Xylitol a Diabetic Friendly Sweetener

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Xylitol is an all-natural sweetener that is used as a substitute for sugar. The fibers of various fruits & vegetables contain Xylitol. It is made from fruits like pears, strawberries and plums, as well as cornhusks or birch bark. It tastes more similar to sugar than any of the other substitutes that are available today.

Xylitol was discovered in the latter part of the 19th century. It became popular in Europe as a sweetener that was safe for people suffering from diabetes because it did not affect their insulin levels.

A diabetic individual is generally advised to lower their simple carbohydrates and sugar intake. The majority of the experts agree that a small amount of sugar can be included in a diabetic diet. However, replacing sugar with a sweetener can help a diabetic to manage their glucose levels. This is especially useful for people with a ’sweet’ tooth. Xylitol is a great substitute for sugar. One of the greatest qualities is it can take the place of sugar cup by cup. One teaspoon of xylitol only has 10 calories and a GI of 7. Measuring the same as sugar conversion to this sweetener is extremely easy.

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly a food causes blood glucose levels to rise. A food that has a high glycemic index causes glucose levels to rise more rapidly. White sugar has a GI of 68; while xylitol’s GI is only 7. This means that consuming xylitol will not cause an individual’s blood glucose level to spike.

Here is a list of sweeteners and their Glycemic Index measurements:

*High Fructose Corn Syrup-100
*White Sugar-68
*Blackstrap Molasses-55
*Maple Syrup-54
*Barley Malt Syrup-42
*Agave Nectar-15

Since xylitol is not a carbohydrate its glycemic load (GL) is zero. It is metabolized separately from insulin. The formula GL= (The amount of carbohydrate available x GI)/100 is used to calculate the glycemic load. It measures the quantity and quality of carbohydrates.

Sugar has 40% more calories than xylitol. By using xylitol instead of sugar, a diabetic can reduce their calorie intake to lose weight or control their weight. This is an essential element in managing diabetes. Besides being a sugar substitute for diabetics, it has many other benefits as well.

Benefits of Xylitol

*No horrible aftertaste
*1/3 less calories than white sugar
*Helps reduce the formation of plaque
*Delightfully sweet taste
*Helps increase the flow of saliva aiding in the restoration of damaged enamel on the teeth
*Helps with the reduction of dental cavity development
*Fantastic sugar alternative for people with diabetes

Today, obtaining xylitol products is becoming easier than ever. There are candies, ketchups, honeys and jams. This is just a sampling of the products available. Whether you are diabetic, or just looking to eat healthier without giving up your sweet tooth, xylitol may be just what you need.




How The Insulin Pump Has Changed Life For The Diabetic

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It’s important to recognise that everybody’s requirements are different for insulin infusion. Some may have to administer the hormone more often than others, whilst some people might need other ways than simple injection to administer the substance. By speaking with a doctor or a clinician, a diabetes sufferer will be able to discuss their options and decide which way they want to administer their infusion insulin every day.

Insulin Infusion pumps are widely considered one of the most advanced ways to inject insulin into the body, however, they can carry a heavy price tag with an initial cost of up to $6,000, as well as the extra costs for the other equipment that is necessary. If you are lucky enough to have a great insurance plan to pay for this equipment it makes it easier than ever to use infusion insulin, which can minimise the impact that diabetes has on your life.

For those who suffer with diabetes, injecting insulin into their body can be problematic or difficult – especially when they are first diagnosed with the condition. For many, administering a substance like this can be traumatic. That’s why it’s important for people to realise that they are always able to contact their doctors both about the facts about their condition, and the different ways they can administer the hormone.

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Insulin is incredibly important for the body. Its function allows for the correct amount of glucose to remain flowing through the bloodstream. If the body has too much glucose, or even too little, disastrous effects can be had on the body. Insulin is one of two hormones in the body that regulate the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin works by telling the liver, fat cells, muscle cells and other cells in the body to absorb some of the excess glucose that currently is flowing through the bloodstream. This means that the amount currently flowing can be regulated, and kept at a level that is safe.

