5 Cookbooks Every Diabetic Should Check Out

Food, insulin, and blood glucose levels are intricately intertwined in the body. But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that healthy foods will benefit any individual living with diabetes.

Which foods are healthiest for diabetics? How can you make diabetic-friendly meals and stay within your budget? Look to these five diabetic cookbooks to find a wealth of information on diabetes and the recipes you need to keep your blood sugar under control.

The Glycemic-Load Diet: A Powerful New Program for Losing Weight and Reversing Insulin Resistance

Author: Dr. Rob Thompson The Glycemic-Load Diet

If you’re a diabetic, you’ve probably heard about the glycemic index. Essentially, every food with carbohydrates is assigned a number based on how much it raises blood glucose levels. In general, foods with lower numbers are healthier than food with higher numbers. However, as Dr. Rob Thompson points out in this book, there are some flaws in this methodology.

Dr. Thompson uses his book to explain a new concept: glycemic load. He outlines the importance of serving sizes and details how diabetics can use the principles of glycemic load to lose weight. His recipes promote eating whole foods that are quality sources of nutrition: meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and the like.

Betty Crocker’s Diabetes Cookbook: Everyday Meals, Easy as 1-2-3

Authors: Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal, Diane Reader, and Maureen DoranBetty Crocker's Diabetes Cookbook

Coming from the queen bee of cookbooks, this one contains 140 recipes and includes the nutritional breakdown of every dish. The editors have even created a seven-day meal plan using recipes from the cookbook. The recipes are divided into eight sections, featuring everything from breakfast to dessert.

This cookbook also serves as an educational tool. The beginning pages outline the main aspects of diabetes and provide a Q & A page with answers from a dietician. There is also a helpful carbohydrate chart and a glossary of commonly used diabetic terms.

The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook: More than 175 Ultra-Tasty Recipes for Total Health and Weight Loss

Author: Dr. Mark HymanThe Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook

Dr. Mark Hyman is physician and well-respected author who has had seven books hit the #1-spot on the New York Times best sellers list. He’s a strong advocate of functional medicine—a patient-centered, whole-body treatment approach that focuses on the underlying causes of diseases.

In this cookbook, Dr. Hyman focuses on using proper nutrition to reverse diabetes and obesity. Before he lists any recipes, he encourages readers to take a series of quizzes to gauge the severity of their condition. He also provides guidelines for stocking the kitchen and shopping at the grocery store.

Finally, on to the recipes! Dr. Hyman doesn’t use any convenience foods, but instead focuses on a variety of real foods. These recipes are far from traditional “meat and potatoes” meals and many of the recipes take dedicated preparation, but the results are well worth it.

Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes: More than 350 Great-Tasting Recipes for Living Well with Diabetes

Author: Better Homes & Gardens Editors Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes

This diabetic cookbook is easy, straightforward, and a great option for beginners. The recipes utilize ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store. Plus, they feature just the right spices to bring out the natural flavoring of foods without unnecessary added salt, sugar, or fat.

Unlike hardcover or paperback cookbooks, this collection of recipes is put together in a plastic spiral binding that allows the pages to lay flat on the countertop while you cook. Plus, it includes several days of meal plans and seven categories of recipes.

Diabetic Slow Cooker

Author: Diabetic Living Editors Diabetic Slow Cooker

Everyone loves slow cooker meals! They’re a cinch to prepare and the low-and-slow cooking time gives the food a great flavor. This cookbook from Diabetic Living gives diabetics quick tips on how to makeover traditional slow cooker meals and turn them into diabetic-friendly dishes.

There are 150 recipes in this book. You’ll find healthy recipes for chicken wings, meatballs, sandwiches, desserts, and much more. Plus, each recipe page also includes suggested side dishes and nutritional content.

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Exercising with Diabetes: How to Manage Your Insulin

diabetes exercise

The human body uses a complex feedback loop to manage blood sugar. Blood glucose, insulin, the pancreas, the liver, and the cells all play important roles. If you have either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes straightening out each piece of this blood sugar puzzle can be really difficult! To make diabetes management even more challenging, this feedback loop behaves differently when you’re exercising.

Don’t get confused here—exercise is a wonderful thing for diabetics! But, all diabetics need to be aware of the effects that exercise has on their insulin and blood sugar levels. Any type of aerobic activity, from walking to swimming to cycling, will lower blood glucose levels during the exercise and can increase insulin sensitivity for up to 24 hours after you’re done with the activity. Without properly adjusting your insulin dose, exercise may lead to hypoglycemia.

Exercise, Insulin, and Glucose: How They Work Together

No diabetic wants to get into trouble with exercise-induced hypoglycemia and the best way to avoid it is to learn how your body uses glucose when you’re working out. The easiest place to start is in the muscles.

