5 Tasty Snacks for Diabetics

Diabetes can make snacking a guilt-ridden, nerve-wracking experience. Society provides us with an array of sugary, carb-saturated quick fixes for our mid-afternoon or late-night cravings. For diabetics, these constantly available treats—cookies, crackers, soda pops, and the like—can seem like the only options. And those options don’t look good. Your average supermarket snack will force your blood sugars to spike and your health to plummet.

 

Luckily, though, there’s a variety of healthy snacks just as vast and tasty as anything the neighborhood donut shop has to offer. By focusing on nutrition and taste, you can ensure long-lasting, body-boosting results.

Grapes and Cheese

This one may come as a surprise to some people. Grapes are relatively highly caloric and sugary, and cheese is relatively high in fat. Shouldn’t that make this a nasty decadent cocktail for someone with diabetes? Not so, say many dieticians. The reason is this: when you have diabetes, your blood sugar will spike when it gets filled with unadulterated sugar. But combining that sugar with proteins and fats will help your body digest carbs at an efficient pace. Grapes will give you a good burst of energy, while the protein and fat in the cheese will help your body process that energy at a reasonable pace.

Carrot Sticks

The nutritional benefits of carrots are well established. Ask ten people to suggest a healthy food, and chances are most of them will say carrot before you’ve even finished asking the question. And the reputation is much-deserved. Carrots are one of the most nutritious things you can eat. And unlike that pack of crackers, carrots will actually fill up for more than twenty minutes. If you’re not used to plain carrots, don’t worry—there are plenty of ways to get used to them. Cook them, or dip them a little ranch dressing.

Walnuts

Walnuts are low in carbohydrates, which will keep your blood sugars happy. What’s more, walnuts are high in good fats and protein. This non-carb energy bomb will keep you full and satisfied; your glucose will stay balanced. It should be noted, however, that the fat content of walnuts could get you in trouble. Walnuts are packed with the so-called good fats—polyunsaturated and monounsaturated—and are not nearly as detrimental to your health as other fatty snacks, but they’ll still bulk you up if you overindulge.

Low Sugar Yogurt

Like many of the other products listed, yogurts tend to be packed with protein, ensuring that sugars get processed at decent rate and helping to stabilize your blood sugar. There’s a catch with yogurts, though, and that catch is this: many of them are absolutely loaded with sugars. As a diabetic, you’re already aware of the dangers of high sugar. Lots of yogurts brag about being low-fat, but the real thing you should watch for is low-sugar. Keep an eye on your labels, and you’ll have a delicious, high protein snack in yogurt.

Popcorn

Like yogurt, this one doesn’t always apply. To keep popcorn at acceptable levels, you’ve got do ti right: air pop it, leave the butter and salt out, etc. And even at its best, popcorn has moderate levels of carbohydrate. Furthermore, popcorn’s benefits are more related to what it doesn’t have than to what it does have; frankly, popcorn’s reputation is based on its lack of bad things, not the presence of dense nutrients. Watch your carb points, and use popcorn as a treat.    

  

Should Restaurants Offer Diabetic Friendly Menus?

In a survey done in the year 2014, around 9.3% of the population was suffering from diabetes. That is about 29.1 million Americans. The most inconvenient thing about being diabetic is keeping track of everything that is consumed. This makes it difficult to “eat out” at a favorite restaurant. Most restaurants do not take into consideration any of the needs or preferences of the 29 million diabetics that visit their establishments. Generally, most of the restaurants are for non-diabetic individuals who do not have to manage and check what they eat. These establishments do not bother much about cooking food or preparing menu items that are diabetic-friendly.

Wait Times

Restaurants serving food to individuals with diabetes should keep in mind that the patients with a high (or low) glucose levels need to eat on time. Individuals that are diabetics likely take insulin injections or tablets, and within a certain time, they need to eat. Restaurants should understand this and should provide services accordingly. Restaurants should also be mindful of not keeping patrons waiting for too long. There should also be emergency medical kits in case anyone falls sick in the establishment.

Menu Redesign

Experienced chefs should redesign menus that are appropriate for consumption for those that suffer from diabetes. They should know and report on the menu the amount of sugar and salt that is in the food. Moreover, they should know and disclose which starchy items that may be included in meals. Menus should be more transparent and disclose exactly what is in their food. For many Americans, this is a crucial determinant in keeping their sugar levels in control.

Diabetic-Friendly Options

Restaurants should also provide diabetic-friendly options in their menus. Having diabetes does not mean eating having to eat tasteless or bland foods. Those with diabetes need to know that they have a high range of options too. With the increase in diabetes across the nations, our restaurants should be doing more to provide meals that everyone can enjoy, while still being healthy.

Choosing a Restaurant

There are certain important things that the diabetics should also remember while choosing to eat out:

  • They need to find out whether the restaurants they are visiting offer diabetic-friendly options. Research the restaurant and their menu beforehand.
  • They should not accept just anything that is available in the menu. They should be particular about the menus they are choosing.
  • They should not feel awkward letting the waiter know about food preparation preferences. It is very important to watch what you eat.
  • Be mindful about portion control.
  • Avoid the extras, and ask for substitutes when necessary.

