Why The New Diabetes Diet: Control At Last is Healthiest for Everyone

The New Diabetes Diet is healthiest for everyone – even if you don’t have diabetes. Recent studies spotlight updated diabetes-appropriate meal plans as the best for anyone wanting to avoid stroke and heart disease. The New Diabetes Diet emphasizes what physicians are urging for everyone:

  1. Keep your carbs low

  2. Watch your weight and blood pressure – which means avoid saturated fat, cholesterol, and…

  3. Salt

   Soy protein powder has more calcium, iron, protein, and vitamins (including B vitamins) than whole grains and fat-free milk together. (For whole grains we substitute MUCH healthier milled flaxseed, which has more fiber than whole grains, no absorbable carbs, powerful antioxidants...and can also substitute for Not-so-“healthy” margarine and butter in baking.)

     There is new emphasis on the plant-based diet, including high-protein plants unburdened with the cholesterol and saturated fat of animal-derived protein. High-protein plants include beans – red, kidney, pinto, and, of course, soy.

2. We avoid saturated fat, which means no red meat or high-fat animal-source dairy products. We do use chicken & fish, but show you how to get the cholesterol out of them. (Beef, chicken & fish all have the same amount of cholesterol — 70 mg per 4 ounces. What chicken & fish don’t have is saturated fat.)

3.  Salt exists naturally in all foods, so we don’t add it to recipes because of its effect on your blood pressure. Instead we use tangy, aromatic herbs and spices, some of them surprise powerhouse antioxidants! Cinnamon, for example, has 5 times as many antioxidants as ½ cup of blueberries or a cup of pomegranate juice. Oregano is also hugely high in antioxidants. You won’t miss salt!

     

 

 

 

Why is Heart Disease the #1 Killer of Women?

The statistics we hear are true: Heart disease is the number one killer of women. The question is, why? Have doctors been indifferent to women? Horrors, no. Here is the answer:

Heart disease never used to be such a big killer of women because other things got to them first. Now people live longer – and unlike men, women’s hearts are protected by their hormones until menopause (estrogen enormously raises HDL, the good cholesterol). After menopause, until a generation ago, other diseases were the common killers of women: cancer, smoking-related diseases, infections like pneumonia, appendicitis, & gall bladder disease, which was common.

Plus most people smoked. Until the surgeon general’s warning in 1964,  men in their 40s & 50s were dropping like flies from smoking’s effects, and no one knew the medical connection. Those already addicted usually continued to smoke, but women got away with it because their hormones protected them until menopause. So the old idea persisted among physicians that women didn’t get heart disease.

Now we’re living longer, and putting on weight. Junk food which never existed now does; trans fats & saturated fats are still clogging our arteries, and each pound gained is an extra load for the heart. Men arriving in E.R.s complaining of heart attack symptoms get treated aggressively, women less aggressively because womens’ symptoms are often different from men’s. Or women dismiss their symptoms as “just a stomach ache,” or “I feel faint, think I’ll lie down.” This compounds the problem, since many women show up in emergency rooms after heart damage has already occurred.

Diabetes raises a special concern, since diabetes sufferers are 3-4 times more vulnerable to cardiovascular complications (heart attack & stroke) than the general population. Animal-sourced foods containing saturated fat may help to control blood sugar, but raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. For optimum health, skinless chicken, fish, and other sources of lean protein are recommended for both men and women with diabetes.

Soy and Mens Health

About male estrogen: Males normally produce small amounts of estrogen as well as testosterone. Belly fat and/or too much alcohol further increase a man’s estrogen levels. But soy’s phytoestrogens (weak estrogen from plants) may help by occupying estrogen receptor sites in the male body and blocking their more powerful & potentially problematic human male estrogen, which has been associated with prostate cancer and other health issues.

From the medical Literature: Clin. Sci. 100 (6): 613-8. Mitchell JH, et al: There was no observable effect on endocrine measurements, testicular volume or semen parameters over the study period. This is the first study to examine the effects of a phytoestrogen supplement on reproductive health in males. We conclude that the phytoestrogen dose consumed had no effect on semen quality or secondary sexual characteristics.

Fertil Steril. 2009 Oct 9. [Epub ahead of print]  Consumption of soy protein of low or high isoflavone content does not adversely affect semen quality [or reproductive anatomy or function] in a sample of healthy adult men.

