For Your Health
Diabetes on the rise – time for a food intervention!
Your “healthy” diet could be diabetes waiting to happen
-Meredith Sobel, sobelwellness.com
Diabetes affects one in 12 New Yorkers. Let’s face it: That’s more than a million people. I’d say that is a lot. I imagine you know more than 12 people? So, chances are you know at least one diabetic. Perhaps you are diabetic, or maybe a friend or a neighbor is. Diabetes is occurring more and more in children, and kids as young as 10 years old are being given diagnoses of what was once called adult-onset diabetes. Why is this?
Does it have something to do with our diet and our lifestyle? Perhaps. Let’s consider this:
Breakfast: bagel and low-fat cream cheese, coffee with skim milk and two sugar packets
Lunch: tuna sandwich on white, rye or whole wheat bread; a pickle; baked potato chips and maybe an apple
Dinner: chicken, baked potato, steamed asparagus
Snack: low-fat yogurt, such as Dannon Fruit on the Bottom, and 10 baby carrots or an apple, two to three Diet Cokes, coffee from Starbucks, maybe a skinny cappuccino or latte with sugar-free syrup
This is a great low-fat, low-calorie diet, isn’t it? It’s healthy! How could you possibly get diabetes eating this kind of diet? Well, let’s deconstruct it.
Bagel: usually made entirely with white or high-gluten flour. Half of an H&H bagel (for all you non-New Yorkers, H&H is a local bagel bakery) has 30 grams of carbohydrates. Not one of those carbs is fiber. Not one. The flour is basically going to turn into sugar in your body immediately. Seriously, tell me how often you actually have only one half? You know you are eating that whole bagel and all 60 grams of carbohydrates.
And what about low-fat cream cheese? I really hate low-fat dairy products. All they are is skim dairy with the fat added back, the oxidized, dangerous fat that raises our cholesterol. How is it possible that more research wasn’t done on this and we have foods on the market that are known to raise dietary cholesterol, and yet we still eat them (because we have drugs that will lower our cholesterol). So go on, eat your bagel and cream cheese, the drugs will save you, right? Wrong.
Now add a bit of stress to this situation, and you have already high levels of blood sugar and serum cholesterol. Add your bagel and coffee. Caffeine raises blood sugar again and overstimulates the adrenal glands. Oh dear, I don’t want to be sitting next to you on the subway.
Now, let’s move on to lunch. You have already had a carbolicious breakfast and now you are starving because that bagel basically became sugar in your blood fairly quickly. Also, your blood sugar levels probably raised and then lowered, and since you are now starving, you have a sandwich. More bread. Darling, unless you are having 100 percent whole-grain bread without yeast, you are just ingesting more sugar. Even if the bread is whole wheat, it still has white flour in it. That tuna is highly processed and probably from a farm or waters with a high mercury content. Also, unless you are making it yourself, it probably has high levels of mayonnaise and all kinds of other junk in it. Your snack of baked potato chips is equally high in carbohydrates that are high-glycemic. The apple is the healthiest thing in this lunch, except it’s probably from Washington state, and unless you live there, it’s probably been sprayed and stabilized. A better choice would be salmon with vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice. Steamed or sauteed spinach, broccoli or cauliflower would be a great side. You want to eat wild rather than farmed salmon whenever possible.
As for dinner, a chicken breast is usually boring, dry and has around six grams of fat. There are lean cuts of bison, venison, fish and even 100 percent grass-fed beef that come in at three grams of fat or less per four-ounce serving. Note that this is the proper serving size for meat at any meal. You are going to want to have fewer carbs at dinner to manage your blood-sugar levels and keep the higher carb meals to breakfast and lunch. Enjoy a salad with dinner or well-cooked vegetables and a small serving of whole grains or a sweet potato, if you feel as if you must have a grain. Limit desserts to after lunchtime meals. Have herbal teas in the evening to stave off the sweets craving.
The caffeine in your snacks is enough to destroy the adrenals and put them into a fatigue that might even shut them down completely. Besides, caffeine raises blood sugar. You really want to avoid caffeine if you’re a diabetic. Anyone looking to avoid diabetes should cut down on their caffeine. Really, have no more than one coffee a day, and switch to mineral water or diluted fruit juice -or just plain water. Also, the artificial sweeteners make you desire sweet foods even more, so stay away from them and, instead, rely on natural sweeteners such as agave nectar.