It's in the news....
On some menus, one plate packs 2,000 calories Popular dishes at chain restaurants exceed entire day's worth of calories
By Allison Linn
Updated: 8:04 p.m. ET Feb 26, 2007
Everyone likes to splurge
a little when they go to a restaurant, but new research suggests some of those indulgences may be packing way more calories - and if you aren’t careful, pounds - than you think.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a research group that advocates good nutrition, highlighted menu
items from popular chain restaurants that in some cases have as many calories in just one plateful as some people should eat in an entire day.
The research comes as Americans are eating out more and more and experts are growing increasingly concerned
about obesity-related health concerns. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is hoping that publicizing such nutritional
information will prompt more companies to offer calorie counts and other nutrition data, so customers can better evaluate what they plan to eat.
"I would never dream of telling someone what to order in a restaurant, but people can't make informed choices
without basic nutrition information," said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the group.
The examples included Ruby Tuesday’s Colossal Burger, which weighs in at around 1,940 calories and includes 141 grams of fat.
doesn't even include the fries on the side. Another entree from Ruby Tuesday, the Fresh Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, has 2,060
calories and 128 grams of fat, thanks in part to a parmesan cream sauce and layer of melted cheese.
Other chains are serving up serious splurges as well.
The Border’s Double-Stacked Club Quesadilla has 1,860 calories and 52 grams of saturated fat, the study said.
Entrees aren't the only menu items that pose a serious hazard to your waistline. An order of Uno Chicago Grill’s
Pizza Skins - a so-called appetizer - has about 2,050 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat, the study said.
for dessert, a slice of Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake at The Cheesecake Factory has 1,380 calories and 33 grams of saturated fat.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends that people eat between 1,600 and 2,800 calories per day, depending on age, gender and other factors. The USDA also recommends that people get between 53 and 93 grams of
Of course, most restaurants also offer less bulge-inducing options.
Johnson, senior vice president for Ruby Tuesday, noted that his chain also features lower-calorie menu items, including
grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, a salad bar and other healthier fare.
think it’s interesting that they chose 2 of the items on the menu that are probably the highest-calorie items,” he said of the Center for Science in the Public Interest report.
While massive calorie counts such as these can be shocking, there are some positive signs for people who are trying to watch their weight while
Moores, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said she's seeing more healthy
choices on menus. She also has noticed that some higher-end restaurants are scaling back portion sizes.
Customers - take control
Moores said customers also can takes steps to control how much food they eat, even if they want to splurge
on a less healthy treat.
For example, Moores said she sees more people splitting large entrees. Customers
also shouldn’t be shy about asking their servers if they would be willing to serve a smaller portion, leave off a decadent
sauce or pack up half the meal in a to-go bag ahead of time.
“It really is just [about] becoming an advocate for yourself,” she said.
Wootan, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said it also sometimes
be difficult to tell which items are the healthiest. She noted even trained nutritionists sometimes can't accurately say how
many calories are in an item they get at a restaurant.
Also, the calorie count in what seems like a similar item - such as a chicken sandwich - can vary wildly depending on how it's prepared.
Moores also would like to see more restaurants highlighting nutritional information
on menus, although she said one problem is that many people may not know how many calories they should be eating, let alone how many grams of fat are excessive.
Don't ask, don't tell
It may also be true that people don’t want to think about calories when they head out for a meal. Johnson, of Ruby Tuesday, said his company experimented with offering nutritional information
on its menus a couple of years ago, but pulled back after receiving feedback from customers that they didn’t want it.
Customers also often choose to eat
items that are more indulgent. For example, while there has been some increased interest in Ruby Tuesday’s healthier
food items over the years, Johnson said the chain’s hamburger - though not the colossal one - has always been the most
popular item on the menu.
That’s evidence of why Moores, the nutritionist, doesn’t necessarily
fault the restaurant industry for offering big servings of unhealthy food.
