dates

Dates for Diabetes… Has the Sugar Gone to their Brain?

by Kelley Herring on February 14, 2012

As the CEO of Healing Gourmet, I subscribe to dozens of medical journals, natural health reports and online newsletters.

It is a full time job just to stay ahead of the latest advances in nutritional science. And we take our responsibility to you very seriously as we report on the tremendous power of foods and nutrients to promote health and protect against disease.

After all, when you really think about it, these are matters of life and death.

And that’s why I’m increasingly astounded at the shoddy research, conflicts of interest, blatant contradictions, and exceedingly bad advice that many of the “big guys” dish out.

In a previous message, we took on WebMD’s promotion of sugar cookies as a “quick and healthy breakfast.” Astounding, right? And to think that they posted this suggestion right beside an article about “battling sugar addiction.”

Here’s a snapshot below:

Here is the caption area.

Do you see what we mean? Bad advice and blatant contradictions, all rolled into one.

But WebMD is not the only billion dollar publishing empire dishing out bad advice… from both sides of their mouth, no less!

Today’s offending message – 14 Fantastically Healthy Foods for Diabetes came courtesy of Prevention, another one of the world’s largest health publishers.

Of course, preventing and reversing diabetes is a primary focus for us here at Healing Gourmet, so their subject line immediately grabbed our attention.

And there it was…

A Big Bowl of Dates!

Right beside the text “With the help of our diabetes and nutrition experts, we identified the 14 best insulin-friendly superfoods” sat a bowl full of dates.

So how exactly are dates “insulin-friendly”? And by what mechanism do they help to “manage your blood sugar”?

Let me tell you: They’re not… and they don’t!

In fact, dates are one of the WORST things to eat if you have diabetes.

You see, just one date has 16 grams of sugar and a glycemic index of 103. That’s 61% higher than white table sugar!

That means that eating dates – even just a couple – can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels which not only contribute to insulin resistance, diabetes and weight gain… but also increase inflammation and free radical production in the body. For those with diabetes, this is the last thing you want to do.

Inside the article, Prevention, states that the fiber content of dates is what makes them such a “diabetes-friendly snack.” They go on to say that seven dates provide four grams of fiber. Besides the fact that there are much better ways to consume fiber, it should be noted that those same seven dates would pack more than 110 grams of sugar!

Let me put that in perspective…

That’s almost as much sugar as three 12 ounce cans of Coca-Cola!

They also write that a good way to consume dates is to “toss them into breads and cookies.” In other words, just add flour and sugar to be certain that it’s a real insulin bomb.

When it comes to sugar, your body doesn’t discriminate. Whether the sweetness comes from a decadent dessert or so-called “healthy” dried fruit, the end result is the same: Increased insulin levels.

“But wait a minute”, you say, “I thought fruit was healthy?”.

Fruit can be very healthy. But you have to know which fruits to choose… and those that are no better, or in some cases, even worse for your health than eating sugar straight out of the bowl.

Dates skew toward the latter.

You see, dates aren’t just high on the glycemic index and high in total sugar (two big no-no’s for weight control and wellness), they are also very high in fructose – a type of sugar that can be especially damaging to your health.

Researchers found that people consuming fructose (as opposed to other forms of sugar including sucrose, dextrose and glucose), are more likely to put on weight around the abdomen than those given glucose. This ‘intra-abdominal’ or ‘visceral’ fat is the most harmful type and is linked to diabetes and heart disease.

In fact, excess consumption of fructose also increases:

  • The risk of abnormal blood clotting and high blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and total triglyceride levels

Dr. Richard Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado is an expert on the effects of fructose in the body. In fact, he runs the kidney division at the University and is in charge of transplantation and research in blood pressure. Dr. Johnson has seen the effects of fructose in the lab and on the operating table too. He says:

 “….if you take two animals and you feed one fructose and the other one the exact same number of calories, but as dextrose or glucose, its only the fructose-fed animal that will develop obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and high triglycerides, signs of inflammation, vascular disease, and high blood pressure.”

For optimum health, you should keep your total grams of sugar to less than 30 per day. And of that only 15 grams or less should come from fructose.

