Archive for April, 2009

Diabetes – Can the Glycemic Index Help?

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

By now, you know that type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in North America. Every year the number of people with this disease increases dramatically – and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Is there a way protect ourselves against this trend? Yes, with the vigorous application of the 10 Essentials for Health and Wellness.

Essential #4 encourages us to eat nutritiously. This requires a little education about the difference between a nutritious food and an “empty calorie.”  Considerable information about the way particular foods impact diabetes is found in the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
A chart based on the impact of carbohydrates on a person’s blood sugar was developed by a group of researchers several years ago. It was created to help people with diabetes select foods that would have the least impact on their disease. The Glycemic Index (GI) measures the impact of foods on blood sugar when compared against pure sugar: glucose. The higher the GI number, the greater the impact on blood sugar and the worse a food is supposed to be for a person with diabetes. The GI is also used as a tool for weight loss and cardiovascular health.

To find a truer nutritional value for food the Glycemic Load was deveoped to refine information from the Glycemic Index. For instance, the Glycemic Index may rate the carbohydrate value in a food as very high. This would seem to make the food unacceptable for people who want to restrict sugar. However, the Glycemic Load gives us a more global value of your food beyond sugar content.

Glycemic Load takes into account the fiber, fat and water content of a food. Let’s look at the example of parsnips:

Parsnips are creamy-colored root vegetables in the carrot family. They taste greate and have a therapeutic value as well. Parsnips have a GI rating of 97, compared with pure glucose at 100. This would seem to make parsnips “bad” – unacceptable as a healthy carbohydrate source. However, parsnips contain so much fiber and water (and protein and fats) that they have only a tiny impact on the total load of carbohydrates (the Glycemic Load). Because of their protein and fat, they help keep your appetite satisfied longer. So, you may even eat less at your next meal. Therefore, parsnips are really very healthful despite their high GI number.

Potatoes have become taboo in most low-carb diets. Yet, potatoes have attributes similar to parsnips. They are good for you, unless you deep-fry them and load them with bacon, sour cream, gravy, cheese and other high-calorie, high-fat condiments.

Compound carbohydrates – the true “bad” carbs
Though many fruits and vegetables are high on the Glycemic Index they are “good” complex carbs because they are low in Glycemic Load. Refined starches, such as pastries, pastas, pudding and pancakes, as well as gravies and similar sauces are a different story.

These foods:

  • Contain low amounts of water and fiber
  • Contain high amounts of “bad” carbohydrates and bad fats
  • Quickly turn to sugar in your bloodstream
  • Trigger insulin and inflammation
  • Increase your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes

These are truly sources of “bad” carbohydrates. They are examples of “compound” carbohydrates: foods which have been processed beyond recognition from their original whole food sources. They are never good in any amount.

Diabetes epidemic
In conclusion, the way to place yourself in the lowest risk category for type 2 diabetes is to eat whole foods which minimally impact your blood sugar. But that’s not all; did you know that stress alone may cause diabetes? Breathing deeply breaks the cycle of stress. And, since type 2 diabetes and obesity are related, getting enough sleep is essential. Add in the lessons from all 10 Essentials and you have a bulwark of protection against the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

Take Charge of Your Health

  • Get 7-1/2 to 9 hours of sleep every night
  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Get active doing the things you love
    • Volunteer
    • Mentor younger one
    • Never stop learning
  • Tip
    Agave nectar is similar to honey, but with a lower Glycemic Index. For example, honey is between 55 and 85, depending on how many solids remain in the honey. Agave nectar is as low as 27. This means that Agave nectar absorbs slowly into the bloodstream, which allows your body to allocate it to the appropriate areas. Since it’s four times sweeter than sugar you can use a lot less when using it as a sweetener.

    Read Food Labels For Meaning

    Sunday, April 5th, 2009

    Which is better for weight loss: low fat or low carb? I’m asked this question regularly. Well, the answer to this question is neither … and both!

    As it turns out, calories are the key. Whether they are from fat or carbohydrate is not as important as the total number of them. To lose weight and keep it off, you adhere to the simple rule of “calories in, calories out.”  It’s than simple. It’s really doesn’t make much difference which diet you’re on.  You only lose weight when you consume fewer calories than you burn.

    Be cautious about cravings
    Your body is designed to communicate nutrient needs through cravings. You need protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber and water to be healthy. These are called macro-nutrients because they are large categories of food that contain smaller categories called micronutrients. A micronutrient is something we need in a very small quantity, like salt (sodium). We crave what we need.

    Food manufacturers create products to tempt these cravings the way a fisherman uses a lure to catch a fish. We can be induced to buy one food over the other because of added ingredients. Three common additives that tempt our taste buds are:

    • Sugar
    • Fat
    • Salt

    Hidden calories
    Are you monitoring your calorie intake? Use these tips when looking at labels:

    Watch out for added-sugar foods. Recommendations for carbohydrate intake range from 60 to 250 grams daily for the average adult. Get your carbohydrates from whole foods to avoid the “empty calories” of added sugar. If the label lists “sugar” as an ingredient, select another food without the added sugar.

    Watch out for added-fat and high-fat foods. Fat contains very few nutrients. While it is a good source of energy, a little goes a long way. Protein and carbs contain four calories per gram, yet fat contains a whopping nine calories per gram. Fat is often added to improve the “mouth-feel” of foods. If a label lists the daily value (DV) at 20% or higher, it is a high-fat food. The DV should be between 2% and 10% for a single serving, and Never eat trans-fats.

    Conclusion
    Selecting your diet is both a science and an art. Take a little time to learn the science behind food selections and then you can enjoy the endless, artistic variety of foods. Remember, moderation is the key!

    Take Charge of Your Health

    • Get your nutrients from plant-based foods
      • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables for children
      • 7 servings of fruits and vegetables for women
      • 9 servings of fruits and vegetables for men
    • Take Leanology to help curb cravings
    • Take VitaDaily AM/PM or Wellavoh® to fill in nutritional gaps