Diabetes and Diet (w/Glycemic Index)
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert food into the energy needed for daily life. Adult onset diabetes (Type II Diabetes) appears to be the result of both genetics and environmental factors (such as obesity, lack of exercise, and poor diet appear to play roles).
There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes, but nearly one quarter of them are unaware that they have the disease.
Some diabetes statistics:
Complications of diabetes:
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: Study links easy access to fast food to diabetes, obesity
McClatchy Newspapers - Tuesday April 29, 2008
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It's often said, "You are what you eat," but new research suggests that where you eat may have a lot to do with it, as well.
In communities with an abundance of fast-food outlets and convenience stores, researchers have found, obesity and diabetes rates are much higher than in areas where fresh fruit and vegetable markets and full-service grocery stores are easily accessible.
"The implications are really dramatic," said Harold Goldstein, a study author and executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, based in Davis. "We are living in a junk-food jungle, and not surprisingly, we are seeing rising rates of obesity and diabetes."
The new study builds on research released a year ago that found California has four times as many fast-food restaurants and convenience stores as grocery stores and produce vendors.
For the new project, Goldstein teamed with UCLA's Center for Public Health Policy Research and PolicyLink to explore possible links between the kinds of food Californians can easily access and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes in their communities.
The outcome: "We found a very strong link," Goldstein said. "It was true for people living in both high-income and low-income communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender or level of physical activity."
Dr. Francine Kaufman, one of the nation's leading childhood diabetes experts, said the new research demonstrates that staying healthy is not simply a matter of personal responsibility.
She advocates programs that help small markets purchase refrigerators so they can sell fresh produce, requirements that fast-food outlets label their menu items with calorie and fat content, and bringing more farmers markets into neighborhoods.
Scientists Say Fast Food Heightens Risk of Diabetes
Washington 2005: A new study has found that people who eat fast food are much more likely to develop insulin resistance than those who don't.
A study published in the international journal the Lancet found that people whose diet consists primarily of fatty food - such as hamburgers, french fries and pizza - weigh more and have an increased risk of insulin resistance compared to people who limit their consumption of foods high in fat.
Investigators followed more than three thousand people who reported their fast food eating habits. After 15 years, the U.S. researchers found that those who ate at least two meals per week at a fast food restaurant were four-point-five kilograms heavier, and they had more than a 100 percent risk of insulin resistance compared to those who limited their intake of fast food to one meal or less per week.
How quickly do foods raise your blood sugar?
The glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food- either glucose or white bread. A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI.
Meal planning with the GI involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. If eating a food with a high GI, you can combine it with low GI foods to help balance the meal. Examples of carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI include dried beans and legumes (like kidney beans and lentils), all non-starchy vegetables and some starchy vegetables, most fruit, and many whole grain breads and cereals (like barley, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and all-bran cereal). Meats and fats don't have a GI because they do not contain carbohydrate.
What affects the GI of a food?
Fat and fiber tend to lower the GI of a food. As a general rule, the more cooked or processed a food, the higher the GI; however, this is not always true.
Below are a few specific examples of other factors that can affect the GI of a food:
Other things to consider if using the GI:
There is hope, however: Current research that shows diabetes is not only controllable but reversible through diet and exercise.
Foods that help control diabetes:
The following herbs have been used by herbal practitioners for many years. If you would like to take an herbal approach to find out if you would benefit, it's suggested that you find a licensed herbal practitioner. Medical herbalists are trained for the same diagnostic skills as a regular medical doctor, but tend to take a more holistic approach in treating their patients. Medical doctors usually treat the symptoms while holistic practitioners treat the person as a whole and try to discover the underlying causes of the condition.
Onions may not be beneficial to the treatment of diabetes but contains compounds that are extremely beneficial to eye health and may help diabetics keep their eyesight.
Chard is a terrific asset, as is Bitter Melon, as they contain high levels of insulin-like phytochemicals.
The glycemic index measures how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar. This can be helpful. For example, if your blood sugar is low and continuing to drop during exercise, you would prefer to eat a carb that will raise your blood sugar quickly. On the other hand, if you would like to keep your blood sugar from dropping during a few hours of mild activity, you may prefer to eat a carb that has a lower glycemic index and longer action time. If your blood sugar tends to spike after breakfast, you may want to select a cereal that has a lower glycemic index.
*Actually, the GI indirectly measures a food's effect on blood sugar. It actually measured the "area under the blood sugar curve" following a set intake of that carb.
Disclaimer: I am neither a medical doctor nor a nutritionist. All the information in this article comes from sources such as the American Medical Association, Diabetes.org, WebMD, CDC, and MedlinePlus of the National Institutes of Health.