Posts in: Diabetes

Diabetes Myths

Posted in: Diabetes // 1227 Comments

By Shannon Pulusan

Diabetes isn’t an airborne disease. It’s not contagious through physical contact. Each bite of your favorite chocolate bar isn’t necessarily a bite closer to diabetes. Even those who never indulge in sweets, who maintain a healthy weight, who exercise three times a week can genetically carry diabetes.

With approximately 8.3% of the U.S. population diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to get our facts straight about the disease. To avoid misconceptions, here are some diabetes myths debunked.

  1. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
    Often times, people associate your favorite sweets to diabetes. Ever hear someone says “Don’t buy that candy! It’s a bag of diabetes!”? Though too much of anything is a dangerous habit, diabetes isn’t simply caused by one indulgence. Type I diabetes stems from genetics and environmental factors while Type II occurs when cells are resistant to insulin. To avoid Type II diabetes, be sure to limit your sweet indulgences and maintain healthy eating and exercise.
  2. Only diabetics require insulin.
    Insulin is necessary for diabetics and non-diabetics alike to maintain the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas enabling sugar to enter the cells for energy. While healthy individuals produce the right amount of insulin required for the body, diabetics either produce too little or none at all. Patients use insulin pumps or insulin injections to get the ample amount of this essential hormone.
    While we’re on the topic, insulin is not a cure for diabetes.
  3. Diabetes isn’t a serious life-threatening disease.
    We wish this was a true statement. However, according to the American Diabetes Association, “diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.” In fact, diabetes is strongly linked to stroke and heart disease.
    To avoid these complications and statistics, diabetics are advised to manage a routine of healthy dieting and exercise.
  4. You can outgrow diabetes.
    Unfortunately, diabetes does not simply disappear. In Type I, the immune system destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Patients must depend on insulin to facilitate pancreatic functions. Though Type II diabetes is manageable with healthy eating and exercise, patients will always have a tendency towards having high blood sugar levels.
  5. Only people who are overweight or obese are diagnosed with diabetes.
    Unfortunately, diabetes does not simply disappear. In Type I, the immune system destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Patients must depend on insulin to facilitate pancreatic functions. Though Type II diabetes is manageable with healthy eating and exercise, patients will always have a tendency towards having high blood sugar levels.

To find out the reality of diabetes beyond common myths, visit American Diabetes Association – Diabetes Myths .

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Swapping Sweets for Sweets

Posted in: Diabetes, Healthy Eating // 3958 Comments

By Shannon Pulusan

Although desert and veggies occupy opposite ends of the food pyramid, sweetness does not always have to be in the form of chocolate. If your sweet tooth demands candy or decadent treats, consider fresh fruit. Consider an orange’s citrus flavor and tang. Consider flavored water over sugary drinks. Being aware of the alternatives to junk food is essential to a health-conscious lifestyle. The decision to swap sweets for nutritious sweets is a good habit to develop, and the body will be more than grateful for the self-control.

Here is a list of sweet substitutes that satisfy our cravings without consequence:

  • Fruit. The natural sugars of fruit are meant for the body. Crave this fresh sweetness without worry. From bananas to apples to berries, there is no such thing as a bad fruit. It is recommended to consume at least four servings of fruit a day to provide the essential vitamins and nutrients for the body.
  • Dried Fruit. If fresh produce is too messy for your on-the-go lifestyle, try dried fruit. Be sure to check the product packaging to avoid dried fruits coated with refined sugar. Uncertain if your dried fruit of choice is a healthy alternative to candy? Check out: 12 Healthiest Dried Fruits .
  • Granola. This type of cereal is high in fiber and rich in oats and wheat. Commonly mixed with nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, granola can help lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. Just like cereal, some granola bars may be high in sugar content. Check packaging and consume the suggested serving size to enjoy a healthy snack.
  • Frozen Yogurt. Instead of ice cream, cool down with frozen yogurt. This snack is a low-fat alternative to the creamy treat we crave. Rich in vitamins and nutrients, frozen yogurt isn’t simply an emotional indulgence like ice cream. Frozen yogurt is, in fact, beneficial to the body.

Tip for Diabetics: Diabetics must be conscious about their blood sugar levels especially when approaching the snack aisle. Processed snacks, baked goods, and margarine are products diabetics should be weary of in their daily diets. This does not mean that the occasional slice of cake or pieces of chocolate are absolutely off-limits. However, during these sweet indulgences, diabetics should prioritize a healthy diet and exercise routine to maintain insulin sensitivity.

Photo provided by Free Digital Photos

Tea Time

Posted in: Diabetes, Healthy Eating // 377 Comments

By Shannon Pulusan

Second best to water, tea is the most widely consumed drink across the globe. Originating as a medicinal remedy in ancient China, tea has evolved into a soothing drink of subtle flavor appropriate for every season. Many cultures honor a daily tea time. In the U.K., black tea with milk and sugar is fancied among hosts and their guests. Southeast Asians maintain traditional tea ceremonies. Here in the South, we enjoy our tall glasses of iced tea.

Though we all have our preferences, our bodies experience the most benefits of tea in its purist form. Medical studies have given us more reasons to cherish tea time as a simple serving of green tea, black tea, and oolong tea possess antioxidative properties to protect against inflammation and carcinogens in the body. Green tea, in particular, is especially abundant with flavonoids such as EGCG that reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, clogged arteries, and Type II diabetes. In fact, a cup of tea contains more antioxidants than a single serving of any fruit or vegetable!

For diabetics, drinking a serving or two of tea daily is encouraged. Tea improves insulin sensitivity and releases unwanted toxins from the body. To prevent a rise of blood sugar resulting from stress, tea acts as a relaxing counter to help maintain psychological stability. Though tea is not a cure for diabetes, it is a natural remedy to restore balance within the body. By combining tea consumption with exercise and a healthy diet, diabetics and non-diabetics alike can receive the maximum amount of benefits to live vigorously.

Here are some tea tips to keep in mind:

  • Hold the milk and sugar! Research has determined that milk inhibits the necessary chemicals in tea and makes them unavailable to the body.
  • Keep it homemade. Processed teas may be easier and more convenient for consumers, but personally prepared teas carry the most antioxidants. This applies to iced teas as well. Hot brewed teas that are chilled are more likely to contain more antioxidants than store-bought drinks.
  • A small helping of caffeine. In comparison to coffee which contains at least 95mg of caffeine, one serving of tea averages from 14-61mg. For some, it may not be enough of a wakeup call.
  • Green tea, green tea, green tea. Among all the teas, green teas’ medical benefits are more documented. It has the highest concentration of EGCG while teas like black tea do not contain this helpful flavonoid.

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