diabetes pedia

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Starch Blockers and Diabetes Management

Disciplined eating and drinking can keep type 2 diabetes away on its own. Many people spend years in pre-diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome, before lapsing in to states which require oral medication and even insulin injections to preserve the remnants of health.

Why are we such suckers for binge eating, and stuffing our systems with unnecessary calories? Both the Internet and mainstream media are replete with low-calorie recipes, and advice on how to diet sensibly. Doctors, if we care to pay heed to them, are generally conservative and diligent in warning patients of the dangers of diabetes, long before the disease actually knocks on the door.

Temptation and social norms are two incredibly influential barriers to preserving normal glucose metabolism. Food can look so good, and we may feel so terribly hungry, that large and second portions, forbidden snacks, and everything we should keep away from our bodies, enters with delightful ease! Prevarication is awfully common, and who does not make promises to get serious about dieting from tomorrow?

Keeping away from sugar and fat holds center stage when it comes to diabetes prevention. The latest sugar substitutes are incredibly close to the real thing, and cooking media without saturated fats, and food preparation methods with minimal oil, add up to enable a pretty satiated life even as we battle against diabetes. However, what can we do about carbohydrates?

It is all very well to say that people with diabetes must stay away from bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta. Those of us to love to eat and feel hungry even as our plates are emptied, despair at the thought of skimping, or having to do away with filling foods altogether. Diets would be so much easier to maintain if only we could eat something filling to our heart’s content!

There is no utopia in diabetes prevention and management, at least not as yet, but starch blockers can make life easier for people threatened by or afflicted with type 2 diabetes (Kurzwell, and Grossman, 2004). These products keep carbohydrates away from blood, release sugars in to our systems at moderated rates, and effectively reduce the glycemic indices of some comfort foods.

Pitfalls of OTC Diabetes Diet Management

The main obstacle to more widespread use of starch blockers is the fact that so many brands are freely available without prescriptions (Stamos, 2007). One need not even make the effort to walk around the block to a retail shelf to buy a pack, because starch blockers are even available online. OTC starch blockers can harm diabetes management, and effectively give the entire therapeutic area a bad name.

OTC starch blockers are sold as nutritional supplements rather than as drugs. This means that they bypass the entire regulatory process in terms of testing for efficacy and safety. The main ingredient is herbal, so who knows if all batches of production will be the same as the ones which have been reported in literature (Udani, Hardy, and Madsen, 2004)? The average person with diabetes cannot fully rely on such brands, and who would like to take a chance with a health matter?

Dosage is another issue with OTC starch blockers. Confusion or uncertainty could result in taking too much, or not enough to achieve the desired results. Your body does need a certain amount of carbohydrate for continuing and vital energy needs, so going overboard with OTC starch blockers can harm you! A starch blocker is likely to affect prescription medicine for diabetes, so effectively there is no staying away from your physician (Clinical Studies, 2007)! OTC starch blockers, if they work, are likely to affect digestion and bowel movements. Again, dealing with such issues without professional help is a mug’s game, so there is no sense for anyone who suffers from diabetes, in trying to experiment with an OTC starch blocker. It is best to use this class of products with the advice and prior approval of your doctor.

When to Ask for a Starch Blocker Prescription in Diabetes Management

A doctor may not prescribe a starch blocker in the first instance, hoping that you will be able to follow a diet, exercise, and medication plan to prevent or to manage diabetes, without distress or unbearable inconvenience. However, perhaps you travel or entertain frequently, causing lapses from your prescribed diet and exercise regimen, or perhaps the portions of carbohydrates you are allowed simply leave you wishing for some more to eat.

A prescription starch blocker will allow some increase in your daily carbohydrate intake (The Fundamental Answer in Managing Dysglycaemic Disease Progression, not dated,). Your doctor may decide that starch blockers are not suitable for your case, if for example, you have a troubled digestion, or for another reason, but there is no harm if you make a suggestion, especially if a modest increase in your plate of pasta will make you especially contented!

