Foods containing inulin help lower insulin resistance

Can chicory root fiber help control blood glucose? An increasing number of studies appear to validate this finding, along with related health benefits. 

Chicory root extract is rich in inulin, a soluble, prebiotic fiber used to bulk up the fiber content of low-calorie breads, cereals and energy bars. Inulin is also an excellent food source for Bifidobacteria, which inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria while providing numerous health benefits, such as stimulating the immune system and aiding in the synthesis of certain vitamins.

In a study published in November 2015 in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, a group of patients given inulin registered “a significant reduction in insulin resistance,” leading the study’s authors to write that inulin “may have unique metabolic effects that are of particular benefit to people at risk of diabetes.”

Chicory root fibers aren’t the only source of inulin, however. You can also get it by eating leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, wheat, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes and firm, just-ripened bananas.

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Proof you don’t have to take all the weight off to control your blood sugar

Vera in cooking class

Vera Richardson, shown here trying a cookie in a healthy cooking class, has transformed her life by losing 79 pounds. Though she’s still over 300 pounds, her blood sugar is now under control even though she’s using much less insulin.

Some people have so much weight to lose they have trouble getting started. It seems like too much work, knowing how long it will take them to reach their goal.

But losing even a small chunk of excess weight can make a big difference. Take the case of Vera Richardson, the subject of a recent newspaper column by Bonny’s co-author, Tanya Isch Caylor.

At 308 pounds, she’s still likely to be the most overweight person in any room she enters. But the 79 pounds she’s lost over the last year have literally transformed her life.

Her blood sugar’s gone from frequent 300-plus levels to readings in the normal range, even though she’s down to two daily insulin shots rather than five.

She has more energy, enough so that she’s started going to the YMCA to walk on the treadmill.

She’s even found a job — a big step for an intellectually disabled young woman who, just a year or two ago, was considered one of the most at-risk clients at Easterseals/Arc of Fort Wayne because of all her health problems.

Vera’s roommate Evelyn was carrying around an oxygen tank this time last year. Now 45 pounds lighter, she no longer needs it — even though she’s still about 50 pounds overweight. Her blood sugar is down in the 70-100 range now after typically soaring over 200 in the past, even though she’s down to one insulin shot per day instead of four.

Their new roommate, Mary, who’s only been with them a couple of months, has already lost nearly 20 pounds.

These women aren’t on a diet so much as simply trying to make healthy lifestyle changes. They’re cutting back to normal serving sizes at meal times, substituting fruit, nuts and protein go-packs for sweet treats at snack time, and going to the YMCA at least three days a week.

Granted, as clients of Easterseals, they have staff who provide advice and support. But they make their own decisions. If Vera wants an ice cream sundae, for instance, she talks it over with her house manager, who helps her review how long it’s been since her last sugary treat.

In the end, it’s Vera’s call. But now that she’s got some momentum going, consistently losing 2-3 pounds a week, “there’s no stopping her” says staff member Rachel Wehrwein.

You can read more about Vera and her roommates here. (The website will ask you to take a survey, but you can elect to skip it and go right to the article.)

Insulin costs affecting patients’ A1C

Here’s yet another reason for making aggressive lifestyle changes that can prevent diabetes, or at least hold it in check:  A study by scientists from Yale University has found that more than a fourth of people with diabetes who need insulin to control blood sugar fail to use the prescribed dosage because they can’t afford to buy a large enough supply of the drug.

The price of insulin has more than tripled since 2002, according to a study published April 2016 in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the Yale study, 199 insulin-using patients were asked if they ever used less insulin than prescribed or tried to make their insulin last longer between filling prescriptions.

More than a quarter reported that that they skimped on insulin because of price concerns. Those patients were three times more likely to have poor glycemic control as measured by A1C levels.

Shrinking liver fat may be key to reversing diabetes: Study

Science increasingly shows that weight loss can help reverse type 2 diabetes. A new study points to a decline in liver fat as a key step in that process.

Researchers at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom reported that patients who lost weight participating in a Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial saw their liver fat levels go from 16 percent (a very high level) down to a normal level of 3 percent. The results were presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 78th annual Scientific Sessions June 22-26 in Orlando, Fla.

“That change in hepatic fat content is associated with normalizing the export of fat from the liver and normalizing the fat content of the pancreas,” said Roy Taylor, M.D., a professor of medicine and metabolism at Newcastle University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. “We see beta cells wake up and begin producing normal levels of insulin again.”

Some participants in the study were put on a strict weight-loss diet limited to 800 calories a day, while others maintained their usual diets. All antidiabetic medications were withdrawn from both groups for the duration of the study. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was conducted on some patients to measure liver and pancreas fat.

After one year, the mean liver-fat loss among patients in the weight-loss group was 21.5 kilograms (23.14 pounds). Pancreatic fat and triglyceride levels fell to normal, Taylor said, while 37 of 53 patients (69.8 percent) whose A1C levels returned to normal also showed restored insulin response.

Diabetes is not a death sentence

Cemetery

This Memorial Day, let’s remember the 252,806 Americans who die each year as a result of diabetes.

The sad thing is, many of those deaths could have been prevented. Type 2 diabetes is not a death sentence, nor is it necessarily a progressive disease. More and more people are learning to control their blood sugar with diet and exercise. In the process, many of them end up healthier than they were BEFORE their diagnosis.

The holiday that marks the official beginning of summer is a great time to start.

Live your best life, in spite of diabetes. 

 

 

 

10 reasons why … exercise is the best medicine

exerciseasmedicine

 

  1. Its most common side effect is weight loss.
  2. A natural sleep aid.
  3. It’s free! (Or can be, anyway.)
  4. Slows the aging process.
  5. Gives your brain a boost.
  6. This ‘drug’ is never subject to recalls.
  7. Makes you happy.
  8. Improves your appearance.
  9. Reduces risk of heart disease and some cancers.
  10. It makes every other physical activity, from golf to sex to unloading groceries, easier.