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Your Health & Wellness, Issue #009 -- Low glycemic index food is key to good nutrition for diabetics
September 01, 2007
(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)
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Week of September 2, 2007
Table of Contents
* Good Nutrition for Diabetics is Possible Through the Glycemic Index *
* Look Beyond the Headline in Nutritional Studies *
Good Nutrition for Diabetics is Possible Through the Glycemic Index
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes kills more people throughout the world than AIDS does. The type of diabetes responsible for the majority of these deaths is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is fueled largely by poor lifestyle choices.
Diabetes occurs in three forms: (1) type 1, also known as juvenile-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes (2) type 2, also known as adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes and (3) gestational diabetes which occurs in the later stages of a woman's pregnancy.
Type 1 diabetes develops in childhood or early adulthood. This form of diabetes is not in any way related to lifestyle. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce any insulin. Type 1 diabetics have to take insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes. The pancreas does produce insulin but the cells of the body have trouble utilizing it. When a meal of refined carbohydrates or sugar is eaten, it is metabolized (digested) into glucose. The pancreas pumps insulin into your bloodstream in order to shuttle the glucose into your body's cells. This is the process by which the cells in your body receive their nutrition.
Once the insulin transports the glucose into the cells, blood sugar levels plummet. The standard American diet (SAD) almost entirely consists of refined foods which break down fast. This diet initiates a cycle of blood sugar spikes followed by blood sugar nosedives.
After a time, the cells become more and more desensitized to insulin. Its like being in a room filled with a bad odor. You eventually become desensitized, or used to it. You no longer smell the odor, but a person who enters the room does.
When cells become 'desensitized' to insulin, a condition called 'insulin resistance' is created. This prompts the pancreas to pump more and more insulin into the bloodstream. Now you have excess glucose (blood sugar) and insulin circulating throughout the body. Eventually the pancreas stop producing insulin altogether, or it slows to a trickle.
When the body becomes insulin resistant, it becomes malnourished. In a healthy body, insulin opens the door to your cells in order for the glucose to enter to supply them with nutrients. Insulin resistance does not allow the cells to open their doors. Your body becomes constantly hungry.
When the body is flooded with insulin, it is almost impossible for it to burn fat. Fat deposits continue to grow. In reality, your body preferentially burns carbohydrates. Although type 2 diabetes used to afflict adults almost exclusively, it can now be found in increasing numbers in children of all ages. Adult-onset diabetes is the result of the obesity promoting standard American diet (SAD.)
The world has been increasing its use of refined foods and sugar, and decreasing its physical activity. This dramatic change from the way our parents and grandparents lived has set the stage for the explosion of diabetics we see today.
What can be done to prevent the blood sugar rollercoaster ride that is experienced by those who follow the western diet? Plenty! First of all reduce your consumption of refined products. I am not only referring to cakes, cookies,sodas and other sugary products, but white flour, white rice, and white potatoes too. Although natural, your body processes a white potato exactly as it does sugar.
The majority of your carbohydrate intake should be in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. These are called 'complex' carbs (Read...) Complex carbs are slowly digested so sudden blood sugar spikes are eliminated. Your blood sugar remains stable. Your body is then primed to burn fat instead of storing it.
You should be conscious of the glycemic index. This is a system which ranks how much a food raises glucose when it is digested. The standard against which foods are compared is dextrose (glucose) which is assigned a value of 100. You should select foods in the low to moderate glycemic index range. Only occasionally eat high glycemic index foods. And when you do, eat a low to moderate glycemic index food along with it.
What if you are diabetic already? Choose low glycemic foods exclusively. Don't forget to include protein from lean meat sources. Eat only organic food. You want to avoid the hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that are present in factory-farmed meat. Stay away from low-carb and low-fat diet products.
Eat natural fat. Natural fat is saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Just be sure they are from natural, organic sources. Lean meats, fish, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil will provide this fat. By confining your diet to whole, natural sources you are assured of providing your body with nutrients that it can process.
Look Beyond the Headline in Nutritional Studies
Study: Antioxidants Do Not Protect High-Risk Women from Heart Disease, Death
Antioxidants do little to protect at-risk women from heart disease, cardiovascular problems or death, according to a new study
The above headline and sub-headline were taken from FoxNews.com, dated August 14, 2007. It is based on a study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH.) Foxnews.com was not the only news service which ran the story. It was picked up by the Reuters news service, and media outlets across the country.
Health authorities and nutritionists have been proclaiming the virtues of antioxidants for quite some time now. Antioxidants are substances which neutralize free radicals--scavengers which promote chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Water-soluble vitamin C and fat-soluble vitamin E are powerful antioxidants. To find that they do little to nothing to protect women against cardiovascular disease (CVD) is disturbing.
