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Can Dark Chocolate Increase Blood Sugar?

13 Foods That Won’t Raise Blood Glucose

13 Foods That Won’t Raise Blood Glucose

Part 1 of 15 A healthy diet is essential to reversing prediabetes. There are no foods, herbs, drinks, or supplements that lower blood sugar. Only medication and exercise can. But there are things you can eat and drink that have a low Glycemic Index (GI). This means these foods won’t raise your blood sugar and may help you avoid a blood sugar spike. In addition to diet changes, staying or becoming active is also important. Learn which foods you can add to your diet plan. You may be able to prevent prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by adding more of these foods, spices, and drinks into your diet. Eat them as healthy alternatives to sugar, high GI carbohydrates, or other treats. Want more info like this? Sign up for our diabetes newsletter and get resources delivered right to your inbox » Part 2 of 15 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are important components of a healthy blood sugar eating plan. They can improve insulin sensitivity. They can also help increase feelings of satiety, and have a healthy impact on blood pressure and inflammation. MUFAs are a key nutrient in avocados. Studies have shown avocados can lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. This is a group of risk factors that can increase the risk of diabetes. It can also raise the risk of blood vessel disease like heart disease and stroke. Avocados also have a low GI. For a unique, diabetes-friendly dessert, try making Oh She Glow’s natural, no sugar added, raw avocado chocolate pudding. Part 3 of 15 Protein helps the body maintain and repair itself. Since protein doesn't impact blood sugar levels, it doesn't have a GI ranking and won’t raise blood sugar levels. Protein also increases satiety, so relying on protein to feel full instead of bread, rice, or pasta may be Continue reading >>

Healthy Blood Sugar Part 4: The Chocolate Effect

Healthy Blood Sugar Part 4: The Chocolate Effect

As I wrap up this series on blood sugar and pre-diabetes, it seems only fitting to end by discussing the good and the not-so-good of chocolate. The research is compelling – there are so many studies touting the health benefits of cacao. A species of theobroma, or “food of the gods,” others have called it the “food of the devil” – suggesting there may be a dark side to chocolate. Let’s dip into the very controversial issue of chocolate: is it for the gods, the devil, or just us regular folk? This article also contains my conclusion to the entire Pre-Diabetes four-part series. After dedicating the past four weeks to the study and exploration of this newly documented cultural epidemic, I’ll tell you my final thoughts on what needs to be done to get us – and our addiction to the sweet taste – back on track. What We Mean When We Say Chocolate Chocolate, like coffee and tea, is loaded with over 300 powerful chemicals and antioxidants that deliver numerous health benefits, according to one report on the British Broadcasting Corporation. But let’s be clear from the start: not all chocolate is created equal. It is the cacao in the chocolate that delivers these health benefits, not the added milk or sugar. The benefits of chocolate are generally noticeable in dark chocolate, with a cacao content of 70% or more. In this article, when I talk about the benefits of chocolate, I am referring to the constituents and effects of the cacao bean, not chocolate energy bars, cakes, or other chocolate treats. Let’s take a look at some of the major constituents of chocolate. The Power of Chocolate – Unpacking the Components As many of us know from experience, chocolate releases neurotransmitters called endorphins (also called endogenous morphine) in the brain, which c Continue reading >>

