Does Drinking Water Help Diabetes?

Why is water important for the body? According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs 83%, the skin 64%, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and bones 31%. In short, not drinking enough water deprives your body of one of its most essential ingredients causing it to perform inefficiently.

Why is Hydration Important with Diabetes?

Elevated blood Glucose levels draw out the body’s fluids, thereby placing people with diabetes at a higher risk of dehydration. This is why thirst is a common symptom of diabetes. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation heartburn, and stomach ulcers. Symptoms of mild
dehydration include flushed face, extreme thirst, dizziness, cramping in the arms and legs, sleepy or irritable, headaches, and dry mouth.

Does Drinking Water Flush Out Excess Sugar?

Drinking water helps the kidneys flush out excess sugar from the body. A great way to bring down high blood sugar levels is to drink LOTS of water. Not drinking enough water causes your blood to thicken, blood pressure to increase, and the glucose in your bloodstream to become more concentrated resulting in higher blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Mild or severe dehydration will have a notable impact on your diabetes.

Drinking Water Helps Maximize Physical Performance

Hydration effects strength, power, and endurance. As you exercise, the oxygen that reaches your muscles converts the available glucose into Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), energy-carrying molecule found in cells. ATP captures chemical energy obtained from the breakdown of food molecules and releases it to fuel other cellular processes. These processes are dependent upon water, which carries the nutrients and oxygen to the muscle making performance and growth possible.

Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight

Sixty percent of the human body is water. Muscle is seventy-nine percent water! Studies link body fat and weight loss with drinking water in overweight individuals. Drinking more water while dieting and exercising will help you lose extra pounds by enabling the body to efficiently rid itself of toxins, hydrate without adding unwanted calories, and help you to eat less.

These are only a few of the benefits to drinking water.

Thanks,

Steven M Collins

List of Diabetic Foods, Foods to Enjoy and to Avoid

My research for this site, has included the review of diabetes cookbooks, online articles, and books. I have discovered that developing a list of diabetic foods can be confusing. Diabetic cookbooks, often published by noted dietitians and physicians, are full of recipes that are supposed to be good for diabetics. However, many of the recipes contain grains, breads, even flour. From personal experience, avoiding grains, breads, and cereals is key to losing weight and managing blood glucose levels. In the past I struggled with what foods to avoid and which to enjoy, so let’s take a look at what is meant by diabetic food.

The Diabetic Food Market

A recent report by Market Research Trends explains global diabetic food market is segmented into dietary beverages, low calorie ice cream, low fat dairy products and jellies. Manufacturers have started using artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Acesulfame K, and Neo-tame instead of sugar to bolster their product portfolio with so-called diabetic food products and attract a new target market of consumers. This has brought about a rise in the number of packaged and processed foods and drinks that are supposed to be good for diabetics. As a diabetic, however, it is important not only to avoid sugary items, but also artificial sweeteners. Many low calorie sodas contain these sorts of sweeteners as well as corn syrup and caffeine – all items as a diabetic you should avoid. The global diabetic food market, dominated by Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Kellogg, Mars, and Fifty 50 Foods, has contributed greatly to the junk-food lifestyle that has caused the diabetes epidemic that we currently find ourselves in – their idea of diabetic foods is more of the same junk that caused this problem in the first place. Do not be fooled, in general a list of diabetic foods is limited to meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts – no artificial sweeteners here.

Low-Carb Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

I lived a number of years in Europe, in a wine valley, and developed a love of wines. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes the subject of my drinking came up and I was informed that dark red wines like Merlot, in moderation, were OK to drink. In fact, online there are numerous suggestions of what alcoholic drinks a diabetic can enjoy and even while losing weight. A quick online search reveals that whiskey and brandy are low calorie; on a Keto diet that alcohol is acceptable; and, that drinking alcohol while trying to lose weight works. Low-carb and low-calorie aside, once in your body alcohol metabolizes into sugar, which causes a spike in blood Glucose levels that can interrupt sleep and further elevate blood sugar levels. Furthermore, if you are trying to lose weight, particularly on a low-carb or Keto diet, the burning of fat for energy stops while the body processes the most readily available source of energy – the sugar from alcohol. In other words, drinking alcohol on a diet is like pushing the pause button on weight loss (may even contribute to weight gain), and as a diabetic it will elevate blood Glucose levels. Any serious diet to lose weight and control diabetes will be alcohol free.

Counting Carbs, No Magic Carbs

Atkins is often thought of as a low-card weight loss plan that may work for diabetics. We all want to believe we can sit on the couch and eat Atkins bars and drink Atkins shakes and gobble down low-carb foods all the while losing weight. Friends, it ain’t going to happen! Moreover, the way Atkins counts carbs by subtracting from the total carbs those sugars from fiber and alcohols to get the “Net Carbs” does not mean as a diabetic that those carbs not counted magically go away. In short, there are no magic carbs. Because we are diabetics, we are at a higher risk of kidney failure and cancer (blood sugar feeds cancer), among other problems. Low-carb and Keto diets have been linked to an elevated risk of colon cancer and kidney disease. Hence, eat fruit as part of your diabetes regiment. I have fruit in the morning that way I have all day to burn off the extra-carbs and flush out the excess sugar.

List of Diabetic Foods

Many recipes in the diabetic cookbooks that I have in my kitchen include grains, flour, and cereals. Although these recipes are supposed to be diabetic friendly, the carb content of some exceed 30g. This many carbs per meal is a lot of sugar over the course of the day and is not conducive to weight loss or blood sugar management. Moreover, breads, cereals, and grains are the culprits behind the diabetes epidemic – so why continue eating them? In the past, a fast way for me to lose ten pounds was to stop eating bread, rice, cereals, and potatoes. Today, to manage my diabetes, I avoid eating these items, so it amkes me cringe when I find them included in a diabetic friendly recipe.

Here is my list if diabetic foods: Meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), nuts, almond flour, coconut flour, unsweetened almond milk, eggs, olive oil, tea (no caffeine), honey (small amounts) and lots of water! Notice this list contains no artificial sweeteners, no alcohol, no caffeine, and no processed foods from the global diabetic food market.

I do not discourage the use of diabetic cookbooks, I actually encourage it. Diabetic cookbooks contain many good recipes and those that ask for flour, substitute almond flour. You can always modify a recipe to fit your diet.

 

Happy eating,

-Steven M Collins

Why Wear Diabetic Socks?

People with diabetes have sensitive feet and struggle with various foot conditions. Because I have diabetic neuropathy, I pay attention to my feet and wearing appropriate socks as part of proper diabetic foot care.

Why Diabetic Socks?

Why do diabetics need special socks? Diabetic neuropathy causes a loss of feeling in the legs and feet making it difficult to know when your feet are too hot or cold, when there is a foreign object in your shoe, or when a blister or cut has developed. These issues may lead to infection and complications.

What makes a sock a diabetic sock?

Diabetic socks are typically seamless socks with padding. Significantly, they are non-constricting. A good indication that your socks are a potential problem is when an impression remains after removing them. For those with circulatory problems, constricting blood flow to the feet may lead to complications. Diabetic socks should be warm – warmth increases circulation – and absorbent. Moist feet may lead to skin infections. Diabetics socks are usually made from softer materials and should hardly be noticeable when wearing them.

Why Wear Diabetic Shoes

The correct shoes go along with the correct socks. Because diabetics are at a higher risk of developing bunions, corns, hammertoe, fungal infections, and gangrene, foot wear cannot be overlooked. Shoes for diabetics should not be opened-toed or open on the heel, these kind of shoes subject your feet to debris, such as pebbles, as well as the possibility of injury. In-depth shoes are best, these are shoes that leave extra room to accommodate for things like bunions or hammertoe. Orthopedic shoes are designed for comfort and leave room for foot problems like corns. Also absorbent shock resistant shoes or sole inserts are beneficial.

Where to Purchase Diabetic Friendly Shoes

This is a good question for your primary care physician or podiatrist. I generally follow the guidelines above when shopping and typically find appropriate shoes on the market. Hush Puppies and Dr. Comfort are two suggested brands for diabetics.

Thanks,

-Steven

Food Alternatives for Diabetics, What Can I Eat?


The list of bad foods for diabetics is daunting. When we diabetics are informed of which foods we should avoid, the next question is always “is there anything I can eat?” One in three adults over the age of forty will be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and many go dangerously un-diagnosed. I was one of those who avoided routine visits to the doctor’s office. In fact, I went years between checkups, as a result I also went years as an un-diagnosed diabetic. Let us go back forty to fifty years. Remember Saturday morning cartoons and the educational shorts like School House Rock’s Conjuntion Junction and I’m Just a Bill as well as the nutritional promos featuring the food pyramid. In the 1970s, the government’s notions of what we should eat normalized the consumption of sugary cereals and breads. Significantly, the pyramid was not designed with the consumer in mind, it served to promote American farm products, such as potatoes, corn, soy, and wheat. Even today, corn syrup and soy bean oil are found in many products. Consequently, sodas and junk foods became normalized and the portion sizes larger! Today, how’s that sandwich with chips or fries and a soda working out for you? It’s not, and there is nothing normal about such a meal. The food pyramid spawned a diabetes epidemic in America by normalizing the consumption of high-carbohydrate processed foods. So much for the government telling us what to eat. So, what food alternatives are there for diabetics?

Bad Foods For Diabetics

This is the list that diabetics fear, because most likely a lot of the items on this list are commonly consumed. No matter, let’s get started:

  • Tropical fruits like pineapples and bananas
  • Any kind of corm or corn byproduct, like corn syrup
  • No bread, potatoes, or rice
  • Avoid soy and soy bean oil
  • All processed foods like chips
  • Be cautious with dairy products, they tend to be high carb
  • No sodas of any kind, even the diet versions
  • No caffeine … this one I struggle the most with
  • No alcohol

So what the heck should a diabetic eat!!

List of Healthy Foods for Diabetics

Before I get started, there are dozens of great cook books for diabetics that make this list much more manageable. Also, remember, it was a combination of life style and diet that caused diabetes, and it can only be managed through a new life style focused on proper and consistent diet and exercise.

  • All kinds of meats and fish, however you may want to limit the consumption of fatty red meats (my doctor recently got on to me about this)
  • Vegetables, Salsa
  • Fruits (avoid tropical fruits and consume fruit early in the day so your body has time to process the sugar)
  • Beans
  • Nuts, Almond Butter, Peanut Butter (watch the sugar contents)
  • Olives
  • Eggs
  • Almond flour and Coconut flour (can use this to make pizza)
  • unsweetened Almond milk
  • Honey in moderation (a little to sweeten)
  • Caffeine free teas

Diabetic Food Ideas

The following are a few of the food things I figured out over time.

  • We love our hamburgers (at least most of us). You don’t have to do without it, just without the bun. What I do at home is to never cook just a hamburger. I season and stuff the hamburger meat with a combination of items like onions, jalapenos, black beans, sauerkraut, garlic and/or mix it with venison or bison to change things up. The idea is that it is never just a hamburger.
  • For a fast breakfast, I blend together an egg, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (whatever berries we have in the frig), with unsweetened almond milk for a nice breakfast shake. Recently I’ve tried adding powdered chocolate found on the baking aisle and a touch of honey.
  • Frittata is great for getting rid of left-overs. Moreover, the plethora of recipes make this a very versatile dish.
  • Chili! Dead cow, stock, and seasoning – chili is always an easy meal to prepare. Per the list above, I use ground beef, beans, onions, celery, garlic, salsa, chicken stock, among other ingredients … you get the idea.
  • Polish Bigos is another good one for leftovers. Essentially, this is kraut mixed and cooked with stock, tomato paste, mushrooms, and meat or sausage. Online there is great recipes.
  • Panned cooked steak, with garlic and rosemary is another favorite of ours.
  • Sausage is another easy meal, but be on the alert for those with added sugar, corn syrup, soy bean oil, and other items to avoid.

Food Supplements for Diabetics

Supplements may help lower blood sugar include:

  • Cinnamon supplements help your body respond to insulin. This opens the door to your cells which in turn lowers the amount of sugar in the blood stream.
  • American Ginseng increases the body’s secretion of insulin.
  • Vitamin D improves pancreatic function.
  • Berberine improves insulin sensitivity, which allows better absorption from your blood to your muscles, thereby lowering blood sugar.
  • Magnesium helps with normal insulin secretion.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid increases the insulin sensitivity of cells, thereby improving sugar absorption and reducing blood sugar levels.
  • Chromium supports the production of insulin in the pancreas.

Conclusion

What can you eat as a diabetic? … a lot of stuff, it just rarely comes in a plastic bag or soda can. The list of healthy foods for diabetics necessitates back-wall shopping – along the outside walls of grocery stores is where you most often find meat, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. Your new life style involves getting past the old norms of eating, as represented in the food pyramid, and finding alternative healthy choices for diabetics.

Enjoy

-Steven

Best Exercises for Diabetics

What kind of exercise is best for Type 2 diabetics, aerobic training or resistance training? Actually the answer is both. According to the American Diabetes Association:

Resistance training, similarly to aerobic training, improves metabolic features and insulin sensitivity and reduces abdominal fat in type 2 diabetic patients. … Recent data suggest that both aerobic and resistance training may exert beneficial effects on glucose control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.

In addition to weight loss, exercise builds muscle mass and stability. For those with Type 2 diabetes the loss of muscle mass makes it harder to maintain blood sugar levels. By adding mass, blood sugar levels are easier to control and there are gains in physical coordination and balance, which benefits those who are at risk of falling. Below are a few of the best exercises suggested for diabetics.

Walking for Diabetics

Walking requires no gym membership, just a good pair of shoes. Like all aerobic exercises, a brisk 45 minute walk raises the heart rate and burns fat. Walking is most beneficial when routinely done three times a week. Make sure to change things up, try different locations like an adjacent neighborhood, the local mall, or hiking trail.

Weight Training for Diabetics


This is my favorite! Weight training at home or in the gym is typically done indoors, making it easy to commit to a year-round routine. Plan two to three 45 minute sessions per week. Focus on the major muscle groups chest, back, and legs. When planning your routine prioritze free weights like dumbbells and barbells over machines, you will gain the most in coordination and balance.

Swimming for Diabetics

Swimming is a low impact aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints. In contrast to walking or jogging, it is also better for the feet. A routine in is not limited to swimming. Most pools have lanes that are about 4 feet deep. Water provides resistence when walking the lane that makes for a good workout. For the arms and upper-body, most sports stores sell hydro-grip blades and water weights for in-pool resistance training.

Bike Riding for Diabetics

Stationary bicycling, like swimming, is another exercise that doesn’t put pressure on the joints, and like weight training, it is done inside no matter the weather outside. For diabetics in particular, stationary biking improves blood flow to the legs while burning calories.

Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi

Other workout regiments that are helpful are Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi. Each of these can be done in the home or as a class and are low impact exercises that use your body weight for beneficial training.

It is alsways good to maintain a training log. Keeping a record of what exercises you did, how much or how long you worked out, and when you last trained allows you to track improvements, recall what you did last time, and make adjustments to your training. I like to record my weight, fasting blood sugar, calculate volume (total weight lifted during a workout) and intensity (average weight lifted during a workout).

Most important, have fun and take control of your diabetes.

-Steven

The Difference between Type 1 Type 2 Diabetes and How to Live with Type 2 Diabetes

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I did not know the difference between Type 1 Type 2 Diabetes or how to live with Type 2 diabetes. It was a scary time. My doctor and RN took the time to explain things thoroughly and made a few suggestions like trying the Mediterranean Diet, losing weight, and exercising. When I was younger I did all these things, but it had been years since I hit the gym or jogged. Consequently, I gained weight, was out of shape, and now had diabetes. I have since lost over twenty pounds, go to the gym or for a swim daily, and eat a simple low carbohydrate diet (I don’t complicate things). My efforts to live a healthy life with diabetes has been successful. My A1C is below 6.0 and I feel better than I have in years. This article imparts a few important things I learned living with diabetes. Please note that I am not a medical doctor and I do not give medical advise.

What is the Difference between Type 1 and 2 Diabetes

Although Type 1 diabetes may occur later in life, it typically happens in childhood. With type 1 diabetes the body stops producing insulin and as a result insulin by injection or via pump is necessary.

Type 2 diabetes is more common and generally occurs after the age of forty. Although there are various causes, Type 2 diabetes is frequently the result of life style. It develops as the result of high levels of fat in the liver and pancreas. The strain on the pancreas causes insulin resistance or your pancreas stops producing enough insulin.

Diabetes Monitoring Guidelines

Using a digital blood sugar monitoring kit, apply a drop of blood to the appropriate test strip.

  • Normal range is 70 to 100 mg/dl
  • Pre-Diabetic is 101 to 125 mg/dl
  • Diabetic is over 125 mg/dl

As a Pre-Diabetic or Diabetic the goal is to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range, as tested two hours after eating.

The A1C test provides an estimate of your average blood sugar over the past several months and is usually done as part of a regular check up routine.

  • Normal range is below 6.0 percent
  • Pre-Diabetic is 6.0-6.4 percent
  • Diabetic is over 6.5 percent

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plans

Before you start any diet talk to your doctor. Also there are some good plans out there. Diets can be tricky, because you have to make sure you are getting the right amount of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients. Many physicians suggest the Mediterranean Diet others have devised their own. I have tried both and ended up with a hybrid of these that enables me to enjoy meals with my family, yet control my blood sugar – of course I do most of the cooking now. Some basics about diet and diabetes:

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sodas, energy drinks, processed foods, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods.
  • You may want to limit the consumption of breads, potato, rice and daily products.
  • Enjoy fruits (before noon), vegetables, meats, nuts, beans (I make a mean chili), unsweetened almond milk.

For breakfast I often place a mixture of berries (Black Berries, Raspberries, and Blue Berries) in a blender with a little honey and unsweetened almond milk. During the day I may snack on boiled eggs, nuts, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, or olives. Dinner involves a combination of meat, most often chicken, with vegetables. We also enjoy home made chili. Another favorite of ours is a Polish dish called Bigos – great recipes online. More important, I keep a daily food log where I record what I eat as well as my fasting blood sugar in the morning and weight.

Diabetes Exercise Program

Which is better, aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or strength training in the gym – that is the debate. First speak with your doctor before starting any fitness program. Thereto, find an exercise regiment that you feel confident with, one that you can do on a consistent and progressive basis that you reasonably enjoy. I do strength training Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and swim at the local indoor pool Tuesdays and Thursdays. At the pool I have met other diabetics shaving off pounds. The pool is easy on the joints, refreshing in the morning, and is more than just swimming. I combine walking laps with swimming, and using a kick-board. TIME! Yes I said the “T” word. Time is something many of us do not have. Really, who has time for a work out!? I made time for exercise by getting up at 5:00 a.m., beginning my workout no later than 6:00 a.m. and making it to work by 7:30 a.m. Few want to get up that early, but as I have mentioned life with diabetes requires a life style change. I feel like I’m in the Army again, I do more before 8:00 a.m. than most do all day. The fact of the matter is that to live a healthy life with diabetes, diet and exercise is imperative – there is no magic pill or injection.

Keep an exercise log – it keeps you honest and find a workout buddy who gets you past the excuses. Also, research the literature on your workout choice. Here you will find tips and tricks that are important and help you avoid injury. Make sure you have good shoes for walking or jogging and foot care creams if you swim.

Proper Diabetic Foot Care and Diabetes Accessories

Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet. Diabetic Neuropathy may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Also, reduced blood flow to the feet may make it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. As a diabetic, injuries to the feet, such as cuts or blisters, can easily become infected or not heal putting you at risk for an amputation. Avoiding trimming toe-nails too close, wear house shoes, remove pebbles and other discomforts from shoes, and keep you feet clean and conditioned. Diabetic accessories include diabetic socks, shoes, skin creams among many other items.

How to Live with Type 2 Diabetes

Living with diabetes is about taking care of yourself – it is a new life style. As I like to say, my life style and diet got me into this mess, and it is my life style and diet that will get me out of it.

 

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MY STORY

On New Years 2018 my blood sugar was 440 mg/dL, the highest level I had ever recorded. It shocked me. At the time I was on three medications to control my Type 2 Diabetes. It was apparent to me that the med roller-coaster was taking me for a ride and waiting ahead was liver failure, an amputation and a premature death. The roller-coaster that we diabetics ride dictates that with time medicines become less effective causing a switch to another diabetes drug or worse the addition of a drug to our daily cocktail of injections and pills. Moreover, we become complacent. Many diabetics develop that attitude – we all know it, “as long as I am taking my drugs, I can eat and drink what I want.” This mindset ensures that the roller-coaster ride ends poorly. Diabetes medications will not make you well, do not enable you to eat what you want and are never a substitute for managing blood glucose through diet and exercise.

At that New Years party in 2018, I was avoiding the usual high-carb items like cookies. A fellow diabetic noticed that I was avoiding the sweets and commented to me “just live your life.” I should have found other means of enjoying the evening besides eating and drinking. As a diabetic, food is not your friend, not even at a party. Living my life by eating and drinking what I wanted (most of the time) was not living at all – it was a slow downward spiral.

So, I had to make some life choices, and I chose to live a better life leading to a future without diabetes medications. No longer resigned to my current life style, I knew drastic changes were necessary. The way I saw things, it was my diet and life style that got me into this mess, I will use my diet and life style to get me out of it. With the support of my wife, I made a lot of life changes, which included working-out three to five times a week. My current A1C is 5.9% and I am off of all diabetes medications. Through diet and exercise it is possible to control your diabetes and live a longer and fuller life. This website is a way for me to share my experience and give back to the diabetes community.

WHY I WANT TO HELP DIABETICS

With no family history of diabetes, my diagnosis shocked me. I had no clue what my blood sugar should be, what was dangerously too high or too low or what could happen to me, such as a stroke or coma. Soon after leaving the doctor’s office I bought a test kit, my blood sugar was over 300 mg/dL. I waited a while and retested. My blood sugar had come down a few points, but was still over 300 mg/dL. I also bought a book to learn more about my illness. What I discovered is that there had been warning signs, which I had ignored: dry itchy skin, thirst, and exhaustion among others. My wife later bought me diabetic socks and skin lotion- who knew! It was a learning process highlighted with aha! moments of discovery. I want this website to be a source for diabetics to find supplies, diet and treatment plans, and the literature to make life with diabetes easier.

MY GOAL

My goal is simple, provide a one-stop shop for diabetics to find the answers and supplies they need to live a better life.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave your comments below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Steven M Collins
life-with-diabetes.com