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Diabetes Diet: Six Foods That May Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes Diet: Six Foods That May Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

While there's no substitute for a balanced healthy diet, adding certain foods may help those with diabetes keep sugar levels under control. Coffee and cinnamon have made headlines as foods that might be able to help cut the risk of diabetes or help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. However, don't get the idea that such foods are magic pills for your diabetic diet. It's still important for people with diabetes to eat a balanced healthy diet and exercise to help manage the condition. Nevertheless, some foods, such as white bread, are converted almost immediately to blood sugar, causing a quick spike. Other foods, such as brown rice, are digested more slowly, causing a lower and gentler change in blood sugar. If you are trying to follow a healthy diet for diabetes, here are 6 suggestions that may help to keep your blood sugar in check. Porridge Porridge can help control blood sugar and the charity Diabetes UK recommends it to see you through the morning. Even though porridge is a carbohydrate, it's a very good carbohydrate. Because it's high in soluble fibre, it's slower to digest and it won't raise your blood sugar as much or as quickly. It's going to work better at maintaining a healthy blood sugar level over time. Not only does this high-quality carbohydrate offer a steadier source of energy than white bread, it can also help with weight loss. The soluble fibre in oats helps to keep us feeling fuller longer. That's important for people with type 2 diabetes, who tend to be overweight. If you reduce the weight, you usually significantly improve the glucose control. Barley isn't as popular as oats, but there's some evidence that barley, which is also high in soluble fibre, may also help with blood glucose control. Besides oats and barley, most whole grains are going to Continue reading >>

25 Diabetic Foods For Stable Blood Glucose And Overall Health

25 Diabetic Foods For Stable Blood Glucose And Overall Health

Sticking to a diet of diabetic foods is one natural way to help manage your condition and feel as good as possible all day long. If you’re tired of the cycle of eating foods that spike your blood sugar levels, this list will help you avoid those foods and crowd them out with better, more healthy choices. 1. Spinach and Kale Spinach and kale are very similar to each other in terms of how they’re handled by the body and the amount of nutrition they provide. Diabetics can enjoy as much of either one as they care for, and there really isn’t a huge advantage of one over the other. You’ll be getting both Vitamin A and Vitamin C from each, as well as potassium, magnesium, and iron. Baby spinach and baby kale are very much alike in terms of usability, each having their own taste which is their major difference. You can use spinach and kale interchangeably in green smoothie recipes, but kale gets the edge in the snack department because it’s so easy to make kale chips that taste great and won’t leave you filled with regret when you’re done snacking. Eating Nutrient Dense Foods If you’re looking for some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet you can’t go wrong with spinach and kale. Once for once they provide more vitamins and minerals than just about any other food, including other vegetables and fruit. 2. Beans Beans are a great addition to most any meal because they’ll help to stabilize your blood sugar, rather than have a detrimental effect or no effect at all. Foods like this are important because they can help balance out other foods that aren’t necessarily diabetic-friendly, and they can reduce the amount of insulin needed to bring your levels back to normal. Beans are easy enough to add to a meal, and many recipes call for beans as part of t Continue reading >>

How Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

How Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

When you have diabetes, your blood sugar (glucose) levels may be consistently high. Over time, this can damage your body and lead to many other problems. How much sugar in the blood is too much? And why is high glucose so bad for you? Here’s a look at how your levels affect your health. They're less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least 8 hours. And they're less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating. During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal; for others, 90. What's a low sugar level? It varies widely, too. Many people's glucose won't ever fall below 60, even with prolonged fasting. When you diet or fast, the liver keeps your levels normal by turning fat and muscle into sugar. A few people's levels may fall somewhat lower. Doctors use these tests to find out if you have diabetes: Fasting plasma glucose test. The doctor tests your blood sugar levels after fasting for 8 hours and it’s higher than 126 mg/dL. Oral glucose tolerance test. After fasting for 8 hours, you get a special sugary drink. Two hours later your sugar level is higher than 200. Random check. The doctor tests your blood sugar and it’s higher than 200, plus you’re peeing more, always thirsty, and you’ve gained or lost a significant amount of weight. He’ll then do a fasting sugar level test or an oral glucose tolerance test to confirm the diagnosis. Any sugar levels higher than normal are unhealthy. Levels that are higher than normal, but not reaching the point of full-blown diabetes, are called prediabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million people in the U.S. have this condition, which can lead to diabetes Continue reading >>