If the body does not have insulin (which is what happens with diabetics whose pancreases are unable to secrete the hormone into the body correctly), then the individual will suffer from hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition that causes symptoms like extreme hunger, cold sweats and dizziness. If these symptoms can be found early enough, then kits like infusion insulin pumps can be used inject the correct amount of insulin on a regular basis.

Whether you’re using an infusion insulin pump, or other kits that simply involve needles, a variety of tools are available. Syringe auto-injectors are popular, whilst other commercial injectors are a totally different kind of equipment that allows people who have problems with other equipment to get the dosage of insulin that they require.

For whatever equipment is being used, cleanliness is key. Without clean equipment, infections can occur – causing more problems for the body. Be sure to use the right equipment, and the procedure can be made simple.


Herbals for the Management of Diabetes

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Many people with Type 2 diabetes use plants, or plant parts, for the self-management of their medical problems. This is what most people refer to as herbal medicine, botanical medicine, or phytomedicine. In the United States more than one-third of people with diabetes use herbal or traditional and alternative medicine alone, or in combination with their prescribed anti-diabetic medication, according to the Johns Hopkins Point-of-Care Information Technology Center (Johns Hopkins POC-IT Center).

There are many types of herbal preparations used for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. In fact, in almost every culture there is one herbal medicine intended for the management of increased blood sugar levels. However, there are only a few tested and evaluated systematically and scientifically for this purpose.

Here is a list of the most commonly used herbal and medicinal plants for the management of Type 2 diabetes:

Ginseng: Ginseng is one of the most popular medicinal herbs globally.

There are two major types of this herb:

1. Asian ginseng, the Panax ginseng
2. American ginseng, the Panax quinquefolius.

The active compounds in the ginseng herbs that makes them useful are the ginsenosides. According to one particular study, information from the Johns Hopkins POC-IT Center states ginsenosides can potentially improve insulin resistance. Ginseng can be safely used at a dosage of 1 to 3 grams per day.

However, the adverse effects of using this herbal medicine include:

*nervousness and palpitations, and

Ginseng is also known to interact with the action of warfarin, an anticoagulant (more commonly referred to as a blood thinner). Ginseng unfortunately causes warfarin to be less effective.

Cinnamon: There is new evidence cinnamon can be helpful in regulating blood sugar. Cinnamon is not just another spice that can be used for cooking and baking. According to Johns Hopkins POC-IT Center, cinnamon can increase the effectiveness of insulin therefore improve your blood sugar level. Human trials indicate that taking between 1/4 and one teaspoon of cinnamon every day helps control blood sugar levels. However, various results from other studies contradict these findings. The safety profile of cinnamon is clean and there are no drug interactions noted with the use of cinnamon.

Bitter melon: Different cultures and traditions used bitter melon (Momordica charantia) for the management of diabetes. Many people believe it can decrease insulin resistance… bitter melon is composed of several compounds with confirmed blood sugar lowering properties. It must be pointed out though, clinical trials regarding this herb show contradicting results.

Although taking as little as 2 ounces of the juice has shown good results in clinical trials, adverse effects with the use of bitter melon include:

*gastrointestinal symptoms, and
*favism, or bursting of red blood cells,

with the ingestion of seeds in certain G6PD deficient diabetics.

Fenugreek: The herb fenugreek is one of the most impressive natural substances helpful for people with diabetes. Fenugreek is a traditional spice often used in curry in Asia and the Mediterranean countries. Fenugreek is believed to contain 4-hydroxyisoleucine, a chemical that can enhance insulin production and secretion by the pancreas. Some clinical studies claim its effectiveness in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood sugar much the same way that drugs in the class of sulfonylureas (such as glyburide) do.

Adverse reactions related to fenugreek use include:

*flatulence, and

However, no herb to drug interaction has been observed.

Fenugreek helps you lose weight because the seeds of fenugreek are rich in dietary fiber, so it delays stomach emptying and after-eating sugar spikes. As the seeds are bitter, taking supplements may be the better choice. As lowered blood sugar is an expected effect of using fenugreek, if you combine it with medications and do not monitor yourself properly, you could find yourself with very low blood sugar. Make sure you see your doctor regularly to supervise your regimen.


