Why Allulose is My Favorite Zero-Carb Sweetener

I have always despised the flavor of alternative sugars. This article is about the first zero-carb sugar that I ever really liked.

“Despise” may sound exaggerated, but I use that word carefully: it’s a flavor that I really, really hate. I find it astonishing, for example, that anyone cannot tell the difference between diet soda and regular soda. The diet version seems to sear my tongue at the very first sip, and even the tiniest amount fills my mouth with a nasty flavor that lingers for minutes.

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, as an adult, I immediately knew that I would reduce my sugar intake. And with my aversion to fake sugars, I figured that I just wouldn’t get to enjoy sweet flavors very often.

As I dove into the diabetes online community – a totally incredible resource, by the way, worth far more to me than anything I ever learned from my doctor or endocrinologist – I noticed with trepidation how enthusiastic everyone else was about alternative sugars. It seemed like everyone’s favorite hobby was baking low-carbohydrate sweets at home, something that I had no interest in doing.

I wasn’t enthusiastic, but I figured that I might as well give alternative sugars a shot. I already knew that I hated Sweet’n Low, Equal, Splenda, and the like. And so I started ordering and tasting ones I’d never tried, newer and trendier alternatives. I gave stevia and erythritol and others a fair shake, but they all had nasty chemical flavors, or strange aftertastes, or both. No thank you. Around this time I figured that if homemade stevia cookies and cake was the best I could look forward to, you could count me out. I’d splurge on real sugar treats from time to time, and otherwise just pass on dessert.

The first alternative sweetener that I found more than halfway tolerable was monkfruit powder. Monkfruit has a powerful sweet flavor. It is subtly but identifiably distinct from sugar, and it still has a hint of a weird aftertaste. This was a partial success, the first sweetener I tried that I thought was actually good enough to use. But I didn’t love it.

Finally, I tried a winner.

Allulose is my favorite zero-carb sweetener. My reasons are incredibly simple: of every alternative sweetener I’ve tried, it tastes the best, which is to say that it tastes the most like true sugar. There is no aftertaste, no chemical flavor, no strange mouthfeel issues. I have dumped huge amounts of allulose into my tea, in the name of science, and have never noticed an off-flavor of any kind.

Allulose is not quite as sweet as sugar, and even if you add in extra to a recipe, it never will be as sweet. It’s also not quite as delicious as sugar. It tastes like actual sugar that has been somehow dulled or muted. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me. Anyway, ever since reducing my carb intake, it definitely takes less sweetness than it used to in order to satisfy my sweet tooth.

When I’ve cooked with allulose I’ve been extremely pleased with the results. The texture is not different enough from granulated sugar to make much of a difference, as far as I can tell. You could easily fool an unsuspecting guest, especially in recipes like pudding that don’t require any starch or starch replacements. It’s also available as a liquid sweetener – an instant simple syrup replacement for cocktails.

The blood sugar effect is, from what I can tell, nonexistent. My CGM line doesn’t budge. Your mileage may vary, of course – there’s no telling how any one person might react to a new ingredient – but I couldn’t be more pleased about its blood glucose impact.

And guess what? Allulose might be kind of healthy, too. I admit that didn’t know or care about any secondary health impacts when I fell in love with allulose – it doesn’t spike my blood sugar, and that’s good enough for me. But it turns out that allulose may have a host of other metabolic health benefits. Dr. Peter Attia has written a long and exceedingly detailed essay on the subject. While most of the encouraging study of allulose has been in rodents, one meta-analysis of human trials found that allulose may actually reduce post-prandial glucose levels.

I’ve tried several brands of allulose, some with fancy brand names and packaging, some without. I haven’t discerned a difference from one brand to the other, so now I buy in bulk, usually whichever vendor happens to have lower prices at the time.

Maybe in the future we’ll have an even better option, an alternative zero-carb sweetener that is exactly as sweet and delicious as sugar. But in the meantime, allulose is a pretty great replacement, good enough to have turned me into an alternative sugars believer.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

10 Low-Carb Back-to-School Snacks

By Caroline Levens

24 count Crayola? Check. Pink Pearl eraser? Check. Expo dry erase markers? Check. There’s no doubt about it, back-to-school can take a lot of preparation, but back-to-school for families with children with diabetes adds an extra layer of complexity.

Wouldn’t it be nice if prepping for a school year with diabetes was as easy as the other line items on your back-to-school list? Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof solution to check the box off that line item, but there are snacks that can help children maintain normal blood sugars. I’ve gathered ten great-tasting, blood sugar-friendly snacks that children of all ages are sure to enjoy, whether for snack time, as part of their lunches, for classroom celebrations, or as after school snacks.

Even if your child with diabetes doesn’t follow a low-carb lifestyle, incorporating a low-carb snack here and there can make your life a whole lot easier. It can also help give them more time running to the monkey bars and fewer visits to the nurse’s office to treat highs and lows.

1. Low Carb Oven Cakes and Cookies

Low Carb Oven Cakes and Cookies

Is it me, or does it seem like there are more birthday celebrations than the number of children in the classroom? Of course, you want your child with diabetes to join in the festivities, but wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate the headache that can come with crazy blood sugars following those celebrations? Good news! Low Carb Oven makes homemade mini bundt cakes and cookie bars that are sugar-free, gluten-free, and certainly better tasting than whatever the school is serving. They freeze super well too, so you can simply pop one out the morning of an upcoming celebration, and your child is all set!

