Archive for the ‘I Can’t Believe Someone Got Paid to Conduct This Study’ category


September 12th, 2011

A lot of people, at least with type one diabetes, say they don’t have a functioning pancreas.  That isn’t entirely true.  Our pancreas serves to produce several necessary things: insulin, of course, and digestive enzymes and various other hormones.  So for those of us with type one, it’s our beta cells that live in the land of those “Islets of Langorhans” that we’re missing.

It sounds almost like a place found at Disneyland, that Land of Langorhans.


At the cellular level, insulin grabs glucose and helps transport it into the cells.  If you’re like me, you learned this about thirteen thousand times in the four days you were in the hospital at your diagnosis: insulin is the key that unlocks the doors to your cells so that your body can use the food it eats.

Yup.  The key.   INSULIN IS THE KEY!

But then there is that other, much less discussed, function that insulin serves in our bodies.  Insulin doesn’t just help your body use glucose. 


It essentially helps your body store fat, too.  THAT one I only learned a couple of years ago.

THAT one I would have liked to have known a long time ago.

Insulin doesn’t do anything with the fats themselves, but it can serve to prevent the BREAKDOWN of your already-stored fat.


So it’s important to keep yourself on as little insulin (be it self-made or self-injected insulin) as possible.  One way to do that?  Why, remain as insulin-sensitive as possible!

How can you do that?  Two primary ways: (1) don’t need as much insulin to cover the food you eat (keep away from those big boluses to cover high-glucose spikes) and (2) EXERCISE to keep your cells happy and burning glucose as quickly as possible.

Exercise is awesome for more reasons that I can list in my “less than 500 words/blog” goal.  BUT, one of the reasons is that exercise helps to activate glucose transport… to me, in my life, that means that my insulin becomes SUPERCHARGED when I do cardiovascular exercise, or a weight training circuit that keeps my heart rate elevated.  (Love that supercharge!)  I simply don’t need as much insulin in my body.

If you exercise long enough to decrease the amount of glycogen stored in your liver, you ALSO get to replace that for the next day or so… my husband reminded me last week that I tend to go low the night after a half marathon.  (I’ll have to remember that next time.  I mean, I’ll have to remember that this Sunday because I have another half then!)  If I planned
better for it, it’d be like FREE EATING a little.

Hey, you’ve got to get it while you can.

(It’s also good to know that everything changes AFTER you’re done with a bout of exercise.  If you’ve had a lowered basal
rate, you may need to take a little bolus to cover a blood glucose climb.  Additionally, you need more insulin immediately after a strength workout to shift amino acids from protein into muscle cells where they can be used for muscle growth and repair.  It’s complicated, as you know.)

INSULIN ROCKS even if it’s complicated and challenging and makes those of us who have to manage our levels externally sometimes want to pull our hair out.

No matter what, I still like it.  Life really sucked when I didn’t have any insulin.  This way is MUCH BETTER.

Don’t you agree?

Poor Little Mousies

August 31st, 2011

This one caught my eye because, well, it’s about exercise and heart disease.  Need I say more?  But then I read the article and they talk about mice having heart attacks.

See, this is why I’m not a fan of school.  They try and teach you one thing and you spend the next three days seeing poor little mousies in their little cages with their little wheels having little teensy tiny mouse heart attacks.  And by the time the little code reds or code blues or gee maybe it’s code cheese for mice then I’ve completely lost track of what I am supposed to be paying attention to.

Tell me I’m not the only one who does this.

ANYWHO, so the point is not at all about mice or mousies or little teensy hearts or little
wheels (that in my mind always squeak; do they really always squeak?).  It’s about ONE OF THE BEST BENEFITS OF EXERCISE EVER.

Nope, it isn’t being able to fit in my clothes.


This is sort of new news because this particular study didn’t just re-prove that exercise helps prevent heart attacks… it was able to come up with reasons why, when mice exercised for four weeks, they were (1) protected from coronary heart blockage, (2) had less heart damage if they did have a heart attack, and (3) were protected in the same ways for 1-4 weeks after they stopped their exercise program.

(See, I’m back to smiling at the thought of little mousies being on exercise programs.  I can see the little mouse exercise instructor with a clipboard and towel around her neck in front of all the wheels, cheering the little exercising mousies on.  It’s amazing I get  anything accomplished in my day.)

It all comes down to the endothelial nitric oxide synthase present in the mousies’ bodies when they were exercising.   The more nitric oxide available in your body to help you out during a heart emergency, the better your chances of survival because nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow… exactly what your body needs if you are experiencing a heart attack.

