Hydrate and Refuel: Best Low-Sugar Sports Drinks

There are many sports drinks on the market that promise numerous health benefits but come with a price tag and are loaded with calories and sugar. As people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, we are mindful of what we are eating and drinking. Often times we are looking for a drink that can help give us a boost of energy before we exercise or one that will replenish us after a rigorous workout. The last thing we want is to mess with our blood sugar after doing something good for our body, so a drink with minimal sugar is ideal.

To give you an idea of what these so-called sports drink typically contain, regular Gatorade has 140 calories and 34 g carbs in a 20-oz bottle; yet it is the most popular sports drink on the market. However, high-carb drinks will make the absorption of fluids take longer. Opting for a lower-carb alternative will help hydrate you quicker. Make sure you read labels and pick a drink that fit with your own personal health goals.

Here are some of the sports drink I found with the lowest sugar and the most health benefits:

Photo credit: Propel Water

Propel

By the makers of Gatorade, this brand has quickly become a fan favorite. It is a great option for many because it contains zero grams of sugar and zero calories. This drink can be beneficial both pre- and post-workout and is packed with electrolytes and vitamins. While some may shy away from it due to artificial flavors, they offer an unflavored version as well.

You can purchase Propel at many grocery chains, including Walmart, Target, and Kroger. You can find a store near you using their store locator.

Photo credit: Gatorade

Gatorade Zero Sugar Thirst Quencher

This drink comes in four tasty flavors-glacier cherry, orange and lemon-lime. With just 5-10 calories and zero sugar per serving, this is a delicious option that will fuel your body and hydrate you too.

You can look specifically for this product on their website to find out where it is sold by you.

Body Armor

Photo credit: Body Armor

Body Armor Lyte

The secret ingredient to this refreshing sports drink is that it contains 10% coconut water. It comes in a variety of flavors, including blueberry pomegranate, peach mango, orange citrus and coconut. This drink delivers 200% of your daily recommended dose of vitmains B3, B5 and B12 as well as vitamins A, C and E to help you refuel. This drink is also packed with potassium and is a great option for those looking for a low-sugar drink that delivers multiple health benefits.

I have seen this product in Target but be sure to check their store locator to find a store near you.

Nooma

Photo credit: Nooma

Nooma Organic Electrolyte Drink

Made with organic coconut water and sea salt, and loaded with electrolytes, potassium and sodium, Nooma will be sure to keep you hydrated through your workout. Each drink is organic and non-GMO with only 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar, all of which come naturally from the coconut water. Nooma comes in five great flavors- blueberry peach, mango, watermelon lime, lemonade and chocolate mint. All have no artificial ingredients or sugar added.

You can purchase Nooma Organic Electrolyte Drink at Amazon starting at $29.99 for a variety pack of 12 16-ounce bottles or directly through their website, where shipping is free if in the United States!

Nuun Life

Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun Sport created an electrolyte-rich sports drink tablet that is packed with electrolytes, and is low-calorie and low-sugar. There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners (uses high-quality Stevia) and is keto-friendly and gluten-free. Nuun’s Drink Tablets come in four tubes of 10, with each tube containing one of the following tasty flavors: Lemon Lime, Tri-Berry, Citrus Fruit, and Orange. These tubes are extremely easy to take on-the-go and make staying hydrated super easy.

You can purchase Nuun Drink Tablet’s on Amazon or directly through their website where you can by individual tubes as well.

BCAA

Photo credit: Celsius

Celsius BCAA + Energy

This brand keeps on gaining traction, likely due to the great taste and price. With 200 grams of caffeine, this drink is a refreshing alternative to tea or coffee and ideal for both pre and post-workout. Celsius BCAA + Energy has zero sugar and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It comes in 3 flavors: Sparkling Tropical Twist, Sparkling Tart Cherry Lime, and Sparkling Blood Orange Lemonade. This drink is made with a blend of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), tart cherry, vitamin D3, electrolytes and caffeine, to reduce inflammation and will also help to replenish your body during and after a rigorous workout

You can purchase Celsius directly off their website or use their store locator to find a retailer by you. I was surprised to see so many drugs stores and grocery stores carrying this product.

Photo credit: Powerade

Powerade Ultra

Powerade Ultra helps to build strength and muscle as it contains both creatine and BCAAs. Since amino acids are the building blocks of protein, they are essential for new muscle growth. And supplementing with creatine, you can help aid muscle growth as well. This product contains zero sugar, and is available in Mixed Berry, White Cherry and Citrus Blast flavors. These drinks are sure to keep you hydrated and give you energy while helping you make progress in the gym.

You can purchase Powerade Ultra on their website or use their store locator to find a retailer by you.

When choosing a sports drink, consider your nutritional goals, fitness level and energy needs. All the sports drink mentioned above will hydrate your body and replenish the minerals lost, without adding back the calories you just burned. And even better, none of them will mess with your blood sugar!

Do you have any low-sugar sports drinks that you love? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How to Get More Protein in Your Diet 

Protein is an essential macronutrient made up of amino acids that helps to build bones, muscles, cartilage and skin but it is also responsible for so much more. Protein plays a role in almost every process of a cell, from metabolic reactions, fighting infection, providing us with energy, repairing cells, etc.

