I always try to keep you up to date with diabetes information whether it concerns medications, food, diabetes trends or studies. Our goal at ADW is to improve your quality of life by making you more conscious and aware.
I put together a few interesting pieces of information which hopefully will be of interest to you and help you control your diabetes along with your health care provider.
- According to Brand-Miller et al. in “What Makes my Blood Glucose go up … and down”, blood sugar spikes can be blunted by including certain foods in your eating plan. By adding vinegar, lemon or lime juice as part of a salad dressing you may be able to lower post-prandial (or after meal) blood sugars. Because these foods have acetic acid, they slow down gastric emptying, which reduces blood sugar spikes after meals. A study done at the University of Sydney found that by adding a tablespoon of vinegar with two teaspoons of high quality olive oil to a salad can lower blood sugar spikes up to 25-30%.
- Utilizing low glycemic foods along with reasonable portion sizes, counting total carbohydrates, doing aerobic exercise and reducing stress can all help blunt after eating blood sugar excursions. The glycemic indexes of different foods are listed in categories of low (under 55), medium (56-69) and high (above 70), with a top score of 100 for pure glucose. The concept is: low glycemic foods take longer to absorb and help you feel more satisfied due to fiber. This may cause you to eat less and raise glucose levels more slowly. The glycemic index list is easy to find on the web and use with your meal planning. There are no perfect tools, although the glycemic index may be helpful to some. Certain people believe it is the “mix of the food” not the glycemic index that helps to maintain blood sugars. Always think high quality carbohydrates – beans, whole grains and vegetables, lean proteins mixed in and natural non-processed foods for the best response for blood sugars. Recent studies have shown that low glycemic foods added to your plan can help decrease obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Eating a handful of peanuts following a meal with high glycemic carbohydrates (i.e. bagel and orange juice) can help blunt blood glucose response. The peanuts add protein and fat to the blood stream which reduces blood sugar elevation.
- Anti-inflammatory foods such as legumes, fish oil, tea, cinnamon, high fiber foods and lean protein may also reduce post meal spiking.
- Resistance starch foods including green bananas, green banana flour, Extend Bars and products, rice, potatoes or pasta cooked and immediately cooled before eating can also offer a better insulin response, control appetite and help with bowel regularity.
- Sour dough bread may have the same carbohydrates as other breads but it contains lactic and propionic acid which are byproducts of fermentation. These acidic substances will slow gastric emptying and slow blood glucose response to help prevent spiking. It tastes great too!
- A study done by Brian Wansink at Cornell University consisted of watching over 300 people at an “All You Can Eat Buffet”; the thought is when there is unlimited food with multiple choices everyone will tend to over eat. He reported some interesting observations. They logged where the people sat in relation to the buffet, which direction they faced, if they used regular silverware or chopsticks, if they sat at a table or booth and what size plate they took. He observed that the thinner people studied the buffet table more and explored all the choices before committing to any food. The heavier people grabbed as they went down the buffet. They also observed that the thinner people took dessert size plates while the heavier ones took full size dinner plates. The thinner people chewed 15 times per bite and the heavier people chewed 12 times per bite. The thinner people went back to the buffet fewer times and sat further away. This information may be helpful to you but according to the director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center “you should still avoid all you can eat buffets if you are trying to stop over-indulging.”
- To save money, think about getting your medication pills in higher doses and split them in half while paying only one co-pay. Use pills that are scored without a special coating to split them evenly. Do not do this with a shiny/coated pill or a capsule. The special coating may be there for a specific absorption rate which can change by splitting.
- Metformin is often used as a first line oral medication for type 2 diabetes. It can cause stomach discomfort such as bloating, gas and severe diarrhea for some patients, but it is very inexpensive and even free at some chain stores. Glumetza and Metformin ER are a slow release formulation often with less GI symptoms; they used to be an extremely expensive alternative. These products are now being made in a generic form which can be substituted at a much cheaper price with much less GI effect.
I hope this information makes you think about new ways to help with your diabetes management. Keep learning!
NOTE: Consult your Doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.
She is a member of the American Diabetes Association as well as the South Florida Association of Diabetes Educators. She worked with the education department of NBMC to help educate the hospital's in-patient nurses about diabetes. She practices a healthy lifestyle and has worked as a personal fitness trainer in the past.
She was one of the initiators of the North Broward Diabetes Center (NBMC) which started in 1990 and was one of the first American Diabetes Association (ADA) certified programs in Broward County, Florida for nearly two decades. Robbie has educated patients to care for themselves and has counseled them on healthy eating, heart disease, high lipids, use of glucometers, insulin and many other aspects of diabetes care. The NBMC Diabetes Center received the Valor Award from the American Diabetes Center for excellent care to their patients. Robbie has volunteered over the years as leader of many diabetes support groups.