06 August 2012

Learning curve

I can happily confirm that teaching a couple of old dogs some fancy new tricks is not an easy process, but it's certainly going to be achievable... albeit with a bit of head scratching, puzzling and figuring out.

OK, so what am I blathering on about?

I'm talking GI, and I don't mean Joe or Jane here! This is GI a.k.a.Glycaemic Index. Even having managed to lose and keep off a significant percentage of my former bulk, this isn't a topic I can say I'm exactly familiar with, nor have I ever really given too much thought to it. Have to admit that I've spent much more time considering calorie and fat content of the foods we choose. However, this is about to change big time, now that my darling lovely hubby is off medication and relying on diet control for Type 2 diabetes.

The crux of 'good control', and by that I mean the best way to go about minimising the likelihood of diabetic 'complications' (a nice, dainty, polite word for some pretty awful outcomes!), seems to be avoiding spikes in blood glucose and generally keeping a relatively 'constant(ish)' sensible blood glucose level through the day.

To do this, the carbohydrate content of the food we eat is something we need to become very aware of. These little tinkers, and how the body deals with them, are the things which seem to affect blood glucose most directly, so it's time for us to get back to the classroom for Carbs 101.

Even given just a brief trawl through the wonderful worldwide web, there's a HUGE amount of information out there. However, some of it seems conflicting... and complex... and frankly counter-intuitive. But, nothing ventured..., here we are, making our start on the bumpy road to getting to grips with it. Wish us luck!

To be honest, while I haven't really thought much about it before, this will be a very good thing for us both, benefiting the fat lass long-term as well as my darling. But it does, of course, mean making adjustments to what we eat... again. Hmmm, I think we'll both be keeping food diaries. What a studious household we'll be!

Onwards ever...


FattyMcFatPants said...

Despite my own lovely blubber, I was actually in school to be a nutritionist for a number of years, so I know a lot about diabetes. I love to share my knowledge, so please don't think I'm trying to condescending or lecture -- I just like to pass on the info. :)

I think people in general really over-complicate things when it comes to carbohydrates. The GI is talked about a lot, and is a perfect example, because the GI of a food changes based on many, many things: how it's prepared, how small the pieces are, ripeness, etc. Plus absorption is affected hugely by what else you eat.

The simplest way to control blood sugar is to not eat corn, potatoes, pasta, bread, or desserts. Eat meat, veg, fruit (easy on the tropical fruits), dairy, nuts. If you do have one of the first group, don't eat them alone! IF you're going to have a baked potato, have it with a steak. The presence of fat and protein will slow down the absorption and help mitigate the blood sugar spike. And full-fat desserts are better, for the same reason.

Also, if he's not already taking chromium, taking about 200 micrograms per day would probably be a big help. It's an integral part of the insulin receptor mechanism at the cell level; it helps the receptors function more efficiently, which is one component of type II diabetes. If the receptors are functioning better, blood sugar is more easily regulated.

There's definitely a lot of info out of there, and a lot of theories. But it really boils down to basic biochemistry: all carbohydrates break down in to simple sugars. It doesn't matter what the GI is or if they're complex or not. Sugar in = higher blood sugar.

Okay, I'm taking off my teacher hat now. :) I hope your husband does well without the medication!

Deniz said...

Condescending? No way! A friendly nutritionist 'on tap' - heck, what could be better.

Truly though - thanks for this - I'm really very grateful for the tips as we are struggling to get a handle on things at the moment and don't seem to be able to see the wood for the trees. Information overload is the most part of the problem.

Just last evening we had the conversation about 'not getting too hung up or fanatical' over the finer GI details, and decided that a 'sensible' healthy balanced diet is probably the way to go, but keeping track of our food choices and B.G. levels so we (and maybe his GP) can analyse and adjust later if we need to.

We've already come to the conclusion that our 'good' breakfast that we thought was a sensible choice (half a banana on wholemeal toast) definitely wasn't a good choice as his B.G. levels skyrocketed! Hmmm, we live and learn!

I'm particularly interested in the chromium tip too as that isn't something I've stumbled across and it sounds worth a closer look.

FattyMcFatPants said...

So glad you didn't take offense, I've had people get really mad. :) I know adjusting to caring about carbs is a big change in mindset. I didn't finish school so I can't claim to be a professional or an absolute expert, but if you ever want to pick my brain about anything, just drop me a comment.

There are two books with a lot of good information in them, Protein Power and the Protein Power LifePlan - the names are cheesy, and they were written as diet books, but they're all about the role of insulin, glucagon, blood sugar, etc. I like those two because they explain stuff clearly and without a lot of medical jargon (and the doctors who wrote it used to have a clinic in my hometown, though I think they're in Atlanta now).

And they have handy charts of carb amounts in foods, recipes, good stuff. :) The second one goes in to the chromium thing the most if I remember right. There's lots of stuff on the web too of course! :)

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

The GI is complicated but it does make sense. I haven't spent a lot of time learning it though. I'm going to read more today!

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