My Review: Sun Basket Meal Kit Delivery

Here at Diabetes Daily, we recently tried out several different meal kit delivery services and we learned that while pricey, they did save us a lot of time and mental efforts when it came to preparing meals for our family. One of the caveats for our family’s meals is that we often eat a lower-carb diet to help optimally manage our type 1 diabetes, while other family members may eat a little bit higher carbohydrate than we do, not entirely avoiding items like pasta and potatoes.

One of the reasons we chose to try out the Sun Basket meal kit delivery service was because they seemed to offer a lot of different options we thought would be able to meet our very low-carb requirements while also offering additional options that would please other family members. We received several meal kits and snacks at no charge and all opinions are my own.

Sunbasket box

Photo credit: Sun Basket

Sun Basket

Sun Basket offers a variety of meal kit delivery plans and strives to provide numerous options, including, among others:

  • Gluten-Free
  • Mediterranean
  • Pescatarian
  • Vegan
  • Carb-conscious

The company aims to source their food responsibly and be environmentally-friendly by working with local farmers and ensuring that their packaging is recyclable whenever possible. Also, over 99% of the food shipped by Sun Basket is organic.

Excitingly, the company offers a variety of meal types, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snack items as well.

You can view the specific meal kit plans here and also check out the pricing breakdown here. The average price per serving comes in at about $11-12 USD.

Our Review

We sampled the following items from Sun Basket:

Overall, we were very happy with the product packaging (complete in a brown paper bag), protein and produce quality, as well as with the ease of following each recipe.

Photo credit: Allison Caggia

We thoroughly enjoyed all of their meals and found them to be easy on our blood sugars. One stand-out was the steak with roasted sweet potatoes. I had never tried chimichurri before and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor. Also, I am a sucker for sweet potato fries and the little cubes only took a few minutes in my air fryer. I plan on preparing them this way moving forward. I also enjoyed the other meals and found the instructions very easy to follow and perfect for the cook-challenged.

Conclusions

Overall, here at Diabetes Daily, we were very happy with the meal kit and snack options offered by this company. We like the idea of having the a-la-carte options when it comes to the snacks, in addition to the variety of meals that are offered each week. We appreciated the organic protein and produce and was very pleased to see that everything was very fresh. The available options made it easy for us to stick to lower-carb eating while allowing our families the option of having more carbohydrates on the side. If you’re considering investing in a meal kit delivery service, Sun Basket should definitely be on your radar, especially if you need a variety of options to please your family!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Home Chef: Meal Kit Delivery That Fits Your Needs

Meal kit delivery services have been gaining popularity in recent years, and it’s no wonder why. It sure is convenient to have all the premeasured ingredients, all ready to prepare the predetermined recipe delivered to you every week, cutting down on both time and food waste.

Recently, I reviewed several meal kits from Home Chef, in particular to assess the more “diabetes-friendly” options. I received two meals at no charge and did not receive any additional compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Who They Are

The mission at Home Chef is to “provide everything you need to bring more delicious meals and moments to the table, no matter how busy you are”. Their meal kit delivery service allows you to fully customize your preferences in terms of the types of food, quantities, and cost. You can also choose to skip any weeks when you do not need meal delivery.

Services Offered

When you sign up with the service, you can select from several dietary preferences to get suggestions. Select your preferences, as well as the number of people and meals per week, and you’re almost ready to go!

Photo credit: Home Chef

You will be given suggestions from the current menu, based on your choices. You can still choose to customize all your meal choices within the particular week’s menu options.

Photo credit: Home Chef

Some meals take about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish, while others boast just a 15-minute prep time. You can also select from the oven-ready or grill-ready collections as well as the classic culinary collection. Finally, there are also entrée salads available for purchase.

The total cost per week will vary, depending on your specific delivery preferences and menu choices. Meals start as low as $6.99 per serving!

My Review

I chose to sample two meals: The Sirloin and Mushroom Demi-Glace for the culinary collection as well as the Pesto Parmesan Chicken with Tuscan Tomato Green Beans from the oven-ready section.

I was impressed with the appearance of the food upon delivery. Everything was appropriately packaged and at the correct temperature. The proteins and produce all looked fresh, and I also appreciated the recyclable packaging materials that were used.

The Sirloin dish was one of the 30-minute meals (*aside: no matter which meal kit I try, it always takes me a bit longer; clearly, this is likely a user issue). The recipe card made the cooking process easy and seamless, as the instructions were very clear, and provided illustrations as well. Most importantly, all the food tasted great! It really delivered a classic and gourmet meal in the comfort of your own kitchen.

The potatoes au gratin with spinach and gorgonzola cheese were particularly a hit with the family. Despite my lower-carb lifestyle, I sampled a small amount these as well, and they certainly delivered on flavor and richness, and were a great accompaniment to the star protein dish – the steak! I used leftover steak and mushrooms for my lunch over a salad the following day and wasn’t disappointed.

Although it was a simpler and plainer dinner, I was absolutely thrilled with the oven-ready chicken and green beans. As a mom of two young kids, working several jobs remotely, it was really a treat to just be able to stick the trays in the oven and have a delicious, nutritious, and carb-conscious option ready to go for everyone to enjoy.

This particular meal was a great option for blood sugar-friendly outcomes for those with diabetes. Can’t go wrong with plenty of lean protein and lots of green veggies covered in a tasty sauce – delicious and healthy for the whole family!