There are 20 total amino acids with 9 of them considered essential since our body does not create them on their own; therefore we need to consume them daily. The amount of protein an individual needs is based on many factors and it is best to consult with your healthcare team before making any changes to your diet. Also, if you have kidney disease or other kidney issues,  you should consider that as well.

There are online calculators you can use to give you an idea of how much protein you should take in. Also, if you are an athlete, do strenuous exercise such as lifting weights, or are looking to put on weight or build more muscle mass, you may want to add more protein than the recommended amount.

Many people find it hard to fit in the recommended amount of protein per day. With a few tips and tricks, you can easily be on your way to meeting your protein goals.

Here are 5 ways to get more protein in your diet:

1. Start Your Day Off Right

Many breakfast foods are packed with protein which will keep you satisfied way past lunchtime. Experiment with egg omelets and muffins, protein pancakes, Greek yogurt or even a protein shake and you’ll be well on your way to hitting your daily protein requirement. My favorite protein shake to make is easy: 1 scoop of protein powder, 1/3 almond milk, 1/2 tin Greek yogurt, one tablespoon of your favorite peanut butter (or PB2 for less calories, carbs and fat), a drizzle of sugar-free chocolate syrup and blend with ice.

2. Plan Your Plate

When preparing your meal focus on having half your plate consist of a protein, 1/4-1/2 containing vegetables, and the other quarter for whole grains or other carbs if you so desire. If you’re watching your weight, it’s a good idea to focus on leaner proteins, like chicken and fish, as a lot of fat and calories can come along with some richer protein choices. Keeping this mentality will help you hit your protein goals and also keep you from eating empty calories.

3. Find New Options Online

There are so many health blogs and websites that offer delicious recipes for free. Have you ever had a protein ball? Some can contain as many as 10 grams of protein. It’s a great snack to take on the go, freezes well, and will keep your blood sugars in check too. Also, shop for specialty items, like low-carb flours online. Look out for promotions and special deals to buy in bulk, or save some money if it’s your first time buying — many online shops will offer such discounts!

4. Buy in Bulk

If you’re focusing on increasing your protein, you’ll likely need to add more lean meat, fish or other plant-based protein sources so buying in bulk will help you save money and allow you to meal prep too. Consider prepping and freezing too, it makes deciding what for dinner much easier. Whether you’re going to your local Costco, or finding a great deal on the internet (see above), buying staples in bulk is sure to save you some cash.

5. Preparedness Is Key

If you are actively trying to increase your protein, you are likely tracking what you eat. Preparing meals ahead of time allows you to customize your meals to the exact macros you set. This will also help avoid last-minute food runs that offer little to no nutrition at all. Some great apps to help you track your macros are MyFitnessPal and MyPlate.

Eating more protein will make you feel fuller longer, build and strengthen muscles, along with many other health benefits. Make sure to discuss with your doctor how much protein is right for you and you will be well on your way to a healthier version of you!

Do you find it hard to get in your daily recommended dose of protein? What tips and tricks can you share?

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Exercise: Getting Started with Type 2 Diabetes

Everyone knows that if you live with type 2 diabetes, exercise will be beneficial not only for your blood sugars, but for your overall health and well-being. The tougher issue is to know where, when, and how to get started. Learn more about the risks, benefits, and factors to consider when starting an exercise regimen while living with type 2 diabetes. Please note: always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Benefits

The benefits of exercise for people with type 2 diabetes are well-known. Exercise helps maintain tighter blood sugar control, lowers the risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular complications, improves blood pressure levels, strengthens muscles and bones, and helps to improve quality of sleep and the body’s ability to handle stress. According to the CDC, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (like walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (like jogging or dancing) each week.

Factors to Consider

The best type of exercise is the type that you’ll do regularly, so a main factor to consider is finding something that you like doing. If you dislike the gym, don’t force yourself into a habit of going. If you love the outdoors, craft your fitness routine around hiking or a morning walk. If you love music, maybe take up dancing. The options are endless, so find an activity that you’ll enjoy, and you’re more likely to stick with it!

Recommended Types of Exercise

  • Walking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Weight/Strength Training
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Swimming

Additionally, making a fitness activity a habit is the best way to make sure you do it regularly. Pair a walk while sipping your morning coffee each day, or make a date with a friend each Saturday afternoon for a hike in a local park. Opt to bike to work a few times per week, or go to the grocery store on foot, instead of driving. Creating a habit of exercise is the best way to make sure you stick to a new routine.

Make your fitness routine known by sharing your intentions with family and friends, and get them in on it, too. Having people around who support your new lifestyle will ensure that you keep at it, and they’ll benefit from joining in as well. It is also beneficial to have tech help you out. Read up on the 10 best fitness apps for beginners, and prepare to get hooked on being active, tracking your progress, and meeting measurable goals while getting healthier.

Precautions to Take

If you’re new to exercise, it’s important to ease into it. Start with walking, or simply moving more: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park farther away from the entrance to the grocery store when you do your weekly shopping. Wear a pedometer or fitness watch to track your steps, and aim to get 10,000 each day.

It’s also important to check in with your doctor or care provider before starting any new exercise routine, to make sure you are healthy enough to begin. Also seek their input and advice on what exercise they recommend for you to get started. You will also want to discuss any potential adjustments to any of your diabetes medications before starting a new routine. Additionally, make sure you have quality shoes for walking and exercising, as healthy foot maintenance is vital for people with diabetes.

