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Health Bulletin - 1

Many of us observed our friends and family members who are diabetic avoid eating fruits. We also tend to depend on over the counter (OTC) food supplements for micro nutrients. In this issue, we will clarify the value of eating fruits and also untrustworthiness of OTC food supplements.

Can diabetes patients eat fruits?

Most of the diabetes patients do not eat (sufficient) fruits worried about increasing their blood sugar levels. In fact, American Diabetes Association (ADA) has long been concerned about the lack of fruits in diabetic diet. ADA recommends most of the common fruits that diabetics, especially Indians, are often afraid of, e.g., mangoes, bananas, grapes and watermelon! Other examples of fruits include apples, fruit juice, strawberries, dried fruit, grapefruit, raisins, oranges, peaches, guava, papaya, berries, and canned fruit.

You can take good care of yourself and your diabetes by learning what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. Making wise food choices can help you feel good every day, lose weight if you need to and lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems caused by diabetes.

Healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, unsalted nuts, fruits, and vegetables, are an important part of a healthy eating plan because they can provide both energy and nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and fiber. Fiber can help you prevent constipation, lower your cholesterol levels, and control your weight. Unhealthy carbohydrates are often food and drinks with added sugars. Although unhealthy carbohydrates can also provide energy, they have little to no nutrients.

Can I eat sweets and other foods and drinks with added sugars? Yes, you can eat sweets and other foods and drinks with added sugars. However, you should limit your intake of these high-carbohydrate foods and drinks because they are often high in calories and low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans are wiser choices.The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars: choose canned fruits in juice or light syrup, dried fruit and 100% fruit juice are also nutritious choices, but the portion sizes are small so they may not be as filling as other choices.Instead of eating sweets every day, try eating them in small amounts once in a while so you don’t fill up on foods that are low in nutrition.

Target Blood Glucose Levels for people with diabetes before meals is 70 to 130 mg/dL, and 1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal should be less than 180 mg/dL.

If you are diabetic, make sure to include a variety of fruits in your daily meal plan.

Beware of food supplements:

We should strive to get all the nutrients our body needs by consuming a well-balanced diet. The strategy of using dietary supplement pills to make up for the deficiencies in our daily meals does not work out for a variety of reasons.  Here is one the most important reasons:

You must be aware of the quality and safety of dietary supplements, which are exempt from the strict regulatory oversight applied to prescription drugs. Recently, The New York authorities conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels! The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies.

The Food and Drug Administration has targeted individual supplements found to contain dangerous ingredients. But this announcement was the first time that a law enforcement agency had threatened the biggest retail and drugstore chains with legal action for selling what it said were deliberately misleading herbal products.
The attorney general’s investigation was prompted by an article in the New York Times in 2013 that raised questions about widespread labeling fraud in the supplement industry. The article referred to research at the University of Guelph in Canada that found that as many as a third of herbal supplements tested did not contain the plants listed on their labels — only cheap fillers instead.
Industry representatives have argued that any problems are caused by a handful of companies on the fringe of the industry. But New York’s investigation specifically targeted store brands at the nation’s drugstore and retail giants, which suggests that the problems are widespread.
“If this data is accurate, then it is an unbelievably devastating indictment of the industry,” said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an expert on supplement safety. “We’re talking about products at mainstream retailers like Walmart and Walgreens that are expected to be the absolute highest quality.”
Therefore, consuming a well-balanced diet is the best strategy. There are no short cuts.

We appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Vijay Gangula
Chair, Health Committee

Advisory Committee:
Surender Reddy Neravetla M.D., FACS

Brief Biography of contributors:
Committee Chair: Vijay Gangula has PhD in Bio-Organic Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Currently he is a Principal Scientist, Drug Discovery and Development, Merck Research Labs, NJ. His interests are health education and disease prevention.

Advisory Committee: Surender Reddy Neravetla M.D., FACS is a graduate of Osmania medical college who is passionately devoted to prevention of cardiovascular disease. He is the director of cardiac surgery at Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield Ohio.  Dr. Neravetla is recognized as one of “America’s Top Surgeons” by the consumer research council. He has authored two books to raise awareness of the dangers of table salt. He also wrote a chapter in a text book describing the many pathways that lead from table salt to dementia.

In pursuit of his mission Dr. Neravetla is a frequent public speaker. He is known for his well-researched persuasive presentations. Dr. Neravetla has been on radio TV and newspaper articles several times and writes a blog at