For many people diagnosed with diabetes, the first thought is, "Oh no... I've been sentenced to a life of boring foods!"
Not only is that NOT the case, but Dr. Howard M. Shapiro and Chef Franklin Becker are here to show you how you can continue to eat great while you control your diabetes.
You can even eat delicious brownies as you'll see from the following exclusive excerpt from the new book Eat & Beat Diabetes with Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program to Prevent and Control Diabetes (Harlequin).
Get ready to dig in to some yummy recipes and, as you'll see from the great images and recipes in this book, the proof is in the pudding... and the salads... and the soups...
A Note on Chocolate: The Good Keeps Getting Better
by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro & Chef Franklin Becker
Chocolate is the gift that keeps giving -- as rich in health benefits as it is in pleasurable taste. Yes, chocolate contains saturated fat, but unlike other saturated fats, its fat content does not raise blood cholesterol levels. And cocoa, which is chocolate without the fat, is even low in calories.
We're talking here about dark chocolate -- not milk or white chocolate, which are loaded with sugar. White chocolate, in fact, is not technically chocolate at all and delivers none of the considerable health benefits of chocolate.
But at the heart of the matter is chocolate's content of flavonols, phytonutrients found in many fruits and vegetables, including the cocoa bean. Especially where diabetes is an issue, flavonols pack a powerful health punch, helping to raise insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, decrease bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol and promote the health of blood vessels.
There's a simple way to put it: Chocolate is very, very good for heart health.
Several studies have shown that insulin resistance drops and insulin sensitivity rises after ingesting chocolate -- specifically, dark chocolate. That gives chocolate a special punch when it comes to preventing and/or managing diabetes.
Equally powerful is research showing chocolate's impact on blood pressure. One recent study demonstrated that the drop in blood pressure from consuming cocoa products was equivalent to the decrease that would have been achieved had the study participants been taking blood pressure medication!
Well, how would you rather control your blood pressure -- with prescription drugs or with cocoa?
Cocoa and chocolate have also been proven to be beneficial where vascular health is concerned. Studies have shown that these foods help limit the buildup of plaque in the arteries by lowering LDL cholesterol. At the same time, they help raise HDL cholesterol levels.
Other studies demonstrate the power of chocolate to inhibit blood platelet activity and limit clotting -- the same sort of thing aspirin does -- and to keep the blood vessels relaxed and dilated, thus helping to maintain a healthy blood flow.
Yes, there are calories to contend with, so how can you get these stunning benefits of the flavonols without the calories? One answer is by focusing on cocoa -- regular cocoa, not dutch cocoa, which is processed with an alkali that actually destroys the flavonols. Try adding a teaspoon of cocoa to your hot or iced coffee for a mocha effect. Or mix it into your sugar-free cocoa mix for a healthful hot chocolate on a cold winter's day. If you find the taste isn't sweet enough for you, add a packet or two of Splenda or your preferred low-calorie sweetener.
Another way to get the benefits of flavonols is sugar-free dark chocolate candy bars. Although caloric, these bars are fine for an occasional treat.
One note: When making desserts with chocolate, always use unsweetened or baking chocolate (100 percent cacao), and sweeten with sugar-free syrup, sugar-free preserves or the low-calorie sweetener of your choice.
As you see, chocolate can be your friend.
And as the recipes that follow demonstrate, where weight loss and diabetes management are concerned, chocolate lovers really can have it all.
Beat Diabetes Brownies
1 cup granulated Splenda
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened soy protein powder*
6-8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup brewed coffee, regular or decaffeinated
1/2 cup sugar-free syrup (preferably chocolate, but any flavor is fine)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan, or coat with nonstick spray.
1. In a large bowl combine Splenda, flour, protein powder and salt. Add coffee, syrup, oil and vanilla, and stir until well blended.
2. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over top and press gently into batter.
3. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly in pan before cutting into squares.
Yield: 12 brownies
Regular brownie (2.5 ounces)
14 grams fat
20 grams sugar
= 3 pats butter, 5 teaspoons sugar
Beat Diabetes Brownie (per 2 .5 ounce brownie)
9 grams fiber
= no sugar added
less than 1 gram saturated fat
* Available in health-food stores and many markets (Whole Foods, Trader Joe's etc).
The above is an excerpt from the book Eat & Beat Diabetes with Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program to Prevent and Control Diabetes by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro and Chef Franklin Becker. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2010 Dr. Howard M. Shapiro and Chef Franklin Becker, authors of Eat & Beat Diabetes with Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program to Prevent and Control Diabetes
Dr. Howard M. Shapiro changed the way American lost weight with his New York Times bestseller Picture Perfect Weight Loss. He is the founder and director of Howard M. Shapiro Medical Associates, a private multidisciplinary medical office in New York City that specializes in weight control, nutrition counseling and life management. Visit his website at www.drhowardshapiro.com.
Franklin Becker has served as executive chef at several of New York's premier restaurants and his work has been featured in the New York Times, New York magazine, Esquire and People. At the age of 27, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Following his diagnosis, Chef Becker lost 35 pounds and transformed his cooking style to create dazzling dishes that are healthy and flavorful. Chef Becker currently presides over Abe & Arthur's restaurant, located in New York City's Meatpacking district. Visit his website at www.cheffranklinbecker.com.