Managing Blood Sugar Emerges as a Top Concern

Managing Blood Sugar Emerges as a Top Concern

Consumers are very interested in foods that promote healthy blood glucose: 69 per cent of primary grocery shoppers are extremely or very interested in buying or using foods or drinks if they can help manage blood sugar. In addition, 43 per cent of primary grocery shoppers believe that “helps maintain healthy blood-sugar levels” is an extremely or very important claim on food labels, according to the 2009 HealthFocus Trend Report.

No disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the US and contributes to higher rates of morbidity — people with diabetes are at significantly higher risk for heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and other chronic conditions.

Prediabetes is usually intertwined with being overweight and, of course, increases the risk by about 80 times of a bona fide type 2 diabetes diagnosis (not to mention heart disease). Indeed, blood-sugar issues and being overweight are usually the start of a host of health conditions. An estimated 121 million American adults (out of 184 million) are overweight, with about 60 million being actually obese — 30 pounds over their ideal weight. If trends continue, an incredible 80 per cent of Americans are estimated to be overweight by 2030.

About one-third of diabetics take supplements. The top ingredients include fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and chromium, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

A recent Swedish study found that taking a whey supplement with meals can help stimulate insulin release in type 2 diabetics. When diabetic subjects took whey at the same time as a high glycaemic-index breakfast and lunch, they had lower blood-sugar response and a higher insulin response. The findings suggest whey can help diabetics improve their blood-sugar control.

In another nod to the broad efficacy of vitamin D, insufficient and deficient levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 52 per cent, according to a 2009 Anglo-Chinese study.

This study backs an earlier study that found women in the 84,000-strong Nurses’ Health Study who consumed a daily intake of greater than 800IU vitamin D and 1,200mg calcium had a 33 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those to took in less than 600mg calcium and 400IU vitamin D.

Cinnamon makes insulin work more efficiently, which gets excess sugar out of the blood and into cells, where it can be burned as fuel. Cinnamon works in two ways. First, it inhibits the enzymes that cause insulin resistance. And second, it increases sensitivity to insulin.

Preliminary results from a University of Surrey clinical study found that the consumption of Hi-maize brand resistant starch, from National Starch, significantly increased insulin sensitivity in individuals with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

“These improvements are actually bigger than you get with most blood glucose-lowering drugs,” says Denise Robertson, PhD, lecturer in nutritional physiology within the Postgraduate Medical School at the University of Surrey and the principal investigator of the study. “We are finding that subjects at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as those with metabolic syndrome, are more responsive to the insulin-sensitizing effects of resistant starch than people with normal blood-glucose levels.

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