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Diabetes Update: My Book

Number 62; September 1, 2003

By David Mendosa

What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up...and Down?

My First Book
Written Together with Jennie Brand-Miller and Kaye Foster-Powell

This newsletter keeps you up-to-date with new articles, Web pages—and books—that I have written.

  • I list and link most of these on my Diabetes Directory at and in the site’s menu.

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

My most recent contributions are:

  • What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…And Down?
    I’m listed as the third of three authors. But, hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, and this is my first book.

    One of my co-authors, Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, professor of nutrition at the University of Sydney in Australia, previously published 16 books and 140 journal articles. The world’s leading authority on the glycemic index, she is the co-author of all books in the Glucose Revolution series, which have sold nearly two million copies worldwide.

    My other co-author, Kaye Foster-Powell, is a dietitian who has researched the glycemic index for the past 15 years. She co-authored the books in the Glucose Revolution series.

    My two co-authors live and work in New South Wales, Australia. I live and work in California. The publisher, Marlowe & Company, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, is in New York.

    Making good use of email and the occasional international conference call, the coordination of our responsibilities was easy. Essentially, each of us wrote one-third of the questions and answers and edited what the others wrote. As the junior partner I made sure that I contributed my share to the enterprise.

    In fact, most of the questions were actual questions that people wrote me over the years since I wrote my first article on the glycemic index for the August 1996 issue of Diabetes Interview magazine. That article reviewed the first Australian edition of Jennie’s first book about the glycemic index.

    Ever since that time we have kept in close contact by email and phone—although we have never met in person. I have had the opportunity to meet the publisher, Matthew Lore. He took me to lunch at a wonderful old restaurant on the edge of the ocean at Half Moon Bay several years ago as thanks for leading him to Jennie.

    When Matthew was diagnosed with diabetes about five years ago, he studied everything he could about it. Discovering my Web site, he read about Jennie’s publication in Australia. She had been seeking an American publisher without any luck until Matthew contacted her. According to’s rankings, it is now the second best selling book about diabetes in the world.

    I am content to have this book piggy-back on the broad shoulders of The New Glucose Revolution. That book and other books in the series got a dramatic sales burst in the past three months, thanks in part to the success of The South Beach Diet, which is build around low-GI foods and which I reviewed here in a previous issue of Diabetes Update. Consequently, the publisher added a tagline, “A Companion to the New York Times Bestseller The New Glucose Revolution,” as well as a burst, “Explains the Glycemic Index,” to make an explicit connection to the GI.

    The glycemic index does have the most important effect on what makes blood glucose go up or down. But it is not the only cause. We organized the book basically into the food factors and non-food factors that make our blood glucose go up and those that make it go down.

    I commend it to each of you. Since we finished the manuscript in May, I have used it to answer many questions emailed me.

    It’s not a big or expensive book, but I believe that it has the answers to the most important questions of those of us with diabetes—how to control our blood glucose. An appendix includes the complete table of some 750 foods tested for their glycemic index and glycemic load. This 198-page trade paperback lists for $9.95.

    Copies of my first book are currently on their way to booksellers and wholesalers nationwide. You can expect to begin seeing it on bookstore shelves in the next couple of weeks. It is already available from

  • Diabetes Magazines
    Books and the Internet are not the only way to keep up with diabetes developments. The third way is by reading one or more of the magazines that specialize in the subject.

    You’ve got a wide choice. To say nothing of the journals that must mostly be boring even for professionals to read, dozens of diabetes magazines and newsletters are published in the United States alone. Many other countries also have diabetes magazines, which diabetes organizations often publish.

    The publications of the national associations are usually the most authoritative—and least interesting. That’s because like the publishers of these journals they know the importance of being extra-careful in what they write.

    My new article on diabetes magazines reviews the three with the largest circulation and an additional 23 publications. Before turning to the article, please hazard your guess about the magazine with the largest circulation. You might be surprised.

  • Sleep Sentry
    Magazines are inevitably much slower to publish the news than the Web. But it’s not always their fault.

    I wrote my review of the Sleep Sentry, a watch-like device that can wake you when your blood glucose is going low, in January 2002 for the March 2002 issue of Diabetes Wellness News. In mid-February, however, the owner of Sleep Sentry called to inform me that the FDA temporarily closed them down. I suggested that the magazine pull the article until the FDA approved the device.

    Finally, in June 2003 the FDA approved the Sleep Sentry and I submitted a revised article. Diabetes Wellness News just published it in the September 2003 issue.

Research News:

  • Beneficial Effects of Insulin Versus Sulphonylurea [sic] on Insulin Secretion and Metabolic Control in Recently Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic Patients
    Ever since the first sulfonylurea drugs came on the market in 1955 people with type 2 diabetes have been spending billions of dollars on more and more expensive oral medications. Now, it seems, that many of us would have done better taking insulin injections, which have been available since 1922 and are much less expensive.