Eating Nuts Every Day May Help To Keep Diabetes Away

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Making sensible food choices is the number one way to manage Type 2 diabetes. One of the best decisions you can make is to include a healthy selection of nuts in your eating plan. Not only are certain nuts good for your heart and cholesterol, but they have an amazing positive effect on your Type 2 diabetes, as well.

Numerous studies have shown nuts protect against heart disease. And it also appears these crunchy little morsels help fight diabetes as well.

How do nuts help protect against Type 2 diabetes?

Nuts provide several health benefits:

  • the fiber and magnesium in nuts help maintain lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • as well, nuts are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats… which may also help prevent insulin resistance.
  • it’s also possible the antioxidants, phytochemicals, and protein in nuts may play a part in diabetes prevention as well

Studies show three nuts in particular have amazing health benefits for diabetics:

1. Walnuts serve as a naturally occurring wonder food. They are great for the heart, for lowering “bad” cholesterol, and they have their own way of helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. For those who do not fancy eating them outright, they can be made into a plethora of dishes where they are hidden, but their substantial benefits can still be derived.

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2. Almonds. Research has shown almonds have the amazing ability of lessening blood sugar increases and insulin levels, even four hours after a meal. It has also been proven when they are combined with food that rates high on the glycemic food index, they also have the ability to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels after a meal.

The positive effects of almonds can also be directly attributed to the volume which is consumed. It has been found as an individual integrates a reasonable amount of almonds in their eating plan, they lower their risk of spikes in blood sugar levels after eating.

3. Cashew nuts. Another popular nut that has taken its place in the arsenal of diabetes management is cashews. Cashews have a few distinctions of their own. For one, approximately 75 percent of the nut is made up of a mono-unsaturated fat, called oleic acid, that is not only good for the heart, but it also happens to be the same type of fat that is present in olive oil… another heart-healthy product.

Oleic acid is a wonder of its own in the fact it is great for lowering triglyceride levels, which is a type of fat found in our blood. This is important in and of itself since high triglycerides are a major contributor to heart disease. So, in essence, cashews ward off two complications at the same time.

Another interesting component of cashews is that they are listed as having some of the lowest fat content of all nuts. This makes them a naturally good choice for snacking. But some of the best news comes from the fact that it appears cashews may also be beneficial for monitoring hyperglycemic effects.

A word of warning though: One quarter cup of nuts contains approximately 200 calories (840 kj), so it’s important to find ways to substitute nuts for other foods such as sweets and chips.


Type 2 Diabetes – Is Not Eating Anything The Key To Beating Diabetes Fast?

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You might associate cutting out all food with crackpot diets like the Cabbage Soup Diet. However, according to a research study published conducted by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, fasting may be a surefire way to stop Type 2 diabetes.

Genome Collision: It’s been said Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases that plague Western civilization are caused by a “collision of the genome” with our modern day lifestyles. Our genes have stayed relatively unchanged since humans first burst onto the scene thousands of years ago. But our lifestyles filled with modern-day conveniences like abundant fast food and computers are brand new. Our genes haven’t had time to adapt to these new technological advances.

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The moral of the story? Your body is still worrying about surviving and eating its next meal even though there’s a McDonald’s on every other corner of your neighborhoods.

As you may imagine from a loincloth donned caveman having to hunt and forage for every meal, fasting was relatively common. Over millennia, the human body developed mechanisms to keep it going when your ancestral self wasn’t able to find food for stretches of time. Because we rarely find ourselves too long without food (and skipping lunch to finish that report doesn’t count), these mechanisms never have a chance to kick in.

This study found people who fasted for short periods of time… known as intermittent fasting:

boosted sagging HDL levels,
improved insulin sensitivity, and
reduced high triglycerides.

These three factors make up 3/5ths of what’s known as the metabolic syndrome… a cluster of symptoms often found together that raise a person’s heart disease risk substantially. Even better, there were no serious side effects to the fasting treatment.

