Tag Archives: type 2 diabetes


9355309-a-bowl-of-cereal-with-milk-fruit-and-fresh-berriesBowl of oat cereal, fresh berries and fruit

Seventeen years ago, AARP teemed up with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine the influence of dietary and lifestyle choices on the incidence of life-threatening diseases on over half a million people ages 50 and older.

What the collaboration yielded is an understanding of how specific foods affect our bodies, for good or for ill, and the knowledge of how to adjust our dietary choices to stay healthy and lose weight.

And here are the first 5 guidelines, part of what’s called The AARP New American Diet:

Have breakfast every day.

A healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast includes protein, whole grains and fruits keeps your insulin level steady all morning and keeps you from overeating later in the day.

The National Weight Control Registry studied nearly 4,000 persons who had lost weight and kept off for up to 6 years.  Those who at a nutritious breakfast daily lost more weight and kept it off longer than those who didn’t eat breakfast.

Good choices would be an egg sandwich on whole wheat bread with strawberries or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and a banana.

Drink more water instead of sweetened or diet soft drinks.

Most of us don’t realize how many calories we take in through sodas, juices, alcoholic drinks and other beverages.   For two weeks, try drinking nothing but water and coffee and watch the weight come off.

Though diet drinks have no sugar, research shows that they may increase our cravings for sugar-sweetened, high calorie foods.   That’s bad.

Also, they disrupt our ability to properly estimate the amount of calories we consume, so we eat more than we ordinarily would.  That’s worse.

And the worst rap?  Researchers at University of Miami found that drinking more than two diet beverages a day is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, as well as with stroke and heart disease.

Include more broiled or baked fish in your diet.

Low calorie fish has the omega-3 fatty acids our bodies need for brain health and contains other important nutrients.  It may also lower your risk of getting certain cancers and improve rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Eating red meat—and that means pork, too, and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, sausage) increases that risk, so eat less of them.

Include whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice in your diet.

Regularly consuming whole grains can cut your risk of heart disease, respiratory illness and some cancers, including breast and colon cancers—and can help you lose weight.

In a Penn State study, for 12 weeks, half of the participants ate whole grains, while the other half at refined grains, such as white bread and pasta.  The group eating whole grains lost significantly more visceral, or belly, fat, the kind linked to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Fill up on fruits and vegetables

The AARP-NIH partnership shows that including fruits and vegetables into you daily diet will help you live longer.  These antioxidant rich foods will help you live longer, and, according to the Penn State study, help you lose weight when you aren’t even trying, probably because they’re mostly water & make you feel full.

Though potatoes are healthy, the recommendation is to not eat them for a few weeks until you’re ready to eat them without unhealthy toppings and without having been fried.

Coming up:  6 More Tips to Increase Your Longevity

SOURCE:  AARP the Magazine  December 2012/January  2012



Researchers studied data on 32,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and found that over an 18-year period, 2,278 had developed type 2 diabetes. 

But participants who spent 150 minutes per week doing both aerobic and resistance exercises were 59% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who were sedentary.  Though longer is better, only 10 minutes per day of weight training lowered the risk of developing diabetes.

Both aerobic and resistance exercise were associated with a lower risk for diabetes, but men who did both had the lowest risk of all. 

Previous studies had focused on only aerobic activity to reduce risk of the disease, though weight training had been shown to help control persons who already had diabetes.

NB:  Though the study focused only on men, researchers are confident that the findings will apply to women as well.

Tufts Health&Nutrition Update, August 17, 2012     Study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, August 7, 2012.


They’re losing weight and may be fending off diabetes, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, obesity, cancer and neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.

Bruce Spiegelman, senior author of the study and a cell biologist at Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, says, “There has been a feeling in the field that exercise ‘talks to’ various tissues in the body.   But the question has been, how?”

Spiegelman and his team isolated a protein located within the outer membrane of muscle cells that serves as a chemical messenger to adipose (fatty deposits of white fat cells) that stores excess calories contributing to obesity.

The message delivered to the energy-storing white fat cells is, “Get brown!  Turn into energy-burning, brown fat cells!”  While babies are born with brown fat, adults have only small amounts.

Irisin levels rise as a result of repeated bouts of prolonged exercise, not as a result of short-term muscle activity.  When levels rise during exercise, the hormone turns on genes that convert white fat into “good” brown fat.

The conversion is beneficial because not only does brown fat burn off more excess calories than does exercise alone, but also because the effect lingers, burning fat even after exercise stops.

In addition to combating weight gain, irisin helps prevent or overcome cellular changes that lead to type 2 diabetes and may be useful in treating or preventing other illnesses.

“It’s exciting to find a natural substance connected to exercise that has such clear therapeutic potential,” said Pontus Bostrum, first author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in the Spiegelman lab.

Spiegelman said the discovery is a significant first step in understanding the biological mechanisms that translate exercise into beneficial changes throughout healthy bodies as well as helping to prevent or treat diseases.

Because irisin is a natural substance, Spiegelman said it should be possible to move an irisin-based drug into clinical testing, perhaps within two years.

He cautions, though, not to be tempted to use the drug instead of working out at the gym.  The hormone can’t make muscles stronger.

The National Institutes of Health funded the research.

Source:  Harvard Medical School Healthbeat, June 22, 2012    Harvard gazette, June 25, 2012     The journal Nature will publish the study.


This generic person’s no dumbbell.

As we age, we lose muscle tissue, bone density and strength.  Consequently, we become more vulnerable to accidents that can put an end to our ability to lead the active and independent life we’d become accustomed to.

Strength training can slow down, may even reverse, our physical decline.  It can help manage, may even avert, conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Strong muscles are good for a healthy heart.  They more easily extract oxygen and nutrients from the blood than do flabby muscles, thus putting less strain on the heart.

Strong muscles help regulate blood sugar levels.  They’re better at removing sugar from the blood and keeping the body sensitive to insulin than are flabby muscles, thereby controlling or preventing type 2 diabetes.

Without the tug and pull of muscles on our bones, we don’t efficiently absorb calcium.  Our early astronauts came back from missions with osteopenia—no gravity, no resistance for muscles to overcome.  The men were given elastic resistance bands to work out with on subsequent flights.   If we aren’t working our muscles against resistance, we’re inviting osteopenia and/or osteoporosis into our bones and lives.

Strong muscles help us to balance and avoid falling.  If we do trip, the muscles help us right ourselves before we fall.

Strong muscles are good for our vanity.  We look better in bathing gear, shorts and sleeveless tops if we’re well-muscled.

My Take on building muscles:  When I’m sleeping, my fat is inert.  It just lays there, looking flabby.  But my muscles, because they’re living matter, are busily working at burning calories, even while the rest of me is doing nothing.

And that’s the reason why muscles are the key to weight management.  It’s not so much because of the calories burned working out as it is because of muscles’ ability to burn calories 24/7.  Pretty sweet!

If you aren’t ready yet to tackle free weights or weight machines, stay tuned for BUILDING STRONG MUSCLES in which I’ll describe some of Harvard’s excellent starter exercises to build strength.

from Harvard Medical School Healthbeat, May 29, 2012      Also other sources