Low Carb Diet Study

diabetes diet
You don’t want to know what’s going in here…

So, you get to take all sorts of measurements and I need to answer lots of questions about what I eat? Sign me up!

Reader, I adore a study and even more so when it relates to lifestyle. I started work at Glasgow University in April and spotted a poster looking for participants in a low-carb study.

“Aha!” I said to myself. “I’m your woman! A low-carber for years, diabetic to boot and a person well-versed in the filling in of a form.”

While certain aspects of the low-carbohydrate diet have been well researched, such as weight loss, there has been little focus on testing how this way of eating affects micronutrient levels in the body. The Glasgow Uni study, Nutritional and Cardiovascular Risk Factors associated with Long-Term Adherence to Low-Carbohydrate/Gluten-Avoidance Diets, funded by the Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, concentrates on this.

What is the purpose of the study? Low carbohydrate diets (LCD) such as the Atkins Diet have become common dietary approaches for weight management, and aiming to avoid starchy foods such as bread, cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes which are major dietary sources of B-vitamins, magnesium, and fibre.

The researcher is investigating the contribution of starchy / sweet foods in body composition, micronutrient status and cardiovascular risk factors. To do this, they seek people who either exclude or include these foods in their diet.

I’m not one hundred percent low-carb compliant. Who is? But when I filled in the forms for the study, I realised that I follow a low-carb diet much more closely than I thought. How often do I eat potatoes, rice and pasta, the survey wanted to know—the answer, never or less than once a month for rice and pasta and about twice a month for potatoes.

I eat bread more often (LOVE bread), and ditto chocolate, but I don’t bother with most of the other high-carb foods listed in the questionnaire.

The outline of the survey had said they’d do urine testing. I assumed that meant a sample in one of those little tubes. Not so! The doctor sent me off with two large flasks (pictured) and asked me to collect all my pee over a 24-hour period.

TBH, I wasn’t sure the two flasks would be enough. We diabetics tend to wee more than ordinary folks, anyway. When you add in my daily diet coke, water and peppermint tea intake, a lot of fluid swishes around inside me.

And what goes in must come out!

The survey will be followed up in six months’ time, then another six months after that and so on until two years are up.

At the time of writing, the researchers hadn’t found that many people to take part—nine out of a necessary eighty. If you live in the Glasgow area and follow a low-carb diet (you don’t need to be diabetic and you don’t have to follow it all the time), then they’d love to hear from you—lowcarbstudy@gmail.com

BMJ: Varicoceles can be a marker for metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes

Nancy Wang from Stanford University is a urologist and says, “Varicoceles which are varicose veins of the spermatic cords, are associated with low testosterone. This in turn makes men more likely to develop metabolic risks and heart disease. No one has connected the dots before now”.

These men have higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, and hyperlipidaemia.

My comment: Varicoceles feel just  like a bag of worms in the scrotum. Up to one in 5 men will develop these over their lifetime. 

Homemadewithmess: Prawn courgetti with a red pepper sauce

courgettes spiralised
For the Red Pepper Sauce
1 red pepper – deseeded and roughly chopped
Splash olive oil
½ yellow pepper – deseeded and roughly chopped
165g cherry tomatoes – halved
2 cloves garlic – left whole
75ml red wine
Pinch sugar
1 tbsp tomato puree
150ml vegetable stock
For the courgetti
2 courgettes – spiralised
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch sugar
To serve
1 red onion – finely sliced
Splash olive oil
200g raw king prawns
1 handful fresh basil
Parmesan shavings – to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 180’C
Toss the pepper in the olive oil and roast for 20 minutes
Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for a further 20 minutes
Squeeze out the garlic from their skins and return to the dish. Stir in the red wine, sugar and tomato puree and cook for a final 10 minutes
Once cooked, blend the mixture together with the stock until smooth, and then push through a fine sieve to make even smoother.
Set-aside until ready to serve.
Spiralise your courgettes and then toss through the lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
Heat a large pan with a splash of oil and fry the onion until soft.
Add the sauce and once bubbling stir in the prawns
Cook through until the prawns have turned lovely and pink and then turn off the heat.
Fold in the courgetti and then plate up, sprinkling over your basil leaves and parmesan and enjoying with salad.