My personal favorite cake flavor as an adult is Lemon Poppyseed, but as a kid I’d probably have been crazy for the Vanilla and Triple Chocolate. The desserts are only 2-3 g net carbs, and most diabetics find that Low Carb Oven desserts don’t affect their blood sugar much. You may not even need to bolus!

If your school doesn’t allow peanuts, some of their products are peanut-free. Nut-free school? Maybe use them for treats off-campus, such as at birthday parties (because let’s be honest, there also seem to be more birthday parties than kids).

2. Quest Nutrition Chips

Quest Nutrition Chips

Who doesn’t love a good crunch? Leading chip brands may not have a ton of carbs compared to other popular snacks at 15-25 g per bag, but wouldn’t a five-gram total carb chip option be nice? Quest makes chips in tons of flavors, but my personal favorite is the Nacho Cheese flavor. Think of them as blood sugar-friendly Doritos.

And another great part? Normal bags of chips aren’t all that filling. The Quest chips have around 20 g of protein per serving or so depending on the flavor, so they’re sure to delay the amount of time it takes before you hear “I’m starving.”

3. High Key Snacks Cookies

High Key Snacks Cookies

High Key Snacks makes my absolute favorite blood sugar friendly packaged cookies. They could disguise as Mini Chips Ahoy in all aspects except their nutrition facts. Forget the high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients you can’t even pronounce; these only use natural sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol and monk fruit. They are crunchy and just the right amount of sweet. At just 2 g net carbs per serving, I can even get away with no bolus for their cookies.

These come in chocolate chip and snickerdoodle. Both are great, but I am definitely partial to the chocolate chip ones.

4. Kiss My Keto Gummy Bears

Kiss My Keto Gummy Bears

Kiss My Keto has had a tough time keeping these gummies in stock, and with good reason: they are awesome and super easy on the blood sugars. From the label, they may look high carb, but it’s nearly all fiber and barely budged my blood sugar level without any insulin.

Plus the cute little bears are naturally colored. Much better than red 40 and sugar-laden bears! Each gummy bear pouch only has 54 calories too, so it’s a great snack if your child is not actually hungry but wants something to nibble on.

5. Magic Spoon Cereal

Magic Spoon Cereal

Are you doing a double-take at the world cereal? Don’t worry, this cereal isn’t the nightmare cereal you’re probably used to. Even for the best sugar surfers among us, cereal is notoriously known in the diabetes community as one of the hardest foods to bolus for. Magic really is an appropriate adjective for the cereal; it’s ridiculously easy to cover with insulin. Each serving has only 3g of carbs but packs in 12g protein. It’s also gluten-free and has no artificial ingredients.

There are four yummy flavors to choose from: cinnamon, fruity, frosted, and cocoa. They sell a variety pack, too, if you want to offer your child some variety, or better yet, mix the flavors together.

6. Lily’s Sweets Peanut Butter Cups

Lily’s Sweets Peanut Butter Cups

You might be familiar with Lily’s for their chocolate bars, but what many people are less familiar with are their more recently launched peanut butter cups. If your child with diabetes loves Reese’s as a sweet treat, these are definitely an awesome substitute. They’re super convenient to send off to school too because each peanut butter cup comes individually wrapped.

The peanut butter cups come in milk and dark chocolate flavors. I’ve been a milk chocolate girl since childhood and always will be, but I can assure you both are great.

7. Notty Protein Chocolate

Notty Protein Chocolate

Yes, another chocolate recommendation right after Lily’s, because I consider them to be quite different (in fact, the biggest similarity is that they are both delicious). Notty is high-protein chocolate with no added sugar. It’s more bark-like than bar-like. Except whereas Bark Thins have 21 g net carbs and 11 g of sugar per serving, Notty has only 3 g net carbs and 1 g of sugar. Notty packs in 11 g protein per serving too, so it’s not just empty calories.

They have so many fun flavors. Fluffernutter is my personal favorite, and if I had to guess, I’d say it’d probably be the number one hit among kids too. Other flavors include peppermint bark, cold brew, lemon berry, and salted almond.

8. Curly Girlz Candy

Curly Girlz Candy

Like the idea of a blood sugar-friendly candy alternative but need something nut-free? Curly Girlz Candy makes some awesome sugar-free hemp brittle that doesn’t contain nuts. The brittle contains super low glycemic plant-based sweeteners. Now I know hemp brittle may not sound like the most kid-friendly option, but it’s buttery, crunchy and has a cinnamon flavor. They even sell “Snacker 2 oz” bags of candy on their site that are perfect for back-to-school.

Other sugar-free candy offerings on their site include pecan brittle, caramels, coffee toffee, almond toffee, pecan clusters, and coconut macadamia bites.

9. Smart Baking Company Smart Cakes

Smart Baking Company Smart Cakes

Smart Cakes are light, fluffy cakes that I personally don’t need any insulin for. They have 0 g net carbs. The carb count on the label all comes from fiber and erythritol, which is a non-glycemic sweetener.

Each individual cake is only 38 calories! Another cool thing about these for school is they can stay at room temperature for 120 days, so they can easily be stashed in a classroom cubby and taken out as needed.

