Thursday, December 18, 2014

Avoid following outdated diabetes advice….

Today's Post:  Thursday, 12-18-2014

There are individual differences in what people’s bodies respond to best.  And, there are individual differences in what advice different people are willing to add or give up to avoid or turn off type 2 diabetes.

That said, recent developments have shown there are many things that were thought to be helpful or at least OK by diabetes educators that are either damaging or at least not very helpful.

Recently in an email I get from Everyday Health which has a mix of good and outdated information they had an article called, “4 Top Diabetes Diet Myths Exposed”

Diabetes educator Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN wrote it

“Myth No. 1: If You Have Diabetes, You Must Avoid All Sugar”

She points out that it IS important to avoid excessive amounts of sugar and a very high carbohydrate intake at any one meal.

a) But then along with saying that whole fruits and vegetables are OK carbohydrates and saying that some sugary treats are OK on occasion, she lists whole grains as OK carbohydrates for diabetics.  

b) Then after saying to avoid lots of carbs or sugar at any one meal she suggests that eating treats like “….a cookie, in moderation” is an OK sweet treat to include.

Those two things are quite bad advice we now know for anyone and horrible advice for type 2 diabetics.

 [My more complete comments are below. This is based on outdated information.]

Myth No. 2: Any White Food Is Bad

She points out that white, refined grain flour and breads made from it are indeed not good and notes again that white sugar is not OK in excess.

Then she makes the quite reasonable point that white onions and cauliflower are OK. (They are each excellent foods for health.  So this is a good point! Even better she says that cauliflower and onions “are excellent for blood glucose control as they are very low in calories and high in fiber, and provide few carbohydrates.”

What the food is and whether or not it supports health and avoids spiking your blood sugar is far more important than its color. 

But then she says that white potatoes are OK to eat in a meal with other kinds of foods.

That advice is incorrect and based on outdated information.

[My more complete comments are below.]

Myth No. 3: The Only Way to Lower Glucose Levels and Weight Is to Follow a Low- or No-Carb Diet

She says that:  “If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel as though everyone around you is telling you to steer clear of all sources of carbohydrates.

Since carbohydrates are found in everything from fruit to bread to milk and even vegetables, you may feel as though there’s nothing left to eat. But the good news is that you can still eat carbohydrates.”

And, she says that: “Eating carbohydrates as part of a well-balanced diet will help you keep your levels within a healthy range.” 

[Since vegetables and fruits do have carbs and if “well balanced’ means health protective and helpful to control high blood sugar that part of her advice is OK.]

Then she says

“Instead of avoiding carbohydrates, focus instead on choosing the healthiest types.

Select whole vegetables and fruits, whole-grain bread, and low-fat dairy for a diet rich in nutrients and fiber.”

[Focusing on the healthiest types is great advice.  But she says nothing about how very health protective vegetables and fruits are.  And, again she included the whole grain foods that people with type 2 diabetes would do best to not eat at all or limit very carefully and eat sparingly.]

Then she suggests including  “…. lean protein, and healthy fat at each meal.”  [Not too bad; but she doesn’t say which protein foods need not be lean as their fats ARE healthy nor which fats are healthy and are which are NOT.]

Myth No. 4: Sugar-Free Foods Won’t Impact Blood-Sugar Levels

[Her first comments in this section are interesting and useful to know.  I know several reasons to almost always avoid foods labeled as “Sugar-Free”; but I’d not heard the ones she lists first.]
“ Many foods marketed as sugar-free have replaced sugar with sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols provide fewer calories and make less of an impact on glucose levels than regular sugar, but they can still elevate glucose levels if you consume them in large amounts.

In addition, bread-based sugar-free foods, such as sugar-free desserts, are typically rich in carbohydrates from sources such as flour and grains.

It’s essential to read labels carefully on sugar-free foods.

Look at the total grams of carbohydrates and not just grams of sugar.
If you focus only on the marketing claims, such as “sugar-free,” you may struggle to lower your glucose levels without knowing why.”

[This section is excellent! 

She does leave out that all the sugar alcohols but one, erythritol, will give you gas or tummy discomfort if you eat lots of them in a food.

And, she leaves out that the artificial sugars also often in such foods and in diet soft drinks actually test to INCREASE excess fat and boost blood sugars and help cause type 2 diabetes.

Nor does she note the many health problems of those artificial sugars in addition to that.

Her good section would have been far better if it had included those points.]

She closes with
“…. managing your glucose levels doesn’t have to be complicated.

