Tag Archives: carbs

Your Christmas Survival Guide! (Or “How to have the most Merry, Enjoyable, Jolly Christmas ever!!”)

Survival? Seriously? Is that a word we should even associate with Christmas? What about Merry, Enjoyable, Jolly? Well that’s exactly what we’re aiming for! How to have the most Merry, Enjoyable, Jolly Christmas ever!!

Let’s get the reason why we need this guide out of the way from the outset: if you have insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2), you live in a body that doesn’t deal well with sugar. That doesn’t change at Christmas. It isn’t in your best interests to pretend otherwise. Denial doesn’t change the facts – it puts you at risk. The secret to your best ever Christmas is to work with your body, not against it. Here are my 10 Top Tips to ensure a “treat” for you is the right way to treat your body!

  1. Gotta think carbs! Remember it isn’t just sugar itself that’s going to raise your blood sugar. Every bit of carbohydrate you consume will eventually add to your blood glucose levels. Any glucose that you don’t burn off will have to be stored – mainly as body fat. The wrong kind of body fat. Visceral fat. So do a deal with yourself – think about all the carby foods you might consume, and then choose just a couple of favourites to keep in and plan the rest out of your Christmas menu. There are some easy and delicious alternatives to any of the usual Christmas foods. Let’s go…
  2. Make your breakfast as carb-free as possible: you’ll possibly be indulging later, so get off to the best start. Keeping your blood sugars level at breakfast time means you’ll maintain your energy, focus and enjoyment of the rest of your day. Some of the most luxurious breakfast choices fit into this very well: think smoked salmon; scrambled eggs; poached eggs on a bed of spinach with a dollop of Hollandaise on top; kippers; a middle eastern breakfast of feta, hummus, olives, cold meats… You’ve a lot of choice to go at!
  3. Keep bread off your table – even if you’re having a soup starter. Let’s face it, bread has no place in fine dining (ask Giles Coren, food critic, who says “Lay off the bread. Bread is not a first course, it…will ruin your whole damn meal. And make you fat.” Same goes for that Yorkshire pudding by the way!
  4. There’s nothing much to argue about where a good old roast is concerned – except perhaps the amount of starchy root vegetables that find their way to your plate. Those starches will turn to sugar and your blood glucose levels will be affected! Swap out potatoes for sweet potatoes – superb roasted! Then limit carrots, parsnips and beets to just one or two pieces. rebal-ball-2016-38Go mad for the Brussels sprouts though! Cauliflower, broccoli, peas, mangetout all have a place on your festive plate. And spiced braised red cabbage – oh yum!! Just find a recipe that doesn’t call for sugar – or simply miss it out – it isn’t necessary for health or the taste of the dish. Sign up for my latest newsletter to see my favourite festive red cabbage recipe! I served turkey in this way (above) at The Blue Ball in November – it went down a treat. One of the guests rang later to say how great he felt – not sluggish or sleepy the way he normally does after a roast – lively and up for a spot of dad-dancing to boot!!
  5. OK now, pud. There is a ton of natural sugar in anything made with dried fruits, so puddefinitely choose one – or make your own – without added sugar. They’re well worth hunting out, and, again, you won’t be compromising on flavour! The same goes for Christmas cake. Sign up for my latest newsletter to see my no-added-sugar celebration cake recipe!
  6. Serve your (small piece of) pud with cream. Make it a good quality organic cream. Pouring, whipped or clotted according to your personal preference. There’s no added sugar in pure cream, so it makes a better choice compared with a sugary brandy, rum or custard sauce! For the even better option try it with a full-fat no-added-sugar organic natural yoghurt: the sharpness of the yoghurt beautifully compliments the richness of the pudding. If Christmas cake is your chosen treat a small piece of my no-added-sugar celebration cake (see above) with a piece of traditional Wensleydale cheese is the way we do it in Yorkshire!
  7. Get out!! Christmas happens outdoors too! Research has shown that going for a walk after a meal is beneficial. It helps to regulate blood sugars – by burning off some of that free glucose now roaming around your blood stream – and promotes weight loss. All good then! Make a breath of fresh air a part of your day – you’ll find kids out on their new bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skates; people walking their dogs. Maybe that could be you? 30 minutes steady or brisk walking will set you up for the rest of the day – you’ll be awake, alert, full of life for more fun and games.
  8. It’s snack time? Hmmm. Sounds like the opportunity for a carb-fest, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose nuts. Good healthy fats and plenty of protein. A handful of nuts a day has been shown to benefit blood sugar levels and be a good choice for people affected by diabetes. Why not get the ones with shells? Volunteer to be the person in charge of the nutcrackers – you’ll be nibbling rather than scoffing! 
  9. What about the chocolates? We both know you are not expecting me to give you a green light here! Unless you are into 100% chocolate of course! But assuming you are not, then find a way to keep it to just one or two. Instead of the big box of cheap choccies, why not buy a small box of something really expensive and luxurious? You’ll see every single chocolate as a treat in itself. Last year my lovely hubby bought me some amazing truffles – just 9 in a box. He couldn’t resist telling me the price! At over £2 per. truffle I savoured each and every one: just 9 chocolates lasted 4 days!
  10. Alcohol? Ditto! No authentic green light here either. Sip don’t guzzle. Wine and soda for a longer lasting smaller measure? A nip of something special rather than a bottle of something cheap? Alcohol is especially dehydrating so be sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is especially important to anyone living with diabetes, as you will already be at increased risk of dehydration as your kidneys may be working overtime to pee out excess glucose today.