I’m still stuck on the poor little mousies.  Do they feed them poor food choices to have a sufficient sample size of heart attack prone little mice?

I’ll have to go for a run and think about it.

Lucky for me, I can run on the ground and spare myself the squeaky wheel.

To Continue The List of Healthy Options to Feel Good About

August 30th, 2011

I just love that Prevention magazine somehow came up with a percentage by which these changes can improve your health.  I’m betting they have similar percentages for health improvements for taking stairs versus elevators, drinking coffee versus tea, and maybe even crossing the street on a flashing “do not walk” sign.  (Okay probably not that one.)

It’s precisely the kind of article that keeps me buying magazines.  Full of short, fun ideas that just might work.  On this list (there were only 12 on the original list so this is it) my favorites are: 8, 9, and 12.  Which ones look good to you?

7. Keep your doctor on speed dial

Health boost: Slash medical mistakes up to 25%

Don’t assume that no news is good news when you’ve had a checkup: Physicians fail to inform 1 out of every 14 patients whose abnormal test results are clinically significant, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine; among some doctors, the number of no-calls was as high as 1 in 4.
Delayed diagnoses can be linked to thousands of serious injuries and health crises—and even deaths—each year.

“If you are subjecting your vein to a needle, you have a right to know what the test is for and why it matters,” says Katz. Talk with your doctor about when you’ll hear about results, and if she finds something that requires treatment, when you might expect to hear from her again. You can always follow up with her after that date.

8. Squeeze your [spouse]’s hand

Health boost: Slash stress by 200%

A brief hug and a few minutes of holding your {spouse]’s hand can fend off stress, according to a study reported at the American Psychosomatic Society. Researchers asked two groups of participants to speak about a stressful event, an exercise that typically causes a spike in blood pressure. BP readings of those who did so without holding their spouse’s hand before speaking were more than double those of people who held hands; their heart rates also rose twice as much.

9. Strike a warrior pose

Health boost: Ease back pain by 56%

Spending time on a yoga mat can significantly reduce chronic lower-back pain, according to a study from West Virginia University. Researchers  asked 45 people whose back pain caused mild to moderate disability to do a 90-minute yoga workout twice a week for 6 months. Compared with patients who only continued whatever therapy they’d already been doing, the new yogis reported significantly less pain and better function and fewer symptoms of depression (down almost 60%). They also continued to see these benefits even 6 months later.

10. Grill some fish for dinner

Health boost: Lower risk of dementia by 19%

More evidence that fish is brain food: A study of nearly 15,000 adults  worldwide found that regular fish eaters (those who have it more than once a week) were just one-fifth as likely to have dementia as those who never ate the food. It also found that those whose diets contained the most meat were slightly more likely to have dementia than non-meat eaters. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna) may help protect nerve cells in the human brain and are known to limit inflammation, which is associated with dementia.

11. Drink milk at breakfast

Health boost: Shed 5 pounds

Women who consumed a large (20-ounce) glass of fat-free milk in the  morning ate, on average, 50 fewer calories at lunch, compared with days when they drank fruit juice with the same number of calories, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers say the milk drinkers felt more satisfied and were less likely to overeat at their next meal. Over a year, that translates to a 5-pound loss.

12. Pour a glass of Pinot

Health boost: Live 5 years longer

A Dutch study following 1,300 men for 40 years found that those who regularly drank up to a half glass of wine each day boosted their life expectancy by half a decade, compared with teetotalers. Study authors say the polyphenolic compounds in wine (especially red) may have heart-healthy effects that are probably seen in women as well. “Alcohol raises levels of ‘good’ cholesterol and can increase levels of tPA [tissue lasminogen activator], a protein that helps break down blood clots; both benefits can help minimize potentially life-threatening ailments such as stroke and heart disease,” says Katz. But remember, because even modest alcohol intake is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, if you are a social drinker, keep your daily intake low—no more than one glass per day (men can have up to two).

You Just Never Know

August 29th, 2011

I’m in love with this information. I really, truly am.  For me, it helps to  explain a few questions I’ve had rattling around in my brain for quite some time.  (Not that there was just the one question… every single answer I find gives me just a smidge more peace!)

I think I’ve blogged on this one before: the NEAT principles?  NEAT = Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.  (Pretty sure I mentioned my dad lecturing me on thermodynamics?)

Anyway, this is just PRIMO INFORMATION HERE, if you ask me.  This is the kind of information that I think should change people’s lives.  (I think it has already changed mine a little.)

