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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Garlic Compound As Effective As Insulin At Treating Diabetes

A garlicA compound, found exclusively in garlic, may control blood sugar levels just as well as insulin but without the need for daily injections according to a new study published in the January 2009 issue of Metallomics, a journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The compound, known as Bis(allixinato)oxidovanadium(IV), is a complex consisting of a central vanadium atom connected to two allixin molecules.

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Can Cinnamon Be Used To Treat Diabetes?

According to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003, cinnamon may be quite effective at reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, reducing the need for diabetes medication.

The study, conducted by Pakistani and American researchers, involved 30 diabetic men and 30 diabetic women who were divided into six groups. The first three groups consumed 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon per day in the form of a cinnamon supplement while the final three groups received placebos.

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Salsalate Improves Glycemic Control, May Treat Diabetes

Salsalate, an NSAID closely related to Aspirin, has been found to reduce fasting glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance in obese individuals according to a small pilot study published in the journal Diabetes Care in February this year. The study raises the possibility of using salsalate as an alternative treatment for type-2 diabetes and for the prevention of diabetes in high risk individuals.

The study involved 20 individuals aged under 30 who were classified as obese (BMI greater than 30).

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How Effective Is Gastric Bypass Surgery In Curing Type-2 Diabetes?

An emerging trend in the past fifteen years has been the increasing use of gastric bypass surgery as a treatment for morbid obesity. Recent scientific studies have found that not only does gastric bypass surgery lead to a dramatic amount of weight loss, it also results in the remission of diabetes in as many as 90% of cases, often within just a few weeks of the surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery belongs to a class of operations known as bariatric surgeries which are designed to help morbidly obese individuals lose weight. The gastric bypass procedure is carried out by closing off a small stomach pouch from the rest of the stomach.

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Vitamin E, Cryptoxanthin May Cut Diabetes Risk

Papaya halvesVitamin E and a carotenoid known as cryptoxanthin may both be effective in reducing type-2 diabetes risk according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2004.

The study, conducted by Finnish researchers at the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, involved the analysis of 2,285 men and 2,019 women aged between 40 and 69 who were initially free of diabetes.

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Regular Exercise Cuts Type-2 Diabetes Risk

Regular physical exercise can lead to massive reductions in type-2 diabetes risk according to a number of scientific studies.

One of the largest studies on the impact of exercise on type-2 diabetes risk was conducted in 1992 by researchers from the Department of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. The researchers used data from the Physicians’ Health Study which involved 21,2171 male physicians from the United States aged between 40 and 84 who were followed for five years.

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Mediterranean Diets Lower Type-2 Diabetes Risk

Nut mixtureA Mediterranean style diet that is high in fruit, nuts, legumes, and whole grains may reduce an individuals risk of developing type-2 diabetes by more than 80% according to new research published in May this year.

The study, conducted by Spanish researchers and published in the British Medical Journal, followed 13,380 Spanish university graduates for an average of 4.4 years. The graduates adherence to a Mediterranean diet was calculated by giving each participant a score of zero or one for their consumption of nine components of a Mediterranean diet.

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Vegetarians Are Less Likely To Develop Diabetes

Evidence from several large studies suggests that vegetarians may be more than 50% less likely to develop type-2 diabetes compared to those who consume meat on a regular basis.

One of the largest studies on the link between a vegetarian diet and diabetes came from a study of 25,698 seventh day adventists in 1960 over a 21 year study period. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1985.

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Eating Nuts May Reduce Type-2 Diabetes Risk

Two almondsPeople who consume nuts at least five times a week may be almost half as likely to develop type-2 diabetes as infrequent nut eaters according to the results of a recent study.

The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2002 by American researchers at the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. The authors analyzed data on 83,818 women which was collected from the Nurses Health Study (NHS) over a 16 year period from 1980 to 1996.

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Low Fat Dairy Products Reduce Type-2 Diabetes Risk In Women

CheeseA recent study has found that eating dairy products such as cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt can reduce an individuals risk of developing type-2 diabetes by as much as 31%. The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2006, involved following 37,183 healthy middle-aged women for an average of 10 years. The women were asked to complete questionnaires on how frequently they consumed 130 common food products.

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