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Diabetes Update: Dreamfields Pasta

May 1, 2004

By David Mendosa

David Mendosa

Yours Truly

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

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

    My recent contributions are:

    • Dreamfields Pasta
      Spaghetti, linguini, and macaroni are among the greatest contributions of Italian cuisine to the American diet, rating right up there with pizza and espresso. Yet this pasta is one of the first pleasures that many people with diabetes give up when they get their diagnosis. We find that the 40 or so grams of carbohydrate in a small, 2 ounce portion has just too great of an effect on our blood glucose levels. This is to say nothing of those of us who are simply following a low-carb diet.

      Now, almost miraculously, help is at hand. Using a totally new low-carb process, Dreamfields Pasta has just introduced four pasta products — spaghetti, linguini, elbows (or macaroni) and penne rigate — that have the same taste and texture as normal pasta, but promise to have little effect on your blood glucose.

      And that’s not all. The inventor of the process tells me that they are planning on adapting it to potato and rice products. It almost seems to good to be true — and things that seem to be usually are. So please read the entire article online at Dreamfields Pasta, eat some of their pasta, and judge for yourself.

    • White Tea
      Most Americans are big coffee drinkers. I’m no exception. We drink it for its taste, its caffeine, or from habit all the while the food police are sure that it’s terrible for us. Meanwhile, they continue to study it in the vain hope that they can find something to damn it.

      On the other hand, the food police love tea, the preferred drink (next to water) in most of the rest of the world. Green tea, which is less processed than black tea, is generally their favorite. In a previous edition of this newsletter I reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s findings that green tea enhances insulin activity.

      Now, however, it appears white tea offers even more health benefits than green tea, probably because it is the least processed form of tea leaves gathered from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. See White Tea.

    • Frozen Shoulder
      What I write is getting more autobiographical. That is the way I have generally dealt with my diabetes. This malady forces all of us to take better care of our bodies than we did before our diagnoses. In addition, it gives me a clear focus of interest to write about. As the old saying goes, if life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.

      That strategy runs in the family. My grandfather, who was born in the Azores (Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) as Francisco José Mendonça and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 18 by working on a whaling ship, became a mill hand in a sawmill in Northern California. He married a woman from the old country and they raised eight children. But about 100 years ago, when my father was 3, my grandfather lost his right arm in a sawmill accident. He couldn’t do that hard physical work any more, so he started a store, Mendosa’s in Mendocino, California. That store was and is a huge success — my grandfather’s lemonade.

      The most recent lemon that diabetes threw at me was a frozen shoulder. While anyone can get one, diabetes is one of the recognized risk factors. My short article describes how I dealt with it this time compared with how I got it treated the last time I got it. The URL is Frozen Shoulder.

    • Alcohol and Diabetes
      We have a lot of myths about alcohol. To sort out truth from rumor I reviewed the research reported in peer-reviewed journals and indexed in the Medline database. What I discovered may surprise you. See Alcohol and Diabetes.


    • Protein Drinks and Glucomannan
      Last month Diabetes Update described the protein shakes that I sometimes have for breakfast. The subject is worth revisiting because of the great amount of interest you have, based on individual messages I have received, and because we made two big changes in the formula.

      I am dropping the flaxseed meal, which is not particularly effective in providing Omega 3 essential fatty acids, although it does provide fiber. Instead, I will be taking Omega 3 capsules (more on that next month) and one teaspoon (3 grams) of glucomannan for the fiber. This has the added benefit of thickening the drink.

      The fiber in flaxseed is mostly insoluble. Glucomannan, on the other hand, is essentially pure soluble fiber, which offers even more benefits than the insoluble type. Soluble fiber has been scientifically proven to reduce blood cholesterol levels, which may help reduce our risk of heart disease.

      Soluble fiber like glucomannan forms a gel when mixed with liquid. This helps control diabetes since it slows digestion and the rate of nutrient absorption from the stomach and intestine. It blunts the rapid rise of blood glucose after a meal.

      Glucomannan is also known as konjac fiber because it is the main component of the root of the konjac plant (Amorphophallus konjac) that grows in China and Japan. Its popular name in Japan is devil’s tongue or konnyaku. Glucomannan is the primarily ingredient in shirataki noodles. See My Favorite Low Carb and Low GI Foods.

      A subscriber to this list, Andrea Tiktin-Fanti, writes that she obtained konjac glucomannan powder from the Konjac Foods USA in Cupertino, California, when she ordered the shirataki noodles. She found different ways to make good use of it.

      “I mix one teaspoon of the powder in one cup of water,” Andrea writes. “I add about six drops of any flavor LorAnn oil (they have about 70 or so) and some artificial sweetener. I whisk it for about one minute, place it in the refrigerator, and have the most delicious pudding with virtually no calories or carbs. I am fortunate to have a source for commercial sucralose so it is very concentrated and does not have the carbs found in Splenda. I have also made it with the sugar-free DaVinci syrups.

