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Posts Tagged ‘American Diabetes Association’

For decades, controversy has persisted about the safety of non-caloric sweeteners (NCS). For many who attempt to lose or maintain weight, they are a god-send. Organizations, such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association, support their benefits in weight-loss. Through the years many artificial sweeteners, for example cyclamates, have come and gone. Today, the most recognizable NCS include pink packets of saccharin (Sweet’N Low®), blue packets of aspartame (Equal®), and yellow packets of sucralose (Splenda®).

The public’s first experience with artificial sweeteners began soon after the discovery of saccharin in the late 1880s. Its use became widespread during the sugar shortage of World War I. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of aspartame in 1981 and sucralose in 1998.

Periodically, groups or individuals claim that non-nutritive sweeteners cause harmful health conditions. A 12-week study in 2008 found that sucralose reduced helpful bacteria in the intestines and limited benefits of certain oral drugs in rats. More recent reports, many based on the 2008 research, state that sucralose is carcinogenic and alters blood-glucose. Numerous health professionals disagreed with the findings and claim that critical areas of the initial study were flawed.

Research published in September 2014 looked at potential health problems with the artificial sweeteners aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. The study concluded that all three sweeteners may elevate blood-sugar levels in some people but not others, possibly release cancer-forming properties when heated, and affect helpful bacteria in the gastrointestinal track. However, even the researchers cautioned that their results were not conclusive enough to make recommendations on consumption of artificial sweeteners. That did not keep the media from spreading the word that non-nutritive sweeteners were unsafe. The “Food Insight” blog, published by the International Food Information Council Foundation, summarized what many nutrition professionals expressed about this study. The author, Matt Raymond, compared the research to “a big nothing-burger with an extra helping of skepticism. . . served up with warmed-over hysteria.” In other words, it was a sensational news story with little to no helpful information.

How do NCS affect weight? One study maintained that compared to sucrose (sugar), saccharin and aspartame caused more weight-gain. However, a review of numerous studies from 1976 to mid-2013 found that those on NCS lost more body weight than control groups who used regular-calorie sweeteners. Substituting non-nutritive sweeteners for sugars did not cause weight gain, and researchers concluded that they may prove helpful in weight loss or weight maintenance programs.

Are artificial sweeteners helpful or harmful? Most health professionals support using artificial sweeteners to help control weight. Until researchers conduct longer, more conclusive studies, enjoy your favorite artificially-sweetened foods with confidence you are safely consuming fewer calories.

 

 

 

 

 

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November 14 is World Diabetes Day. The World Health Organization estimates that diabetes affects more than 346 million people worldwide. In the United States, diabetes afflicts more than eight percent of the population with about seven million of those undiagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood. The pancreas is unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood glucose into energy. Only about five percent of those with diabetes have this form.

Type II diabetes is often called adult-onset diabetes. It is more prevalent in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and in the aged population. This type more commonly occurs as a result of excessive weight caused by a poor diet and too little exercise.

Diet is key in controlling diabetes. Often people who are overweight and diagnosed with the condition can improve or even eliminate the disease  by losing weight and eating a healthier diet. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/ provides guidelines to improve eating. These include:

  • Make healthy food choices. Choose from a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Recognize and control intake of foods that raise blood glucose. Carbohydrates raise sugar levels in the blood. The carbohydrate sugar does not cause diabetes, but consuming too much can increase blood glucose levels and result in weight gain. However, not all sugars are bad. Sugars primarily come in the form of natural sources, such as fruits which are healthy for you, and added sugars. It is the latter that can create problems. Starch is another source of carbohydrate. Choose those higher in fiber and from whole grain sources.
  • Consume more diabetes superfoods. The ADA lists the following as superfoods: beans, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes, fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, nuts, and fat-free dairy products. Some of these foods are high in calories so enjoy but watch serving size.
  • Choose desserts sparingly and selectively. A diagnosis of diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an occasional treat. Choose those with fewer calories and savor small portions.
  • Fats. Learn the difference between good fats and bad fats. Those from animal source generally aren’t as healthy while most from plant sources are.