    Until now there have been few studies “that rigorously compare the effects of sulfonylurea versus insulin treatment on the deterioration of insulin secretion in type 2 diabetic patients,” writes Dr. Michael Alvarsson of the Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, and seven Swedish associates in the August 2003 issue of Diabetes Care. They compared 39 people who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the past two years and treated them at random with either insulin or glibenclamide, as this sulfonylurea is known in most of the world. In the United States and Canada it is known as glyburide. It is marketed here as Diaßeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase, and generically.

    During the first year, A1c levels decreased significantly in both groups. However, at the end of the second year, A1c levels deteriorated in the glibenclamide group but not in the insulin-treated group. This difference was statistically significant.

    Already, almost half of the people with type 2 diabetes are on insulin. However, it is usually a last resort as it was with Sonja Fuller, when she moved back to Dallas in 1990. Oral medication was unable to counteract the stress she was under, and her blood glucose went out of control. An endocrinologist put her on insulin in 1998 as I wrote for the December 7, 1998, issue of The Dallas Morning News. She told me that insulin had changed her life.

    I asked our endocrinologist to put me on insulin too. However, since my most recent A1c was 5.9, he decided to leave well enough alone. I hope he’s right.

Book Reviews:

    Diabetic's Total Health and Happiness Book

    The Famous Team of June and Barbara Update Their Classic

  • The Diabetic’s Total Health and Happiness Book
    June Biermann and Barbara Toohey are probably the best-loved and most prolific authors of books about diabetes. We love them because of their honest sharing of so much of themselves and their folksy, down-to-earth upbeat attitude and language. June doesn’t let the diabetes she has had for 36 years keep her from enjoying travel and other new adventures. Barbara, her personal and professional companion, has, if anything, an even more outgoing personality.

    Together they have written in the past 35 years eight books about diabetes as well as seven on everything from headache relief to biking and skiing. Their most recent previous book, which I reviewed quite positively for the May 1999 issue of Diabetes Digest, was the 1998 publication of the fourth edition of The Diabetic’s Book: All Your Questions Answered.

    Don’t confuse that book with The Diabetic’s Total Health and Happiness Book, just published on August 11 by Tarcher/Penguin (354 pages, trade paperback, $14.95). I had just that confusion until I noticed (a) that this is also a fourth edition and (b) the content of the two books is vastly different.

    The book currently under review is an extensive enlargement and revising of the third edition of The Diabetic’s Total Health Book. They added the words “and happiness” to the title, something so appropriate to their positive approach to living, whether or not you happen to have diabetes.

    June and Barbara don’t fail to cover the basics of testing, stress, food, and exercise in Part 1. The fifth and final part is a collection of recipes. In between is where you will find the pure gold, “A Tranquil Mind” and “A Blithe Spirit.” Here is the distilled wisdom of their years on meditation, sleep, music (and silence), travel, pets, laughter, hugs, and much more.

    If you haven’t read any books by June and Barbara, which one should you start with? They are all so good that it is a close call. But my recommendation is the book currently under review, and not only because it is the one that is most up-to-date. Its broad coverage is simply not something that you will find anywhere else.

    It has been my pleasure to know June and Barbara for many years. We worked together to develop the now-defunct They had sold their magazine, The Diabetes Reader, to Michael Reynolds, who put it on the Web. I was saddened about three years ago to learn that June had suffered a stroke.

    “We're in the throes of up-dating our Diabetic's Total Health Book,” Barbara wrote me at that time. Recently she wrote, “After a big hiatus because of June’s stroke, we’re getting back into action again. And our publisher is interested in a stroke book. June has done it again: getting a health problem for us to write about.”

    Subsequently, June had another stroke and just got home from rehab last month. June and Barbara haven’t announced the forthcoming stroke book, because it might frighten and discourage people with diabetes that it could affect someone with June’s meticulous control. “The fact of the matter is that June’s stroke had nothing to do with diabetes,” Barbara writes.

    “You do have a scoop here,” Barbara adds. “This will be the first time June’s stroke has been mentioned in print or on the Web. I guess it’s time we come clean about it. After all it’s nothing to be ashamed of, any more than diabetes is. You put it very well so as not to frighten diabetics or make them think that being in good control isn’t worth the effort. But June says the next time it’s my turn to have any disease that we write about. It’s only fair.”

    These two just go on helping others no matter what comes their way. No wonder that they are the most beloved writers about diabetes.


  • New Diabetes Product Survey
    Please click on the link in the line above. Your answers to this survey will help an innovative manufacturer of products for people with diabetes decide whether and how to proceed with two new products.

    This survey is entirely anonymous—neither your identity, nor the identity of the survey sponsor, is accessible. As thanks for completing the survey, the manufacturer will donate $1 to the American Diabetes Association for each of the first 2,000 surveys submitted.

  • HTML Format
    I send out Diabetes Update e-mail in HTML format, which all Web browsers and most modern e-mail programs can display. HTML has live links to all the sites named in the text so that with a simple click of a mouse you can connect to the site you have just been reading about.

  • My Guarantee
    This newsletter is free and will never include advertising. Nor will I ever sell, rent, or trade your e-mail address to anyone.