Having diabetes has become a social problem and social responsibility. We all must work together to have a healthier nation. Restaurants can opt to include healthier options, but we have to opt to pick those healthy options. That is our personal responsibility. We all deserve to be healthy. That starts at the table.

Do you suffer from diabetes? How do you choose a restaurant?

Safety of New Medications for Diabetes

Diabetes is a major problem in the US, and the severity of this problem is rising on a daily basis. As per

some reports, nearly 9% of Americans are already suffering from diabetes. That is around 29 million

people. At the same time, 86 million more have already reached the prediabetes stage, where they have

high blood sugar but not high enough to suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The trend seems likely to continue due to unhealthy lifestyles and diets followed by Americans. In spite

of the best efforts of campaigns and providing information, many people are unaware that their

lifestyles can lead to this dangerous disease.

Medications have been available for fighting against the growing problem of diabetes for years.

However, their effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired. That is why continuous research takes place in

order to develop new medications and treatments for getting rid of diabetes. Currently, a new set of

medications have been approved by the FDA for use in treating type 2 diabetes. Two of them are

mentioned below.

Afrezza

Afrezza is available in the form of a powder and is meant to be inhaled. The action time for this drug is

incredibly fast. It is meant to be taken with meals so as to improve the glycemic control for adults

suffering from diabetes. Extensive studies have been performed with the drug. It has shown significant

improvements for patients of type 1 diabetes and even in patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. Blood

sugar levels were considerably reduced in both sets of patients.

However, there is a side effect to Afrezza due to its method of administration. Because it is meant to be

inhaled, it can lead to bronchospasm among patients who also suffer from chronic obstructive

pulmonary disease or asthma. Other possible side effects of this drug include cough, hypoglycemia and

throat pain or irritation. Doctors remain hesitant to prescribe this medication, and sentiment towards it

has been less than positive.

Tanzeum

Manufactured by GSK, Tanzeum is albiglutide which has been classified as a type of glucagon-like

peptide-1 receptor agonist. Glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1 for short, is a hormone which can help

normalize the levels of blood sugar in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Tanzeum will bind to the

GLP-1 so as to stimulate the release of insulin that is dependent on glucose. At the same time, the

release of glucagon, that boosts sugar levels, will be blocked. Tanzeum is meant to be administered by

injection. It is supposed to be used in conjunction with exercise and diet.

Tanzeum has been noticed to be effective after 8 clinical trials. It has even been tested alongside other

common treatments for type 2 diabetes. Albiglutide, the main component in Tanzeum, can cause side

effects ranging from mild to severe. Some of them include muscle pain, joint pains, cough, diarrhea and

loss of voice. It may also increase risk of thyroid cancer.

The fact remains that medications will not be enough to curb the increase in the number of diabetes

cases in America. People need to implement strict changes in their lifestyle and diet. Exercising and

maintaining strong control over weight is essential as well.

Conditions Intensified by Diabetes

When carbohydrates are broken down during digestion, glucose (blood sugar) is produced. This increased level of glucose triggers the pancreas to produces insulin, which enables the glucose to enter the cells and provide energy for the body. Diabetics, however, don’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin that is produced doesn’t perform properly. The result is too much sugar in the blood, and that leads to a whole host of other problems. When a person has diabetes, any other ailment or non-optimum condition can be made worse. Here are some of the more common conditions so affected.

Flu and Related Complications

When your body becomes ill, or you contract an infection, glucose levels rise in response to counter the illness. A non-diabetic’s body produces more insulin in response to these raised glucose levels. A diabetic, on the other hand, is unable to produce insulin to counter the raised glucose levels. Blood sugar levels then rise. This impaired ability to fight illness can make having the flu much more serious and could require hospitalization or result in death.

Skin Conditions

Some skin infections are intensified by diabetes. Bacteria or fungus thrive in a sugary environment, so any infection will be harder to treat due to this factor.

Insulin shots can cause problems with the skin at injection sites. Hypertrophy occurs from using the same site for insulin injection repeatedly. Atrophy is a condition where an indention is created at the injection site due to fatty tissue loss, which can negatively affect how the body absorbs insulin.

Allergies to the adhesive that secures insulin pumps to the skin or reactions to specific types of insulin are another source of skin conditions made worse by diabetes. Itching, swelling or much more severe symptoms can occur.

Eye Complications with Diabetes

Individuals with diabetes are at a greater risk of eye and vision problems than people who do not have it. Glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy are the main areas of concern, and avoiding blindness is a primary focus for diabetics.

Kidneys

Your kidneys have the job of getting rid of waste produced in the body and maintaining a proper balance of fluids throughout the body. Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys. The result is more damage and stress to the kidneys, reducing their ability to filter waste and regulate fluids. If kidney disease or damage is extreme, the result can be kidney failure.