Added to this, the participants lost significant amounts of body fat as well. Because the body doesn’t have energy coming in its forced to take body fat stored in your stomach and thighs.

Practical Use: However, fasting isn’t a magic trick that will melt away fat and cure Type 2 diabetes. It should be used as an adjunct approach to a healthy lifestyle that you already have. It may also be a way to “kick-start” a new lifestyle program to help accelerate your results.

Suddenly fasting can throw off the effects of the medications you are taking, medications which are usually dosed based on a typical day’s diet. Be sure to check in with your health care team before trying a fast.


Type 2 Diabetes – Treating a Newly Diagnosed Case of Diabetes

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Often when cases of Type 2 diabetes are first diagnosed, new diabetics are given an initial dietary consultation with a follow-up six months later. Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom set out to discover whether a more intensive program of diet and physical activity could be of more benefit. Their results were published in the journal Lancet in July 2011.

Five hundred and ninety-three people who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were included in this particular study:

ninety-nine people were given “usual care”,
248 were given a dietary regimen which included nurses checking them every month, together with dietary consultations every 3 months… referred to as a “strict” dietary regimen.
246 were given the above dietary regimen with increased physical activity.

Results showed: After 6 months the hemoglobin A1c, (HbA1c), levels increased in the group receiving the “usual care” and lowered, or improved, in those receiving the “strict” dietary regimen. The group receiving the “strict” dietary regimen along with increased physical activity also found their HbA1c level had lowered. The improved HbA1c levels continued to be seen even after the following 12 months.

Body weight and insulin resistance were also improved to a much greater extent in the intensive program groups, more than in the group of diabetics receiving “usual care”.

Conclusion reached: Researchers therefore decided intensive intervention commencing soon after diagnosis could improve blood sugar control in Type 2 diabetics.

One study will not change the usual care given to newly diagnosed diabetics, and insurance companies will not begin to pay for more care based upon this study… so newly diagnosed diabetics will need to take up the slack.

Hints for newly diagnosed diabetics:

when given a diet plan, refer to it daily. Recording your daily weight will help you to keep track of how well you are following the plan.
nurses are often available for telephone consultations at physician’s offices and insurance companies… usually patients can call and ask questions without having to wait six months for an appointment.
fitness trainers are another source of advice where diet plans are concerned. If given a copy of your diet plan, good trainers are usually happy to discuss them with you if you are their client. They will check to see if the diet plan is being followed, as well as creating and helping you to follow a regular plan of physical activity. Clients going to a gym and meeting with fitness trainers two to three times per week will obtain even more attention than the diabetics in the above study’s intervention groups.

Families can also be helpful in maintaining dietary regimens. Sometimes just discussing your diet plan with a family member can help to clarify the plan and help with its implementation.

Start treating a new case of Type 2 diabetes early and don’t give it a chance to cause complications.


Diabetes – Control Your Blood Sugar

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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body does not properly process sugar. While diabetes often runs in families, its onset and course cannot be predicted or prevented. But, with medication, proper nutrition and exercise, diabetics live healthy lives.

Uncontrolled, however, it can cause heart and blood vessel disorders that may lead to blindness, gangrene, kidney disease, and even death.

There are two basic types of diabetes.

  • Type I, the more severe, is caused by a deficiency of the hormone insulin.
  • With Type II, or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, there may be enough insulin, but the body’s cells have trouble using it.

In either form, excess sugar builds up in the blood because insulin is unable to regulate it. The sugar then “spills” into the urine, where it is excreted from the body. Frequent urination or excessive thirst often signals high blood sugar levels.

Having diabetes means you need to eat foods from each food group. Include breads and cereals, milk products, vegetables, fruits, meat and fish, nuts and legumes, and fats and oils.

Minimize sugars and fats while maximizing starches and proteins. The old standard of avoiding carbohydrates no longer applies. In fact, a diet in which 50 to 60% of total calories is obtained through complex carbohydrates is recommended. Keep fat to 30% of calories.

Control your caloric intake; being overweight makes diabetes worse. Weight management, especially in Type II diabetes, is crucial. Losing even a small amount of weight can improve or even normalize blood sugar levels in older diabetics.