You’re special, and you can make your Christmas extra special. Try something a little different and see just how well you can feel this year – and how much more that sense of well-being enhances your day!

 

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Innocent Type 1s? How divisive!

are-you-an-angel-or-a-devilI found an article yesterday. You might already have seen it by now. It’s entitled, “Call for healthy eating and exercise on World Diabetes Day neglects innocent Type 1 patients“.

I hate, actually hate, that title. “Innocent Type 1 patients” says what about people living with Type 2 diabetes? That they are not innocent it can only be assumed.

This awful article, published in the Inquisitr, and penned by Dawn Papple goes on to say,

Type 1 diabetics are innocent sufferers of an autoimmune condition. These patients haven’t necessarily eaten too much sugar or failed to exercise.

True on the one hand. The problem being that on the other Ms Papple alludes that people living with Type 2 diabetes are guilty sufferers? Guilty of having eaten too much sugar or failed to exercise?

Well I am writing today to inform Ms Papple, and anyone who has applauded her article, that not everyone with Type 2 diabetes has overindulged in sugar or sloth either. Whether through ignorance or intention she fails to show any understanding of Type 2 diabetes, or to represent Type 2 patients with the same consideration she demands for people living with Type 1 diabetes. Her article laments the lack of understanding about Type 1 diabetes, whilst showcasing her own acute lack of understanding of Type 2 diabetes!

She writes:

Many people have come to associate diabetes with obesity, but as this new campaign shows, people who appear physically fit can be fighting for their lives against Type 1 diabetes.

Well here’s the shocking truth – people who appear physically fit can be fighting for their lives against Type 2 diabetes!

Research shows there is a genetic aspect to Type 2 as well as Type 1. Like it or not, research shows there are some food links with Type 1 as well as Type 2. Research also shows that it’s such a common phenomenon for older people with Type 2 to be lean (estimates suggest 20%) that another recent article proposes a new label – Type 4 diabetes. One of my own clients is a lady, aged 61 years and weighing just 55kg, or 120lbs, or about 8 and a half stones – HbA1c 45 and heading north in consecutive tests! Not yet diabetic, but on her way. On her innocent way!

Furthermore, a new test is being developed to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes at the point of diagnosis – precisely because the boundaries between the two are not so clear cut!

All this highlights is the uselessness of labels. Type 1 and Type 2 and, potentially, Type 4 are all man-made constructs of language. They should not be used divisively, discriminatingly, or to the detriment of anyone with diabetes.

Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. May I suggest that if you want understanding and compassion for yourself, it would be appropriate to first show those same considerations to others?

I am thoroughly sick and tired of “diabetism”. Sick of any notion of innocent Type 1 v. self-imposed Type 2. The issues of pathogenesis are far more complex than this – for all types of diabetes.