Summary

Overall, the entire family enjoyed both meals that we sampled. I appreciated the produce and protein quality and the clear instructions on how to prepare. Having all the ingredients ready to go, without extra planning or visiting or ordering from a grocery store certainly saves time and effort! Most of all, I really appreciated the multitude of customization options that Home Chef offers, whether by price, food type, dietary restriction, or frequency of delivery, to name a few.

If you’ve never tried a meal delivery kit service before, I would say, you can’t go wrong if you start here!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

The Keto Diet Isn’t for Everyone: A Type 1 Diabetes Perspective

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Christel Oerum

I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as a “Diabetic Diet,” but that we each need to find the best diet for our bodies and mental happiness.

In the search for the diet that’s right for me, I tried the keto diet, and this is what happened.

Why I Decided to Try the Keto Diet

I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997 and didn’t pay much attention to my diet or followed any specific nutrition regime for the first 17 years. I just ate and adjusted my insulin to my food. And you know what, that worked pretty well for me.

Then in 2014, I started preparing for my first bodybuilding competition and I really had to focus on my diet in a way I never had before. Back then, my coach had me on a high protein, medium/low-carb, and very low-fat diet.

After that experience, I became fascinated with different nutrition approaches and I’ve tried out quite a few diets in the name of research and just plain curiosity.

What is so fascinating about nutrition is that every approach has its die-hard followers and I’m always curious to see if I’ll love it as much as they do.

So, in the name of research, I set out to try the keto diet on my own body.

How I Implemented the Keto Diet

The keto diet restricts the amount of carbohydrates and protein consumed, which means that you primarily rely on fats for your daily energy. The goal is to consume very few carbohydrates (~5% of your daily calorie consumption, or 20-50 grams max), thereby forcing your body to burn fat for fuel.

Fans of the keto diet usually like the approach because it supposedly helps with blood sugar management as well as weight management. And let’s face it, if you’re into bacon and cheese, it sounds very alluring.

Many say that they’ve seen weight loss even though they don’t pay attention to calories, simply because a diet high in fat is very satiating, making them feel full quickly so they eat less.

Based on all of this, I decided to eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day (including veggie carbs/fibers), about 80 grams of protein, and as much fat I needed to feel full without keeping a track of my calorie intake.

My Experience Following the Keto Diet

Christel

Image source: Beyond Type 1

At first, my experience was great. I enjoyed the cheese, nuts, seeds, and avocado that my diet predominantly consisted of.

When it came to my diabetes management, I saw a flatter blood sugar profile with fewer spikes on my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that I often see when I eat a more carb-heavy diet (which is not surprising since carb are what gets converted into glucose the fastest in the bloodstream).

But my experiment quickly went south. I started to become increasingly insulin resistant after only about a week, which meant that I needed more and more insulin to manage my blood sugars, even though I was eating very few carbs.

I still wasn’t seeing any major spikes in my blood sugars, but since fat slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, my blood sugar would continue to slowly creep up. To keep my blood sugars in-range, I had to increase my long-acting insulin significantly while micro-dosing my rapid-acting insulin more often.

The reason for the micro-doses rather than doing larger doses was to adjust my blood sugar without ending up with low blood sugar.

Not only did I become more insulin resistant and had a harder time managing my blood sugars, I also started to have a lot of digestive issues and was gaining weight at an alarming rate.

None of the last two issues are really a surprise.

  1. My digestive issue was most likely related to my diet being low in fibers and volume
  2. And when it comes to my weight gain, fats are very calorie-dense compared to protein and carbs and since I wasn’t monitoring my calorie intake, I was eating too many calories for my needs. I have a healthy appetite and fats alone were just not satiating enough to make me feel full quickly.

After about a month of sticking to the keto diet, I switched back to my moderate/low-carb way of eating. At that point I didn’t feel good, I was constantly bloated, couldn’t fit in my clothes, and my endo was not impressed with how negatively it was impacting my diabetes management.

If you only take one thing away from this post, I hope that it will be this: that you can (and should) try things out, and if they don’t work for you, then “cut your losses.”

It’s Not a Failure, It’s Just an Approach That Doesn’t Work for You

So maybe the keto diet intrigues you, or the Paleo or Vegan diet sounds more appealing. My recommendation would be to research the diet, talk to others who have tried it, assess if it might trigger any unwanted eating patterns, and then try it out if you like.

There are thousands of people with diabetes who follow any of the three diets I mention above with great results so they clearly work for a lot of people – they just don’t work for all people. It may take some experimentation to find the diet that works for you.

If you’re interested in trying the keto diet, you can find a keto meal plan with recipes on Diabetes Strong.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

What to Eat for Better Heart Health

As the famous saying goes, “You are what you eat,” and it is in fact true that our diet is intimately connected to health outcomes. When it comes to something that we have a lot of control over – our diet – why not take the next steps to make it healthier!

This article focuses on research-backed tips for achieving a more “heart-healthy” diet, which is especially important for people with diabetes, since the condition can increase the risk for heart disease.

Choose Unprocessed Foods

Many researchers will agree that population-based nutritional studies can be prone to many limitations. It can be very difficult to draw accurate and consistent conclusions about the specific effects of a single food or food group; instead, it is generally accepted that the overall dietary patterns and combination of specific foods consumed paint a more complete picture. However, most studies do agree on the importance of choosing whole foods over highly processed items.

