Is Rice Good For Diabetics?

Some rice grainsRice has received some negative publicity lately regarding its effects on the development of diabetes. A large study, published this March in the British Medical Journal, found that regular eaters of white rice were significanty more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than people who rarely consume the food. The study found that the risk of developing diabetes was 55% higher for Asian populations and 12% higher for western populations in those who consume 3 to 4 servings of white rice a day compared to those who rarely consumed white rice.


Poor Glucose Control Linked To Brain Volume Shrinkage In The Elderly

Older adults suffering from either pre-diabetes or full blown diabetes show significantly greater rates of brain volume shrinkage according to the results of a study presented this month at the joint conference of the International Congress of Endocrinology and European Congress of Endocrinology.

The research, led by Dr. Katherine Samaras, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales in Australia, focussed on 312 adults aged between 70 and 90 who were followed up over 2 years.


Does Eating Too Much Sugar Lead To Diabetes?

A spoonful of sugarThere are many misconceptions regarding the causes of diabetes. One of these is that excessive sugar intake leads to the development of type-2 diabetes. The general scientific consensus is that sucrose (table sugar) itself doesn’t cause diabetes although products with added sugar are typically calorie dense and therefore may contribute to the development of obesity if consumed to excess. Therefore, providing that an individual is a healthy weight, moderate consumption of foods rich in sucrose, or any other sugars, is unlikely to increase that individuals risk of developing diabetes.


High Intensity Exercise Improves Glucose Control In Type-2 Diabetics

One of the most effective ways for type-2 diabetics to improve glucose control is through endurance training. Unfortunately the time commitment required for this type of exercise is often too much for diabetics. Interestingly, a new study, published last month in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism has found that short duration high intensity physical activity may be just as effective as longer duration endurance exercise in improving glycemic control in type-2 diabetic patients.


Reducing Post Meal Glucose Levels With Complementary Foods

One of the most important aspects of managing diabetes is preventing postprandial hyperglycemia, which is an exaggerated blood sugar response following a meal. In general, the glycemic load (GL) gives a good idea of the glucose response that will occur after eating a given amount of a particular food. The GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by the amount of carbohydrate. So for example eating two large grapefruit (GI of 25 and 50g of carbs) would effect blood sugar levels in a similar way to eating one banana (GI of 50 and 25g of carbs).

The idea of complementary foods is a relatively new concept in diabetes management and it refers to certain foods, that when consumed in conjunction with a traditionally high GL meal, help reduce the exaggerated glucose response that would normally occur. Some of these complementary foods are discussed in detail below.


Vegetables For Diabetics – What To Eat And Avoid

Assorted vegetablesVegetables are a vital component of a healthy diet and this is particularly true for diabetics. Most fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and nutrient dense but low in calories making them ideal for diabetics who often need to watch their calorie intake. The general rule of thumb for diabetics is that root vegetables should be eaten in moderation (no more than 1 serving a day), while green and red vegetables are great choices and should be consumed in high amounts, preferably 3-5 servings a day. There are exceptions to this rule that we will discuss in more detail below.

Root Vegetables & Tubers

Root vegetables and tubers are relatively concentrated sources of sugars and starches and tend to contain only small amounts of fiber. This can be problematic for diabetics because they can produce a large glycemic response in situations when they are not combined with high fiber foods.


Is Honey A Better Option Than Table Sugar For Diabetics?

A honey jarA common question asked by diabetics is whether they should substitute honey for table sugar in their diet. This is generally motivated by the belief that a “natural” product like honey will be better for their health than a refined product such as table sugar.

In general, I am of the belief that better management of diabetes comes not from eating a single food or focusing on a particular food group, but instead from the combined effect of numerous lifestyle and dietary changes such as weight-loss, a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and increased physical exercise.


Maternal Vitamin D Level Linked To Child’s Future Risk Of Diabetes

The children of mothers with a low vitamin D status during pregnancy could be more than twice as likely to develop type-1 diabetes according to the results of a study published in the journal Diabetes earlier this month. The study, led by Ingvild M. Sørensen of the Department of Pediatrics, Oslo University Hospital Ullevål in Norway, involved 109 women whose children subsequently developed type-1 diabetes before the age of 15, and 218 control women whose children did not develop diabetes.


Inadequate Water Intake May Lead To Higher Blood Sugar Levels

A water tapThose who drink less than 0.5 litres of water a day are significantly more likely to develop hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) according to the results of a French study published in the journal Diabetes Care last month.

The research, led by Ronan Roussel, Professor of Medicine at the Hospital Bichat in Paris, involved 3,615 adults who were followed for 9 years. Over the course of the study there were 565 new cases of hyperglycaemia which was defined as either a fasting glucose level over 6.1 mmol/L or the commencement of treatment for diabetes.


Dietary Heme Iron Intake Linked To Gestational Diabetes

A hunk of steakTwo studies, both published in July of this year, have linked high consumption of heme iron (the form of iron found in animal products) with an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

The first study was conducted by researchers from the Center for Perinatal Studies at the Swedish Medical Center in Washington, USA, and involved the study of 3,158 pregnant women who were followed over the course of their pregnancy. During the study, 158 of the women developed gestational diabetes.


Pectin Improves Glycemic Control In Diabetic Patients

A jar of marmaladePectin is a substance found in the cell walls of land-based plants. Pectin combines with water to produce a thick, gel like substance, making it useful as a setting agent in jams and marmalades. Pectin has gained some popularity as a health food due to its ability to lower cholesterol levels. Interestingly, pectin has also shown promise as a potential aid to diabetics as several scientific studies have found improvements in glucose control following pectin supplementation.


Researchers Find Impaired Glucose Tolerance More Likely In Fast Eaters

A Japanese study has found that fast eaters may be at a significantly greater risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance compared to those who eat at a normal speed.

The study, which appeared online last month in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, was conducted by researchers at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Tsukuba. The study involved 172 initially healthy Japanese men and women who were followed over 3 years.


Study Finds 62% Reduced Diabetes Risk In Those With High Vitamin C Levels

A glass of orange juiceVitamin C has shown some fairly impressive cholesterol lowering abilities in previous studies, however the importance of vitamin C in both preventing and treating diabetes has only recently come to light. The only published study on the issue of vitamin C and diabetes risk was published in 2008 and found huge reductions in diabetes risk for those with high levels of vitamin C.

The study, which was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, was conducted by British researchers based at the University of Cambridge.


Despite Improvements, Diabetics Still Face Reduced Life Expectancy

In the last 50 years or so, medical advances have improved the life expectancy and quality of life of diabetics dramatically however they still face an increased risk of developing common chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. As a result of this, diabetics have a life expectancy around 8 years lower than their diabetic counter parts.

One of the largest studies on the impact of diabetes on life expectancy was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, in 2007. The researchers used data from the Framingham Heart Study to determine the impact of diabetes on life expectancy at the age of 50.


Treating Diabetes With Guar Gum

Guar gum is a water soluble fibre that is produced from the endosperm of Guar beans. It is available from speciality health and baking stores, primarily for use as a thickening agent. It is a relatively cheap item to buy with food grade guar gum costing around $3 per pound. Guar gum has some interesting properties that may be beneficial to diabetics including the ability to lower both glucose and cholesterol levels. These properties are discussed in more detail below.


Which Countries Have The Highest Rates Of Diabetes?

The small island of Nauru in the South Pacific is believed to have the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world with a massive 31% of adults between 20 and 79 suffering from either type-1 or type-2 diabetes in 2010.

Obesity is the primary reason for the high diabetes rates in Nauru with more than 95% of the population classified as either overweight or obese making Nauru the fattest nation on the planet.