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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Low Glycemic Diet For Diabetics

Written by Tena Moore

Diets are hard to follow, but researchers are saying to forgo the diet approach if you are a diabetic and adhere to the low glycemic approach to food. A low glycemic diet is not really a diet per say; it is a type of food and if you know what to eat you can control your blood glucose levels without trying to adhere to strict plan. If you choose a high glycemic food you do not ‘break your diet’, you just choose better in the future.

For instance, instead of having a bagel for breakfast, you could have a piece of sourdough, pumpernickel or rye toast to have a lower glycemic count. For dinner you could choose a sweet potato or al dente spaghetti over a high glycemic baked potato.

One particular study involved 11 trials with over 400 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes; children were included in two of the studies. They found that consuming low glycemic foods could lower and control blood glucose levels.

The key is to know the glycemic index (GI) of the foods you are eating. You can find the GI of foods by researching online or talking to your doctor. Foods are numbered on a scale of 1 to 100 and foods under 55 are considered low glycemic.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

What is Sugar?

Sugar is a sweet crystalline carbohydrate that is obtained by crystallizing the evaporated juice of certain plants. Sugar can be made from sorghum, beet root, sugar maple, sugar cane, sugar beet, honey and fruit. Sugar is a food carbohydrate and is added to many foods and drinks for its sweet flavor. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay and is also associated with obesity. Sugar enters the blood stream quickly and can cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar levels, causing and aggravating type 2 diabetes. They are many different types of sugars, though the most common, white table sugar created from sugar cane, is referred to as sucrose and is the most processed and unhealthy of sugars. Fructose is fruit sugar and can be found in fruits, maple syrup and honey. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Maltose is sugar derived from malted grains such as sorghum and barley. Glucose is found in most root vegetables, as well as fruits, sweet corn and honey.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

What is Fructose?

Fructose is a monosaccharide, simple sugar, that is found in fruits and vegetables and is used by the body for energy. Fructose has a low glycemic index (GI) and is one of the three most important blood sugars. Berries, melons, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and beets, as well as onions and honey, all contain fructose. It is sometimes called fruit sugar and is known to be sweeter than glucose.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Restricting Carbs Changes Liver Processes

Most Americans will agree: restricting carbohydrates is a good way to lose weight. Take out the bread, pastries and other high carbohydrate foods and the weight drops off. Regardless Americans have been increasing their consumption of carbohydrates and restricting fat intake. Most people look at fats to determine what they will eat and choose low fat options, even if this means high carbohydrates.

Subsequently, obesity is higher than it has ever been and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming a major health issue. Even small children are being hit with this disease. If not treated right away, it can lead to cirrhosis, fibrosis and inflammation of the liver, which oftentimes leads to a liver transplant. Usually the disease can be reversed by eating healthy, exercising and losing weight.

Jeffery Brown of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center put together a study to find out the difference in metabolism when people eat low-carbohydrate diets, low-calorie diets, and balanced diets. Previous studies had suggested that a high-carb diet could lead to fatty deposits in the liver.

For the study, fourteen people with a body-mass-index (BMI) between 25 and 35 were chosen, along with 7 healthy subjects with a BMI less than 25. They split the fourteen subjects with a 25 to 35 BMI into two groups and had them follow either a low-calorie diet or a low-carbohydrate diet for two weeks. The other seven subjects with a healthy BMI followed their regular, healthy diet. All subjects had to undergo an overnight metabolic study assessing the metabolic pathways of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) and the hepatic glucose production cycle.

What they found was that the weight healthy group with a BMI of under 25 who ate carbs as a normal part of their diet had enough energy to create glucose formation through the TCA cycle. Those who restricted their carbs did not.

The researchers found that a low-carbohydrate diet modifies hepatic energy metabolism and creates a dependence on lactate and amino acids for glucose production by the liver, instead of the liver using glycerol. A low carbohydrate diet also caused the liver to create more glucose with lactate or amino acids – increasing the rate of glucose formation. Unfortunately, they did not measure the amount of fatty acid that was delivered to the liver.

They also found that all groups had similar hepatic glucose production. While the healthy group and the low calorie groups maintained glucose production levels normally, the low carb group maintained the same by increasing glucose using amino acids and lactose.

The study was reported in the November 2008 issue of Hepatology.

The researchers suggest that this shift in glucose metabolism could be helpful to those who have NAFLD and need to dispose of hepatic fat. More studies are planned to measure fatty acid deposits and more.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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