Friday, March 28, 2008

Diabetic Food Pyramid

If you're diabetic, no one needs to tell you how important it is to eat properly. That's why the American Diabetes Association developed a special diabetic food pyramid, just to help those of us who have special dietetic needs eat more healthfully.

First Step: Portion Control and Timing

What you eat when you have diabetes is critically important, but before you start changing what you eat, address when you eat and how much you eat. Follow these rules.

1. Instead of eating three meals a day, try to eat six small ones, focusing on breakfast. Break your meals into breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, supper, bedtime snack. At the very least, make sure you have breakfast first thing in the morning, within an hour of rising.

2. Eat a mixture of carbs and proteins with every meal. Proteins give you quick energy without shooting up your sugar, and carbs give you slower-acting energy. Eating both stabilizes your insulin level from one meal to the next.

3. Learn what proper portion sizes for a serving are, and especially learn what a 3-ounce portion is. We eat portions that are far too large, and no food pyramid will repair simple overeating. This is especially critical if you follow the six-meals-a-day rule above.

Second Step: Follow The Diabetic Food Pyramid

The largest part of your caloric intake every day should be starches – grains. But you need to watch which carbs you eat. Avoid anything white – potatoes, white bread, white rice, refined sugars. Whole-wheat alternatives are preferable to anything processed. And of course, avoid sweets. This does not mean you can never have sweets, just that they are a special occasion thing and should never be eaten alone. Eat between 6-11 servings of starches every day.

Vegetables are the next critical part of your daily nutrition, between three and five servings daily. Go for fresh vegetables in preference to canned or even frozen, and try to eat a rainbow – orange carrots, purple cabbage, green peppers, red tomatoes. Eat corn and starchy vegetables sparingly, as these are high in carbs. If you must eat canned or frozen veggies, read the package to assure yourself that there's no added sugar.

Fruits should also be eaten frequently, 2 to 4 servings per day. Especially if you don't eat acid vegetables like tomatoes, make sure some of it is citrus. As with vegetables, be sure to eat a rainbow, and try to eat fresh fruit. If you must eat preserved, canned and frozen fruit is always better than fruit juice, and be sure you read the package to avoid added sugar.

Two to three servings of proteins per day – not meat. Fish and poultry are better than red meat and pork, and fish provides omega-3 fatty acids that can help control your cholesterol level, a common problem for diabetics. Legumes – beans and nuts – can be substituted for meat as your protein as well. Beans are especially good, as they provide high-quality protein and plenty of fiber in addition.

Dairy should be limited to 2-3 servings daily. Your serving size is one cup of milk, so a tall glass of milk will do it. Always choose low-fat or nonfat options when you have the choice, and with sweet dairy products read the label to catch added sugars. This goes doubly for yogurts, which are notorious for adding sugar, especially to low-fat yogurt.

Fats and sweets should be avoided as much as possible. You're going to eat them, but limit yourself – a tablespoon of butter a day, or olive oil to fry your fish. As much as you possibly can, incorporate your sweets as part of your regular diet. Ice cream can provide a portion of your dairy needs, for instance. Never eat sweets by themselves; try, instead, to eat proteins whenever you eat sweet food.

Ways To Treat Diabetes With Natural Cures

Diabetes is not a disease per se. It can be more aptly called a “lifestyle disorder” and can seriously hamper a person’s life. Fortunately there are many ways to treat diabetes with natural cures. Diabetes is not an infectious or cancerous disease; it is caused purely due to the bad choices made in lifestyle and eating habits. Antibiotics and allopathic medicines have a lot of side effects and can do more harm than good. So, the next obvious choice is to find ways to treat diabetes with natural cures.

Here are some of the common ways to treat diabetes with natural cures.