For instance, ample evidence points to the harmful effects of highly-refined, high-glycemic load carbohydrates (e.g., corn syrup, white bread, most pre-packaged desserts), when it comes to cardiovascular health. The Cleveland Clinic recommends eschewing such carbohydrate sources and instead choosing less processed sources, like whole-grain bread and quinoa, for example.

Similarly, there has been some evidence to suggest that eating processed meats may increase heart disease risk. When possible, choosing unprocessed or minimally processed protein sources is the better choice.

Eating “clean” in this regard can also help you minimize your intake of trans fat, which has been consistently shown to increase heart disease risk.

Incorporate More Plants

Numerous studies point to the heart health benefits of a plant-based diet. Did you know that the vast majority of our pharmaceuticals are derived from plants? It’s no wonder that eating more plants can mitigate disease risk – they are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and numerous other beneficial substances.

Have you ever heard of “eat the rainbow”? Choosing a variety of fiber-rich and colorful vegetables and fruits will help you incorporate a diverse array of heart-healthy nutrients.

Of course, for people with diabetes, the carbohydrate (sugar) content matters, so be mindful and opt for lower-glycemic-impact choices, like leafy green vegetables, zucchini, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and peppers. Consider choosing berries, and high-in-fiber, lower-in-sugar fruits to get the nutrients you need while also keeping the blood sugar level steady.

Photo credit: Foundry (Pixabay)

Don’t Shy Away from Fats

For many decades, it had seemed that dietary fat was public enemy #1 when it came to heart health. In particular, saturated fats and cholesterol (and thus many nutritious foods, like eggs and meat) earned a bad rep.

However, the picture turned out to be much more complicated. Experts explain that there has been a lack of consistency in the available data regarding the effects of saturated fat and cholesterol intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Importantly, while some studies showed an association between red meat consumption and CVD, most of these studies were focused on processed meat products (see above).

Photo credit: GerDukes (Pixabay)

What is well-established is that incorporating “healthy-fats” (in particular, omega-3 fatty acids) from sources like fish, avocados, and nuts, appears to have favorable effects on CVD risk. This is a large component of the famous Mediterranean diet, which has been consistently associated with improved cardiovascular health. In contrast, keep trans fat intake at bay (which should be easy enough when mainly eating whole, unprocessed foods).

Choose Water

Besides choosing whole foods (read: no sugar added!), it is equally important to stay smart about beverages. We live in a society that makes it easy and normal to choose sugar-laden drinks (from the orange juice or Macchiato in the morning to the soda at lunch, to the sweetened iced tea with dinner). Choosing to forgo sugar-sweetened beverages is highly recommended for better heart health.

Summary

While many nutrition studies can be inherently messy in their design and interpretations, a few well-accepted notions regarding a heart-healthy diet have consistently emerged. Overall, whole-foods-based, unprocessed meals that are low in sugar and high in omega-3 fatty acids, incorporating a variety of plants, and drinking water or unsweetened beverages, can help reduce CVD risk.

References

Anand SS, Hawkes C, de Souza RJ, et al. (2015) “Food Consumption and its impact on Cardiovascular  Disease: Importance of Solutions focused on the globalized food system.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 66(14): 1590-1614. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4597475/

Cleveland Clinic (2018) “Heart Healthy Diet.” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17079-heart-healthy-diet

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2020) “Preventing Heart Disease.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/cardiovascular-disease/preventing-cvd/

Kim H, Caulfield LE, Garcia-Larsen V, et al. (2019) “Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle-Aged Adults.” Journal of the American Heart Association 8(16). https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Top 20 Healthy and Affordable Walmart Food Finds

Walmart, America’s most popular retail chain, has been increasing its options of healthy foods, with plenty of plant-based, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and keto-friendly options at affordable prices. They also have a private-label organic line, Great Value Organic, which offers quality tasting organic products that are more affordable than its brand name competitors.

Here is a list of healthy and affordable Walmart finds that not only taste great but won’t break the bank.

1. Walmart’s Great Value Organic Frozen Fruit Line

I love fresh fruit but I don’t eat it quick enough and usually wind up having to throw most out. With Walmart’s own line of frozen fruit, I can buy affordable frozen fruit in bulk. Fruit is a great source of fiber and antioxidants and I love adding them to a protein smoothie or mixing into my favorite Greek yogurt.  You can’t go wrong with the $8.47  price tag for 32 ounces, especially because none will go to waste.

2. Great Value Pesto Spirals

These tasty frozen pesto spirals made from zucchini and carrot noodles are only 5 grams of carbs per ¾ cup serving and low-calorie too. They can be used as a simple side dish or turned into a restaurant-quality cuisine. Try adding grilled chicken or shrimp, and your favorite sauce! They are only $2.98 per a 12-ounce package and the options are unlimited!

3. CauliPower Baked Chicken Tenders

This is one of my favorite finds because it is something that my whole family can enjoy. These baked chicken fingers are gluten-free, coated in cauliflower and only 10 grams net carbs per serving (about two chicken fingers). My kids love it as is and I like to get creative with it and turn it into salads and entrees with healthy spices and sauce. It is affordable to feed the whole family with a price of $5.98 for a 16 oz package.