If you are one of those nearly nineteen million in the US already diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, review your lifestyle and keep blood sugar levels under control. If you aren’t, remember these tips to stay healthy and enjoy living without the risk of this disease and its many medical complications. For more information, see the ADA website at http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/.

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Do decisions about when to eat affect health? After a night’s fast, breakfast may be the most important meal of the day. I want to eat each morning as soon as my feet hit the floor. Many make excuses for delaying or skipping breakfast.

Health professionals have purported the benefits of breakfast. Those who skip this significant meal usually fail to meet daily nutrient requirements. Breakfast enhances mental ability while those who skip this meal report more irritability and tiredness. Eating breakfast helps control weight, whereas skipping can increase the possibility for obesity and make weight control more difficult.

New evidence suggests more benefits. At the 2012 American Diabetes Association convention, A. O. Odegaard and his cohorts reported that for men and women ages twenty-five to thirty-seven, their choice to eat or not eat breakfast affected their risk for developing type 2 diabetes (defined as those with a fasting-blood glucose greater than 126 mg/dL).

From a group of 3,500, those who ate breakfast five or more times per week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 31% and gained less weight than those who ate breakfast zero to three times per week. Participants who ate a more nutritious diet had even less risk, but the frequency of eating breakfast was more important than quality of food. In other words, a doughnut was better than nothing.

Often people claim to miss this important meal because of limited time in the early morning. For a quick nutritious breakfast, pair a make-ahead muffin with a glass of milk and fresh fruit. You can find a great recipe for Banana Ginger Muffins at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/breakfast-on-the-go.html . Toss in a few nuts for extra protein and you have a great start on the day. Your extra effort will help control weight, provide more energy, improve mental alertness, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. For a healthier you, try breakfast.

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November is American Diabetes Month. Nearly 26 million American children and adults have diabetes, and 79 million more are at risk with pre-diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness in adults. Two out of three with this malady will die from heart disease or stroke. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates the annual national cost of the disease at $174 billion.

Food plays a significant role for those with diabetes as well as those with the potential to develop type 2 diabetes. Why aren’t we paying attention?

The ADA identifies ten superfoods beneficial not only to those with the disease, but also to the rest of us.

  • Beans.  Take your pick from pinto, kidney, navy or black beans. All are high in fiber and provide exceptional sources of magnesium and potassium. Also, they are high in protein.
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables.  These include spinach, kale, collards, and others. They’re low in calories and carbohydrates and packed with needed vitamins, especially vitamin A.
  • Citrus Fruit.  Fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are loaded with vitamin C.
  • Sweet Potatoes.  These all-time favorites, especially during holidays, are a starchy vegetable abundant in vitamin A and fiber. They make a great substitute for white potatoes because of their lower Glycemic Index.
  • Berries.  Pick your favorite. All are abundant in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
  • Tomatoes. Most people enjoy this food in many ways from fresh slices to ubiquitous tomato sauces and salsa. They provide vitamin C, iron, vitamin E, and other nutrients.
  • Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  Salmon is the usual favorite, but mackerel, tuna, herring, and halibut are other great choices.
  • Whole Grains.  Check labels carefully. Whole wheat means the product contains bran—the outer hard shell, germ—packed with most of the nutrients, and endosperm—the starchy part. Most wheat breads are made from the endosperm. Whole grains contain rich sources of B-vitamins plus
    magnesium, chromium, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Nuts.   They provide satiety value—help you feel full longer—and are great for weight management if you don’t eat too many. They contain healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber.
  • Fat-free Milk Products.  Readily known for its rich sources of calcium, milk comes fortified with needed vitamin D.

This list isn’t just for those with diabetes. To eat healthier, include these super-foods in your diet for power-packed ways to help you stay healthy.

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/diabetes-superfoods.html

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