featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


You’d have to have been living under a rock for the last year not to know that diabetes has become a huge problem in this country, both for children and adults. Health editor Janice Kerr is here today with some interesting news about recent studies. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! Diabetes is pretty much at epidemic proportions in America. One in four adults are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It converts sugar, starches and other food into energy.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. It can occur in people of any age, including children. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance in which fat, muscle, and liver cells don’t use insulin properly. The pancreas at first is able to keep up with the body’s demand to produce more insulin, but over time the pancreas loses the ability to secrete enough insulin.

Being overweight and inactive increases a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Because of this, we know that maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and eating a well-balanced diet can reduce a person’s chances of getting type 2 diabetes. However, there have been some recent studies published that tout four specific foods as “super foods” in the fight against diabetes.

A study at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine claims that drinking one glass of low-fat milk a day can lower your risk of getting diabetes by 44 percent. This is because milk is rich in both calcium and vitamin D, both of which aid your body in using insulin more efficiently.

A study of Chinese women found that those who ate peanuts every day reduced their risk of developing diabetes by up to 21 percent. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, all it takes is an ounce of peanuts a day.

Other studies have found benefits in adding half a teaspoon of cinnamon each day to your diet and at least two servings a week of whole grain brown rice. Cinnamon contains polyphenols which improve the body’s use of insulin. Brown rice contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals that stabilize blood sugar far better than white rice or refined carbohydrates.

Thanks, Janice. I wonder if Cloris can come up with a recipe that incorporates milk, peanuts, cinnamon and brown rice. Shouldn’t be too difficult for our resident kitchen wizard. What do you think, readers? Post a comment to enter the drawing for a book from our Book Club Friday guest this week. -- AP


Michael Shay said...

Thanks, Anastasia. Very good info from Janice. My wife Chris developed gestational diabetes when pregnant with our daughter, who's now 17. Often that abates after the pregnancy but didn't with Chris. We had to learn to shop and cook and eat differently. I don't have a good recipe for milk, peanuts, cinnamon and brown rice. But all of those ingredients are in our kitchen and we use them regularly. I can see a nice chicken or shrimp stir fry (easy on the oil) with broccoli and cinnamon and brown rice. Low-fat milk to drink. Any other spices helpful for diabetics?


Michael, according to an article I found on WebMD -- http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20080806/common-spices-may-help-diabetes -- various Italian spices are also recommended. They cite a study that suggests herbs and spices that contain high levels of polyphenol, may "block the inflammation believed to drive diabetes and other chronic diseases." Of the herbs tested, oregano, marjoram and sage had the highest polyphenol levels. Next highest were thyme, Italian seasoning, tarragon, mint and rosemary. Black pepper had the lowest levels of polyphenol of the herbs and spices tested.