I often remind my patients of the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle, especially when these factors can certainly help prevent them from falling victim to one of the top epidemics plaguing Americans today: obesity. At present, more than one-third of the U.S. adult population is considered obese—that’s 78.6 million Americans!
Certain health conditions can help to cause obesity, such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and Cushing’s syndrome (an adrenal condition). Of course, American society doesn’t help either. Unhealthy foods are readily unavailable around every corner, from convenience stores to fast food joints. But let’s not forget about what obesity may eventually cause. Obesity also plays a major factor in the prevalence of such health risks as heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, and some cancers.
Obesity also just so happens to be the primary cause of type 2 diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. About 80%–90% of people with type 2 diabetes are considered obese. In 2012, there were 1.7 million new cases of diabetes per year, according to the American Diabetes Association.
So how can you control and prevent diabetes? Many drugs have adverse side effects and aren’t, in my opinion, always the best answer. Instead, I believe that the perceived enemy of many diabetics may actually provide the answer.
While many believe that the sugar commonly found in fruit—fructose—represents a serious threat to diabetics, I recently discovered a first-of-its-kind study that disproves that theory.
I was surprised when I came across a particular fruit juice that may be a natural diabetes cure. Pomegranate juice is high in fructose; it contains about 23,201 mg of the stuff. However, a study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that freshly pressed pomegranate juice and its seeds helped control glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It is also considered to be safer and possibly more effective than the top diabetic drugs on the market today.
The study observed blood samples from 85 patients with type 2 diabetes. The samples were taken after a 12-hour fast, and then again one and three hours after the administration of 1.5 mL of pomegranate juice per kg of body weight. The serum glucose was measured with the BS-200 Chemistry Analyzer, and the human insulin was measured with commercial immunoassay kits.
The results were amazing!
After three hours, 79% of the patients experienced lower fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance. The juice also increased beta-cell function, which is essential for insulin production. The benefits of pomegranate juice were lower in older participants and those participants who had higher fasting blood sugar levels before the study.
How is this possible? Isolated fructose is known to be very addictive and toxic and can induce diabetes; however, pomegranate and other real fruits aren’t just made of sugar. Pomegranate juice is also a high source of antioxidants, which are known to fight many diseases. Pomegranate juice also has a glycemic index of 53; foods under 55 are considered safe for diabetic consumption.
Pomegranates are also known to have a multitude of other health benefits. Pomegranate juice may be effective for lowering high cholesterol and helping in the treatment of heart disease, erectile dysfunction, atherosclerosis, chronic periodontitis, memory complaints, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate cancer.
Is there other evidence to support that fruit is not harmful to diabetics? I remember a study published in 2013 in Nutrition Journal that recommended fruit intake in type 2 diabetics should not be under restriction. The study observed fruit consumption in 63 women and men with a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. One group was advised to eat at least two fruits daily, and the other was instructed to eat no more than two fruits daily. The second group was also given the usual antidiabetic nutrition advice.
The consumption of less fruit did not affect glucose levels over the three-month study. More fruit consumption actually produced greater weight loss, as well. On average, the group consuming more fruit lost 2.5 kg and the low-fruit group dropped an average of just 1.7 kg.
What are other foods that could be effective against diabetes? I typically recommend nutrient-dense and low-glycemic-load foods, such as beans, garlic, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, or nuts and seeds.
For many years, health experts have said that skim and low-fat dairy products–like milk, cheese and yogurt–are better for you than the full-fat versions. Some nutrition researchers believe that this is especially true for people who are overweight, obese, or at risk for type 2 diabetes.
However, research presented at a recent meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Austria showed that high fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, butter and cream might actually be very effective at preventing diabetes. This may even be true for other metabolic diseases. And, it’s not the only recent study to show this.
The new research
The study presented at EASD followed almost 27,000 people (between the ages of 45 and 74) for 14 years. Researchers found that those who reported eating 8 or more servings of full-fat milk products every day were 23% less likely to get type 2 diabetes. Some types of dairy had a bigger effect than others. For example, 2 tablespoons of cream each day was connected to a 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. And, about 1 cup of whole, fermented dairy each day was connected to a 20% lower risk. Fermented (or “cultured”) dairy can include:
Other research about whole milk and diabetes
This study is not the only one to show that full-fat dairy products might be healthier than skim. A 2012 review published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that 11 previous studies linked high-fat dairy with a lower risk of not only diabetes, but also obesity and heart disease. Many other studies from the past 10 years have not looked at high-fat dairy specifically, but have shown that regular consumption of any milk products can prevent diabetes and obesity.