12 Proven Foods Essential For Every Type 2 Diabetes Diet

12 Proven Foods Essential For Every Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Cut out bread. No sugar in your coffee. Only one potato at dinner. If you’ve got blood sugar problems then you’ve heard those instructions over and over. The focus is always on what you should remove from your diet, and it’s incredibly frustrating. What about what you can eat? What about the foods you should be adding to a diet for type 2 diabetes… the foods that can actually improve blood sugar control? Research shows there are many natural foods that can help. Either by reducing sugar absorption into the bloodstream, or by improving insulin resistance. It’s certainly worth your while to learn what those foods are, rather than just what to avoid. I’ve done some of the research here and strongly recommend you start with the following. 1. Almonds improve glucose metabolism Tree nuts – not peanuts, which grow in the ground – are linked with many metabolic health benefits. But almonds really standout when it comes to managing blood sugar. They are very low in carbohydrates, but that’s not why. The reason is Magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 bodily processes, including blood pressure regulation and blood sugar control (1, 2). Alongside spinach, almonds and cashews are among the best sources of magnesium in the human diet. Several handfuls provides over 20% of the daily recommended intake (2). While the mechanism is unclear, having low magnesium levels is strongly associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It appears to impact on insulin secretion, which may be the reason that 25-38% of type 2 diabetics have low magnesium (4). Clinical trials have shown that restoring low magnesium significantly improves insulin response and reduces blood sugar levels (4, 5). Especially if you’re magnesium deficient and insulin resist Continue reading >>

10 Foods That Lower Blood Sugars In Diabetics

10 Foods That Lower Blood Sugars In Diabetics

While a low carb diet appears to be useful on the whole, there are also many foods shown to help. Either by lowering blood sugars and/or improving insulin sensitivity. This articles looks at 10 of the best foods and supplements for lowering blood sugars, based on current research. Just know they should never be used in place of your diabetes medication, but rather alongside. 1. Resistant Starch Lowers Sugars After Meals Starches are long chains of glucose (sugar) found in oats, grains, bananas, potatoes and various other foods. Some varieties pass through digestion unchanged and are not absorbed as sugar into the blood. These are known as resistant starch. Many studies show resistant starch can greatly improve insulin sensitivity. That is, how well the body can move sugar out of the blood and into cells for energy. This is why it’s so useful for lowering blood sugar levels after meals (1, 2). The effect is so great that having resistant starch at lunch will reduce blood sugar spikes at dinner, known as the “second meal effect” (3). Problem is many foods high in resistant starch, such as potatoes, are also high in digestible carbs that can spike blood sugar. Therefore resistant starch in supplement form – without the extra carbs – is recommended. Summary: Supplemental resistant starch is a fantastic option for those struggling to control sugars or have hit a plateau. 2. Ceylon Cinnamon Several cinnamon compounds appear to prevent the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, minimising blood sugar spikes. It may also dramatically improve insulin sensitivity (4, 5). In a recent clinical trial, 25 poorly-controlled type 2 diabetics received either 1 gram per day of cinnamon or placebo (dummy supplement) for 12 weeks. Fasting blood sugar levels in the cinnamon gro Continue reading >>

Six Common Foods That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

Six Common Foods That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

AFFECTING 1.8 Million Australian's, diabetes is the world's fastest growing chronic disease with two people developing the disease every 10 seconds. With National Diabetes Week around the corner (July 12-18), Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse pharmacist Carolyn Clementson, is dishing up the worst foods for your blood sugar. Carolyn Clementon says most people think they know what foods are high in sugar, but glucose can be hiding where we least expect it. "Everyone associated chocolate, soda and lollies with sugary danger foods when talking about diabetes, however the below foods are equally as risky and will cause a spike in your blood sugar," she said. Food made from refined white flour are easily digestible starch and which will raise your blood sugar level, instead it's best to opt for brown versions. 2. Chinese Food Dishes that are high-calorie, high fat, high-sodium, and high-carb can spike blood sugar dramatically. Dishes to avoid include fried entrees, orange chicken, sweet and sour dishes and anything served with a sugary sauce. If you are craving Chinese, prepare something at home using steamed veggies and low-sodium, low-fat condiments and flavourings. 3. Potatoes They might be a vegetable but they are far from healthy, potatoes are notorious for increasing blood sugar because they're digested into the bloodstream quickly. A healthier option is to swap potatoes for sweet potatoes. 4. Energy Bars Although energy bars can seem like a healthy snack it is important to read the label! Energy bars are often made from refined flours and sugars and can have a higher sugar content than a Mars Bar! Choose bars that are made with nuts, whole grains and fewer natural sweeteners. 5. Bananas and Melons Although seen as a healthy choice, not all fruits are created equal. Fruits Continue reading >>

