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Adding Beans to The Diabetic Diet
The Significance of Resistant Starches

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Ask A Healer Series on Diabetes

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Beans, not just good for your heart!


Related: Diabetes Testing

Question on health care and healing: I just read something about beans being good for diabetics but aren't they starches? I thought starches were not good for diabetics.

Healing Facilitation Response: Well, apparently, it depends on what type of starch you eat, as to whether it's a good addition to the diabetic diet or not. White flour products like pastas, breads, cookies and other items made with white, or refined flour, are definitely not recommended because they do raise blood sugar levels. However, there are other starchy foods that have different properties that are beneficial for diabetics, and these types of foods are called resistant starches.

Resistant Starches in the Diabetic Diet:
Scientists classify a starch as resistant if it resists digestion in the small intestine and ends up in the large intestine as more of a fiber. The reason this may be very beneficial for diabetics is that these resistant starches lowers glycemic response and helps reduce the insulin spikes that often follow the ingestion of simple carbs and sugars.

Which foods are resistant starches?
1. Beans
2. Lentils
3. White Northern Beans
4. String Beans
5. Red Kidney Beans
6. Black-Eyed Peas
7. Whole Grains (Unrefined)

This is only a partial list of some of the higher ranked resistant starches but you can include most any bean and whole grain to the list although some whole grains, like barley, are surprisingly low in resistant starch rating and soy has hardly any resistant starch value.

Weight Loss Benefits of Adding Resistant Starches to the Diabetic Diet:
In addition to the blood sugar regulating benefits of beans, lentils and other foods classified as resistant starches, there are also factors that may help diabetics maintain a more normal weight and lose weight easier if they are overweight. When beans are added to the diet, they help with weight normalization for several reasons. Beans are very high fiber, they increase fat-burning potential for up to a day after you eat them, and they act as natural starch blockers. An added bonus for the diabtetic is the lowered glycemic response they illicit. As an added benefit, beans also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Important Additional Dietary Factors - Resistant Starches vs Omega 3's:
As nutrition-packed and benefical as beans and whole grains can be, as part of the diabetic diet, they cannot match or replace the benefits of Omega 3's, such as are contained in salmon. However, be aware that farmed salmon does not have the healthiest fat profile. Go for wild-harvested Alaskan Salmon and you'll be getting the healthiest high protein food of all. All salmon is not equally beneficial. According to Dr. N.V. Perricone, who always recommends wild-harvested salmon instead of farmed salmon, the health benefits of this delicious seafood include a powerfully anti-inflammatory, a uniquely powerful antioxidant, and a rare dietary source of DMAE. Dr. Perricone is the author of The Perricone Prescription, and The Perricone Weight Loss Diet as well as several other wellness books.

Note from Neva: Since the Gulf Oil Spill and the radiation from Fukushima have become such a concern, I am not eating Pacific caught fish at all nor Gulf of Mexico seafood. It's worth checking to see where your fish and seafood are caught these days.

FDA Allows Labeling Claims: I'm thrilled to read that the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will allow food manufacturers to make health claims for two omega-3 fatty acids. Food labels can now state that products containing these oils might provide some protection from heart disease. This information courtesy of Science News Online

Diabetic Health Care Disclaimer: The diabetic diet you have been given by your doctor should not be deviated from without consulting your doctor first. Ask your doctor if adding more beans and whole grains is ok. The diabetes-related health care information on this page, or elsewhere on this site, is not meant to replace needed medical diagnosis or treatment. Natural diabetes remedies may be helpful in assisting the body to balance blood sugar levels and other diabetes symptoms. However, natural remedies are not being presented as a substitute for medical evaluation and consult.