So what does this mean for you? More research is needed to know for sure, but for now, it’s clear that milk products are likely to be healthy for most people. If you’re interested in making a switch from low-fat dairy to whole, talk about this research with your dietitian or other healthcare provider to help him/her come up with a plan that works for you. It’s also a good idea to check your blood glucose levels more often to see how the changes are affecting them.
Fad diets typically come and go, but the grapefruit diet (also known as the Hollywood diet) has been around for 80 years and periodically becomes “the latest thing.” Repeated studies have shown that the grapefruit diet is effective, but not in the way assumed. It turns out the grapefruit juice is effective as a diet food, at improving metabolic health and helping fight against diabetes.
For years, grapefruit diet fans swore that the fruit, if eaten before other foods, contained enzymes that burned off fat. Some claimed the grapefruit combined with calorie reduction resulted in losses of 10 pounds in 10 days. While the fat-burning claims have not been proven, there have been studies that supported the weight loss claim. One theory was that the grapefruit made the eater feel fuller so they wound up eating less. It was also consumed with cups of water, which also probably helps reduce hunger.
A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, however, suggests that drinking the grapefruit in juice form instead of water could be the key to the diet and dealing with diabetes. Published in PLOS ONE, the research found that mice that drank sweetened grapefruit juice instead of water gained less weight on a high-fat diet than mice that drank sweetened water. The juice-drinking mice also had better metabolic health measures, including their blood sugar levels. It also affected their insulin sensitivity, which can be important in protecting against diabetes.
For the study, mice were divided into six groups, including a control group that solely drank water. The grapefruit juice was sweetened to combat problems with previous studies where the mice given juice slimmed down more than those that drank water, but was possibly because mice do not like grapefruit juice. So, in this study, the taste was doctored with artificial sweeteners. Furthermore, the researchers added glucose and artificial sweeteners to the control group’s water so it matched the saccharin content and calories consumed by the grapefruit juice drinking mice.
For 100 days, some of the mice were fed a diet that was 60 percent fat, while others consumed a diet that was 10 percent fat diet for 10 days. The groups of mice drank similar amounts of grapefruit juice and water. They also ate similar amounts of food.
The study found that the mice fed the high-fat diet gained 18 percent less weight when they drank no-pulp grapefruit juice than the mice that ate the high-fat diet and drank water. The researchers found that the mice that drank grapefruit juice also had a decrease of 13 to 17 percent in their blood glucose levels and a noticeable decrease in their insulin levels.
In another experiment, the research team allowed the mice to become obese before they introduced the grapefruit juice. They found that the mice that were given the grapefruit juice wound up weighing 8 percent less than the mice that were given water.
Most fad diets have not had the lasting power as the grapefruit diet. But, the studies show that grapefruit juice is effective in helping a diet and helping against diabetes.
Nutrition is a fundamental piece of the management of any diabetic patient. Diabetes is brought about by an absence or a decrease in the action of insulin that moves sugar into the body’s cells for utilization as an energy source.
There are several important goals that we attempt to attain as to nutritional management of the diabetes. These objectives incorporate 1) support of food intake to give sufficient calories, 2) manage of a healthy body weight and body condition, 3) weight reduction if showed and 4) the decrease or elimination of the clinical indications of diabetes, while in the meantime avoiding the basic difficulties of the disease.
The important goal is controlling blood glucose within the healthy range. This is possible utilizing medicine (generally insulin or an oral medication), nutrition, or a mix of both. The best approach differs from patient to patient, and it may take time to figure out which approach needs.
The prescription diet may help deal with their diabetes. Fiber-enriched foods have been utilized effectively for people with diabetes. Fiber promotes a slower digestion and absorption of dietary carbs, diminishing peaks in glucose after dinners.