At the start of November, I called for all people affected by diabetes to #standtogether. As we approach the end of International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015, I am again asking for ALL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY DIABETES TO #STANDTOGETHER!

Cereal killers?

Sipping my green tea in Waitrose’s cafe on Saturday, and browsing the weekend supplements, I came across an article about a cereal bar, Cereality, recently installed in Texas Fort Worth airport. The pictures of what might typically pass for breakfast or a snack were nothing if not disturbing.

Cartons of cereals, already sugary enough to be considered to be confectionery in their own right, mixed with chocolates, sweeties,
cookies, and dripping in syrups and sweet sauces. Food? Really? Have we so lost our marbles? Lost sight of what constitutes food, let alone healthy food? Or even an appropriate portion size of sugar?

A mere 20 minutes later, queuing at the checkout, my senses were further assaulted by the prominent display of breakfast cereals of the worst kind. Displayed in the most prominent position in the store.

Sugar laden, refined carbs in a box masquerading as food! IMG_20151003_172234

The kind that kids will nag their parents to buy. For the jolly cartoon images on the boxes. For the free junk toys inside. For the sugar on which the breakfast cereal industry is gleefully getting them hooked.And it struck me that breakfast cereal manufacturers and those peddling them are having a huge, and profitable, laugh in the face of ever rising rates of obesity and diabetes. And it’s simply not good enough!

Here’s why…

In 2009 Which? magazine investigated breakfast cereals, and, as reported in the press at the time, concluded that a mere 8% of tested brands would meet Food Standards Agency criteria for acceptable levels of sugar. In 2012 Which? revisited breakfast cereals and again concluded that few products would provide for a healthy breakfast.

In the intervening 3 years things have gone from bad to worse. Kelloggs and Nestle and chums have continued unabated to peddle their sugar-laden wares, and to add insult to injury have introduced ever more damaging options. Nestle even have the audacity to package some of the worst products, in my opinion, in “green top” boxes, devised to fool consumers that there is something healthy in the packet. There mostly isn’t!
Back to cereal cafes: as ever, what happens in the US eventually appears in the UK. Cereal cafes are no exception. Cereality in the States at least has a fluffy friendly name. But here in the UK it seems we’re prepared to openly embrace the darkest, most cynical side of this new trend.

Cereal Killer Cafe is aptly named indeed. Almost every conceivable brand of tooth-rotting, blood-sugar-disrupting breakfast carb is available. Alongside a piece of cake obviously!

Similar nutritionally-bankrupt concoctions – they call them cocktails – can be found at the unattractively-named Black Milk Cereal Dives popping up around the UK. Already-too-sugary cereal
products topped with Krispy Kreme doughnuts? Topped with Oreo cookies and chocolate sauce? Topped with Tootsie Rolls?

There simply has to be enough information out there about the dangers of sugar and refined carbs now for the owners of these questionable establishments to be fully aware of the health implications of their sugar bowls. Doesn’t there?

I pray the “food” industry never sinks lower than this. It’s hard to imagine that it could!

In the meantime I’m going to cry real tears and pray for a food industry in which sanity and ethics make a come-back! And I’m going to continue to eat, and recommend, eggs for breakfast!

The light at the end of this tunnel is the news that eggs are making a comeback – enjoying some well-deserved redemption. Once more for old times sake – “Go to Work on an Egg!”

Why would a 3 year old develop Type 2 diabetes?

chihood obesityA few days ago the world was aghast at the story of a 3 year old Texan toddler developing Type 2 diabetes. The newspapers, TV, radio and social media channels all carried the story.

This quote, in an article in The Independent, left me bemused:

Experts who reviewed the girl’s diet found “poor family nutritional habits with uncontrolled counting of calories and fat”.

Nowhere in this article was there any criticism of dietary sugar being a causal factor – just “calories” and “fat”. Surely there is enough evidence available now for us all to realise that the biggest dietary culprit for obesity amongst young children is sugar or refined carbs that the body can quickly turn into sugar. Yet this article lets the pure white and deadly stuff totally off the hook.