“Do [restaurants] own the obesity problem? No,” she said. “They’re serving what
© 2007 MSNBC Interactive
How To Avoid A Heart Attack
Allison Van Dusen, 03.07.07, 12:01 AM ET
Sure, many of us can't
resist glazed donuts and French fries and don't remember what the inside of a gym looks like. And yes, we're constantly stressed
out about work and could stand to lose 10 pounds.
But a heart attack? They happen to other people - not you.
Even if the worst should occur, doctors can use drugs to decrease
the damage to your heart, or perform angioplasty or bypass surgery to fix the problem. Right?
Not always. Up to 25% of people who die of sudden cardiac death
had no prior symptoms or warnings such as chest pain.
"You can't just rely on the thought that, 'Oh, well, if I have
a heart attack the doctors will be there to save me and put me on medications,' " says Dr. Erin Michos, a cardiology fellow
at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"Some people don't make it to the hospital. They die at home.
Prevention needs to begin early in life."
Heart attacks strike when one or more of the heart's arteries
are blocked, severely reducing or stopping blood from reaching part of the heart muscle. They're usually preceded by the buildup
inside the artery walls of fatty deposits or plaque, which can rupture, causing a blood clot to form and block the artery.
When the blood supply is cut off for more than a few minutes it can be deadly.
Coronary heart disease remains the nation's single leading cause
of death and it's estimated that 1.2 million Americans will have a first or recurrent coronary attack this year, killing 452,000
of them, according to the American Heart Association.
statistics sound frightening, take heart.
Cardiologists, doctors, nutritionists and other experts say
you have the power to cut your risk of having a heart attack.
Instead of looking for the latest quick fix, however, focus
your preventive efforts on what's already been proven.
For starters, that means changing your diet. But, as registered
dietitian and American Heart Association spokeswoman Ronni Litz Julien points out, today there are lots more do's than don'ts.
She tells clients to get a tablespoon of olive oil a day,
either with sautéed vegetables or a salad and to frequently eat low-mercury fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular
A few eggs a week are no longer forbidden. Neither is
meat, if you're eating lean, 4 oz to 6 oz cuts. The same goes for nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts, as
long as you're not demolishing a Costco-size container in two days.
A little portion control will go a long way toward helping you keep your weight in check too. Litz Julien
recommends that couples eating out order separate salads or shrimp cocktails and split an entrée. When cooking, don't just
dump half a bag of rice into the pot - measure it. Aim to always leave something on the plate.
can leave a few bites, you've created a barrier between you and the food," she says. "You're still satiated
but you're not so completely full that you have to unbutton your pants."
Consistently getting a good
night's rest is another simple thing you can do for your
Recent studies have shown a connection between not getting enough
sleep or irregular sleep patterns and heart disease, says cardiologist Dr. Thomas Lee, editor of the Harvard Health Letter,
a journal which covers and analyzes health care issues. By cheating yourself of sleep, you're throwing off your biological
clock, causing adrenaline to surge and raising blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks.
"We need to recognize that sleep is important, not a sign of
weakness," Lee says. He suggests structuring your day so that you get enough sleep, which also can minimize stress in your life,
another risk factor.
Down With Your Digits
key to heart attack prevention is knowing your numbers, including blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index.
Risk factors such as age (coronary heart disease increases as we grow older), gender (before 50 heart disease is more common in men than women, but women's risk increases after menopause) and heredity (you're at an increased risk if your father or a brother had a heart attack before 55 or your mom or a sister had a heart attack before 65) can't be changed, according to research from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
But once you know your numbers, you can do something about them.
U.S. Preventive Medicine is one new company trying to encourage preventive screenings across America.
It's working with hospitals and physician groups to create centers
where people can go for tests, health risk assessments, counseling and intervention, says medical director Dr. Boyd Lyles.
On a daily basis Web sites, such as Everydayhealth.com, also can help you track your results and goals, and show you how to
Following through will take time and commitment, but it can
Over the years, Litz Julien, for instance, has made exercise as an important part of the day as her shower.
