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meowee 04-16-2008 02:00 PM

Magic Foods
Hi everybody . . . :grouphug: . . . I'm Linda and I usually post in the Diabetes Forum. However, I recently read a book that so caught my attention that I thought a lot of us could benefit from the information it contained. After some PM discussions with Jennifer of the PCOS/Insulin Resistance Forum, we decided this would probably be the best place for a review.

The book is called Magic Foods for Better Blood Sugar and was written by Robert A. Barnett, Christine L. Pelkman, and Densie Webb. It caught my eye because I was familiar with another book that Mr. Barnett co-authored.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to attempt a fairly in-depth review by adding to this thread on a more or less daily basis. So I do hope you won't get too bored seeing my cat, Purrecious, and her semi-sarcastic look peeking out at you from my Avatar. :lol:

Before we actually discuss the Magic Foods of which there are over 50 reviewed in the book, we need to set a little background information in place . . . so for today's chapter . . . let's discuss the connection between several of today's worst health challenges and roller-coaster bood sugar levels . . .

meowee 04-16-2008 02:11 PM

The Latest Epidemic
Guess What – It’s no longer just those with Diabetes; those with Insulin Resistance (Pre-Diabetes), or those with PCOS that need to watch their blood sugar levels – it’s now pretty much everybody. Our modern diet contains far too much fast acting carbohydrate in the form of white sugar, white rice, white flour (are you beginning to see a pattern here?) and all those highly-refined, fast acting, (also known as high GI, high GL) foodstuffs that are causing our blood sugar levels to be on a constant roller-coaster ride. So . . . if you don’t have any of those little nasties mentioned in the first paragraph; why worry . . . right? . . . WRONG! . . not only does the constantly bouncing ball of blood sugar instability lead to Diabetes; it also contibutes to Heart Attack; serious Depression; Early onset Senile Dementia; several types of Cancer (particularly Colon/Rectal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, and Prostate Cancer); and, of course, just plain old weight gain.

One of the newer epidemics sweeping North America (and much of the rest of the world too) is a little thing called METABOLIC SYNDROME. Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of risk factors, closely connected with the sugar roller coaster, that very quickly leads to so many of those above noted nasties that we’d all like to avoid.

Do you have Metabolic Syndrome??? If you have three of the following five major indicators, you very likely do . . .
Central Obesity – a waist size more than 40 inches (102 cm) for men; more than 35 inches (88 cm) for women – regardless of whether you are overweight or not. The infamous “Apple” shape.
HighTriglycerides – above 150 (US scale) or 1.7 (just about everybody else’s scale).
Low HDL Cholesteral – lower than 40 (US men) or 50 (US women) – for other parts of the world; that’s lower than 1.00 for men and 1.30 for women) -- this is the good stuff, so higher is better.
High Blood Pressure – higher than 130/85 (hey, the same scale all over).
High Fasting Blood Glucose Levels– higher than 110 (US) or 6.0 (elsewhere) after you have not eaten for 6 to 8 hours.

Things are beginning to sound pretty familiar and pretty frightening aren’t they. :( Can you do anything about the situation. Yes you can . . . lots. You can help to prevent those diseases if you haven’t already contracted them and you can help to control them if you already have. HOW . . . the answer, of course, lies in controlling that Blood Sugar Roller Coaster ride by lowering the Glycemic (sugar) Load provided by all those highly processed, fast acting carbohydrates in your diet – and for a nice little bonus, you’ll also probably lose some weight.

That's what this book is all about and the MAGIC FOODS That we all need to incorporate into (or try to anyway) really do work so fast and so well at lowering those blood sugar levels it is almost magical.

Tomorrow . . . Glycemic Index / Glycemic Load . . . hope to see you then. :wave:

KateB 04-16-2008 02:17 PM

hmmmmmmm...kinda teasing us by not telling us the "Magic Foods" up front.

:oSorry I am always looking for instant gratification!!!

The book sounds very interesting though!!

meowee 04-16-2008 02:24 PM

:lol: That's Purrecious for you . . . she's a sneaky little cat. Actually the list is so long, it would just get lost.

Stick around . . . I hope you'll find it worth your time. :yes:

yoyonomoreinvegas 04-16-2008 02:39 PM

Ooh, ooh - does it say anything in there about artificial sweeteners?

meowee 04-16-2008 02:49 PM

Not really . . . because they do not raise Blood Sugar Levels since they do not contain significant digestible carborhydrate (any other 'problems' with them are an entirely different matter and not discussed in this book).

BTW, there is a big difference between the powdered artifical sweeteners and the sugar alcohols (related to neither sugar nor alcohol). The SAs do contain varying amounts of true carbohydrate and can have an impact on blood sugar.

The ADA and CDA (American and Canadian Diabetes Associations) do not require that artifical sweeteners be counted but they do require that 1/2 of the carbs present in SAs be considered.

meowee 04-17-2008 09:06 AM

Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL)
Carbohydrates used to be (prior to the 1980’s) classed only as “simple” (sugars) -- or “complex” (starches) and it was thought all sugars would raise your blood sugar far faster than any starches.