The Version Of Sugar That Wont Affect Your Blood Glucose Levels And Why You Cant Have It

The Version Of Sugar That Wont Affect Your Blood Glucose Levels And Why You Cant Have It

There is a natural alternative to sugar thats perfect for people with diabetes. It tastes exactly the same, but it isnt metabolised the same way, so it wont spike your blood glucose levels . But its never been produced on a large scale. Its called L-glucose, and its story begins with a mission to find life on Mars. No, really. This is the first time youll hear about sugar and Mars, and not be talking about the chocolate bar. Exploring the depths of the universe is cool and all, but did you know that this little guy led to the invention of low-calorie sweeteners? Dr. Gilbert V. Levin wanted to know if there was life on Mars, and he had thought of a good way to find out. Plan was, the Viking 1 lander, having landed, would put soil from Mars into a container, which would be full of radiation-laced nutrients. If there was life in the Martian soil, it would eat the nutrients and release radioactive carbon dioxide, which could be detected using a Geiger counter. The next question: what nutrients to use? At first, Levin thought of glucose , which is consumed by every living organism on Earth. Hopefully, any potential life on Mars would, too. But the chemistry wasnt quite that simple. There are molecules that can take both left-handed and right-handed forms, which refers to a slightly different arrangement of elements. On Earth, we only metabolise right-handed glucose. But this wouldnt necessarily be true of Martian microbes, so Dr. Levin wanted to prepare both kinds of glucose, just to be sure. But technical problems rendered this impossible, so Dr. Levin swapped glucose for lactose. The project was somewhat successful, but didnt prove the existence of life on Mars. Otherwise youd have probably heard of it already. But were not here for Mars; were after low-calorie sweeteners Continue reading >>

Managing Diabetes With Blood Glucose Control

Managing Diabetes With Blood Glucose Control

There are two common ways that physicians assess how well diabetes is controlled: [1] Frequent measurements of blood glucose, and [2] measurement of glycohemoglobin (A1c). Each method has its good and bad points, but combined they give a fairly accurate picture of the state of glucose control in a diabetic. Most physicians will use both methods. Why Tight Blood Glucose Is Important Measurement of Blood Glucose (Blood Sugar) When we speak about measuring blood glucose levels, it can be done 2 different ways. Blood glucose can be measured randomly from a sample taken at any time (called a "random blood sugar" or RBS). Blood glucose can also be measured in the "fasting" state, meaning that the person has not eaten or taken in any calories in the past 8 hours (usually this is done overnight and it is referred to as an overnight fast and is called a "fasting blood sugar" or FBS). In a person with normal insulin production and activity (a non-diabetic) blood sugar levels will return to "fasting" levels within 3 hours of eating. People with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) may not be able to get their blood glucose down this quickly after a meal or drinking a calorie-containing drink. More about this can be found on our Diagnosing Diabetes page. Learn More about How to Manage Diabetes Remember, the normal fasting blood glucose level is between 70 and 110 mg/dL. Frequent Measurements of Blood Glucose. The goal in this part of diabetes management is to strive to keep fasting blood sugars under 140 mg/dL and preferably closer to the 70 to 120 mg/dL range. Ideally, one could monitor blood sugars 4 times per day (or more) to follow how well the sugars are controlled. This information could be used to adjust your diet and medications to achieve this goal. Usually blood glucose measureme Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose

Blood Glucose

Blood glucose and blood sugar are interchangeable terms, and both are crucial to the health of the body; especially for people with diabetes. Most diabetics will be familiar with the terms blood glucose, blood glucose test, blood glucose level and blood glucose meter, but what does blood glucose really mean? Why do blood sugar levels need to be controlled? What are blood glucose levels? Blood sugar levels are literally the amount of glucose in the blood, sometimes called the serum glucose level. Usually, this amount is expressed as millimoles per litre (mmol/l) and stay stable amongst people without diabetes at around 4-8mmol/L. Spikes in blood sugar will occur following meals, and levels will usually be at their lowest in the early mornings. When it comes to people with diabetes, blood sugar fluctuates more widely. Why do blood glucose levels need to be controlled? High levels of glucose present in the blood over a sustained period of time end up damaging the blood vessels. Although this does not sound too serious, the list of resultant complications is. Poorly controlled blood glucose levels can increase your chances of developing diabetes complications including nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular diseases. The time-scale for the development of these complications is usually years, but be aware that type 2 diabetes is often not diagnosed until a relatively late stage. How do I find out what my blood glucose levels are? You can use home testing kits, although before doing so read our guide to blood glucose monitors. Measure levels by putting a drop of blood on a strip and placing it into a BGM (blood glucose meter). Prick your finger with a specially designed lancet to draw blood. What is a good blood glucose level? NICE guidelines for the UK curre Continue reading >>

Carbohydrates And Diabetes

Carbohydrates And Diabetes

en espaolLos carbohidratos y la diabetes Keeping your blood sugar levels on track means watching what you eat, plus taking medicines like insulin if you need to. Your doctor may also have mentioned that you should keep track of how many carbohydrates (carbs) you eat. But what exactly are carbohydrates and how do they affect your blood sugar? The foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy and other things the body needs, and one of these is carbohydrates . The two main forms of carbohydrates are: sugars such as fructose, glucose, and lactose starches, which are found in foods such as starchy vegetables (like potatoes or corn), grains, rice, breads, and cereals The body breaks down or converts most carbohydrates into the sugar glucose . Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, and with the help of a hormone called insulin it travels into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. People with diabetes have problems with insulin that can cause blood sugar levels to rise. For people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to make insulin. For people with type 2 diabetes, the body can't respond normally to the insulin that is made. Because the body turns carbohydrates into glucose, eating carbohydrates makes blood sugar levels rise. But that doesn't mean you should avoid carbohydrates if you have diabetes. Carbohydrates are a healthy and important part of a nutritious diet. Some carbohydrates have more health benefits than others, though. For example, whole-grain foods and fruits are healthier choices than candy and soda because they provide fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. Fiber is important because it helps you feel full and keeps your digestive system working properly. In fact, eating lots of fiber can even help to slow the body's ab Continue reading >>

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

The aim of diabetes treatment is to bring blood sugar (“glucose”) as close to normal as possible. What is a normal blood sugar level? And how can you achieve normal blood sugar? First, what is the difference between “sugar” and “glucose”? Sugar is the general name for sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water. “Carbohydrate” means a food made only of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. There are various different kinds of sugars. The one our body uses most is called “glucose.” Other sugars we eat, like fructose from fruit or lactose from milk, are converted into glucose in our bodies. Then we can use them for energy. Our bodies also break down starches, which are sugars stuck together, into glucose. When people talk about “blood sugar,” they mean “blood glucose.” The two terms mean the same thing. In the U.S., blood sugar is normally measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl). A milligram is very little, about 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A deciliter is about 3 1/3 ounces. In Canada and the United Kingdom, blood sugar is reported in millimoles/liter (mmol/L). You can convert Canadian or British glucose levels to American numbers if you multiply them by 18. This is useful to know if you’re reading comments or studies from England or Canada. If someone reports that their fasting blood glucose was 7, you can multiply that by 18 and get their U.S. glucose level of 126 mg/dl. What are normal glucose numbers? They vary throughout the day. (Click here for a blood sugar chart.) For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. “Postprandial” sugars taken two hours after meals should be less than 140 mg/dl. Those are the normal numbers for someone w Continue reading >>

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them To Manage Your Diabetes

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them To Manage Your Diabetes

Checking your blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is an important part of diabetes care. This tip sheet tells you: why it helps you to know your blood sugar numbers how to check your blood sugar levels what are target blood sugar levels what to do if your levels are too low or too high how to pay for these tests Why do I need to know my blood sugar numbers? Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss. As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change. How is blood sugar measured? There are two ways to measure blood sugar. Blood sugar checks that you do yourself. These tell you what your blood sugar level is at the time you test. The A1C (A-one-C) is a test done in a lab or at your provider’s office. This test tells you your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. How do I check my blood sugar? You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail. Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your h Continue reading >>