"It's truly a matter of if you want it," she says. "You've got
to want it."
More Fast-Food Joints in Neighborhoods Mean More Strokes
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009; 5:00
THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Living in neighborhoods
packed with fast-food joints could increase your risk for stroke by 13 percent, compared to residing in places where such restaurants are less plentiful, a new study suggests.
Whether the link proves to
be causal is not known, though, said study author Dr. Lewis B. Morgenstern, a professor of neurology at the University of
Michigan School of Public Health.
"The only thing we are certain
about is, if you live in a neighborhood with a high fast-food restaurant concentration, you are at increased risk," Morgenstern
said. He presented his study Thursday at the International Stroke Conference in San Diego.
Morgenstern's research team
gathered data on stroke cases in Nueces County, Texas, finding 1,247 cases of ischemic stroke from January 2000 through June 2003. More than 700,000 strokes occur each year in the United States, and most are ischemic, in which blood vessels become clogged.
The researchers then determined
the number of fast-food restaurants in the county - 262 - and zeroed in on 64 U.S. Census Bureau tracts to determine the number
of fast-food outlets in each area. They counted only restaurants that had at least 2 of 4 characteristics: rapid food service,
takeout business, either no or a very limited wait staff and payment made before receiving food. And they ranked the neighborhoods
from most to least number of fast-food outlets.
Morgenstern said that it would
be difficult to break down how many fast food restaurants per block or per mile were in the high-concentration areas. But
each census tract included about 5,000 people, and the neighborhoods in the top 25% had 33 restaurants per tract, while those
in the lowest had 12.
Their analysis determined
that "there was a 13% increased risk of stroke in the top 25% compared to the lowest 25%," Morgenstern said. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
"It's interesting, but we
don't know if it is causal," said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Miami Miller
School of Medicine and a spokesman for the American Stroke Association.
But the findings are plausible,
said Dr. Dean Johnston, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University of British Columbia. "This suggests
that diet and lifestyle factors are important for stroke prevention," he said. Fast food has been linked with obesity, and obesity increases stroke risk.
The bottom line for consumers?
Anyone moving to a new locale should pay attention to the neighborhood, Morgenstern said, including the number of stores that
sell fresh produce and the number of fast-food restaurants.
The American Stroke Association has more on stroke.
source site: click here
Mediterranean Diet Aids the Aging Brain: Study
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009; 10:00
TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Chalk up another endorsement
for the so-called Mediterranean diet: The eating regimen, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil, may help the brain stay sharp into old age, a new study suggests.
Following the healthful diet reduced the risk of getting mild cognitive impairment - marked by forgetfulness and difficulty
concentrating. And it also cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease if cognitive impairment was already present, said study lead author Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, an assistant professor
of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
We did two different types
of analysis," Scarmeas said of the study, published in the February issue of Archives of Neurology.
Previous research has found
that people who follow the Mediterranean are at less risk of developing a variety of diseases besides Alzheimer's, including heart disease, cancer and Parkinson's.
The Columbia researchers began
the study by evaluating almost 1,400 people without cognitive impairment and 482 people with mild cognitive impairment, and
then followed them for an average of 4.5 years. The participants - average age 77 - also completed a food frequency questionnaire,
detailing what they had eaten during the past year.
The researchers divided the
participants into three groups - those who adhered somewhat or not at all to the Mediterranean diet, those who adhered moderately
to it, and those who adhered regularly. Then they evaluated the participants' cognitive functioning.
They found that the diet helped
in both cases - preventing mild cognitive impairment and also the risk of further decline, even if people weren't entirely
strict in their adherence to the diet.
"As compared to the group
that ate very little or not at all of the Mediterranean diet, those who ate it to a moderate degree had 17% less risk of developing
mild cognitive impairment," Scarmeas said. "Those who adhered a lot had a 28% less risk of developing mild cognitive impairment."