4. Jimmy Dean’s Delights Broccoli and Cheese Egg’wich

This high-protein, low-carb breakfast option is made with egg frittata flavored with broccoli as the “wich” with chicken sausage and cheese layered in between. This great on-the-go meal is packed with 14 grams of protein and only 8 grams of carb, making this a perfect, low-carb choice to start your day.

5. Pb2 Peanut Butter Powder

This is an item I was reluctant to try for quite some time. Once I tried it, I wish I had sooner since there are so many ways to use this product. You can either mix with water or almond milk to use like peanut butter (I enjoy it with a few Bake Believe chocolate chips) or simply add the powder to any desserts or shakes for an added punch of peanut butter flavor. With only 5 grams of carb, 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving, this is definitely an item worth considering. It costs $8.47 for a 16-ounce jar and will last you for quite some time.

6. Deebee’s Organics Superfruit Freezie

This product is such a great find. I first became familiar with these ice pops at a friend’s house and all the children devoured them. The mom specifically purchases these because they are free from the top 8 allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, fish and shellfish, soy and wheat, making this a safe choice for her 7-year-old daughter who has multiple allergies. They have no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and come in at only 7 grams of sugar per ice pop, making this the perfect treat when your kid is already operating on a sugar high. Each box comes with three delicious flavors–Strawberry Lemon, Mango Orange and Blueberry Pomegranate and costs 3.98 for 10 bars making it an affordable dessert when having guests.

7. Bake Believe Keto-Friendly Chocolate Chips

I reviewed this product last year and have been buying it ever since. Unlike their competitors, their price is affordable and it tastes great too. This is still a best-kept secret so make sure to scoop these up if your store has them in stock. With only 60 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 1 gram net carb per serving you can indulge without worrying about your nutrition goals or your blood sugar. Bake Believe chocolate chips cost just a fraction of the other brands, with a price tag of only $3.98 for a 9-ounce bag, making this one of my favorites on this list!

8. Badia Organic Chia, Flax and Hemp Seeds

This variety of seeds is a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron. They come in a handy container that you can put right into your fridge or freezer to give it the longest shelf life. The chia seeds are extremely affordable at $19.44 for an enormous 5.5 lb container that will last you a long time and won’t spoil.

9. Great Value Coconut and Almond Flour

I love baking my own low-carb alternatives to some of my favorite desserts but it is very expensive to do so. In a regular retail grocery store, almond flour can cost around $10 dollars for a 1-lb bag. For two pounds, Great Value’s organic coconut and almond flour are considerably less than my normal go-to brands with a price of $4.98 for coconut and $12.98 for almond flour.

10. Whisps Cheese Crisps

This gluten-free and keto-friendly snack comes in individual portions, perfect for back to school, for both you and your children. With only 1 gram carb, 110 calories and 6 grams of protein, this is a great choice that will not spike your blood sugars. At Walmart this product costs $3.47, the lowest of anywhere I’ve ever purchased. I will be sure to pick some up on my next visit!

11. Kale

For just $1, you can get a 1-lb bag of frozen kale — plenty of health benefits and the cooking options are limitless. This one is a no brainer to add to your shopping cart.

12. Great Value Deluxe Mixed Nuts

As with many other items, Great Value boasts some of the lowest prices for nuts that I’ve ever seen. This one is a particular favorite of mine; make sure to get the lightly-salted version. A large container weighing 15.25 ounces will only cost you $7.98! Store the nuts in the fridge for longest shelf life.

13. Great Value Oils

The selection of oils at Walmart is impressive and there is no doubt you’ll find what you are looking for. I prefer to use avocado oil for my grilling due to its ability to withstand high heat. And I use a lot of coconut oil when I’m baking. Both of these oils cost less than in my local grocery store, with coconut oil costing $4.62 for 14 ounces and avocado oil $ 7.47 for a 25.5-ounce bottle.

14. Fairlife Chocolate Milk

With 50% less sugar than regular chocolate milk and 9 essential nutrients, Fairlife chocolate milk is what I give my kids to make sure they are getting a healthy source of vitamins and minerals. It is also packed with protein coming in at 13 grams per cup. I personally use Fairlife to treat my low blood sugar. It has just enough sugar to raise my sugar and some fat and protein to keep it stable. It also happens to be delicious! At Walmart, you can find Fairlife for $3.18 for 52 fluid ounces.

15. Good Food Made Simple Egg White Patties

I think my mouth dropped to the floor when I found this gem. These patties are already cooked and can become a part of your favorite breakfast sandwich or wrap, or eaten on their own, with some bacon and avocado on the side!  This is an easy and protein-packed food to put on your shopping list and only costs $3.98 for 6 patties!

16. CauliPOWER Margherita Pizza

It can be difficult to find a store-bought, plant-based pizza option without it costing a small fortune. These delicious cauliflower-based, gluten-free pizzas have 30% less sugar than other leading pizza brands and only cost $6.48 for a personal pie.

17. LaCroix Sparkling Water

LaCroix sparkling water is a delicious alternative to high-sugar soda and a nice change of pace from plain water. With no calories, sugar or sodium, you can feel good about keeping this stocked in your fridge. LaCroix comes in an assortment of flavors and can also be great as a mixer with your favorite adult beverage. And you can’t beat the price of $11.99 for 24 cans.

