Diabetes Seminar Misinformation

I recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar on Diabetes and the Diabetic Diet. I was amazed at the information, or I should say misinformation, that was presented.

Misinformation: I learned that insulin was produced in the liver and stored in the pancreas.

Reality: Insulin is produced in the pancreas, specifically in the islets of Langerhans.

Misinformation: I learned that diabetics should just count carbs and then take their blood sugar 1 to 2 hours after they eat and then adjust their insulin injection accordingly.

Reality: One of the benefits of the Zone diet is that it keeps the glucose levels stable and steady over the course of the day, so the body minimizes the surge of glucose. This in turn, helps control the amount of injectible insulin that insulin dependent diabetics need to counteract the glucose load. Insulin dependent diabetics should be aware of and educated about the risks and side effects of insulin.

Misinformation: I learned that glycemic index and glycemic load were too complicated to mess with so just counting carbs would be okay.

Reality: Glycemic index and glycemic load are very important in understanding the metabolism of carbohydrates. This is not really complicated once you learn the basics. There are many resources available on this subject. Zone Nutrition books are a good source for this information, as well as FormulaZone.Com, where every recipe is computed to reflect the glycemic load of the recipe.

Misinformation: I learned that a breakfast of 1/2 cup of cheerios, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 banana and a small glass of orange juice was a good diabetic breakfast. (no fat you know!)

Reality: Most processed breakfast cereals tend to be higher glycemic. The milk is okay, in fact 2% milk is a balanced food in and of itself. The banana is a high glycemic fruit. The orange juice has a higher glycemic rating than a fresh orange, because the juice is refined down from the orange’s natural state and is digested quicker, entering the blood stream faster because there is less fiber to slow down the process. Some good fat actually is essential to maintain hormonal balance by affecting the production of super hormones called eicosanoids, which have a direct impact on insulin levels.

Misinformation: I learned that hydrogenated oils were oils that were infused with hydrogen, as an example, olive oil, and that made them shelf stable.

Reality: Hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils (omega-6) to which hydrogen and metals have been applied under high heat. This process changes the molecular structure of the oil, thus creating a man made oil which is indeed shelf stable. However, they neglected to tell us that they are also responsible for 30,000 premature deaths per year. These trans fats stay in the body cells and impair function for up to 51 days.

Misinformation: And, I learned that a diabetic should eat low fat.

Reality: Good fat is an important part of a healthy diet. Although fat has no direct effect on insulin, it does play a major role in the production of eicosanoids which do help control insulin. Fat also slows digestion, allowing the gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, which further controls the amount of insulin produced in response to glucose levels. Fat also aids in controlling hunger.

The Best Reality: An Actual Case Study

I have a client whose blood sugars were fluctuating from 40’s to 300’s in the same day. After a week in the Zone he eliminated the need for insulin and is maintained on oral agents. His blood sugars stabilized in the 130’s. After 3 weeks in the Zone his blood sugars are running consistently in the 120’s, unless he falls out of the Zone. The interesting thing about him is that in this short amount of time, he now KNOWS when he is out of the Zone and he can pinpoint the problem food and correct it with the next meal.

The more “homework” I do, the more I realize that Zone Nutrition simply makes sense. It not only helps combat obesity, but also helps reverse the effects of a myriad of other health threatening conditions, diabetes included.

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