Berberine, derived from plants, has been found to help reduce blood glucose and blood pressure level. It has other clinically proven properties that benefit other medical conditions. It is also surrounded by a lot of unproven hype. Here’s the story …Continue reading “Can Berberine help Diabetics?”
The key to beating type 2 diabetes is knowledge of the disease. For this reason I urge you to watch, entirely FREE of charge, the online Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series, a string of interviews with more than 20 of the best health and wellness experts around. Here’s what you’ll learn and how you can sign up.
My friend, Debbie Movsesian, a superb organiser, has brought together 20+ top health and wellness experts for this free educational series on learning the truth about reversing type 2 diabetes and discovering simple, effective ways to lose weight, free yourself of chronic disease (such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases) and live a longer, healthier, more abundant, and happier life.
The online Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series
From: September 28th to October 18th, 2020
Attendance online is 100% FREE
Hosted by Debbie Movsesian who interviews 20+ pre-eminent experts
The interviewees include well-known doctors, nutritionists, chefs and other experts such as:
- Dr Neal Barnard, the pioneer in ‘reversing’ diabetes (who inspired me)
- Dr Colin Zhu, chef and lifestyle medicine physician
- Wes Youngberg, lifestyle medicine specialist
- Robby Barbaro and Cyrus Khambatta, diabetes experts from Mastering Diabetes
- Chef AJ, about permanent weight loss
The full list of experts is shown in the image at the top of this post.
These experts will cover a wide range of topics relating to type 2 diabetes and allied chronic diseases, including:
- Insulin resistance and how to reverse it
- Plant-based food you’ll love to eat
- Using life-style medicine to combat disease
- Managing stress, weight loss, and more
- Health disparities in Western medicine
- How to lose weight with a full plate
The series will begin on September the 28th this year and each interview will be 45 to 60 minutes long, one interview per day. Recordings of the interviews will be available later, so there is no need to attend every day, provided you have signed up.
I urge you to sign up and attend. You will add significantly to your knowledge of how to reverse diabetes, more than you can get by reading my blog and my book Beating Diabetes.
Your take-away will include:
- Learning the truth about reversing type 2 diabetes
- Discovering simple, effective ways to lose weight
- Finding out how to avoid other chronic diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s etc
- Understanding how you can live a longer, healthier, more abundant life
As you are member of the Beating Diabetes club, I know that your health means a great deal to you. You aspire to a life without pain and suffering, without medications. You are determined to have the freedom to be active and do all the things you long to do … live life to the fullest while feeling great in your body, knowing that you’ll be living a long, abundant and happy life.
With the right education you can reverse or prevent diabetes or a host of other chronic diseases and enjoy the life you deserve.
The Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series will provide you with the knowledge you need.
So I urge you to sign up right now by clicking this link
For a few simple reasons … they help fight diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. In addition they are protein rich and contain lots of good fibre, and can help you lose weight. They are an ideal food for diabetics. Here are the science-backed verified facts.
Red in colour and shaped just like the kidneys of an animal or human, red kidney beans are commonly added to soups, stews, salads and other meals in most countries. You can buy them fresh, canned, or dried, and the nutrition they deliver means they should always be part of a healthy diet.
Nutrition facts of red kidney beans
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of boiled kidney beans contains:
- Water … 67%
- Calories … 127
- Protein … 8.7g (8.7%)
- Fat … 0.5g (0.5%)
- Carbohydrates … 22.8g (22.8%) of which;
- Sugar … 0.3g (0.3%)
- Fibre … 6.4g (6.4%)
As you can see, with moderate calories and very small amount of fat and sugar, as well as loads of fibre, these beans are an ideal part of a diet for diabetics. In addition, red kidney beans contain lots of beneficial micronutrients such as folate, iron and manganese.
Protein … kidney beans are rich in protein. A 100g has nearly 9 grams of protein, which is 27% of the total calorie content.
Carbohydrates … starchy carbs account for about 72% of the total calorie count in red kidney beans. Bean starch is a slow-release carb (ie, it has a low GI). It causes a lower and more gradual rise in blood glucose compared to other starches. Thus, red kidney beans are especially beneficial for those of us who have type 2 diabetes.
