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Managing Your Diabetes With Free iPhone Apps

My life, like many others’, is centered around my iPhone. I can’t imagine my life without it. Web developers realize the increase in smartphone use could be helpful in managing diabetes and there are apps that can help diabetics count carbs and track their blood sugar trends. I reviewed a few of the free apps for the iPhone to see if they could be beneficial for diabetics.

Bant

This is a great starter app but there are definitely some limitations. It logs glucose readings but doesn’t indicate a before meal reading or post-prandial (1 hour post meal). These readings are the best for truly seeing how well the sugar is being controlled or how different foods can affect the blood sugar. It has the ability to upload your information to Twitter (#bant) and there is an online community for support and to share ideas. You can also upload your results to websites like www.healthvault.com so your doctor can see your trends at your next appointment. I think adding a medication reminder to help taking insulin or oral medications would be a useful tool to help people stay on track. Currently this app does not have nutritional information to help with tracking calories and carbohydrates.


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Short Exercise Lowers Blood Sugar

Good news for people who don’t naturally gravitate to doing exercise: less can sometimes mean more in the way of health benefits. A new study has found that just 30 minutes of weekly high-intensity exercise is enough to lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours and help prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes in people with type 2 diabetes.

“If people are pressed for time – and a lot of people say they don’t have enough time to exercise – our study shows that they can get away with a lower volume of exercise that includes short, intense bursts of activity,” said the study’s senior author, Martin Gibala, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.

The current recommendations by the American Diabetes Association are in line with most fitness experts – people with diabetes should get a minimum of 150 minutes of at least moderate exercise each week or about 30 minutes most days of the week. Since people often complain of not having time, the researchers wanted to see if shorter more intense exercise would also do the trick of controlling blood sugar levels.
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The DASH Diet is an Ideal Choice for Diabetics

The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, can be used for patients with high blood pressure and is often recommended for diabetics because of the potential to lower their blood pressure. The diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure in as little as two weeks. Diabetics usually have blood pressure issues and are more prone to complications such as kidney disease. Diabetics are usually put on a blood pressure lowering drug called an ACE inhibitor that has protective properties for the kidneys.

The DASH diet consists of lowering sodium intake to less than 2400 mg per day, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and carbohydrate sources coming from whole grains. It also includes proteins coming from lean meats, fish and chicken, and moderate amounts of fats such as olive oil and nuts. The DASH diet has been endorsed by the American Heart Association, The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the Mayo Clinic. It also was used to form the new dietary guidelines.
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Diabetic Meal Replacements: Good Choice or Gimmick?

The life of a diabetic can’t be easy. Tons of doctors appointments, meetings with nutritionists and getting poked with needles cannot be much fun. Plus, there is so much information to learn especially about nutrition and changing your lifestyle to better manage your blood sugar. Diabetes is such an all encompassing disease that there are tons of products marketed specifically for this group of people. The American Diabetes Association estimates that medical expenses are 2.3 times more for diabetics than for non-diabetics, which includes special food products just for diabetics. I spoke with Mary Hartley, RD, MPH to find out if popular products like Glucerna and Boost are useful tools for diabetics or simply a sales ploy.

Mary Hartley, a registered dietian from New York City and newest edition to the Diets In Review team, thinks these products are great for monitoring nutrients. ”The consumer knows exactly how much he’s getting in terms of carbohydrate, fiber, fat, protein and anything else that is measured and these products are formulated to minimize spikes in blood sugar,” Mary says. Excellent point and a great start for newly diagnosed patients or diabetics that lead an active lifestyle and want to throw a shake or bar in their gym bag. I recommend having a small snack on hand at all times to help avoid low blood sugar. Mary adds that this is another perk as these products are extremely portable and convenient.


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Brain Scans Show Why Obese Lack Craving Control

It’s nothing new in the scientific community that there is more than just lifestyle choices that come into play when determining who is fat and who is thin. There are various biological factors that often play a significant role in people’s weight.

While the most commonly known biological factor for one’s weight is varying resting metabolisms, there are also neurological factors. The latest findings assert that obese people have a tendency to lack impulse control when it comes to food.

Researchers compared the brain scans of thin people to obese people when both looked at pictures of high-calorie foods. What they found was that there was an increased activity in a region of the brain used for impulse control with thin people, but there wasn’t so much activity in the region of the obese people.

“I think there may be biological reasons why people can’t necessarily control their desire for food,” said Robert Sherwin of Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut, who worked on the study.
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