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Posts Tagged ‘Pancreas’

As the American Diabetes Month draws to a close, we get into full swing for holiday eating. If you have diabetes, do you have to avoid all sugar-containing foods? The role of sugar in preventing or treating this disease confuses many. Test your knowledge by answering the following statements as true or false.

1.         Sugar in the diet can cause diabetes.

2.         Excessive weight is one of the greatest risks for developing type 2 diabetes.

3.         Total carbohydrate affects blood glucose levels (sugar in the blood) more than sugar.

4.         Those with diabetes can have desserts made with sugar if they substitute small amounts for other carbohydrate-containing foods.

5.         Carbohydrates include sugar, starch, and fiber.

If you answered the first question as false and the rest as true, congratulations. You understand the relationship of sugar in the diet and the condition of diabetes.

The idea that sugar can cause diabetes is a myth. Eating sugar has nothing to do with acquiring the disease. Regardless of the source of calories, weight (BMI over 25)  is a major factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

In past years, researchers suspected that sugar increased blood glucose levels, but the total amount of carbohydrate consumed has more effect. Those with diabetes, however, should use discretion and save sugar-sweetened foods for special occasions.

Carbohydrates are found in the following food sources.

Sugars

  • Natural sugars: fruits (fructose) and milk (lactose)
  • Added sugars: table, brown or powdered sugar (sucrose), molasses, honey, maple syrup and other less well-known sources

Starches or complex carbohydrates

  • Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, corn, green peas, and lima beans
  • Legumes: dried beans (pinto, navy, kidney) and peas (black-eyed and split)
  • Grains: breads, cereal, pasta, and most cakes and pastries

Fiber may benefit health in several ways. It helps regulate digestion, provide a sense of fullness, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce possibilities of colon cancer. Adults need about 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Foods containing larger amounts of fiber include:

  • Beans and legumes: as listed above
  • Fruits and vegetables: especially those eaten with the peel or seeds (berries)
  • Whole grain products: cereals, breads, and pasta
  • Nuts: tree nuts and peanuts provide excellent sources of fiber, but limit the serving size because small amounts contain lots of calories.

Check labels. First, note the serving size and then the total amount of carbohydrate. Labels list each sugar, but remember, it is the total amount of carbohydrate that affects blood sugar levels most.

You don’t have to skip all desserts through the holidays. If you have diabetes, pamper your sweet-tooth without creating problems by using caution and remembering the above suggestions.

For more information see  http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/sweeteners-and-desserts.html?

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentines is the fourth biggest holiday of the year for purchasing candy. For this special day, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of candy will be sold. Can you enjoy those sweets without shame?

Sugars have been blamed for diabetes, hyperactivity in children, and obesity. Are these accusations truth or hype?  The good news—research fails to support the beliefs of many that sugar causes these conditions.

Diabetes: All sugars and starches break down in the body to glucose. The body uses insulin to change blood sugar (glucose) into body energy. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces insufficient amounts or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes, the most common, results when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin for body needs. Sugar does not cause diabetes, but obesity as a result of consuming too many high-calorie foods is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  

Hyperactivity: In the early 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold proposed the theory that diet, namely sugar, affects children’s behavior. More than 20 scientific studies failed to support that claim. While activities such as parties or other events with excessive sweets may cause excitement, scientific evidence maintains that sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children.

Obesity: With the growing epidemic of obesity, is sugar the villain? One teaspoon of sugar yields 15 calories. According to the Sugar Association, those calories are no more fattening than 15 calories from other sources. Eating too many calories makes you fat. However, excessive sugar, like other high-calorie substances, will add to weight.

Are there negatives to sugar in the diet? Sugary foods can cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels that plunge sharply. Thus, while sugar may trigger a quick energy response, the sudden drop can result in tiredness or weakness. Some studies do link sugar to dental caries (decay). Foods, such as candy, that adhere to the teeth or that are held in the mouth create ideal environments for development of tooth decay. Although significant at all ages, prolonged mouth contact to sugar is especially harmful to children.

So, what are your best options for Valentine’s Day and everyday when faced with delectable sugar-filled goodies? Make the holiday and the loving thoughts linger by sharing with others and limiting your choice to one or two morsels. With moderation and careful selection of other foods, you can enjoy that sweet pleasure—guilt free.

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