Dark Chocolate Lowers ‘bad’ Cholesterol And Blood Sugar Levels When Eaten In Moderation: Study

Dark Chocolate Lowers ‘bad’ Cholesterol And Blood Sugar Levels When Eaten In Moderation: Study

Hooray! — even more research shows why dark chocolate (in moderation) has heart-healthy benefits. Researchers from San Diego State University conducted a small controlled study illustrating that eating dark chocolate has positive effects in lowering blood sugar levels and “bad” cholesterol levels and increasing “good” cholesterol levels — all of which could have positive effects on heart health. For the study, researchers had 31 people eat either 50 grams of regular dark chocolate (70% cocoa), dark chocolate (70% cocoa) that has been overheated, or white chocolate (0% cocoa). The study participants ate their assigned chocolate for a 15-day period; their blood glucose, circulating lipids, blood pressure and blood flow were all measured before and after the study. But while the researchers found a positive effect of eating the dark chocolate in the study, they cautioned that chocolate is also high in saturated fat and calories, and must therefore be eaten in moderation. Because it’s rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you’ll eat less, Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and HuffPost blogger told The Huffington Post. Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves to a bite instead of snacking on “11 other things first” he said. Dark chocolate does the trick much better than milk, according to a small study from the University of Copenhagen, and may even reduce cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. Continue reading >>

5 Blood Sugar Friendly Diabetic Snacks

5 Blood Sugar Friendly Diabetic Snacks

back to Overview Looking for some snacks that are blood sugar friendly? Health coach and mySugr blogger Markus Berndt shares some of his secrets for taming the snack monster. Diabetic Snack Attack Today is all about diabetic snacks, or snacks that are more blood sugar friendly than your typical carb bombs we often crave. Thankfully we have Markus here to help. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May of 2012 which catalyzed his devotion to healthy living through diet and exercise. He’s currently a management consultant for workplace health promotion and a health coach. He writes a popular blog (in German) at www.diabetesade.com and contributes regularly to the German side of our website. He has lots of great information to share, and from time to time I’ll do my best to bring a translation to you in English. Over to you, Markus! A Universal Feeling We all experience the urge to snack (if not outright binge) and reward ourselves with culinary delights. The monster is hungry! Finding snacks that are blood sugar friendly can help a lot. Of course, when the urge strikes, we’re not craving health food. Unfortunately, it’s usually the common snack foods, which, by the way, are designed to addict us. It’s a vicious cycle that can be really hard to break free from. So what to do? We don’t want to cave in completely, but constantly nibbling on naked celery isn’t fulfilling either. Finding blood sugar friendly snacks is often really hard. But thankfully there are a few goodies that we can turn to for some satisfaction without needing to feel terribly guilty. These small snacks that, in moderation, will increase your blood sugar a “tolerable” amount and are still really tasty! Some of them I even consider to be miracle products of nature! Walnuts These are cl Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Chocolate

Diabetes And Chocolate

Tweet A diabetic eating chocolate may raise eyebrows amongst some people but within reason, chocolate needn’t be completely cut out of your diet. In most cases, chocolate will cause blood sugar levels to rise and in light of this it’s best to limit chocolate consumption to small amounts and to avoid eating when blood sugars are already higher than the recommended blood glucose levels. Is eating chocolate good or bad for you? Chocolate contains a number of beneficial nutrients, some of which called flavonoids are thought to guard against heart disease. However, it should be noted that larger quantities of chocolate can be disadvantageous to health in other ways. If a larger amount of chocolate is consumed, it will raise blood sugars which increases the risk of complications, of which cardiovascular problems is one. Secondly, the calorific content of chocolate is relatively high and therefore overconsumption of chocolate could lead to weight gain which also raises the risk of heart problems. How much chocolate should I eat? For most people with diabetes, chocolate is best restricted to a few squares to prevent too much of an increase in sugar levels. For people with diabetes without weight problems, chocolate can be appropriate to have before exercising. For more strenuous activity, however, even shorter acting carbohydrate may be required. Which chocolate is best for me? Chocolate with higher amounts of cocoa solids are best, as the sugar and fat content will often be lower as a result. For high cocoa solids content, dark chocolate is usually a good pick. Is diabetic chocolate better for my sugar levels? Generally speaking, diabetic chocolate is made by replacing some or all of the sugar content with an alternative source of sweetener, such as the polyols (sugar alco Continue reading >>