Flavors include cinnamon, lemon, chocolate, raspberry cream, and orange. Lemon and cinnamon are my favorites. I will say that the texture and consistency of these are not like birthday cake, and nor do these cakes have icing. The texture and taste are really good, however, but it’s more snack-like or even breakfast-like than dessert-like in my opinion.

10. Keto Krate

Keto Krate

Hopefully, this suggestion isn’t considered cheating since it’s not a snack itself–but rather a snack subscription. I absolutely love Keto Krate because I get to discover new blood sugar friendly snacks each month. Low-carb snacks can be very expensive to buy, and Keto Krate allows me to sample everything before I commit to a bulk order of a particular product. Plus, you can use code KRATE15 for 15% off your subscription!

Their boxes are always aspartame-free and maltitol-free. As a heads up, I will say not 100% of their snacks are grab-and-go; occasionally there’s a mix, or something that needs cooking/preparation. But most of the snacks come ready to stuff in your child’s backpack.

Hopefully, this list makes back-to-school diabetes management a bit easier for you and your child. And who I am kidding, these snacks are just as yummy for adults, so no judgment here if you eat some before they make it to the lunchbox!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How Two Irish Brothers with Type 1 Diabetes Brew Their Own Zero-Sugar Beer

Beer has a special place among the foods and beverages that are problematic for people with diabetes. Enjoy a few cans or pints and the carbohydrate content can push your blood sugar way up … just before the alcohol brings you back down with a thud. While there are lower-carb beers available, it’s mostly “lite” megabrews, the type of stuff that the beer lover might find thin and tasteless.

As exciting as the explosion of the craft beer industry has been, those delicious, lovingly-made microbrews can be even more trouble. The more flavorful the beer, the higher the carbohydrate count is likely to be. And the smaller the brewery, the less likely you’ll have any idea how many carbs are in a bottle.

Beer lover Seán Deeney had never given much thought to beer’s sugar content until last spring, May 2020. That’s when, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“I only figured that out because I’d just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a couple of months before, in February. So, it was not a great year.”

Seán, age 23, lives in Dublin. He’s just completed his university degree. And despite the incredible bad health luck, he’s bounced back pretty quickly.

His transition to life with diabetes was smooth in part because he was already fairly familiar with the disease: his brother James had also been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, only a few years previous.

Actually, it was James that first alerted Seán to the likely meaning of his symptoms. James used his own blood sugar meter on his brother, and “it was way up, above 20 mmol/L [360 mg/dL].” By the time Seán went into the hospital, he was in the beginnings of ketoacidosis.

“But it wasn’t even too bad. I kind of had a general idea of all the stuff you have to do, how you take insulin, how you check your blood sugars. And it was helpful to have someone I could ask all the time.”

The two had already been collaborating on homebrewed beers, and with each now sharing notes on diabetes management, they were bound to start talking about diabetes-friendly beer.

“My brother has been brewing his own beer for years, and he worked in a brewery as well, Carlingford Brewing Co. We’ve made all sorts of types of beers. Basically anything you can think of, we’ve at least made an attempt at doing.”

“It was only a few months ago that I started really liking these brut beers. It’s a really dry style of beer, so it isn’t very sweet, and I’d wanted to do one for a while, so we looked up how you actually go about doing them. But we didn’t know before we looked it up that there was almost no sugar in them.”

“It turns out it’s basically similar to a normal beer, except you put in glucoamylase, an enzyme that breaks down the complex sugars into more basic sugars.”

“Normally, the reason that the beers have sugar in them – which is what will mess with your blood sugar levels – is that there are unfermentable sugars that remain in the beer, sugars that the yeast isn’t able to convert into alcohol. It’s just a byproduct of how you make it. But this enzyme glucoamylase actually breaks down these unfermentable sugars and makes them into fermentable sugars, so the yeast can convert all of the sugar into alcohol, and there will be no sugar left in the beer at all.

“We were looking at this and thinking, ‘If there’s no sugar left in the beer, surely it shouldn’t affect your glucose levels.’ So we tried one out, and it worked! You can go and drink eight pints of it and it won’t affect your blood sugars at all. Neither myself nor my brother has seen levels rising from drinking it.”

A warning – please don’t take this as an endorsement to drink eight pints of beer, which is probably a bad idea, diabetes or not. Seán (who is still in the honeymoon period) and James have never noticed their blood sugars drop after drinking beer, but your experience may significantly vary. It’s well-known that alcohol, which prevents the liver from releasing glucose the way it normally does, can cause blood sugar drops and dangerous hypoglycemia, especially when taken in excess. I cautioned to Seán that his own experience might change over the years, too.

Seán Deeney, enjoying his beer

To be clear, Seán hasn’t had his beer scientifically analyzed or anything. He’s not a chemist. But he’s convinced that his brut homebrew has significantly less sugar than any other beer style he’s tried, if not absolutely zero. It’s been nothing but steady blood sugar lines for both brothers:

“We both have CGMs. He has the Dexcom, I have the Libre. You can really see the lines, and it just won’t go up at all.”

Brut beers are usually done in a clean, bitter, highly fizzy IPA style, almost like a beery champagne, but Seán has tried the glucoamylase in other recipes as well.

