Barley Can Help Control Type 2 Diabetes

A Secret Weapon to Help Control Diabetes: Barley

BARLEY PROVIDES MANY BENEFITS THAT CAN HELP CONTROL TYPE 2 DIABETES.

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

No one wants to learn they have diabetes, yet nearly one in four Americans over the age of 60 receives this news. Many others have pre-diabetes, a condition where their blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. If you fall into either category, an ancient grain can help you control your blood glucose and offer other protection against type 2 diabetes.

Barley, once known as a “food of the Gladiators,” has a unique profile of nutrients that makes it a great defender against diabetes and worth adding to your diet.

Of course, no single food can prevent or cure diabetes. But some foods do offer more protection than others, so it makes sense to include them in your meals as often as possible. And diabetes isn’t the only disease that barley offers protection against, so everyone who cares about their health can benefit by eating more barley.

Barley can help with your battle against diabetes in these ways:

High in Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber has the ability to form a gel when it mixes with liquids in the stomach. The presence of this gel slows down the emptying of the stomach, which prevents carbohydrates from being absorbed too quickly and raising blood glucose levels. One cup of cooked whole grain barley contains 14 grams (g) total fiber, with 3g soluble and 11g insoluble. A cup of cooked pearl barley contains 6g total fiber, 2g soluble and 4g insoluble.

Low Glycemic Index

People with diabetes experience fluctuations in their blood glucose level after eating carbohydrate-rich foods. Different amounts and types of carbohydrates have a different impact on blood glucose. A measurement known as the glycemic index (GI) ranks foods according to their ability to raise blood glucose. The lower the GI, the less impact it has on blood glucose levels. Barley has a GI of 25, compared to 58 for oatmeal, 55 for brown rice and 45 for pasta.

Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a co-factor in more than 300 enzymes in the body, including enzymes involved in the production and secretion of insulin and the use of glucose. Studies show magnesium levels are lower in people with diabetes than in the general population. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium for adults is 420 mg for men and 320 for women. One cup of cooked whole grain barley contains 122mg of magnesium while a cup of pearled barley provides 34mg.

Find more information here: Living Healthy with Diabetes Barley Foods Recipes

Are you ready to include more barley in your diet?

Claims on food labels do always mean what you think

Sugar Free Food Labels – What Do They Mean?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Reading food labels provides us with valuable information that can make it easier to the find products that best fit our nutritional needs. They can also be confusing.

For example, did you know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has definitions for “low sodium,” “low fat,” “low calorie,” “low cholesterol,” “sugar-free” and “lower sugar” – claims which appear on food labels? And did you know the claims “sugar free” and “no added sugar” don’t mean the same thing?

If you’re trying to control the amount of sugar in your diet, understanding what the different claims for sugar on food labels mean can help make your shopping trips less confusing – and that’s sweet!

How to Read Food Labels: First Things First

When reading food labels, the first thing you need to know is how the FDA defines the word “sugars.” When found on a food label it refers to all “one-and two-unit” sugars used in food. This includes white and brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey and many other ingredients that have one or two sugar units in their structure. The sugars found in fruit, fruit juice and milk products also fall under this definition of sugar, however, low calorie sweeteners such as SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, and polyols (sugar alcohols), do not.

Then there’s the word “free.” Even when products make the claim “sugar free,” “zero sugar,” “no sugar,” “sugarless” and “without sugar” they can have a small amount of sugar. However, this amount (less than 0.5 grams per serving), is so small that it represents an amount of calories and carbohydrates that would be expected to have no meaningful effect in usual meal planning.

This brings us to the claims “no added sugar,” “without added sugar” and “no sugar added.” They are allowed on foods that replace those which normally contain added sugars and have not had sugar or any other ingredient containing sugar added during processing. These foods differ from those with “sugar free” claims because they may contain naturally occurring sources of sugar, like a “no added sugar” ice cream containing lactose from the milk. They also can be sweetened with low calorie sweeteners.

How to Read Food Labels: What Sugar Free Foods Are Not

Now that you know what “sugar” and “free” mean in food labeling you need to know what those terms don’t mean. The most important distinction is “sugar free” does not mean “carbohydrate free.” While it’s true all sugars are carbohydrates, all carbohydrates are not sugars. Comparing the carbohydrate content on the Nutrition Facts panel of similar products where one makes a “sugar free” claim and the other does not will let you see if there really is much difference.