This story, sadly, isn’t isolated. In January this year we saw similar cases of Scottish children as young as 4 years of age also being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The article carried in The Scotsman newspaper at the time also failed to discuss the role of sugar in relation to these children.

The media has a responsibility to keep up the pressure on sugar. Powerful lobbyists will be doing their best to downplay the role of sugar in the burgeoning obesity and diabetes crises, but for the sake of such young children we have to make sure the finger is well and truly pointed in the right direction. At sugar.

There is enough evidence now to back up the notion that added sugars should be a real focus for change: not just obvious sugars in sweets, cakes, biscuits etc, but those needless and mischievously added to savoury foods, sauces, processed foods. Then of course there is the issue that even fresh fruit and vegetables have been bred to contain more sugars, to make tastes more palatable to children it seems.

It’s really sad to see children developing serious debilitating conditions at such young ages, and it’s too simplistic just to blame parents. Now I’m not letting them off the hook here – it’s obvious that 5 and half stones is far too heavy for a 3 year old girl and yes parents of overweight children could take advice before things get to such extreme  levels. But advice from whom? The messages about healthy eating are confusing. I see plenty of evidence, both clinically and anecdotally in everyday life, of people becoming overweight and obese DESPITE trying to eat healthily. Next time you’re in a supermarket notice how many overweight people are pushing shopping trolleys filled with low-fat manufactured food products. The very products the food industry wants you to believe, and go on believing, will help you maintain good health and an appropriate weight. They won’t. Low-fat products mean higher-sugar products of course.

So it’s really unhelpful that we have the media STILL talking about fat instead of sugar in relation to obesity. We just need to stay focused on one simple message please: SUGAR IS MAKING OUR KIDS FAT AND SICK.

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!

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?

How and why RebalanceDiabetes is different (and better!)

carbsDo you know someone who has coeliac disease? If so you will know that a coeliac cannot deal with gluten – a large protein molecule naturally present in some grains – and that’s why he or she avoids wheat, oats and other grains LIKE THE PLAGUE! A coeliac knows just how ill they will feel if they continue to eat gluten – so they don’t. Simple!

So here’s my conundrum today…

Why does your NHS dietician, doctor or nurse, even Diabetes UK continue to encourage you to eat sugar? Why is the mainstream medical community in such denial about the fact that sugar is harmful – and especially to someone with diabetes?

Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 – and there are clear differences in the causes, reasons and processes between these two but that’s a different blog for another day – here is a simple fact that you share: your body is having trouble dealing with sugar. Without appropriate management you would die from sugar. Why is a diabetic person, therefore, encouraged to still eat it? Why is a diabetic person not advised to avoid sugar LIKE THE PLAGUE?

The truth is that sugar naturally occurs in a wide variety of foods, so it’s difficult to avoid natural sugars. You can avoid all added sugars though!. Starchy carbohydrate foods might not contain actual sugars – but your body will convert the starches to sugar within minutes. This isn’t new or news to the ‘professionals’ who tell you to base your meals around starchy carbs. Diabetes UK are clear about telling you that your body will convert the starches to sugar. But they will then go on to tell you to go ahead and eat plenty of it anyway! Crazy?! Here’s an extract from their website today:

These foods increase the blood glucose even though they are not sweet in taste. The body digests them and breaks them down into glucose (sugar). Even though they raise blood glucose they should not be seen as ‘bad’ foods…All meals should contain a source of starchy carbohydrate

Worse is the advice that sugar itself is suitable for people with diabetes. It is beyond belief that dieticians advise that scones, digestive biscuits, teacakes and more are a suitable snack for someone with diabetes. The scanned pages below are taken from the advice booklet entitled “Healthy Eating For People with Diabetes” written and distributed by the Department for Nutrition and Dietetics at York District Hospital.

Crap advice

Carbs with every meal? Sugary snacks? This is madness! And more than that – in my opinion it is irresponsible madness!!

All the latest research evidence points to the fact that low-carb is better. Your doctors, dieticians, even Diabetes UK might be looking in the other direction but RebalanceDiabetes is right there! I will absolutely give you advice based on scientific research. I will absolutely tell you a different story – and I will introduce you to people who will willingly share their stories and tell you how that different story has worked for them.