“Normally it’s only a pale ale or IPA that people put this enzyme into. But I really like German wheat beers. So I decided I’d try and make a wheat beer with this enzyme as well.”

“It did exactly what it was supposed to do. You end up with no sugar at the end, and a really tasty beer. So I’ve been doing it with a few others – a rye, and a Kolsch, and all the sugars completely ferment out.”

“We’ve had some fun in naming them as well. The first one, the IPA style, we call it Insulin, because it keeps the levels down. The wheat that I like to make we have now called Diawheaties.”

And his non-diabetic friends approve:

“Everyone seems to like it. They tend to be quite nice, easy-drinking beers. We wouldn’t make them just for the zero sugar if they were no good. They’re as good as the normal beers.”

“It’s really handy. It’s one less thing to worry about.”

 

Source: diabetesdaily.com

10 Low-Carb Products I Am Eating Now

I find that sticking to a low-carb lifestyle is easier when I have delicious healthy products at home. Luckily, there are plenty of great companies catering to those who eat low-carb. Each of these foods and snacks has a low-carb count and doesn’t spike my blood sugar. It is nice to have these foods as options so I can keep my blood sugars in check and stick to my nutritional goals.

Here are the 10 low-carb food products I am eating now. While they aren’t the most inexpensive options, they are all made with the healthiest ingredients possible and still manage to deliver on taste, which isn’t an easy feat!

Only Bean

Photo credit: Only Bean

Only Bean

This is a delicious pasta substitute made with edamame, black bean, or soy. My favorite is the edamame spaghetti, which packs in 44 grams of protein, 19 grams of fiber, and 16 net carbs. Top this dish with ground beef, chicken meatballs, or grilled shrimp, and add even more health benefits to this dish!

choc zero

Photo credit: Choc Zero

Choc Zero

This is low-sugar chocolate that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Choose from peanut butter cups, chocolate bark, chocolate baking chips, syrups, and more. This company boasts avoiding artificial sweeteners and uses monk fruit instead. My favorite is the chocolate baking chips, as they are extremely versatile and can be paired with greek yogurt, an acai bowl, thrown into your protein shake, or used to make a delicious low-carb treat. Their baking chips come in milk chocolate, white chocolate, and dark chocolate. I love using dark chocolate, which only contains 1 g net carbs, to top a Too Good Yogurt for a healthy protein-packed treat!

NGR Bites

Photo credit: NGR Bites

NRG Bites Protein Snack Bar

Made by Paul Kahan, a fellow person living with type 1 diabetes, this is a perfect low-carb and high-protein snack on the go. I love to grab one on my way to the gym or pair it with coffee for a delicious and blood sugar-friendly start to my day. Offered in chocolate chip brownie, peanut butter, birthday cake, Strawberry Frosted Donut, and vegan chocolate chip banana bread, NRG Bites are a great choice for anyone looking for a healthy snack.

chicken burrito bowl real good

Photo credit: Real Good Foods

Real Good Food

A diabetes online community favorite, Real Good Foods promises low-carb, high-protein, and delicious foods that can be made in minutes. Aside from their new ice cream (which is out of this world!), my latest favorite is their chicken burrito bowl. This is a perfect lunch or dinner and comes in at 9g net carbs and 15g of protein. I highly recommend checking out their website as they have an extensive list of products to choose from.

swee2ooth

Phot credit: Swee2ooth

Swee2ooth

This is a whey protein powder created with people living with diabetes in mind. Their blend contains 20 grams of protein, between 2-3.5g net carbs depending on the flavor, and offers plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals. These super wholesome nutrients could help reduce glucose spikes, keep you fuller for longer, lower blood pressure, and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — to name a few! Use Swee2ooth in smoothies, add to iced coffee, or use it for baking some of your favorite high-protein desserts.

legendary foods

Photo credit: Eat Legendary

Legendary Low-Carb Toaster Pastry

It is hard to find a low-carb, high-protein breakfast that isn’t mostly just eggs and bacon. Thanks to Legendary, you can enjoy a tasty breakfast pastry that contains only 3g net carbs and 170 calories. Compare that to a regular toaster pastry at 35 g net carbs and 210 calories. It also is packed with 9 grams of protein, which you can’t get from any other kind of morning pastry! I found these to be absolutely delicious and they didn’t put me on a blood sugar roller coaster.

keto enlightened ice cream

Photo credit: Eat Enlightened

Enlightened Ice Cream

I have tried many different types of low-carb ice cream, and Enlightened is my number one. I always look forward to this dessert and enjoy knowing that my blood sugars won’t get out of whack.  With a great variety of flavors, they have something for everyone. All of the Enlightened products, both bars and pints, are sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol, which are all-natural, zero-carb sweeteners. The keto collection is made with real cream and zero-carb sweeteners. They come out to 1 g net carb per serving once you factor in their high fiber content. They all were rich and creamy, and the bits of flavor were plentiful, a delicious surprise inside every bite.

