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Diabetes Update: Dates

Number 7; March 1, 2001

By David Mendosa

This mailing list 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 contributions are:

    on March 1, 2001
  • My current "About the Internet" column on the American Diabetes Association's Web site features one of the Internet's first Web sites for people with diabetes. This site is appropriately called The Diabetes Mall, because of what it offers for sale. But unlike most malls, this one offers lots of information too. That makes sense, because the site's owners, John Walsh and Ruth Roberts, have written some of the most important books about using insulin. The URL is

Updates include:

    1. The Glycemic Index
      A couple of my Web pages on the glycemic index continue to be those that get the most pages views (or hits). I didn't know how many until I upgraded my Internet Service Provider account to be able to provide a search capability for my site. It was that same upgrade that made this mailing list possible.

      My main glycemic index page is getting about 10,000 pages views per week. My G.I. lists page gets about 7,000. I only wish that my main Diabetes Directory page would be viewed as much. It has been getting about 1,000 page views per week.

      My articles about the glycemic index are, in fact, so popular that I have been overwhelmed with e-mail questions and phone calls about one aspect or another. Most people could find the answers to these questions by looking carefully through the pages, so I have tried to discourage communication on the glycemic index by removing my e-mail address and phone number from the glycemic index pages—while leaving them available on other pages. It had cut down the volume to a manageable level.

      Canned answers do take care of most of the remaining glycemic index questions. The program called "ClipTray," which comes on the Windows 95/98 CD-ROM but is not usually installed, does a wonderful job of storing these canned answers.

      I do answer all my e-mail (and my phone calls), both because I feel the obligation and because I can always learn how to express the answer better. Rarely do I learn that the glycemic index information available on my site could be wrong. But it does happen.

      The best example is e-mail Chris Ball in Australia sent me last month questioning the reported GI of dates, 103 (where glucose = 100). He wondered how such a high number was possible with all the fiber in dates.

      After checking the facts, he got me wondering too. That number comes from The Glucose Revolution and not from the earlier Australian edition of the book, then titled The G.I. Factor, which linked the original studies published in peer-reviewed literature. Subsequent editions of the book do not provide links to the original source.

      Indeed, more than 10 percent of the carbohydrates in dates are fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database. And according to the USDA's "Sugar Content of Selected Foods," the only tested sugar in dates is sucrose, 44.6 grams of a total sugar of 64.2 grams per 100 grams of dates. There are unknown amounts of maltose and "other sugars" (which means sugars other than galactose, glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, and maltose). But even if all the unknown sugar was maltose (GI 105 where glucose = 100), that could not explain the reported GI of dates.

      Even Jennie Brand-Miller is puzzled by the high glycemic index of dates. She is the lead author of The Glucose Revolution and The G.I. Factor. When I asked her, this is what she replied: We tested dates ourselves and we were just as shocked as you by the high number but we checked and rechecked. The only possible explanation is that the food label has the incorrect amount of carbohydrate so that we might have fed more than a 50 g CHO portion. Still it would have to be out by a factor of 2 if the GI were really in the middle like we expected. Bw Jennie

    2. What's Your View?
      This week I was dismayed to get e-mail from two people who thought they would appreciate it better if they could read it easier. The problem, they said, was my choice of background. One wrote in part, "I think your site has great potential but it is nearly impossible for me to read. I think you were poorly advised as to the background of the pages. Many people with diabetes have compromised vision and will probably not enjoy your site all that much."

      I replied by telling both of them how to use a little-known trick to eliminate seeing the background of any Web site:

      There is something you can do. Depending on your browser, you can view my site (and any site) without the background and with any type font you like.

      If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to Tools, then to Internet Options, and then click on Accessibility (near the lower right). Then under Formatting, check all three choices (to ignore colors, ignore font styles, and ignore font sizes). Then click ok, ok.

      If you use Netscape, go to Edit, then to Preferences, and then to Appearance. Click on Color and then check "Always use my colors, overriding document." Then click ok.

      This works and will certainly make Web viewing easier for anyone with vision problems. But few people complain or know how to do this. Of course, I could put the tip at the top of the page, but it would have to go on many pages, because people enter the site everywhere. I am loath to change back to a plain white background that I find unattractive.

      So I'm taking a poll. Please send me a short e-mail. There are three questions:

      1. Did you previously know how to stop viewing the background of Web pages with your browser?

      2. Does the woven cloth background that I use on my Web site (the same background used in Diabetes Update) make it hard for you to read the content?

      3. Should I eliminate the woven cloth background and revert to white?

      This mailing list is free and will never include advertising. Nor will I ever give out your e-mail address to anyone without your permission.

      I send out Diabetes Update about once every two weeks. Previous issues are online:

      This is a one-way "broadcast" mailing list that is not set up to accept replies. If you have any questions or wish to unsubscribe, simply write me at [email protected]. If your friends want to receive Diabetes Update, all they have to do is write me here.

      Thanks for joining!

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