18. Oscar Meyer P3 Chicken, Monterey, and Cashews Portable Protein Pack

This is an incredible option for those who are carb-conscious and looking to get in some protein, too. Each individually-sized pack comes with seasoned rotisserie chicken, cashew pieces and Monterey Jack cheese. It contains 12 grams of protein, making it very macro-friendly. If your children like it, this is a great and affordable option to bring to school at just $1.50 each.

19. Great Value Pasta Sauce

This sauce has a full serving of veggies and contains only 9 grams net of carb in each ½ cup serving. There are also other options, like Marinara sauce, that are even lower in carbohydrate and equally as delicious! This sauce is also gluten-free and contains no saturated or trans fat. It’s taste rivals that of its brand name competitors but its price of just $0.88 cents cannot be beaten!

20. Green Giant Riced Vegetables Cauliflower Risotto Medley

Green Giant used to just mean soggy string beans or corn niblets in a can. Now you have an assortment of vegetables turned into “rice” with a fraction of the calories and carbs. The Cauliflower Risotto Medley tastes rich and creamy but only has 20 calories and 4 grams carb per serving. This is a favorite of mine and is very affordable coming in at just $2.48 for a 10-oz bag.

Walmart is a one-stop-shop for many of us and saves us from running a ton of errands. Now, with Walmart offering all of these delicious and affordable options, we can save time and money while also looking after our own and our family’s health!

Have you found any delicious, healthy and affordable foods at Walmart? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Review: The Impossible Burger – Good for People and the Planet

The folks at Impossible Burger, along with their dedicated team of scientists, farmers and chefs have spent years trying to figure out how to deliver the goodness of a burger without the killing of animals. By creating this meatless burger, Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s resources. Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. Hearing these statistics made me really want to try it, and start exploring alternate types of burgers.

What Is It Made of?

Impossible Burger is made from proteins, flavors, fats, and binders just like any other burger except the ingredients come from plants. The “magic ingredient” that makes these burgers seem like the real deal is called heme. Heme is a basic building block of life on Earth, including plants, but it’s uniquely abundant in meat. This is what makes the burger smell, cook, bleed, and taste like a hearty burger. The Impossible Burger 2.0 replaced the wheat protein with soy protein, which not only added flavor but some dietary fiber as well.

One thing I loved to see is that Impossible Burger delivers the same amount of protein, 19 grams per serving, and iron as a beef burger — but its protein comes entirely from plants, it contains no hormones or antibiotics, does not create a reservoir for dangerous pathogens, and contains no cholesterol or slaughterhouse contaminants. The bioavailable protein, iron, and fat content are comparable to conventional 80/20 ground beef. Launched in 2019,  the new Impossible Burger contains 30% less sodium and 40% less saturated fat than their original recipe. Here are the ingredients and nutrition facts for their current recipe.

From Impossible Foods website

How Does It Taste?

I prepared the burger on a bun, smothered in cheese and pickles and it looked exactly like a beef burger. The smell also matched what I would expect from a burger joint. When I bit into it, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor and found it to be quite juicy. It had a texture and taste that rivals meat and didn’t seem like the other veggie/plant-based burgers I have tried.

When I tried the original burger a few years back, I had to take into account that it contained wheat when figuring out my insulin dose. This time I took a very modest amount and it didn’t spike my blood sugars at all. The replacement of soy protein was a great improvement with the 2.0 but make sure to look out for a delayed protein spike about an hour or so post-meal.

 Impossible Burger

Photo credit: Impossible Foods

Where Can I Get Impossible Burger?

Since my last review, the Impossible Food brand has grown quite a bit. They are now available in restaurants and groceries worldwide, including Starbucks! Check here for locations near you.

What’s Next for Impossible Burger?

The team at Impossible Burger is working to transform the global food system by inventing better ways to enjoy the food we love, without sacrificing flavor. The Impossible Burger is their very first product, and they have since added Impossible plant-based pork and sausage to their list and I am anxiously awaiting their next new product. Enjoying food that is good for your body and your planet is a win-win!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Experts Clash on Low-Carb Diets for Children (ADA 2020)

Experts came together virtually at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 80th scientific sessions on Sunday afternoon to debate the potential pros and cons of utilizing low-carbohydrate diets among youth with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Belinda Lennerz, MD, PhD of the Boston Children’s Hospital discussed the pros of utilizing low-carb eating (defined, in this case, as <20-50g per day or <10% of the daily caloric intake) in this patient population, while Dr. Carmel Smart, Rd, PhD of the John Hunter Children’s Hospital argued about the potential cons. Each presenter made their case and were also allowed time to rebut. Here is the summary of the experts’ arguments.

Potential Pros of a Low-Carb Approach

Dr. Lennerz started by providing a historical overview of low-carb diets among patients with type 1 diabetes, noting that even after insulin became available, carb intake initially stayed low for patients. In fact, it was only once fat was implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), that the recommendations to increase carbohydrate intake were made, to replace the calories lost by omitting fat. She also pointed out that currently there is no one-size-fits all recommendation for carbohydrate intake, and that guidelines state it should be individualized.

The presenter addressed the differences in carbohydrate intake levels in the “low-carb spectrum” and was also careful to quickly touch upon the important distinction of ketosis vs.  diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Ketones present at low levels due to eating low-carb are very different than the level of ketones seen in acidosis. Unfortunately, these terms that are often conflated, even by some clinicians, leading many to erroneously believe that low-carb diets are inherently unsafe for people with diabetes.

