Is Agave Syrup The Best Sweetener For Diabetes?

Is agave syrup the best sweetener for diabetes?

Is agave syrup the best sweetener for diabetes?

Some natural health advocates suggest that people with diabetes can substitute agave syrup for table sugar and other traditional sweeteners. For those with a sweet tooth, the promise of a better sweetener might seem too good to be true.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what it is. Agave is not a good alternative sweetener for people with diabetes.
Is agave a good alternative sweetener?
Agave is a group of succulent plants that grow in warm climates, particularly the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Although it can be used as a sweetener, blue agave is high in carbohydrates, and produces nectar that is high in a type of sugar called fructose.
Some people in the alternative health community have turned to agave as a potential alternative to table sugar and other sweeteners. Support for agave stems from it being a vegan sweetener as well as its glycemic index (GI).
The higher a food's GI, the more it increases levels of glucose in the blood. Agave boasts a lower GI than most other sweeteners, which means that it is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
GI, however, is not the only - or the best - way to assess whether a food is healthful for people with diabetes. A 2014 study suggests that low-GI foods may not improve how the body responds to insulin.
For people already eating a healthful diet, the study also found that low-GI foods produced no improvements in cardiovascular health risk factors, such as levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.
Agave contains higher levels of fructose than table sugar and most other sweeteners. The body releases less insulin in r Continue reading

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How to Avoid 5 Serious Diabetes Complications

How to Avoid 5 Serious Diabetes Complications

A diabetes diagnosis comes with a host of worries beyond controlling blood sugar levels and watching your diet. Potential diabetes complications include heart trouble, blindness, nerve damage, foot problems and kidney failure. Experts explain what people with diabetes can do to sidestep these risks...
Even if you’re the healthiest of diabetics, you’re probably still worried about the long-term complications of the metabolic disease.
“The major concern with diabetes is that it really affects every organ in the body,” says Christopher Gibbons, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Neuropathy Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard-affiliated research and clinical care center.
That includes eyes, heart, kidneys and toes – people with diabetes face higher risk of blindness, nerve damage, foot amputations from infections, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.
But such complications aren’t inevitable, top endocrinologists say. People with diabetes can do a lot to prevent or at least delay them.
Here are the top five diabetes complications to watch for and steps you can take to avoid them.
Diabetes Complications #1: Heart Disease
People with diabetes face double the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. About 2 out of 3 die from heart disease, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
That’s because diabetes affects cholesterol levels, raising levels of LDL, or bad, cholesterol and lowering HDL, or good, cholesterol. That increases a diabetic’s risk of atherosclerosis, caused when arteries are Continue reading

8 Supplements That May Help Diabetes

8 Supplements That May Help Diabetes

Of the 29.1 million Americans with diabetes, as many as 31 percent use complementary or alternative medicines, including supplements, to help manage their condition. In fact, the amount of money spent on dietary supplements could be staggering. "I think it's bigger than the pharmacy business, if you add it all up," says Jeffrey Tipton, DO, MPH, vice president and medical director at AppleCare Medical Management in Los Angeles.
So is all that money going to good use? "There are some indications that some supplements may be helpful, but there's nothing definitive," says Julie T. Chen, MD, an internist and founder of Making Healthy EZ, an integrative health clinic in San Jose, California. While you shouldn't use supplements to replace your diabetes medication, research on some of them does suggest that they can help with type 2 diabetes management.
Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes: A Closer Look
If you're taking or considering taking a supplement, telling your doctor is a must because some supplements can interfere with diabetes or other drugs, such as blood thinners.
Here's a look at nine dietary supplements that are commonly used by people with type 2 diabetes:
Chromium A metal and an essential trace mineral, this is thought to help reduce blood sugar levels. It is naturally occurring in meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, spices, and whole-wheat and rye breads. As a supplement, it is sold as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium nicotinate.
"People were excited about chromium about 20 years ago," Dr. Tipton says. At low doses, its use appears safe for most people Continue reading

Diabetes and Dietary Supplements: In Depth

Diabetes and Dietary Supplements: In Depth

What’s the Bottom Line?
How much do we know about dietary supplements for diabetes?
Many studies have investigated dietary supplements, including vitamins, for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes (the focus of this fact sheet).
What do we know about the effectiveness of dietary supplements for diabetes?
Most of the supplements studied aren’t effective and some may worsen symptoms of diabetes. For example, using omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil, or cinnamon doesn’t appear to help with diabetes. A number of small studies have looked at whether magnesium or chromium supplements help with diabetes, but the results aren’t definitive.
What do we know about the safety of dietary supplements for diabetes?
Some dietary supplements have side effects, including interacting with diabetes treatments or increasing the risk of kidney problems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to buy illegally marketed, potentially dangerous products claiming to prevent, treat, or cure diabetes.
It’s very important not to replace proven conventional medical treatment for diabetes with an unproven health product or practice.
About Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. It can lead to serious health problems if it’s not managed well.
Between 12 and 14 percent of U.S. adults have diabetes, but more than 25 percent of people with it are undiagnosed.
Taking insulin or other diabetes medicine is often key to treating diabetes, along with making healthy food choices and being physically activ Continue reading

Research spotlight – putting Type 2 diabetes into remission

Research spotlight – putting Type 2 diabetes into remission

Low-calorie weight management programmes
Our scientists are busy researching a new weight management treatment, which includes a low-calorie diet, to help people put their Type 2 diabetes into remission. The study is called DiRECT, short for Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial, and it could completely change the way Type 2 diabetes is treated in the future.
A year into the research and we've made a breakthrough – and we’re excited to share the news with you.
Here's Tony talking about being in the study and Professor Roy Taylor revealing what the results could mean.
Results so far
The first year results are hugely promising. They show that it’s possible for some people to put their Type 2 diabetes into remission using a low-calorie, diet-based, weight management programme, delivered by their GP. Almost half (45.6%) of those who took part in the programme were in remission after a year.
The study found there was a close link between Type 2 diabetes remission and total weight loss. 86% of people who lost more than 15kg on the programme were in remission after a year, as were 57% of people who lost 10 to 15kg, and 34% who lost 5 to 10kg.
In the comparison group, where people had the best diabetes care currently available, but didn't try the new weight management approach, only 4% went into remission.
But what does remission actually mean? It’s when blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are in a normal range again. This doesn’t mean diabetes has gone for good. It’s still really important for people in remission to get regular healthcare checks, so any complications can Continue reading

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