Turn down the lights and turn up the ….healthy eating?  A study found that when a fast-food restaurant softened the music and dimmed the lights, customers consumed 18 percent fewer calories, enjoyed their food more, and spent just as much money on the meal, so everybody won.   People ordered the same menu items regardless of the ambience, but they ate more under blazing lights and blaring music.  The relaxed mood may help diners focus on and enjoy their meals, perhaps providing a subtle prompt to eat slowly or to notice when a tummy becomes full.

Source:  Psychological Reports, 8/2012


Experts have long recommended talking a supplement of omega-3 fatty acid (the main ingredient in fish oil) to protect the heart, but recent studies suggest that the pills may not get results.  The newest study included data from almost 70,000 people and found that taking a daily omega -3 fatty acid supplement failed to reduce the risk of death, heart attack, or stroke.  Eating fish continues to be a healthy choice, though:  This study, along with many others, suggests that the benefits of eating healthful foods cannot be captured in a pill.

Ref:  The Journal of the American Medical Association, 9/2012


Move over, milk: The latest food to have bone-building benefits is olive oil.  Researchers assigned 127 elderly men at risk for cardiovascular disease to a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet with added olive oil.  After two years, those on the Mediterranean diet with added olive oil had greater increases in signs of bone formation than did men on the other two diets.  Eating olives had the same effect.  The study suggests a Mediterranean diet with plenty of olives or olive oil may help prevent osteoporosis.

Ref: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published online 8/1/2012

Less Is More

Less Is More

People trying to drop pounds are wise to exercise, but a brief workout may be as effective as a longer one-at least for weight loss.  A study found that overweight men exercising 30 minutes a day lost 8 pounds over three months while those working out daily for 60 minutes lost just 6 pounds.  These counterintuitive findings demonstrate the complicated relationship between weight and physical activity.  The researchers think that a full hour of exercise may drive people to eat more that they would have if they’d exercised only 30 minutes, thus negating the weight loss benefits from the extra physical activity.

Source: American Journal of Physiology, Published online 8/10/2012

Diabetes Forecast Magazine/ 12/2012



Minerals keep your bones strong and your circulatory and digestive systems humming.  They also help cells respond to insulin and aid kidney function.  Here, four minerals that matter if you have diabetes:

> POTASSIUM Helps regulate kidney function and blood pressure, and enables glucose from food to enter your cells.

Daily Dose: 4,700 mg.

Get it: Leafy greens, asparagus, melon, banana, sweet potato, soybeans, tuna

Take note:If you have severe kidney problems, ask a doctor what amount of this mineral is safe for you.

> MAGNESIUM essential for the body’s use of insulin and carbohydrates, and crucial for heart, nerve and blood-vessel health.

Daily dose: 310-400 mg. depending on age?gender

Get it: Seeds, nuts, spinach, chard, halibut, black beans

Take note: If your diabetes is poorly controlled, supplements may benefit you.

> CHROMIUM  Important for blood-sugar control, the processing of carbohydrates and fats, and helping your cells respond properly to insulin.

Daily dose: 25-35 mcg, depending on age/gender

Get it:  Onions, tomatoes, potatoes, whole grains, eggs, chicken and seafood

Take note: If you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend a supplement.

> IRON Improves your blood’s ability to transport oxygen.

Daily dose: 8-18 mg

Get it: Eggs, dried beans, turkey (dark meat) and enriched cereal products.

Take note: Supplements are generally not recommended (unless you’re pregnant or a vegetarian).  Too much iron can cause constipation and make the blood sluggish.


Ref: Christine Gerstadt, M.D., R.D., is a diabetes educator and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association

Diabetes Focus/ winter 2012




Winter brings a 20 to 532 percent spike in strokes and heart attacks.  One possible reason: Blood vessels constrict (narrow) when it’s cold, causing a rise in blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder.  Constrictions in arteries supplying blood to the heart and brain, along with the higher blood pressure, can cause plaques (cholesterol deposits) lining these arteries to rupture.  This can lead to a clot that blocks blood flow to the heart or brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.

Some winter activities place additional burden on the heart.  Take snow shoveling.  Such exertion in the cold increases the body’s need for oxygen, so the heart has to put forth more effort at a time when its blood supply is limited by constricted arteries.  Winter’s higher rates of influenza (flu) may also play a part.  How?Severe inflammation associated with flu may cause the process of plaque rupture and blood clot that can lead to a heart attack.  Heart attacks cause a large percentage  of annual flu deaths (anywhere from 3,300 to 49,000) in the U.S..  At greatest risk are seniors and those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes.  To safeguard your heart:

> AVOID VIGOROUS ACTIVITY such as pushing a car during cold weather, especially if you have coronary heart disease.

>DRESS WARMLY and always wear a hat.

> TAKE MEDICATION that controls your blood pressure throughout the day.

> GET A FLU VACCINE at the start of the season.

> WASH YOUR HANDS well with soap and water or apply germ-killing hand sanitizer if exposed to coughing or sneezing.

> AVOID CONTACT with sick people and don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.

Ref:  Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., is professor of medicine and biological chemistry, Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Diabetes Focus/ Winter 2012


Harvest Bounty

For all of you out there who are looking for healthy recipes for Thanksgiving this week, here is a good one!

When you’re looking for a healthful side dish for your starch serving, consider the fruits of the vine-winter squash, that is.  These rugged, autumn-hues members of the gourd family are good sources of fiber.  This recipe, with just a kiss of maple syrup, brings out their sweet essence.


Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 1/4 squash

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per serving: 135

Fat per serving: 7 g. (Sat. fat 1 g.)

Carbohydrates per serving: 19 g.


1 small acorn squash (about 1 lb., 5 oz.)

2 Tbsp. best-quality maple syrup

2 Tbsp olive oil

1tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  Cut the squash in half lenghtwise; remove the seeds and discard them.  Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices.

3.  Combine the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.  Add the squash and mix well.

4.  Place the squash in a single-layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until the squash is soft and tender.


Ref:  Robyn Webb, MS, LN/  Diabetes Forecast Magazine 10/2012




Chronic inflammation almost always lurks beneath the surface of diabetes and excess weight.  You can’t see or feel it, but this type of inflammation increases the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.

Processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, just as they raise blood sugar, according to an article in the March 2002 American Journal of Nutrition.

Good new, though: Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties.  Here are 11 of the best…

1.  SALMON.  Coldwater fish, including salmon, contain anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s.Wild salmon has more of these super healthy fats than does farmed salmon.

Shopping tip: All salmon from Alaska is wild, whereas Atlantic salmon is usually farmed.  Herring, sardines, and tuna also contain omega-3s.

2. GRASS-FED BEEF AND OTHER ANIMAL FOODS. As opposed to traditional, grain-fed livestock, meat that comes from animals fed grass also contains anti-inflammatory omega-3s.  Wild salmon has more of these super healthy fats than does farmed salmon.

Cooking tip: Unless it’s ground, grass-fed beef may be tougher, so slow cook it.

3.  OLIVE OIL. Olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, another anti-inflammatory oil.  Researchers wrote in the October 2007 Journal of the American College of Nutrition that those who consume more oleic acid have better insulin function and lower blood sugar.

Shopping tip: Opt for extra-virgin olive oil, which is the least processed and use it instead of other cooking oils.  Other “cold pressed” or “expeller-pressed” oils can be good sources, too.

4.  SALADS. Dark-green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and other salad veggies are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, nutrients that dampen inflammation.

Suggestion: Opt for olive oil-and-vinegar salad dressing (vinegar helps moderate blood sugar) and skip the croutons.

5. CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES.  These veggies, which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Kale, are also loaded with antioxidants.  But they provide one other ingredient–sulfur– that the body needs to make its own high-powered antioxidants.

6. CHERRIES. A study in the April 2006 Journal of Nutrition showed that eating cherries daily can significantly reduce inflammation.  Cherries are also packed with antioxidants and relatively low on the glycemic index.

Tip: Frozen cherries are available all year long and make a tasty dessert with a little yogurt or cheese.

7. BLUEBERRIES. These delectable fruits are chock-full of natural compounds that reduce inflammation.  Blueberries may also protect the brain from many of the effects of aging.  Frozen are usually less expensive than fresh–and just as good for you.

8. TURMERIC. This spice contains a powerful natural anti-inflammatory benefits, and some research suggests that is might also help control blood sugar.

Suggestion: Brew your own ginger tea.  Use a peeler to remove the skin off a piece of ginger, and add several thin slices to a cup of hot water and let steep for a few minutes.

10. GARLIC. The research isn’t consistent, but garlic may have some anti-inflammatory compounds.  It may even reduce the risk of heard disease and cancer.

Suggestion: Drink a cup a day–or brew it like sun tea, refrigerate, and serve.

As you probably noticed, anti-inflammatory eating is right in line with healthy, diabetes-friendly eating.  And it’s the way we all should eat, whether we have diabetes or not: lots of plant foods and moderate portions of animal foods, as unaltered and unprocessed as possible. If everyone ate this way, we’d see a much larger portion of our population living healthier, longer lives.





How Can I Add More Whole Grains To My Diet?

1.  Cook old fashioned or steel-cut oats for breakfast instead of quick, one minute or instant oats.

2.  Choose high-fiber, ready -to-eat cold cereals that are not highly processed and that contain whole kernel or seeds.

3.  Look for heavy, dark breads that have whole grains that you can see in each slice.

4.  Add barley, corn, quinoa or bulgar to soups, stews and salads or use these whole grains as a side dish.

5.  Use 100% whole wheat flour or whole cornmeal when you prepare tortillas, pizza crust, bread or some sweets.

6.  Cook whole wheat pasta and brown rice.

REF:Diabetes and You / Fall 2012


Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

Servings 6 (1 cup each)
Carb Per Serving 13 g.).

Prep 20 minutes Bake 30 minutes
Stand 10 minutes

3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped yellow or red sweet pepper
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar or mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
1 10.75-ounce can reduced-fat condensed cream of chicken soup
1 6-ounce carton plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
1/4 sliced almonds

1. Prehear oven to 400 degrees . In a large bowl stir together chicken, celery, sweet pepper, cheese, soup, yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Transfer to a 2 quart rectangular baking dish.
2. In a small bowl stir together cornflakes and almonds. Sprinkle evenly over chicken mixture.
3. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or unit heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Per Serving: 251 cal. 9 g. total fat
(4 g. sat. fat) 75 mg. chol.
415 mg sodium, 13 carb.
(2 g fiber, 5 g sugars) 29 g pro
Exchanges: 0.5 vegetable, 0.5 starch, 3.5 lean meat, 1 fat