Lastly, make sure you’re always prepared for your workout with checking your blood sugar before, during, and afterwards to make sure you’re within your target range, and always carry low snacks and plenty of water with you to make sure you’re staying hydrated and protected from hypoglycemia while exercising.

It’s crucial to set realistic goals for your exercise. Are you looking for more peace of mind? To lose weight? To have a healthier HbA1c? Spend more time outside? Really get a clear focus on what you want to accomplish, and aim your exercise routine around that goal. Remember, start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Lastly, make sure you have fun. Exercise is about building healthier habits, getting your heart rate pumping, and enjoying yourself while doing something that’s good for you. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right! Make sure to enjoy yourself, and you’ll find that a healthy exercise routine builds dividends over time.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Former NFL Player with Type 1 Diabetes Shares His Story

Jake Byrne was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teen, and he didn’t let his condition stop him from pursuing his dreams of playing professional football. He also wrote a book to inspire others with type 1 diabetes to pursue their dreams. We talked to Jake about his journey and the advice he would give to young people recently diagnosed. 

How old were you when you first became interested in football?

Since I was a little kid. My parents are from Wisconsin, and I grew up watching the Green Bay Packers every Sunday. I first started playing football in the 3rd grade.

When were you diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

I was diagnosed when I was a sophomore in high school; I was 15 years old.

How did your diagnosis affect the trajectory of your football career at the time?

The largest hurdle to overcome was how to manage a new disease with the physical and mental demands the game of football put on someone’s body.

Did you become discouraged about your future?

Yes, the most noticeable change was the sudden weight loss. I lost around 30 lbs. and had to figure out how to adjust to a completely new lifestyle living with T1D.

What worried you the most, and how did you move forward?

How to manage my blood sugar was my biggest worry. Stabilizing my blood sugar to be able to stay in a healthy range for a 2-3 hr. game or practice was such a challenge. There was just not a lot of information or people I knew that could provide helpful insight on how to manage in such an extreme environment. For the most part, it was trial and error that was my method of finding what worked for me.

What was your most memorable football experience?

I have a couple. I never thought I would make it as far as I did in my football career. I always wanted to make it to the NFL, but I set more short-term goals that seemed realistic at the time. The first was after I finally got in a good rhythm with my diabetes and football and was able to play well enough to earn my first scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas. This eventually led to several other offers, which lead to my decision to attend the University of Wisconsin. The second was my Junior year when we beat Ohio State (who was #1 in the country), which lead us to become Big10 Champions earning us an invitation to play in the rose bowl in Pasadena, CA. The third was when I finally got a shot to play in my first NFL game on Sunday for the Huston Texans.

What was the most challenging aspect for you in regard to playing football with type 1 diabetes?

Keeping my blood sugar in a safe range. Lows were always a struggle.

Tell us a little bit about your book. What prompted you to write it? What was the inspiration and motivation behind it?

The inspiration behind the book started when I first received a letter from a young kid who was struggling to convince his parents to let him play football, triggering the feelings around how lost I was when I was first diagnosed. I was looking for some hope and guidance on how to move forward. From that point, I wanted to find a way to share my story to help others that were going through a difficult time overcoming adversity.

*Editor’s note: Jake’s book, “First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up”, can be purchased on Amazon.

Can you tell us more about how having type 1 diabetes affected your football career experiences and vice versa?

Playing football at a high level is a challenge in itself. Then diabetes adds a level of complexity and discipline on top of that no-one else has to deal with.

Did the training and commitment involved in playing the sport at such a high level translate to more optimal diabetes management?

Absolutely, the amount of physical activity involved in sports like football leaves very little room for error. You can’t take one second off with T1D.

What advice would you give to newly-diagnosed kids and teens who have professional sports aspirations?

Never let diabetes set your limitations. Control your diabetes; don’t let it control you. It all comes down to your willingness to be disciplined in having a proactive approach to their daily routine to match your lifestyle.

Where are you today, and how do you think type 1 diabetes affected your path, overall?

Diabetes taught me very quickly that I had to be very disciplined in everything I do; it ingrained a work ethic and a sense of responsibility that is now part of who I am. That mindset allowed me to chase my dreams to play in the NFL, transition into my career into robotics, and eventually led to an opportunity to work for Locus Robotics as the Director of Customer Success. T1D taught me that through my life that if you work hard and have a thought-out plan, you can accomplish anything you set out to do.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Jake. Your story is sure to be an inspiration to many young athletes with type 1 diabetes. We wish you all the very best in all your future endeavors!

***

Are you a competitive athlete with type 1 diabetes? What challenges have you faced and what advice would you give?

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How to Increase Your Life Expectancy

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that health is everything. There are simple steps everyone can take to increase their life expectancy, and to give individuals the best chance at living a long, healthy life. Incorporate these simple habits into your daily and weekly routines to increase your life expectancy and improve your health now and into the future.

1. Keep Your HbA1c Low, TiR High

If you live with diabetes, one of the healthiest life-extending habits you can adopt is keeping your HbA1c low and time in range (TiR) high. Tightly managing blood sugar levels can help prevent devastating complications such as blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and premature death.

