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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Starch Blockers and Diabetes Management


Disciplined eating and drinking can keep type 2 diabetes away on its own. Many people spend years in pre-diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome, before lapsing in to states which require oral medication and even insulin injections to preserve the remnants of health.

Why are we such suckers for binge eating, and stuffing our systems with unnecessary calories? Both the Internet and mainstream media are replete with low-calorie recipes, and advice on how to diet sensibly. Doctors, if we care to pay heed to them, are generally conservative and diligent in warning patients of the dangers of diabetes, long before the disease actually knocks on the door.

Temptation and social norms are two incredibly influential barriers to preserving normal glucose metabolism. Food can look so good, and we may feel so terribly hungry, that large and second portions, forbidden snacks, and everything we should keep away from our bodies, enters with delightful ease! Prevarication is awfully common, and who does not make promises to get serious about dieting from tomorrow?

Keeping away from sugar and fat holds center stage when it comes to diabetes prevention. The latest sugar substitutes are incredibly close to the real thing, and cooking media without saturated fats, and food preparation methods with minimal oil, add up to enable a pretty satiated life even as we battle against diabetes. However, what can we do about carbohydrates?

It is all very well to say that people with diabetes must stay away from bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta. Those of us to love to eat and feel hungry even as our plates are emptied, despair at the thought of skimping, or having to do away with filling foods altogether. Diets would be so much easier to maintain if only we could eat something filling to our heart’s content!

There is no utopia in diabetes prevention and management, at least not as yet, but starch blockers can make life easier for people threatened by or afflicted with type 2 diabetes (Kurzwell, and Grossman, 2004). These products keep carbohydrates away from blood, release sugars in to our systems at moderated rates, and effectively reduce the glycemic indices of some comfort foods.

Pitfalls of OTC Diabetes Diet Management

The main obstacle to more widespread use of starch blockers is the fact that so many brands are freely available without prescriptions (Stamos, 2007). One need not even make the effort to walk around the block to a retail shelf to buy a pack, because starch blockers are even available online. OTC starch blockers can harm diabetes management, and effectively give the entire therapeutic area a bad name.

OTC starch blockers are sold as nutritional supplements rather than as drugs. This means that they bypass the entire regulatory process in terms of testing for efficacy and safety. The main ingredient is herbal, so who knows if all batches of production will be the same as the ones which have been reported in literature (Udani, Hardy, and Madsen, 2004)? The average person with diabetes cannot fully rely on such brands, and who would like to take a chance with a health matter?

Dosage is another issue with OTC starch blockers. Confusion or uncertainty could result in taking too much, or not enough to achieve the desired results. Your body does need a certain amount of carbohydrate for continuing and vital energy needs, so going overboard with OTC starch blockers can harm you! A starch blocker is likely to affect prescription medicine for diabetes, so effectively there is no staying away from your physician (Clinical Studies, 2007)! OTC starch blockers, if they work, are likely to affect digestion and bowel movements. Again, dealing with such issues without professional help is a mug’s game, so there is no sense for anyone who suffers from diabetes, in trying to experiment with an OTC starch blocker. It is best to use this class of products with the advice and prior approval of your doctor.

When to Ask for a Starch Blocker Prescription in Diabetes Management

A doctor may not prescribe a starch blocker in the first instance, hoping that you will be able to follow a diet, exercise, and medication plan to prevent or to manage diabetes, without distress or unbearable inconvenience. However, perhaps you travel or entertain frequently, causing lapses from your prescribed diet and exercise regimen, or perhaps the portions of carbohydrates you are allowed simply leave you wishing for some more to eat.

A prescription starch blocker will allow some increase in your daily carbohydrate intake (The Fundamental Answer in Managing Dysglycaemic Disease Progression, not dated,). Your doctor may decide that starch blockers are not suitable for your case, if for example, you have a troubled digestion, or for another reason, but there is no harm if you make a suggestion, especially if a modest increase in your plate of pasta will make you especially contented!

Limits to Starch Blockers in Diabetes Management

Make no mistake-no starch blocker prescription will completely sever the yoke of diabetes management. It is not as though you can look forward to gorging on potatoes or bread to your heart’s content. You could well have to submit to additional tests when you first start a starch blocker, just to adjust your oral hypoglycemic or insulin doses. You will probably have more wind in your belly than before, and cannot discontinue popping the starch blocker pills without prior permission from your doctor. You must take a prescription starch blocker precisely before each major meal, or with food, for there is no point in carbohydrates hitting your intestines before the blocker gets there. Ponder on these limitations before you decide that resisting slightly smaller portions of rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread, is not as pleasant as living with a prescription starch blocker.

I declare that I have no financial interest in promoting any brand of prescription starch blocker.

Do send me an email or leave a post here if you would like more information on starch blockers and diabetes.

References

Kurzwell, R, and Grossman, T, 2004, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, Rodale

Stamos, J, 2007, The Truth about Starch Blockers: Can They Speed Up Weight Loss? Article in WebMD, retrieved October 2007 from:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-starch-blockers?page=1

Udani, J, Hardy, M, and Madsen, D, 2004, Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a Clinical Trial using Phase 2 brand proprietary fractionated white bean extract, Alternative medicine review, 9(1):63-9

Clinical Studies, 2007, web site of Phase 2, retrieved October 2007 from: http://www.phase2info.com/clin_studies/clin_stud1.asp

The Fundamental Answer in Managing Dysglycaemic Disease Progression, not dated, website of Glucobay, retrieved October 2007 from: http://www.glucobay.com/en/index.html

7 Comments:

Blogger kevin said...

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4:46 PM  
Blogger Dr. S. Banerji said...

Thank you for your comment. I agree with the imperative of weight control. However, this is easier said than done. There are celebratory occasions and meals while away from home that involve high fat and calorie intakes. Modern medicines make life for the obese easier tha it used to be.

6:59 AM  
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