5 Sugar Substitutes For Type 2 Diabetes

5 Sugar Substitutes For Type 2 Diabetes

1 / 6 A Small Amount of Real Sugar Is Best, but Sugar Substitutes Can Help If you think that people with diabetes should always avoid sugar, think again — they can enjoy the sweet stuff, in moderation. "The best bet is to use a very minimal amount of real sugar as part of a balanced diabetic diet," says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City. That being said, sugar substitutes offer sweetness while controlling carbohydrate intake and blood glucose. There are many sugar substitutes to choose from, but they’re not all calorie-free and they vary in terms of their impact on blood sugar. "The major difference between the sugar substitutes is whether they are nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners," says Melissa Mullins, MS, RD, a certified diabetes educator with Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va. "Non-nutritive sweeteners provide no calories and no changes in blood glucose levels, which is perfect for people with diabetes.” Here are six sweet options to consider. Continue reading >>

Fruit For Diabetes – Is It Actually Safe To Eat?

Fruit For Diabetes – Is It Actually Safe To Eat?

If you are living with diabetes, you've probably been told to minimize or eliminate your intake of fruit because "fruit is high in sugar." And if this is the case, maybe you refrain from eating fruits because it causes your blood glucose to spike. Attracted by the smell, color and taste, you may find yourself asking a simple question: "Should I avoid fruit in the long-term? And if so, will I ever be able to eat fruit again?” It turns out that this ant-fruit message is a perfect example of pseudoscience at its best. A recent study published in PLOS medicine tracked the health of 512,891 Chinese men and women between the ages of 30 and 79 for an average of 7 years, in order to understand the effect that their diet had on their overall health (1). We like these types of studies because they are: For those who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study, those who had a higher fruit consumption were 12% less likely to develop diabetes, compared with those who ate zero pieces of fruit per day. The researchers found a dose-response relationship, which means that the more frequently these nondiabetic individuals ate fruit, the lower the risk for developing diabetes. Amongst those living with diabetes at the beginning of the study, those who ate fruit 3 times per week reduced their risk of all-cause mortality (death from any cause) by 17%, compared with diabetic individuals who ate zero pieces of fruit per day. In addition, researchers uncovered that those who ate fresh fruit 3 days per week were 13-28% less likely to experience macrovascular complications (heart disease and stroke) and microvascular damage (kidney disease, retinopathy and neuropathy). Even though this study was observational, the results of the study have profound implications for people living with Continue reading >>

What Can I Drink If I Have Diabetes?

What Can I Drink If I Have Diabetes?

Having diabetes means that you have to be aware of everything you eat or drink. Knowing the amount of carbohydrates you ingest and how they may affect your blood sugar is crucial. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends zero-calorie or low-calorie drinks. The main reason is to prevent a spike in blood sugar. Choosing the right drinks can help you avoid unpleasant side effects, manage your symptoms, and maintain a healthy weight. Water Unsweetened tea Unsweetened coffee Sugar-free fruit juice Low-fat milk Zero- or low-calorie drinks are typically your best bet when choosing a drink. Squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice into your drink for a refreshing, low-calorie kick. Whether you’re at home or at a restaurant, here are the most diabetes-friendly beverage options. 1. Water When it comes to hydration, water is the best option for people with diabetes. That’s because it won’t raise your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can cause dehydration. Drinking enough water can help your body eliminate excess glucose through urine. Women should drink approximately 8 glasses of water each day, while men should drink about 10 glasses. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, create some variety by: adding slices of lemon, lime, or orange adding sprigs of flavourful herbs, such as mint, basil, or lemon balm crushing a couple of fresh or frozen raspberries into your drink 2. Tea Research has shown that green tea has a positive effect on your general health. It can also help reduce your blood pressure and lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Some research suggests that drinking up to six cups a day may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed. Whether you choose green, black, or herbal tea, you should avoid sweeteners. For a refreshi Continue reading >>

Fruit For Diabetes – Is It Actually Safe To Eat?

Fruit For Diabetes – Is It Actually Safe To Eat?

