Health Points: Friday

Just when you think that you've got it down, under control, and you know what's up... it throws you for a loop. The other day, I went to work with large ketones in my urine. I could not get my blood sugar down under 175 (which was my lowest BG that day) and I took more insulin than I ever have since going on the pump. What was causing this mess?

Not the pump. It had been fine for the past two days. There were no air bubbles I could see. Maybe all the carbs? It's my birthday week and I have not been setting the standard for a diabetic diet in any way. Cake, gelato, cookies, beans and rice- lots of beans and rice. Maybe its catching up? No, because I eat that stuff all the time and have had no problems. Maybe not in those quantities, but I certainly do take the right amount of insulin for it.

Could it have been that the insulin went bad? It has been hot. It was the day before I changed my site. I took a whole lot of insulin for the food I ate, and even more to compensate for that when my BG went through the roof. I bet that was the case. After I changed my site, my blood sugar went down to normal levels. Imagine that!
Heart attacks often go unrecognized, although experts disagree on just how often. One recent study suggested that 43 percent of attacks -- more than four in 10 -- may go undetected when they occur, and more often in women than men. While other experts say that estimate is too high, they concede that unrecognized attacks are a problem.

On one point all agree: Both women and men need to know the warning signs of a heart attack and to seek immediate help if they suspect one. The worst that can happen if you're wrong? You'll be sent home from the emergency room, secure in the knowledge it was a false alarm.
These bars contain no oil and no sugar; they get their sweetness from dried fruit. They are also chock full of walnuts, which contain lots of those fabulous omega-3 fatty acids. These bars are wheat and soy-free -- great for those with allergy concerns.
The government is too strapped to handle congressional legislation that would strip state-ordered warnings from food labels, a former Food and Drug Administration official said Thursday.

The food industry wants Congress to prevent states from adding food warnings that go beyond federal law, affecting laws about milk safety in Massachusetts, Michigan and Nebraska and warnings about allergy-causing sulfites in Connecticut, Michigan and Virginia.

States would be allowed to petition the FDA to keep the warnings. But the agency is plagued by backlogs and staffing shortages, said William Hubbard, a former associate commissioner who retired last year.

Treating Diabetes: Scientists Warming To Plant-Based Diet

Dr. Fuhrman advocates a plant-based diet because it is the most optimal diet-style for diabetes reversal, weight-loss, and the prevention of heart disease. Sally Squires of The Washington Post explains many scientists are beginning to acknowledge its superior advantages as well:
People with Type 2 diabetes are advised to limit carbohydrates because of worries that too many carbs could overtax the body's dwindling insulin production and lessen its ability to process glucose.

Now some scientists are asking if a very-low-fat diet rich in healthy carbohydrates—whole grains, beans, fruit and vegetables—might be another option.
This prompted scientists to conduct a study comparing the standard dietary advice from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the vegetable-based diet-style of Dr. Dean Ornish:
The four-month trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health, studied 99 people with Type 2 diabetes. Half were asked to follow the standard dietary advice from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The other half were asked to adhere to a very strict, low-fat vegan diet devoid of meat, fish, eggs, dairy or any other animal products.

Both groups improved blood sugar control and LDL cholesterol levels. Both lost weight, but the vegan group shed an average of 15 pounds, compared with six for the ADA group. As in the Ornish study, the vegan group showed no harmful changes in either HDL or triglyceride levels.
The results of the study demonstrate the overall efficiency and effectiveness of a “vegan” or a plant-based diet. Additionally 20 percent of participants following the vegetable-based diet for a year were able to cut or eliminate their insulin and other glucose-lowering medication.

Squires concludes her report with these three recommendations for those trying to overcome diabetes through diet:
Eat more plant-based foods. The more variety, the better. Groups that recommend eating more beans, vegetables (without added fat), fruit (sans added sugar) and whole grains include the American Heart Association, the National Cancer Institute, the Institute of Medicine, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Easy on the fat. Gram for gram, fat contains more than twice the calories of protein or carbs. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Whatever fat you eat, make it healthy. Skip saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol found in whole milk dairy products, fatty meat and poultry with the skin. Reach instead for fish, healthy oil such as canola or olive oil, healthy margarine, nuts, avocados and seeds.