It’s information about the differences between structured exercise and regular, what I would consider largely thoughtless activity.

Turns out, and it’s weird for me to say this, but it isn’t always about the structured exercise we do. A lot of our calorie burn (15-50%) comes from our Non Exercise Activity.

One group looked at 16 non-obese participants and purposefully overfed them 1,000 calories each day for 8 weeks.  That is 56,000 calories!  3,500 calories = 1 pound… so that means the researchers fed these poor participants the equivalent of SIXTEEN POUNDS’ worth of calories.  SIXTEEN POUNDS.  (Would YOU sign up for that one?!  Didn’t think so!)  The study participants were pretty much supposed to keep their structured exercise consistent as it had been prior to the study.

Some of the participants gained only 3 pounds.  Some gained 15.8 pounds.

Why the difference?

It comes down to NEAT.  Those who naturally increased their daily activity as a result of the increased calories were the ones to gain the least amount of weight.  They seemed naturally resistant to weight gain. (How cool would THAT be.)

How did they manage that impressive feat?  It’s NEAT.  They worked just a bit harder to maintain their posture.  They walked up the stairs just that much faster.  They probably stood up when chatting on the phone.  They fidgeted.

Maybe it’s a good thing to have ants in our pants.

Who knows, but it just may make a huge difference.

So Many Healthy Ways to Feel Good

August 26th, 2011

(I wanted to title this “so many ways to feel good” and then I started thinking about the boys I knew in high school and what they would say or do in response to a phrase like that so I had to change it.)

This is a not-new collection of tips from Prevention magazine that explains why you should start to think about adding a few of these activities into your day.  My personal favorites are 1, 3, 4, and 6.

Which ones are your favorites?

1. Giggle

Health boost: Improve blood flow by 21%

A good laugh can be good for your heart. One recent study from the University of Texas at Austin found that those who chuckled while watching a comedy increased the dilation of blood vessels by one-fifth for up to 24 hours; when they watched a serious documentary, the arteries actually constricted by 18%. (Constricted blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure).

“When you’re happy, your body releases feel-good eurochemicals, which can have numerous favorable effects on the body,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

2. Brush and floss

Health boost: Cut risk of head and neck cancer by 400%

Take good care of your smile and you’ll have more than just white teeth to show for it. New research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, shows that people with the chronic gum disease periodontitis have a fourfold risk of developing a type of head or neck cancer (which makes up
about 5% of all malignancies in the United States), especially in the mouth and throat. The risk was increased even among patients who never used tobacco. Gum disease occurs when the bacteria that live in plaque infect the gums, so brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque buildup.

3. Brew a pot of tea

Health boost: Cut stroke risk by 21%

Sipping tea may help protect you from a life-threatening stroke, according to a study from UCLA School of Medicine. Researchers there examined data from nine studies detailing almost 4,400 strokes among 195,000 people and found that those who drank at least three cups a day had one-fifth the risk of stroke, compared with those who drank less than one cup. It doesn’t matter if you prefer green or black tea—both are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, whose powerful antioxidant EGCG epigallocatechin gallate) and amino acid theanine may protect vessels and arteries.

4. Pen a thank-you note

Health boost: Feel 20% happier

Students who wrote letters expressing gratitude to someone special were happier and more satisfied with their lives, researchers at Kent State University found. Other research has shown that expressive writing may improve immune, lung, and liver function; reduce blood pressure; and provide a greater sense of well-being.

But be sincere: “It has to be a heartfelt sentiment showing significant appreciation,” says researcher Steven Toepfer, PhD, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies. Dashing off a quick e-mail or texting a pal might not have the same effect, adds Toepfer, who says taking the time to put pen to paper allowed students to reflect: “Through the process of writing, they had time to think about the links they established between
themselves and others and to count their blessings a bit, which made them feel more grateful.”

5. Hide your TV remote

Health boost: Whittle 2 inches from your belly

When switching TV stations, put down the remote, get up, and do it manually. An Australian study found that people who did the greatest
amount of light activity during otherwise sedentary behavior, such as watching TV, had 16% smaller waist circumferences than those who were inclined to stay put. Even the simple act of getting up and walking around for a minute or so was enough to make a difference, regardless of whether they had a regular workout schedule.

They also had lower body mass indexes and triglyceride and glucose levels, all of which are associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. More ways to break up an otherwise inactive day: Stand up every time
the phone rings at your desk; take the long way back to your desk after a bathroom break; do some stretches before reading a new e-mail.