Fibre … red kidney beans are particularly high in fibre, including substantial amounts of resistant starch, a prebiotic. Prebiotics move through you colon until they reach you colon where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria. This fermentation results in the formation of short-chain fatty acids, which may improve the health of your colon and reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Micro-nutrients … red kidney beans are rich in various vitamins and minerals. These include … molybdenum … folate (aka vitamin B6 or folic acid) … iron (but the phytate in these beans may mean that iron is absorbed poorly) … copper … manganese … potassium, and … vitamin K1, which is important for blood coagulation.
Health benefits of eating red kidney beans
By incorporating red kidney beans in your diet, you can experience substantial health benefits. These include:
- Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Better control of blood glucose levels
- Protecting cells from damage
- Helping to prevent and treat some cancers
- Reduced risk of obesity
Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes … kidney beans have a much lower GI (glycemic index) than other carb-rich foods, probably due to the fibre and resistant starch they contain. The glycemic index is a measure of the speed with which individual foods increase blood glucose levels after you eat them.
A 4-year study of 3,349 people found that consuming large amounts of legumes and lentils was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also found that eating half a serving of legumes a day instead of a similar sized serving of eggs, bread, rice or baked potatoes was linked to a lower risk of developing diabetes.
It seems obvious that eating red kidney beans instead of other high-carb foods can reduce blood glucose levels in both those who are and who are not type 2 diabetic.
Better control of your blood glucose levels … according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding pulses to your diet, such as red kidney beans, could reduce your fasting blood sugar and insulin, thus supporting control of blood glucose in the long-term.
Protecting cells from damage … red kidney beans are a great source of antioxidants, compounds that help neutralise free radicals, thus reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage and disease. Foods high in antioxidants may also help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancers and autoimmune disorders.
Improving heart health … research suggests that eating plenty of legumes, such as red kidney beans, as part of a healthy diet can reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
In addition, other studies have shown that eating legumes can reduce markers of inflammation, many of which contribute to chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Other research indicates that eating plenty of legumes as part of a healthy diet can reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
Helping to prevent and treat some cancers … eating kidney beans is a good source of flavanols, plant compounds that act as antioxidants. According to a study published in 2009, consuming higher amounts of flavanols is linked to a lower risk of advanced adenomas (a type of tumour from which cancer of the colon can develop).
In vitro research published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules found that certain compounds in white kidney beans were able to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. This suggests that kidney beans may be a powerful food for fighting cancer.
Reduced your risk of obesity … several observational studies have linked the consumption of beans to a lower risk of being overweight or obese. A 2-month study of 30 obese adults on a weight loss diet found that eating beans and other legumes four times a week led to greater loss than a bean-free diet.
Another study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition stated that increased consumption of beans may be linked to improved nutrition, lower body weight and reduced belly fat.
Kidney beans are high in dietary fibre and protein. Fibre moves through the body slowly thus prolonging feelings of satiety. Protein has been shown to reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger.
Risks and side-effects from eating red kidney beans
Eating red kidney beans is not all dietary heaven … problems include:
Flatulence … when eating kidney beans some people experience unpleasant side effects such as flatulence, bloating and diarrhoea. These effects are due to alpha-galactosides, ie insoluble fibres. Alpha-galactosides can be removed, at least partially, by soaking and sprouting the beans.
Toxicity … raw kidney beans contain large amounts of phytohemagglutinin, a toxic protein. Though this protein is found in many beans, it is particularly high in red kidney beans. Symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting.
To get rid of this toxin, soak and cook the beans … soak them in water for at least 5 hours (or overnight, preferably) and boil them for at least ten minutes at 1000C (2120F). Properly prepared red kidney beans are safe to eat and very nutritious.
Antioxidants … are substances that reduce nutritional value by impairing the absorption of nutrients from your digestive tract. The main antinutrients in red kidney beans are:
- Phytic acid … aka phytate … impairs the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc.
- Protease inhibitors … aka trypsin inhibitors … inhibit the function of various digestive enzymes, impairing the digestion of protein.
