Cranberries offer promise for diabetics: Study

Sweetened dried cranberries with a reduced sugar and increased fibre content may benefit type-2 diabetics by delivering healthier glycemic and insulin responses, suggests a small study.

Consumption of the low-sugar high-fibre sweetened dried cranberries led to better glucose peaks and lower insulin peaks, with a peak insulin of 15, compared to 22 for both bread and sweetened cranberries, while raw cranberries produced a peak of 10.
Furthermore, blood sugar levels peaked at 158 minutes, compared to 175 minutes for both the bread and sweetened cranberries, and 127 minutes for raw cranberries.
The findings of the study, which involved only 13 diabetics, were reported earlier this year at the Experimental Biology conference by Ted Wilson from Winona State University. The meeting’s abstracts are published in the FASEB Journal.
The study was funded by cranberry giants Ocean Spray using the company’s new low-sugar sweetened cranberries, Christina Khoo, PhD, Ocean Spray’s research sciences manager told that the researchers are preparing a full paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. has not seen the full data.
“The less sugar high fibre SDC was developed with the needs of the type-2 diabetic in mind,” said Khoo. This represents a large and growing market, with an estimated 19 million people affected by diabetes in the EU 25. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030.

Study details
Wilson and his co-workers recruited 13 type-2 diabetics and randomly assigned them to receive a single serving of white bread (57g, 160 calories, 1 g fibre), raw cranberries (55g, 21 calories, 1 g fibre), sweetened dried cranberries-original (40g, 138 calories, 2.1g fibre), or the low-sugar high-fibre sweetened cranberries (40g; 113 calories, 1.8g fibre plus 10g polydextrose).
The low-sugar sweetened dried cranberries were associated with a healthier glycemic and insulinemic response, than both white bread and the regular sweetened dried cranberries, said the researchers. The responses were second only to less palatable raw cranberries, they added.
“Fibre is component lacking in the diet of many diabetics,” said Khoo. “The added fibre in the SDC may slow absorption of glucose, helping regulate blood sugar. The combination of less sugar and high fibre could be of benefit to the type-2 diabetic, as our research has shown. SDCs are ideal to snack on throughout the day, either on their own or as a fruit inclusion in a variety of products such as bagels and muesli bars as part of a healthy, well balanced diet.”

Known and unknowns
Due to relative ‘newness’ of the low-sugar sweetened cranberries, the company and its researchers “haven’t had a chance to look at everything”, said Khoo, and no direct data was available to support the anti-adhesion or UTI-reducing potential of the ingredient.
She noted, however, that she would expect the same kind of results as that observed for the normal sweetened cranberries. A pilot study by Amy Howell from Rutgers University and co-workers from Harvard reported that the “sweetened dried cranberries may elicit bacterial anti-adhesion activity in human urine”, according to data in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Vol. 11, pp. 875-878).
Khoo said that she was hopeful for additional studies to examine the potential of the new product. “I am hoping we would initiate longer trials,” she said. “And we shouldn’t neglect the UTI component.”

Source: FASEB Journal Experimental Biology Meeting Abstract, 2009, Volume 23: 900.6“Glycemic response of type 2 diabetics to sweetened dried cranberries”Authors: T Wilson, EF Morcomb, TP Schmidt, JL Luebke, EJ Carrell, MC Leveranz, L Kobs, AP Singh, N Vorsa, PJ Limburg

Reference click here

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Carbs: the secret to slim

Recent studies suggest that a high carbohydrate diet can be effective for losing weight and even outperforms a high protein diet for cutting body fat and lowering cholesterol and blood sugar.

In the post-Atkins era, this might seem like strange advice: Eat carbohydrates to help you stay lean. But according to a study of 4,451 healthy Canadians, those whose diets contained the most carbohydrate had the lowest risk of being overweight or obese.

For the past decade, the debate over the best diet to maintain a healthy weight has been centred around carbohydrates. The late physician and cardiologist Robert Atkins won over many dieters to his high-protein, low-carbohydrate plan which, over the short term, produces greater weight-loss results than a diet high in carbohydrates.