Get plenty of exercise.
The Diabetes Prevention Program—a large federally funded study of people who were just a step shy of developing diabetes—found that brisk daily exercise (yes, walking is fine) played an important part in preventing diabetes. The study found 30 minutes daily was required, but that can be broken into 10-minute increments.

Children and Obesity-Related Diabetes

According to The Seattle Times a new study claims children with Type 2 diabetes are at a much higher risk of kidney failure and death at middle age. Lindsey Tanner reports:
The research also lends support to warnings that diabetes and other obesity-related ills are on the verge of shortening the average life span in the United States.

The study involved Pima Indians in Arizona, who have disproportionately high rates of diabetes and obesity. They may be "the tip of the iceberg, letting us know what's in the future for the rest of America if we don't do something about the childhood obesity epidemic," said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital Boston. He was not involved in the research.
The results of the study are grim:
It involved a group of Indians whom National Institutes of Health researchers have been tracking since 1965. Of the 1,865 participants with type 2 diabetes, 96 developed it in childhood. The average age of youth-onset diabetes was about 17 years, although the disease was diagnosed in children as young as 3 ½.

During at least 15 years of follow-up, 16 percent of those with childhood-onset type 2 diabetes developed end-stage kidney failure or died from diabetic kidney disease by age 55. That compared with 8 percent of those who developed diabetes after age 20.

The researchers calculated that the incidence of end-stage kidney failure and death by age 55 was nearly five times higher in people who developed type 2 diabetes before age 20 than in those who developed diabetes in adulthood.
Remember children don’t have to suffer this fate, Dr. Fuhrman’s vegetable-based diet-style and approach to nutrition is instrumental in protecting against or reversing diseases like Type 2 diabetes. Take a look at this post for more: Don’t Settle For Diabetes
The best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat to Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature’s perfect foods—-green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.

Health Points: Friday

Surgery to replace damaged knees and hips with artificial joints has become so common among active baby boomers that it almost seems like a badge of honor. But evidence is growing that it's not only skiers and joggers fueling the explosion of operations, but obese Americans.

Some hospitals estimate that half to two-thirds of their patients having joint-replacement surgery are overweight or obese, and these patients are posing added challenges for medical teams.
I don't know what the current statistics are, but those dealing with a chronic condition such as diabetes are more likely to experience clinical depression. It's something like two to four times more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression than the average population.

I would venture to guess that this would be true for nearly any chronic condition.

But maybe diabetes is a bit different in this respect - it is said that we are in control of how things turn out. If we do "good" and follow the "rules", we shouldn't have many problems. On the other hand, if we do "bad", disregard the "rules", we are destined to live a life full of "self imposed" complications. We all know it's not quite that simple, but that is often how the medical community makes it seem.
In the first comprehensive review of food marketing to children on the Web, the research found 85% of leading brands that target kids in TV ads also have games and other material on the Internet. The sites promote snacks, cereal, fast food, sugary drinks and candy.

More than 500 "advergames" such as Hershey's Syrup Squirt, LifeSavers Boardwalk Bowling and M&Ms Trivia Game were offered on 77 websites.

Many sites have special features. has a jingle contest for songs about Oreo cookies; McDonald's has pages for kids to color;, which promotes the Quaker Oats cereal, offers screensavers.

Research Suggest a Diabetes-Alzheimer's Link

Denise Grady of The New York Times reports new studies suggest diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Grady this is a daunting prospect:
The connection raises an ominous prospect: that increases in diabetes, a major concern in the United States and worldwide, may worsen the rising toll from Alzheimer’s. The findings also add dementia to the cloud of threats that already hang over people with diabetes, including heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, blindness and amputations.
Grady explains there are a number of ways diabetes detrimentally affects brain function:
Not everyone with diabetes gets Alzheimer’s, and not all Alzheimer’s patients are diabetic. But in the past decade, several large studies have found that compared with healthy people of the same age and sex, those with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The reason is not known, but researchers initially suspected that cardiovascular problems caused by diabetes might contribute to dementia by blocking blood flow to the brain or causing strokes.

More recently, though, scientists have begun to think that the diseases are connected in other ways as well. In both, destructive deposits of amyloid, a type of protein, build up: in the brain in Alzheimer’s, in the pancreas in Type 2 diabetes.