A balanced diet rich in whole foods and limited in processed foods and simple sugars – the same diet that we should all follow, regardless of whether we have diabetes or not! – can help you keep your glucose levels in a healthy range.”

[This manages to be sensible and misleading and weak advice at the same time. 

a) It’s true that healthful eating is important for everyone to follow besides type 2 diabetics!

Many diabetics resent having to follow healthy eating rules that they see most people ignoring. 

But they need to hear over and over that in fact, as diabetics, they are lucky – NOT those other people. 

The foods and drinks those other people think are OK and consume often are just as harmful for them But diabetics have learned those foods and drinks are harmful while these less fortunate people have not! 

Heart disease, strokes, cancers, obesity, and mental decline ALSO are caused by the foods and drinks these other people think are OK.  Diabetics who stop consuming these harmful foods and drinks may well avoid those other harms because they stopped consuming them.

Meanwhile the people who know no better all too often will NOT avoid those harms.

Surprisingly, if they eliminate those harmful foods and drinks, the DIABETICS will be the lucky ones!  The people who still haven’t learned of the harms all too often will not.

b)  To say “limited in processed foods” is MUCH too weak!  Almost every ingredient in processed foods should never be eaten by anyone!

And for type 2 diabetics, those foods boost blood sugar levels, increase obesity, and cause more of the harms that befall type 2 diabetics! 

Processed foods are virtually always those type 2 diabetics should ELIMINATE not limit!

[My other comments:

a) I liked her section on Sugar-Free foods.

It would have been stronger if she had also noted that research finds artificial sweeteners and diet soft drinks increase type 2 diabetes and fatten -- including getting a bigger waist.

b) New research is finding that most people should eliminate refined grains and eliminate or cut way back on whole grains.  

And, this is critical for anyone with an HBA1C of 5.8 or over or anyone who is obese let alone for type 2 diabetics.  Foods like quinoa, pecan meal, or lentils, or the sweet potatoes she mentioned are a much better choice than even whole grains.

The mild to much higher high blood sugar levels even whole grains cause in any but the most sparing amounts have been found to be a direct cause of Alzheimer’s disease and obesity and heart disease and increase cancers in two different ways.

This IS relatively new information.  Unfortunately she has not learned of it yet.

c) Conventionally grown white potatoes are so heavily sprayed the farmers who grow them, often will not eat them at all!  

And, they are far too high glycemic for type 2 diabetics to eat at all as they are commonly cooked.  

BUT, organic Yukon gold or red potatoes chilled overnight after cooking and then made into a potato salad are far less glycemic.  Somehow the chilling causes a slower release of their sugars.  And the olive oil or olive oil and egg yolk in real mayonnaise and its protein lower the overall glycemic or blood sugar boosting of the potatoes when they are in a potato salad!

d) True.  Type 2 diabetics ARE more likely to be able to maintain healthy eating if they can have some sweets.  

However, cookies are best NOT included except for very rare occasions!  They have grains, usually refined grains, AND sugars too.  

Worse, the cookies most people have access to are still made with hydrogenated oils which are heart attack starters -- and the LAST thing type 2 diabetics should ever eat!

Dark chocolate or a small amount of honey or real maple syrup but not too often would work.  

The key is to keep calories for actual sugar to 3 to 5% of calories or less.  It also helps to avoid free fructose in high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, and fruit juices.

Organic raisins or organic prunes with nuts -- or a piece of low glycemic fruit also work well to add some sweet but OK foods. 

e) The much better news is that recent research in the UK found that people who eat 6 or more servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of dying from any cause by 43% and 24% of that is deaths from the heart disease that is a bigger risk for type 2 diabetics!

Even better, though few people today would eat a stalk of celery, some water cress, some fresh cilantro, some red cabbage, and some uncooked yams for breakfast, 
  with a Vitamix blender you can make a drink most people CAN drink with those ingredients!

This works well at breakfast.  For example at type 2 diabetic might have two boiled eggs from pastured hens and a small dish of organic strawberries for breakfast. Or they might have a small dish of quinoa, pecan meal, and organic raisins.

In either case that may not be enough to hold off hunger long.  

But if they also drink half of the vegetables just listed as a 16 ounce Vitamix drink the combination of all the foods with the vegetable drink will turn off hunger much better.  And, it will more than triple the nutrition they get!

Have a vegetable at lunch and one at dinner and the other half of the Vitamix drink and you can easily get the six servings of vegetables by doing this. Depending on how you count, this is 7 or 12 servings!

f) She also left out the incredible power of adding exercise and said nothing about the supplements that can give type 2 diabetics and those of us who want to avoid it extra leverage.

But those are subjects for another time.  

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