“Sugar free” and “no added sugar” claims also do not always mean “calorie free.” In fact, products carrying those claims must state “not a low calorie food” or “not for weight control” unless they meet the criteria for a low or reduced calorie food.

How to Read Food Labels: Sweetening Your Lower Sugar Diet

Once you’ve figured out what the best products are for you, you can add a little sweetness using one of the many SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Products available, such as packets for your coffee and iced tea and the granulated form ideal for cooking and baking. If you want to add a little sugar, the white and brown SPLENDA® Sugar Blends contain a mix of sugar and sucralose for recipes where a little of both is best. You can find more ways to use all of these SPLENDA® Products in my earlier blog, Cutting Calories Every Day with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products.

Life can be sweet if you know how to read the labels!
Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Sugar substitutes help make managing diabetes a little easier

The Sweet Truth about Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com on November 6,, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about diabetes? If you thought of sugar, you’re not alone. The connection between diabetes and excess sugar in the urine was first made by a Greek physician over 2000 years ago. Back when I was studying the disease in college, patients were still expected to test the sugar content of their urine several times a day to see if they were in good control.

We have learned much more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of diabetes in the past 200 years, but its connection to sugar remains strong.

In recognition of American Diabetes Month, I’d like to share the results of some new research on the role of sugar and artificial sweeteners (sugar substitutes) in diabetes, to bring you up to date.

Two Types of Diabetes

There are two classifications of diabetes, commonly known as type 1 and type 2. Only 5 percent of people who have diabetes have type 1, and most are diagnosed when they are children or young adults. Their bodies do not produce the insulin they need to convert sugar and starches into energy, so they must take insulin by injection or other means.

People with type 2 diabetes experience high blood glucose (sugar) levels because they don’t make enough insulin or their body does not use it properly. Being overweight, inactive, and having high blood pressure are some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. You may want to take this brief “Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test” offered online for free by the American Diabetes Association.

A combination of lifestyle changes and medications can help keep blood sugar levels within normal limits in people with diabetes.

The Role of Diet in Diabetes

The treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes includes consuming a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight. This can be accomplished by following the same eating patterns recommended for us all in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (pdf). People with diabetes do not have to buy special foods or have different foods prepared for them if the meals the rest of their family is eating are well balanced, but need to be more careful managing their carbohydrate intake.

The key to managing one’s weight is to manage caloric intake. Since sugar has calories, the amount eaten must be controlled just like any other source of calories. But since most people really like sweet-tasting foods and beverages made with sugar, it’s easy to consume too much of them. That why using low calorie sweeteners, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, can be a big help. They let you enjoy the great sugar-like taste, but with few or no calories added.

In fact, numerous studies have found that the use of no-calorie sweeteners (like sucralose), can help people with diabetes in several ways. Some of the benefits of low calorie sweeteners are that they:

  • Can aid in weight loss and maintenance when used in place of sugar
  • Can help limit total carbohydrates in the diet to help regulate blood glucose levels and insulin requirements
  • Can help make reduced calorie and/or carbohydrate diets more palatable which may improve compliance
  • Can help satisfy sweet cravings without increasing hunger or appetite
  • Have no effect on gastric emptying or intestinal sweet receptors
  • Do not contribute to dental caries

Having counseled hundreds of people in my career who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I always felt it was a shame they didn’t know about the healthy diet and lifestyle I was recommending to them before they got the disease, because if they had it’s possible that they could have prevented it. So to commemorate American Diabetes Month, I’d like to recommend to everyone who does not have diabetes to adopt this way of life to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

References:

Polonsky KS. The Past 200 Years in Diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2012;367:1332-1340

Jophnson CA, Stevens B, Foreyt J. The Role of Low-calorie Sweeteners in Diabetes. US Endocr.2013;9(1):13-15

Anderson GH, Foreyt J, Sigman-Grant M, Allison DB. The use of low-calorie sweeteners by adults: impact on weight management. J Nutr.2012;142:1163S–1169S

Phelan S, Lang W, Jordan D, Wing RR. Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always-normal weight individuals, Int J Obes.(Lond).2009;33(10):1183–1190