Dr. Lennerz went on to explain that many people with type 1 diabetes, including children, are successfully utilizing a low-carb dietary approach to better manage their diabetes.

Why might a low-carb diet appeal to someone with type 1 diabetes?” she asked, going on to talk about the issue of glycemic variability that many experience, noting that post-meal blood glucose levels are large component of overall glycemic control and variability. Furthermore, glycemic variability is an independent risk factor for heart disease. She presented a graph two patients with varying levels of glycemic management and noted that even the more tightly controlled patients still experienced frequent postprandial blood glucose excursions that were above their target level. More importantly, these blood glucose excursions, she argued, are largely caused by carbohydrate, due to a mismatch in insulin action and timing against carb digestion.

Moreover, she noted that today, children with type 1 diabetes have higher levels of overweight, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, potentially due to a higher carbohydrate diet and corresponding insulin use, or may be in part due to using too much insulin and consuming additional carbohydrates to treat low blood glucose levels.

Next, Dr. Lennerz outlined how low-carb eating could effect positive change for patients and contrasted the potential benefits again commonly-cited concerns of “inadequate carbohydrate intake”.  In short, low-carb eating could help patients minimize blood glucose excursions, which could offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Lower risk of hypoglycemia
  • Higher quality of life
  • Cognitive benefits
  • Better growth and development
  • Potential reduction in CVD risk (lower triglycerides, higher HDL cholesterol)

In contrast, she noted some common concerns, including:

  • Lower glycogen stores and potentially more hypoglycemia
  • Lower quality of life due to “restrictiveness”
  • Sufficient fuel (glucose) for the brain
  • Potential for nutritional deficiency (that could negatively affect growth and development)
  • Potential for increased cardiovascular disease risk (higher LDL cholesterol levels)

Importantly, Dr. Lennerz noted that the available scientific literature to “substantiate or refute these concerns” was scarce, essentially meaning that the commonly-discussed concerns are largely hypothetical.

Next, Dr. Lennerz dove into data from various research studies on low-carb diets in patients with diabetes, first noting positive benefits among patients with type 2 diabetes (improved A1c, insulin sensitivity, etc.), as well as highlighting several case studies that pointed to the safety of the approach in children, young adults, and adults with type 1 diabetes.

Notably, a study published in 2018 showed “unprecedented results” for adults and children in diabetes. These patients achieved clinically-normal A1c levels with little glycemic variability and a very low rate of diabetes-related hospitalizations. Contrasting the glycemic profiles of these patients with the average levels of glycemic management in the US provided a striking visual.

Dr. Lennerz also discussed the relevance of the patient lipid profile in CVD risk, stating that although some studies show elevations in LDL cholesterol levels on a low-carb diet, research shows that A1c and total daily insulin dose, among other factors, are much more important in qualifying CVD risk than LDL levels.

In summary, she stated,

“Generally, very low-carb diets are not recommended for type 1 diabetes in the guidelines because of potential hypothetical risks, though we don’t have any data to substantiate those risks. They are highly popular among patients, they are physiologically-plausible, and could be beneficial. Medical supervision is needed… to achieve nutritional sufficiency, appropriate insulin dosage adjustments, and ketone monitoring.”

Potential Cons of a Low-Carb approach

Dr. Smart began her presentation by stating that her goal was to bring awareness to families and clinicians about the “potential pitfalls” of low-carbohydrate diets and to “provide a voice” to those who follow a higher-carb eating plan but also achieve “optimal” results.

Is a low-carbohydrate eating pattern necessary to reach tightly-controlled glucose in children and what risks must be considered?” asked Dr. Smart. She went on to discuss that “not all carbohydrates are created equal”, underscoring the nutritional value of certain food with higher carb counts, in contrast to packaged and processed carbohydrates that are not generally recommended. The message that “you can eat anything you’d like and dose insulin for it” is an incorrect one, she stated, explaining that scientific evidence shows that different types of carbohydrates can have a different impact on glycemic profile.

She also noted that many children with whom she has worked are “fussy” eaters, underscoring the importance of offering a wide variety of options. Dr. Carmel went on to explain that advocating a “one size fits all” eating plan isn’t a good idea, because energy needs in children are based on growth and activity.

Similar to Dr. Lennerz, Dr. Carmel acknowledged that there is a lack of scientific data on low-carbohydrate eating in pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes. She went on to outline the following potential concerns about low-carb eating in children:

  • Higher fat intake
  • Too much focus on the specific amount of carb intake, instead of acknowledgement that “not all carbs are created equal”
  • Delayed blood glucose rise from fat and protein intake that impacts insulin requirements
  • Oversimplified messaging that may erroneously suggest that glycemic management on a low-carb diet requires little effort
  • Potential for negative effects on cognition
  • Potential for low adherence to a prescribed eating plan
  • Potential for poor growth and development
  • Inadequate nutrient intake
  • Risk of DKA (including euglycemic DKA)
  • Lack of “social normalcy”
  • Cost

Dr. Smart also pointed out that there have been some studies in adults with type 1 diabetes, where lowering the carbohydrate intake did not result in improved glycemia. However, the studies she cited involved a higher amount of carbohydrates, outside the established definition of “low-carb” in this discussion. She also went on to suggest the weight loss seen by some adults with type 1 diabetes on low carb diets may be a concern for growing children.

