Thursday, November 17, 2011

Diabetes 2

I was surprised to see that the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Canadians Banting and MacLeod for their work discovering insulin.  The book "Breakthrough" and others tell the story of the work done to understand the disease of diabetes.  Books on important points in recent medical history and research can be quite interesting.  Dana Sobel's book on latitude and scurvy and Thomas Hager's book "The Demon  Under the Microscope" make it clear that when we are born has a lot to do with what medicine can do for us.  Antibiotics really got going just before my birth.  Had I been born a little earlier, I might not have lived to this age.

The best advice on diabetes seems to continue to be a balance diet of good food without too many calories.  Many people have a little more money when they are older and can afford steaks, eating out, all sorts of rich food or whatever their appetites drive them toward.  I read not long ago that if people are served in a smorgasbord style, they tend to go for the starches such as potatoes, corn and peas and the meats and not toward the vegetables and fruits.  Even fruits can be troublesome.  Those are great choices in an age of food scarcity but we aren't in such an age.

The glycemic index, the measure of how quickly a food is digested, can also be important.  Foods like pasta and white rice and bread are digested very rapidly and the rapidity promotes heavier use of insulin.  Portion  size can be a great tool for allowing the lust for ice cream or alcohol to be a bit assuaged if a very small amount of a troublesome food is ingested.  It only takes a small taste to remind ourselves that the food in question is not all that heavenly and that another bite will not be even quite as delicious as the first one.

We have done pretty well keeping our blood sugar levels down by avoiding the whites, the white bread, the white pasta and white rice.  It hasn't taken much practice to learn to actually prefer whole wheat and brown rice.  The occasional piece of toasted cibata  with butter is all the more delicious because we keep it rare.  Drinking plenty of water also helps us feel full and is good for our kidneys.  The dietary scientist Barbara Rolls has books on volume of food, such as lettuce and soup, that help us feel full without getting too many calories.
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