But the long term is what counts when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and studies have determined there’s no difference between the diets and amount of weight lost after one year.
In fact, recent studies suggest that a high carbohydrate diet is indeed effective for losing weight and outperforms a high protein diet when it comes to losing body fat and lowering cholesterol and blood sugar.

The current study, published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, assessed the diets and body weights of 4,451 healthy Canadians aged 18 years and older. The likelihood of being overweight or obese declined steadily as carbohydrate intake increased.

Compared to people whose diets provided the least carbohydrate (36 per cent of calories), those who consumed the most (64 per cent of calories) had a 40 per cent lower risk of being overweight or obese.

Overweight and obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater. (BMI is calculated as your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters. For adults, a BMI of 25 or more signals overweight; 30 more indicates obesity.) A higher carbohydrate diet was protective from overweight and obesity among older and younger participants, men and women, and people who never smoked.

A diet that is high in carbs such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables is also naturally low in fat and high in fibre. Fibre-rich foods add volume to meals, helping you feel full on fewer calories.

In the study, participants with the highest carbohydrate intake had a lower intake of calories, protein, total fat and saturated fat than the lower carbohydrate eaters. They also consumed almost double the fibre and more fruits and vegetables that those with the lowest carbohydrate intake.

Earlier research has also revealed that a high carbohydrate diet is good for the waistline. A 2008 study found that the Mediterranean diet – high in whole grains, fruit and vegetables – was as effective as the low carbohydrate diet at shedding pounds over a two-year period. What’s more, among people with diabetes, this high carbohydrate diet did a better job at reducing blood sugar and insulin levels.

However, not all carbohydrates are good for you. Mounting evidence suggests that diets based on low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates are better for weight control and health.

The GI is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how quickly they are digested and raise blood sugar compared to pure glucose. Foods that are ranked high on the GI scale are fast acting – they’re digested quickly and, as a result, cause large rises in blood sugar and insulin, the hormone that removes sugar from the blood and stores it in cells. Examples include white bread, whole-wheat bread, baked potatoes, refined breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal, cereal bars, raisins, ripe bananas, carrots, honey and sugar.

Foods with a low GI release sugar more slowly into the bloodstream and don’t produce an outpouring of insulin. Examples include grainy breads with seeds, steel cut oats, 100 per cent bran cereals, oat bran, brown rice, sweet potatoes, pasta, apples, citrus fruit, grapes, pears, legumes, nuts, milk, yogurt and soymilk.

In a recent study of 129 overweight adults assigned to one of four diets that differed in the amount of carbohydrate and glycemic index found that while all diets promoted weight loss, only the high carb, low glycemic index diet resulted in a greater loss of body fat and a reduction of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

It’s thought that a diet based on high glycemic carbohydrates is less effective at promoting weight loss because the large spikes in blood sugar and insulin it causes can trigger hunger and inhibit the breakdown of body fat.

To help reduce the risk of excess weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, 40 to 65 per cent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrate rich foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes. The following strategies can help you increase your intake of healthy carbs – and manage your weight.

Go for whole grain
Choose 100 per cent whole grain breads, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa and breakfast cereals made from whole grains. Read ingredient lists; choose foods that list a whole grain as the first ingredient.

Choose fibre-rich carbs
Include 21 to 38 grams of dietary fibre in your daily diet. Men and women aged 19 to 50 need 38 and 25 grams of fibre each day, respectively. Older women require 21 grams; older men need 30 grams.

Choose breads that provide at least 2 grams of fibre per slice and breakfast cereals with at least 5 grams of fibre per serving. Mix ½ cup (125 ml) of 100-per-cent bran cereal with other cereals to boost your fibre intake.

Add legumes and lentils to soups, salads and pasta. Snack on fruit, dried fruit, nuts or plain popcorn instead of refined, low fibre snacks such as pretzels, cereal bars, and white crackers.

