I do not control which ads are displayed by Google Ads nor do I endorse the products advertised. Ads claiming diabetes is curable or reversible should be ignored.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Psyllium, Fibre, Muesli and Nuts

Back when I started following Jennifer’s testing advice I gradually cut the starchy and high GI carbs in my daily menu significantly. I replaced them with other veges but on analysis I found I needed to add some fibre back into my menu. I found that the most readily available supplement to do that was psyllium husk; a food that is 80-85% dietary fibre.

If you do a little searching on psyllium you will find a lot of scientific papers on it’s various benefits. However, it’s not easy to eat the stuff directly. That’s why commercially available forms such as Metamucil have other flavours and ingredients added to make them palatable.

Separate to that, I also found that I could eat more carbs in the evening and that a small bowl of muesli at bedtime helped with my dawn effect numbers in the morning. Additionally, I try to eat some nuts regularly as part of my menu.

As a result of all those different factors I gradually developed this simple recipe for my bedtime snack.


750gm or 1 Kg (1 1/2 to 2 lbs) pack of Muesli from the supermarket.
For those who haven’t eaten Muesli, it is usually a mix of rolled oats, other grains, dried fruits
etc. High in whole grains and fruits, so high carb but also high fibre. Usually about 65% carb and 10-14% fibre.

400-500 gms of mixed nuts, roasted but not salted.

My usual mix is brazils, walnuts, almonds, cashews; I vary it occasionally with pecans or other real nuts. No peanuts.

200-250gm psyllium husks from the local health food store.

The result is roughly a 4:2:1 ratio of Muesli:nuts:psyllium.


I chop the nuts coarsely in a food processor, but not to the point where they are a powder. I like the crunch when I eat them. Then I just mix all the ingredients together and store them in a large air-tight container.


At bedtime I put two or three tablespoons of the mix in a bowl and cover it with enough whole milk to wet it; I experiment to find the quantity needed to overcome the psyllium's tendency to set the mix solid:-)

Occasionally I use water instead of milk, or a combination of both.

For my most recent mix I worked out the actual numbers (US style, subtract fibre) for a 40gm serve with 100ml whole milk. Obviously these numbers will vary according to your muesli ingredients and choice of nuts:

Calories ................ 220__cal
Protein .....................8__gm
Total Fat..................12__gm
Sat. Fat.....................3__gm
Mono. Fat.................5__gm
Poly. Fat....................3__gm
Cholesterol ..............13__mg

I eat that at bedtime 3-4 nights per week.

One other beneficial side effect was to improve my morning regularity.

Cheers, Alan

Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter.

A post-script, 16th May 2008.

This was brought to my attention today, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999:

Effects of psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia

"Results of this study suggest that the addition of psyllium to a standard diet for diabetes is safe, is well tolerated, and offers an additional dietary tool to improve metabolic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. "

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cinnamon, Spices, Herbs and Similar

On the various diabetes groups I read there is a perennial question as to the benefits of cinnamon for reducing blood glucose peaks. Many of the stories about cinnamon can be traced back to a limited study in Pakistan a few years ago and some US follow-ups. I won't argue about their validity but I've seen no credible in-depth studies on the subject. However it keeps recurring almost weekly on places like the ADA forum and was discussed last month on the ADA web-site and last April on David Mendosa's excellent web-site. [see the post-script at the foot, added 18 February 2009

The minimal, if any, effect that cinnamon had on me was trivial. Reducing my carb input by just a few grams had a much greater effect. I still use cinnamon as a spice frequently and infuse it in my morning coffee - but for taste, not BGs. It did affect my post-breakfast BG peak indirectly, because I no longer add milk to my morning coffee as a consequence.

I use many other herbs and spices in my menu. Some for taste, some for medicinal purposes, some for both. Some have proven benefits, such as turmeric for some cancers, some are anecdotal. My attitude is that if it is not harmful I have nothing to lose and a possible gain by adding such things to my menu. However, I do NOT buy capsules or pills of cinnamon, or turmeric, or garlic or anything. I eat them by including the herbs, spices and specific foods regularly in my normal way of eating. Sometimes by spicing up an existing recipe, such as a sprinkle of turmeric and black pepper (the two are complementary) in a morning omelette; sometimes by adding new spicy dishes to my menu, such as Asian stir-fries etc.
So I have tiny amounts of many things almost every day.

As I wrote this I started reviewing the herbs and spices in my menu over the last few days. Just normal days, nothing unusual. Turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, grated black pepper, cumin, paprika, thyme, mint, basil, rosemary, hot chili, fresh garlic, grated ginger and the broad combination spices of garam masala and commercial curry powder. That's in addition to ensuring my menu also included items like avocado, nuts, psyllium husks, leafy greens, onions, capsicum (peppers) etc. And, of course, a modicum of red wine. Most of my herbs are grown fresh at home. When the crop is over-abundant I dry it, chop it and store it for future use out of season.

As to which of those, if any, is helping my diabetes or CLL, who knows. But I'll follow my docs' advice and keep doing what I'm doing.

Because, even if they don't improve my health, they definitely help a slightly restricted menu taste good.

Post-script, 18th February 2009. I just became aware of this paper published in Diabetes Care in January 2008:
Effect of Cinnamon on Glucose Control and Lipid Parameters.

"CONCLUSIONS— In this meta-analysis of five randomized placebo controlled trials, patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes receiving cinnamon did not demonstrate statistically or clinically significant changes in A1C, FBG, or lipid parameters in comparison with subjects receiving placebo."

PPS Added 26th January 2014. This extract from an editorial is from the Annals of Internal Medicine published 17th December 2013 

Other reviews and guidelines that have appraised the role of vitamin and mineral supplements in primary or secondary prevention of chronic disease have consistently found null results or possible harms (56). Evidence involving tens of thousands of people randomly assigned in many clinical trials shows that β-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements increase mortality (67) and that other antioxidants (6), folic acid and B vitamins (8), and multivitamin supplements (1, 5) have no clear benefit.

Despite sobering evidence of no benefit or possible harm, use of multivitamin supplements increased among U.S. adults from 30% between 1988 to 1994 to 39% between 2003 to 2006, while overall use of dietary supplements increased from 42% to 53% (9). Longitudinal and secular trends show a steady increase in multivitamin supplement use and a decline in use of some individual supplements, such as β-carotene and vitamin E. The decline in use of β-carotene and vitamin E supplements followed reports of adverse outcomes in lung cancer and all-cause mortality, respectively. In contrast, sales of multivitamins and other supplements have not been affected by major studies with null results, and the U.S. supplement industry continues to grow, reaching $28 billion in annual sales in 2010. Similar trends have been observed in the United Kingdom and in other European countries.

The large body of accumulated evidence has important public health and clinical implications. Evidence is sufficient to advise against routine supplementation, and we should translate null and negative findings into action. The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries (9).
Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter