December 8, 2016

Dietetic Associations Around the World Are More Monopolistic

Australia and South Africa are just a few of the places around the world that is creating problems. Great Britain and the USA are also being affected by self-serving members of the dietetic organizations.

Eddie, who writes for Low Carb Diabetichas an excellent article about the British Dietetic Association (BDA). At every opportunity the BDA and it’s members quote the term “Trust A Dietitian.” To me that implies others cannot be trusted to give sound dietary advice, it could mean, or imply, many do not trust a dietitian, but please trust us.

Here in the U.S., the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is pushing hard to expand their monopoly to more states and force all nutritionists to join their organization. The AND is becoming less transparent in showing who is contributing to their cause, especially the beverage companies and other food organizations.

The AND is a member of the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA). ICDA is a confederation of national dietetic associations that together represent more than 160,000 dietetics professionals worldwide. International Confederation of Dietetic Associations supports national dietetic associations and their members beyond national and regional boundaries by achieving an integrated communications system, an enhanced image for the profession and increased awareness of standards of education, training and practice in dietetics. The Academy sits on the Board of Directors.

This means that they have some influence on dietetic organizations around the world. In both Australia and South Africa, it was dietitians that started both incidents and in Australia, barred one of their own for even mentioning low carb to a patient.

Many dietitians around the world have only a bachelor's degree and call themselves experts in nutrition. Yet they don't understand why most nutritionists do not respect them and most have a master's degree or higher degree and work with diabetes patients at the level of nutrition the patients' desire. Most dietitians do not work well with diabetes patients, over emphasize carbohydrates, and still promote low fat.

If you stop and think about this, this is what the last about 46 years has been and why obesity has climbed in the world. The wisdom of the crowd is starting to change and those dietitians that refuse to change will find themselves without a job and will become the joke of other professionals. At least more physicians in the United States are promoting other food plans and not high carb/low fat.

December 7, 2016

AHA Treats Press with Poor Food

I needed to reread this article a second time. While this is not meant to be funny, I did laugh out loud and basically at the American Heart Association.

At the recent American Heart Association meeting the press room was well stocked with margarine, skim milk, and sugar. This alone does not say much for the dietary advice the cardiology doctors promote. Most of the time it is very confusing and much of the time it has been wrong.

The author of the article clearly suggests that the health reporters at the AHA meeting in New Orleans may end up as collateral damage. Larry Husten, writer for Medpage Today said, “Breakfast this morning included low-fat cream cheese, margarine, and preserves.”

You won't find much saturated fat. But there's plenty of sugar around. And don't think about putting whole milk or half-and-half into your coffee. So, what's the problem here? It's important to remember that, in its earlier dietary advice, the AHA played a big role in elevating margarine and other trans-fat products over butter and saturated fats, though they are now completely against them. So, the presence of margarine and low-fat cream cheese is a sign of the long-lingering effect of the AHA's past bad advice.

The AHA continues to label saturated fats as "bad" and you won't find butter or whole milk or half-and-half in the pressroom. This decision, the food services people told me, came directly from the AHA. The food service employees were specifically ordered not to serve half-and-half during this meeting. A kind food services employee surreptitiously smuggled out a few half-and-half containers stowed away in the back for the duration of the meeting. The main point here is that there is considerable scientific controversy about this topic, and many nutrition experts now believe that saturated fats pose no danger at all and may even be beneficial.

And then there's the sugar. Many believe the big jump in sugar consumption was an inevitable consequence of the war against saturated fat. More recently, the AHA has focused some of its attention on the dangers of sugar, and it is supporting efforts to tax sugared soda. So, it seems a bit crazy to me that the pressroom bans whole milk and butter but has sugary desserts. (Please note that I am not suggesting that the AHA ban desserts.)

(I'm also told by confidential sources within the AHA -- for now I'll just refer to them as "Deep Stent" -- that there is a secret resistance network active at AHA headquarters in Dallas involving furtive smuggling of half-and-half and butter into the building.)

Note that meat, cheese, butter, and other saturated fats are labelled as "bad." Along with exercise, saturated fats raise HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, although there's a lot of controversy right now about that term.

December 6, 2016

The Holidays Often Bring Added Stress

How many of you dread the holidays? I know I used to, before diabetes, as I detested the constant hassles of the holidays with a certain relative. If there was something I had said or done, I was sure to hear about it three times over and in a negative manner, even if it had been something positive to begin with.

I also have a friend that presently will avoid family gatherings during the holidays, just to avoid food and the lectures he receives about not eating enough. He was diagnosed with prediabetes five years ago and because he started to ask questions, he had been able to learn and not develop diabetes. His wife is very upset because he will not go to holiday events when the families are in attendance. He finally told her that his mother was the reason and kept demanding that he eat more than he wanted and would pester him in the days leading up to the gathering and for days after if he did not eat all that she put on his plate.

So this year his wife finally agreed that they should not go to any events that his family would be attending and did convince her family that they would not attend any family event where his family would be present. Her family did trick them and when they arrived, and saw his family, they left immediately. And when the phone calls started from his mother, she finally understood the stress being placed on him by his mother. She even told her family to forget them coming to any holiday gatherings because of their trick.

When I last saw him, he said they were actually looking forward to starting their own holiday traditions. Whether her family or his family was invited would depend on how they treated them and the grandchildren. When his mother insisted on loading the plates and distributing the food at their place, she would never be allowed to come back and this was carefully explained to her, as they did not want the stress she was putting on the family. He told me that she told him and his wife they should be thankful that she did not want them to starve and to eat more food than they were eating.

He said he asked her if she wanted the entire family to develop diabetes. She said she was not putting sugar in their food. At that point, he said he did try some education and she would not believe that diabetes was caused by anything but sugar. He said he finally told his mother that until she talked to a doctor about diabetes and learned that carbohydrates were converted by the body into glucose, she would not be welcome in their home. His wife said she would not because she knew it was sugar that caused diabetes and carbohydrates were necessary for our bodies to remain strong and healthy.

At that point, she asked her family what they knew about diabetes and both my friend and his wife were surprised that they actually knew and she was told that one of her father's brothers had type 2 diabetes. She then told her parents why they did not want to spend any of the holidays with his parents and it was because his mother only believed sugar caused type 2 diabetes and loaded up the plates with carbohydrates. Her parents said they would not trick them in the future and now understood why they did not appreciate his mother loading the plates when he was trying to limit the carbohydrates.

December 5, 2016

Diabetes - Role of Dairy Products

Dairy products are slowly being recognized again as being good for you, even for people with diabetes. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are great sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The also contain a good amount of calcium and vitamin D. making them good for bone health. Dairy foods also have a role in diabetes prevention.

For people with diabetes, dairy is good for you, too. While milk and yogurt contain lactose, a kind of milk sugar or carbohydrate, they won’t spike your blood glucose.

Anthropologists think that people have been drinking and eating dairy products for 9,000 years. But today this important food group is often forgotten: 80% of adults don’t get their recommended three servings /day and that’s not counting those who suffer from lactose intolerance, especially Asian Americans and Latinos. If you’re one of the 80%, now is a good time to reconsider.

One of diabetes’ day-to-day challenges is sticking to your meal plan. Dairy can help. In addition to being great sources of protein, milk, yogurt and cheese can help you to feel full longer. That’s because dairy food offer a great combination of protein, low-glycemic carbohydrate, and fat.

Joslin says interesting research is coming out showing that the type of saturated fat in dairy foods may not be as harmful as we once thought. In fact, it seems to have a relatively neutral effect.

While there may not be specific benefits to dairy saturated fat, it does not seem to be harmful. However, if you’re watching calories, the low-fat or non-fat varieties of milk and yogurt may still be the best choice since 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories, which is far more than 1 gram of protein or carbs, which contains 4 calories. This is carb counting with dairy.

Most people with diabetes think first about carbohydrates and plan meals based on a certain allowance of carb servings (measured in grams). Often people avoid dairy because they want to “spend” their carb allowance on other foods. However, given all the good reasons why dairy foods should be a regular part of your meal plan, here’s how to carb count them into your meal planning.

A cup of milk (no matter if it is whole or skim or in-between) will have 12 grams of carb (or you can round that up to 15 grams if you’re estimating). A cup of yogurt can be variable – based on if it is plain, flavored, fruited or Greek. Check the nutrition facts label. But in general, one cup of plain yogurt will also have about 15 grams of carb.

Cheese contains only very small amounts of carbs but it is mostly fat, which is why most people with lactose intolerance can still eat it, especially hard cheese. (Keep in mind that not all “milks” are alike. Rice “milk” drink, almond milk, and soymilk don’t have the same nutritional profile as dairy milk.)

This is the important information on the advantages of milk. Emerging research from multiple different countries is showing some consistent results. People who eat dairy foods more frequently, particularly yogurt and some fermented cheeses like blue cheese, appear to have a lower incidence of diabetes.

Why is this? We don’t know yet. Perhaps it has to do with their probiotics, which can affect the microbiome – or the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. Stay tuned — more research is being done on this. Joslin’s research into dairy foods is underway and maybe available in the near future.

USDA guidelines recommend low fat dairy products. However, it is not clear if high fat or low fat dairy have different effects on glycemic control and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Two research studies have recently launched at Joslin that will help us better understand the role of fat in dairy foods in diabetes – particularly as it relates to weight management.

In a randomized prospective clinical study, Dr. Osama Hamdy and Dr. Joanna Mitri are evaluating the effect of high-fat dairy and low-fat dairy on glycemic control, body weight, and cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Please read the full article by Joslin.

December 4, 2016

Berries Are Good, But Watch Carbs – P2

This is a continuation of the previous blog.

#6. Berries May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels: Berries are a heart-healthy food.

Important point - berries have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels and help protect LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized.

#7. Berries May Be Good for Your Skin: In addition to their many other health benefits, berries may help reduce skin wrinkling. This makes sense, given that the antioxidants in berries help control free radicals, one of the leading causes of skin damage that contributes to aging.

Important point - berries contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which may help decrease wrinkling and other signs of skin aging related to sun exposure.

#8. Berry Antioxidants May Help Protect Against Cancer: Several antioxidants in berries, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol, may reduce the risk of cancer. Specifically, animal and human studies suggest that berries may help protect against cancer of the esophagus, mouth, breast and colon.

Important point - berries have been shown to reduce markers associated with tumor growth in animals and people with several types of cancer.

#9. Berries Can Be Enjoyed on Nearly All Types of Diets: Fortunately, berries can be included in many kinds of diets. Although people on low-carb and ketogenic diets often avoid fruit, they can usually enjoy moderate amounts of berries. For example, a half-cup serving of blackberries or raspberries contains less than 4 grams of digestible carbs.

Liberal amounts of berries can be incorporated into the paleo, Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. For people who want to lose weight, the low calories in berries make them ideal to include in meals, snacks or desserts.
Organic and wild berries are now widely available in many parts of the world. When they are not in season, frozen berries can be purchased and thawed as needed.

The only people who need to avoid berries are those who require a low-fiber diet for certain digestive disorders, as well as individuals who are allergic to berries. Allergic reactions to strawberries are most common.

Important point - berries can be enjoyed on most diets because they are low in calories and carbs and widely available in fresh or frozen forms.

#10. They May Help Keep Your Arteries Healthy: In addition to lowering cholesterol, berries provide other benefits for heart health. One of these is better function of your arteries. The cells that line your blood vessels are called endothelial cells. These cells help control blood pressure, keep blood from clotting and perform other important functions.

Excessive inflammation can damage them, inhibiting proper function. The term for this is endothelial dysfunction, and it’s a major risk factor for heart disease.
Berries have been shown to improve endothelial function in studies in healthy adults, individuals with metabolic syndrome and smokers.

Important point - berries have been found to improve arterial function in several studies of healthy people, those with metabolic syndrome and smokers.

#11. Berries Are Delicious Alone or in Healthy Recipes: Berries are undeniably delicious. They make a wonderful snack or dessert, whether you use one type of berry or a mixture of two or more. Although they are naturally sweet and require no additional sweetener, adding a bit of heavy (double) or whipped cream can transform them into a more elegant dessert.

For breakfast, try berries topped with either plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, along with some chopped nuts. Another way to include berries in your diet is as part of a salad.

Important point - berries are delicious when served alone, with cream or in healthy recipes.

Take Home Message:

Berries taste great, are highly nutritious and provide many health benefits. By including them in your diet on a regular basis, you can improve your overall health in a very enjoyable way.