6. Doodle during work meetings

Health boost: Improve memory by 29%

People who doodled while listening to a recorded message had nearly one-third better recall of the details than those who didn’t draw, according to a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
“Doodling acts as a buffer against daydreaming,” explains researcher
Jackie Andrade, PhD, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth in England. “It provides just enough distraction to stop you from drifting off, but you can still focus on what is being said.”

Who Is On Your Dream Team?

August 25th, 2011

It’s common knowledge I think by now that the DCCT (Diabetes Control and Complications Trial) determined in the early 1990s that the tighter control we have over our blood glucose levels the fewer microvascular complications we face.  Woot for that one.

The best control was achieved by those with “Intensive Diabetes Management.”  More specifically, it “requires careful follow-up to monitor progress toward individualized goals and support to reinforce management skills and personal efforts.”

Okay.  So it would seem that one physician requesting I come back in three months and get another A1c done would be far less than the Intensive Diabetes Management I could use to keep me at my healthiest.

Nope.  I need a TEAM!

The successful teams in the DCCT included “physicians, nurses, dietitians, and behavioral scientists with special interest and training in the management of diabetes.”

Why all these people? They say”this core membership reflects the basic requirements of diabetes treatment: nutrition, medication, self-monitoring, and self-management.”

It apparently really does take a village.

Didn’t you kind of suspect that already?

So I’m starting to work on my fantasy Diabetes Dream Team.  Mainly fantasy rather than reality because I don’t think I can afford a real Dream Team, and I haven’t met enough superstar professionals with attitudes I love when it comes to my diabetes.  (Not to mention I’d rather spend my time exercising or reading or shoot nearly anything than sitting in doctors’ offices meeting all potential Team members.)

So I need a Doctor for my Diabetes Dream Team.  I have a couple in the running.  One of them is a type one herself who I’ve known for years.  She’d be great, but I think a little intimidating to me.  That’s not a problem, but it must be considered when it comes to choosing my Dream Team members. 

Another one is all over the bedside manner and inspirational side of things, but I’m not super clear how well he knows the deets of my diabetes.  So maybe I’m shooting for a hybrid of knowledge and personality. 

Next up I need a nurse.  I’m totally putting on some of my friends I met at Bearskin Meadow Camp way back when, before they had even finished their undergraduate degrees.  They’ve lived with diabetes themselves or with siblings or spouses.  They know where it’s at.

Ooh; dieticians come next!  That one may be difficult.  I kind of need a personal chef more than I need a dietician.  Hey; what about that guy from Top Chef who has type one?  Maybe he’d go become a dietician for me and then sign onto the team as Dietician and Head Chef.  Maybe he’d do my grocery shopping.  THAT would be cool.  I’d need a lot of vegetables and not many potato chips and some good lean protein options every day every time I was
hungry or needed to eat.
  I think this one is probably the hardest spot to fill on my Dream Team.  I’ve got to keep thinking.  (And maybe keep saving my money so I can hire a personal chef.)

As for the mental health professionals, that’s probably the easiest spot for me to fill.  I sort of think I’ve personally trained my therapist in living with diabetes I’ve seen her so long and talked about my diabetes so much.  So she’s sort of a shoe-in.

HEY; that means I’ve already got one of my Dream Team spots filled in real life!!  AWESOME!!!

Of course, if I’ve got my Team working on my diabetes, it may leave me some extra time in my day.  I can think of so many things I could do if I weren’t the only one in charge of figuring out my diabetes!

Wait; if I’m living in a dream world I might as well hire Martha Stewart to clean my house.  Then I’d have even more time!

I could get used to this!

Who would you put on your Diabetes Dream Team roster?

I May Have to Put My Foot Down for This One

August 23rd, 2011

I may have to stand up and request a different name for my disease (currently called type one diabetes) if they end up doing this.

I don’t think we’ll stand a chance to ever clarify in the public’s mind what our lives are really like as we live with type one diabetes if they expand the label of “prediabetes” to include who knows how many people.

Seriously; these researchers looked at patients for several months and determined that of the 14,000 patients who had blood drawn, those with blood glucose levels of 51-82mg/dL had a less than one percent chance of developing type two diabetes.  Those who had blood glucose levels between 91 and 99 mg/dL had a more than three percent chance of developing type two diabetes.  So now the researchers are proposing to lower the threshold of “prediabetes” to 91 from its current 100-126mg/dL.