Chipmonk Baking

Photo credit: Chipmonk Baking

Chipmonk

These low-carb, high-fat bite-size snacks come in an assortment of flavors and are made with almond flour, butter, and eggs, and include allulose and monk fruit as the sweeteners. I think they taste great, and with only 1g net carb and 80 calories per serving, this is a great sweet treat that won’t impact your blood sugar levels. They also offer a variety of other goods, including keto bites, dry mixers, sweeteners, and more, so be sure to check them out.

perfect snacks

Photo credit: Perfect Snacks

Perfect Bar Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cup

I first tried Perfect Bar’s original refrigerated protein bar a few years back and gave it rave reviews, so I was pleasantly surprised to see they have a new product offering.  The dark chocolate and sea salt peanut butter cup puts the original peanut butter cup to shame thanks to its generous sprinkling of crunchy sea salt, rich peanut butter, and chocolate goodness. Coming in at 7 grams of protein and 13g net carbs, this is a decadent treat that will also keep your blood sugars stable.

Photo credit: SkinnyDipped

Skinny Dipped Almonds

This is a delicious tasty treat that contains no artificial flavors and also no sugar alcohols, which can cause an upset stomach. Coming in an assortment of flavors, Skinny Dipped offers not only regular size but single sized packets allowing you to exercise portion control which will help prevent a blood sugar spike. All their flavors range from 11-16 grams of carbs and 5-6 grams of protein per serving. I highly recommend trying their new products, the Skinny Dipped Chocolate Bars and Peanut Butter Cups.

Having healthy store-bought snacks makes sticking to my nutrition goals much easier. I highly recommend giving some of these suggestions a try. Have you found any great products to share? Like and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

From Caveman to Caving in: Understanding Why We Eat

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Caterina Florissi and Dr. Francine Kaufman

How do our brains and bodies motivate us to eat? What makes us eat past the point of hunger? And how we can develop healthier eating habits?

Thousands of years ago, some of our ancestors, as hunters and gatherers, roamed vast savannas searching for food. Traveling long distances, men scavenged for meat, speared fish, and hunted down animals. Women foraged for nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Their work was demanding, tiring, and relentless. It was also necessary for survival.

To keep them going on their essential search, our ancestors evolved not one, but two, systems to motivate them to eat. One encouraged them to eat when they needed energy. The other led them to see food as a gratifying and fulfilling reward.

Fast-forward to the present day, and the hardwiring that drives us to eat remains the same. Yet, our food environment has changed substantially. Developing a deeper understanding of our drives, the advantages they once served, and the challenges they now pose can help guide us on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

Two drives to eat

Traditionally, researchers have identified two drives that motivate us to eat: one ensures we consume enough calories to survive (known as “homeostatic”); the other encourages us to eat for pleasure (known as “hedonic”).

Homeostatic drive (from ‘homeo-’ and ‘-stasis,’ meaning staying the same)

Our homeostatic drive works to maintain our body’s energy reserves. To do so, careful bodily systems diligently manage our intake, storage, and use of nutrients.

Short-term monitoring takes place at the level of a meal or snack. As food moves down the digestive tract, receptors in the stomach and intestines detect expansion. Additional receptors also recognize the presence of proteins, carbs, and fats. This information is relayed to the brain, which determines whether we should feel hungry or full.

Longer-term, tissues and organs release chemical signals – natural hormones – based on the state of their energy stores. When reserves are running low, for instance, fat tissues reduce release of the hormone leptin (which signals fullness) while the stomach increases release of the hormone ghrelin (which signals hunger). Together, falling levels of leptin and rising levels of ghrelin act on the brain to stimulate appetite and eating behaviors. Similarly, dips and peaks in levels of insulin (which also signals fullness) can increase or decrease hunger, respectively.

Hedonic drive (from ‘hedonism,’ meaning pleasure)

In contrast, our hedonic drive is motivated by pleasure and reward. To ensure we kept looking for sources of energy, our ancestors evolved to crave foods high in fat and sugar. Today, our brains remain engineered to both like and want these foods.

Liking refers to the emotional state of enjoying food. When we eat meals or snacks, we appreciate different scents, flavors, and textures. Sweet and high-fat foods, in particular, bring us intense feelings of pleasure. They’re even believed to trigger the release of natural opioids, molecules whose effects include pain management and euphoria.

Separately, wanting refers to the motivation or need to eat more of something. This need can persist, even if we do not enjoy the taste or already feel full from what we’ve consumed. The difference between liking and wanting can be understood in terms of a drug addiction – a person may dislike, but still intensely crave a drug. The same brain pathways that regulate drug addiction are also involved in the consumption of food. As expected, foods that combine both fat and sugar have been found to be especially addictive.

The two systems underlying our homeostatic and hedonic drives do interact with one another. Notably, our hedonic system can override homeostatic signals of fullness, leading us to continue eating. At some point, however, we become full enough to turn away even the tastiest of treats.

From caveman to caving in

While our homeostatic and hedonic drives served us well in our early days, they have not aged well in our current environment. Rather, our modern landscape is saturated with processed, high-carb and sweetened foods. These foods have made it difficult for our homeostatic system to detect when the body has sufficient energy stores and have kicked our hedonic system into overdrive.

On the homeostatic front, the same signals our ancestors relied on fall short when processing today’s foods. Their inadequacy can be understood through the changing nutrient profiles of our meals. Living in hunter-gatherer societies, our ancestors routinely consumed foods rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbs. These nutrients took time to digest, giving the body more time to send the brain signals of feeling full. Today, the food industry produces nutrient-poor products that are quickly digested and leave us less satisfied.