Choose low glycemic
In general, whole grains, bran cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index. Include at least one low GI food per meal, or base two of your meals on low GI choices.
Instead of creamy dressings, use salad dressings made from vinegar or lemon juice – the acidity will result in a further reduction in the GI of your meal. Choose fruits that are more acidic (e.g. oranges, grapefruit, cherries, strawberries, green apples) as these have a low GI.

Practice portion control
Regardless of the type of carbohydrate you eat, managing portion size is key to weight control. If you are trying to lose weight, keep portions of cooked grains and pasta to 1 to 1.5 cups (250 to 375 ml) – or fill only one-quarter of your plate with starchy foods. To judge your portion size at home, measure your food for a few days.
Choose two slices of whole grain bread instead of one large bagel (worth 4 to 5 slices of bread).

Limit refined sugars
Curb your intake of candy, chocolate, soft drinks, fruit drinks, desserts and other sweets. The World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 10 per cent of daily calories. If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, this translates to a daily maximum of 48 grams (12 teaspoons worth) of added sugars.

Reference click here

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Make the Most of Your Metabolism

The question is not how many calories you should have per day, it’s how should you eat your allocated calories throughout the day. Think of it like this: Say you get 2,000 calories for the day and you have to swim for for 10 hours straight besides eating times. This is very unrealistic but imagine if you ate 1,000 calories in your first sitting and then another 1,000 calories at the second. I bet you felt sick while swimming. Point being: You want to feed you metabolism evenly throughout the day and you should not wait hours after waking up for your first meal. So here are my 5 food tips on making the most of what you eat.

1. Start your day right with a balanced meal. Don’t cut the calories short at breakfast because you think it’s the easiest meal to do it at. Eat at least 2-3 food groups. For example, make a whole-grain English muffin with natural peanut butter and banana sliced on top. Finish the meal with a tall glass of water.

2. Eat a meal with the next meal or snack in mind. With this thinking, you should not gorge yourself with the present meal and should finish the last bite by being satisfied; not full. Plan what your next snack is (should be within 3 hours or so) and make it a food choice you’ll enjoy.

3. Use online tools or notebooks to track what you are eating. Better yet, text yourself what you eat at each meal and look at it the next time you go to eat. Take this practice a step further and analyze your food log at the end of the week. Look for holes where you did not eat for hours, look at the foods you consistently eat and look at where improvements can be made. For example, did you go 6 hours between meals? Can you fit in some lean protein and fruit between those times? Use tools such as to log what you eat.

4. Have planned indulgences. Yes, you read that correctly. You should have an indulgence every now and then. Yet, indulgences should be completely understood that they are not consumed daily and don’t cap at 500 plus calories. Food is a great pleasure and should be thoroughly enjoyed in moderation.

5. Chug-a-lug some water and have a good bottle to do so. I recently purchased a water bottle that has a straw in it and I quickly learned that I significantly guzzle down more water while sitting at my desk and at home with the convenience of a straw. Figure out what works best for you to drink plenty of water. Being fully hydrated is great for your body and can help prevent the mistake of hunger when you are really thirsty.
Have a healthy and fit day!

Quote of the Day — 6/29

A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.
– Spanish Proverb

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What makes the Mediterranean diet work?

It’s been nearly 30 years since researchers first recognized the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is characterized by high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals, seafood and olive oil, along with a moderate amount of alcohol and relatively little meat and dairy. But apparently, they’ve never tried to figure out which of those components deserves the credit.

Now researchers from the University of Athens Medical School in Greece and the Harvard School of Public Health have examined the relative contribution of each of these foods and determined that moderate alcohol consumption plays the biggest role in reducing mortality. The results were published online Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.

The team analyzed dietary data collected from 23,349 Greeks 20 to 86 years old who filled out food surveys and were followed for an average of 8.5 years. Researchers controlled for factors such as age, sex, smoking status, amount of exercise and BMI.

Overall, they confirmed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet were healthier than those who didn’t. There were 652 deaths among the 12,694 people who didn’t follow the diet closely (a mortality rate of 5%) compared with 423 deaths among the 10,655 who did (for a 4% mortality rate).