Limits to Starch Blockers in Diabetes Management

Make no mistake-no starch blocker prescription will completely sever the yoke of diabetes management. It is not as though you can look forward to gorging on potatoes or bread to your heart’s content. You could well have to submit to additional tests when you first start a starch blocker, just to adjust your oral hypoglycemic or insulin doses. You will probably have more wind in your belly than before, and cannot discontinue popping the starch blocker pills without prior permission from your doctor. You must take a prescription starch blocker precisely before each major meal, or with food, for there is no point in carbohydrates hitting your intestines before the blocker gets there. Ponder on these limitations before you decide that resisting slightly smaller portions of rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread, is not as pleasant as living with a prescription starch blocker.

I declare that I have no financial interest in promoting any brand of prescription starch blocker.

Do send me an email or leave a post here if you would like more information on starch blockers and diabetes.


Kurzwell, R, and Grossman, T, 2004, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, Rodale

Stamos, J, 2007, The Truth about Starch Blockers: Can They Speed Up Weight Loss? Article in WebMD, retrieved October 2007 from:

Udani, J, Hardy, M, and Madsen, D, 2004, Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a Clinical Trial using Phase 2 brand proprietary fractionated white bean extract, Alternative medicine review, 9(1):63-9

Clinical Studies, 2007, web site of Phase 2, retrieved October 2007 from:

The Fundamental Answer in Managing Dysglycaemic Disease Progression, not dated, website of Glucobay, retrieved October 2007 from:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Roadblock on the Metabolic Syndrome to Type 2 Diabetes Highway

Has your physician given you a clean bill of health, while grumbling about your weight, girth, build, and bad habits at the same time?

Cast scorn on doctors who prophesize that you may end up with type 2 diabetes, though your readings are fine at this time, but even small steps can delay the onset of this expensive and restricting condition, if not pull you back from the brink for all time.

The math of dieting and exercise can be confusing because there are so many alternatives in terms of calories ingested and used. That is why the web site linked below, which I found today, is such a big deal:

Rest assured that I have no financial angle in pushing this service on you, but the truth is that I use it myself, and simply think that you might want to as well.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Dangers of Loud Snoring in Diabetes

Men are especially guilty of ignoring protests about their snoring from bedroom partners, though obese and older women, or those with receding jaws, may suffer from this condition as well.

Snoring is not a minor matter as far as medicine is concerned, especially for patients with diabetes. It is not just a matter of disturbing the sleep of the person who shares your bed. Loud snoring could mean that you do not have a restful sleep at night, which results in your feeling low, irritable, and drowsy during the day. Worse, blockage of your airways could reduce the oxygen carrying capacity of your blood, and damage your heart as well.

Losing weight is the best way to correct a snoring habit. Excess fat tends to line the airway passage. Some people have anatomic peculiarities, particularly with respect to the shapes of their jaws, and this can cause snoring to disturb the peace at night.

A physician can prescribe aids to keep the airways free and open at night, though surgery to correct parts of the mouth may also be required. It is important to tell your physician about your snoring habit, and to have it checked out. Diabetes puts your heart at risk in any case, and you do not want snoring to add to the problem.

What if you sleep alone? You can suspect that perhaps your airways are blocked if you do not feel fully rested on awakening from sleep in the morning. Your physician can order special tests in a sleep laboratory to check on any doubts you may have.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Meet the Fast Food Challenge in Diabetes

A deep crust pizza with your favorite toppings; an ice-cream float with irresistible colors, syrup, and caramel; a diabetes diet is much easier to follow when all you see is the boring old menu your nutrition expert has written out for you!

Looking at delicious meals, snacks, and beverages you enjoyed in your days before diabetes, can melt the steeliest resolve. That goes for portion control as well, when you have a hotel buffet before you with no spouse watching over your shoulder!

Satiety hormones can rescue diabetes diets from ruin. They work very much like insulin, with injections under the skin before major meals. You do need separate syringes though, because these hormones cannot be mixed with insulin.

Pramlintide is an important satiety hormone which can improve your diabetes management by helping you feel satisfied with the food and portions prescribed for your condition.

Ask your doctor about the link below, which I retrieved earlier today, if you have trouble sticking to your diabetes diet, or if you are sorely tempted to have flings with fast food and sodas:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Benefits and Risks of RYGB in Type 2 Diabetes

Four letter acronyms are like expletives with that number-effective but hurtful. RYGB can sure help with type-2 diabetes, but then it can kill you as well!

RYBG (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) is a form of major surgery which physically curtails how much you can eat or drink, restricts calorie uptake from ingestion, and protects essential digestive processes, all in one go. Every major surgery carries risks of infections and clots in blood vessels, but RYGB is even more dangerous because it involves stitching back excised parts of intestines and stapling parts of the stomach as well.

Any man more than 100 pounds overweight, and women more than 80 pounds overweight, is a candidate for RYGB. However, you may wish to consider the option even if you have trouble managing your type 2 diabetes. I would hope that this should not be the case, given the state-of-the-art in terms of diet control, exercise management, and the latest drugs and insulin delivery forms. Perhaps the dire risks of RYGB will entice you to follow your prescription for type 2 diabetes control more strictly! Seriously, RYGB is a realistic option if you run the risk of developing complications from uncontrolled or poorly managed diabetes. Better lose a part of your gut than your eyes, feet, or kidneys!

Ask you doctor about RYGB or let me know if you would like links to detailed information

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Oats and barley are not as popular today as they should be, but rye and wheat are almost inevitable in a typical diet. Such foods are important sources of complex carbohydrates. They play pivotal roles in keeping blood glucose levels stable in people under treatment for diabetes. Cookies with sugar are out, but the average diabetes diet is built around plenty of bread and pasta.

Celiac disease, like diabetes, is difficult to suspect in its early stages. You could have a bout of diarrhea, but then that can happen to anyone, and there are myriad reasons for such an event. A child may fall off planned diabetic meals, but that could be plain boredom? A person with diabetes may suffer from hypoglycemia, but then the doctor may have got drug doses wrong. Yet, any of these transient conditions may be because of developing celiac disease, and your physician might not think of it: actually, you may even forget to report it!

Celiac disease is the inability to digest gluten, a substance found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye. The disease results in physical damage to the lining of the digestive tract, so it has serious implications for the long term if it is neglected or ignored. Celiac disease is easy for a doctor to confuse with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and some other disorders of the digestive tract. It is tempting to overlook symptoms as well when we are busy with the more pressing issue of diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes and celiac disease can and do co-exist in some patients.

Celiac disease can be uncovered by blood tests after consuming food with wheat or any of the other cereals which contain gluten. A person with celiac disease will produce antibodies after eating bread or pasta, and these can be picked up through tests for specific antigens. A surgeon can also excise a small portion of the intestine for microscopic examination, which will reveal the characteristic physical damage of celiac disease.

Do ask your doctor whether you have been tested for celiac disease, whether or not you have diabetes, and if you believe that you do not digest bread, pasta, and other processed foods.

Rice is a great option if you have celiac disease. The flour can make great pancakes, apart from getting your carbohydrates from the fragrant grains. However, staying away from gluten altogether can be quite a chore because powdered wheat flour is so ubiquitous, not just in processed and restaurant food, but in packaging material for some products such as chewing gum.

The best way to stay away from gluten altogether should your blood test and biopsy show that you have celiac disease, is to shop and dine at specialty outlets which certify their products and offerings to be completely gluten free.

Your nutrition expert needs to know if you have celiac disease, especially if you have diabetes. Remember that children with type 1 diabetes may have gluten intolerance as well.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Something for People with Diabetes to Try

High blood pressure and diabetes are dangerous but common bed fellows. Many people with either one of these conditions often develop the other over time. Neither hypertension nor diabetes have obvious distinguishing symptoms in their early stages, so large numbers of people may suffer for long periods of time without knowing.

Both high blood pressure and diabetes require lifelong or long term prescription medicines. It is not usual to come across things which you can do on your own to keep either blood pressure or blood sugar under control.

That is why you should click on the following link which I found earlier today:

Rest assured that I have no financial interest in the company which makes this device, or in enticing you to buy a unit. However, I can vouch from personal experience, that regulating breathing, especially slowing down expiration, does help bring down blood pressure, and that learning to regulate breathing on your own needs weeks with an expert guide.