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Sugar Substitues: May Not be Sweet for Your Health

Non-caloric sweeteners may interfere with normal glucose absorption.

A small study (published as an abstract) of healthy individuals received the equivalent non-caloric sweetener contained in 1.5 liters of "diet" soda for 14 days along with a with a control group receiving a placebo. The results suggest that glucose absorption is negatively affected in healthy people by artificial sweeteners. This early research may help explain why a population shift in the consumption of artificial sweeteners has not lowered type 2 diabetes risk.

PositiveTip: Limit both sugar-sweetened beverages and the "diet" drinks-- choose water instead!

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Eat a Few Nuts to Your Health!

Nuts may lower the overall glycemic load of the diet.

Pooled research from 12 clinical trials of 450 participants with type 2 diabetes, found those eating an average of 2 ounces of tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts or cashews) conveyed improved glycemic control. They experienced significantly lower levels of fasting glucose and HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over time). It may be that the healthy nut fats convey this benefit.

PositiveTip: Substitute calories from foods with questionable nutrition for a small handful of tree nuts each day.

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Tree Nuts to the Rescue?

Pistachios nuts daily may lower diabetes risk in prediabetics.

Spanish researchers tested the effects of pistachio nuts in the diets of 54 adults with prediabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to consume a daily handful of pistachios, or to the control group, with added olive oil instead, to keep the calories the same. After 4 months those eating the pistachios showed lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and a drop in biomarkers for inflammation. Neither group grained significant weight.

PositiveTip: Include a small handful of tree nuts in your diet daily.

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Diabetics Should Get Up and Move!

Walking for 10 minutes after meals lowers post-meal blood glucose spikes.

In a newly released position statement, the American Diabetes Association says everyone who has diabetes or is at risk of it should get up and move their body as vigorously as they can! In addition to regular, daily physical activity, diabetics should aim to move around every 30 minutes to improve their blood glucose management. This excellent statement includes categories of exercise with benefits and safety guidelines.

PositiveTip: Get up and get moving is wise advice for everyone--including diabetics.

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Global Cost of Diabetes is Now $825 Billion

The most important risk factor for diabetes is obesity.

When a person loses their ability to regulate their blood sugar, they have  diabetes and are at increased risk for heart and kidney disease, loss of vision, and amputations. There are now 422 million adults in the world with diabetes--four times as many as in 1980. Some amazing diabetes data visualizations can be viewed here!

PositiveTip: While the interaction of genes and environment play a role in diabetes, so do physical activity and a healthy diet.

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Brief, Intense Exercise Helps Heart

High intensity exercise is best when moving the whole body.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in those who have type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Several changes in the structure and function of the left ventricle occur prior to any overt cardiac disease. A small, study of T2DM patients without overt heart disease who did not exercise were randomized to a cycling program 3 times per week or standard care. The cycling intervention got their heart rate up intermittently and significantly improved heart function and reduced fatty liver.

PositiveTip: Keep moving! It makes a difference.

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Soda and Diabetes

Sugary drinks raise the risk of diabetes in the non-obese.

A wealth of evidence demonstrates that the regular consumption of soft drinks significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. A review of much of that data found regular use of sugary drinks is linked to the onset of diabetes independent of obesity. One daily serving of sugary drinks increased the risk by 18% and when adjusted for obesity there was still a 13% increase. Artificially sweetened beverages and fruits juices were not found to be any healthier.

PositiveTip: Avoid sugary drinks and use fruit juices very moderately.

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Exercise Training Without Fitness Improvement is Beneficial for Diabetics

Movement, not fitness, seems to mediate glucose control in diabetics.

Does physical activity in type 2 diabetics help even if  fitness levels do not improve? Researchers reanalyzed the data from the HART-D trial and found that the HbA1c levels improved by just over 25% and body fat percentage along with waistlines decreased--even without improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness. The movement of physical activity seems to improve diabetic control regardless of changes in fitness.

PositiveTip: Don't give up on moving, even if you feel your fitness level is not improving.

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Can Some Babies be Hardwired for Obesity?

Children of obese parents at higher risk for obesity and diabetes.

Early research on fetal stem cells found an obese mother may "program" her child's cells to accumulate extra fat. This epigenetic study found cells from babies of obese mothers had greater accumulation of fat and a higher content of biomarkers for fat cells. This research is continuing, but these findings remind us the Bible teaches that traits can be passed from parents to children and even grandchildren (Exodus 34:7).

PositiveTip: Making good choices today may protect your children and grandchildren tomorrow.

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Statins May Raise Risk of Diabetes

Study finds almost 50% increase in relative risk of diabetes in statin users.

A cohort of 8749 randomly selected men without diabetes at baseline, but taking statins, were followed for 6 years. After adjustment for potential confounders, those using statins had a 46% increased relative risk of developing diabetes. More research is needed, but the tendency found in this study may give pause to statin use in those with borderline indications. 

PositiveTip: Make healthy lifestyle choices your first line defense against both hyperlipidemia and diabetes.