In addition, since the HbA1c test is simply an average of one’s high blood sugars and low blood sugars, it’s important to keep your blood sugar consistent and stable, with your time in your target range as high as you can get it. Studies have linked more stable blood sugars (and not gigantic swings between highs and lows) to longer life for those with diabetes. Most people aim for an HbA1c lower than 7%, but check with your doctor for your ideal target.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen daily is crucial for preventing the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. Even on cloudy days, your skin will absorb 80% of the sun’s rays, and with it, harmful UV radiation. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF every time you go outside. Ample use is crucial: On average, people only use about 20-25% of the amount of sunscreen needed for sufficient protection, so make sure to lather up!

3. Move Your Body

It’s no surprise that exercise is healthy for people, especially people living with chronic conditions like diabetes. Exercise is crucial for heart health, to manage blood sugars, increase lung capacity, and build and tone muscles to prevent future injury. All of the short term benefits of exercise add up to a longer, healthier life. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, more if able! A study showed that people who exercise vigorously for only 3 hours a week had cells that were 9 years younger than nonexercisers.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

4. Spend Time Outside

Nearly 50% of adults have low vitamin D levels, due to our sedentary lifestyle and the fact that most Americans live and work inside most hours of the day. Vitamin D (which can be absorbed right into the skin when people go outside) is important for proper immune system functioning, healthy teeth and bones, managing depression, and may even help prevent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes! Getting outside for just 15 minutes a day is usually enough to maintain adequate vitamin D levels for most people.

5. Spend More Time with Family & Friends

Blue Zone countries, places around the world that have notoriously long, healthy life expectancies, place a lot of emphasis on socializing with family and friends. Having a social circle can help people get through hard times, reduce daily stress, boost resilience and immune response, and act as a literal shoulder to cry on. This is especially important for people with diabetes who can oftentimes feel isolated and alone with their condition. Connecting with others in our struggle can help extend life expectancy: studies show that maintaining a social circle can help people live up to 50% longer, and having just 3 close social ties can decrease your risk of an early death by 200%. 

6. Eat Whole Foods, Mostly Plants

Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will be full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can extend life. Even if you don’t go completely vegetarian or vegan, eating more whole, unprocessed foods is beneficial for a healthy life, and to prevent diabetes complications. Many studies over the years have correlated a plant-forward diet to a lower risk of premature death, as well as protective factors against cancer, heart disease, depression, and dementia. People who eat mostly plants tend to have lower body weight, healthier blood pressure levels, and have significantly lower mortality risk. Bon Appetit!

7. Meditate to Manage Stress

Stress has been correlated with shorter life expectancies, and learning to manage it through meditation and yoga can improve and lengthen your life. Successfully managing stress through meditation can improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, boost your immune response, and improve your relationships, all of which add up to a healthier, longer life. Check out some free meditation apps to get you going!

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

8. See Your Doctor Regularly

Regularly seeing your doctor for screens and tests can catch diseases early (such as cancer), and can ensure an appropriate and timely treatment plan if something is detected. Mammograms, colonoscopies, and pap smears are some of the routine tests and screens scientifically proven to decrease mortality from the diseases they screen for. It may not be fun, but it’s proven, effective, and worth it!

9. Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Sugar is the new tobacco. Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist from England, shares, “…added sugar is completely unnecessary. Contrary to what the food industry wants you to believe, the body doesn’t require any carbohydrate energy from added sugar.”

There is evidence linking sugar not only to obesity and higher incidence rates of type 2 diabetes, but also to liver disease, heart disease and tooth decay (which can lead to dementia). If you cut out added sugar from your diet, you are also more likely to gravitate to unpackaged, whole foods, which are chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and life-extending properties.

10. Get More Sleep

One in three Americans don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked with a plethora of negative outcomes on many body systems, including cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. Side effects of not getting enough Zs include obesity, heart disease, hypertension, anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, stroke and increased risk of developing cancer that can all shorten one’s life. Sleep is when the body replenishes cells, is crucial to proper brain functioning, regulates one’s metabolism, and repairs damage done to the body during the day. Adequate sleep promotes healing of all body systems, and getting enough of it can extend your life. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.

These small, easy changes can add up to many more healthy years. Try to incorporate a few of these strategies into your routine today to increase your life expectancy!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Mammoth Creameries: The Keto Ice Cream That Tastes Like the Real Deal

If you eat low-carb, you probably know that there is no shortage of alternative products when it comes to our favorite treats, like ice cream. However, far from all are able to deliver a wholesome list of ingredients in a product that is blood sugar-friendly and tastes great!

I received samples of several flavors of ice cream from Mammoth Creameries at no charge. I was not additionally compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

Who They Are

Mammoth Creameries is a family-owned, low-carb, low-sugar ice cream business based in Austin, TX. It was founded by Tim Krauss and his wife, Sue, shortly after Tim’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. Tim explains how the diagnosis changed the course of his and his family’s life, and how the ice cream company was born:

“I committed myself to living a more health-conscious life centered around exercise and eating well, adhering to the paleo diet before making the shift to a low-sugar, low-carb, and high-fat ketogenic diet. Sue, in her typical fashion, went above and beyond in helping guide me through this difficult life transition before eventually going ketogenic herself. She quickly became our household’s go-to keto chef, exploring recipes and dishes of all kinds. However, there was one thing she couldn’t find for our new lifestyle: ice cream.

Born in our kitchen and warmly welcomed by our innovative city, the positive reception and growth we’ve seen since starting this company has reinforced our belief that Mammoth Creameries is the gateway to a dietary independence that diabetic and ketogenic individuals are hard-pressed to find in today’s world. Together, we’re creating dessert that works for your body, not against it!”