Nutritional Info:
Calories – 316
Fat – 9g
Carbs – 26g
Sugars – 15g
Protein – 28g

 

Why I bought my son a Freestyle Libre

The Freestyle Libre blood sugar monitoring system has been out for about a year now. It consists of a sensor that you put in your upper arm and a reader, a bit like a mobile phone, that tells you the blood sugar, whether the trend is rising or falling, and what your blood sugar pattern has been like over the last eight hours.

I haven’t met anyone who has tried it who didn’t prefer it to finger pricks. About the only situation that it is no good for is driving. You need to have proof of your blood sugar on a regular meter should your ability to drive while under the influence of injected insulin comes under scrutiny.

The NHS is a big organisation and no doubt funding for this will vary from area to area, but in Scotland at least, there is no prospect of my son getting one on the NHS.

The main people who will be able to get the device are pregnant women and those women who are planning a pregnancy. Since these women ideally have to get their Hbaic down to 6% or under to ensure a healthy baby, then you can see why they have the greatest need. You are looking at two patients in one and complications that can affect a child lifelong.

The other groups that are eligible are those with very frequent admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis or severe hypoglycaemia. By this is meant three times in a single year. Both these complications of diabetes can result in sudden death or brain damage and often in young people.

Those people whose HbA1cs are over 8.5% or who test their blood sugars more than six times a day will also be considered. Since most people attending hospital diabetic clinics will have blood sugars over this threshold it is a big group.  Perhaps diabetic athletes will also be considered.

The group that won’t be given the device and sensors on the NHS are the ones who are already making great efforts to reduce complications by eating low carb diets, exercising consistently and monitoring frequently.  Using the Freestyle libre should help this group adjust their insulin and food more finely, in particular avoiding hypos, since their blood sugars are wiggling around normal much of the time anyway.  As they are already at much lower risk for complications they are saving the NHS a great deal of money just by being so committed to their task, yet something that would make the job easier is denied them because they are not “bad enough”.

So, I’ve just bought my son one. So far he is thrilled with it. The sensors are £45 (VAT exempt) a fortnight and the initial outlay is £137 (VAT exempt) including two sensors.

There are two great advantages as far as I’m concerned. Peace of mind. And Christmas and Birthday presents for the foreseeable future are sorted.

 

 

 

 

 

BMJ: Bariatric surgery best done before a BMI of 50

More than a third of patients who had bariatric surgery got back to a BMI of 30 or less after one year. Some patients respond better than others, and some operations are more effective than others.

Having a BMI of less than 40 made it more likely for the person to reach their goal weight. Obviously, they had less to lose. Only one out of ten patients who had a BMI of 50 or over got down to a BMI of 30, which corresponds to the limit between being considered overweight and being considered obese.

Sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass or duodenal switch operations were the most effective. Adjustable gastric bands were less effective.

BMJ  9 Dec 2017 from JAMA Surg 2017

Natural Low Carb Store: Choc chip cookies

Looking for something sweet to eat that still works with your diabetes? Try this…

choc chip cookies

150g almond flour

100g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
1 tsp baking powder
120g butter (softened)
60g inulin powder (or granulated sugar substitute)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
30g 72% dark chocolate (chopped)

Pre-heat your oven to 160°C and line a baking sheet. In a bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut and baking powder. In a separate bowl cream the butter with the inulin, then beat in the vanilla and egg until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate to form a dough. Divide the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Press each ball gently with the heel of your hand to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 12-14 minutes until just browning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Option – drizzle with melted chocolate for decoration!

(NB: Don’t try to cut up the chocolate in a mini chopper. I broke one attempting this. Katharine)