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Diabetes Update: More Glycemic Indexes

Number 35; April 15, 2002

By David Mendosa

This newsletter keeps you up-to-date with new articles, columns, and Web pages that I have written. I list and link most of these on my Diabetes Directory at

From time to time Diabetes Update may also include links to other Web pages of special interest.

My most recent contribution is:

on April 15, 2002

  1. Diabetes Toolbox
    It turns out that there is a direct connection between diabetes and the Civil War (aka the War Between the States). Since the link is a bit tenuous, I won't make you guess. It's that the dairy farm that Pharmacist Rick Pack owns in Appomattox, Virginia, is right next to the place where General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the bloodiest war in American history (more than 370,000 soldiers and sailors died, more than three times the American military deaths in our second most deadly war, World War II, according to the United States Civil War Center at Louisiana State University). In addition to the dairy farm at Appomattox, Rick Pack also owns the Appomattox Pharmacy. And the pharmacy has a Web site, the Diabetic Drug Store, which has an offshoot called the Diabetes Tool Box, which is the subject of my current review of my "About the Internet" column for the American Diabetes Association.

    Even if its connection with the Civil War doesn't impress you, I think that some of the tools and articles on the site will. Take a look. The URL is

  2. Introduction to Diabetes
    A couple of people have recently suggested that my site has so much information that it could use a summary page. This is what I propose. What do you think?

    Sorry to hear that you have joined us! Being depressed is pretty common with us, especially right after a diagnosis. Diabetes is a lot to live with, but really, it is manageable!

    In fact, if you take care of yourself, you will be healthier and happier than you ever were. That paradox is something many of us experience.

    The first thing is to get a good doctor, if possible an endocrinologist, who specializes in diabetes. Have the doctor give you the tests that we regularly get, particularly the A1c. Have you had that test yet? What was the number? Knowledge of these things will give you power over your diabetes and help to lift your depression.

    Have your doctor prescribe a blood glucose meter, test strips, and lancets. With a prescription in most states they must be covered under your insurance policy. Check as often as the doctor says to. Use the results to fine-tune your insulin dose (if you use it) your exercise and what you eat. This gives you more knowledge and power.

    Besides this, everything that you can do to bring your diabetes under control falls under three headings:

    1. Exercise. For people with leg problems, swimming may be the best alternative. Just about everyone has a nearby health club that has a pool. If you can walk, do. You really need at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.

    2. Lose weight. Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes (myself included) is overweight. I know how hard it is to get down to the right weight, but every pound you take off gives you better control over your diabetes. To lose weight the key is to eat fewer calories than you use.

    3. For most but not all of us diet and exercise is not enough. Take the medicine or insulin that the doctor prescribes. You may not have to take it all your life, once the effects of exercise and diet kick in. But your doctor will almost certainly prescribe it now to help you get your blood sugar in control.

    That's all there is to it. Go for it!


    on April 11, 2002
    Glycemic Index of Sports Drinks and Energy Foods
    Scientists in Michigan have just published their tests of the glycemic index of six sports drinks, four energy bars, and six meal replacements. The article, by Randall J. Gretebeck of Wayne State University in Detroit and his associates is "Glycemic index of popular sports drinks and energy foods" in the March 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, pp. 415-417.

    Their study shows that these drinks and foods have a wide range in glycemic index. The most common ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, which is not good for people with diabetes (see the section on "Fructose" in a previous issue of my Diabetes Update newsletter).

    One possible problem with the study is that the article does not make clear whether the scientists were measuring the carbohydrate or the available carbohydrate (i.e. carbohydrates minus fiber) in the products. The latter is the standard. It doesn't say and the lead author has not replied to several messages that I sent him at his e-mail address [email protected].

    This problem may be the cause of the discrepancy between the GI for the chocolate-flavored Power Bar reported here, 83 (where glucose = 100) and the same product as reported in The Glucose Revolution with a GI of 58 (where glucose = 100). Therefore all these numbers should be viewed with some reservations.

    Here are the newly-tested products:

    Product (Flavor) White Bread Glucose
    Index Index
    GatorLode (Orange) 140 100
    Gatorade (Orange) 125 89
    XLR8 (Orange) 95 68
    Poweraid (Orange) 91 65
    Cytomax (Orange) 87 62
    Allsport (Orange) 74 53
    Cliff bar (Cookies & Cream) 141 101
    Power bar (Chocolate) 116 83
    PR-bar (Cookies 'N Cream) 113 81
    MET-Rx bar (Vanilla) 104 74
    GatorPro (Chocolate) meal 125 89
    Optifuel meal 109 78
    Ensure (Vanilla) meal 105 75
    Boost High Protein (Vanilla) meal 83 59
    MET-Rx (Vanilla) meal 81 58
    Boost (Vanilla) meal 74 53


    on April 13, 2002
    The Best Diet?
    What is the best diet to help you lose weight? And how can you keep the pounds off? The next edition of Diabetes Forecast - Live! on Tuesday, April 23, can perhaps help. Diabetes Forecast - Live! is a monthly webcast brought to you by the American Diabetes Association and the HealthTalk Diabetes Education Network. You can hear experts discuss strategies on what makes a weight loss program successful. For more information, please visit


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