When I was studying nutrition in college almost 20 years ago I was taught that people with diabetes need to consume fewer carbohydrates than the rest of us. Carbs, we were taught, spike glucose levels in diabetics and cause their disease to progress.
Well, that was 20 years ago, and it still isn't working. I've met too many people to count who have tried that, and still find their diabetes to be worsening.
Maybe that's because we're focusing on the wrong thing. At least, that's what today's research shows.
A study published this month in the journal Diabetes Care found that adults who ate the most protein had over twice the risk of becoming diabetic over the 10 years they were tracked. They found vegetable protein to be unrelated to diabetes, but animal protein was.
Which makes so much sense, since animal protein comes with diabetes-causing compounds like cholesterol and saturated fat, which cause cell membranes to become less permeable to insulin and glucose. Population groups who consume the most animal protein (dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry and fish), also tend to have the highest rates of diabetes - and heart disease to boot.
Of course, carbs are still important. High fiber, unprocessed plant-based carbs like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nut and seeds all need to be consumed on a regular basis, and processed foods limited.
So the recipe for avoiding, or reversing, diabetes? More plant-based foods (like beans, lentils and nuts for protein), and less animal-derived protein. It's just that simple!
Surprise, eating a high fiber diet protects against Type II diabetes! It really does.
Fresh from the Journal of Nutrition (Vol. 140, No. 1, 68-74, January 2010):
Researchers followed over 75,000 men and women aged 45-75 years old for 14 years. At the end of the research period, 8587 participants had been diagnosed with diabetes. When comparing the diets of diabetics with non-diabetics, researchers found men who consumed the most fiber to be 25% less likely to develop diabetes. Women who consumed the most fiber were also significantly less likely to become diabetic.
The good news is that what we put into our bodies is so powerful. The bad news is that what we put in our bodies is also so powerful.
Good thing high fiber foods are so easy to eat.
1 cup black beans cooked - 15 grams fiber
1 cup pistachios - 14 grams
1 cup almonds - 14 grams
1 russet potato with skin - 5 grams
1 small sweet potato - 5 grams
1 avocado - 7 grams
5 cups popcorn (small bowl) - 6 grams
1 cup split pea soup - 6 grams
1 cup lentils - 15 grams
1 apple - 4 grams
1 cup oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and flaxseed - 8 grams
(see my book Free to Eat - www.fiber-girl.com - for full list of foods)
On my last post the video link didn't show - so here it is if you missed out on the 20 Second Challenge.
I've got a new video out for a new year and a new decade. Don't worry, this one's much shorter, easier to hear, and I think it's much funnier - especially the last line!
I'm calling it the 20 Second Challenge and I bet you can guess why -
Please pass it along to all the folks you know... take my Challenge, and join the Fast Tract Hall of Fame!
I am crazy about spices. Spices of all kinds are natural preservatives for food, but better yet, they contain LOADS of antioxidant properties. All the pungent flavor from spices actually is derived from compounds that act as antioxidants, preventing chronic diseases.
But here's something I didn't know. Apparently, spices like turmeric can also prevent fat cells from growing.
Researchers from my Alma Mater, Tufts University, recently published a study in the Journal of Nutrition showing a substance found in turmeric called curcumin prevents growth of new fat tissue in mice. In addition, mice receiving curcumin had lower cholesterol levels and less fat in their livers when compared to mice eating the same amount of food.
Now, before you go out and buy more turmeric, please know that this particular spice has been studied more than most. I believe many spices contain similar properties as turmeric, which is why I am a proponent of consuming "ethnic" foods, which traditionally contain many herbs and spices.
If you haven't already heard about my favorite source for recipes with spice, it's Jennifer Brewer. Visit her at www.NourishingNutrition.com.