If you are living with diabetes, you've probably been told to minimize or eliminate your intake of fruit because "fruit is high in sugar." And if this is the case, maybe you refrain from eating fruits because it causes your blood glucose to spike. Attracted by the smell, color and taste, you may find yourself asking a simple question: "Should I avoid fruit in the long-term? And if so, will I ever be able to eat fruit again?” It turns out that this ant-fruit message is a perfect example of pseudoscience at its best. A recent study published in PLOS medicine tracked the health of 512,891 Chinese men and women between the ages of 30 and 79 for an average of 7 years, in order to understand the effect that their diet had on their overall health (1). We like these types of studies because they are: For those who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study, those who had a higher fruit consumption were 12% less likely to develop diabetes, compared with those who ate zero pieces of fruit per day. The researchers found a dose-response relationship, which means that the more frequently these nondiabetic individuals ate fruit, the lower the risk for developing diabetes. Amongst those living with diabetes at the beginning of the study, those who ate fruit 3 times per week reduced their risk of all-cause mortality (death from any cause) by 17%, compared with diabetic individuals who ate zero pieces of fruit per day. In addition, researchers uncovered that those who ate fresh fruit 3 days per week were 13-28% less likely to experience macrovascular complications (heart disease and stroke) and microvascular damage (kidney disease, retinopathy and neuropathy). Even though this study was observational, the results of the study have profound implications for people living with Continue reading >>

The Best Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes

The Best Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes

With a low to no calorie sugar count, artificial sweeteners may seem like a treat for people with diabetes. But recent research suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually be counterintuitive. Especially if you’re looking to manage or prevent diabetes. In fact, the increased consumption of these sugar substitutes may correlate to the increase of obesity and diabetes cases. The good news is that there are sugar alternatives you can choose from. You’ll still want to count your intake for glucose management, but these options are far better than the marketed “sugar-free” products. Stevia Stevia is a FDA approved low-calorie sweetener that has anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic properties. Unlike artificial sweeteners and sugar, stevia can suppress your plasma glucose levels and significantly increase glucose tolerance. It’s also technically not an artificial sweetener. That’s because it’s made from the leaves of the stevia plant. Stevia also has the ability to: increase insulin effect on cell membranes increase insulin production stabilize blood sugar levels counter mechanics of type 2 diabetes and its complications You can find stevia under brand names like: PureVia Sun Crystals Sweet Leaf Truvia While stevia is natural, these brands are usually highly processed and may contain other ingredients. For example, Truvia goes through 40 processing steps before it’s ready to be sold, and contains the sugar alcohol erythritol. Future research may shed more light on the health impacts of consuming these processed stevia sweeteners. The best way to consume stevia is to grow the plant yourself and use the whole leaves to sweeten foods. What’s the difference between Truvia and stevia? » Tagatose Tagatose is another naturally occurring sugar that researchers are s Continue reading >>

Controlling Blood Sugar In Diabetes: How Low Should You Go?

Controlling Blood Sugar In Diabetes: How Low Should You Go?

Diabetes is an ancient disease, but the first effective drug therapy was not available until 1922, when insulin revolutionized the management of the disorder. Insulin is administered by injection, but treatment took another great leap forward in 1956, when the first oral diabetic drug was introduced. Since then, dozens of new medications have been developed, but scientists are still learning how best to use them. And new studies are prompting doctors to re-examine a fundamental therapeutic question: what level of blood sugar is best? Normal metabolism To understand diabetes, you should first understand how your body handles glucose, the sugar that fuels your metabolism. After you eat, your digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars that are small enough to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Glucose is far and away the most important of these sugars, and it's an indispensable source of energy for your body's cells. But to provide that energy, it must travel from your blood into your cells. Insulin is the hormone that unlocks the door to your cells. When your blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the beta cells of your pancreas spring into action, pouring insulin into your blood. If you produce enough insulin and your cells respond normally, your blood sugar level drops as glucose enters the cells, where it is burned for energy or stored for future use in your liver as glycogen. Insulin also helps your body turn amino acids into proteins and fatty acids into body fat. The net effect is to allow your body to turn food into energy and to store excess energy to keep your engine running if fuel becomes scarce in the future. A diabetes primer Diabetes is a single name for a group of disorders. All forms of the disease develop when the pancreas is unable to Continue reading >>

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