Dr. Smart went on to address several considerations on the only low-carb study in children (see above), warning that the most appropriate interpretations of the positive outcomes are limited due to potential selection and reporter bias. The presenter noted once more that there is a lack of evidence for or against the use of low-carb diets in youth and highlighted that many “national food agencies” recommend a “moderate carb” intake.

Finally, Dr. Smart presented her final argument, stating,

“There is an assumption that you cannot achieve target glycemia on a usual carb diet… In our clinic, over 83% of patients achieve target glycemia… It is indeed possible to match insulin, if given at the right time, and appropriately matched to the food profile to ensure that glycemic rises are not excessive.”

She went on to present some one-day blood glucose data from some of her patients, to demonstrate that insulin dosing could be optimized for higher-carbohydrate eating, and cited additional data on the A1c levels in her patients (6.4% +/- 0.9%), explaining that these patients eat plenty of carbohydrates (e.g., 170 g+ per day).

Dr. Smart explained that other behaviors, such as checking blood glucose levels frequently, and a deep understanding on how different foods impact blood glucose levels and the corresponding insulin dosing strategy, were much more important to achieving better glycemic control than the grams of carbohydrates consumed.

Rebuttals

The following notable quotes by each respective researcher in the rebuttal portion of the debate are presented below.

Dr. Lennerz:

“Healthy foods are important… I think nutritional sufficiency can be achieved with a very low-carb diet, and I think a hypocaloric status is often related maybe to a “fat fear”, where people are hesitant to eat adequate amounts of fat to compensate for the lost calories from carbohydrate…

I think we have to get away from the term “restriction” and see this rather as offering alternative food choices, and I think like any dietary approach in children, this has to be a family affair… If this is a choice a family is making, I do see a role for low-carb diets and very low-carb diets in a setting of a personal approach…

Given the complexity of diabetes care, I don’t think it’s easy to ask a family to also think of the glycemic index, protein, fat, fiber, and so forth, when they make their diabetes decisions… Some patients may choose to reduce carbohydrate intake instead of making these complex assessments.”

Dr. Smart:

“It is restricting the amount of carbohydrate, because these are commonly-eaten foods. Breads, cereals, pasta are commonly eaten foods across all cultures… You are asking families to restrict the foods that they eat.

It would be fair to say that families that are of high socioeconomic status have time and energy to do this…. If you then try to translate it across the board, other families then become guilty and think that they can’t do this.

It is extremely difficult to get energy intake [on ~30g/day carbohydrate intake] in active young people. I would be very interested to see some published dietary data on what these young people are eating, particularly as, fat and protein occur together in foods, so if you’re saying protein is satiating, you’d have to be eating very large amounts of fat… [Some] people eat… butter by itself… I don’t think most scientists and most clinicians would view that as healthy thing to do…”

transitioning to a low-carb diet

Photo by Brooke Lark (Unsplash)

Discussion

Should children with type 1 diabetes and their families consider a low-carb diet?

Currently, there is substantial scientific evidence on the health benefits of this approach for people with diabetes; in fact, numerous studies have shown significant benefits. However, more research is required to validate this in the pediatric population. Meanwhile, blood glucose management among children and adolescents is far from optimal, despite continuing treatment and technology advances. Concerns raised about low-carb eating in youth, while important, are largely hypothetical, further highlighting that more research is needed across the board on this topic.

Dr. Michael J Haller, MD, Professor and Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Florida, who chaired the debate, concluded:

“Clearly not an issue where we’re going to come to an answer today. The research still needs to be done… Importantly, in personalized medicine, we are seeing that there are different ways to manage our patients. They can all achieve success. That’s important to understand.”

***

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Stay tuned for more from the ADA 80th scientific sessions!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Book Review: Diabetes Essentials

Diabetes Essentials: Tips & Recipes to Manage Type 2 Diabetes, is a brief, easy-to-understand, illustrated introduction and guide to living with type 2 diabetes, that was recently published by registered dietitian and diabetes educator Karen Graham, and endocrinologist Dr. Mansur Shomali. I received the book for review at no charge and all opinions are my own.

My Review

When a person is newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes it can feel isolating and overwhelming, especially for those who were previously unfamiliar with the condition and what diabetes management entails. This short, easy-to-understand, illustrated guide covers the main concepts and provides concrete advice to help set new patients on the right path to healthy living with diabetes.

The information in the book is organized in easy-to-read “top-ten” lists and focuses on many categories that are relevant to life with diabetes, including diet, exercise, blood sugar management, healthy lifestyle choices, weight loss, mental health, planning for pregnancy, and much more. The information covers the basics, without going into detail, and is in line with the commonly prescribed medical advice that is typically offered to patients with diabetes.

Throughout, the book offers helpful and specific tips that aim to help people with diabetes better understand their condition and improve their health. From advice on mindful eating to smoking cessation to preventing and identifying complications, this book covers so many aspects of living well with diabetes. I particularly liked the list with advice for getting through the first 10 days after a diabetes diagnosis, as well as the guide to different doctors’ appointments.

A considerable section of the book is dedicated solely to “diabetes-friendly” recipes, including a sample ten-day meal plan, along with ideas for salads, soups, dinners, snacks, and desserts. Most of the recipes are moderate in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and low in fat. Detailed nutritional information is provided alongside each recommendation.