The company is committed to using well-sourced, high-quality, real ingredients, including butter from grass-fed cows and egg yolks from cage-free chickens. All products don’t have any added sugar and are sweetened instead with xylitol, a sugar alcohol that does not impact blood glucose levels (Note: Xylitol is very toxic to dogs, so do take extra care if you have a pet!).

The Products

Currently, four flavors of the ice cream are available: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Lemon Buttercream, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. A 4-pack of one flavor (pint-size) or a combination 4-pack can be purchased on the company website for $55.00.

Although the ingredients list for each flavor varies slightly, the main ones for each are: cream, butter, sweetener, and egg yolks. They are all very low in carbohydrate (~1 g net per serving), and high in fat (~26 g per serving).

My Review

I have previously tried many low-carb ice creams from different companies and have often made my own, using simple ingredients, like cream, almond milk, sweetener, and vanilla extract. I have to say that out of all the commercially-available products I’ve tried, this one tasted the most like my home-made ice cream!

All the flavors tasted very rich and creamy. Not surprising, as this company uses real cream and butter, delivering a full-fat and satisfying product. The texture perfectly resembled ice cream and wasn’t crumbly, like some other ones I have tried. Caveat: let this product sit out of the freezer for about five minutes to get the perfect ice cream consistency!

Most importantly, the impact on my blood sugar (BG) levels was almost negligible, without even taking any insulin! This is truly a “keto-friendly” and “BG-friendly” ice cream that delivers on its promises and tastes like real ice cream.

As far as the flavors, I enjoyed all of them. My favorites were the classic Vanilla Bean and the subtly citrusy Lemon Buttercream. Meanwhile, my 3-year-old thoroughly enjoyed both of the chocolate flavors! That is perhaps the true test: is it kid-friendly? The answer this time is a resounding “yes!” (which is often not the case for many other low-carb products that I have put to the “toddler test”)!

Also, a little goes a long way! I don’t think I would be tempted to eat a whole pint—due to the caloric load, a ½ cup serving size really does leave you feeling satisfied.

Summary

Overall, Mammoth Creameries delivers a high-quality, blood sugar-friendly line of products that are made with simple and real ingredients. While the price point is on the higher side, if you consider that you can actually eat just one serving and feel satisfied, along with being able to eat delicious ice cream that has no impact on your blood sugar without making it yourself, it is well worth the investment!

***

What’s your favorite low-carb ice cream? Have you tried this product? Please comment below – we love hearing from our readers!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

The Rise of Childhood Obesity in the United States

September is National Childhood Obesity Month in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, about 1 in 5 American children (19%) is obese, and the numbers are startlingly and steadily rising. Bringing awareness to this health crisis can help educate parents and caregivers about warning signs for childhood obesity, and how to prevent it for their children and loved ones.

Childhood Obesity is a Major Public Health Concern

It’s important to know that childhood obesity is not about vanity or looks. Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue that has serious and devastating consequences for children and families. Children who are obese have a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95% percentile (a pediatrician can perform this measurement for you). Children experiencing obesity are at higher risk for other chronic health conditions, including asthma, sleep apnea, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even many types of cancers. Additionally, children who are obese are more likely to be bullied in school, and can face mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation as they age.

Causes of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity can have many causes, most of which are behavioral in nature, although metabolism and genetics do play a strong role. Lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating patterns are some of the highest risk factors for developing obesity, as is a lack of sleep, and simply not having access to a safe place to exercise or the ability to buy healthy foods (living in a food desert, for example). Many social determinants of health play a role here. Children of lower socioeconomic status are at higher risk of developing obesity than children of higher socioeconomic status, who may have better access to parks and recreation and healthy foods.

Preventing Childhood Obesity at Home

There is a lot that family and friends can do to help to prevent obesity from affecting a child’s life.

  • Tracking a child’s weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) regularly can keep a child on track; if you see rapid weight gain, you can catch it more quickly and reach out to your doctor for a check-up.
  • Focusing meals on fresh fruits and vegetables, and eating foods in their most natural state prevents eating additional additives, preservatives and chemicals that won’t fill a child up, but are loaded with empty calories.
  • Make sure your child is active every day. Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity. This need not be a formal activity, like a soccer game. Walking the dog, helping to clean the house, and even walking around the shopping mall are all great forms of physical activity that gets a child moving and don’t cost any money.
  • Limit screen time. In 2019, the World Health Organization released new guidelines for the recommended amount of screen time by age, for children.
  • Make sure children are drinking water and not soda. About 40% of the calories consumed by 2-18 year olds comes in the form of these empty calories. Swapping soda out for water will save a ton of calories and will ensure that your child is filling up on wholesome, nutrient-dense calories instead.
  • Make sure your child has a healthy HbA1c. Keeping tight control on blood sugars and HbA1c can prevent overtreating lows and overeating, both of which can contribute to weight gain.
  • Eat healthy meals as a family. Children do what you model, not necessarily what you tell them to do. If you act as a role model with healthy meals, they will naturally follow.
  • Make sure your child is getting adequate sleep. When sleep patterns and circadian rhythms are off, children’s hormone levels become out of range, and they are more likely to overeat and not be physically active. They may also fall behind in school and suffer low self-confidence, resulting in overeating as a coping mechanism. Make sure your child is getting good sleep every night of the week.