7 Surprising Things That Make Blood Sugar Control Easier

7 Surprising Things That Make Blood Sugar Control Easier

Being asleep. Being awake. Hot weather. Cold weather. Seems there’s no end to the number of things that can raise your blood glucose levels. No wonder diabetes management can be such an obstacle course. But it’s not all doom and gloom. For every factor that unexpectedly sends your blood sugars spiralling out of control, there’s an equally unexpected – and often enjoyable – way to keep them under control. 1. Peanut butter We know that peanuts are great for people with diabetes. But one group of researchers from Brazil were more interested in peanut butter (and why wouldn’t they be). The team split participants into three groups: the first ate 1.5 ounces of peanuts; the second had three tablespoons of peanut butter with breakfast; and the third had no peanut butter or peanuts. They all ate the same lunch of white bread and strawberry jam. Interestingly, the researchers found that the peanut butter was better for blood glucose levels than the peanuts. The second group felt fuller for long, and had lower blood sugars when they were tested after lunch. Not all peanut butter is as good for you, of course. But the researchers found that the healthier brands can do you a lot of good. Turns out that peanut butter has a lovely combination of high protein, fibre and healthy oils. So you no longer have to feel ashamed for eating it straight from the jar with a tablespoon. I certainly won’t. 2. Red wine Red wine lowers blood sugars by stopping the intestines absorbing glucose. Recently, plenty of researchers have become very interested in the effects of red wine on weight loss and blood glucose levels. A number of studies reckon it could be beneficial. That said, drinking too much of it can cause problems (such as a build-up of fat around the liver), so everything in m Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Dark Chocolate

Diabetes And Dark Chocolate

Share: Mouthwatering dark chocolate; could it be true that there are health benefits to eating it? Should someone with diabetes avoid the sheer pleasure of dark chocolate? Are there any precautions to take? What is the real story surrounding dark chocolate and diabetes? Last but not least DiabetesCare.net has a list of 5 recipes that include dark chocolate for your utter enjoyment. The health benefits of eating chocolate: Research scientists are studying good bacteria found in the digestive tract of people that normally eat cocoa. Preliminary findings are pointing in the direction that this bacteria is helping to ferment antioxidants and fiber found in cocoa. These bacteria are thought to help create compounds that are anti-inflammatory and help with our cardiovascular health. In one study of healthy individuals, it was found that by eating a small square (8 grams) of dark chocolate (70% cocoa chocolate) every day for a months’ time an improvement in vascular function over their own baseline as well as the control group was shown. This small amount can potentially help to decrease the risk of heart disease. The research was done on pure, unsweetened cocoa powder and it is advised that even the darkest chocolate must be consumed in moderation to avoid excess calories and weight gain. At this time scientists can not recommend an ideal amount of cocoa powder to eat. (1) For people with type 2 diabetes, daily dark chocolate consumption of 20 grams per day (that was rich with polyphenols) helped increase the sensitivity to insulin. This is important for blood glucose control. Increasing insulin sensitivity may also help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. (1) A review of literature in 2012 found that eating dark chocolate every day reduced blood Continue reading >>