In our current environment, the abundance of products that are high in carbs and added sugars also poses another problem. More often than not, packaged foods and beverages are prepared with excess amounts of both sugar and fat. These properties exploit our hedonic system, dangerously increasing their addictive properties and leading us to overeat.

Tips for healthier eating

So, what can we do to lead healthier lives?

1) Practice mindful eating – With time and the right diet, we can learn to recognize, follow, and trust our homeostatic signals of feeling full. Before reaching for food, take a moment to notice whether you’re physically hungry, or whether you may be responding to another feeling instead (e.g., stress or boredom). Eat at meal times and, if desired, have a healthy snack to avoid grazing throughout the day.

2) Choose filling foods – When preparing meals, look for foods high in protein and fiber. These nutrients will help you feel and stay full, lowering the hedonic temptation to keep eating. Eggs, fish, avocados, and leafy greens are a few great options.

3) Avoid sugary and processed products – While cheap, tasty, and convenient, processed and high-carb foods are readily liked and wanted. They also lead to rapid increases in glucose, which cause insulin levels to rise and fall more quickly than usual. As your glucose and insulin levels drop, your body will feel hungrier sooner. Instead, opt for ‘real’ foods, such as fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, or seeds, that do not have the same addictive properties. Cooking at home can make for great opportunities to incorporate more ‘real ingredients’ in your meals. Check out Catherine Newman’s recipes for inspiration.

4) Skip the juice and soda – When in doubt, stick with the drink of our ancestors: water. Other beverages tend to contain large amounts of sugar. These not only trick the homeostatic system into feeling hungrier, but also activate the hedonic urge to continue drinking for pleasure.

As they were in our ancestors, our homeostatic and hedonic systems remain fixed within us. By keeping these tips in mind, we can aim to channel our ancestral drives into eating habits that help us stay healthy today.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

10 Healthy Foods to Look For at Target

Target has become the one-stop shop for all things needed for my family and for my health. Whether it is clothing, vitamins, decor, or snacks, I am always sure to come home with more than I need. Having a store like Target means fewer errands and knowing I can pick up healthy foods and snacks for my family makes this trip worthwhile every time.

Luckily Target takes the health of their customers seriously and has increased their healthy options double-fold over the last few years. Some of our favorite brands within the diabetes online community, such as Perfect Bar and Skinny Dipped Peanuts, are stocked plentiful so be sure to look for these food items on your next visit.

Quest 4 Cheese Thin Crust Pizza

Quest 4-Cheese Thin Crust Pizza

This is a great option for you and your busy family. Having a healthy pizza readily available will help you to avoid the last-minute take out which often is loaded with calories and carbs. This pizza tastes delicious and is packed with protein coming in at 27 grams per serving and 6 grams net carbs per serving. It will be sure to taste great and keep you full for hours.

Healthy Choice Frozen Power Bowls Chicken Marinara With Cauliflower Rice

Healthy Choice Frozen Power Bowls Chicken Marinara With Cauliflower Rice

Healthy Choice Power Bowls are a great option for a quick meal that offers a ton of protein. They offer an assortment of meals but this is one of my favorite and won’t mess with your blood sugars since it contains only 10 grams of carbs. With only 210 calories and 19 grams of protein, this is a great dinner option that tastes great too.

Apple Gate Natural No Sugar Chicken and Herb Breakfast Sausage

AppleGate Naturals No Sugar Chicken & Herb Breakfast Sausage

This gluten-free breakfast sausage is a great and wholesome choice for your children and yourself. Each serving contains no carbohydrates, 10 grams of protein and is full of flavor, making it a great option for breakfast or for any time of the day. The best part is that it won’t impact your blood sugars much at all, even if you do dose insulin for protein.

Two Good Vanilla Greek Style Yogurt

Two Good Vanilla Greek Style Yogurt

I have not liked Greek yogurt until I tried Two Good yogurt. I absolutely love this yogurt and it has quickly become a staple in my home. I choose the vanilla so I can add dark chocolate chips or strawberries. This yogurt only contains 3 grams of carbs and has 12 grams of protein per serving, making this a great choice at all times of the day. I highly recommend trying out some of their other flavors as well.

Good and Gather Asiago Kale Salad Kit

Good & Gather Asiago Kale Salad Kit

This salad can make for a delicious lunch, post-gym snack, or a side dish for your favorite dish. The Asiago Kale salad kit includes kale, radicchio, Brussel sprouts, Focaccia crumbles, and Asiago cheese and comes with a tasty lemon garlic vinaigrette. Containing 11 grams of carbs, this is a tasty salad that I highly recommend picking up on your next Target trip.

Skinny Dipped Almonds

Skinny Dipped Almonds

I tried Skinny Dipped Almonds a few years back and reviewed it for Diabetes Daily. It has since been something I grab on every target trip. This naturally gluten-free snack has an assortment of flavors and has 5 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbs per serving. The flavor is rich and satisfies my sweet tooth!

Green Giant Riced Veggies Cauliflower Risotto Medley

Green Giant Riced Veggies Cauliflower Risotto Medley

This gluten-free, low-carb, and low-calorie alternative to rice and pasta is absolutely delicious and can make you forget all about those starchy sides. Coming in at 4 grams of carbs and 20 calories per serving, this is a great and healthy choice that your blood sugars will also thank you for.

Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Soft Tacos

Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Soft Tacos

I am so glad I stumbled across these during one of my many shopping trips to Target. They quickly became my go-to for lunch wraps and Taco Tuesdays. Coming in at only 3 grams net carbs and 5 grams of protein per serving, these won’t spike your blood sugars and they taste great, too.

Perfect Bites

Perfect Bites

This organic, gluten-free snack is great on-the-go and full of flavor. The chocolate tastes rich and decadent and this snack only comes in at 11 grams of carbs and contains 7 grams of protein. This line is kid-friendly and diabetes-friendly so be sure to check out all their products. I also reviewed the Perfect Bar for Diabetes Daily a few years back and enjoyed them a great deal!

Health Warriors Chia Bars Chocolate Peanut Butter

Health Warriors Chia Bars Chocolate Peanut Butter

This gluten-free bar contains only 3 grams of sugar making this a great snack that won’t mess with your blood sugars. It comes in a variety of flavors so there is sure to be one for you. It can be a great and delicious choice for kids, too!

Target is a great place for you to pick up all your household needs. Knowing that there are healthy meal and snack options for me and my family gives me yet another excuse to head to Target. I am sure I’ll come home with more than just the things on this list!

Have you found good healthy finds at Target? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Comfort Without the Carbs: Dishes to Warm and Restore

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Catherine Newman

In the most unusual of times, we bring you low-carb comfort food for good days, bad days, cold days, and everything in between – these recipes will warm you right up and make you feel like things are okay in the world

These dishes are the fleece blankets of the dinner world. They’re so warm and cozy that they’ll give you a kind of “bring it on” feeling about both life and cold weather. They cook forever and smell fantastic while they’re in the oven or on the stovetop, and they look great by candlelight even if they don’t all photograph that well. And, yes, most of them are not exactly light – they’re more like stick-to-your-ribs fare, made to be eaten before you go ice skating in the dark or, even, before you curl up to watch whatever show it is you’re binge watching.

Low-carb comfort food might sound like an oxymoron – where’s the pasta? the potatoes? – but trust me when I tell you that these hit all of the same notes as the classics. They’re long-cooked and aromatic and totally like what your grandma used to make, if your grandma made the kind of meal you’d order at an American diner. Plus, they’re unfancy crowd pleasers, and the leftovers always heat up well. While none of them are going to win any prizes in, say, the salad category, they do all offer way more in vegetable matter than their carbier cousins, which means loads of bonus nutrition in every bite. So, hunker down, give in to the cozy, and enjoy.

1. Baked Zucchatoni

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

This is like a cross between an unfussy lasagna and a baked ziti: cheesy, rich, and deeply satisfying, despite the actual absence of noodles. Even my daughter, who tends to be totally skeptical about “fake vegetable pasta dishes,” loves it. Don’t be daunted by the ribboning of the zucchini with a vegetable peeler: it honestly doesn’t take that long, and the resulting strands are thinner and wider and just generally more noodle-like than what you’d get with a spiralizer. That said, if you want to start with a pound of zoodles, go ahead – just be sure to salt and drain them really, really well or the resulting dish will be watery. One last thing: if you’d prefer a meat sauce, go ahead and brown a pound of ground beef after you sauté the onions and before you add the tomatoes – and expect the dish to feed more people that way.

View the recipe.

2. Best-Ever Beef Stew

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

This classic stew should be the mascot of your winter kitchen. It’s completely delicious, and it smells fabulous during its long stint in the oven, filling the house with warmth and promise. I love mushrooms, and the fact that they’re healthy, but if you don’t like them or don’t have any, just leave them out. This stew takes a long time to make, but honestly, after the rigorous and somewhat tedious browning of the meat, the oven does most of the work. Serve it with Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and a nice sharply-dressed green salad.

View the recipe.

3. Chicken (Sort of) Noodle Soup

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

This recipe is designed around the chicken-eating habits of your household: if you love rotisserie chicken, but favor one kind of meat over the other, then just enjoy your favorite parts, and make soup with the rest of it! Or feel free to devote the whole chicken to the soup—just pull off your favorite meat and dice it, then add it back at the end once the soup is cooked. Please note that you don’t have to use all of the noodle-like ingredients (of course). The zucchini strands are tender; the mushrooms are chewy; the cabbage is strand-like and toothsome – but omit any that you don’t like or don’t have.

View the recipe.

4. Cottage Pie

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

If your own mum isn’t English, then maybe you don’t know the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie – but I do! Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb; cottage pie usually means beef. But just use whatever meat – and whatever name – you prefer. This is homey comfort food at its best, even with cauliflower swapped in for the usual mashed potatoes.

View the recipe.

More comfort food recipes on diaTribe:

Cauliflower “Mac and Cheese”

Chicken Parmesan

Tomato Soup

Enchilada Zucchini

Creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Long-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Two-Bean Beef Chili

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Baked Chicken Fingers

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book “How to Be A Person” was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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

Review: Enlightened Low-Carb, High-Protein, Guiltless Ice Cream

If you are looking for a guilt-free substitution for your favorite ice cream, Enlightened is the brand for you. While some of its competitors’ products lack flavor and the creaminess that I know ice cream to be, Enlightened delivers amazing taste and rich, creamy consistency that will make you think you are eating the real thing. And with it being low-carb and high-protein, you can indulge without worrying about a blood sugar rollercoaster ride.