Avoid binging on fast food

Fast food is just high in carbohydrates and fats. It has no nutrient value. When a person indulges in fast food, his blood sugar level increases and causes spikes in the insulin level. In fact one study reports that absolutely normal people can develop diabetes if they eat fast food every other day! Hence even if you are a diabetic or not, one sure way to keep diabetes in check or not have it at all is to avoid fast food like plague!

Say no to fizzy drinks!
There is general misconception that sodas don’t make you fat. However, ask any doctor and he will tell you that sodas not only make you fat but also spike up your blood sugar level! So, if you are a diabetic, avoid soda in any form, shape or size!

The French are the healthiest people in the world! Why? Well, one of the reasons is that they use a lot of vinegar in their meals. Studies have proven that sprinkling vinegar on salads or just taking a neat dose can greatly reduce the blood sugar or insulin spikes after a meal. So, partaking of vinegar is also a great way to treat diabetes naturally.

Recent researches have shown that grapefruit can actually help in weight loss. Diabetes is a disease that normally is caused due to obesity. Hence grapefruit can greatly help in treating diabetes naturally.


Cinnamon is another lip-smacking way to treat diabetes naturally. Cinnamon is known to substitute insulin and can help in treating the disease without any side effects.

Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd is another great way to treat diabetes naturally. The juice of this vegetable not only helps in treating diabetes but also keeps your complexion radiant and free from pimples.

Fenugreek seeds
One of the most effective ways to treat diabetes naturally is to eat soaked fenugreek seeds and drink the water that they were soaked in. It’s a great way to reduce blood sugar.

There are many other ways to treat diabetes with natural cures. Fruits like Almonds, papaya, apples, oranges are great in antioxidants. These foods help in controlling the blood sugar and insulin spikes. They also keep you fresh and young. Diabetes can also be cured naturally by having substances high in omega three fatty acids such as olive oil, flax seed oil and borage oil.
Diabetes is nothing but a modern day lifestyle disorder. This occurs with excessive intake of processed food, sedentary habits and lack of physical exercise and stress. The only way to treat diabetes successfully is to treat it with natural cures. That means eat natural food, exercise well and be happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alcohol and Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not properly use or produce insulin. The cause of this disease is still a mystery that affects over 20 million people in the United States. It is estimated that over 6 million individuals are not aware they have diabetes.

Mixing alcohol and diabetes can be risky business. It is hard enough for diabetics to control their diets during intake of alcohol. They not only have to pay attention to what they eat, but how much they eat. But it is only through proper diet and planning careful meals that diabetics can gain control of the disease and regulate it in order to live healthier, longer lives.

Drinking too much alcohol makes it very difficult for the body of a diabetic to maintain the proper blood sugar levels in their system. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood stream without fully metabolized in the stomach. It can take a normal person about two hours to metabolize one average alcoholic drink. But when a person that is diabetic drinks alcohol, they are at risk of developing low blood sugar very quickly. People with diabetes that drink alcohol will always be putting themselves at risk of developing low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is what causes diabetics to having reactions.

When alcohol is consumed, the liver focuses all it's attention to clear the alcohol from out of the body. This means that the liver does not have time to provide the glucose the body needs, leading to low blood sugar, a diabetic's nightmare. When a diabetic has been consuming alcohol, even a shot of Glucagon will be ineffective in raising the low blood sugar because the alcohol will stop the Glucagon from working.

After everything is said and done, this does not necessarily mean that a person who has diabetes should never consume alcohol. This is something that needs to be discussed with a doctor. People who suffer from type II diabetes are better candidates for having an occasional drink. There are even some documents in medical journals that discuss how women with type II diabetes can lower risks of complications associated with the disease by consuming alcohol in moderation. The alcohol's effects can decrease insulin resistance only when the alcohol consumed is a couple of drinks per day. If, after checking with your doctor and if your doctor says you can drink alcohol on occasion, then use some commonsense guidelines when drinking alcohol.

Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Eating some food before drinking helps the alcohol to metabolize faster, so your blood sugar level has a better chance of not falling. Drink light beer instead of the regular variety. When consuming mixed drinks, stay with the sugar free mixes. When drinking wine, stay with the dry wines. Always drink in moderation. If you do not, then you are putting yourself at risk with your diabetes. Anymore than a couple of drinks can cause your blood sugar to begin falling too low.

Overall, diabetes is the silent killer. It would be much safer to not drink at all. If you do consult with your doctor and it is alright to have a couple of drinks on occasion, then ensure you only do drink in moderation for your own health's sake.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Medical Insurance for Diabetics

While health insurance is important for everyone, it is extremely important to have medical insurance for diabetics. With regular visits to the doctor, lab tests, blood testing strips and medications, diabetics have constant costs related to their disease. These measures are important to keep the disease under control. Besides keeping the disease under control, diabetics are at risk for complications arising.Unfortunately for diabetics and others with chronic conditions, in most states, insurance companies can screen applicants and turn down those with pre-existing conditions. This happens frequently with diabetics.

An alternative way to get medical insurance for diabetics is to get on a group insurance plan through work if one is available. These group plans must accept people with pre-existing conditions.

If there is no group plan available at work, all is not lost, however. Some professions can buy into group plans. If you work in real estate, information technology or construction, you have an opportunity to buy into a group plan through those industries.

There are also limited benefit plans available to diabetics younger than 65 years of age. Shop around to find the best plan you can, as these mini plans vary greatly. Another option for medical insurance for diabetics might be to purchase critical illness insurance. Ask the insurance salesmen in your area… most will work with at least a few carriers who have some plans available that will cover diabetics. Be sure you are up front about any health problems you have… it won't help you to be accepted for coverage only to have it canceled because you lied or omitted something in your health history.

Even if you are accepted, there will probably be a waiting period since diabetes is a pre-existing condition. While this seems to be very unfair, it is alas, common practice. If all else fails, there may be state programs that you can use to get medical coverage. The government needs to know the insurance industry is failing to provide for a large portion of the population… 7% of the population are afflicted with diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association did a study of 850 people spread across all 50 states. They discovered that these people had difficulty getting and keeping affordable health insurance because of their diabetes. They discovered that insurance companies consider diabetics "uninsurable," when in reality, they just don't want to incur the cost of paying for the needs of diabetics.Medical insurance for diabetics is difficult to get, and may be difficult to maintain. But don't give up hope. You may get some relief on costs by using a free or low-cost clinic in the meantime. A lot of doctors who work at clinics like this are very caring, and are doing it because they truly want to help people. If you find after an extensive search that you cannot find any medical insurance for diabetics, contact your congressman. They may be able to help by pulling a few strings or making the issue an embarrassment to the insurance companies, in which case, it could benefit many diabetics besides you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Diabetic Foot Natural Treatment

For people suffering with diabetes, one of the major concerns of both patients and doctors is foot problems. Leg and foot problems are quite common in diabetics, as the extremities have poor circulation and diabetes complicates this fact greatly. There is good news, however, as there are some simple tips and tricks that can greatly improve the circulation in the legs and feet, and a number of good ways to help heal the feet after an injury or an ulcer.

As with all things in life, the best medicine is prevention. Simple things such as examining your feet regularly and applying moisturizer daily can go a long way in ensuring that your feet stay healthy. Keeping obstacles cleared up and moving things that you might bump your feet on can prevent a large number of problems. Keeping your toenails trimmed using safety nail clippers can also prevent injuries and infections from occurring. Smoking is known to cause loss of circulation in all people, so it is especially important for diabetics who smoke to seriously consider quitting. Because the blood vessels in the legs and feet are so small and so distant from the heart, they are the first to be affected by diminishing circulation. When it is possible, diabetics should try to exercise, as this improves both circulation and blood sugar levels. Wearing cotton or wool socks, or if you can, purchasing diabetic socks will help prevent a lot of foot ailments common in people with diabetes. These socks, with special emphasis on the diabetic socks, have extra padding, which prevents injuries and blisters from occurring. They also help keep the feet dry, which greatly reduces the risk of infection.