- Starch blockers … aka alpha-amylase inhibitors … impair the absorption of carbohydrates from your digestive tract.
All these antinutrients are completely or partially inactivated when beans are soaked and cooked properly. Fermenting and sprouting the beans may reduce some antinutrients, eg phytic acid, even further.
How to cook red kidney beans
Red kidney beans come in three basic forms … fresh, dried and canned.
You must not eat raw kidney beans unless you want to experience the heady joys associated with bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Ideally, raw beans should be soaked overnight for at least eight hour before cooking. If they are soaked and sprouted before cooking, this will improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Cook for a minimum of one hour to one-and-a-half hours using 3-parts water to 1-part beans.
Rather than cook your own beans, you can buy canned (tinned) beans which have already been cooked. The canned beans are just as nutritious as the raw beans except that they are often much higher in sodium. You should be able find low sodium varieties. If not, you can drain and rinse the beans … this will get rid of up to 41% of the sodium content.
But note that draining and rinsing canned beans could remove other micro-nutrients, such as vitamin C or the B vitamins. You can get around this by adding other healthy foods, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery, to your meal to boost its nutritional value.
So, once you have the beans ready, what can you do with them?
Find out in the next article in this series … Recipes using red kidney beans
If you cannot give up your craving for sweetened food, you have to consider possible substitutes for sugar in your diet. But which should you go for … sugar alcohols or high intensity sweeteners? The answer may surprise you. Continue reading “What is the best substitute for sugar?”
The simple answer is maybe but unlikely. Adherents of the Keto Diet, a high-fat, low-carb diet, claim that it helps you reduce weight and can reverse your diabetes among many other health benefits. Is there much truth behind this contention?
As anybody who has read my book Beating Diabetes, or who follows this blog, knows: a sure-fire way to get your blood glucose down to manageable levels is to follow a diet that is low in sugar, low in fat, low in salt, high in fibre, made up of mainly natural foods with low GIs, while avoiding eggs and dairy products, washed down with plenty of water.
The Beating Diabetes diet does not specify low carbs, only low sugar. Other carbohydrates, such as starch and dietary fibre are part of this diet.
The alternate diet, the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet.
What exactly is it and how does it work?
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet (or keto diet for short) is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It involves reducing carbohydrate intake drastically and replacing the carbs with fat.
This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, a in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body. It occurs when there is limited access to glucose (blood sugar), which is the preferred fuel source for many cells in the body.
To achieve ketosis, you need, as a general rule to eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day perhaps as little as 20 grams a day. To do this you must remove carb-heavy foods from your diet, such as grains, candy (sweets) and sugary drinks. You also have to cut back on legumes, potatoes and fruit.
When you eat a very low-carb diet, your insulin levels go down and fatty acids are released from your stores of body fat stores in large amounts. Much of these fatty acids are transferred to the liver, where they are oxidized and turned into molecules called ketones (or ketone bodies).
These molecules can provide energy for the body. Unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain in the absence of glucose. They can deliver numerous other health benefits, besides reduced insulin and blood glucose levels, as well as weight loss.
Different types of ketogenic diet
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet. These include:
- The standard ketogenic diet … a very high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carb diet … typically 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs
- High-protein ketogenic diet … this is similar to the standard diet but includes more protein … usually 60% fat, 35% protein and just 5% carbs
- Cyclical ketogenic diet … this diet alternates low-carb and high carb periods … such as 5 very low-fat days followed by 2 high-carb days
- Targeted ketogenic diet … this version of the keto diet allows you to add carbs around workouts
Only the standard and high-protein keto diets have been studied scientifically. The other two versions are mainly used by athletes and body builders.
But which foods exactly do you need to avoid, and which do you need to eat if you are following this diet?
Foods to avoid
You need to limit any foods that are high in carbohydrates.
This means that you should avoid carb-based foods such as:
- grains … wheat products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc
- sugary foods … sodas, fruit juices, ice cream, smoothies and sweets (candy)
- legumes … beans, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and so on
- root vegetables and tubers … potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc
- most fruits … with the exception of berries
You also need to avoid low-fat or dietary products which are usually highly processed and are high in carbohydrates. In addition, you should ignore condiments and sauces that contain sugar and unhealthy fats. And you should eat very little processed vegetable oil, mayonnaise and similar foods which are choc-a-bloc with unhealthy fats.