The diet also helped those who already had mild impairment. "Compared to those who adhered
not at all or very little, those who ate the Mediterranean diet to a moderate degree had a 45% reduction in risk going from
mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease. Those who adhered a lot had a 48% reduction in risk of going from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's," he said.
Scarmeas said previous research he's carried out found that a greater adherence to the
Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
It's not known exactly how the diet may help keep the brain healthy, Scarmeas said. One
possibility is that it might reduce inflammation, which plays a role in brain disease. Or it might work by improving cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol, he said.
Two experts who reviewed the study put their perspective on the findings.
"You see what is called a dose response. The more stringently you follow the Mediterranean
diet, the better the outcome," noted Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New
Alice Lichtenstein, Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
in Boston, said: "It's encouraging to see the results - those reporting the healthier dietary pattern
seem to do better." What remains to be seen, she added, is whether it was the specific diet that helped people avoid cognitive
decline or if those people who ate properly had other healthy habits that decreased their risk.
All three experts agreed: Until more evidence is in that the Mediterranean diet keeps
brains sharp, there are plenty of other reasons to follow it, including heart health.
To learn more about the Mediterranean diet, visit the Women's Heart Foundation
source site: click here
February 4, 2009 - Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Report: 'Shocking' number don't know obesity causes cancer
from CNN.com By Anouk Lorie
LONDON, England (CNN) - A
"shocking" number of people around the world are not aware that obesity and weight are among the main risk factors that can
lead to cancer, a new survey has found.
of people in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and West Asia do not know about the link between weight and cancer, the global survey found.
regions such as Africa and South East Asia, the survey revealed that awareness is even lower, with respectively 41 and 49% of
people saying there is no link between weight and cancer.
who published the report for the International Union against Cancer (UICC), told CNN he was "shocked to discover the number
of people who do not know about the link."
to China to the Seychelles to Kurdistan, I did not find a single country where trends in obesity and overweight are not worrisome,"
- Cancer Related Beliefs and Behaviour -- interviewed 40,000 in 39 countries. It found that those who are most at risk from
some cancers appear to downplay their own risk.
the survey found that 25% of people who drink alcohol frequently and also use tobacco daily, believe that smoking cigarettes
does not increase the risk of cancer.
the same is true of people who are already overweight or obese.
40% of cancers could be preventable if people led healthier lives, tackling overweight and obesity," Slavin added.
prevention campaign aimed primarily at youngsters has now been launched to deal with the growing crisis.
Love My Healthy Active Childhood," it aims to encourage children to have an energy-balanced lifestyle, based on a healthy diet and physical activity.
to the World Health Organization (WHO) an estimated 22 million children under five are overweight today, and the problem is
is a continuation of the UICC's "Today's children, tomorrow's world" cancer prevention campaign. Last year, the organization focused on anti-smoking "I Love my Smoke-free Childhood" campaign.
and obesity are part of the causal chain for many cancers," Professor David Hill, the president of the UICC said in a news release to launch the initiative.
"This is well established in science but not adequately understood in the community.
current lack of public understanding of the link between body weight and cancer probably parallels our attitudes to smoking and cancer in the late 1950s."
report found that in regions such as Latin and Northern America, Australia/New Zealand, Western Asia and Africa, over half
of individuals are overweight or obese and therefore more vulnerable to cancer.
from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007 showed that cancer will become the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010, surpassing heart disease.
also a rising incidence of cancers in developing countries, the WHO reported.
one of the main reasons for this is that developing countries are increasingly adopting eating habits popular in developed
many developed countries used to eat a lot of plants and fruits, but the shift towards the screen-based generation and [fast foods] is increasing the number of cancers.
need to teach these countries not to take the examples of developed countries" added Slavin.
source site: click here
Other Reading concerning Obesity....