Community and Societal Support

Preventing obesity may start at home, but it takes a village to raise a healthy child. Communities should provide safe and healthy playgrounds and parks accessible to all children, and local schools should provide free, clean, and safe drinking water and lunchroom cafeterias should provide balanced, healthy meals. Schools should also encourage physical activity, and provide robust physical education classes and electives for children and teens.

Additionally, your child’s health care provider should be conducting regular physical and mental health checks, to make sure your child is on track to enter adolescence and adulthood in a healthy mindset and at a healthy weight, especially if they are living with diabetes, which can make them more prone to disordered eating.

Together, with cooperation from parents, caregivers, schools, communities and engaged pediatricians and care teams, we can work to prevent childhood obesity and set the stage for healthy children and the future (healthy) adults we hope they will become.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Advocating for Better Care in the Hospital

Most everyone knows that landing yourself in the hospital with diabetes can mean trouble for your diabetes management. A recent study by the NHS showed that patients with type 1 diabetes are 3.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19, and people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 in the hospital as compared to people who don’t have diabetes.

Patients with diabetes have complained about the quality of care they receive in the hospital setting for a long time, and improvements are slow to reach the bedside. So, what gives? And how can you better advocate for yourself should you find yourself being admitted to the hospital any time soon?

Know Your Rights

Even though you’re in the hospital, you still have rights that doctors need to abide by. If you’re willing and able, some hospitals will let you sign a waiver allowing you to manage your insulin intake and test your own blood sugars while in-patient. If you’re on a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and/or insulin pump, make sure you ask the nursing staff if you can stay on your technology for the duration of your stay.

Note: Staff will still come into your room and manually check your blood sugar with a hospital-grade meter every few hours, even if you have your CGM on. The more control you can have over your insulin intake and blood sugar management, the better.

John, who lives with type 1 and is from Iowa, says,

“About five years ago I had an overnight stay at the hospital for surgery, and the nurse told me that I had to remove my pump for the stay. I explained I would feel more comfortable with my own settings and control. She finally relented, but made me fill out a sheet every time I bolused or checked my blood sugar, and I was yelled at several times when I forgot to fill out the form… I was happy when her shift ended.”

Ginger, who lives with type 1 diabetes, recalls her experience in labor and delivery with her baby,

“They withheld insulin from me, and I had to take secret injections in the bathroom to keep my blood sugar at an even 90 mg/dL for the sake of my soon-to-be-born child.”

Managing in a New Setting

Managing diabetes in the hospital setting is extremely different from everyday life: your exercise and physical activity levels are way lower, you don’t have control over much of your diet, and things like infections and stress levels can leave your blood sugar sky-high. Keep in mind that you may need to increase basal rates or doses during this time, especially if you’re dealing with illness or infection on top of environmental change. Some ways to improve your management while in the hospital include:

  • If able, walk laps around the floor to get some steps in
  • Don’t request the “diabetic meal”- these meals are extremely high in carbohydrate, and are just fixed at a certain number of carbohydrates per meal. They are not low-carb. Instead, opt for ordering menu items “a la carte” where you can choose a few different protein options and low-starch vegetables as a side
  • Increase your basal rates or doses accordingly (do not just continually bolus, as this can cause your blood glucose levels to crash)
  • If you’re on an IV drip for hydration, make sure it is NOT a dextrose drip (this is the most common kind and will quickly send you into DKA)
  • Make sure the hospital staff allows you to dose for meals before you eat! (due to liability issues, many will try and force patients to dose after they’ve eaten).
  • Try mindful meditation or gentle chair yoga to calm the mind
  • Remind  yourself that your stay is only temporary

Amy, who lives with type 1, expresses her frustration over the meal options that hospitals often provide for their patients,

“Although the doctors were wonderful, I found that they, unfortunately, do not get involved with a type 1 diabetic’s diet. So my first night there (before surgery) I was given a very high-carb meal. Pasta, bread, fruit, and dessert. The nutritionist told me that this was the ‘recommended diet’ since it was pre-carb counted.”

Allie from Brooklyn agreed that getting adequate care in the hospital setting was almost impossible,

“a hospital I was in once denied me insulin for a full 24 hours because they couldn’t get an endocrinologist on call to come consult…”

Advocate for Yourself

When all else fails, you must advocate for yourself. Being in a hospital can be lonely and scary, but if you’re well enough to advocate for better care, you must. Many hospitals and providers are not up to date on the latest diabetes technology and care, so arm yourself appropriately. Some helpful information to have on hand:

  • Contact information for your endocrinologist and primary care physician
  • A printed out diabetes medical management plan detailing how you manage your diabetes to provide to the hospital staff
  • A printed list of all your prescriptions
  • Contact information for your pharmacy and pharmacist
  • An emergency contact’s information

Judy, a type 1 from Georgia, laments,

“…after the hospital began hydrating me (with a dextrose drip), I continued to get worse. They ended up not even putting me on an insulin drip, and removed by insulin pump so during that time I had no insulin on board whatsoever. Eventually, I was transferred to the ICU until an endocrinologist finally realized what was going on…”

Advocating and standing up for yourself can sometimes be the best guarantee that you will receive the treatment you need and deserve when in the hospital setting.

