Tagged: AGEs

Carbohydrates and Aging

Carbs and Aging

Early on, I remember reading how Diabetes ages a person at least 10 years.  I never quite understood this theory but I knew I didn’t like it, and would do whatever I could to slow or prevent this from happening to me.  Recently, there has been much more written about this phenomenon and when broken down into phases, we diabetics should have enough understanding of carb counting to keep this at bay.

I’ve come across a recent article,  “Do Carbs Age Your Body Faster?” by Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Catherine Ebeling, an RN, BSN and author of  The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging.  Simply put,  NO, it all depends on the amount and types of carbs consumed.  It is however, high spikes in glucose levels that cause the aging, and THIS IS caused by consuming carbs with no thought to  the consequences.  As diabetics, we should be aware of carb counting, if you are not, there are small, pocket sized books, that should be like your bible until you are comfortable with it.   All carbs will increase your blood sugar, but the difference is the timing.  Is it a slow process or a rapid spike, leaving your meds playing catch up later.    The author illustrated a  good example of the difference  as follows:

2 slices of whole wheat toast;  45 mins after eating, blood sugar spiked from an 86 fasting level to 156.

1 bowl of oatmeat, (equivalent grams of carbs as 2 slices of toast above) 45 mins after eating; blood sugar raised from 86 fasting to 112.

Now, everyone’s numbers  will be different, however, the food and portion is in your control.  Please reread my earlier posting on “Glycemic Index Basics” from April.  We have all been taught that  whole wheat is the healthier choice if breads and muffins are going to be eaten, however, now we are learning that whole wheat and other grains  have a unique type of starch which spikes blood sugar more that pure table sugar.  These high blood sugar spikes are what, over time, are responsible (at least in part) for accelerated aging.  High blood sugars circulating around in our bodies leave deposits  known as Advanced Glycation End Products  (AGEs) this is known as glycation.  It is these compounds which speed up the aging process including damage, over time,  to your organs,  joints and wrinkled skin.

Of course now we all want to run out and totally never eat another carb, however, carbohydrates DO have a necessary place in our diets.  Extreme low-carb diets like the once very popular Adkins was excessive.  Thyroid hormones, as well as, Leptin hormone levels can drop too low to  maintain a healthy metabolism (weight gain).  Since being diabetic, our main concern should, as always, be keeping out blood sugars down to a healthy number,  avoid spiking highs and lows, which in and of themselves are dangerous.  Always remember, there are such things as healthy carbs, in moderation, with attention to BS testing and getting to know how a particular one affects YOUR blood sugar.

Let the Holidays Begin!!!

Let the Holidays Begin

As every PWD (person with diabetes) knows, holidays can be a really difficult time.  Whether your goal is just watching your blood sugar intake, or worse, watching your weight as well, everyone and their brother is going to try to guilt you into eating from the, “Oh,  just one bite won’t hurt you” list.   We all know a bite probably won’t hurt you, but if you are like  millions of Americans, “just one bite” does not suffice.  This may sound odd, however, I consider myself lucky to have lived with diabetes all my life versus learning I have Type 2 after all those years of poor eating habits.    I went through my periods of  “well I can just take a shot for that”,  but I did  not embrace a life style of poor eating habits, and what I learned from early family life, I soon outgrew once I left home.   I have also learned that many of the things I thought I could not do without, I CAN.

Fortunately,  I love healthy foods, including every fruit or  vegetable grown, including anything and everything that can be put into a salad.  The trick is when invited to a dinner, Holiday or regular,  inquire what is on the menu so that you may bring something to accompany it or just contribute to the meal.  I will always bring the “boring”  veggie tray with vegetable dip for others, or some appetizer that I can pick through without looking obvious; cheese and fruit slices with a kick-butt fruit dip made w/Amaretto and cool whip (lite) and some other add-ins, even nuts are a  good pre-meal munchie assuming no one is allergic, and  as with everything else, MODERATION is key.    I have been tricked in thinking because someone will be serving  a nice veggie with the meal, I’m in good shape, then it comes covered in butter or cheese or some other sauce which makes my throat quiver.   Don’t get  me wrong, I don’t judge what others put in their bodies but for heavens sake, do these people not read.  Luckily, most people do not over dress the meat and I can safely have a slice.  I have been the polite guest and have eaten what is served, I once ate a bowl of homemade potato soup that with every scrumptious spoonful I could feel my joints and organs hardening with AGEs, (advanced glycosylated  endproducts)  while throwing  my sugar into a tailspin for hours.  Cream, flour, white potatoes, bacon, cheese and who knows what else, all in one bowl!   It was delicious of course, however, I will not put my system into shock to be polite again.

Because  I have become accustom to this kind of eating, I find it easy,  I also find that I can fill up on smaller amounts.  And NO, I am not bragging or throwing it in your face, I used to eat two servings of everything, and it showed, I was a size 14 as a teen, into my 20s, joined every gym around, tried every fad diet.  After running away from  home and ending up in the Florida Keys, I slowly began to loose weight, for a variety of reasons,  but that is another story.  I carried this  through by not gorging my foods with unnecessary additives,  no bad dressings, using mustard vs mayo,  making food not to “love” but just to “eat”.   I was able to not obsess over a meal.   My sister’s favorite explanation is “she eats to live, not lives to eat”  like they do.    I admit, as I’m getting older, I am not as hard on myself,  I do  cheat and I certainly do not force my husband to abstain when we are out, however, at home, he chooses to eat like me for the most part and this makes it easier for me.  You see, another important part of staying healthy is having a supportive partner, but that is another topic.

Enjoy the Holidays, enjoy your families,  and by maintaining healthier eating habits, we can enjoy them for longer…..


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