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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Normal Blood Glucose Levels and Lifestyle Behavior - Part 1

May 31, 2008

Normal blood glucose levels, how do we achieve them? Is there really life after a diagnosis of diabetes? This questions along with others are never far from my mind. My passion, and I am determined to accomplish this, is to show people how simple it really is. Let me try, okay?

1. Lessen or stop the consumption of sweetened drinks. Try not to drink any regular soda and fruit punch unless of course one is having a hypoglycemic episode when one of the treatment options is to drink regular soda. And keep fruit juice intake to just four ounces a day because they make the blood glucose levels go up quickly. Take a lesson from our experience. Thinking orange juice is healthy, we drank it like there was no tomorrow. And then after the diabetes diagnosis we found out that the orange juice we were buying had 37 grams of sugar. Yikes!

2. Speaking of hypoglycemia, manage it properly. This condition is a reading of low blood glucose level, as low as less than 70. The signs are sweating, weakness, excessive hunger, being irritable, trembling and confusion. Sometimes one may even lose consciousness. The treatment for this is to consume a fast-acting carbohydrate that is at least 15 grams. The examples of fast-acting carbohydrates in this case are four ounces of regular soda or apple or orange juice. Five lifesavers or three glucose tablets each containing five grams of carbohydrates or one ounce of raisins will also do the trick. Each of the aforementioned treatment options will usually raise the blood glucose level by 50 in fifteen minutes or so. Check the level then and if it is still below 70, then the treatment can be repeated. If it persists and there is another health concern, one may have to see a doctor.

3. The schedule for both meal times and insulin injection has to match. The health care provider will help in determining the type of insulin to inject with the meal scheduling. For example there are fast-acting insulin that one can take half an hour before meals. But there are even faster acting ones one can take right before a meal.

This is getting too long and readers may get bored reading this so what I will do is write about other lifestyle behaviors that contribute to normal blood glucose levels next week. For clarity sake, I will put Part 1 on the title of this blog,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Myths on Weight Loss

May 20, 2008

Myths on weight loss? Yes, that’s right; they’re all over the place. You won’t believe all they’re saying. Now that we understand the math on weight gain, perhaps, we’re ready to check out the myths surrounding around this very issue.

Here’s one. “I can’t lose weight because my metabolism is slow.” Let’s start with defining what metabolism is. It refers to the amount of energy we burn while we are at rest. The bigger the people are, the higher their metabolic rate is. As we get older, our metabolism rate drops. This is when we limit our activities and lose the muscle mass.

Mind you, it’s true that some people have slow metabolism but this is not common. It is more like the exception rather than the rule. This may explain their weight loss as in the case of a person who has hyperthyroidism. These people spend a lot of energy.

What is surprising to some is that weight loss can lower one’s metabolism rate. This we can understand because the smaller we are, the less food we need. That is why some people who go on a diet of course have some kind of weight loss. And because their metabolism has gone down they may not reach their goal.

So what do they do? In order to reach their desired goal, they will need to eat less to reduce the calories. Some just have to increase their physical activity. This is what is recommended by most weight loss programs. Increase the level of exercise in order to reach the goal of weight loss.

Here’s another myth. I eat like a bird; why am I gaining weight? This is like saying the dog ate my homework. The only way to have weight loss is to eat less food containing less energy and we are spending less of this energy than we are putting in.

So the only way to gain weight is to eat more food with more energy and to move less thus spending less of the energy we brought into our body. It is impossible therefore to eat like a bird and gain weight at the same time. We know very well, that we underestimate the amount we eat. I know I am guilty as charged.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gain Weight, Can We Avoid It?

To gain weight is something people want to avoid as much as possible. We have all kinds of excuses, do we not? I lost my diet during the holidays is one of them. I got so busy, I didn't have time to exercise. But really the real culprit is... calories!

The thing is we need a certain amount of food in order to survive. We do not want to join the almost cult-like group whose members are dying to be thin. The trouble is, overabundance is a problem. So to address the issue of avoiding food so as not to gain weight, gives us this question: Are we eating to live? Or are we living to eat?

The fuel that runs the body comes from food. We need it in order to be able to work, think, play and in all the other things we have to do. The question is we take in more fuel than we need. The extra fuel in the car sits there until we use it but the extra fuel we have is stored in our body as fat. Bummer, why can't it just sit there until we need it?

This really is the simple math on why we gain weight. Fuel in minus fuel out is equals zero if the activities use up the same amount of fuel that was taken in from all that eating of the meal plan we did. So we have to make sure there is no imbalance between these two. It can't be any simpler than that.

This fuel brought into the body is burned from all the daily processes in the body even if we are at rest to keep the body working like the beating of the heart, maintaining body temperature and all the work that the different parts of the body have to do. We need around 2000 calories for these even if we're just watching TV all day long.

We also need 50 to 100 calories spent just to be eating. We really need these calories for everything we do, even just for walking to the fridge, opening it and getting the food out. And more calories are needed for more strenuous physical activity like jogging or swimming.

So when we have more energy coming in than the energy going out to maintain the bodily functions, what do you suppose happens? Simple, we just gain weight. So if we decide to take the car to go to the store that is just a few blocks away or take the elevator rather than use the stairs, then we are just spending around 100 fewer calories a day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Diabetes Forecast: We're Vulnerable Due to Our Lifestyle - Part 7

Diabetes forecast was not difficult to comprehend. Look at how the diabetes statistics multiplied. Globally, there were 30 million diabetics in 1985. That number has exponentially risen to 177 million in 2000. And now the prediction is not any better: 370 million by 2030.

Some of the diabetes forecast we do not totally understand. There are uncertainties there, so the doubting Thomases will assert. More research is needed to fully assess the relation between diet and health. The same is true with the long term effects of childhood diets.

Being able to afford the western cuisine which used to be available only to the well-heeled is certainly a mixed blessing. Why? Because the fat in these diets are singularly blamed for the increasing obesity in the developed world. So now because the diabetes forecast is so dire, they’re scrambling to make cuisines healthier.

Can you believe the food pyramid is wrong? Apparently, they have led us down the garden path. The 1992 food pyramid told us to minimize oils and fats as if they were the devils that all were not. For now we know that some fats are healthy and are essential for health. That left the food pyramid due for a general overhaul.

The old food pyramid also told us to consume six to eleven servings daily of complex carbohydrates including potatoes. But now they’re finding out that a boiled potato raises the blood glucose level more than consuming the same amount of calories from sugar at the table.

Because potatoes are mostly starch, they easily metabolize to glucose. The quick rise in blood glucose stimulates insulin. The high levels of insulin and blood glucose can negatively affect the cardiovascular health, reducing the good cholesterol and raising the triglyceride levels.

Wow! That is quite a revelation. Now I feel guilty for eating all those potatoes that I thought were the most complete food, nutrient-wise, only second to milk. No wonder the diabetes epidemic is on the rise. So what do we do now?

Well, the new food pyramid is an improvement in the sense that it is saying that some fats are worse than others but and here is the big but: it regards both the trans and saturated fats the same way when some are two times more harmful. So what will this do to the diabetes forecast? I leave that to you to decide.