Franziska's full article with all information/research links is here.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

December 3, 2016

Berries Are Good, But Watch Carbs – P1

I love most berries, but with type 2 diabetes, I know that I must limit the frequency and quantity that I can eat. I feel that this article by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE should be given more coverage.

She says, “"Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They are delicious, nutritious and provide a number of impressive health benefits. Here are 11 good reasons to include berries in your diet.”

#1. Berries Are Loaded With Antioxidants: Berries contain antioxidants, which help keep free radicals under control. Free radicals are unstable molecules that occur as a normal byproduct of metabolism. It’s important to have a small amount of free radicals in your body to help defend against bacteria and viruses. However, free radicals can also damage your cells when present in excessive amounts. Antioxidants can help neutralize these compounds.

Berries are a great source of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol. In addition to protecting your cells, these plant compounds may reduce the risk of disease. One study showed that blueberries, blackberries and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits, next to pomegranates.

Important point - berries are high in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, which may protect cells from free radical damage.

#2. Berries May Help Improve Blood Sugar and Insulin Response: Berries may improve your blood sugar and insulin levels. Test-tube and human studies suggest they may protect cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carb meals.

Importantly, these effects appear to occur in both healthy people and those with insulin resistance. In one study of healthy women, consuming 5 ounces (150 grams) of puréed strawberries or mixed berries with bread led to a 24–26% reduction in insulin levels, compared to consuming the bread alone. Moreover, in a six-week study, obese, insulin-resistant people who consumed a blueberry smoothie twice per day experienced greater improvements in insulin sensitivity than the group who consumed smoothies without berries.

Important point - berries may improve blood sugar and insulin response when consumed with high-carb foods or when included in smoothies.

#3. Berries Are High in Fiber: Berries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Studies have shown that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness. This may decrease your calorie intake and make weight management easier.

What’s more, fiber helps reduce the number of calories you absorb from mixed meals. One study found that doubling your fiber intake could help your body absorb up to 130 fewer calories per day. In addition, the high fiber content of berries means that they're digestible or net carb content low. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbs.

These are the carb and fiber counts per one-cup serving of berries:
Raspberries: 15 grams of carbs, 8 of which are fiber.
Blackberries: 15 grams of carbs, 8 of which are fiber.
Strawberries: 12 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber.
Blueberries: 21 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber.

Because of their low net carb content, berries are a low carb friendly food.

Important point - berries contain fiber, which may help decrease appetite, increase feelings of fullness and reduce the number of calories your body absorbs from mixed meals.

#4. Berries Provide Many Nutrients: Berries are low in calories and extremely nutritious. In addition to being high in antioxidants, they also contain several vitamins and minerals. Berries, especially strawberries, are high in vitamin C. In fact, one cup of strawberries provides a whopping 150% of the RDI for vitamin C.

With the exception of vitamin C, all berries are fairly similar in terms of their vitamin and mineral contents. Below is the nutrition content of a one-cup (144-gram) serving of blackberries:
Calories: 62.
Vitamin C: 50% of the RDI.
Manganese: 47% of the RDI.
Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI.
Copper: 12% of the RDI.
Folate: 9% of the RDI.

The calorie count for one cup of berries ranges from 49 for strawberries to 84 for blueberries, making berries some of the lowest-calorie fruits around.

Important point - berries are rich in several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and manganese, yet low in calories.

#5. The Antioxidants in Them Help Fight Inflammation: Berries have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body’s way of mounting a defense against infection or injury. However, modern lifestyles often lead to excessive, sustained inflammation due to increased stress, inadequate physical activity and unhealthy food choices. This type of chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to the development of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, among other diseases.

Important point - berries may help reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of heart disease and other health problems.

December 2, 2016

Christmas Gifts for People with Diabetes

Gifts for people with diabetes can be troublesome for many people. This is why I have reviewed my previous blogs and will list them for your reading. This blog from December 2012 is one of the better ones.

At this time of year and before birthdays, people are always looking for gifts that people with diabetes will appreciate. Joslin Diabetes has a list and some suggestions that could be appropriate. I will say that the books listed in the blog should be considered with care as the American Diabetes Association is not known for low carbohydrate cookbooks, but some may appreciate them.