Diabetes is a multifaceted condition affecting major organs and entire body systems. It requires close, quality care and fine attention to detail. As diabetes can affect everyone differently, one must work with their healthcare team to create and follow a care plan based on one’s individual needs. Making sure that patients get this quality care in the hospital setting is crucially important, both for acute and long-term health outcomes.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Hypoglycemia Preparedness: How to Know Before You Go Low

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Lorena Bergstrom

A new awareness campaign helps people with diabetes recognize and plan for low blood sugar with emergency toolkits, discussion prompts, journaling, and a support network  

Low blood sugar can be a scary thing – it often sneaks up when people least expect it, quickly shifting from a minor annoyance to a potentially dangerous situation. In fact, a Canadian study found that people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) experience severe hypoglycemia an average of 2.5 times each year. While type 2 diabetes typically presents a lower hypoglycemic risk than type 1, insulin and oral medications can still cause low blood sugar. However, you can take many steps to protect yourself.

We spoke with endocrinologist Dr. Gregory Dodell (with Mount Sinai in New York) and singer Crystal Bowersox about Lilly’s new Know Before the Low campaign, an important initiative to raise awareness about hypoglycemia. Bowersox and Dr. Dodell hope this program will empower people with diabetes to recognize signs of low blood sugar, start conversations with their peers, and prepare for emergencies before they happen.

Dodell

Image source: diaTribe

Know Before the Low offers information about managing hypoglycemia; it includes a chart of physical and cognitive symptoms, a tip list for emergency planning, and a guide for building a support network. Dr. Dodell said that unfortunately most diabetes literature focuses on controlling high blood sugar – even though low blood sugar can be more dangerous. He said that the campaign aims to address this information gap by “helping people and healthcare professionals talk about low blood sugar and prevent future episodes.”

To start, every person with diabetes should build an emergency toolkit, including:

  • Glucose tablets or sugary snacks
  • Glucagon – read about emergency nasal glucagon (Baqsimi) and ready-to-use autoinjector pens (Gvoke)
  • Glucose monitor (continuous glucose monitor or fingerstick blood glucose meter)
  • Emergency contact information

Bowersox makes her emergency pouch easily accessible to her friends and family: “My family, including my 11-year-old son, knows what to do if I have a hypoglycemic episode or emergency. I think it’s important for an individual’s entire support network to be aware of this.” Of course, it may seem inconvenient to carry around an entire toolkit when going out, but many of the new glucagons (like Gvoke and Baqsimi) are much more portable and easier to use than the glucagon previously available.

Keep in mind that for many people with diabetes, nighttime is both the most dangerous and the most common time to experience hypoglycemia. Dr. Dodell shared some useful advice: “If you see a downward trend before bed, you should eat a snack. It’s better to wake up high and correct during the day than have a low blood sugar episode overnight, which could cause many more complications and inconveniences. It’s also important for people with diabetes to know the triggers that can cause lows at night.” In short: check blood glucose before bed, play it safe, and know your risk factors. Additionally, daily routines have changed during COVID-19; you may be eating different foods, exercising more or less, and experiencing higher stress. All these factors may affect your blood sugar, especially at night.

Everyone’s body is different, but common risk factors for hypoglycemia include:

  • Exercise
  • Too much insulin
  • Fasting or low carbohydrate intake
  • Alcohol
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Illness

For a full list, check out Adam Brown and diaTribe’s 42 factors that affect blood glucose from his book Bright Spots & Landmines.

Hypoglycemia is different for everyone, so it is essential to be aware of your own body. Try to observe the symptoms you experience, and make note of potential triggers. Bowersox recommended keeping track of patterns: “Keeping a log or journal of things such as physical or emotional activity and comparing it to your blood sugar data could be a good way to see if there are trends that are causing you to go low. Ultimately, it’s important to share that information with your support network.” Know yourself – there are many factors that can lead to hypoglycemia, so it’s important to learn your own patterns of low blood sugar so that you can avoid these experiences.

KBTL

Image source: diaTribe

Perhaps the most critical part of Know Before the Low is its emphasis on connecting with your support network – family, friends, coworkers, teachers, and others. Bowersox said that she once had to ask her audience for candy to raise her blood sugar; fans were supportive and thanked her for raising awareness about diabetes. However, it can sometimes be difficult or uncomfortable to start conversations about diabetes and hypoglycemia with the people around us. Dr. Dodell explained that keeping the dialogue casual yet informative can be an opportunity to teach people something new: “You’re not putting a burden on them, but just explaining how diabetes affects your life. By broaching the topic casually, you can treat the conversation as more of a heads up than bestowing a responsibility. Just make sure to explain that you are carefully managing your diabetes, but there is a chance of an emergency. Not everyone has met someone with diabetes, but just explaining it and educating them can be a great preventive step.”

By sharing information about hypoglycemia signs, symptoms, and treatments, you can empower your peers to step in during an emergency. As Bowersox said, “Knowledge is power! When your network has information, they are empowered to help you, especially with low blood sugar. When I travel, my quality of life is improved by just educating and speaking up. Practice with your mirror, practice with your pet, but make sure your support network is there for you.”

As this project raises awareness of hypoglycemia, we hope it encourages people with diabetes, their healthcare professionals, and their support networks to engage in valuable discussions. As Dr. Dodell so perfectly concluded, “This campaign is one of the first to address the dangers of hypoglycemia. It is groundbreaking, and allows people to get needed resources. Diabetes experts and endocrinologists know that high blood sugar can sometimes be better than low blood sugar.”