(If you check your blood glucose you know that you can check at home five seconds apart and get a 90 and a 120 result due to the machine’s margin of error.  I imagine the labs have a margin of error as well.)

It makes me wonder if they are splitting hairs in order to fan the fire of the money-churning machine that is type two diabetes.  The sooner they can call you “prediabetic” the sooner they can get at you and sell you socks, meal replacement shakes, diet meal plans, it’s a wonder they don’t have diabetes cruises by now.  (Okay; the cruise could be fun.)

Here’s my beef: I have type one diabetes, yet the majority of information out there refers only to “diabetes” without clarification.  The origin of
type one diabetes and of type two diabetes are vastly different and by grouping the two under a single umbrella the public stands zero chance of comprehending what’s going on.

We share the name “diabetes” because the two diseases share a major symptom (high blood glucose levels) and similar complications as a result of the elevated glucose levels.  But is that enough to call them both “diabetes”?

To me, sharing a symptom should not be enough to name the disease identically.  (If one disease caused someone to vomit, and a different disease also caused someone to vomit, I don’t think the medical field would say the two diseases should be called by the same name.  So what’s so special about blood glucose?)

For me, I didn’t have any period of prediabetes.  So it’s not a term that makes any sense to me.  It seems like a term doctors are happy to throw around in an effort to scare their patients into changing their habits.

I didn’t get a “pre” period of time to do anything at all about my disease.  I had no chance to prevent my disease.  I got so sick I lost my hair.  I was skin and bones because my body cannibalized itself to find some useable energy.  My body’s pH was dangerously acidic.  I was dying without insulin at the age of ten.

Let me make this clear: I believe both diseases are important and real and difficult to manage and require constant vigilance.  I think people need to do what they can as soon as possible to take care of themselves.

If it takes referring to a blood glucose lab reading of 91 to 99 “prediabetes” well, then, go for it.  More power to you, advertisers.

While those ads are showing and confusing the public, I’ll be over in the corner with my friends, the others with diabetes caused by genetic or autoimmune diseases, maintaining our own sort of constant vigilance.

Party of One?

August 8th, 2011

Do you ever eat at a restaurant and have NO IDEA how much bread you ate?  Or
how much rice or pasta you consumed?  Not to mention the chips and salsa…

I get involved in the conversation and sometimes don’t remember how many pieces of bread I ate until they’ve taken away the basket.


At the same time, bolusing for each piece doesn’t seem to work out very well, either.  (I’m sure I look quite disengaged when I’m hunched over staring at my waistband.  Who wants a disengaged dinner date??)

And what about when they ask if you’re ready to see the dessert menu?

(Geez; I’ve just been eating for 45 minutes and they’re asking me about DESSERT?!)

Staying a healthy weight involves managing several of these aspects of dining out with friends.  For me, it means not only passing up dessert, but also telling the wait staff I don’t want a spoon or fork to “share” with someone else.  (It absolutely astounds me how often this request is disregarded.  And yes, I do factor that into the tip!)

For a lot of people, it means asking the restaurant staff to remove the bread basket or tub of chips as they sit down.  For others, it means trying to hold off on eating anything until the meal itself arrives.

For those of us with type one diabetes, our “full” factor may not kick in at all due to the fact we are missing amylin in addition to insulin, so watch for the pace of others at your table and follow their cues.

Whatever you find that works for you, eating out does require awareness and discipline.

Mindless Eating collected some interesting studies on how groups of people eat compared to those eating alone.  Say your average calorie consumption when eating meal X alone at a restaurant is 400 calories.  When you order that same meal while with another friend, you are likely to consume 530 calories (33% more) and if you are dining with three others (family of four) you are likely to consume 630 calories (58% more).  Heaven forbid you dine with seven others; your likely consumption increases by 96%– 784 calories!

It’s the pace of dining that affects us and our calorie consumption according to Dr. Wansink “…when you eat with a group, the average amount others eat suggests the amount that’s appropriate for you to eat.”

All of these tips and tricks really do factor in when we are trying to learn or re-learn our eating habits to improve our weight and health.  For the first few weeks of any
new focus on weight loss, it may be smart to avoid as many big-meal dining experiences as you can.  But you know you will return so you may as well start in with some smart strategies early.

Eat as slowly as possible, with utensils, and take several “breaks” by putting down your utensils and sipping water.

Order soup, not salad.

Remember that it takes about 20 minutes for anything you eat to register on your hunger scale—so eat more slowly.  By the time you’ve eaten the bread before the meal and the meal itself you should be so full dessert isn’t necessary.