J. Nutr. 133:2874-2878, September 2003  Zhang, X, et al   Lower risk of coronary heart disease associated with soy consumption.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Feb;53(2):217-26. Lower risk of prostate cancer associated with soybean consumption.

http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/phytoestrogen.php  Phytoestrogens and food sources.

Red Meat and Your Health

“If people want to be healthy and live longer, consume less red and processed meat,” global nutrition professor Barry Popkin said. Photo: By James M. Thresher For The Washington Post

Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to the first large study to examine whether regularly eating beef or pork increases mortality.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease (cholesterol/plaque-filled arteries) and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.

“The bottom line is we found an association between red meat and processed meat and an increased risk of mortality,” said Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute, who led the study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In contrast, routine consumption of fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of death by a small amount.

“The uniqueness of this study is its size and length of follow-up,” said Barry M. Popkin, a professor of global nutrition at the University of North Carolina, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “This is a slam-dunk to say that, ‘Yes, indeed, if people want to be healthy and live longer, consume less red and processed meat.’ “

There are many explanations for how red meat might be unhealthy: Cooking red meat generates cancer-causing compounds; red meat is also high in saturated fat, which has been associated with breast and colorectal cancer.

People who eat red meat are more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. Processed meats contain substances known as nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer.

Although pork is often promoted as “white meat,” it is believed to increase the risk of cancer because of its iron content, Sinha said.

Regardless of the mechanism, the research provides new evidence that people should follow long-standing recommendations to minimize consumption of red meat, several experts said.

“The take-home message is pretty clear,” said Walter Willett, a research physician and nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It would be better to shift from red meat to chicken and fish, which are associated with lower mortality.”

“Just” a Pinch? Salt, Your Blood Pressure and Your Health

¼ teaspoon of salt =  580 milligrams. A pinch. Doesn’t sound like much.  And if that’s all you eat in a day and your blood pressure is normal, it isn’t much.  We do need small amounts of salt.

Salt (sodium chloride), plus enough water to keep it in solution, is a vital part of our blood. Sodium is the control switch of a narrow dilution range in which cells can function.

All the sodium we need occurs naturally in food, vegetables and fruits.  We don’t need a salt shaker. Especially since salt is added to most canned goods and processed meats, and like sugar it’s added to commercial food products so they’ll taste better.

What’s wrong with salt?

Too much salt causes hypertension, aka high blood pressure, which (picture a crimped hose) pounds the inner lining of arteries, creating conditions for cholesterol and calcium to clump, narrow your arteries, clot, and cause heart attack or stroke.

Excess salt leads to increased thirst and fluid intake to keep blood and body fluids at the right dilution. The vascular system (arteries, veins, and  capillaries) is a closed system.  Put more fluid into it and its pressure rises:  High blood pressure (high BP, hypertension).

Some of our salt exists naturally in the foods we eat, and about 10 percent comes from adding salt or other sodium-containing condiments to foods while cooking or eating.

Most of our salt — a surprising 80 percent — comes from eating prepared or processed foods

Cinnamon & ginger, garlic & tarragon… you won’t miss salt with these swoony aromatic spices.

The three main target organs for habitual excess salt consumption – via high blood pressure – are the heart, brain, and kidneys.

1. Brain: Of the three kinds of stroke (clot in a cerebral artery, embolus to a cerebral artery, and hemorrhage from rupture of a cerebral artery), hemorrhagic is the most lethal. Picture again a garden hose suddenly bursting. The part of the brain supplied  by that blood vessel dies.

2. Heart: High blood pressure also causes the heart to dilate, like blowing up a balloon too far – and then, struggling back, the heart muscle thickens (hypertrophy). This weakens the heart’s ability to pump blood, eventually leading to heart failure (CHF, congestive heart failure). Fluid collects in the legs and in the lungs, and everywhere eventually. It gets harder to walk and to breathe.

3. Kidneys: Chronic high BP damages the filtration mechanism in the kidneys, leading to progressive kidney failure (ESRD, end-stage renal disease) and a life on dialysis machines.


How much salt is ok? One teaspoon of table salt has about 2300 mg of sodium. With normal health you should consume under 2300 mg of sodium daily.

