Monthly Archives: November 2011

What are some foods a diabetic should eat?

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Managing diabetes means not only monitoring blood sugar, but food, as well. Knowing what to eat, how much to eat and what to stay away from will go a long way in controlling the disease.

The right foods should include a healthy mixture of the right fruits and vegetables. Be careful not to overlay broccoli with mounds of cheese. It might help the taste, but the aftereffects aren’t worth it.

Lean cuts of meat are recommended as this cuts down on fat content. Fat interrupts the absorption of insulin, creating the problem that all diabetics despise. Both trans fats and saturated fats should be kept to a minimum- for the sake of your diabetes and your heart.

Remember the fiber. Fiber is an amazing food that bulks food for easier digestion, helps regulate blood sugar and does a great job in helping to process food. The right mixture of fiber will go a long way.

Avoiding certain foods is as important as consuming certain ones. Staying away from foods high in sugar goes without saying. Diabetics know full well that sugar not only ravages the blood, but it does so very quickly. Chocolate serves a double punch since you have to contend with the sugar and the caffeine.

The list of bad foods also includes starchy vegetables, with potatoes heading the list. Milk consumption needs to be strictly regulated, as does fruit juices. Limiting white flour is also pertinent to eating healthy, especially when you eat out.

The key to eating is moderation. If you find yourself dying to have a piece of cake, make it small and compensate for it by including something healthy. Regardless of what you eat, space out the carbs and include snacks throughout the day to avoid massive sugar level drops.

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What Foods Should Diabetics Avoid?

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Foods that should be avoided are those that cause extreme spikes in glucose levels. So which foods, exactly, fall into this category?

The best way to identify these foods is the glycemic index. This index, developed by Dr. David J. Jenkins and his colleagues in 1981, was designed to indicate which foods are best for diabetics. It ranks all foods based on the effect that its carbs have on glucose levels. The lower the glycemic index, the more likley it is to be slowly digested and absorbed. Therefore, foods that have a low glycemic index are, generally speaking, better for the diabetic diet.

Glycemic index values

The scale uses glucose as a reference point. Glucose has a glycemic index value of 100.

  • High GI (55 or less)
  • Medium GI (56-69)
  • Low GI (70+)

High GI foods

Examples of High GI foods include white bread, white rice, corn flakes and many other processed breakfast cereals, and sugars.

Medium GI foods

Examples of Medium GI fods include whole wheat breads, basmati rice, and sweet potatoes.

Low GI foods

Examples of Low GI foods include most fruits and vegetables, legumes, pulses, whole grains, nuts and fructose.

As you can see, the answer to, “What foods should diabetics avoid?” is often, “Processed foods.” This is because processed foods have been partially broken down before you eat them; this speeds up the digestion of foods to unnaturally high levels, resulting in glucose spikes. All diabetics know the importance and catastrophic results that can be obtained from the high glucose levels.

The quicker the food breaks down and releases into the blood, the higher it ranks on the glycemic index. This means that diabetics want to stay as close to foods with a low number as possible. Foods that rank higher can still be consumed, but they must be monitored very carefully since they dictate such a quick reaction.

By avoiding processed foods and high-carb foods, diabetics can maintain a balanced diet that is low in fat and high in fiber and and nutrients.

Advancing Age, BMI Predictors for Gestational Diabetes

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Advancing maternal age and increased body mass index (BMI) can help predict gestational diabetes, especially in South Asian and black African women. That’s according to a new study published last week in BJOG, An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Increased BMI is a traditional screening factor for gestational diabetes. However, maternal age is not always included in diagnostic testing for the disease.

“This new research shows that maternal age, alone and in correlation with the maternal racial origin, may also be a significant factor contributing to the development of gestational diabetes,” said Dr. Makrina Savvidou, MD, obstetrics and fetal medicine consultant at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in the UK and the study’s co-author.

Researchers analyzed data on pregnancies in North West London from 1988-2000. The study included 1,688 women who developed gestational diabetes and 172,632 who did not.

Analysis revealed that gestational diabetes increased with maternal age and varied by ethnicity. In women aged 40 years or older, the rate of the disease rose 1.9% in white European women (from 0.5% at age 20-24), 11.4% in South Asian women (from 1.1%), and 21.7% in black Africans (from 0.7%).

In addition, white European women older than 30 years of age had significantly higher risk of developing the disease than their 20-24 year-old counterparts.

When it comes to BMI, researchers found a strong link to maternal ethnicity and gestational diabetes as well. The stakes are particularly high for black African and South Asian women, who had higher odds of developing gestational diabetes in all four BMI categories than the comparison group of white European women with a normal BMI.

Meanwhile, white European and black Caribbean women who were overweight or obese had a significantly higher likelihood of developing gestational diabetes than the comparison group.

Women in the study were divided into four BMI categories according to the World Health Organization’s international classification of BMI: 18.5 (underweight), 18.50-24.99 (normal weight), 25.00-29.99 (overweight), and 30+ (obese).

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2-10% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. A pregnant woman whose blood sugar remains high has an increased chance of preeclampsia, pre-term birth, and C-section.

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first diagnosed in pregnant women. Traditional risk factors for developing the disease include increased BMI, family or personal history of gestational diabetes, delivery of a large baby, and ethnicity with a high prevalence of diabetes.

Source: BJOG, An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

photo by John Nyboer

Facts and Myths about Diabetes

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November is Diabetes Awareness month, so learn about some of the facts and myths with diabetes

This massive cookbook is packed with tasty, diabetic-friendly recipes the whole family will love.
Recipes cover ever meal of the day and offer enough variety to satisfy any craving—from sausage pizza to strawberry pie. It's loaded with nutrition information, menu-planning advice, cooking tips, carb exchanges, and virtually everything else you need to cook and eat right for diabetes. Enjoy!

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