Good News For Chocolate Fans

Good News For Chocolate Fans

"It seems like anything that tastes good isn’t good for you." This was a lament I heard more times than I can remember from patients who were bemoaning what they thought was the loss of their favorite foods. While this isn’t 100% true, it can certainly seem that way, especially for people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes or who find out they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, for example. However, there’s good news for chocolate lovers: Chocolate can actually be good for you! But don’t rush out and load up on Hershey Kisses just yet—read on to learn how and why chocolate may actually be more friend than foe. Chocolate is made from cacao beans that are roasted and then cracked. The insides of the beans, or the “nibs,” are crushed into a paste called chocolate liquor (which contains no alcohol). Chocolate liquor can be made into cocoa powder if the fat (cocoa butter) is removed. But to make chocolate, sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla, and milk (in the case of milk chocolate) are combined. The chocolate then goes through various refining processes to give it a smooth, silky texture. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate, contains no milk, and also is lower in sugar. Why is chocolate considered healthy, then? Well, it’s really the dark chocolate that carries the health benefits (sorry, all you milk chocolate lovers). You may recall from previous posts and other reading you’ve done that some foods contain phytonutrients called flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant. Cocoa, or cacao, beans are rich in flavonoids. Researchers have been learning more and more about flavonoids in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and tea. Now they’ve added chocolate to their list. So, then, what health benefits does dark cho Continue reading >>

Dark Chocolate And Diabetes: The Benefits Of This Tasty Snack

Dark Chocolate And Diabetes: The Benefits Of This Tasty Snack

Hardly a day goes by without a media source advising us to "Eat a tomato each day for better skin," "have a glass of red wine each night with dinner" — or some other dietary directive. Perhaps you've heard about the potential health benefits of dark chocolate and diabetes. But is it true? Chocolate fans, rejoice! Yes, in fact, this snack could lower your diabetes risk according to Endocrine Abstracts. Daily consumption of dark chocolate is associated with positive effects on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar — two key factors in developing diabetes. But before you jump and start incorporating chocolate into meals, make sure you know the facts. The Link Between Dark Chocolate and Diabetes The secret of how dark chocolate works against diabetes lies within the sweet snack's makeup. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties (which protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules). Polyphenols in dark chocolate may improve insulin sensitivity, or how well insulin works in the body. This, in turn, may help control blood sugar, according to research published in Endocrine Abstracts. Such improved insulin sensitivity may delay, or even prevent, the onset of diabetes. A study published by the journal Appetite found that people who eat chocolate, including dark chocolate, at least once a week had a lower prevalence of diabetes and were at lower risk for diabetes four to five years later. The analysis of 908 nondiabetic people and 45 people with diabetes discovered that people who ate such chocolate less than once weekly were at twice the risk of diabetes versus those who ate it more than one day per week. But what if you already have diabetes? Well, there may be some benefits of dark chocolate cons Continue reading >>

The Benefits Of Chocolate For Diabetes

The Benefits Of Chocolate For Diabetes

Ohhhhhhhhhh….Chocolate! Chocolate! How many times have you just had that sometimes nearly overwhelming urge to have some chocolate—in any form! You can have a chocolate bar, chocolate milk, chocolate cake, brownies, a chocolate ice cream sundae or a cup of hot cocoa just to list a few forms of chocolate. Oh wait—you can have dark chocolate, milk chocolate, orange, mint or raspberry-flavored chocolate or white chocolate….so much to choose from! But….should you? And if you should, just how much is enough and how much is overdoing it? Are there “healthier” forms of chocolate? Many of us sure as shootin’ hope there is! The “Dark” History of Chocolate Chocolate comes from the fruit and seeds of the cacao tree and is native to the Amazon forest. Botanically, the cacao tree is known as Theobroma cacao – this tree has three major varieties; the Forastero, the Trinitario and the Criollo. The Forastero is the most commonly used variety while the rarest and most prized for its aroma and its delicate taste is the Criollo variety. Christopher Columbus is credited with being the first European to come in contact with the cacao bean—he and his crew found—and stole, apparently—a canoe filled with various food items, including baskets of cacao beans. The cacao beans were actually used as local currency, but their chocolate quality was missed for another twenty years until Hernando Cortez brought 3 chests of cacao beans, this time stolen from the Aztecs, back to the court of the Spanish king—and the popularity of cacao and chocolate took off![1] The history of chocolate though, actually appears to be much older, going back to at least the Mayan civilization and possibly the Olmec civilization that predates the Mayan civilization. The traditional chocolate be Continue reading >>

Can Diabetics Have Chocolate?