Type I diabetics must eat meals on a regular schedule in order to balance their injections of insulin. All diabetics need to space their meals throughout the day so as to minimize extreme highs and lows of blood sugar levels.

If you haven’t been physically active, start slowly and build the intensity. Consult your doctor before starting your exercise program. Be aware that strenuous exercise can throw you out of balance by lowering blood glucose too much; this could lead to hypoglycemia.

Moderate exercise helps lower blood sugar by “burning” it off, making tissues more responsive to insulin and reducing weight. It also reduces fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream and lowers blood pressure. This is important because diabetics are at high risk for heart and vascular diseases.

Babies born to diabetics have a greater risk of birth defects than others. To minimize the risk:

  • Get your body in the best possible condition three to six months before you conceive. If you must lose weight, do it under supervision of your doctor.
  • Choose a doctor trained to care for diabetic mothers and their babies.
  • Closely monitor your blood glucose before and during your pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding is good for both you and the baby, but it will set up new conditions for controlling blood sugar.


Good Carbohydrates in a Pre Diabetic Diet

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Although diabetics are regularly warned against the consumption of carbohydrates, some for instance, complex carbohydrates are actually beneficial if consumed moderately. Basically, carbohydrates are converted into glucose upon their consumption and then absorbed into the bloodstream to provide the much needed energy. Nevertheless, if you are diabetic, controlling the blood sugar levels becomes a difficult task for the body as it can’t produce enough insulin to keep the levels in their normal range. This leads to the blood’s glucose levels fluctuating uncontrollably leading to several unpleasant healthy complications, that may leave the victim either permanently incapacitated physically or if the worse comes to the worst dead.

Carbohydrates are essential for proper body functions, thus should be included in a normal day to day’s healthy diets. However, the daily intake of the said carbohydrates must be strictly controlled, especially for the diabetics. Fortunately, some carbohydrates are actually good and can be consumed without the fear of severe diabetic consequences. Below is an analysis of some of them.

Whole grain Breads and pasta: Such foodstuffs as whole grain breads are healthy for consumption, especially for diabetics. On top of this, consuming a small amount of pasta is highly recommendable for diabetics. Actually, it can easily be prepared to come up with a variety of fulfilling pasta meals. Pasta may also be added to a variety of salads, while the whole grain breads would make a great accompaniment to soups, especially when toasted.

Breakfast cereals: Rolled oats, oat bran, multigrain muesli, whole grain cereals are some of the best breakfast choices available. These should be enjoyed with low fat milk and small amounts of essential nuts, for instance walnuts, almonds and so on. If possible, add a bit of dried fruits, for example figs, peaches, apricots to the cereal to make more wholesome.

Legumes, vegetables and fruits: Such vegetables as sweet potatoes, yams and corn. Although these may be classified as carbohydrate sources, they are also vegetables and can be consumed in moderation. Such food items as potatoes may be eaten but in small portions and should only be boiled or baked but not in fried form. The legumes that can safely be included in a pre diabetic diet are such as, chick peas, kidney peas, baked beans and the like. Haricot beans and other types of aforementioned beans may also be included in a variety of salads to form a good pre diabetic diet.

Other sources of carbohydrates that form a good pre diabetic diet include brown rice, barley, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, corn and so forth. Cook these together with other vegetables to come up with a good pre diabetic diet. The amount of carbohydrate foodstuffs you consume matters a lot if you are diabetic. However, the amounts differ from one individual to the other. There is a big variation in how each individual’s body reacts to the intake of carbohydrates, nevertheless, you should control the urge to overeat the said carbohydrates as it could only lead to a situation whereby you become overweight (a situation which brings with it a lot of healthy complications).