RISK FACTORS for CVD (cardiovascular disease: Heart attack & stroke)

If you have:

  1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  2. High Cholesterol

  3. Diabetes

  4. Are overweight

  5. Have a family history of high blood pressure…

aim for under 1500 mg. daily, and consult your physician

TIPS if you’re trying to avoid salt:

  • Even healthy canned legumes have about 1400 mg sodium in the liquid. Pour it out.
  • Avoid processed meats
  • Read food product labels
Splenda, Stevia, Truvia, Sugar Alchohols, etc

We love Splenda. I even bake with it, and Bob calls it a godsend. The choice is yours. Here’s the lowdown on all sweeteners, with further info on why, for us, Splenda’s the winner:

There’s great confusion on the subject of artificial sweeteners – and some of them really aren’t good. (Especially avoid Agave, which is 92% harmful fructose; see red arrow above & text to the right —>.

Much of the confusion about Splenda stems from that still-wide refrain: “But it’s not natural!”

How many people are starting to feel that the word “natural” has become a food industry scam word? Most of the world’s poisons are natural: strychnine, arsenic, snake venom; ditto animal fat, heroin, cocaine, booze, nicotine. The list is long. Conversely, insulin, metformin, vitamin pills, and antibiotics are all made in the lab.

And “natural” sweeteners are just sugar by another name: agave, acai, & dried fruit are all sugar-crammed; honey metabolizes even faster than regular sugar because it’s already in solution. At the bottom of that same page, here’s how to translate all carbs into the sugar they’ll metabolize into.

Stevia sweetener and Truvia: For many years the FDA refused to approve Stevia because of its possible cancer-causing effects. Pro-stevians — and their lobby—argued that it’s “natural” and has been used by South American natives for centuries, but no one knows how long or in what state of health those people lived. We found no years-long studies or control group studies done on Stevia. And that, to us, is troublesome. Cancer can take years to develop, as with smoking.

  1. But recently the FDA issued a “letter of no objection” regarding rebaudioside, a processed form of Stevia—but only the rebaudioside—as a Generally Recognized as Safe (or GRAS) substance. So the FDA has not granted approval to Stevia itself, but has said it will “not object” to food companies using processed rebaudioside, now commercially known as Truvia.

  2. For us, “not object” and “generally recognized” are a hedge which  does not inspire confidence. There have been many drugs and medical products okayed by the FDA — Vioxx, IUDs, Hydroxycut, for example — only to be recalled a few years later amid reports of injury and death.

We only feel safe using products like Splenda that have been tested and studied for decades with, as physicians say, “no red flags.”

Sucralose (brand name Splenda) contains chloride, not chlorine which is completely different. Chloride is in salt (sodium chloride), & in everything you eat: fruits, veggies, chicken, seafood.


AGAVE’s extremely high percentage of fructose is harmful (scroll down to #2, Composition)

AGAVE IS FRUCTOSE, WHICH IS HARMFUL

See also (Scroll to #6, Health Effects)

Agave is 92 % fructose. Just another member of the sugar family, but fructose is not safe. It’s the biggest bait-and-switch gimmick in years. A derivative of honey, berries, tree fruits, & sweet potatoes, fructose has been commercialized into a refined sugar which — true, absorbs more slowly, but also damages the body far more. Fructose & HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) have been added to processed foods, beverages and – more ominously – so-called “diet yummies,” telling people they can “cheat & eat” as much as they like.

Irony: fructose, with its longer shelf life & the fact that it’s cheaper, has become the trans fat of the sugar family.

Sugar Alcohols, a consumer-friendly name, are processed from sugar molecules, and include names like sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, maltitol,  & others ending in -ol. They still have calories of the sugar type (though fewer: 2-3 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram of standard sugar), and they still affect your blood sugar. Their benefit is that they metabolize more slowly than regular sugar, so they last you longer, hold off those need-sweets-again-crashes.

Products containing sugar alcohols are marketed as “no sugar added” — but beware. They often cause bloating and diarrhea. There is also the misconception that sugar alcohol-containing products are “sugar free.” These products still contain significant amounts of carbs, which still break down to sugar.

Artificial Sweeteners, such as saccharin (Sweet & Low), Splenda (sucralose), & aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, and NatraTaste) contain no calories or carbohydrates at all.

Saccharin got a bad rap a few years ago – it produced bladder cancer in rats exposed to prodigious amounts – but those tests didn’t hold up in humans (no one would eat a truckload of saccharin). Still, it seems to have a slightly metallic aftertaste.

Aspartame is excellent, and physicians have called Splenda a godsend. Aspartame is in Diet Coke, practically everything else, and there are no verified side effects from either product. Some people claim psychosomatic effects, but research & blind studies including large numbers in control groups in many countries spanning decades have been done. No red flags, as physicians say.