To achieve this, you must avoid anything containing “added sugars”, “corn syrup” or “high fructose corn syrup”. But you also need to avoid many common “healthy” foods that are fructose bombs too. Here’s a list of seemingly healthy foods with their fructose content:

  • Medjool Dates (2 medium): 15 grams fructose
  • Raisins (¼ cup): 12 grams fructose
  • Dried Figs (¼ cup.): 9 grams fructose
  • Orange Juice (8 ounces): 25 grams fructose
  • Honey (1 Tbsp): 12 grams fructose
  • Maple Syrup (1 Tbsp): 6 grams fructose
  • Agave Nectar (1 Tbsp): Up to 15 grams fructose

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sprinkle a few raisins on your salad or that you can’t enjoy a couple of dates here or there. But you do need to be aware of portion size and understand that these are treats – not foods you should be eating to “manage your blood sugar”. (Learn about the dangers of fructose here)

And that brings me back to that sugar-pushing Prevention article that’s got me so sour.

Promoting Pills… Not a Preventive Lifestyle

So why – out of thousands of healthy, delicious, blood-sugar friendly foods to choose from – did dates wind up in Prevention’s Top 14 that are “best” for diabetes?

I can think of twenty foods off the top of my head that would be better than that. And I bet you can too.

Yet Prevention touts these sugar-bombs as “a perfect diabetes-friendly snack” and they don’t say a word about eating them in moderation!

They also include instant oats (the highest glycemic variety you can buy!) and low fat or fat free milk (which is MUCH higher in sugar than the full-fat version and has been shown in numerous studies to worsen diabetes) in their 14 Diabetes Superfoods.

Prevention should know how bad this advice is considering they published books called “The Glycemic Load Diet” and “The Sugar Solution”.

So why would they make such blatant contradictions? And how can you trust them?

The answers: Financial interests… and you can’t.

A quick trip around their website and you’ll see pharmaceutical ads popping up for a laundry list of ailments – from Alzheimer’s to diabetes.

So when you read a story for “12 Ways to Never Get Diabetes” adjacent to an ad for the diabetes drug Metformin, you ought to pause and question validity of the information. After all, if you never get diabetes (or if you reverse your diabetes, which is entirely possible!) what would that mean for Prevention’s advertisers?

Of course, you could make the argument that this is not some grand conspiracy to benefit their advertisers. But if that’s the case, it would mean that the editors of Prevention are either too ignorant to know which foods and nutrients truly promote health and protect against disease… or they simply don’t care.

Am I surprised by it? Not really.

Actually, this is exactly what you can expect from the big, faceless, advertising-supported health websites out there. They ALL do it.

And that’s What Makes Healing Gourmet So Different…

Unlike our competitors, Healing Gourmet does not produce content to please our advertisers… we don’t talk out of both sides of our mouth… we don’t preach the same “politically correct” claptrap you’ve been deceptively dished for decades… and we’ll never feed you menus based on the fatally-flawed, commodity-crop-pushing USDA pyramid.

We are here to provide you with fresh, unbiased information and tools to help you make the best choices for you and your family.

And fortunately for you, that does NOT mean sacrificing!

In fact, when you use the intelligent ingredients we rely on at Healing Gourmet, you can enjoy all of your favorite foods – including pizza, pasta, cupcakes and cookies – while keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels in perfect check.

Healing Gourmet’s Top 14 Diabetes Defying Foods

When it comes to diabetes, there are a myriad of delicious foods that have powerful positive effects on your health – from stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels, to stoking your metabolism and promoting fat-burning, to providing potent antioxidant protection.

So, here’s our list of the top 14 diabetes-defying foods you should have on your shopping list:

  1. Wild Salmon
  2. Pasture-Raised Poultry & Eggs
  3. Grass-Fed Beef
  4. Dark Leafy Greens
  5. Nuts
  6. Avocados
  7. Blueberries
  8. Cinnamon
  9. Organic Coffee
  10. Red Wine (in moderation, and with meals, please!)
  11. Tea
  12. Olive Oil
  13. Cocoa
  14. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

To learn about how these foods (and hundreds more!) can help beat diabetes and sculpt the lean healthy body you deserve, check out our diabetes diet section  as well as hundreds of delicious diabetes recipes (yes, including all-natural, sugar-free dessert recipes!).

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About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.


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