Coffee Counters The Onset Of Diabetes

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Coffee is one of the popular beverages in the world. Nobody knows where coffee began its journey and probably, it all began in Ethiopia. Strangely enough, the greatest coffee drinking countries are those which do not produce them. The only exception is Brazil which is the leading producer of coffee and the second largest consumer in the world. Colombia is the second largest producer of coffee. The leading consumer is the USA which is believed to consume 25% of the coffee produced in the world. 54% of the Americans over the age of 18 are coffee drinkers. America spends nearly $40 billion in coffee consumption. Coffee is the second commonly traded commodity after oil. Around 53 countries grow coffee and most of them lie along the equator.

Each year around 7 million tons of green beans are produced worldwide. Arabica and Robusta are the most popular varieties. Coffee contains hundreds of chemicals and for decades, scientists have been trying to portray it as a villain. In spite of spending millions of dollars, nobody has succeeded in producing concrete evidence that coffee is bad for health. Instead, good news about the beneficial effects of coffee is pouring in.

Coffee supplies antioxidants

It has been shown that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk for heart disease by 45%. However, when the consumption is over six cups, the beneficial effects decrease. Chlorogenic acid present in coffee is an antioxidant. In addition, caffeine also has been shown to be an antioxidant. HDL whose levels are elevated by coffee consumption is also an antioxidant. The antioxidants protect by preventing the initiation of inflammatory reactions. The antioxidants prevent the accumulation of dangerous free radicals which are believed to be responsible for the onset of several diseases like diabetes.

Coffee decreases diabetes risk
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by abnormal body metabolism. Just about every part of the body is affected. Coffee contains significant quantities of magnesium. Magnesium helps to prevent the onset of diabetes because it promotes the actions of insulin. For example, one of the actions of insulin is to promote the utilization of glucose within the cells. The first step in the glucose utilization is catalyzed by an enzyme called hexokinase and this enzyme shows an obligatory requirement for magnesium.

The protein called sex hormone-binding globulin is concerned with the binding of sex hormones and has been implicated in the onset of diabetes. The level of this protein in the circulation falls during diabetes. High circulating levels of this protein is believed to protect against the onset of type 2 diabetes. Drinking four cups of coffee a day has been shown to increase the blood levels of sex hormone-binding globulin. Therefore coffee can reduce the risk for diabetes. Coffee also protects the heart because diabetes increases the risk for coronary heart disease.


Things to Consider When Shopping for Diabetic Shoes

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If you are diabetic, you need to be particularly careful when you buying shoes to avoid foot injuries. However this is not implying that you can only wear ugly, clunky or large shoes. In the event that you are not really experiencing lack of feeling in your feet, you can just ensure that you are wearing well-designed and the right fitting shoes. The following will highlight some of the things to consider when you are shopping for diabetic shoes.

Here are some of the things to consider:

The shoes should have 3/8-1/2 inch space at the ending of your longest toe and the shoe. This space must be enough so that your finger can fit inside the back of your shoes and you should also have sufficient wiggle room for your toes

Look for shoes with leather upper material and comfortable, cushioned soles and insoles.

Shoes must be comfortable from the moment you put them on, instead of expecting that it will stretch to fit or that your foot can easily break into it afterward.

You should try to avoid the pointed-toe shoes styles.

Shoes must be firm at the back to support your heels without being too tight.

If you are unable to resist high heel shoes, you should ensure that you are only wearing them for a limited time. The poor fitting shoes can easily lead to many foot problems such as sores, bunions, calluses, hammertoes, blisters and wounds, which you might not feel if you have lost all the sensation in your feet. The best protective footwear will have deep boxes for your toes to prevent rubbing and cramping; a soft lining and a lack of seams at vital spots in the shoe.

In case your podiatrist suggests special footwear, you should follow this guidance at all time to prevent foot problems. A recent research was carried with individuals who have foot problems and were at higher risk for amputation, which indicates that those who wore the protective footwear had fewer amputations as a group.

Many people actually wear the wrong size shoes without realizing it. Generally, this will happen if you are unaware that your size has evolved or if you cannot feel your feet and will not know whether the shoe is tight or not. When you are shopping at certain shoes store, you can get help from trained professionals who are knowledgeable about shoes style, function and fit as well as orthotics products like heel inserts or pads. Ultimately, you can get the help to find footwear that will enhance the function and health of your ankle or foot.