If you have developed a foot ulcer, it is essential that you take the best possible care of it, as if it is improperly treated, it can cause complications such as gangrene, and in some cases may result in the amputation of part or all of the foot. The two biggest concerns with foot ulcers in diabetics are keeping it clean and removing dead tissue. The doctor may have to help you in removing the dead tissue, but you will be able to clean it properly from home. Be sure to clean it frequently and thoroughly and to only walk on it when it is absolutely necessary, as walking on the affected foot will greatly delay healing. As with any foot injury, be sure to inform your doctor of the ulcer as soon as you notice it, and to inspect it frequently for changes and for signs that it is not healing properly. You may also want to talk to your doctor about medicines and remedies for treating the ulcer naturally. For example, recent studies have shown great success in speeding up the healing of diabetic foot ulcers using a vitamin A compound. If your doctor is unfamiliar with the studies, he or she will be able to look into them relatively easily to determine if they will be right for you.

In summary, there are a number of natural ways to help diabetics care for their feet. Prevention is always going to be the best method, but there are treatments that can be done at home as well. Always seek the advice of your doctor before treating foot injuries, and be sure to always examine your feet daily and keep your doctor aware of any changes.

Healthy Foods for Type 2 Diabetics

If you have type 2 diabetes, no doubt you know it is a serious disease that needs treatment. In addition to medications your doctor may want you to take, one of the most important things you can do as a type 2 diabetic is to follow a proper diet.

For most people, type 2 diabetes occurs because of a combination of lack of exercise and the wrong diet. The wrong diet can include too much food in general and too many calories consumed, but in particular, foods consumed that are high on the glycemic scale are of great concern. With type 2 diabetes, the body becomes unresponsive to its own insulin, which means the insulin does not work as efficiently as it once did and large amounts are needed to keep blood sugar levels down.

In addition to exercise and medications, diet must be adjusted to help keep blood sugar levels even. The most important foods to consider with type 2 diabetes are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates come in two basic forms. The first, refined carbohydrates, is a type of carbohydrate that causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. The second, complex carbohydrates burn much more slowly and keep blood sugar levels much more even.

One way to determine what types of foods should go into your diet if you're a type 2 diabetic is to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index. This means that these foods will cause less of a spike in blood sugar after a meal than those that have a high glycemic index. Among foods low on the glycemic index are most vegetables, beans and legumes. These are a healthy part of the diet not only because they digest slowly and keep blood sugar levels even, but they are very nutritious and also contain significant amounts of fiber, which can also help keep blood sugar levels even. These foods can also reduce certain types of cancer and other diseases.

If you're a type 2 diabetic, it's also likely that you have an unhealthy lipid profile. This means that the wrong types of fats are too high in your system, while the right types of fats are too low in your system. If you have too much of the wrong types of fats, you can have an increased risk of heart disease and circulation difficulties. By choosing healthy fats in moderation, such as the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and certain kinds of nuts, you will help improve your lipid profile and therefore help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, among other diseases.

In addition, avoid drinking alcohol; if you must, do so only very occasionally. Alcohol is a two-pronged evil when it comes to type 2 diabetes. First, it can affect your blood lipid profile negatively. Second, alcohol is a refined carbohydrate and can raise blood sugar levels significantly. If you must drink alcohol, do so very occasionally and eat healthy foods along with it when you do so, to slow down absorption rate.

Finally, minimize or eliminate refined sugars in your diet. There are many healthy sweeteners out there that can provide the sweetness you need without raising blood sugar levels at all. Again, if you must eat sweets, do so very occasionally and only with the express permission of your doctor.

Follow your doctor's orders, eat right and exercise, and it may be that you can bring your type 2 diabetes under control completely, so that you no longer have this problem.