Drinking Soda and Your Risk for Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 29.1 people in the USA with diabetes, or 9.3% of the population, and estimates that 8.1 million people have the disease but have not yet been diagnosed. A recent study of European adults revealed a significantly increased risk of diabetes for those who drink sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda, the L.A. Times reports. The research study evaluated the habits of more than 25,000 people in England, and raised a red flag regarding preventing diabetes and the dangers of drinking sodas as well as other sugar-sweetened drinks.

Drinking soda is a habit many people develop in their younger years, which continues into adulthood. Others may switch to milk and coffee sugar-sweetened drinks, which the study showed had an even higher risk. The added calories and sugar to a daily diet, in the study results, showed an increase of new cases of type 2 diabetes by 18%.

For those who have concerns about developing diabetes or other dangerous health conditions, monitoring your sugar intake is an important point. Watching the amount of sugar consumed daily appears to be a factor in avoiding developing diabetes.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the level of sugar intake per day to 100 calories from sugar for women (6 teaspoons) and 150 calories from sugar (9 teaspoons) for men. One soda contains 132.5 sugar calories per serving – beyond the recommended limit for women and almost reaching it for men. When you add in any other sugar consumption, such as hidden sugars in many products such as cereal, bagels, yogurt and countless other foods, most Americans who are unaware of the risks are consuming far greater levels of sugar-based calories, and putting themselves at risk of developing diabetes, as well as other diseases.

Many people developed bad eating habits at an early age. Cravings for sugar can indicate that your body has a deficiency, according to The Daily Mail. For example, this source reports that craving chocolate could indicate that you have a magnesium deficiency, which could be solved by eating nuts, wholegrain breads and leafy greens. Craving sugar treats could mean you are deficient in chromium. Chromium is a mineral that works in conjunction with insulin in moving glucose from the blood into the cells. Eating or drinking sugar-laden foods make matters worse, as the body then produces even more insulin, with a “sugar-crash” occurring shortly thereafter. Chromium-rich foods include beef, chicken, carrots, broccoli, whole grains and eggs, among other healthy food choices. Train yourself to reach for something else if you find yourself craving soda or other sweet treat that could have a very negative impact on your health. Listen to your body – it is talking to you, and all you need to do is how to respond with the right foods so you don’t compromise your health.

The Correlation Between Diabetes And Exercise

Diabetes currently affects 29.1 million Americans. It is a disease which affects a person’s overall health and lifestyle. At the same time, a person suffering from diabetes can change their lifestyle, and take measures to improve their health and well-being. Exercise is one of those effective measures.

Diabetes: The Basics

When working properly, the human body derives its energy from food. In simple terms, this is done by converting glucose (blood sugar) into useable energy. The conversion is dependent upon insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas gland.

With diabetes, the body either no longer produces the needed insulin, or does not produce adequate amounts to properly maintain the blood glucose levels.

Type I Diabetes (Insulin Dependent Diabetes) requires daily insulin injections to maintain the blood sugar level.

The condition in which the body continues to produce insulin but cannot use it effectively is identified as insulin resistance. The body cells cannot properly absorb the glucose, and blood glucose level builds-up. This can lead to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, or Non-Insulin Dependent diabetes, is the condition in which the body continues to produce some insulin, but not adequate to sustaining the optimum blood sugar level.

Obesity, overweight, poor diet, high blood pressure and insufficient exercise have been identified as risk factors in the development of Type2 diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), exercise is an important part of managing diabetes.

Exercise and Diabetes

The first step in implementing an exercise program is to consult with your healthcare provider. You want to ensure the exercise program you have chosen is one that is safe for you. With that in place, the benefits derived from the correlation between exercise and diabetes can be experienced.

The NIH identifies the following ways in which exercise can help in managing diabetes:

  • Helps in managing weight
  • Can help lower blood sugar level without medication
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of stress

The NIH suggests that a person may not see improvement in their health until he or she has been exercising for several months.

It is recommended that a person begin their exercise program with walking, starting with 5 to 10 minutes daily. This is especially important with individuals who are out-of-shape.

Fast walking is recommended, working-up to 30 to 45 minutes daily, for a minimum of 5 days per week. For those needing to lose weight, more exercise may be needed. Some may prefer participating in exercise classes, swimming, water aerobics or cycling rather than fast walking.

The NIH suggests some taking some safety precautions when exercising:

  • Inform exercise coaches or and partners that you have diabetes.
  • Wear a necklace or bracelet identifying you as a diabetic.
  • Carry emergency contact information and phone numbers on your person.

The NIH further recommends maintaining an exercise schedule to include exercising the same time each day at a consistent level for the same length of time. This facilitates control of the blood sugar level. It is also important to maintain adequate water consumption before, during and after exercise.

The benefits of exercising are many. An overall healthier lifestyle, reduced stress, reduced risk of heart disease, a more optimum body weight, and lowered blood cholesterol level are benefits over and above helping maintain blood glucose levels in the management of diabetes.