Alcoholic beverages are also a no-no as they can throw you out of ketosis. Sugar-free diet foods can also affect your ketone levels especially when they are high in sugar alcohols … these foods tend to be highly-processed also.
Foods to eat
A ketogenic diet should be based on whole, single-ingredient foods that are high in fats and/or low in carbohydrates. Ketogenic experts recommend the following:
- meat … red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey
- fatty fish … such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel
- nuts and seeds … almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc
- eggs … from free-range chickens
- butter and cream … from grass-fed cows
- cheese … unprocessed cheese such as cheddar, goat’s cheese, cream cheese, blue cheeses, mozzarella
- avocados … whole avocados or freshly made guacamole
- healthy oils … extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
- low-carb veggies … most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc
- condiments … you can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices
Ketogenic diet and weight loss
Several studies over the last 15 years indicate that the ketogenic diet is effective in helping you lose weight. In addition, you lose weight without having to count carbs or track your intake of food.
One such study of 42 healthy but obese women, published in the Journal of endocrinology and metabolism in April 2003, found that people on a ketogenic diet lost more than twice as much weight as persons on a low-fat calorie-restricted diet. Their triglycerides and HDL levels also improved significantly.
Another study, published in Diabetic Medicine, a journal of the British Diabetic Association, in December 1007, of 13 subjects with type 2 diabetes and 13 healthy subjects found that those on a ketogenic diet lost three times more weight than those following the diet recommended by Diabetes UK. But there were no differences between the two groups in changes in their levels of HbA1c, ketones or lipids.
Being overweight or obese is an important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. The fact that following a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight suggests that this diet might be helpful in reversing diabetes.
Ketogenic diet and diabetes
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, published in March 2005 found that a ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by 75%.
In another study published in Nutrition & Metabolism in December 2008, 84 volunteers with obesity and type 2 diabetes followed either (a) a ketogenic diet (ie <20g of carbs a day) or (b) a low-glycemic, reduced-calorie diet (ie 500 kcal/day less than a diet calculated to maintain their current weight) for 24 weeks.
Both diets led to improvements in HbA1c, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and weight loss. Group (a) on the ketogenic diet had greater improvements in HbA1c, body weight), and HDL cholesterol compared to group (b) on reduced calories. Furthermore, diabetes medications were reduced or eliminated in 95.2% of those in group (a) against 62% of the participants in group (b).
How the high-fat, low-carb diet works
Persons eating the standard Western diet obtain their energy from glucose. When they digest their food, glucose (which comes mainly from the carbohydrates in their diet) is released into the blood stream where it travels to the muscle cells. At the same time the pancreas releases insulin into the blood stream. The purpose of insulin is to open the receptors in the muscle cells so that the glucose can enter the cells to provide energy.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your basic problem is that these receptors are blocked with fat and the insulin cannot open the cell doors. Hence the glucose cannot enter the muscle cells and you end up with too much fat and insulin floating around your body and causing severe damage to your health over time.
The trick to reversing your type 2 diabetes is simple. If you follow the Beating-Diabetes (low-sugar, low-fat) diet you will starve your body of fat and after a few weeks the receptors in your muscle cells will unblock, enabling glucose to enter the cells thereby ‘reversing’ your diabetes.
The effects of the high-fat, low-carb ketonic diet are entirely different. When you follow the keto diet, your body switches to using fat as its source of energy rather than carbs. This is known as ketosis, which involves the liver producing ketone bodies (aka ketones) out of fat and using these for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Ketone bodies or ketones (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone) are used in healthy individuals to provide energy to the cells of the body when glucose is low or absent in the diet.
Should you make the switch?
Though it is obviously effective in helping you lose weight and in all probability can enable you to reverse your diabetes, a ketogenic diet can have negative side effects.
Keto flu … is an unpleasant side effect that you may experience as you transition to a ketogenic diet. You may experience fatigue, dizziness, brain fog and insomnia. But those you have made the transition say that it passes after some time.