Who Are They

When Michael Shoretz’s father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Michael became very educated on the topic of nutrition and went on to study health policy and become a certified personal trainer.

He noticed many of his clients would confess to eating ice cream which would only sabotage their efforts and they were desperately seeking a better alternative. Michael noticed that with all the products offered, you would have to sacrifice one thing for another. For example, if the ice cream was low-sugar, it was often filled with artificial ingredients. Michael sought out to create a product that was low-calorie, low-sugar, and high in protein, all without sacrificing taste. And in 2012, the first Enlightened ice cream bars hit the stores and the brand has grown quite a bit since.

What Is It Made Of and How Does It Taste?

All of the Enlightened products, both bars and pints, are sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol, which are all-natural, zero-carb sweeteners. I find these both to be gentler on my stomach than some of their competitors.

The keto collection is made with real cream and zero-carb sweeteners. They come out to 1 g net carb once you factor in their high fiber content. They all were rich and creamy and the bits of flavor were plentiful and always a delicious surprise inside each bite. My favorites were the Peanut Butter Fudge, Mint Chocolate Chunk and P.B. Cookie Dough. I was able to enjoy this dessert before bed and not have an overnight rollercoaster ride with my blood sugars.

Photo credit: Enlightened

I was sent their keto variety pack which consisted of:

  1. P.B. Cookie & Brownie Dough (NEW!)
  2. Caramel Chocolate Double Dough (NEW!)
  3. Red Velvet
  4. Chocolate Glazed Donut
  5. Peanut Butter Fudge
  6. Mint Chocolate Chunk
  7. Butter Pecan
  8. Coffee & Cream
  9. Chocolate Peanut Butter

The dairy-free line is perfect for anyone with stomach issues or who prefers to eat vegan. Many people with celiac also prefer this line as many of the flavors are gluten-free. Check out each flavor from all the lines as many of their products are gluten-free. I received the Monkey Business and Chocolate PB, both of which were delicious and I would have never known they didn’t contain any dairy.

Also, be sure to check out their low-calorie line for those of you who are counting your calories. Each serving from this collection ranges from only 70-100 calories!

How Much Does It Cost and Where Can I Purchase?

Enlighted has thankfully gone more mainstream and is now offered in many grocery and specialty stores around the country. Make sure to enter your zip code to find the closest location to you.

The prices range depending on product type and product line but they offer many different options and offer incentives, including free shipping, if you are unable to find your favorites in your local store.

Conclusion

I have tried many different low-carb ice creams and Enlightened continues to hold the number one spot for me. I always look forward to this guiltless pleasure and enjoy knowing that my blood sugars won’t get out of whack.  With a great variety of product lines and flavors, there is something for everyone. I highly recommend giving Enlightened products a try.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Legendary Low-Carb Toaster Pastry

It is often very hard to find healthy food that also meets my expectations taste-wise. Many of the products offered boast great flavor but wind up falling short. Add in finding foods that don’t mess with your blood sugars and it isn’t an easy feat! Thankfully, Legendary Foods has some fantastic-tasting options that appeal to all ages!

Their latest Low-Carb Toaster Pastry does not disappoint! Not only is it a great snack for busy adults on the go, but it is also a healthy option for growing children as well.

About

At Legendary Foods, they believe nutritious foods are important but they also believe great taste matters, too. Co-founders Mike and Ron noticed that it was a challenge to find healthy food that also satisfied their taste buds.  They started Legendary Foods to create good-tasting food that could also help to keep people on track with their nutritional and health goals.

What are Low-Carb Toaster Pastries and What are They Made Out Of?

Legendary successfully attempted to recreate a very well-loved snack that is typically full of sugar by using almond flour and erythritol as its two main ingredients. With only 3 g net carbs and 170 calories, compared to a regular toaster pastry at 35 g net carbs and 210 calories, this is a great breakfast or snack option for someone who is health-conscious and who wants to avoid blood sugar spikes. It also is packed with 9 grams of protein, which you can’t get from any other kind of morning pastry!

How Do They Taste?

I wasn’t sure what to expect since this is a type of food that would normally taste very sweet. It was the perfect mix of sweet and the flavorful filling (cinnamon/strawberry) and was perfectly moist with just the right amount of bite to it. The cinnamon filling was better than I expected and tasted very rich and not artificial at all. I am less of a strawberry fan, in general, but found this one to be very tasty and it was popular amongst my friends. The icing on top could have been the sugar-laden kind, I would not have noticed the difference — that is how natural it tasted!

Where Can You Purchase?

Legendary Foods can be purchased on their website. They also offer much more than their latest toaster pastries. You can find an assortment of low-carb, keto-friendly nut butter and nut snacks as well and Diabetes Daily has reviewed these products in the past. If you are interested in checking out the reviews before purchasing, you will see the large amount of reviews each product has, which I think is a testament to this great company and their delicious products!

Conclusion

I am a big fan of Legendary Foods because they offer low-carb options that also taste great. It is very hard to find a low-carb breakfast option, which for me is extra important since I am extremely insulin resistant in the mornings and my blood sugar goes up before I even eat or drink anything. The toaster pastries come individually packed and make for a very easy and healthy meal on the go!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

1 2

Search

+