“Natural,” Organic,” “Healthy” often Food Industry Scam Words?

Top nutritionists have been cracking down on manufacturers’ use of  catch-words like “natural,” “healthy,” and “organic.” Those terms also mean thick, white, saturated animal fat, and salt,  and oh-so-natural nicotine, heroin, and cocaine.

Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, speaker, and writer who serves as nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).  She writes two weekly columns, “Nutrition Notes” and “Nutrition-Wise,” which are carried weekly on the MSNBC web site and syndicated to more than 700 newspapers nationwide.

“Ask ten different people what ‘natural’ on a food label means and you’ll likely hear ten different answers,” says Karen Collins, M.S., R.D., CDN, who serves as nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

“Most people will probably assume that the food is healthier. They are usually surprised – maybe even indignant – to discover that for most foods, natural’ on the label can be nutritionally insignificant. The term ‘natural’ may sound like the embodiment of everything you want in a food to promote good health, but it does not address recommendations to limit saturated fat and sodium.”

“Natural” on the label isn’t any help if you’re looking for a heart-healthy food either. Given that the fat in butter and meat is natural, a food can be loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol and still be “natural.”

A food labeled “natural” also has nothing to do with its sugar content. Just as salt is natural, sugar and honey are too, because nothing artificial is added during processing from their original form.  The FDA even has no choice but to allow a “natural” label for High Fructose Corn Syrup as long as it is produced without adding synthetic ingredients.

But fructose has become the biggest bait-and-switch gimmick in years, causing serious health damage to the body. Irony: with its longer shelf life & the fact that it’s cheaper, fructose has become the trans fat of the sugar family. But it’s natural.

For best health, take all labels with a grain of salt. Then skip the salt.

Trans Fats: Still in Our Food

The good news: Youve decided to eat healthier, maybe even cook home-made MLA (Make Lots Ahead & freeze) meals so you’ll know what’s really in them. Then you go to the supermarket.

Have fun studying the labels. No trans fats! they proclaim, but their Nutrition Facts list hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated sunflower oil, on and on. One buttery spread proclaims its non-hydrogenated and has no trans fats. Guess they think we dont know its the same thing.

Trans fats are still there. Or if theyve taken some out theyve replaced them with saturated fat. The FDA guidelines instituted in January of 2006 have failed, because loophole! — food manufacturers can actually claim that their product is trans fat-free as long as it contains less than 1/2 gram (500 mg.) per serving. Worse, THEY decide what a serving size is, and make it, like, 1/2 a teaspoon. This labeling trick has allowed trans fats back big time into the stores, fast foods, and your home. Thats extremely disturbing, said Michael D. Ozner, M.D., chairman of the American Heart Association of Miami, since as few as three daily servings of these supposedly safe foods can increase ones risk of heart disease and diabetes by thirty percent.

According to the USDA, over 42,000 food products on the market still contain trans fats, including forty percent of all prepared foods such as margarines, baking mixes, desserts, spreads, chips, crackers, cereals, and frozen foods.

Be skeptical. If the snazzy package says No Trans Fats, dont automatically believe it and toss it into your cart. Double-check the ingredients for words like hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or vegetable shortening. (Some have gone back to that old-fashioned term.) Heart Healthy! 0 trans fat! says one brand of cracker. But whats their serving? Two crackers? And if those two crackers add up to 499 mg., which makes it legal to say they have no trans fat, and youre happily chowin em down because you think they’re okwhere does that leave you? Sicker on the inside. Which isnt even counting the saturated fats — another artery clogger — snuck in when they were forced to decrease the trans fats.

Do the math. Count the number of saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated fat grams on the Nutrition Facts label. If the Total Fat number is higher than those three combined, the difference equals what theyre hiding. Which is trans fats. The National Academy of Sciences has announced that the only truly safe intake of these harmful fats is zero.

Are you reminded of the nicotine industrys conspiracy of ten years ago?

The upshot is that many people have stopped buying processed foods altogether, and have replaced margarine with canola and olive oil in their recipes. Others are sticking to the outer edges of the grocery store, where the fresh produce, fat free ground turkey, skim milk, yogurt, and eggs are located. Well, maybe duck into a center aisle for some Cheerios or Wheaties or canned good veggies, but thats it. And watch out for power, nutrition, and granola bars, they can be loaded with fats and hidden sugars.