Due to the restricted amount of carbs in diet plans, decrease the elevations in blood glucose concentration after a dinner, or diminish the amount of insulin required for the body’s cells to be able to use circulating glucose. If you require extra sugar beyond what is supplied in low carbs foods, you can take the protein and fat from the eating regimen and transform it into glucose to meet your body needs.
Obesity has been recognized as a risk element for the improvement of diabetes. Obesity can make it harder to control blood glucose within the range, inclining to extra complexities. Thus, diabetic patients that are overweight ought to be begun a get-healthy plan once their diabetes is stabilized.
There are numerous diverse methodologies as to weight control plans intended for weight reduction. Fiber-enriched and low carbs diets, which are used in the nutritional management of diabetes, can likewise be utilized for weight reduction and also contribute to satiety (feeling of fullness).
Nutrition management at home
You can talk with your doctor about prescription diet for management of diabetes. Doctor can advise you for best choices of foods and he will also instruct you when and what amount of meal you eat. If you notice any complications then contact your doctor immediately for further guidance and advice.
As a diabetic, you are supposed to follow certain norms with respect to lifestyle and dietary habits. It's very important for a person with diabetes to know what food to eat and what to avoid. As the consumption of sugar or fat rich food is best avoided due to the complications associated with them, a diabetic has a considerably lengthy list of foods that he should avoid.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Diabetes
A diabetic should not just avoid sugar, but should also keep a check on other foods - carbohydrate rich foods in particular. Food high in cholesterol is also considered harmful for people suffering from diabetes, and therefore is best avoided. Recent studies have revealed that even some fruits and vegetables are harmful for diabetics. Similarly, fast food and beverages are a strict no. The list of foods is pretty lengthy, but then it is possible to categorize them into different groups based on their content.
Sugar Rich Foods
Sugar rich foods, like white sugar, ice creams, donuts, pastries, chocolates, cookies, artificial sweeteners, etc., can be extremely harmful for people suffering from diabetes. The list of high carbohydrate foods is mainly dominated by foods rich in fructose and glucose, such as table sugar and fruit juice concentrates. As these foods result in increase in the blood sugar levels, it is perfectly logical that they should be avoided by a diabetic. If completely avoiding sugar is not possible, the said dish can be modified a bit to ensure that its sugar content is minimal - but even that should be done only after consulting the doctor.
High Cholesterol Foods
Studies reveal that diabetes lowers the amount of good cholesterol and raises the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. This makes the person, who is already suffering from diabetes, vulnerable to various heart diseases as the bad cholesterol is likely to result in plaque buildup on the artery walls. In such circumstances, high cholesterol foods, such as egg yolk, high-fat dairy products, poultry, red meat, shrimp, cheese, butter, etc., can do more harm than good, and hence are best avoided.
Research at the Tulane School of Public Health, Louisiana, revealed that drinking a single glass of fruit juice daily increases the risk of diabetes considerably. It is better to eat a whole fruit than drink fruit juice, as it provides the body with fiber necessary for healthy body. Moreover, fruit juices are high in carbohydrates, and therefore are best avoided. Once in a while, the person may take fruit juice but that should be in moderation and has to be a part of a well-planned diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Within fruits, diabetics are advised to avoid certain fruits which are high in glucose and sucrose content or eat them in moderation. While fruits are overall considered healthy, not all fruits are healthy for a person with diabetes. Eating fruits such as mangoes, strawberries and dates can result in a spike in the blood sugar levels, which can be harmful for the individual. Vegetables rich in starch content, like potatoes and squash, should also be kept at bay. While sugar laden fruits can be replaced by high fiber fruits like apples, pear and raspberries, starchy vegetables can be supplemented by vegetables like beet root, carrots, beans, etc.
Due to its tendency to increase blood sugar levels, alcohol in high quantity can pose some serious problems to an individual suffering from diabetes. Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to hypoglycemia. More importantly, as liver stores the glucose released within the body, any damage to the liver due to excessive alcohol intake, may make it difficult for the person to control glucose levels in the body. Even if you take alcohol in moderation, it should be only done if diabetes in under control.
Fried food, especially that which is fried with hydrogenated oils, tends to raise bad cholesterol in the body. These foods are also laden with unhealthy trans fats. If at all you plan to have some fried food, once in a while, you should use canola or olive oil for frying the food, as these oils are comparatively less harmful for the body. Instead healthy cooking options like baked, boiled or steamed food is ideal for a person with diabetes.