Obesity rising sharply among preschoolers: More than 10% are overweight, report finds
Study: Child obesity expected to soar worldwide: Nearly 1/2 of kids in North & South America could be overweight by 2010
Risky pregnancies are rising & succeeding: Complications due to mothers’ age, health issues becoming routine
Waistlines keep expanding around the globe: Urbanization, Western ways adding to the world's weight problem
Does Coffee Raise Cholesterol?
Does your daily morning jolt boost the risk of heart disease?
By Merritt McKinney for MSNBC.com
For the millions of people who depend on coffee to jumpstart their day, cholesterol is probably the last thing on their mind as they wait for the morning jolt of caffeine to kick in. In the past few years,
though, more & more evidence hints that coffee can increase cholesterol levels.
say that the majority of coffee-drinking Americans do not need to worry about the impact of a cup of joe on cholesterol levels. That's because most Americans drink filtered coffee, which is believed to have much less of an effect on cholesterol than unfiltered coffee. Filters seem to remove most of the cholesterol-boosting substances found in coffee.
But a cholesterol
check may be in order for people who use a French press or percolator to make their coffee or who prefer espresso or other varieties of unfiltered coffee, according to Dr. Michael J. Klag, the vice dean for clinical investigation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Klag & his colleagues reviewed more than a dozen studies that looked at the relationship between coffee consumption & cholesterol levels. They found that drinking an average of 6 cups of coffee a day was associated with increased total cholesterol & LDL, the harmful type of cholesterol. Nearly all of the rise in cholesterol was linked to unfiltered coffee.
The coffee culprit
Although caffeine is often cast as a villain, the
stimulant is not to blame for unfiltered coffee's effect on cholesterol levels. According to Klag, the increase in cholesterol is believed to be caused by oils called terpenes that are found in coffee, but are mostly removed by filters.
"Persons who drink unfiltered coffee should get their cholesterol checked to make sure it is not elevated," says Klag.
The Johns Hopkins
researcher notes that in a 1994 study he & his colleagues found an association between coffee consumption & an increased risk of heart disease. But most of the increased risk was linked to coffee-drinking before 1975. It was during the mid-1970s, Klag points out, that drip-coffee makers became widely used in the United States, making filtered coffee the norm.
advises his patients who drink unfiltered coffee to switch to filtered brew, he says that not everyone needs to be
overly concerned about the effect of unfiltered coffee on cholesterol.
notes that cholesterol levels are a "combination of how you live, what you eat & what genes you inherit." A healthy
person with low cholesterol probably doesn't need to worry too much about the effect of coffee on cholesterol levels, he says.
A Dutch researcher
who has also documented the cholesterol-boosting effect of unfiltered coffee agrees that the risks need to be seen in perspective.
"Unfiltered coffee has much less effect on your heart-disease risk than smoking, high blood pressure or being overweight," says Dr. Martijn B. Katan, a professor at the Wageningen Center
for Food Sciences & Wageningen University.
"But if you want to optimize
your cholesterol levels, you should avoid large daily amounts of unfiltered coffee."
Unfiltered coffee seems to boost cholesterol the most, although a handful of recent studies hint that filtered coffee may have an effect on cholesterol, too.
one study, researchers in Sweden found that people who normally drank filtered coffee experienced a small drop in cholesterol
levels when they stopped drinking coffee for a few weeks. The results were "surprising," according to Dr. Elisabeth Strandhagen, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital
in Goteborg, who led the study.
"We've done some tests on coffee filters, but we can't explain why the filtered coffee had this effect on serum cholesterol," she says.
Despite the findings,
filtered coffee seems to have a much smaller effect on cholesterol than unfiltered coffee. Strandhagen encourages people with high cholesterol or who are at high risk of heart disease to choose filtered coffee. They should also avoid coffee filters that have "aroma holes," which are very common in Sweden, she says.
Pieces of the puzzle
vs. unfiltered may not be the most important question to ask about coffee & cholesterol, according to a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
try to pin a culprit" when it comes to coffee & cholesterol, "but people don't live in an isolated world," says Dr. Gail C. Frank, a professor of nutrition in the
department of family & consumer sciences at California State University, Long Beach. According to Frank, there are "several
pieces to the coffee story," including not only whether people drink filtered or unfiltered coffee, but how much they drink & what they are doing besides drinking coffee, such as smoking.
