your chances of getting certain types of cancer. A 1/2-cup serving of fresh figs contains 2.9 grams of fiber. That translates to about 12 percent of the 25 grams of fiber women need each day and about 8 percent of the 38 grams men need daily.

Great For Skin Conditions:

Figs are rich in important nutrients like Vitamin B, C, phosphorus, potassium and minerals like calcium and magnesium which are essential for boosting and rejuvenating the skin’s health. The high omega 3 fatty acids in figs keep the skin well-moisturized and conditioned from within. Continue Reading

Dec

10

Hidden Toxins In Your Food!

Hidden Toxins In Your FoodEveryday we chow down on chemically produced food that carry deadly poisons. Today, the food we eat…meat, poultry and dairy, we eat the residue of everything the animal ate, including growth hormones, pesticides and contaminants and the primary reason why I chose to start living an organic lifestyle when it comes to food choices as well as daily use personal care products for me and my family.

Below I discuss some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in our food and personal products, along with descriptions of what they are, where they’re found and why they’re bad.  Lets take a closer look!

GMOs and Food:

Monsanto  is an American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation responsible for hazards such as Agent Orange.  They are currently well known for Genetically Modified agriculture, owning nearly 90% of staple GMO food crops such as corn, soy, and cotton. In independent studies GMO food has been linked to organ failure, and a recent Russian study has concluded near-total sterility in GMO-soy-fed hamsters by the third generation.

The question of whether or not genetically modified foods (GMO’s) are safe for human consumption is an ongoing debate that does not seem to see any resolution except in the arena of public opinion.  Due to lack of labeling, Americans are still left at a loss as to whether or not what is on the table is genetically modified.  This lack of information makes the avoiding and tracking of GM foods, very difficult. The top 10 worst GMO foods for your “do not eat” GMO foods list include corn, sugar, aspartame, papayas, canola oil, cotton oil, dairy, zucchini, and yellow squash.
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