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{ Note: Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program or beginning to experiment
with advice taken from articles}  
Latest news: Insulin pill hope for diabetics
Diabetes patients could soon be able to take a pill to control their condition instead of repeated injections,
researchers have claimed.
Experts at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen have found insulin can be covered by a coating which means it
could eventually be taken orally. Currently, the drug has to be injected so it is not broken down before it reaches the
bloodstream. The development offers hope to patients with a phobia of needles.
The research, presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester, shows that the coating means
that insulin is protected from enzyme breakdown....Inhaled insulin is already available to those diabetics with a proven
needle phobia or people who have severe trouble injecting.....Read full story

Blood glucose monitor and flex pen for injecting insulin

The foods that we are in our daily diet are digested and metabolised by the body to form sugar (glucose), which
is absorbed into the bloodstream after eating a meal.  Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible
for transporting this sugar from the blook in to the cells, where it is converted into energy for the body.  A person
with diabetes has either too little insulin, or the insulin that is available cannot be used effectively, resulting  in the
body being unable to control the glucose levels in the blood.

Diet is a very important part of the treatment of diabetes, as following the correct diet makes it much easier to
control blood sugar levels.  Well-controlled blood sugar levels will help preventand / or minimise symptoms such
as tiredness, thirst and blurred vision commonly associated with poor control.  Coronary heart disease, kidney
damage and poor eyesights are mose of the long-term complications of diabetes, which can be prevented with
blood sugar levels being kept within an acceptable range.

However, ther is no such thing as a dibetic diet!  People with diabetes should follow the same healthy eating guidelines
recommended for the general population.  In fact, having someone with diabetes in the family can often lead to a healthy
way of eating for the whole family.

The key to healthy eating

The key to a healthy diet is a variety of foods chosen in the right balance from the groups shown in the 'healthy
eating pyramid'.  

The dietary guidlines are as follows:

Eat at least three regular meals a day, including a wide variety of foods in your diet.
Plan your meals around foods from plant sources, lentils and fruits and vegetables. The
       soluble fibre shows down the digestion of the foods and it is therefore particularly good at
       helping to control the blood sugar levels.
Reduce your intake of sugar and highly sweetened foods, but there is no need to cut out
       sugar completely.  Bake cakes and biscuits with half the amount of sugar necessary and
       add soluble fibre to these recipes in the form of oat-bran to lessen the blood sugar response.
Remember that the key to a healthy diet is to include all foods, but in moderation.
Reduce the total amout of fat in the diet.  Choose a low-fat foods; grill, boil, bake or steam
       foods rather than fry; remove all visible fat from meat prior to cooking, avoid processed meats
       such as polony and salami and use low fat dairy products, such as low fat cheese, milk and
       yoghurt.  Use less of all typs of fat, especially animal fats, and use avocado, nuts, canola
       or olive oil where necessary.
Care should be taken when eating out or buying take away foods.  Choose foods such as
       vegetalbe soups, dressing-free salads, grilled fish (with no lemon butter), grilled chicken
       with no skin, baby or sweet potato or basmati rice and vegetables.  Cut down on fast foods.
       convenience meals, toastd sandwiches, vetkoek, fried fish and chips, pies and pastries,
       as they often have a high hidden fat content.
Avoid being overweight by changing to a healthier way of eating, controlling the portion
       size of your meals and increasing your physical activity.  Losing weight can help to improve
       your blood sugar control.
Eat more whole fruit and vegetables, as they are a good source of fibre and 'anti-oxidant'
       vitamins, both of which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.  Be careful when drinking
       unsweetened fruit-juices, as the concentration of natural sugars can cause a sharp rise
       in your blood sugar.
Use salt in moderation, as salt is thought to be linked to high blood pressure levels.
Alcohol should be taken in moderation - not more than 2 drinks per day is recommended by the
      South-African Diabetes Association.  Always take alcoholic drinks with a meal or snack,
      and not on an empty stomach.

Diabetic foods

There is no need to buy the special, usually more expensive 'diabetic' foods.  Many diabetic products such as
diabetic chocolate and biscuits, are high in fat and fructose, and they should, therefore be used with caution.  
They are unlikely to help with weight-loss or blood glucose control.  Other products sweetened with sugar alcohols
like sorbitol may have a laxative effect if eaten in excess.

The Glycemic Index (GI)

The Glycemic Index of food is simply a rating of foods according to their actual effect on blood glucose levels.  
In the past it was assumed that complex carbohydrates such as wholewheat bread, brown rice and potato were
digested and absorbed slowly, resulting in a slight rise in the blood gluose level.  Simple sugars, on the other hand,
were believed to be absorbed quickly producing a rapid rise in the blood sugar level.  We now know that these
assumptions were incorrect, and the peopl with diabetes no longer need to avoid sugar, provided they use it correctly-
up to 10g (2 teaspoons) of sugar, as part of a mixed meal has no real impact on blood sugar levels.  The Glycemic
Index proveds a more user-friendly and revolutionary tool when planning meals suitable for the person with diabetes.