Category Archives: Diabetes 101


Understanding Ketones

Editor’s Note: This article references Ketones in relation to diabetes but is commonly misspelled as Keytones.

Individuals subscribing to an ultra-low carbohydrate diet may be well versed in knowing what their keytone/ketone levels are. The presence of ketones for the dieter may signify their body is accelerating the process of burning excess fat. In a normal, healthy individual the presence of ketones may not be a significant problem, but for a Type 1 diabetic the issue can be deadly.
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soft drinks and diabetes

Soft Drinks and Diabetes

Soft drinks and diabetes. What effect do soft drinks have on diabetes? If recent reports are accurate there may be more to the potential link than you may have thought – and for some interesting reasons.

Yahoo Health suggests, “Consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.”
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Stress Can Greatly Influence Diabetes

Stress Can Greatly Influence Diabetes

Stress can significantly affect almost any part of life, however, when you have a chronic illness such as diabetes, it can play a part in how you manage and control your disease. Diabetics under stress are more likely to forget crucial aspects of diabetes therapy, like proper eating habits, and regular administration of medication. This reckless abandon can lead to a fluctuation in blood glucose levels, and could eventually result in diabetic complications.
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caffeine and diabetes

Caffeine And Diabetes

There have been conflicting reports on caffeine and diabetes so we’ll keep the topic live on this article.

For most people regardless of if they have diabetes or not, part of their morning routine is to sit with a nice cup of coffee to start their day. Coffee as we all know contains caffeine which is a stimulant. This is why coffee wakes so many people up in the morning.

Caffeine and Diabetes: What we thought

It was originally thought that caffeine does not affect your blood sugar when it is consumed in moderate amounts. However within the past few years, research has come out showing that caffeine makes diabetes worse. In fact researchers from Duke University Medical Center discovered a strong link between caffeine consumption at mealtimes and higher blood glucose and insulin levels.

Caffeine and Diabetes Study

James D. Lane, PHD did a study and discovered this. He took 10 people who had type 2 diabetes and had them stop drinking coffee. On one morning the patients took pill that contained 250 mg caffeine and then another one at lunch. This equals about 2 cups of coffee at each meal. On some mornings they were given a placebo pill with no caffeine in them. What he saw was that on days where caffeine was consumed, the blood sugar levels were 8% higher than on the days they didn’t have caffeine.

Additional Caffeine Studies

Ironically enough, there have been several studies that show that coffee drinkers, especially heavy coffee drinkers have a lower risk of diabetes. This baffled quiet a number of people. How can coffee both protect against diabetes yet also worsen diabetes? You need to remember that it is not the coffee that does it but rather the caffeine in the coffee that is no good if you have diabetes. In fact some studies are showing that there are other components of coffee, excluding caffeine, which may be beneficial in the long term reduction of diabetes risk. For some reason though, the anti-diabetes compound that many scientists feel are in coffee, they do not offset the harmful effects that come with the caffeine included in coffee. There was a study done where caffeine was put into decaf coffee (the decaff coffee has no effect on blood sugar levels after being drank) and there was still the rise in blood sugar levels after it was consumed.

What Should Diabetics Do?

So what does this mean for you if you suffer from diabetes? Well for starters, you do not have to give up your morning cup of joe, but you should consider switching over to decaf. As said before, coffee itself does have some benefits for diabetics but the risk that comes with the caffeine in regular coffee is not worth the risk. You also need to stop drinking anything that has caffeine in it. This includes many soft drinks. Some diabetics who are able to control their blood sugar levels can tell if they have to high of a level. If you are like this, you probably can continue to drink your regular coffee in moderation. But remember the second you feel your blood sugar level going high, you have to switch to decaf.

It is a hard thing for many people to give up their caffeine, but in the end it is going to help you better manage your diabetes.

a1c levels chart

A1C Levels

An A1C level helps a diabetic see how well he or she has controlled their blood sugars over an average of a 2-3 month period. This is one of the first tests an endocrinologist will run on you. A1c results are obtained by a simple blood test and take just a few minutes to get the results. You should know your result before leaving the office.

A1c Chart

a1c levels chart

An A1c Chart for Reference

The A1c chart above shows how your blood sugars average over a 2-3 month period of time determine your A1c score. The goal is a 7 or less. This means your average blood sugar reads at 150 or lower. Every diabetic is different and each will have their own individual goal but the standard has been 7 or less.

Glycated Hemoglobin

The A1C test measures the level of what is called “glycated hemoglobin.” The hemoglobin is the protein in the red blood cells that allows those cells to carry oxygen. The molecular structure of hemoglobin allows the red blood cell to pick-up oxygen in the lung and to release it in an oxygen-deprived body cell.

Of course, the hemoglobin in the red blood cells does not link to only oxygen. Hemoglobin molecules in the blood also link to other chemicals in the blood stream. If a diabetic has a high level of blood sugar in his or her bloodstream, that excess sugar enters the red blood cells. The hemoglobin in the blood cells links to the entering sugar.


Biochemists have given a name to the process that creates a linkage between hemoglobin and sugar. Biochemists call that process “glycation.” Once hemoglobin links to a sugar molecule, it becomes glycated hemoglobin. The level of glycated hemoglobin in the blood indicates the level of sugar in the blood.

Once the body produces a molecule of hemoglobin, that hemoglobin remains in the bloodstream for two to three months. If it becomes glycated hemoglobin, it continues to stay in a red blood cell for the normal “life” of a hemoglobin molecule (2-3 months). The A1C level gives the physician an overview of a patient’s blood sugar level for a two to three month interval. Exactly what level does the physician want to see?

What the Endocrinologist Sees

A trained physician should know that a patient without diabetes usually has an A1C level of 5%. The A1C level in a diabetic can be expected to rise above 5%. What sort of rise should alarm the physician? What sort of rise should let the physician know that his or her patient needs an improved diabetes treatment plan?

A diabetic who has A1C levels of 7% does not need to make major changes in his or her treatment plan. Such a diabetic has an A1C level that shows only a mild rise above the normal A1C level. Such a diabetic has come close to achieving control of his or her blood sugar level.

A diabetic who has A1C levels of 25% would hear pleas from his or her physician to make immediate changes in the existing diabetes treatment schedule. An A1C level of 25% would show that the treatment schedule currently in use had failed to offer a means for control of the diabetic’s blood sugar level as the blood sugar levels would be running too high.

Of course a physician would not call for great changes in a diabetes treatment plan after looking at only a single A1C level. The physician would want to know if that level had remained stable for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Only when an A1C l level has shown such stability does a trained physician feel ready to base a treatment schedule on that A1C level.

The A1C level reveals what a single test of the blood sugar level can never hope to reveal. The A1C level discloses the degree to which a diabetic has managed to maintain an acceptable blood sugar level. By examining a patient’s A1C level, a physician can watch for indications that a patient might have subjected his or her body tissues to an abnormally large amount of glucose.

High A1C levels indicates passage of a 2 to 3 month period during which the red blood cells have managed to link up with excess sugar molecules. During that same period, the patient’s circulatory system and nervous system has been under stress. This type of a result needs to be met with better control of your blood sugars.