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Diabetes Update: Pill Splitting

August 1, 2004

By David Mendosa

Parus Major

Keep Your Chin Up!
With permission of Graham Jeffery

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

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

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

My recent contributions are:

  • Pill Splitting
    When several months ago I wrote the article on pill splitting for the July issue of Diabetes Wellness News, it was of general interest. I didn’t think that it would apply to me. After all, my health insurance covered the cost of all of my pills except for a reasonable co-pay.

    Now, however, I have health insurance that has a low cap on brand-name prescriptions. That’s because in a few days we are moving from California to Boulder, Colorado, where we had to get a different health plan.

    So, from now on I will be splitting as many of my prescription drugs as I can. To see why and which please read my article. It is now on my site at

  • Love Your Meter
    If you have diabetes and don’t love your blood glucose meter, I’ve got just the article for you. Maybe you are concerned about its accuracy. I know that I have serious reservations about the accuracy of all meters currently available.

    Still, using a blood glucose meter is the best we have. The alternative is a bit unpleasant and has to be done in private.

    Maybe you wonder just what using a blood glucose meter will do for you. I’ll bet that it is a lot more than you think. For the ten top reasons please read my feature article in the July issue of Diabetes Health magazine. It is now also on my site at

  • ORAC
    Earlier this year I reported on some preliminary ORAC research. ORAC is the abbreviation for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, which quantifies the antioxidant capacity of foods. Antioxidants help protect against oxidative stress, which is associated with the development of many chronic and degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and neuronal degeneration such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as being involved in the process of aging. Either directly or indirectly oxidative stress has an effect on diabetes.

    Dr. Guohua Cao, a physician and chemist at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, in Boston, developed the standardized ORAC assay. This test measures the degree to which a sample inhibits the action of an oxidizing agent and how long it takes to do so. Dr. Cao and his associates earlier tested more than 40 foods for their ORAC values. At that time wild blueberries had the highest antioxidant capacity of all of the fruits and vegetables they tested.

    Now, Dr. Prior is the senior author of a new article detailing a much larger study. He kindly send me a copy of the article, Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States, in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Dr. Prior and his associates at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and the Agricultural Research Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture expanded their testing to include more than 100 different kinds of food. The study covered 24 types of fruits, 23 types of vegetables, 10 types of nuts, four types of dried fruits, 16 types of herbs and spices, plus grain-based foods like bread and breakfast cereals, both cooked and uncooked, and several other types of processed foods.

    At the same time their testing now includes both lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities. Lipophilic means having an affinity for lipids or fat, and hydrophilic means having an affinity for water. Earlier testing considered only hydrophilic capacity.

    The results showed that various type of bean and artichokes were the vegetables containing the highest levels of antioxidants per gram. They also confirmed the high antioxidant capacity of blueberries, although cranberries are even higher. And baking chocolate, pecans, and several spices, including cloves and cinnamon, have surprisingly high ORAC values.

    The foods with the highest antioxidant values per gram in the relevant categories are:

    Food Total Antioxidant Capacity/Gram
    Top Five Fruits:
    Cranberry 94.56
    Lowbush (wild) blueberry 92.60
    Black plums 73.39
    Plum (type not specified) 62.39
    Cultivated blueberry 62.20
    Top Five Vegetables:
    Small red beans 149.21
    Red kidney beans 144.13
    Pinto beans 123.59
    Artichoke 94.09
    Black beans 80.40
    Top Five Nuts:
    Pecans 179.40
    Walnuts 135.41
    Hazelnuts 135.41
    Pistachios 79.83
    Almonds 44.54
    Top Five Spices:
    Cloves 3144.46
    Ground cinnamon 2675.36
    Dried oregano leaf 2001.29
    Turmeric 1592.77
    Dried parsley 743.49
    Two Other Top Foods:
    Baking chocolate 1031.90
    Rice bran 88.19

    The study considered serving size as well as concentrations. The ten foods with the most ORAC per serving (μmol of Trolox equivalents/serving) are:

    Food Total Antioxidant Capacity/Serving
    Small red beans 13727*
    Lowbush (wild) blueberry 13427
    Red kidney beans 13259*
    Pinto beans 11864*
    Cultivated blueberry 9019
    Cranberry 8983
    Artichoke 7904
    Blackberry 7701
    Prunes 7291
    Raspberry 6058

    *According to personal correspondence with Dr. Prior, “The difference between dry and hydrated beans and peas is not factored in. The TAC [total antioxidant capacity] concentration would be as presented, but on a serving size, this is perhaps overestimated.” My guess is that since it one cup of dried beans generally yields about three cups cooked, the values for the three beans listed above should be divided by three. Thus small red beans could be considered to have a total antioxidant capacity per serving of 4576, red kidney beans of 4420, and pinto beans of 3955. Please also note that all five of the beans they tested are varieties of Phaseolus vulgaris. Many common beans, including chana dal and chickpeas, soybeans, fava, and azuki, are not only different species but even in different genera.


    • Newsletter Schedule
      This edition of Diabetes Update is a few days early. That’s because a moving company is taking this computer away on Friday, and I won’t get it back until after the company delivers our stuff to our new home in Boulder, Colorado. I expect that everything will be back to normal soon and the next edition of the newsletter will go out on schedule.

    • 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
    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
    70. Diabetes Update Number 70: Dreamfields Pasta of May 1, 2004
    71. Diabetes Update Number 71: Cholesterol of June 1, 2004
    72. Diabetes Update Number 72: Meter News of July 1, 2004
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