Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Truth About Sugar – was it useful for people living with diabetes?

fiona phillipsSo, did you see The Truth About Sugar on BBC 1 last night at 9pm?

If you did watch, and you’ve been following RebalanceDiabetes closely, you’ll have recognised a lot of the messages! So much of what I have shared with you via FaceBook, Twitter, in newsletters and in this blog over the past 2 years was covered in the programme. It was great to see those messages finally being addressed on TV. There was one huge message, however, that I whole-heartedly disagree with – but I’ll come on to that!

The way in which the messages were covered was simple, straightforward, and graphic. Some of the experiments they used to illustrate the points brought them home powerfully, I thought.

Here are some of the useful facts to keep reminding yourself of:

  • Sugar leads to body fat – quickly AND easily!
  • Sugar leads to disease!
  • There are huge quantities of sugar hidden in processed foods – even savory dishes.
  • The food industry go to great lengths to work out exactly how much sugar will make you eat more of their products – regardless of it’s effect on your health!
  • More onus should be put on the food industry to make it clear how much sugar is hidden in their products! Never mind the food industry representative saying everyone knows that a gram means – actually I don’t believe they do! I think everyone understands what a teaspoon of sugar looks like though!
  • The ONLY way to know what’s in your food is to cook it yourself and from scratch.
  • The sugars we drink cause us to eat more because they interfere with your hunger mechanism, and your body can’t tell you to stop taking in calories.
  • Drinking fruit juices means you take in massively more sugar than eating whole fruits. What I would add here though is that fruit contains the same type of sugar, and it’s just as harmful, as in juices, so fruit consumption shouldn’t be unlimited! 

So here’s the point I absolutely disagree with: Sadly The Truth About Sugar promoted the idea of artificial sweeteners. NO! There is enough research to show that artificial sweeteners still cause problems. Some of the articles I’ve shared with you over the months show that people are actually MORE likely to be obese using artificially-sweetened drinks compared with the full-sugar varieties. And research has shown that artificial sweeteners disrupt insulin – making them just as dangerous for people living with diabetes. Switching to artificial sweeteners is the one message I would love you to ignore from last night’s programme.

Otherwise, The Truth About Sugar gets my thumbs up, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode!

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The first principle of healthy eating for diabetes

There has been so much in the press and news recently about healthy eating / weight loss: the most effective diets, the healthiest things to eat and the best things to avoid. It strikes me that what applies to non-diabetics isn’t always the wisest advice for people with diabetes, and actually people with diabetes have a more tenuous path to walk to achieve both weight loss and good health. I’m not talking about out-there whacky fad diets here. There’s some quite mainstream, some might say “sensible”, advice that doesn’t quite hit the mark for people with blood sugar issues.

I suppose the thing that got me thinking was a strap-line in an article in The Times recently. It read: “The debate over fat and carbs obscures the truth that consuming fewer calories than we burn is the only way to slim“.

Well the truth is, that the debate about fat and carbs is crucial for people with diabetes, and it matters very much what form of calories you consume. The reason being of course that what the calories are made from has a huge impact on their effect on blood sugar levels. The difference between carbs and fats or indeed proteins is vast in terms of their effect on blood sugar.

But it isn’t just the number or nature of your daily calories that impact on blood sugar. The timing and size of meals is also a key factor in keeping your blood sugars balanced. Just these 2 factors could be the difference between burning body fat or storing more of it!

The two diagrams below illustrate what might happen if you eat fewer larger meals compared with smaller more frequent meals. Though they may involve the same actual foods overall, you can clearly see the different effects timings and meal sizes would have on your body.

InsulinGraph

InsulinGraph2

Blood sugar balance is one of four major principles underpinning the RebalanceDiabetes programme. I explain all of them in the FREE RebalanceDiabetes seminars that I hold each month. I would love to explain the other 3 to you in person and if that sounds good to you too why not book your place at the next event on Monday 23 March – here’s the link.

See you there?