One suggestion from the Joslin blog is the possible purchase of an electronic food scale that calculates the carb counts of food. This may be on the expensive side for many people, but could be of value if you have the funds. On the less expensive side are items like a pedometer or resistance bands. Read the entire Joslin blog as ideas are presented to the end of the blog.

Another suggestion is a scale that allows you to zero out the container and give the weight only of different contents in the container or containers. This is what I own and I enjoyed it for several years before I remarried and my wife took over doing most of the cooking.

The second blog is about poor gift ideas for people with diabetes. Food is often the choice of many people to give as gifts and why they assume that sugar free is all they need to be concerned about is puzzling to most of us with type 2 and type 1 diabetes.

The third blog is about various gifts that are suitable for all ages, from young children to senior citizens. And many gifts are for different occasions, which can be valuable for people looking for gifts.

I will be pulling together different ideas for gifts during the next year and hopefully will have more suggestions another year.

December 1, 2016

Oils – Which to Use When

As a person with diabetes, I found this article in the United Kingdom Telegraph newspaper very informative. I was aware of some of the points, but others I had not encountered, as my mother never used them.

You may want to copy this or print it to have it as a ready reference.

Extra virgin olive oil
• What is it made from: the extracted juice of crushed olives. It is one of the only cooking oils made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining. There are very specific standards oil has to meet to receive the label "extra-virgin." Because of the way extra-virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste, and has a lower level of oleic acid than other olive oil varieties. It also contains more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives.
• Best for: dressing salads, drizzling over pasta, baking
• Worst for: frying at high temperatures, because of its low smoke point

Olive Oil
What is it made from: the oil extracted from pressed whole olives. This oil is typically a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil (which refers to oil where heat and/or chemicals are used in the process of extracting oil and removing flaws from the fruit).

An olive branch Credit: Alamy
Pure olive oil is a lower-quality oil than extra-virgin or virgin olive oil, with a lighter color, more neutral flavor, and oleic acid measuring between 3-4%. This type of olive oil is an all-purpose cooking oil
Best for: light frying and salad dressing, baking, dressings
Worst for: high temperature frying

Rapeseed oil
What is it made from: oil extracted from rapeseed. In the last few years there's been a surge in artisanal, British, "cold-pressed" rapeseed oils, which are marketed much like single-estate olive oils. Unlike olive oil, rapeseed doesn't go toxic at high heat, while a smoke point higher than that of olive oil makes it marginally more suitable for frying
Best for: roasting potatoes, frying
Worst for: it has a very subtle flavor, so is not to everyone's taste for drizzling

What is it made from: fatty deposits from pigs
Best for: baking, high-temperature frying
Worst for: anything that doesn't involve high temperatures

What is it made from: boiled butter, churned with cream with the liquid residue removed
Best for: high-temperature frying
Worst for: anything that doesn't involve high temperatures

Goose/duck fat
What is it made from: the fat drained from cooked goose or duck
Best for: high-temperature frying, roasting potatoes
Worst for: anything that doesn't involve high temperatures

Sunflower oil
What is it made from: oil extracted from sunflower seeds
Best for: the latest advice says we should avoid altogether
Worst for: cooking or frying at high temperatures

Vegetable oil
What is it made from: the oils extracted from seeds like soybean, corn, sunflower, and safflower
Best for: the latest advice says we should avoid altogether
Worst for: high temperature frying

Coconut oil
What is it made from: most coconut oils are made from smoke drying, sun drying, or kiln drying the dried meat of the coconut called 'copra'
Best for: high-temperature frying, baking
Worst for: drizzling over food, although it can be combined with other ingredients to make a dressing

Scientists have discovered that heating up vegetable oils leads to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Until recently, many experts recommended that we avoid olive oil when cooking and instead choose either vegetable or sunflower oil.

However, the new research found that sunflower oil and corn oil produced aldehydes at levels 20 times higher than recommended by the World Health Organization. Olive oil, rapeseed oil, butter and goose fat produced far fewer harmful chemicals.

"More and more, we are realizing that the food scientists who scared us away from cooking with certain fats got it wrong. It was our grandmothers – who cooked with goose fat or butter, ghee or coconut oil, depending on where they came from – who had the right idea."

Have a great time cooking and please do it right!