People with Type 2 often have a condition called insulin resistance, in which their cells cannot properly use insulin, the hormone needed to help glucose leave the blood and enter cells that need it. To compensate, the pancreas makes extra insulin, which can reach high levels in the blood. Too much insulin may lead to inflammation, which can contribute to damage in the brain.

In addition, abnormalities in glucose metabolism and insulin levels in the brain itself may be harmful. Some research has found that too much insulin in the brain can contribute to amyloid buildup. Researchers have even suggested that Alzheimer’s disease may actually be “Type 3 diabetes,” a form of the disease affecting the nervous system.
Dr. Rachel A. Whitmer of the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California believes this link does not bode well for our future:
“With the whole diabetes epidemic we’re seeing much more Type 2, so are we going to see even more Alzheimer’s than we thought we would see? If we continue in this direction, it’s a little bit frightening.”

Eating to Age Rapidly and Die Prematurely

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Cholesterol Protection For Life:

Certain foods lead to superior health and other foods lead to ill health. It is impossible to earn excellent health while consuming disease-causing foods. One cannot escape from the biological laws of cause and effect. It is impossible to eat the American diet without the eventual development of a serious disease. Autopsy studies on adult Americans who die in car accidents show over 95% have atherosclerotic heart disease. The only reason why more than 50% do not die of heart attacks and strokes is that cancer or some other illness gets them first.

Heart disease and strokes kill over half of all Americans.

If you eat the typical American diet, you will likely die of typical American diseases. In the typical American diet 40% of calories come from animal foods such as dairy, meat, eggs, and chicken, and 50% of calories come from processed foods such as pasta, bread, soda, oils, sugar, puffed cereals, pretzels, and other adulterated products. Cancer and heart disease is the consequence.

Americans consume only about 7% of their calories from unrefined plant foods defined as fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, and whole grains. These unrefined plant foods are rich in fiber and anti-cancer nutrients, yet Americans eat very little of these nourishing foods.

Refined grain products, such as white bread, pasta, bagels, white rice, most breakfast cereals, and other denatured and processed grains are almost as nutrient-deficient as sugar. The nutritional value of these “foods” falls very low on the scale compared to healthful foods.

In a six-year study of 65,000 women, the women with diets high in refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and pasta had two-and-a-half times the incidence of Type II diabetes, compared with those who ate high-fiber foods, such as vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, and fresh fruit.

Diabetes is not a lightweight problem; it is the fourth leading cause of death by disease in America, and the number of people developing diabetes is soaring. White flour, other refined grains such as sweetened breakfast cereals, soft drinks, other sweets, and even fruit juices are weight promoting and not only lead to diabetes, but can raise triglycerides and cholesterol levels, increasing heart-attack risk.

Every time you eat processed foods you not only exclude the important known nutrients from your diet, but also hundreds of other undiscovered phytonutrients that are essential for normal, human function. For instance, it is the outer portion of the wheat kernel (the part that is removed when white flour is made) that contains trace minerals, phytoestrogens, lignins, phytic acid, indoles, phenolic compounds and other phytochemicals, as well as all of the vitamin E. It is the diversity of micronutrients, both known and unknown, that are necessary to ward off cancer.

Additionally, when we eat baked goods, cold breakfast cereals, pretzels, and other snack foods, we are getting heart-disease-promoting trans fats and a high dose of acrylamides. Acrylamides are toxic, cancer-promoting compounds produced when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures. Chips, pretzels, cold breakfast cereals, roasted soy nuts, browned foods, crusted foods, and fried foods contain high levels of these toxic compounds that are formed when carbohydrates are exposed to high dry heat. These harmful compounds are not formed when foods are water cooked, when you steam vegetables or make soups for example.

Refined or processed foods also include salad oil. All oils are 120 calories per tablespoon and nutrient-poor. Oils leave behind the fiber and most of the nutrients that were in the original food. When eating these oils we consume more “empty” or nutrient poor calories, reducing the nutrient density of our dietary intake. Refined oils, such as olive oil, are removed from nature’s protective packaging, rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They may be a big improvement over butter and margarine (containing saturated and trans fats) but they still promote weight gain and therefore are not heart disease favorable.