During exercise, your muscles use glucose as fuel. They do have some glucose in storage and that’s the fuel they use first. After the muscular glucose runs out, the pancreas releases the hormone glucagon. This triggers the liver to release glucose into the blood stream and that’s what the muscles will use for extended fuel.

Usually, the body of a diabetic has a difficult time getting glucose into the cells. However, during exercise, the muscle contractions stimulate the cells to easily pull in the glucose they need. Exercise also increases the effectiveness of the insulin in your blood. This is true even when the activity is over. The muscles want to replenish their stores of glucose, so they will continue to pull in extra glucose for hours.

All of these interactions mean that diabetics need to carefully manage their insulin dose and blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise. If you have too much insulin in your bloodstream during exercise, the muscles will pull in too much blood glucose and you’ll become hypoglycemic. However, if you don’t have enough insulin, the glucose cannot get into the muscles and you may become hyperglycemic.

How to Adjust Your Insulin for Exercise

Now that you know what’s going on inside of your body during exercise, what should you do about it? All diabetics should lower their insulin dose before exercising, but the amount of that reduction is different for every individual. In general, you should reduce your insulin dose by one or two units. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • How fit are you?

If you haven’t exercised in a long time, you may be more likely to be hypoglycemic during activity.

  • How long and difficult is your activity?

Long, strenuous workouts are the most likely culprits of hypoglycemia.

  • What time of day is it?

Diabetics who exercise before breakfast usually have a lower chance of becoming hypoglycemic.

  • What are your blood glucose levels before you begin exercising?

If you skip a meal, you are more likely to have low blood sugar during exercise. If you’re blood sugar is above 180 mg/dL, you may not need any insulin adjustments.

Remember, you should check your blood sugar once every hour during exercise. If your level is below 70 mg/dL, stop the activity and take 15-20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. You can recheck your glucose levels after 15 minutes and return to exercising if the levels are within normal range.

Precautions

Remember, we are referring to aerobic, moderate-intensity exercise. If you are participating in particularly strenuous, anaerobic exercises, you will need to make different adjustments to your insulin doses.

It is very important that you speak with your doctor before you begin any new aerobic activities or exercise regimens. He or she can help you properly adjust your insulin dose and instruct you about the exercises that are best suited for your unique circumstances.

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2 Steps to Treating Type 2 Diabetes without Medication

diet and exercise

There’s no denying that diabetes is a nasty disease. It affects the entire body and can lead to devastating complications involving the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and feet.

The worst part about diabetes? It keeps spreading! Experts predict that more than 53 million Americans will have diabetes by 2025. When compared to 2011, that’s an increase of 64 percent.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. In recent years, researchers and doctors from online treatment programs for diabetes in Indians have been paying special attention to the role that obesity plays in this disease. Reports show that being overweight is a critical risk factor and that losing just five to ten percent of total body weight can be extremely effective in treating type 2 diabetes.  Here’s how . . .

Step 1: Nutrition

Following a healthy and balanced diet is a critical part of managing type 2 diabetes. Individuals don’t need to go on a crash diet to have a positive impact on their condition. Most overweight patients can use this formula to calculate their dietary needs:

  • Current weight  x  10  –  500/1000 calories = daily intake

For example, a woman who weighed 300 pounds would regularly need to eat 3000 calories per day to stay at her current weight. If she was interested in losing weight to treat her type 2 diabetes, she would subtract 500 or 1000 calories from that amount. Her initial recommended daily intake would be 2000 to 2500 calories.

In addition to calorie counts, type 2 diabetics should also pay attention to what they are eating. Experts recommend that 45-65 percent of calories come from carbohydrates. Approximately 10-30 percent of calories should come from protein and less than 30 percent should come from fats.

These are some of the best foods for type 2 diabetics:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Low-fat dairy

Step 2: Exercise

When it comes to treating type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Exercise not only helps diabetics lose weight, but it also has a positive impact on insulin levels even if weight stays the same.

Just like eating healthy, starting an exercise routine doesn’t have to be a drastic change. Most diabetics can see great results just by engaging in 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate exercise at least five days per week. Lifting weights and practicing stretching exercises are also beneficial.

Diabetics should try these tips for getting active:

  • Talk to your doctor about exercise recommendations
  • Check blood sugar before and after exercise
  • Exercise with a friend or wear a bracelet that identifies you as a diabetic

With a commitment to a healthy diet and modest exercise, type 2 diabetics can expect to lose one or two pounds per week. This may not seem like much, but even losing a small amount of weight can help lower blood glucose levels and encourage the body to use insulin more effectively.

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Metformin: Top Side Effects of the Popular Diabetes Medication

Metformin Molecular Structure

The prescription medication metformin has been around since the late 1950s, but it wasn’t approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration until 1994. Since that time, it has quickly become one of the most popular treatments for type 2 diabetes. In 2010 alone, there were 48.3 million prescriptions written for the drug.