BE WARY TOO OF PROCESSED “DIET” MEALS. A recent raid on a local supermarket turned up:

1. A frozen Beef and Broccoli with Noodles Diet dinner, whose package (1 serving) read Total fat 14 grams, Saturated fat 4 grams andsurpriseno mention of trans fats. Again, do the math. Where are the mystery 10 grams of fat? If they were okay mono- and polyunsaturated fats, theyd say so. This meal also contained 34 grams of carbs and 9 grams of sugar. For one teeny serving. Other diet meals with names like HEALTHY THIS and FIT LIFE THAT turned out just as bad. Read the labels. Judge for yourself.

2. Low Fat Waffles, unfortunately, were loaded with carbs (38 grams) and sugar (6 grams). Too much. Ill teach you to make healthy pancakes & waffles. Theyre easy.

  1. A No-Sugar Fudge Topping contained 24 grams of carbs in just 1 1/2 tablespoons — and who eats just 1 1/2 tablespoons? This product is fattening!

What, Really, is Cholesterol?

We’ve heard it a million times: Keep your cholesterol down, too much cholesterol is bad for you — but what, really, is it? What does it look like?

It’s a fatty, waxy substance that has no calories, and is found in every cell of your body. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, tiny amounts, to make hormones, vitamin D, build cell walls, & provide substances that help you digest foods. For millenia, man often starved in winter, and his body still made all the cholesterol he needed.

Blood is watery, cholesterol is waxy. Like oil & water, the two don’t mix. To travel in the bloodstream, cholesterol is carried in what’s called lipoproteins, which are tiny packages made of lipids (fat) on the inside and proteins on the outside. Two kinds of lipoproteins do this carrying: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad one), & high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the good one).

Think L for lousy; H for healthy. And instead of “packages,” think of lipoproteins as trains. More about that in a second.

Health problems arise when there’s too much L/bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. It is found primarily in foods from animal sources: whole-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream; also all meats, egg yolks, and fish & chicken (which contain cholesterol but dont contain saturated fat).

Now back to seeing lipoproteins as trains.

LDL is the dirty litter train. It leaves Metabolism Central the liver — and begins its circuit dumping sticky, gummy cholesterol in every artery. Finished, it returns through the veins back to the liver where it picks up another load. Back and forth, dumping and cloggingas long as the livers owner keeps supplying it with saturated fat and bad cholesterol.

HDL the good train, meanwhile, is traveling the same artery tracks, trying to clean up. An exhausting job, with all that burger and cupcake mush squeezing into the intestines — worse, pushing good HDL down and bad LDL up! Outnumbered! But HDL struggles on, trying to clear the muckey tracks.

One day, if healthier eating has started, something happens. LDL returns to the liver and finds — whats this? Less fat? Glycogen depleting, starting to break down stored fat for energy? Because its owners on a diet? Nooo!

Yes, says HDL, suddenly stronger, and, “Outta my way!” Fast, the HDL train makes enough clean-up trips to fill the town dump.

The body has astonishing powers to self-heal. Its owner just has to help it.

Good Fats vs. Bad-for-You Fats

Atkins-type diets have done a lot of damage. You may know people who swear by them, pointing to the fact that dieting on bacon and sirloin has helped them lose weight and get their blood sugar down. Well, those two – weight & blood sugar down – are good news. But…

Their arteries are sick. Ticking time bombs for heart attack or stroke.

They may look thinner on the outside, but all that saturated fat has raised their LDL (bad) cholesterol. This directly causes fatty cholesterol deposits inside arteries and narrows them, which in turn causes heart attack and stroke. Lost weight and lower blood sugar – again – are good but only half the full trip to health.

Gunked-up arteries are a serious price to pay.

This American Diabetes Association advice is really for everyone (this page, below the white plate): Since people with diabetes are at an increased risk for heart disease, its also important to limit the bad-for-you fats that lurk in full-fat milk products, meats, and processed foods. Both saturated fat and trans fat up your risk for heart disease and stroke [for everyone], so begin replacing foods like whole milk, regular cheese, butter, shortening, bacon, and bologna with low-fat versions such as skim milk, low-fat cheese, olive oil, and lean meats or fish.

It can sometimes be hard to tell how much unhealthy fat is in the foods you eat, but reading packaged foods nutritional labels, checking for saturated fat and trans fat, can help.

Olive and canola oil reduce the risk of stroke and coronary disease because they are high in MUFAs (mono- and polyunsaturated fat) and very low in saturated fat.

Both also have high levels of antioxidants to further bolster your health.