Monthly Archives: October 2014

Is honey better than sugar for diabetics?

Honeycomb sliceRecent news tells us that honey sales are up. And up. And up. And the driving force for that is the perceived health benefit of honey over sugar.

The problem is that essentially honey IS sugar – with over half the contents of your honey jar being fructose. Whilst that means that it is a slightly lower GI value, and therefore spikes blood sugar marginally less, it is nonetheless still an unnecessary sugar-load in your diet. On top of that it carries more calories than jam. So, sorry to say, it’s hardly a truly ‘healthy’ alternative for spreading on your toast or sweetening your tea.

Also, I’m sorry to say, that the corporate food manufacturers are jumping onto the band wagon – well now that sugar is falling from grace they have to get you addicted to their products with something! In a really cynical move, it is reported, that the makers of Sugar Puffs are going to change the name of the product to Honey Monster Puffs. The stuff in the box is exactly the same as it ever was, so that’s a dead giveaway that sugar and honey are essentially one and the same.

Added sugar, including honey, really has no nutritional benefit. The NHS controversially claims that added sugar can safely make up 10 per cent of a daily calorie intake – which is the equivalent of 50g or 12½ tsp a day for women, and 70g or 17½ tsp a day for men. Thankfully this was exposed by cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra earlier this year. Dr. Malhotra is also science director of Action On Sugar, a body campaigning to reduce levels of sugar in our foods, who said the World Health Organisation recommends limiting all added sugars (including honey) to just six teaspoons a day. That’s not saying that 6 teaspoons is a good idea – it’s the absolute upper limit!

I completely agree with Dr. Malhotra that contrary to what the food industry, and, it seems, the NHS, wants you to believe, the body doesn’t need any carbohydrate from added sugar.

So that’s no nutrient value, more calories, it WILL still spike your blood sugar – clearly NOT the healthy alternative for anyone with diabetes. The news today reports it could even be worse than sugar!

And it’s not just honey we need to look out for in food products. There are over 50 different names for sugars that enable them to be effectively “hidden” in your food. Here’s the list – and see honey is included:

1. Barley malt
2. Barbados sugar
3. Beet sugar
4. Brown sugar
5. Buttered syrup
6. Cane juice
7. Cane sugar
8. Caramel
9. Corn syrup
10. Corn syrup solids
11. Confectioner’s sugar
12. Carob syrup
13. Castor sugar
14. Date sugar
15. Dehydrated cane juice
16. Demerara sugar
17. Dextran
18. Dextrose
19. Diastatic malt
20. Diatase
21. Ethyl maltol
22. Free Flowing Brown Sugars
23. Fructose
24. Fruit juice
25. Fruit juice concentrate
26. Galactose
27. Glucose
28. Glucose solids
29. Golden sugar
30. Golden syrup
31. Grape sugar
32. HFCS (High Frustose Corn Syrup… Very Bad!)
33. Honey
34. Icing sugar
35. Invert sugar
36. Lactose
37. Malt
38. Maltodextrin
39. Maltose
40. Malt syrup
41. Mannitol
42. Maple syrup
43. Molasses
44. Muscovado
45. Panocha
46. Powdered Sugar
47. Raw sugar
48. Refiner’s syrup
49. Rice syrup
50. Sorbitol
51. Sorghum syrup
52. Sucrose
53. Sugar (granulated)
54. Treacle
55. Turbinado sugar
56. Yellow sugar

Shop safely!

Have you heard about resistant starch?

carbsIf you are a pasta/rice/potato lover then there is a glimmer of new hope – if you are happy to eat them cold!

New research suggests that cooking and then cooling these carb types changes the nature of the starches that they contain. And it seems as if that change is for the better – because it transforms the starches into a form that cannot be digested, and therefore doesn’t interfere so much with your blood sugar.

Many of the carbohydrates in our diets are starches – which are simply long chains of glucose. When we cook these starchy foods and eat them straight away our digestive systems break those chains and release glucose into our blood streams rapidly. So rapidly that we may just as well eat sugar! That soft fluffy jacket potato behaves almost like a bag of sweeties – it’s not the ‘healthy’ option it’s cracked up to be – at least not if you are thinking blood sugar balance!

But not all of the starch we eat gets digested – rather it’s resistant to digestion, and it simply passes through the gut and acts like fibre.

What this new research is finding suggests that letting the starchy foods go cold before eating them changes the nature of the starches and makes them more resistant to digestion. Simply put, it never gets digested into glucose, never ends up in our blood stream upsetting our blood sugar balance, and passes directly through the digestive tract into our gut. Once there it feeds the friendly bacteria in our systems, bringing about a whole host of health benefits. Many of these benefits are for the colon itself, but it now seems it also helps to reduce inflammation, and in turn improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose.

BUT BEWARE – testing so far has only been done on animals, and we don’t know yet if has the same effect in humans. So before you rush to cook and cool those grains, potatoes and pastas wait for the human testing, and prepare to like your carbs cold!!

Doing what they said couldn’t and shouldn’t be done!

Modern typography number 1I had a huge cause for celebration one week ago.  I met up with Canon John Rendall who has just had his second 6 month checkup at his GP surgery, a full 12 months since he completed the RebalanceDiabetes programme. You might remember that, at the end of his 13 week programme, John, who has Type 2 diabetes, had lost weight, reduced his HbA1c and withdrawn completely from insulin. Well 12 months later he is still taking no insulin, has kept off all the weight he lost, and, to both our complete delights, has just been told that his HbA1c continues to fall.

I have another huge cause for celebration today. Simon Crack, who completed his RebalanceDiabetes programme about 7 months ago, has also just had his second subsequent 6 month check up at his GP surgery. He called me this afternoon to thank me – his HbA1c has again fallen from the 5.8 it was at the end of his 13 week programme to 5.2. He has also kept off the weight he lost, and is feeling great. His diabetes nurse told him that this is really good news – because any improvement in someone with Type 1 diabetes is “bucking the trend“.

I have another secret (well obviously not so secret now I am sharing it with you!) cause for quiet celebration.  You see a year ago a Senior Diabetes Nurse with whom I shared the details of the RebalanceDiabetes programme wrote to me to say it couldn’t and, in her view, shouldn’t be done. These are her words:

“The nutritional elements of the programme are very detailed. Whilst I have no doubt that this has shown great results in self-funded, motivated and intelligent patients, it will not meet the needs of a lot of potential clients who don’t have the intellectual capacity to process and make use of the information…

I feel strongly that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are very different diseases requiring a distinctly different approach.”

Well today I have some wonderful evidence that the same nutritional programme can work wonderfully well for both Type 1 and Type 2 clients.  I am so happy that I followed the courage of my own convictions that it could and, in my view, should be done!

I don’t know about the “intellectual capacity” of either John or Simon, or indeed anyone else who has followed RebalanceDiabetes in the past year. I don’t test IQs! But I am emboldened to trust my own convictions again – I am not prepared to judge who should or shouldn’t be given access to the information, nor to judge whether “it will not meet the needs of a lot of potential clients who don’t have the intellectual capacity to process and make use of the information“.

I am certain of one thing. If you deny detailed nutritional information to people with diabetes you absolutely deny them the opportunity to make use of it!

Happy Birthday RebalanceDiabetes, and many happy returns!