Nutritional deficiencies … the keto diet limits the kinds of food you can eat and entire food groups, such as beans, legumes, whole grains, as well as many fruits and vegetables are eliminated from your diet … many of these foods contain vitamins and minerals which you cannot get from any other sources. The keto dies is not a balanced diet so if you go this route on a long-term basis you need to take a wide range of supplements to make up for the loss of micro-nutrients.
Constipation … when you eliminate most fruits and vegetables from you diet you run the risk of becoming deficient in dietary fibre with the result that you become constipated. The solution is to add some low-carb, fibre-rich vegetables to your diet, such as asparagus (2% carbs), Broccoli (7%), Tomatoes (4%), Cucumber (4%), Cauliflower (5%), Eggplant (6%), Bell Peppers (6%) and Green Beans (7%).
Loss of electrolytes … as you enter ketosis, your body will start dumping its stores of glycogen (the main form in which glucose is stored in your body) through urination. An increase in how often you urinate will inevitably lead to a loss of electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium. These electrolytes are essential for cardiac function and a normal heart beat, and that loss can put you at risk of cardiac arrhythmia. To avoid this you should eat avocados, leafy green vegetables, asparagus and cruciferous vegetables which are natural sources of this electrolytes. Add a pinch of sea-salt to your meals to up your sodium levels. You can also take an over-the-counter supplement.
Dehydration … a keto diet is known as a ‘water flushing’ diet because the glycogen stores in your muscles and liver are reduced through urination. Thus, along with loss of electrolytes, dehydration is thus a real threat in the early stages of the diet. The solution is to drink copious amounts of water, at least 2.5 litres a day. The requirement to drink water is also a feature of the Beating-Diabetes diet.
Kidney damage … untreated dehydration can lead to acute kidney damage. In addition, high levels of nitrogen created by excess protein can also increase pressure on your kidneys, damaging the cells and leading to the formation of kidney stones. Thus, it is only sensible to seek medical advice before you embark on the keto diet, especially if you already have issues with your kidneys and liver.
Muscle loss … is a real possibility when you are in ketosis for a long time. While protein is the basic muscle builder, you muscles also need carbs for their formation and maintenance. Without those carbs your body starts to break down muscle. In itself this would not be dangerous for most of your muscle mass. Unfortunately, your heart is also a muscle, so it too could get damaged.
Low blood pressure … one of benefits of the ketogenic diet is that it can help reduce elevated levels of blood pressure. Thus, if you are already taking prescription medicines to control hypertension, it can cause abnormally low blood pressure levels, taking them so low that it can be dangerous, even deadly. The solution is to discuss whether you should reduce or stop your medications with your doctor and follow his or her advice.
When you consider the risks involved, the answer to the question is you probably should not switch … especially if the Beating Diabetes diet is working for you.
Thyroid problems are more common in people with diabetes than they are in the population as a whole. But what is the nature of this link and how do you treat thyroid problems? Continue reading “The link between diabetes and thyroid problems (and what you can do about it)”
Diabetic retinopathy affects 80% of people who have been diabetic for 20 years or more. The disease accounts for 12% of all new cases of blindness each year in the West and is the leading cause for blindness in persons aged 20 to 64 years. Here are the symptoms, causes and treatments for diabetic retinopathy and how you can avoid going blind. Continue reading “Diabetic Retinopathy – the Hard Facts”
Chickpeas are an extremely healthful addition to anyone’s diet, especially diabetics as they help to control blood glucose levels. As well as their numerous other health benefits, preparing meals with chickpeas is simple and quick. Continue reading “Why you should eat chickpeas (garbanzo beans)”
Flaxseeds or linseeds have been eaten for thousands of years. But how nutritious are they? What is the best way to eat them? And how do they compare with chia seeds? Continue reading “Flaxseeds V Chia Seeds ― which are more nutritious?”
Metabolic age is a word that is bandied about a lot by fitness gurus. But what is metabolic age and what does it signify? If it is too high, how can you improve it? And is it relevant when you are trying to beat your diabetes? Continue reading “Why your metabolic age matters”