One section I liked, in particular, discussed trending research and recent diabetes advancements. These included a discussion of continuous glucose monitoring technology, as well as newer insulins and diabetes medications. The authors also cited some relevant information from the national Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). I thought this section was particularly useful to help new patients understand how recent advances in care (even if not yet practiced in the mainstream) can help people with diabetes better manage their condition.

The last section of the book consists of quizzes on various topics to help readers reinforce their understanding of the educational materials. This also provides a fun way to learn about some common misconceptions. Finally, the detailed index at the end makes it easy to quickly find a specific topic of interest.

Summary

Overall, this text provides a competent and easy-to-understand overview of type 2 diabetes basics and advice for newly diagnosed patients. It informs without overwhelming the reader with too many details and provides concrete strategies to help manage the condition and related health issues.

Diabetes Essentials costs $24.95 and can be purchased online here.

***

Have you purchased this book already? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Also, check out this comprehensive list: The Best Books About Diabetes.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

100 Things You Can Do This Year for a Better Life with Diabetes

The New Year is here and many of us are hoping to make those resolutions stick. Keep in mind that there are many ways you can influence change, and some steps you can take may seem small but are very effective nonetheless. Please note that anytime you make changes to your diet or exercise routine, it’s also a good idea to check in with your doctor and plan ahead for any necessary medication adjustments.

Without further ado, check out this list of 100 simple things you can try to do this year for a better life with diabetes:

  1. Change your lancet.
  2. Eat lower carb.
  3. Take the stairs.
  4. Join a gym.
  5. See your eye doctor.
  6. Try a new vegetable recipe.
  7. Pack your lunch.
  8. Cut back on alcohol.
  9. Quit smoking.
  10. Invest in comfortable shoes.
  11. Buy a scale to keep accountable.
  12. Check your blood pressure.
  13. Stand while working.
  14. Go for a walk after lunch.
  15. Give gardening a try.
  16. Grocery shop the perimeter.
  17. Stretch.
  18. Keep a blood sugar log.
  19. Try a new diabetes app.
  20. Consider a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
  21. Check your blood sugar more often.
  22. Don’t reuse your needle/syringe.
  23. Use alcohol swabs for injections and site changes.
  24. Read a book about diabetes.
  25. Join a diabetes support group.
  26. Choose green veggies over starches.
  27. Visit your endocrinologist.
  28. Do basal testing.
  29. Track your cycle.
  30. Count carbohydrates accurately.
  31. Try a half-unit syringe or pen.
  32. Consider trying an insulin pump.
  33. Ride a bike.
  34. Consider getting a pet.
  35. Eat more real food.
  36. Cut back on dessert.
  37. Try a flour substitute.
  38. Try a sugar substitute.
  39. Track your macronutrients.
  40. Track your steps.
  41. Educate about diabetes.
  42. Start a fundraiser.
  43. Attend a diabetes event.
  44. Sign up for our newsletter.
  45. Participate in diabetes surveys.
  46. Treat lows only with glucose.
  47. Eat consistent meals.
  48. Consider intermittent fasting.
  49. Ditch the foods that don’t work well.
  50. Invest in quality proteins.
  51. Eat more plants.
  52. Eat less processed foods.
  53. Ice skate.
  54. Try canoeing.
  55. Go hiking.
  56. Spend more time in nature.
  57. Shovel snow.
  58. Go swimming.
  59. Try ziplining or tree-to-tree.
  60. Get your A1c checked.
  61. Lower the high alert on your CGM.
  62. Eat more probiotics.
  63. Get more fiber.
  64. Swap juice and soda for more water.
  65. Sign up for a “couch to 5k” program.
  66. Jog.
  67. Go rock-climbing.
  68. Rotate your injection sites.
  69. Change your pump-site regularly.
  70. Change your CGM sensor regularly.
  71. Wear your CGM more.
  72. Review your CGM report regularly.
  73. Get a primary care physician.
  74. Get your flu shot.
  75. Figure out if you’re a moderator or abstainer.
  76. Jump rope.
  77. Meditate.
  78. Start a journal.
  79. Keep a food log.
  80. Create a 504 plan for your child.
  81. Speak with your child’s school about non-food related celebrations.
  82. Advocate for yourself or your child better.
  83. Ditch the scale if you’re obsessing.
  84. Take before photos (you will want them!).
  85. Figure out what self-care means to you and practice it daily.
  86. Seek out a friend or therapist if you feel you need help.
  87. Give back to the community by volunteering your time.
  88. Try a sport or activity you never tried before.
  89. Have more grace with yourself.
  90. Surround yourself with positive influences.
  91. Try to see the big picture more often.
  92. Create a healthy work/life balance.
  93. Appreciate the little things.
  94. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  95. Check in with friends who may need it.
  96. Spend more time with family.
  97. Take the time to thank others and let them know they are appreciated.
  98. Take more deep breaths.
  99. Target things you feel you can change and start with those.
  100. Remember to be grateful for another year around the sun.

Do you want to add anything that has worked well for you? Please share your tips in the comments below.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Dining Out Tips for the Low-Carb Lifestyle

If you are carefully watching your carbohydrate intake, or sticking to a strict low-carbohydrate diet, dining out can present a unique set of challenges. I have been eating low-carb to optimize my type 1 diabetes management for almost four years now and have learned a lot about my best practices as well as pitfalls when […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

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