The CDiabetes News Brief: December 1 to 7, 2014

Compiled and edited by Elizabeth Klein, MPhil


School meals might have too much extra sugar to be healthy

school-meals-too-much-sugarWith childhood obesity rates on the rise, the FDA has been stepping in to help make school lunches healthier. But a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that school meals still need more improvement. While the meals now have less fat and salt, the researchers think that they still have too much sugar. The researchers are worried about the new laws, because past studies have shown that low-fat, high-carb diets are connected to obesity. The scientists think that we can help American kids stay healthy if their school meals have more fruit, vegetables and whole foods, and fewer desserts and sugary drinks.
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Not all heart surgeries are best for diabetes

heart-surgeryHeart disease, heart attacks and strokes are common diabetes complications, and often require surgery. A new study from McGill University Health Center in Montreal has shown that some heart surgeries may be better than others for people with diabetes. Two common surgeries to clear blocked arteries are called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). This study showed that CABG is less likely to cause health problems, like heart attacks and even death, for people with diabetes than PCI.
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Exercise may not help all people with diabetes

exercise-weight-loss-in-genesPeople with diabetes are often told to get more exercise, as this can help them control their weight and blood glucose levels. But a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has shown that a small number of people with type 2 diabetes may not get positive results with physical activity. In fact, some of these people had higher cholesterol and higher blood pressure just because they exercised more. The researchers think that whether or not we respond well to exercise has to do with our genes.
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Very low carb meal plans can help lower appetite

woman-eating-saladFor some people, eating fewer carbs (found in foods like bread, pasta, cereal, sweets and sodas) is the only way they can manage their blood glucose levels. This is why low carb meal plans are so popular among people with diabetes. By eating a very small amount of carbohydrate, or none at all, you can cause a reaction in your body called “ketosis.” A study from the University of Sydney in Australia showed that ketosis can spur weight loss and lower appetite at the same time. The researchers think this might be a great way to help people struggling with obesity, but more research is needed to know for sure.
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Eating yogurt is connected to lower diabetes risk

woman-with-yogurtWith rates of type 2 diabetes on the rise, researchers are always looking for factors connected with a lower risk of the condition. This is why a recent study from Harvard University looked at the eating habits of about 200,000 people to see if any foods seemed to lower diabetes risk. They found that a very small portion of yogurt every day–less than 1 ounce–was connected to an almost 20% lower risk for type 2 diabetes. A different kind of study would be needed to see if this is just a coincidence or not.
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Brown fat may help with blood glucose control

brown-fat-cellsThere are a few different kinds of fat in your body. Too much white fat is usually seen as unhealthy, but a different kind–brown fat–might be helpful in controlling diabetes. A recent study published in The Journal of Cell Biology showed that brown fat can use up extra calories, lower blood glucose levels and even make insulin work better in people with diabetes. More research is needed to see how we could use brown fat to help people with diabetes and other metabolic diseases in the future.
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Meat-free meal plans are not a cure for diabetes

meat-free-meal-maleIf you keep up with the latest health news, you may have read some surprising headlines recently, like “Veggie diets better than medicine for diabetes.” Some articles have claimed that vegetarian and vegan meal plans can reverse type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, this is not what the research from the George Washington School of Medicine showed. While meat and dairy free plans seemed to lower A1C by a very small amount, they had no effect on fasting blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity or body weight. Much more research is needed to know if any meal plan is best for people with diabetes. For now, there is no known cure.
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Low blood glucose connected to heart disease in type 1 diabetes

stk121103rkeMost of the time, people with diabetes–both type 1 and type 2–try to keep their blood glucose levels from getting too high. But did you know that regularly having low blood glucose levels may also be a problem? A recent study looked at the Swedish National Diabetes Register and found that people with type 1 diabetes who had serious low blood glucose reactions were much more likely to have heart problems later. They were also more likely to die as a result of their heart problems.
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Inflammation may be at the root of type 2 diabetes

inflammation-possible-diabetes-causePeople who have type 2 diabetes lose their beta cells–parts of the pancreas that make insulin–which are important in controlling blood glucose levels. A lot of research has looked at why they lose them, and if there are ways to stop this process. A recent study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology showed that inflammation might be part of the reason people with diabetes lose their beta cells. This means that in the future, diabetes medicines may target the immune system to be more effective.
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Physical activity can help chronic kidney disease

light-exercise-slow-walkingYou probably already know that exercise is healthy in many different ways. But did you know physical activity has a lot of benefits even if you already have a serious health condition? That’s what a new study from the American Society of Nephrology has shown. The research looked at people with kidney disease who needed to use dialysis. The scientists found that even very light exercise, like slow walking and home aerobics, improved the participants’ kidney and heart health!
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