And a study
by Greek researchers published in the Nov. 2 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests
that combining smoking with coffee-drinking can increase the stiffness of arteries more than each of the activities alone.
the frequent combination of smoking & caffeine intake, these effects on arterial function may have important implications
for human health," the researchers wrote.
thru old habits
When making decisions about coffee, Frank encourages people not to look for a yes or no answer. It's not a simple question of "do drink coffee" or "don't drink coffee," she says.
unfiltered coffee may contain substances that raise cholesterol levels, many popular coffee drinks sold at coffee houses contain other ingredients - cream & sugar, i.e., that raise questions of their own about
Frank encourages people to "filter thru" their own lives & their own cardiovascular risk factors to make a decision about
how much & what type of coffee to drink.
Merritt McKinney is a health writer based in Houston.
New Report Increases Evidence of Dietary Link to Cancer (American Cancer Society) By American Cancer Society - Wed Nov 7, 2007
Excess body fat increases
a person's risk of developing cancer, according to a new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research & the World Cancer Research Fund.
The report, called Food, Nutrition,
Physical Activity & the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, urges people to stay at a healthy weight, which means
having a body mass index (or BMI, a ratio of weight
to height) between 18.5 & 24.9. And it recommends regular physical activity as a way to control weight.
"The recommendation reflects
what the science is telling us today," says W. Phillip T. James, MD, DSc, a member of the panel that wrote the report. "Even
small amounts of excess fat, especially if carried at the waist, increase risk."
The report also makes recommendations
for eating more healthfully to reduce cancer risk. It says people should eat mostly foods from plants, limit red meat & alcohol & avoid processed meats like bacon,
sausage & lunchmeat.
This new report confirms what
the American Cancer Society has been telling the public for years, says Colleen
Doyle, MS, RD, American Cancer Society director of nutrition & physical
"These recommendations are
consistent with the American Cancer Society's 2006 update of its Nutrition and Physical
Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention, as well as the Society's 2006 Guide to Informed Choices for Cancer
Survivors," she says. "There is no question that if you don't smoke, the most important lifestyle goal to work toward to reduce your cancer risk is to maintain a healthy weight."
ACS guidelines recommend eating
a diet rich in plant-based foods & limiting alcohol, red meat & processed meats.
They also call for people to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days per week.
"People should try to keep
their Body Mass Index between 18.5 & 24.9 & if you start to see it increase - even if you're still within that healthy
weight range - you should limit the amount of calories you consume & increase your activity level," says Doyle. "Being
physically active & eating a healthy diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits & whole grains are also
important for reducing cancer risk, both in a direct way & indirectly, by helping to control weight."
The newly published report
also says the strongest evidence on methods of food preservation, processing & preparation shows that salt & salt-preserved
foods are probably a cause of stomach cancer & that foods contaminated with aflatoxins are a cause of liver cancer.
The report includes a review
& evaluation of an estimated 7,000 pieces of research on diet, physical activity & weight management & their effect on risk for 17 different types of cancer.
The Type 2 Diabetes Diet
by Dan Wilson
Though most commonly known as adult onset-diabetes, Type 2
diabetes mellitus can, actuality, develop at any time during your life. In fact, this type of diabetes is now becoming increasingly
prevalent in children. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is producing insulin but the body is unable to process or respond
to it properly. Unlike in Type 1 diabetes mellitus where the body is unable to produce insulin, in Type 2, insulin is present
but the body is resistant to it.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about Type 2 diabetes is that it can be effectively
treated. The key to management and control is to make significant changes in ones diet and lifestyle. Ranking high on the
list of risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are obesity and having a non-active lifestyle. Eliminating those major risks and
issues is best. If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a lifestyle overhaul is necessary. This is to ensure that
one can live a long, full life without any of the dire consequences of untreated diabetes.