Can Diabetics Have Chocolate?

If you’re a diabetic, you know that too much sugar is not good for you. But what about chocolates? Should someone with diabetes avoid the sheer pleasure of indulging in chocolates? Or should they have a “diabetic” chocolate? Or should they just throw caution to the winds and give in to the cravings of eating chocolate? Let us try and answer some of these questions. What Chocolate is Good For Diabetics? Chocolate is made from the fruit and seeds of the cacao tree. Chocolates come in different varieties, ranging from dark to white to milk. All the health benefits we associate with chocolate are found in dark chocolates, which have natural antioxidants – flavonoids and flavanols. If the cocoa content ((a powder made from the seeds of cacao) is high, the chocolate will be purer, darker and less sweet. Unsweetened cocoa powder has 88 to 96 percent of cocoa, dark chocolate contains 45 to 80 percent, and milk chocolate has only 5 to 7 percent of cocoa. Dark chocolates are also good for diabetics. Polyphenols (nutrients with antioxidant activity) found in cocoa help in increasing insulin sensitivity, thus improving glucose metabolism and insulin function. What About Diabetic Chocolates? This is only one word for these — “NO”. Diabetic chocolates contain sweeteners, such as fructose or sorbitol, which can increase blood sugar levels. They tend to contain just as much fat as ordinary chocolate; in fact, they are often high in bad types of fats, viz. saturated fats and trans fats. Also, they usually have as many calories, if not more, than normal chocolates. What Are The Benefits of Chocolates? According to a 2014 study by researchers from Louisiana State University, the digestive tracts of people who eat chocolate contain good bacteria. These bacteria help in creati Continue reading >>

Why Chocolate Isn’t Good For Low Blood Sugars

Why Chocolate Isn’t Good For Low Blood Sugars

Treating your low blood sugars with chocolate bars? Hypoglycemia is a tricky thing: our brain is desperately begging us for food, sugar to be exact, and it can make our appetite go hog wild! But treating our low blood sugars with something that is also high in fat will drastically slow down the absorption of the glucose in that food, which means you’ll be lower for longer and you’ll feel lower for longer! One of the biggest challenges with treating low blood sugars is finding the willpower to not over treat our low blood sugars through bingeing and eating everything in sight. Ideally, in a perfect world, we’d be able to ignore that desperate craving for every bite of food we can find and treat our blood sugars with 7 to 15 grams of fast-acting glucose. You can read a list of the fastest and slowest absorbed carbohydrates at this link, but for now here are a few of the best choices: juice glucose tabs/gels (made of dextrose: the fastest absorbed form of glucose) pixie sticks or smarties soda dried fruit Why should we care if we treat our blood sugar with 7 or 15 grams of carbs? Sometimes simply consuming 8 or so fewer grams of carbohydrates when treating a low can actually prevent your blood sugar from rebounding back up over 160 mg/dL. By treating mild lows (above 55 mg/dL) with 8 grams instead of 15, you can bring your blood sugar just barely over 90 or 100 mg/dL, the ideal range. For lows below 55 mg/dL, or lows that you know are related to a significant over-dose of insulin, more carbohydrates can be essential, but it’s good to start with 15 grams, then wait 15 minutes to see if you feel better, then test your blood sugar. If you’re still below 80 mg/dL within 15 minutes after eating then you may need to consume another 8 to 15 grams of carbohydrates. In th Continue reading >>

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