Other food items which should be avoided by a diabetic include, sodium rich foods like soy sauce, refined flour products such as pastas and pizzas, salad dressings like mustard and mayonnaise, etc. As we mentioned earlier, fast food is totally unacceptable for a person suffering from any type of diabetes. At least other foods can be taken in moderation after consulting a doctor, but fast food is absolutely no-no.
Last, but the most important thing you need to keep in your mind, is to follow the doctors advice religiously. Never exceed the amount of food that is recommended by your doctor. It is better to follow a healthy lifestyle right from the beginning instead of waiting for some health issue to surface, and then try your best to alter your way of life accordingly. As the age-old adage says - it's always better to be safe than sorry.
The American Diabetes Association says that people with diabetes can eat just about any kind of fruit, including bananas. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume between 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases lists bananas as fruits safe for diabetics to include in their diets. Ideally, diabetics should spread fruit consumption evenly throughout the day to avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. In addition, remember that fruits contain carbohydrates, so you must count them as such in your meal plan.
The Carb Concern
If you have diabetes, you must pay close attention to the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat. Using the hormone insulin, carbs are broken down by your body and converted to glucose, which gives you energy and fuels your cells for action. Diabetics, however, have trouble with insulin and can have unusually high levels of glucose circulating throughout the body. Nearly all fruits contain high amounts of carbs, so eating too much can dump more glucose than your body can handle. Still, carbs are a nutrient you can’t live without. You just need to properly manage them with your condition.
Benefits of Bananas
Americans consume more bananas than any other fruit, according the USDA. The health benefits are plenty. Bananas are low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. The fiber keeps you full and satisfied. Vitamin B6 is a mood enhancer. Vitamin C boosts your immune system, and potassium controls your blood pressure.
Bananas in Diabetic DietsBananas are safe for diabetics.
However, how ripe the banana is makes a difference. Researchers reporting in the October 1992 issue of “Diabetic Medicine” found that participants in a study who ate overripe bananas had a fairly high glycemic response, meaning blood sugar levels were raised, demanding the use of more insulin. Those who ate bananas that had not fully ripened had a lower glycemic response. By contrast, neither kind of banana produced a blood sugar response as high as plain white bread. The researchers said up to 90 percent of the carbs in an underripe banana come from starch, but when it ripens the carbs are mostly free sugars. They advise, therefore, that bananas, especially underripe ones, are “an acceptable alternative as between-meal snacks for Type 2 diabetic subjects.”
Caution & Tips
Avoid eating bananas that are part of desserts, like sundaes or those that have been prepared with sugary syrups. These desserts bring excess carbs, calories and fat. You can enjoy fresh, frozen, canned and dried bananas. The variety will help broaden your diet and leave you feeling less restricted.
Researchers examined more than 21,000 single-child pregnancies in the United States over more than 10 years. Diabetes occurred in almost 850 of the pregnancies, the study found. Diabetes that develops during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Compared to women who ate fried food less than once a week before pregnancy, the risk of gestational diabetes was 13 percent higher in those who ate fried food one to three times a week, the investigators found.
In addition, the risk of gestational diabetes was 31 percent higher in women who ate fried foods four to six times a week, and the risk more than doubled in women who consumed seven or more servings weekly, the researchers reported.
While the study found an association between the consumption of fried foods and gestational diabetes, it wasn't designed to prove whether or not such foods caused diabetes.
After the researchers adjusted the data for body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on height and weight), the risk of gestational diabetes among women who ate fried food was still elevated, though much lower.
The association between fried food and an increased risk of gestational diabetes was stronger with fried foods eaten in restaurants than with fried foods consumed at home, according to the report published in the journal Diabetologia.
Dr. Cuilin Zhang and colleagues from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development said that their findings suggest that limiting consumption of fried food may help reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
The researchers added that further studies are needed to confirm the results and to learn more about how consumption of fried food may increase the risk of gestational diabetes, a common pregnancy complication that can potentially have harmful effects on mothers and babies.
We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is healthy. Now, scientists say that this healthy eating habit can improve your mental health too.
Who doesn't wish for more energy at least a few dozen times a day?