For more information, read diaTribe’s article on hypoglycemia unawareness.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

10 Ways to Reduce the Sugar in Your Diet

Eating too much sugar is known to contribute to heart disease, obesity, tooth decay, cancer and numerous other health problems. Yet, the average American eats 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. Many studies have linked high-sugar intake to an increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality due to CVD.  As people living with diabetes, we must be especially mindful of the amount of sugar we take in. Limiting our added sugar can help us manage our blood sugar, avoid weight gain and improve our overall health.

Here are some realistic and manageable ways to cut back on your sugar intake. Making these small changes can lead to a healthier version of you!

1. Step Back and Re-evaluate

Make healthy changes in other areas of your life. For instance, make sure to get adequate sleep so you’re not relying on coffee laden with sugar to get you through the day. Also, adding some structure to your day can help you avoid making last-minute food choices that are usually out of convenience and less healthy than those snacks and meals we eat at home. Being prepared means less haphazard choices that may not be the best for your overall health.

2. Don’t Fall for the Low-Fat Trick

Many food companies love to boast their low-fat products but what they don’t tell you is that these foods often contain more sugar and calories than their low-fat alternatives. When fat is removed from a food, it takes away from the natural flavor, therefore they add sugar to sweeten it up. Opt for full-fat versions, and keep in mind that there are also plenty of benefits of adding fat to our diet!

3. Cut Back on Sugar-Filled Drinks

Thankfully, there are so many healthy beverage options now on the market. With options like Vitamin Water, Kevita probiotic drinks, a host of flavored sparkling seltzers, and many more, it is a lot easier to avoid those more sugary drinks that can quickly lead to both weight gain and high blood sugars. If you are a fan of coffee and/or tea, its best to keep it black or use a natural sweetener such as Lakanto’s Monkfruit Sweetener.

4. Experiment with Rubs Instead of Sauces

Condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce are commonly used but come loaded with sugar. One tablespoon of ketchup usually contains about 1 teaspoon of sugar. Check for reduced-sugar or sugar-free versions which still pack the flavor. Also, when cooking your own food, try using dry rubs of flavorful herbs and spices instead of sauces. Some other low sugar options to consider are pesto sauce, mayonnaise and even avocado. They are absolutely delicious and can spice up any meal, even a slice of bread!

Pesto sauce is a low-carb option. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

5. Consider Diet-Friendly Sugar Substitutes

While some people can take their coffee black others may cringe at the thought. Thankfully there are plenty of healthy sugar substitutes that you can use in place of the real deal. This doesn’t only go for your morning coffee but for your cooking and baking needs too. You can easily take a high sugar dessert and replace it with one of these flavorful and healthier options. And the best news is we longer have to be tempted by sugar-free treats that contain sorbitol or maltitol and are known for causing stomach upset.

6. Change Your Mindset When It Comes to Snacks

We are all quick to grab packaged goods when we need something quick to eat. Processed foods are loaded with sugar so are not the best choice for a snack to help fuel you. Consider opting for cheese, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and beef jerky to name a few. And if you are hosting a get-together or need an idea to bring elsewhere, consider healthy options that are low in sugar such as hummus and vegetables, shrimp skewers and meat and cheese charcuterie boards.

7. Moderation

It is important to remember that some sugar in moderation is okay. And some people may be able to better manage eating sugar in moderation than others. Listen to your body and do what works for you. Having a healthy mindset when talking about any type of food group will help to avoid any negative feelings or emotions that could come along with eliminating something altogether.

8. Technology Is Your Friend

Some like to take advantage of apps like Myfitnesspal to track their calories and track macros. It is eye-opening to track a day of eating and see how much you are really consuming. For example, when I did this exercise I learned that I wasn’t taking in nearly enough fiber so I was able to adjust my daily intake. Another great app is by Companion Medical for the use of InPen. Here you will be able to enter the number of carbs and it will tell you exactly how much insulin you need based on your doctor recommended settings. Use technology as your guide and keep the sugar to the amount that you are comfortable with while still feeling in control.

9. Increase Your Protein Intake

The benefits of protein in your diet are endless, and it is vital in helping fuel our body and give us energy. It also helps us build muscle mass, helps keep our bones strong, and helps keep us satiated. By adding more protein to your diet you can avoid those sugar-laden snacks since you will be fuller for longer. Try making all meals protein-dominant, with a small portion of any foods that may spike your sugar or add on pounds if you are weight conscious.

10. Know What to Look for on the Label

Back in 2016, the FDA changed their rules so that companies would have to disclose how much added sugar was in their products along with the % of the daily value. This is helpful but there are over 50 other names for added sugars, making it even more difficult to detect. Check out the nutritional label and be sure to pay attention to the order of ingredients as they are listed with the highest % first. Some of the common names to look out for are: high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or juice, maltose, dextrose, molasses, rice syrup and caramel.

If you are looking to get better control of your blood sugar or are looking to lose or maintain your weight, cutting back on sugar is an easy way to better your health. Taking the steps above will ensure you much success in your diabetes and weight management efforts.

Have you tried cutting back on your sugar intake? What measures did you take and what were the results? Comment and share below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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