Alcohol alone accounted for 24% of the total benefit, the researchers found. Most of that came in the form of wine consumed with meals.

Unlike with alcohol, none of the foods was associated with health outcomes in a statistically significant way – that is, the differences observed could have been due to chance. However, the researchers churned through the data and calculated that low meat consumption was responsible for 17% of the upside of following a Mediterranean diet. That was followed by 16% from high consumption of vegetables and 10% to 11% each from eating lots of fruits and nuts, olive oil and legumes. The amount of cereals, dairy products and seafood eaten didn’t appear to make much difference.

Reference click here — Karen Kaplan

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Treating Celiac Disease

The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. When a person is first diagnosed with celiac disease, the doctor usually will ask the person to work with a dietitian on a gluten-free diet plan. A dietitian is a health care professional who specializes in food and nutrition. Someone with celiac disease can learn from a dietitian how to read ingredient lists and identify foods that contain gluten in order to make informed decisions at the grocery store and when eating out.

Celiac disease is unrelated to other possible gastrointestinal conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease. For most people suffering from celiac disease, following this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage. Improvements begin within days of starting the diet. The small intestine is usually completely healed in 3 to 6 months in children and younger adults and within 2 years for older adults. Completely healed means a person now has villi that can absorb nutrients from food into the bloodstream.

In order to stay well, people with celiac disease must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives. Eating any gluten, no matter how small an amount, can damage the small intestine. The damage will occur in anyone with the disease, including people without noticeable symptoms. Depending on a person’s age at diagnosis, some problems will not improve, such as delayed growth, tooth discoloration, and the presence of colon polyps, if any.

Some people with celiac disease show no improvement on the gluten-free diet. The condition is called unresponsive celiac disease. The most common reason for poor response is that small amounts of gluten are still present in the diet. Advice from a dietitian who is skilled in educating patients about the gluten-free diet is essential to achieve best results.

Rarely, the intestinal injury will continue despite a strictly gluten-free diet. People in this situation have severely damaged intestines that cannot heal. Because their intestines are not absorbing enough nutrients, they may need to directly receive nutrients into their bloodstream through a vein (intravenously). People with this condition may need to be evaluated for complications of the disease. Researchers are now evaluating drug treatments for unresponsive celiac disease. For additional information on treating celiac disease and colon cancer prevention, please contact your local gastrointestinal specialists.

Reference click here
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Wednesday’s Weigh-In

Now more than one month into my Biggest Losers Couples Challenge contest, I’ve budged my scale to read a lower number! I was so excited that I basically hopped right off the scale in case it was note a true weight. However, I did step back on to confirm.

I give all of the credit to my new weight loss weapon and focus in the last week. I’ve grown my liking to running again (I feel off that wagon after my last half marathon in April) and I purchased a water bottle with a straw. Yes, the straw is crucial to mention. I’ve been stating I need to drink more water since my New Year’s resolution and now with my new device, I guzzle more than ever before.

I’d love to hear and please tell — what is your secret to weight loss?

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Advice For Office Eating

If you’re someone who regularly eats at your desk, stay healthy by following these food safety tips from the American Dietetic Association.

Keep Your Cool:
Most desktop diners bring perishable food items for lunch, including sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and leftovers, which can spoil if left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. Help your brown bag go the distance by storing it in the office fridge as soon as you get to work. No fridge at work? Pack your lunch in an insulated lunch bag and put in an ice pack to keep foods cold.

Follow Fridge Safety:
Most perishable foods have a shelf life of just three to five days, so don’t wait for the clean-up crew to throw out your leftovers. Label and date your food and make sure to toss it in a timely fashion. Manage the Microwave: Be courteous when microwaving meals by keeping food containers covered. And if food splatters, wipe down the microwave immediately while the food is still easy to remove.

Avoid Corporate Sponging:
A damp, smelly sponge is a clear sign that harmful bacteria are lurking inside and simply rinsing a sponge with water isn’t enough to keep it clean. Don’t use the kitchen sponge if it’s not replaced frequently. Instead, use paper towels and always wash dishes in hot, soapy water to keep bacteria at bay.