A diabetes diet means regulated
carbohydrate but increased fiber intake. Carbohydrates are the main contributors to rising blood sugar levels. Adding a good
amount of fiber to your diet will help control and maintain glucose levels. Fiber delays sugar absorption and helps you better
control those levels. Protein and fats should be consumed in moderation, as one should in any other diet. A good planned diet
will help you maintain a healthy weight Balance and moderation should keep your blood sugar balanced, too.
Types of DiabetesLearn the different types of diabetes, its effects and the
ways on how to prevent them.
Childhood DiabetesYour children can be a victim of this devastating disease.
Learn why children are becoming more prone to diabetes.
Diabetes TreatmentLearn the different ways in treating diabetes in order to live
a longer and happy life.
Dan Wilson is a Diabetes survivor, and loves writing in his spare time and helping
others deal with diabetes. Dan has learned he can lead a very productive life living with diabetes
Controlling Type 2 Diabetes With Diet
by Toma Grubb
I am often asked how I maintain an A1C of <6.0. I get the
impression that the person asking is disappointed when I am unable to give a simple answer. In fact, there is no simple sound
bite answer. The simple sound bite answer is I eat properly but eating properly has many facets to it. Type 2 diabetes is
a complicated disease. Proper nutrition is also rather complicated. It may be best to explain by reviewing how I got from
A1C of 20.9 to my last A1C of 5.0.
When I was diagnosed in February 2005 I was close to death. When I arrived at the
Emergency room at the Seattle Veterans Hospital My blood glucose was 570 mg/dl. I was badly dehydrated, potassium levels were
very low, triglycerides were 1570, I had acute ketoacidosis and a number of other things severely out of whack. I had no choice;
I had to make some radical changes. Initially all I had to go by were the ADA recommendations that were not working even though
I took the medications I was prescribed and I did my best to follow the dietary advice I had been given. I was very lucky
to see blood glucose under 200 mg/dl and usually it was 250 mg/dl or higher.
I was taught to count calories and carbs
using the exchanges program. It didn’t take long to find out that method is very inaccurate and had major flaws in it.
First, trying to determine portion sizes by comparing to the palm of my hand or size of my fist did not take into account
the different density of different foods. Second, the exchanges method simply lumped foods into carb, fat and protein categories
which ignores the fact that most foods are a combination of all three. Third, ADA was telling me to treat all carbs the same
which made very little sense to me since I know fiber and sugar did not metabolize the same and are both carbs.
first breakthrough for me was learning about the PCF ratio. The PCF ratio is the ratio between the calories in protein, carbohydrates
and fats in the foods I consume. The PCF ratio made a lot more sense to me since it recognizes all sources of protein carbohydrates
and fats in everything I ate. This added an extreme level of complication to meal planning since I had to weigh or measure
what I was preparing, consult nutrition database books and do the math to get it balanced. I was told ADA did not support
the PCF ratio method because it was too complicated and people would not follow it. I felt a bit insulted by this comment
from a Certified Diabetic Educator. It sounded condescending as if the ADA felt we were simple minded irresponsible children
incapable of doing what was necessary to control blood glucose.
Granted, the PCF ratio concept and implementation is
far more complicated than the exchanges method. When the Exchanges Program was implemented in the early 1950’s far less
was known about diabetes and nutrition. Also there were not computers or the internet which made sharing of information much
more difficult and the math required for implementation of the PCF ratio method almost impossible.
The next step in
my saga was learning about software to help me use the PCF ratio. The first thing I used was a handheld device. It was ok
but lacked a large food data base and several other features that I found desirable. I tried several other software options
before finding the one I use today. Good nutrition software made the task of planning meals that were properly balance much
easier. Good software will have a large data base of foods, the ability to enter recipes, entire meals and meal plans that
can be saved and reused cutting down on the meal planning time.