In 1981, Dr. David Jenkins developed a new system for looking at carbohydrates and the impact they have on blood sugar. He called his method the Glycemic Index (GI) and this has now become the standard against which carbohydrates are measured. Dr. Jenkins had volunteers eat different foods, each containing 50 grams of useable or available carbohydrates (net carbs, after deducting the amount of fibre which is not digested), and then measured each individual’s blood sugar level numerous times over the next two hours to see what happened. Pure glucose (which is the form of sugar indentical to blood sugar was used as a control and given the number of 100. The test food was then assigned a GI depending on how it raised the blood sugar as compared to the glucose control. The GI measures the blood sugar raising “quality” of the food. A GI of 55 or less is considered low; 56 to 69 is moderate; 70 or more is high.

If there was a flaw in the GI findings it was the fact that the GI is based on 50 grams of net carb of each food. For example -- Jelly Beans have a GI of 78. We all know they are almost straight sugar and not exactly a health food; especially if compared to a nice hunk of watermelon or similar fruit. Well, Watermelon has a GI of 76. Hmmmmm. :dizzy: Hence the Glycemic Load (GL) was developed. The GL is simply a mathematical way to equate the GI to normal serving sizes – the formula is GI x net carb in the serving size / 100. Back to the jelly beans and the watermelon. For the JBs, the serving size was determined to be about 1 oz (that’s not a lot; most people want more) and the GL is 22. For the Watermelon, a serving size is about 1.5 cups of cubes (and that’s a good amount for most of us) and the GL is 9. Which do you think would be more filling? The GL considers both “quality” and “quantity”. A GL of 10 or less is low; 11 to 19 is moderate; 20 or more is high.

Tomorrow – Apples and Avacodos – the first of our Magic Foods - finally she's actually going to talk about food ;).

carolr3639 04-17-2008 10:18 AM

Oh, this is so interesting. I have just been reading old posts here about the GI diet and have personal experience recently greatly lowering by intake of bread, potatoes, sweets, etc. I just feel a lot better.........less aches and pains. Looking forward to you posts each day. Thanks.

Jennifer 3FC 04-17-2008 09:53 PM

I'm looking very forward to this, Meowee! Thank you so much for leading the discussion. :broc:

Ilene 04-17-2008 11:05 PM

Oh, I am loving this too Meowee.... I'm looking forward to Apples and Avacodos :hun:

cottagebythesea 04-18-2008 06:00 AM

Thanks so much for this important discussion, Meowee. It sure is an eye-opener!

KateB 04-18-2008 09:37 AM

This sounds like the plan my dietician is using with me. Only you are explaining it much better than she does!! Very interesting thread!!!

meowee 04-18-2008 12:39 PM

Thank you KATE . . . :hug:

meowee 04-18-2008 12:58 PM

Apples and Avocados
The impact a carbohydrate will have on blood sugar (and consequently it’s GI/GL values) is, basically, determined by the speed with which the carb is digested or broken down into glucose (and other components) to allow for absorption and use in the body. The slower the digestion of the carbs, the lower the spike in blood sugar levels and the more gentle and more gradual the return to normal levels and the lower the GI. The faster the food is digested, the faster the glucose hits your bloodstream; the higher the level spikes, and the faster and deeper it drops again, and the higher the GI.

Obviously the amount of carbohydrate in the food has a big impact on this little roller coaster routine, but numerous other things have an impact too. The first of these -- the amount of Fibre or Fat the food contains -- is well illustrated by our first two MAGIC FOODS

APPLES – GI of 38/GL of 6 (for an average sized apple) -- contain lots of Pectin, a form of Soluble Fibre. Soluble Fibre binds with the food in the stomach and intestines and slows the rate of absorption and consequently the rate that the carbohydrate in the apple is converted to glucose. Apples have a few other benefits too – they’re loaded with antioxidant flavonoids which are believed to reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease. They really are as good for you as you’ve heard all your life. :yes:

Apple Menu Magic -- For the best bang for your buck, make sure you eat whole unpeeled fruit and steer clear of apple juice. You can add sliced apple to a sandwich; chop an apple into your oatmeal (another Magic Food); mix apple into your yogurt (yep, that’s another one); smear on a little peanut butter (yes; it’s Magic too).

Next on the list -- AVOCADOS – Yes, technically they are a fruit and yes, they are high in fat, very high in fat (but it is mostly good monounsaturated fat). They are so high in fat that neither a GI or GL for them can be measured since they have so little impact on blood sugar levels, and that is pretty unusual for a fruit. This is also true for lemons and limes but for a different reason. (We will get to them :D) For the Avocado it is because Fat empties from the stomach much more slowly than carbs do. Consequently, the higher the fat content, the more slowly the food is digested. Fat does have to be consumed carefully, of course. It’s very high in calories and too much of the wrong kinds of fat may definitely lead to other health problems. Avocados are also very rich in sterols which lower cholesterol and they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Ounce for ounce they have more potassium than bananas.

Avocado Menu Magic – an acceptable serving size for Avocado is about 2 Tbsp, or about ¼ of a small one -- add chunks to salad; mash it and use it as a spread on your high fibre, whole grain (magic food) bread; drizzle it with a little lemon juice (more Magic) and eat it out of hand instead of a hunk of high saturated fat cheese; and of course, the classic Guacamole makes a great dip with any number of (Magic) vegetables.

Next – Barley, Beans, Berries, Bran -- See you later. :wave:

Indychick829 04-18-2008 02:18 PM

Wow This is an AWESOME thread! Thanks and i look forward to reading more!

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