I now send out Diabetes Update once a month. Previous issues are online:

  1. Diabetes Update Number 1: Diabetes Genes of December 10, 2000
  2. Diabetes Update Number 2: DiabetesWATCH of December 18, 2000
  3. Diabetes Update Number 3: Starlix of January 3, 2001
  4. Diabetes Update Number 4: Native Seeds/SEARCH, Tepary Beans of January 17, 2001
  5. Diabetes Update Number 5: Insulin Makes You Fat of January 31, 2001
  6. Diabetes Update Number 6: Available and Unavailable Carbohydrates of February 15, 2001
  7. Diabetes Update Number 7: Dates of March 1, 2001
  8. Diabetes Update Number 8: Quackwatch of March 15, 2001
  9. Diabetes Update Number 9: The Cost of Insulin of March 30, 2001
  10. Diabetes Update Number 10: Sof-Tact Meter of April 2, 2001
  11. Diabetes Update Number 11: iControlDiabetes of April 16, 2001
  12. Diabetes Update Number 12: Cinnamon, Tagatose of May 2, 2001
  13. Diabetes Update Number 13: Glycemic Index of May 15, 2001
  14. Diabetes Update Number 14: Eat Your Carrots! of May 31, 2001
  15. Diabetes Update Number 15: Glycemic Load of June 21, 2001
  16. Diabetes Update Number 16: Homocysteine of July 2, 2001
  17. Diabetes Update Number 17: Chana Dal Tips of July 15, 2001
  18. Diabetes Update Number 18: Lag Time in AlternativeLand of August 2, 2001
  19. Diabetes Update Number 19: Fiber of August 15, 2001
  20. Diabetes Update Number 20: How Diabetes Works of August 30, 2001
  21. Diabetes Update Number 21: Insulin Resistance of September 14, 2001
  22. Diabetes Update Number 22: Trans Fats, Honey, CU of October 1, 2001
  23. Diabetes Update Number 23: Pedometer Power of October 15, 2001
  24. Diabetes Update Number 24: Is Glycerin a Carbohydrate? of October 31, 2001
  25. Diabetes Update Number 25: Kill the Meter to Save It of November 15, 2001
  26. Diabetes Update Number 26: Protein, Fat, and the GI of December 1, 2001
  27. Diabetes Update Number 27: Insulin Index of December 14, 2001
  28. Diabetes Update Number 28: Fructose of January 4, 2002
  29. Diabetes Update Number 29: Aspirin of January 14, 2002
  30. Diabetes Update Number 30: Stevia of January 31, 2002
  31. Diabetes Update Number 31: Gretchen Becker’s Book of February 19, 2002
  32. Diabetes Update Number 32: The UKPDS of March 4, 2002
  33. Diabetes Update Number 33: Financial Aid of March 18, 2002
  34. Diabetes Update Number 34: Pre-Diabetes of April 1, 2002
  35. Diabetes Update Number 35: More Glycemic Indexes of April 15, 2002
  36. Diabetes Update Number 36: Gila Monsters of April 30, 2002
  37. Diabetes Update Number 37: Is INGAP a Cure? of May 15, 2002
  38. Diabetes Update Number 38: Native American Diabetes of June 3, 2002
  39. Diabetes Update Number 39: FDA Diabetes of June 19, 2002
  40. Diabetes Update Number 40: Diabetes Support Groups of July 1, 2002
  41. Diabetes Update Number 41: New GI and GL Table of July 15, 2002
  42. Diabetes Update Number 42: Diabetes Sight of August 1, 2002
  43. Diabetes Update Number 43: DrugDigest of August 18, 2002
  44. Diabetes Update Number 44: Hanuman Garden of September 3, 2002
  45. Diabetes Update Number 45: Guidelines of September 16, 2002
  46. Diabetes Update Number 46: Trans Fat of October 4, 2002
  47. Diabetes Update Number 47: Nutrition.Gov of October 16, 2002
  48. Diabetes Update Number 48: Our Hearts of October 31, 2002
  49. Diabetes Update Number 49: Our Kidneys of November 15, 2002
  50. Diabetes Update Number 50: A1C<7 of December 2, 2002
  51. Diabetes Update Number 51: Diabetes Searches with Google of December 16, 2002
  52. Diabetes Update Number 52: e-Patients of January 2, 2003
  53. Diabetes Update Number 53: Email News of January 16, 2003
  54. Diabetes Update Number 54: Third Generation Meters of January 31, 2003
  55. Diabetes Update Number 55: Hypoglycemic Supplies of February 14, 2003
  56. Diabetes Update Number 56: Food Police of March 1, 2003
  57. Diabetes Update Number 57: Vitamins of April 1, 2003
  58. Diabetes Update Number 58: Lancets of May 1, 2003
  59. Diabetes Update Number 59: Accurate Meters of June 1, 2003
  60. Diabetes Update Number 60: Chromium of July 1, 2003
  61. Diabetes Update Number 61: Traveling of August 1, 2003

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