The PCF ratio has flaws in that it does not take into
account the differences in carbohydrates fats and protein sources and the types of each. Proteins are also called amino acids.
There are 22 known amino acids. Carbohydrates come in several different forms. There are at least 48 varieties of fat in the
research quality standard reference database. With its flaws, the PCF ratio is still much better than the exchanges program
for getting control of blood glucose.
When learning about the PCF ratio I learned there are good fats and bad fats
and I needed to concentrate on the good fats sometimes called Essential fatty acids while decreasing the bad fats. About this
time I also learned about Omega 3 which is a family of essential fatty acids. The best of the Omega 3s is EPA and DHA which
we get from fish oils. I also learned about the glycemic index and that I needed to select carbohydrates that are low on the
For me, applying the Glycemic index to the PCF ratio made the PCF ratio even better. Now I try to make
sure most of the carbohydrates I consume are low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrate foods
by how quickly they raise blood glucose. A big surprise here is that sugar, while bad for raising blood glucose is not the
worst culprit. Again it is not even as simple as sugars since there are many varieties of sugar and they all have different
glycemic index ratings. There are foods such as high amylose rice and many varieties of potato that are higher on the glycemic
index than is all sugars.
Even the glycemic index combined with the PCF ratio is not a complete answer. Research that
has come to light in the past 5 years adds another layer to the complexity of proper meal planning. The new research has identified
inflammations as a common thread in a number of chronic diseases. Reducing inflammation with an anti inflammatory diet can
help reduce the inflammation but it again is not a complete answer. It is possible to only eat anti inflammatory foods but
not have them in the proper balance. And it is also possible to have anti inflammatory foods that are higher glycemic. I am
hoping instead of getting discouraged at this point you are starting to see that a good dietary strategy takes into account
several different elements.
Beyond the ideas already mentioned, there are certain foods that are helpful because of
their ability to assist in controlling blood glucose such as cinnamon, buckwheat, beans, prickly pear cactus and a number
of others. There is also research that says vitamin D is very helpful as well as getting other vitamins and minerals in balance.
There is a proper balance between sodium and potassium and potassium helps in the transport of blood glucose into the cells.
Other minerals are also very helpful such as chromium, magnesium and others.
There are many websites selling magic
cures and tell you, “If you just buy and use my product your diabetes will be well controlled or cured.” It has
become fairly obvious to me and I hope to you also that there is not one simple answer but rather a complete strategy for
controlling type 2 diabetes that takes into consideration many factors. There are many giving advice. When checking the advice
being given first consider if they are trying to sell you something. Are they just talking the talk or do they also walk the
I know this article probably raises more questions than it answers. I wrote a small book on the subject and that
took over 160 pages. I maintain a website at Diabetic-Diet-Secrets.com where I try to share all I have learned and it is well
over 1000 pages and I am sure I have not answer everything as I am always getting questions that are not covered on the site.
The site has over 13,000 links. Many of those links are to sites that I have found helpful and focus on a specific area. The
point I am trying to make is there is a lot to learn. Probably the most important thing I have learned is there are no silver
bullet answers. With all I have already learned I know there is still a lot to learn. I often get questions that stump me
and I have to go digging for the answers and those searches usually bring up more questions.
When I am discussing
diabetic information with people I consider diabetic experts I still find areas where they are in disagreement and I even
find myself disagreeing with experts I highly respect on certain points. Learning to control type 2 diabetes is a journey.
My best advice is to select a guide that has already successfully traveled the path you are on to better health. Good luck
and here’s to your health.
Toma is a type 2 diabetic that has learned how to control his own health
and is on a mission to share what he had to learn with others. Toma is the owner/webmaster for Diabetic-Diet-Secrets.com,
author of a book on controlling blood glucose with diet and has two radio shows. Toma in conjunction with top diabetic experts
is setting up a new site at DiabeticSelfhelp.com that is a study of controlling type 2 diabetes with diet as well as a study of the effectiveness
of delivering diabetic/nutrition training via the internet.