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Can millet make you diabetic?

Posted Mar 05 2009 4:39am

If wheat is so bad, what about all the other grains?

First of all, I demonize wheat because of its top-of-the-list role in triggering:

--Appetite--Wheat increases hunger dramatically
--Blood sugar--Wheat is worse than table sugar in triggering a rapid, large rise in blood sugar
--Small LDL particles--the number one cause for heart disease in the U.S.
--Reduced HDL
--Autoimmune diseases--Most notably celiac disease and thyroiditis.

Most other "healthy, whole grains" aren't quite as bad. It's a matter of degree.

Millet, quinoa, oats, sorghum, bulghur, spelt, barley, cornmeal--While they don't trigger appetite nor autoimmune diseases like wheat does (oat can in some people), they still pose a significant carbohydrate load sufficient to generate the other phenomena like excessive insulin and blood sugar responses. The grams of carbohydrate of these grains are virtually identical to wheat: 43.5 grams per 1/2 cup (uncooked). The exceptions are barley, which is especially loaded with carbohydrates: 104 grams per 1/2 cup, while oats are lower: 33 g per 1/2 cup.

It's all a matter of degree. Some people who are exceptionally carbohydrate-sensitive (like me) can have diabetic blood sugars with just slow-cooked oatmeal or quinoa. Others aren't quite so sensitive and can get away with eating them.

People with high blood sugars (100 mg/dl or greater) can be very sensitive to the blood sugar effects of these grain carbohydrates. The best marker of all are small LDL particles measured on a lipoprotein panel, such as NMR. Small LDL particles are exquisitely sensitive to your carbohydrate intake: small LDL gets worse with excessive sensitivity to grain carbohydrates, gets better with reduction or elimination.

Flagrant small LDL, in combination with low HDL, high triglycerides, and pre-diabetic or diabetic patterns all develop from carbohydrate indulgence, along with " wheat belly."

Don't believe it? The prove it to yourself: Go to Walmart and buy an inexpensive glucose meter and check your blood sugar one hour after eating. You can gauge the health of these foods by observing the blood sugar increases. (Small LDL closely parallels blood sugar rises.)

The grain that fails to trigger any of these abnormal patterns? Flaxseed. Flaxseed is entirely protein, fiber, and healthy oils, with virtually no digestible starches. In fact, flaxseed is one of the few foods that reduces the quantity of small LDL particles.
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