For me, I am always doing my best at this.  I’m always aware of the pitfalls of too many meals out!  Cooking my own meals is a major help, as is planning dinner during breakfast so I know how to eat the rest of my day.

And, above all, I’m glad I’m married to a tall skinny guy.  I’m always trying to avoid looking like Laurel and Hardy when I’m with him.

I always felt like Oliver Hardy when I weighed the same as my foot-taller husband!

Hey, it’s motivation that works for me.

What works for you?

Go Climb A Tree

August 3rd, 2011

Who knew there was a Finnish Forest Research Institute?  Okay, I mean, who in America knew such an institute existed.  I sure didn’t.

Yet this research institute exists and they are not the only scientists currently looking at the interaction between nature and human health.

Guess what they have determined?  NATURE HEALS by “reducing stress, boosting immunity and calming aggressiveness.” Yay!

Why does this matter?

Have you tried to manage your blood glucose during periods of stress?  It gets incredibly difficult, which in turn adds stress, which in turn raises blood glucose… ah, yet another vicious cycle in our lives.

Even if you aren’t living with diabetes, have you noticed how much better you feel after you spend an hour outside around some green trees?

Given that all research points to nature helping us humans to fight stress, boost our immune systems, and even lower our blood pressure, I yet again suggest we all GET OUTSIDE for some great healing through outdoor activities.

Check it out:

  • go for a hike
  • walk with your dog
  • walk with your neighbor’s dog
  • walk with your neighbor
  • have a picnic in the park
  • climb a tree
  • stop at a vista point and get out of your car
  • walk around for 20 minutes after dinner at a restaurant
  • volunteer at a neighborhood road race
  • go camping!
  • throw a Frisbee
  • walk through the ritzy part of the neighborhood and see if you can get some good ideas for your yard
  • hop on a bike and see where you end up (remember to bring glucose for this one in particular)
  • get a little dirty
  • plant some flowers
  • plant some vegetables
  • meet some new neighbors
  • say hello to a stranger

Spend just a moment when you’re outside to reflect on how long those trees have been growing, and how much they’ve seen and survived (not to mention how little the trees care about all of the things we do every day).  It can be pretty humbling!

Nature can give all of us some much-needed perspective about the world.

Maybe that’s the thing we’ve all been missing.

The Diet Soda Debate

July 29th, 2011

It was not unusual for me to go through a six-pack of Diet Cokes in my years in high school and college.  I used to call Diet Coke the “nectar of the gods” I drank it so much.

It’s embarrassing and a little frightening to think about it now!

What made me give it up?

When I went on Weight Watchers and really started to try and lose my excess weight, I started drinking a heck of a lot of water.  What a difference that made in my life!  So in part I gave up so much soda because my bladder just isn’t that big.

And then a few years later I started to really get into being fit.  And I started thinking about how what I put into my body really was making my body what it is.  I’m not all the way there yet, at all, but I realized just how many chemicals, particularly aspartame, that scared me.

When I see news reports linking diet soda consumption to higher weight and risky waist to hip ratios I wonder even more.

Sure, I am at zero risk of developing diabetes as a result of diet soda consumption.  But that doesn’t mean I want to taunt unknown other effects of those chemicals!  (And no, I never had diet soda or aspartame or anything close before I was diagnosed with type one diabetes.)

One group studied the body measurements of people who drank diet soda and those who did not.  After nine and a half years:

Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users.

Why does waist circumference matter?  It signals the amount of abdominal fat, a major risk factor for a whole host of chronic conditions that include cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The other study reported was conducted on mice: they gave half the diabetes-prone mice (how did they know that?) food with added corn oil, and the other half received food with added corn oil and added aspartame.

After three months on this high-fat diet, the mice in the aspartame group showed elevated fasting glucose levels but equal or diminished insulin levels, consistent with early declines in pancreatic beta-cell function. 

Oh dear.  When someone starts discussing beta-cell function it’s already too close for comfort in my world.  (Pancreatic beta cells, responsible for insulin production, are what my body attacked to cause my type one diabetes and why type one is an autoimmune disease.)

As someone already living with a chronic condition, I want to avoid any other reasons to be under a doctor’s care.  So for me, the choice to avoid artificial sweeteners is a good one.  Now I drink a lot of water, a lot of tea, and soda water.  It works, and I don’t feel deprived.  It feels like a great healthy and simple choice to have made for myself and my body.

We’re all doing the best we can, after all.

Here’s to you and the healthy choices you make for you and your body!