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Saturday, November 2, 2013

What Does My Body Want From Me? - Part 2

Knowledge about knowledge equals powerful knowledge squared

I failed to take a moment yesterday to welcome some new readers or what appears to be readers from Taiwan and Thailand.  Welcome to the blog and I hope you get something out of this blog.  Also, for our international friends, it is sometimes hard to get supplies in countries.  If you let me know at I will see what I can do - no promises.

BS- 113 this morning - WOW still up there.  I have been really struggling this week and have not stayed the course with my routine and it is showing.  I have had other high numbers as well.  So starting today I am moving towards getting back on track - meal plan, exercise plan, and stress plan.

BP - 115/80 (home machine) - HR - 58

Obviously in this series I am setting you up for what to journal and what I did when I wanted to understand my body.  But to make the journal work for you, I think we need to keep understanding the impact of some of the factors we want to journal.  We have discussed stress and sleep - so I am positive my journal kept track of them.  I have also discussed exercise and that was in my journal.  But there is more.

Why do I sometimes eat, say an apple, and my blood sugar spikes and other days it does not?

As a diabetic we are told to count carbohydrates, carbohydrates for breakfast, carbohydrates for lunch, carbohydrates for evening meal, and carbohydrates for all our snacks.  Most of us was told to manage between 45 - 60 carbohydrates for meals and 15 carbohydrates for snacks.  I think diabetics who are really managing their blood sugar levels are a lot lower than that.  I used to run on this and found it was way too many carbohydrates for me.  But again, you have to do the testing and know what is right for you.

My daughter-in-law Lydia, is a professional nutritionist - too bad I did not listen to her when she lived with us.  Lydia and Brian; our son, would have these great little snacks and would eat healthy food all the time.   I think she can make a gourmet meal on $3.00.  Anyway, she tried to explain to me it is not just carbohydrates but the kind of carbohydrates we take in and how they impact our blood sugars.  

Although the devil is in the details when it comes to carbohydrates and in this post I am going to discuss a couple of ideas Lydia planted which I have taken more seriously and in Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes book, he spent a lot of time talking about these factors as well.

Glycemic Index

As usual, I am going to point you to a good site that has a ton of information: The site does sell things and concepts, but again, these sites can sometimes provide a lot of information.  When it comes to understanding glycemic factors - they have a lot of information, charts, recipes and good information for us diabetics.

But just in case you do not want to go there and read about glycemic index, it tells you how your blood sugar is affected within two to three hours of eating foods that are high in carbohydrates and how they turn into blood glucose. The glycemic index is about the quality of the carbohydrates, not the quantity.

In other words, some carbohydrates turn to sugar lower than others.  So having an understanding of this can help you figure out the best time to test.  The normal rule is 1 hour after eating and some recommend two hours.  If you have a meal planner, knowing when you are having carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index test sooner.

We should all try to avoid foods that are over 50 GI - glycemic index.

Lets get back to the apple question.  There is another site  that allows you to look up foods.  Here is where it gets difficult or interesting.  Say you eat Braeburn apples - the GI is 32.  If you eat a Delicious apple the GI is 39.  So an apple is not just an apple - know which apples are best to eat.

Glycemic Load

Glycemic Load is also a ranking system for carbohydrates in foods taking into account both Glycemic Index and the serving size. It is a new way to measure the effect of carbohydrate consumption on blood glucose, providing us with a more complete picture.

GL of a certain food is the quantity in grams of its carb content, times its index value and divided by 100. For example, a 100 g serving of banana has a GI value of 52 and carb content is 20g, so its load value is 20*(52/100) =10.4. A GL of 20 or more is high, 11 to 19 is medium and 10 or less is considered low

Back to the apples and let's look at the GL for the same apples again - each based on 120 g serving size:
Braeburn - carbohydrate per g (13) and its GL is 4
Delicious  - carbohydrate per g (16) and its GL is 6

Confused yet?  You should be.  This is difficult to understand how to make all this work for you - but do not give up.  I will let the web site say it best.

GI versus GL

"Take carrots, index value is rather high, but this rating is based on blood glucose effect of eating 50 grams of carbohydrates from carrots, a serving of carrots certainly does not have that much of carbohydrate, so its impact on blood sugar is much less than many high GI foods.

The index value of potatoes, on the other hand, is more accurate because potatoes are carbohydrate dense. Load value is also quite high. Generally speaking, foods with medium to high load values can have very low to very high GIs, whereas a low GI mostly means a low GL.

In other words, GI tells you if the type of sugar in a food is ‘fast-releasing’ but not how much carbohydrate there is in the food. For instance, we consider watermelon as a high glycemic index food but it has very little carbohydrate in it or something like chocolate has medium GI and it has a very high content of sugar.
GL will tell you exactly how it will affect your blood sugar level, your weight and your energy. Therefore it is a more accurate measure of whether the food can be considered good for your health."

I hope this helps a little.  Get to know the foods you are eating and have a meal plan.  Pick the things that work best for you and that you like.  This is how we learn to control the monster in us.   This is also how to learn to splurge and reward yourself.

May God grant us the knowledge, heart, and desire to select foods that are good for us and that help us keep ourselves healthy and on the right track to managing our affliction.  We thank him for creating such knowledgeable people to help us along our journey.


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Please leave your comments or suggestions - looking to getting some good discussions going. Tell me what you have tried and what has or has not worked.

Thanks for the support