Metformin is an ideal treatment for type 2 diabetics for several reasons:

  • Lowers the amount of glucose that is absorbed from food
  • Minimizes the amount of glucose produced by the liver
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Does not cause low blood sugar
  • Does not cause weight gain
  • Lowers triglycerides
  • Protects the cardiovascular system
  • Eliminated quickly by the kidneys

With all of these benefits, it’s important to keep in mind that metformin isn’t without its shortfalls. One of the most common side effects is gastrointestinal problems, which includes diarrhea, bloating, gas, and stomach pain. Many patients find that these unpleasant side effects go away as their bodies get used to the medication. One study showed that 20 to 30 percent of patients experience gastrointestinal issues, but only 5 percent of those have to stop taking metformin.

To combat these side effects, doctors will start patients on a low dose—usually 250-500 miligrams per day. Sometimes, they’ll even prescribe an extended-release tablet that is easier on the stomach. Patients can also try taking the medication with food or milk.

Other common, but rarely serious, side effects include:

  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • B12 deficiency

Be sure to speak with your  physician if you think you are experiencing any of these side effects due to your metformin treatment.

Metformin does pose one serious side effect: lactic acidosis. This condition occurs when acid builds up in the blood. Although it is extremely rare, patients with the condition need immediate medical attention. Symptoms usually come on quickly—abdominal pain, diarrhea, fast breathing, muscle pain, weakness, and general discomfort.

Diabetics with any of these criteria are more likely to develop lactic acidosis and should consider an alternative diabetic treatment:

  • Impaired kidney, heart, or liver function
  • Over 80 years old
  • Taking a metformin dosage of more than 2 grams per day

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Diabetes: Control Your Blood Sugars through Smoking Cessation

Control Your Blood Sugars through Smoking Cessation

There are many things that can have serious impact on your overall blood sugars. One of the largest effects on your blood sugar is not actually what you eat, it is what you breathe. Smoking is unhealthy for anyone, even those who don’t currently have any health problems. Even second hand smoke can have the same effects. When it comes to diabetics smoking, the risks can be worse, it can actually cause chronic blood glucose problems until you are able to quit.

Smoking in Relation to Diabetes

Smoking not only puts you at risk for having high blood sugars on a regular basis, but it can also be a major cause for the diabetes diagnosis. Many scientific studies have proven that the chemicals in commercially sold tobacco can increase blood sugar, nicotine being one of the main culprits.

Studies have also shown that after the first puff of each cigarette, your blood sugar shoots up. It returns to normal about 30 minutes after the last puff.

The worst association of smoking and diabetes is that it can also contribute to developing insulin resistance, which means your body will have trouble responding to most conventional methods of treating high blood sugars.

Quitting Smoking for Diabetics

Unfortunately, most products that are sold over the counter are not a good fit for a diabetic who is attempting to quit smoking. This is because the patch, the gum, lozenges, and even the inhaler contain nicotine. When your body is exposed to high doses of nicotine for a prolonged period of time, your blood sugar could become dangerously high.

There are many prescription medications, such as Chantix and Wellbutrin that have provided amazing results for a wide range of people. It is important to talk to your doctor to ensure that you are a good fit for these medications. Certain disorders that are caused by diabetes, or lead to diabetes, are affected by these medications, so not everyone can take them.

Considerations for Quitting

Regardless of what method you use to quit, it is important to carefully monitor your body’s response. Many people tend to eat more and on more regular intervals when they stop smoking. As a diabetic, you have to take special care not to over-eat, and not to eat the wrong types of foods. Eating fruits and vegetables that are low on carbohydrates and processed sugars can help curb the cravings, and still allow you to maintain your blood sugars.

You may have to check your blood sugar more often as you are quitting smoking, especially if you are using snacks to help curb cravings. This is because stress can also increase your blood sugar and can have negative effects. This is why most physicians choose to use Wellbutrin to aid diabetics in their efforts to quit smoking. In clinical studies, this medication has also shown positive effects on reducing the stress level, and counteracting any depression that may be associated with quitting.

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Why Diabetics are at Risk for High Cholesterol

cholesterol.word.cloud

One of the most important things a diabetic can know is how their blood glucose levels can affect the other parts of the body. Even though the body is broken down into various systems, ie cardiac, respiratory, muscles, etc, they all work together and are affected by one another. Any disorder in the body, even if it is technically isolated to one part, can have effects on other systems. For example, someone with a respiratory disorder has trouble bringing in oxygen. This can make the heart work harder to get oxygen to the rest of the body.

Due to the set up of the human body, diabetes can actually cause high cholesterol levels, especially if blood glucose levels are not controlled. The various chemicals (hormones) that are secreted by the pancreas have control over cholesterol levels and blood sugars. Here, we will explain how the pancreas works, and how the effects of diabetes can prevent the body from being able to control your cholesterol levels and vice versa.