Peters JC, Wyatt HR, Foster GD, Pan Z, Wojtanowski A, Vander Veur SS, Herring SJ, Brill C, Hill JO. The Effects of Water and Non-Nutritive Sweetened Beverages on Weight Loss During a 12-week Weight Loss Treatment Program. Obesity. June 2014;22(6):1415-1421

Piernas C, Tate DF, Wang X, Popkin BM. Does diet-beverage intake affect dietary consumption patterns? Results from the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. March 2013;97(3):604-61

Konstantina Argyri, Alexios Sotiropoulos, Eirini Psarou, Athanasia Papazafiropoulou, Antonios Zampelas, Maria Kapsokefalou. Dessert Formulation Using Sucralose and Dextrin Affects Favorably Postprandial Response to Glucose, Insulin, and C-Peptide in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Rev Diabet Stud. 2013; 10(1):39-48

Wu T, Bound MJ, Standfield SD, Bellon M, Young RL, Jones KL, Horowitz M, Rayner CK. Artificial sweeteners have no effect on gastric emptying, glucagon-like peptide-1, or glycemia after oral glucose in healthy humans. Diab Care.2013;36:e202-e203

Espinosa I, Fogelfeld L. Tagatose: from a sweetener to a new diabetic medication?Expert Opin Investig Drugs.2010;19(2):285–294.

 

Fact or Fiction: Is sucralose safe?

Fact vs. Fiction: Sucralose Dangers and Side Effects

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living. You can read the original post here

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

We’ve all been told at one time or another that there’s no such thing as a silly question. If you’re a parent or a teacher you’ve probably even made that remark yourself. Asking for more information when you don’t understand something is the key to learning.

I have to keep this truism in mind whenever I am asked about the safety of low-calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose (the no-calorie sweetener used, for example, in SPLENDA® Sweetener products). That’s because to me, the answer is simple. I know that low-calorie sweeteners are among the most thoroughly tested, and continually tested, ingredients in the food supply, but everyone else doesn’t know this. And based on all of the available research, they are approved in the US by the FDA for people of all ages.

Since I still get questions from people about whether there are any dangers or side effects from using SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose), I decided to answer them here for the benefit of all of my readers – especially those who may have thought it was a silly question to ask.

Does Sucralose Cause Digestive Problems?

Digestive problems such as bloating and gas are often due to undigested material passing through the gut, which is then fermented by the friendly bacteria residing there. This does not happen with sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. Just as sucralose is not fermented by the bacteria in the mouth (so it does not contribute to tooth decay), it is not fermented by the bacteria in the gut either, so it won’t produce gas and bloating.

People who do experience discomfort after eating foods or drinks sweetened with sucralose are advised to check the food label to see if other ingredients might be the cause. Sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol (which are not found in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products), can be a trigger if too much is eaten; the same applies to synthetic fibers, such as inulin and chicory root.

What Happens to Sucralose after It Enters Our Bodies?

Sucralose is water soluble and it does not accumulate in the body and is not broken down for energy – so it has no calories. About 85% of the sucralose we consume is excreted in our stool unchanged, while the remaining 15% is passively absorbed then excreted quickly in the urine. It is eliminated rapidly from the body with no tendency for increased plasma concentrations with continued consumption (or use). More on how the body processes sucralose:https://blog.splenda.com/how-splenda-no-calorie-sweetener-can-be-calorie-free.

How is Sucralose Used by the Body?

Sucralose is not metabolized for energy in mammals, so it provides us with no calories. It also is not recognized as a carbohydrate, so does not affect our blood glucose levels or insulin requirements. In studies where high doses were given to people with and without diabetes, it did not affect glucose control both when subjects were fasted or following a meal. And when given repeatedly over time, it did not raise A1C levels (a longer term measure of average blood glucose). The primary effect sucralose has on us is the experience of a sweet taste when we eat or drink something sweetened with it.

Enjoy SPLENDA® Sweeteners as Part of a Balanced Diet

Foods sweetened with sucralose can be a great addition to a balanced healthy diet. If you have a problem after eating or drinking something sweetened with it, it’s important to not jump to conclusions. By taking a look at the entire situation you may realize something else is responsible for the way you feel. Maybe you ate too fast or had too much to eat and drink or didn’t have a well-balanced meal. Making some changes in your usual eating habits may be all that is needed to help you feel better.