      “I have even added a little bit of pectin to the pudding which gives it a tapioca-like consistency. It is filling, has no effect on blood glucose, seems to help with elimination problems that some people have on a lower carb diet, and is also supposed to be good for the lipid profile. I do not eat more than 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pudding a day, but I am sure that it is safe to do so. There is quite a lot of research literature about its positive effects on lowering glucose levels in people with diabetes. I am now finishing up a batch of pineapple flavor. To that one I added a few tablespoons of Hood’s milk (3 grams per cup) to make it creamier. I add a drop of food coloring (usually yellow because I like pineapple and banana). Otherwise the color of the faux pudding is an ugly gray as the result of the addition of the small quantity of milk. The main trick is to make the flavor intense and sweet enough to be tasty. I am always refining and adjusting.”

      She emphasizes how important it is to drink a lot of water when using glucomannan. That’s important when using guar gum, and there is every reason to think that it would also be true for glucomannan, especially since it can absorb so much water.

      Another correspondent, Gretchen Becker, says she uses guar gum as a thickener. But glucomannan would work just as well, if not better. “It makes great chicken fricassee, and is also good with homemade Chinese food,” Gretchen writes. “I also add it to smoothies to thicken them and add fiber to the diet.”


      1. Arvill A, Bodin L. “Effect of short-term ingestion of konjac glucomannan on serum cholesterol in healthy men.” Am J Clin Nutr.1995 Mar;61(3):585-9. Abstract online at PubMed.

      2. Chen HL, Sheu WH, Tai TS, Liaw YP, Chen YC. “Konjac supplement alleviated hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetic subjects — a randomized double-blind trial.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Feb;22(1):36-42. Abstract online at PubMed.

      3. Gallaher DD, Gallaher CM, Mahrt GJ, Carr TP, Hollingshead CH, Hesslink R Jr, Wise J. “A glucomannan and chitosan fiber supplement decreases plasma cholesterol and increases cholesterol excretion in overweight normocholesterolemic humans.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Oct;21(5):428-33. Abstract online at PubMed.

      4. McCarty MF. “Glucomannan minimizes the postprandial insulin surge: a potential adjuvant for hepatothermic therapy.” Med Hypotheses. 2002 Jun;58(6):487-90. Abstract online at PubMed.

      5. Vuksan V, Jenkins DJ, Spadafora P, Sievenpiper JL, Owen R, Vidgen E, Brighenti F, Josse R, Leiter LA, Bruce-Thompson C. “Konjac-mannan (glucomannan) improves glycemia and other associated risk factors for coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. A randomized controlled metabolic trial.” Diabetes Care. 1999 Jun;22(6):913-9. Free full-text article online at Diabetes Care.

      6. Vuksan V, Sievenpiper JL, Owen R, Swilley JA, Spadafora P, Jenkins DJ, Vidgen E, Brighenti F, Josse RG, Leiter LA, Xu Z, Novokmet R. “Beneficial effects of viscous dietary fiber from Konjac-mannan in subjects with the insulin resistance syndrome: results of a controlled metabolic trial.” Diabetes Care. 2000 Jan;23(1):9-14. Free full-text article online at Diabetes Care.

      7. Walsh DE, Yaghoubian V, Behforooz A. “Effect of glucomannan on obese patients: a clinical study.” Int J Obes. 1984;8(4):289-93. Abstract online at PubMed.

    Research Notes:

    • Continuous Sensing Meters
      The selling point for the two continuous sensing meters already on the market are their ability to detect and ward off hypoglycemia. This is a potent emotional issue for parents of type 1 kids whose blood glucose goes low at night.

      If you purchased or are considering one of these meters to deal with hypoglycemia, you need to think again. The news from the Diabetes Research in Children Network (DirecNet) Study Group reported in the March issue of Diabetes Care is bad. They studied the accuracy of the GlucoWatch G2 Biographer (GW2B) and the continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) during hypoglycemia in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

      They concluded that “the GW2B and the CGMS do not reliably detect hypoglycemia.” You can find the full-text of the article free online at Diabetes Care. I have updated my Blood Glucose Meters page accordingly.

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    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
    62. Diabetes Update Number 62: My Book of September 1, 2003
    63. Diabetes Update Number 63: Hot Tubs of October 1, 2003
    64. Diabetes Update Number 64: Home A1C Testing of November 1, 2003
    65. Diabetes Update Number 65: Detemir of December 1, 2003
    66. Diabetes Update Number 66: Erectile Dysfunction of January 1, 2004
    67. Diabetes Update Number 67: Acidic Foods of February 1, 2004
    68. Diabetes Update Number 68: Net Carbs of March 1, 2004
    69. Diabetes Update Number 69: Glycemic Index of April 1, 2004
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