The Role of the Pancreas

The association of high cholesterol and diabetes is because the pancreas has the ability to control both in many situations. However, the effects diabetes has on the pancreas can actually prevent the body from properly managing cholesterol.

When you eat, the pancreas secretes several different chemicals. These chemicals are pushed into the digestive system and others into the blood stream to help break down various parts of your meal. This will answer a lot of questions about diabetes, and also make you aware of other problems you could encounter while trying to get your blood glucose levels under control.

The first set of chemicals that are secreted are Trypsin and chymotrypsin, which are essentially fancy names for chemicals that break down the proteins found in meats, beans, cheese, and lentils.

The second chemical that is secreted is Amylase, it is sent to break carbohydrates down into usable energy.

The third chemical that is secreted is Lipase, it is used to break down fats into useable and unusable parts, fatty acids and cholesterol.

The relation that this has to diabetes is due to other hormones that are created in the pancreas, these go straight into the blood stream. Insulin is created and released into the blood stream when the body senses that the blood sugar is too high, and to counteract low blood sugar it releases glucogen.

Diabetics do not create enough insulin in their pancreas to properly manage blood sugar. Damage to the pancreas that is caused by diabetes can also limit the amount of lipase that is produced. This can cause cholesterol to build up faster than it typically would.

The Relation between Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Because the body is focused on trying to create insulin that it cannot, the pancreas does not have all of the intended focus on breaking down fatty acids and cholesterol, which allows more of it to slip into the blood stream through the intestines. This means that diabetics are at a higher risk for developing high cholesterol especially if their blood sugars are not controlled.

Because the body is preoccupied, it doesn’t have time to sort out good cholesterol (HDL) from good cholesterol (LDL).  Studies have shown that people with diabetes have up to a 40% increase in LDL levels which is essentially the basis of high cholesterol.

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4 Ways to Help Your Insulin Work For You

treadmill
When diet and exercise alone cannot control the ups and downs in your blood sugar, insulin may be your only option. Insulin is not a miracle cure, and even though it can help maintain your blood sugars, it is important that you do your best to ensure that your dose stays as low, instead of your doctor needing to increase it on regular intervals. Here are some ways that you can help your insulin work for you.

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits that any diabetic can have. It is not healthy for anyone, but diabetics cans suffer long term because of the effects it has on their bodies.

Studies have shown that your blood sugar can increase by 30% from the first puff of a cigarette. Your blood sugar will not begin to regulate for at least 30 minutes after the last puff. Nicotine has also been linked to diabetics developing insulin resistance, which means that your options for treatment will be dramatically reduced.

2. Eat Right

Studies have shown that one type of diabetic diet does not always work for everyone. The ideal diet for a diabetic is balancing fats, protein, and carbohydrates so that your body can make the best use of what you eat.  At times, the balance may need to be adjusted to ensure that your blood glucose levels stay within normal ranges.

Since the amount of carbohydrate, fat, and protein ratios may change according to your lifestyle, you may need to visit a dietitian to ensure that you are eating right, and balancing your meals and snacks efficiently. Many insurance plans will cover the visit to a dietitian for diabetics, check with your insurance company to find out if they are one of them.

Eating the right foods isn’t always enough. You should always eat at regular intervals throughout the day.  Many times, diabetics find it easier to control their blood sugar when they eat six small meals a day instead of three large meals every day.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is very important to help maintain blood glucose levels. It is very important that you only exercise after meals. Studies have shown that exercising before meals can cause your blood sugar to become very high. Exercising after meals can help you maintain a better blood sugar because you are burning off the carbohydrates as energy, rather than allowing them to sit in your blood stream and raise your glucose level.

4. Lose Weight

Even though it sounds cliché, maintaining a healthy weight is essential to ensuring that your insulin will work. The less fat stores you have in your body, the easier it is for your body to remove glucose. Fat tends to hold in whatever it touches, carbohydrates are no different. This means that even if you are eating right, and following your medication plans, these extra fat stores could be at fault for increasing your blood sugar, sometimes to dangerous levels.

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Am I Metformin Intolerant?

For many newly diagnosed diabetics, their first line of therapy often focuses on diet and exercise alone.  While that will be enough for some, unfortunately for many, the inevitable first step into a pharmaceutical treatment involves a medicine called metformin.  Metformin has been used since 1995 in the United States to treat Type 2 Diabetes and is preferred by most physicians as the standard of care to treat newly diagnosed diabetes because of minimal associated risks.

Metformin helps manage diabetes through three functions:  (1) by decreasing the amount of glucose produced by the liver, (2) by inhibiting the absorption of glucose in the patient’s stomach, and (3) by enhancing the function of insulin.

Why Is My Metformin So Intolerable?   [Read more…]