When people eat the right variety of foods in the right amounts to meet their nutritional needs, and get enough physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight, they tend to feel great! It all comes down to maintaining a healthy lifestyle so you can look and feel your best. Foods sweetened with sucralose are one tool to help you manage your calories from sugar, which might be an important tool for some of us on the road to better eating.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating again.

For more information:

 

A quick healthy meal made with pasta is penne with vegetables and fresh herbs

Quick Healthy Meals Begin with Pasta

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read it here.

THE BENEFITS OF PASTA INCLUDE THE QUICK HEALTHY MEALS YOU CAN MAKE BY ADDING VEGETABLES, LEAN PROTEIN AND FRESH HERBS

Remember the days when we were told fat was killing us, but we could eat all the carbohydrates we wanted? Of course, that backfired. You can never eat all you want of anything and remain healthy. But back then, pasta was considered a superfood as long as you didn’t put any olive oil on it.

Then the tides turned on food high in carbohydrate, and protein became top dog, along with whatever fat clung to it. Soon people who hadn’t sunk their teeth into a piece of prime rib in ages were hitting the carving station again.

We have now entered the era of the good fats. The marbled meats are gone, and the healthy fats found in the foods of the Mediterranean, like olive oil, almonds and sesame seeds, are in.

Since the Mediterranean Diet has been linked to better health, you might be wondering where pasta fits into the plan?

I’m here to deliver good news. There are many nutritional and culinary benefits of pasta, and we were wrong to abandon the quick healthy meals we can make with it.

The problem was never the pasta; it was how much we were eating. Let’s try to get it right this time around. With all the new shapes, sizes and types of pasta on the market, there are more ways than ever to enjoy it.

Pasta Does Not Make You Fat!

Neither pasta in particular, nor carbohydrates in general, can make us gain weight any faster or easier than any other food containing calories. All of the excess calories we consume contribute to weight gain if we don’t burn them off, no matter what the source.

If you love pasta, the key to keeping it in your diet without exceeding your daily caloric allowance is to portion it properly. Two ounces of dry pasta is considered one serving, and it has about 200 calories. There’s no law against cooking a 12 ounce box and eating half of it yourself at one meal, but you must be able to use those 600 calories, and any that were clinging to it, or they will be stored as fat.

If you have a hard time estimating what 2 ounces of penne, fettuccine, or any other pasta looks like after it has been cooked, Barilla Pasta has a great chart that tells you how to measure it both before and after cooking.

Health Benefits of Pasta

  • Source of enriched and whole grains – Dietary Guidelines recommend eating at least 6 servings of grains a day, with half of them whole grains and half enriched
  • Low in fat and sodium – You don’t have to salt the water to cook pasta; let your sauce provide the flavor.
  • No cholesterol or saturated fat – If you use only plant-sourced toppings, like vegetables and beans, your dish will remain cholesterol free.
  • Enriched with thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, folic acid, and iron – Including enriched grains in the diet is an important way to meet requirements for essential nutrients.
  • A low Glycemic Index food – This means pasta makes us feel satisfied longer than other food high in carbohydrate and it doesn’t cause blood sugar to surge.
  • Available in nutritionally enhanced varieties – The list includes whole grain, vegetable, high fiber, high protein, ALA omega-3 fatty acids, and gluten free.

Culinary Benefits of Pasta

  • Partners well with every other food group – It’s the foundation for endless quick healthy meals when prepared with vegetables, fruits, lean meats, beans, nuts, or cheese.
  • Quick and easy to cook – Depending on size, it only takes 6-12 minutes to cook pasta to “al dente”, so follow the directions on the box.
  • Variety of shapes and sizes – The names on the boxes mean different things in Italian, but the shapes are basically long or short, ridged or smooth, thin or thick, hollow or solid, flat or filled.
  • Versatile serving options – One of the few foods you can enjoy hot or cold and reheated.
  • Inexpensive and widely available – Pasta provides a valuable way to stretch food dollars without compromising on value at meals.
  • Tastes great – A favorite of children, teens and adults alike, so everyone in the family can enjoy more meals together.