Antioxidant protection is one of the primary reasons dietitians and nutritionists, not to mention the federal government, urge Americans to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are chock-full of antioxidants. What's the point of increasing our consumption of them if they are marginal in protecting against CVD? Or are they?
BWH STUDY BACKGROUND
The Brigham and Women's Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, used 8,171 women in its study. The women's ages was 40 and over. All study participants were at an increased risk of CVD, or already had been diagnosed with CVD. They were followed for about ten years. Each of the 8,171 women in the study took one of three supplements, or a combination of the supplements. The supplements taken were:
This study was originally published in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine (August issue.) Here's a quote from this journal, "A marginally significant reduction in the primary outcome with active vitamin E was observed among the prespecified subgroup of women with prior CVD...but those randomized to both active ascorbic acid and vitamin E experienced fewer strokes..."
THE PRESS RELEASE
BWH's press release was titled "Vitamin C and Other Antioxidant Vitamins Provide No Protection from Cardiovascular Events." It was sub-titled "Vitamin C, E and beta carotene have no influence on cardiovascular events in women."
“Consistent with other antioxidant trials, this study shows that vitamins C, E and beta-carotene do not alone, or in combination, increase or decrease the overall risk of cardiovascular events in women at high risk for cardiovascular disease,” said lead author, Nancy Cook, ScD, of the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH.
Why would Nancy Cook, ScD, the study's lead author contradict what she had published in the Archives of Internal Medicine? Could she and the other researchers have been pressured by Big Pharma (the pharmaceutical industry?)
The press release statements are a complete reversal of BWH's study results as published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This journal used phrases like "...a marginally significant reduction..." and "...experienced fewer strokes...."
The media gets its stories from press releases. In other words, the press release was the only source for all media reports concerning this antioxidant study.
THE FULL STORY
A press release is usually the source of any study--health, nutrition, or otherwise--that we read about in newspapers and magazines and the web, or see on television. Naturally the average person accepts the media reported study without question, myself included. After all, it is a study conducted by medical researchers and reported in the media. Who would question a study reported by CNN?
The BWH study provides an example of what can happen, and frequently does, when it comes to natural supplements versus prescription drugs. Supplements and other natural cures are downplayed or maligned in order to get the public to question them. And of course the powerful pharmaceutical industry trumps its drugs. According to a FDA (Federal Drug Administration) mandate, only pharmaceutical drugs can claim to cure disease.
To be effective, a supplement must be taken consistently. Not every woman in the BWH study took her supplement on a consistent basis. Here are the results of those who did:
Also be aware that not only were some study participants inconsistent in taking their supplements, but all were either at an increased risk of, or had been diagnosed with, CVD. And on top of that, vitamin C and beta carotene were synthetic. The vitamin E was natural. Synthetic supplements are inferior to natural ones.
However, positive results were accomplished even with synthetic supplements, and women linked with CVD.
What's the moral of this story? Never assume that you have been given all the information about any nutritional study. And don't assume that all parties are unbiased, or haven't been influenced. The lead author of the BWH study reversed her position. And note that the media reporters did not bother to read the original study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They merely read the press release assuming it was factual.
The reported story concerning the effects of supplements on women with cardiovascular disease, or a high risk of it, is biased. As you saw from the actual and factual results, vitamins C, E and beta carotene are indeed beneficial antioxidants. Continue to eat your fruits and vegetables. When you supplement with beta carotene and vitamins C and E, make certain that they are natural.
New E-book now available Let Food Be Thy Medicine.
The title of this manual is from the famous saying of Hippocrates in 400 bc. The full quote is “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates is known as the father of modern medicine. The foods which constitute the standard American diet (SAD) lack the ability to supply essential nutrients, let alone be medicine for a sick body.
Whole foods such as wheat and other grains, and fruit are processed to such a degree that dietary nutrients and fiber are removed. Examples are white rice, white bread, and fruit drinks. These processed products are inadequate to supply the human body with the nutrients it needs just to sustain itself. Even though the majority of Americans are eating more than enough calories, they are empty calories.
People are literally starving themselves to the point that the body is highly susceptible to attack by disease. Their immune systems are undernourished and not capable of fighting chronic illnesses.
By following the information given in this manual you will slowly nourish your body with the wholesome nutrients it needs to maintain, repair and build itself. Instead of calorie dense foods you will be consuming nutrient dense foods. You will put yourself on the road to strength, vigor, and vitality–no matter what your age. Price: $21.95.
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