If you want to find out more I am delighted to invite you to a FREE seminar – you can book right here:

To attend an event on 8th December – click here!

To attend and event on 26th January – click here!

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!!

Type 1 diabetics being let down by inappropriate nutritional advice?

I was intrigued this week to read an online discussion about the nutritional advice and examples being given to people with Type 1 diabetes via the most commonly delivered education programme, DAFNE.

It’s a tricky problem isn’t it?  Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin – there’s no getting away from this simple truth. But there is a whole lot of subtlety about how to get the best outcomes by using foods and insulin in the most intelligent and appropriate ways.

I can completely appreciate the temptation for someone with Type 1 to eat whatever carbs they fancy knowing that on one level an insulin injection can compensate, by bringing blood glucose back into acceptable levels.  What that insulin injection cannot compensate for, however, is the fact that those sugary, high carb foods have great potential to cause weight gain, belly fat, systemic inflammation, high cholesterol, insulin resistance and more.  In this sense someone with Type 1 diabetes is no different from a non-diabetic.  High carb diets are intrinsically linked with weight gain, obesity and the risk of developing serious diseases – FOR EVERYONE!

So to actively encourage anyone at all to recklessly indulge in sugary, high carb foods is irresponsible.  To tell anyone that it’s OK to eat copious amounts of sweets, cakes and biscuits is irresponsible.  To do that within the context of a course delivered at the expense of the NHS – remember the taxpayer will pick up all the future bills for the consequences of this advice – is irresponsible.

To encourage this in a person with Type 1 diabetes is worse – and that’s because injecting insulin brings with it significant side effects – as I covered in my last blog post.  Insulin is not a benign medication.  Just because it is a natural hormone doesn’t mean that having large amounts present in the blood stream is desirable, or even OK. Large amounts of insulin comes with risks!

People with Type 1 diabetes know that over time weight gain is likely: this is one of the signs that the carb balance for their lifestyle is wrong.  More than weight gain, they will experience complications from the effects of the disease and the medication, and are likely to die several years before their non-diabetic counterparts.

We really need to understand that when we put food inside our bodies it has an effect.  We all have a choice whether that effect will be beneficial or harmful.  But we only have a real choice if it is based on sound knowledge of what that effect will truly be.  The role of carbs is to provide energy.  If we don’t expend energy, we don’t need many carbs.  If we don’t need many carbs but consume them anyway they will be stored – as body fat. ALWAYS! Even when someone with Type 1 diabetes resolves any blood glucose crisis with a shot of insulin, those extra carbs will still be turned into body fat.

So we have to get away from the idea that insulin can make it all alright to overdo the carbs.  It can’t, it won’t and it doesn’t!

Last week one of my RebalanceDiabetes guys, a Type 1 diabetic, reported back that since he had started to tailor his carb intake to match his lifestyle and activity levels, he has lost 6lbs of belly fat, halved his insulin use, and feels better in himself for as long as he has been diagnosed. IN JUST 2 WEEKS!

DAFNE is the acronym for “Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating”. Where carbs are concerned we have to redefine “normal eating”.  In the past few decades our lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary, yet we have failed to reduce our carb intake to match that.  We still consume carbs as if we had the activity levels of previous generations.  In fact we consume MORE carbs now – more sugars than ever are loaded into our daily diets.

We are paying the price – with our health!

Activity on the decline, carbs on the up = disease on the increase!

I am all for individuals having freedom of choice.  If you choose high carb – well OK.  If you choose to match your carbs with your lifestyle – fantastic.  But one thing is for sure – education should at least provide the proper information on which those choices can then be more intelligently made.  Let’s make our diabetes education at least responsible for providing the right advice and examples – the rest is then down to the individual.  They will make their own choices based on their own self-worth not on the basis of incorrect or incomplete information.

If our healthcare educators cannot deliver quality advice or better examples, then how do expect individuals to get it right for themselves?  There is something quite shameful about not taking the opportunity to encourage those who are motivated to take responsibility for their own health.

See for yourself what the right advice can help someone with Type 1 diabetes do for themselves: