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Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Dessert for diabetics

My gran is just about to start receiving “Meals on Wheels”, which is a great service. In principle. Vulnerable people (mainly the elderly) are provided with a cooked nutritious meal at lunchtime. For many recipients, this will be the main nutrition they get in that day, so it’s really important that the meal provides the nutrition they need. Especially for those with conditions like diabetes, you’d think?

Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Each day (it’s even available on Saturdays and Sunday’s) they offer a choice of a main course and a choice of dessert. The main course choices, as you might expect are a traditional meat based meal, or a vegetarian option. And the desserts? Yep, hot, cold or diabetic.

Diabetic Meals on Wheels-min

I was really shocked to see diabetic desserts – and even more surprised to see what they are. You’d maybe expect low-carb options, like a cheese board perhaps. But no, they’re traditional sweet desserts, such as cakes and pies.

Looking at the definition I found on the web of what the diabetic options should consist of, it’s clear the providers of nutrition are stuck with conventional wisdom. “Desserts for diabetics must be sweetened with artificial sweeteners or sweeteners combined with a minimal amount of sugar”.

Diabetic definitions meals on wheels

How about making desserts sugar (and sweetener free) entirely – or even swapping the dessert out for a starter instead!? Where did the idea that all meals must be finished with a dessert come from anyway?

As meals on wheels only provides one meal a day, they have some helpful recommendations as to what diabetics should eat for the rest of their meals:

Diabetic-recommendations

That’s right – diabetics should get 6-11 servings of bread and grains a day! DIABETICS! Also, note the low-fat recommendations. Those diabetics have got to steer well clear of anything so much as resembling fat, and instead go for low-fat options, that have replaced the fat with carbohydrates. Oh, and fruit – go right ahead.

I’d love to hear our comments on the diabetic nutrition for the most vulnerable diabetics in our communities. What meals do you think they should be offered?

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Vitamin E & the Paleo Diet

Probably the most effective antioxidant known to function in the human body, Vitamin E is worth learning about. By counteracting free radical damage, it can help to protect you from cardiovascular disease and cancer. In addition, it can raise your skin’s ability to resist UV damage, and it may contribute to the prevention or treatment of a number of medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, male infertility, psoriasis, PMS, Parkinson’s, migraines, menopause, acne, multiple sclerosis and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Vitamin E is not just one compound, but actually a collection of eight water-soluble vitamins. Why is this important to know? While supplements usually provide a limited range from this collection, it is possible to get a more beneficial combination of E vitamins from whole foods. For example, research about the influence of Vitamin E in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and prostate cancer both argue for the superiority of a whole food approach for greater effects. This is an illustration of the great benefits of the Paleo Diet that promotes consumption of whole foods for comprehensive health and longevity.

But, how do you know you might be deficient of Vitamin E? A deficiency can be characterised by liver or gallbladder problems, digestive problems (especially poor nutrient absorption), and tingling or loss of sensation in the legs, feet, arms, or hands. Deficiency can be detrimental to the central nervous system and lead to neuromuscular disorders that cause impaired reflexes, loss of balance, muscular weakness. So, especially if you think you might be deficient, read on for recommendations to include more Vitamin E in your diet.

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How much Vitamin E do you need in your diet?

The recommended daily amount of Vitamin E is 20mg.

Which foods can you get Vitamin E from?

There are a number of great sources for Vitamin E that you can add to your meals under the Paleo Diet. Here are some of the best!

  1. Sunflower seeds – Great as a snack or as an addition to your everyday salads, sunflower seeds provide 222% of your daily Vitamin E need in 100g.
  2. Almonds – Whether you prefer to snack on almonds by themselves, or indulge in almond butter, you’ll be getting a good serving of Vitamin E. In a 100g serving there is 175% of your daily Vitamin E need.
  3. Paprika – If you wish to add Vitamin E to your food through seasonings, go for some paprika. In a simple tablespoon, there is 14% of your daily intake need.
  4. Pine nuts – Another delicious snack or addition to salads, pine nuts provide 62% of your daily need of Vitamin E in 100g.
  5. Dried apricots – If you’re craving a sweet treat, dried apricots provide a number of beneficial micronutrients, including Vitamin E. In a serving of 100g there is 29% of your daily need.
  6. Pickled green olives – Whether you prefer olives as an indulgence by themselves or add them into salads, they are a great source for Vitamin E. 100g of pickled green olives will provide you with 25% of your daily need. Have you tried tapenade sauce made from olives yet?
  7. Spinach – Another reason for adding it to your diet – there is 18.7% of your daily Vitamin E need in cup of cooked spinach.
  8. Papaya – For a fruity dessert, go for a papaya that provides you with 11% of your daily Vitamin E need.

What else do you need to know about Vitamin E consumption?

Vitamin E content of foods can lower with exposure to air and factory processing. Therefore, it is good to store prepared food in airtight containers to not lose its Vitamin E content, tightly cap your olive oil bottles, and always choose fresh whole foods instead of processed ones. Of course, minimally processed foods is what the Paleo Diet is about – to improve and maintain your health in a natural way.

So, what do you think – are you going to include more Vitamin E-rich foods in your diet? Or do you already focus on the Vitamin E content of your food? Share your thought is the comments!

Paleo Diet Primal Chromium Levels Mineral Supplement deficiency overdose-min

How are your Chromium Levels?

Chromium is an important mineral that you’ve probably not paid much attention to, but with its links to glucose – it’s crucial.

What Does Chromium Do?

The main use within your body is to help metabolise fats and carbohydrates in the digestive system. It boosts fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, which are vital for healthy brain function. Chromium is also involved in the metabolism of insulin, and scientists have found links between low levels of chromium in the blood and type 2 diabetes. Low levels of chromium are also associated with several factors for cardiovascular disease.

People with chromium deficiency have limited glucose tolerance, and you often find it in people with type 2 diabetes. This is particularly common in older people or infants with protein-calorie malfunction. Supplements can help to manage these conditions, but they are not a substitute for other forms of treatment.

Fortunately, it is difficult to overdose in chromium due to the low absorption and high excretion rates.

Paleo Diet Primal Chromium Levels Mineral Supplement deficiency overdose-min

Food Sources of Chromium

Out of all the different sources of chromium, the best is undoubtedly brewer’s yeast. However, foods made from yeast, such as vegemite and marmite, are very processed – and not exactly Paleo!

Many meats are also good sources of chromium, particularly chicken and beef, as well as eggs. Liver also has high concentrations – another reason to get more offal into your diet!

Certain fruit and vegetables are also high in chromium. These include:

  • Green capsicum (bell peppers)
  • Black peppers
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

In general, foods that have high concentrations of simple sugars, such as sucrose and fructose, are usually low in chromium.

Problems with Chromium Intake

As low chromium levels link to diabetes, it is important for any diabetics following the paleo diet to ensure they have a sufficiently high intake. If you are concerned about your chromium intake, you can improve the absorption rate on the body by consuming vitamin C and vitamin B3 (niacin). High consumption of simple sugars will increase the excretion rate from the body – so it’s great that a Paleo diet is naturally low in sugars.

Infection, exercise and stress can all reduce levels of chromium in the body and potentially lead to deficiency. When this happens, the body is unable to use glucose efficiently to meet all its energy requirements and more glucose is required.

Have you ever had your blood levels tested?

Zinc and the paleo diet deficiency-min

Zinc & The Paleo Diet

Zinc is one of the key minerals which are required in the body in order to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. It offers a vast range of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular performance and a clearer complexion. It is also thought that high levels of zinc in the body can help to stave off serious illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. Zinc is traceable in all of the tissues throughout the body, which is why it is so important to keep the levels at a consistent rate.

Zinc is also an antioxidant which is essential for the immune system and to help keep the body in working order. There are a range of notable side effects which can result from low zinc levels in the body, including a decline in energy levels, inability to concentrate and a lack of memory. The side effects can be severe and they can result in more serious conditions, such as infertility and problems in cardiovascular health. The proper function of red and white blood cells relies on good levels of zinc throughout the body, which means it is essential in maintaining a good health.

If you suffer from a lot of flus and colds and they take a while to shift, it may be because your zinc levels are too low. If you notice white spots on your finger nails, it may be due to a lack of zinc or other essential minerals. A sufficient amount of zinc is thought to be around 20mg, which isn’t really a lot and is quite easy to introduce into your diet.  If you suffer from skin conditions such as acne, it is a good idea to try and increase your level of zinc, rather than using creams.

Zinc and the paleo diet deficiency-min

A lack of zinc as well as other minerals and vitamins, can lead to malnutrition and the body failing to function the way it should. It is important to ensure the right amount of zinc is consumed as too much can cause other illnesses such as anaemia. It is not healthy to substitute zinc with high levels of other minerals as it is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies.

Levels of zinc can be improved through the consumption of the right food groups and a healthy diet. The Paleo diet is one which helps to promote good levels of zinc due to the fact that it involves eating large quantities of meats, seafood and fish. These foods are high in zinc levels and as such, are important to ensure a healthy diet is maintained. There are lots of other foods which are high in zinc, so there is no need to feel deprived on the Paleo diet, including seeds, nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds which are also full of other essential minerals.

As the Paleo diet is low in foods which contain phytic acid, it really helps to enhance the levels of zinc as the phytic acid prevents the minerals from being absorbed into the system. The main foods which the Paleo diet encourages followers to stay away from, including whole grains and legumes may contain zinc but as they also contain high levels of phytic acid. As a result, they don’t allow zinc to be absorbed into the body, which means they are not beneficial to staving off these serious illnesses.

It is essential to follow a diet which allows zinc and other key minerals to be absorbed into the blood stream, which is why the Paleo follows a strict range of food groups which are beneficial to the body and in no way detrimental. These food groups are not only rich in zinc but are also full of vitamins and nutrients which encourages the body to function properly.

It is human nature to wait until something affects us before we take some action to resolve the problem and some of the side effects of low levels of zinc can be easily dismissed as just feeling under the weather, until they become more severe. The Paleo diet, if followed correctly, will really help to improve zinc levels and there should be noticeable improvements in energy and concentration levels, particularly if these have declined in recent times.

You will also start to notice the difference in your skin as it will become clearer and will have a healthy glow. It is quite simple to incorporate zinc into the Paleo diet as most of the foods will contain a good level of it and it is worth it for the numerous health benefits.

What's so bad about soft drinks fizzy coke paleo not healthy-min

Another Nail in the Coffin for Soft Drinks?

It’s good to see yet another study on the detrimental effects of Soft Drinks.  This time a study from the University of Oklahoma compared two groups of women over a five year period.  One group in the 4,000 strong study consumed two or more sugary soft drinks, whilst the other group drank one or less.  The participants had their weight, waist size, cholesterol & triglyceride levels measured and compared over the course of the study.  The study concludes that woman drinking two or more soft drinks a day are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What's so bad about soft drinks fizzy coke paleo not healthy-min

The study indicates that whilst the woman’s weight didn’t necessarily increase on this soft drink regime, their risk of developing high triglycerides increased four-fold – therefore bodily fat doesn’t appear to be the sole reason for the risk.

An observational study like this has far too many variables, yet it is still useful, especially if it leads to further (ideally clinical) studies.  It’s also useful if it makes those who consume soft drinks question their nutrition.   I think it likely a woman who consumes several soft drinks a day isn’t likely to be following a healthy Paleo diet in every other aspect of her nutrition.  This makes it impossible to attribute the declining health of that group to their soft drink consumption alone.  I also have trouble with the category of “one of less” soft drinks, as I’d consider one soft drink a day to be very high use – especially where those drinks contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)!  I look forward to the full peer reviewed study which may address some of these points.

I think a lot of slim people consider themselves healthy and have an attitude that they can “get away” with a poor diet, including drinking regular soft drinks.  This study goes some way to challenge those views, and perhaps might help make people realise even though they may feel healthy today, they may be storing up problems for their future health.  I just hope studies like this don’t lead to diverted consumption of diet soft drinks, which in my opinion are often even more harmful.

What’s wrong with drinking water?

What do you think of observational studies like this?  Do you think they will they one day start to change nutrition en masse?

Diabetic sweets fruit slim sugar free paleo diet

Diabetic Sweets

I picked up the November issue of “Diabetic Living” magazine yesterday.  The piece below tells diabetic readers how good Fruit Slim sweets are, “sugar-free, fat-free, fibre filled”, which will “halt food cravings in their tracks”.  It then goes on to say that there is more fibre in five of these sweets, than there is in two-cups of spinach or 15 raw almonds!  This makes me slightly want to cry!

Guilt-Free-Sweets-diabetic diabetes

So, the ingredients of “Fruit Slims” are: Gum Acacia, Maltitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Acidifier (330), Fruit Juice Concentrate, Flavour, Vegetable Oil, Sweetener (955), Natural Colour ( Paprika), Coating Agent (901).

Sweetener (955) is sucralose.  This sweetener has been linked with liver and kidney damage.  There is also a lot of uncertainty with artificial sweeteners and some evidence to suggest that they may cause an insulin response; clearly not desirable in diabetics!  Maltitol, Sorbitol and Xylitol are all sugar alcohols, which might be classed as “sugar-free”, but are carbohydrates and do have an effect on blood sugar levels.  Fruit juice is also sugar, which clearly impacts blood sugar levels.  “Flavour” could mean anything and as for the “vegetable” oil; well, that’s certainly not Paleo!  The ingredients of these “crazy good” sweets look more like a chemistry experiment; there are no real foods in sight.

I think it’s really irresponsible to promote these as a good product to anyone, never mind diabetics.  To imply they are a better choice than almonds or spinach seems reckless.  They might have more fibre, but when eating a Paleo diet rich in vegetables, fibre won’t be an issue.  Besides, for diabetics, blood sugar is a far more pressing issue than fibre?

I’ve not found anything to back up the claim that these sweets will “halt food cravings in their tracks”.  In fact from what I’ve read, artificial sweeteners appear to have the opposite effect, increasing cravings for carbohydrates.

Compare the chemical composition of “Fruit Slims” to the “alternatives” of almonds and spinach.

Almonds provide high natural amounts of many nutrients, including manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.

Spinach is a fantastic source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), tryptophan, vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1 (thiamine), phosphorus, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B3 (niacin) and selenium – and many other nutrients.

Am I missing the benefits of this swap?

Diabetic sweets fruit slim sugar free paleo diet

The magic pill paleo network instant quick fix solution diet-min

The Magic Pill

So many people seem to blame being overweight on a factor outside of their control.  It’s in their genes, it’s hormonal, it’s their metabolism.  It can’t be their diet, they eat wholemeal bread with margarine, cereal with skimmed milk and a low fat meals every day!

Articles like this one in the Daily Mail (my guilty pleasure) further fuel this lack of responsibility.

The article explains how it might not, in fact, be your fault that you are fat.  What a relief!

The magic pill paleo network instant quick fix solution diet-min

Apparently you might really be fat because you have a slow metabolism – which is made even worse by strict dieting.

Or, you might really be fat as a side effect from your medication.  Diabetes medication is listed as one potential drug with a side effect of weight gain.  But surely people commonly put weight on – and are then diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?  Anti-depressants are another drug, they tell us, that can have a side effect of weight gain.  But given the links with depression & inflammation – and diet, isn’t this the wrong way round too?

The wrong type of exercise is another reason it is just not working for you, apparently. If only you’d swapped from crossfit to zumba!

“Painful Fat Syndrome” could also be your real problem.  The mind boggles…

Thyroid problems, hormone issues, polycystic ovary syndrome are other potential causes.

Or it could be genetic – or failing that, it might be your friends fault.  Seriously.

Food intolerance does get a mention, but eliminate wheat, milk or eggs and you should be fine.

Must be a coincidence how people who change to eating Paleo have more energy, lose weight, overcome depression & diabetes and stop chronic cardio?

Nope, it’s nothing to do with nutrition & lifestyle.  Take a magic pill and carry on as you were.