Tools of the Trade:
Stock up on these essential food safety desk supplies:
Hand sanitizer
Disinfectant wipes or paper towels and spray cleanser
Office refrigerator or insulated lunch bag with freezer pack
Labels for leftovers

Produced by ADA’s Public Relations Team

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Live Your Life

Not Your Lifestyle.

This post comes about from two perspectives. As I type away to the Killers song, Human (great song), I only find myself as fortunate. A relative passed away this week, unexpectedly, and while I did not make it home for any unplanned holiday since Christmas, I am disappointed I did not get to spend more time with him, but I know I am blessed to of had him in my life and lucky that I have a supportive family and group of friends. Not everyday are we drawn to think about how short life can be, especially one that we don’t live every day. Be excited about the present.

This blog post was suppose to be an update on my BLCC (Biggest Loser Couples Challenge) and I am sad to say that the scale did not waver in my favor. But — it’s OK. I had a great week; well up to this point. I had a cookout over the weekend, planned and participated in a surprise birthday party and enjoyed Sunday outside.

Live your life. Not your lifestyle.

To live your life everyday, we need to live in the moment. If you’ve read my past postings, you know my thinking on food in that it is one of the best pleasures in life. Each day, really enjoy the food you eat.

This is something called Mindful Eating. This practice focuses on the present moment rather than habitual and unsatisfying behaviors. Learn more about mindful eating and you can improve your stress, possible anxieties and your relationship with food.

Environmental Nutrition has provided nine steps for thinking through your food:
1. Imagine that when you are eating it’s the first time you’ve experienced the food. AKA – don’t done it in point 5.2 seconds.
2. Take one piece of food and analyze. Notice the texture, smell, color, etc.
3. Bring it to your nose and lips. Notice memories and thoughts, regarding the food.
4. Put it in your mouth. Notice the initial taste, texture, sensations, and more.
5. Bite and chew the food slowly.
6. Swallow food and think about the path of the food from your mouth to your stomach.
7. Think about what is going on with the food.
8. Eat the second bite, just as the first. Enjoy it.
9. Consider how this experience with your food is different from past habits with eating.

Have a healthy and fit day!

Tipping the Scale in My Favor

I am participating in a Biggest Losers Couples Challenge (BLCC) and I must say it is motivating! If you are having a hard time committing to a weight loss plan, then get a group together, pick a day to weigh in and collect money so there can be an incentive to stay inspired. My BLCC group consists of 22 people and we have a Google doc where we upload our numbers weekly. My first weigh in for the match was pleasing, I lost 2.5 pounds. Since then, that darn number has not moved. Am I frustrated? Not really. I know I have been cutting corners due to stress, lack of sleep, traveling and more. So as I look forward to the week ahead of me, I know exactly what I need to pay attention to and changes that need to be made.

This is a sample of what I will be focusing on foe the next seven days:

  • When I sense stress coming at work, home, etc, I need to step back and relax, breath and move on. (Easier said than done, right?!)
  • I need to drink a certain quantity of water. Before I was just drinking water when I was thirsty, but now I need to step it up a notch and set goals.
  • I need to really push myself during my workouts. Not every day but more often than I have in the last two weeks.
  • I need savor my treats. I have been doing better but when I have a meal or treat I really like, I eat it way too fast!
  • I need to sometimes skip dessert. I was for awhile going cold turkey and not touching anything too indulgent but in the last two weeks I have been eating desserts but in smaller portions. Treats included: mini Twix bars and mini Snickers, etc. I get these candies at work, which is awesome, but I don’t love them. What I need to do for the next week is buy some delicious dark chocolate and have one square every other day, or so.
  • I NEED to start taking my lunch break and walk outside for 15 minutes or so. Breaks are good and can even help me focus in my work more but it’s tough to initially step away.

I will work my hardest and stay positive. I will post again on my BLCC challenges next Wednesday and I hope to bring good news. Wish me luck!

Have a healthy and fit day!