Sugar Sweetened Beverages: Out of Sight and out of Mind

In a study conducted by University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Elissa Epel and colleagues, Epel wanted to evaluate the relationship between access to sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in the workplace and total daily consumption.

Epel and team banned the sale of all SSBs at UCSF for 10 months. Her team found that in employees deemed “frequent” SSB drinkers, consumption went down from 35 fluid ounces to a startling 17 oz.

Even though the employees still had access to SSBs outside of the campus, their consumption decreased significantly, highlighting the impact of eliminating access to SSBs in the work environment.

“This shows us that simply ending sales of sugary drinks in the workplace can have a meaningful effect on improving health in less than one year,” Epel said in a statement. “There is a well-known pathway from soda to disease. High sugar intake leads to abdominal fat and insulin resistance, which are known risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even dementia. Recent studies have also linked sugar intake to early mortality.”

But this correlation was not enough for Epel. Before the ban went into effect, her team recruited 214 full-time employees who were self-reported “frequent” SSB drinkers. Epel and her team then randomly separated the employees into two groups: one group would receive a motivational intervention along with the SSB ban, while the other group wouldn’t receive any intervention. The motivational intervention included a 15-minute motivational session to begin and 5-minute calls one week, one month, and sixth months after the ban was put into effect.

The results were astounding; the participants in the intervention group consumed 25.4 oz less compared to the control group who only consumed 8.2 oz less.

Epel and her team had successfully proven a correlation between banning SSBs and consumption as well as a correlation between intervention and consumption. To read more about Epel’s study click here.

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Getting ready to take a test in the future? Many adults find test taking stress inducing, both in the study time leading up to it and during the exam itself.

Read more to learn about “retrieval practice” below to help with test success.

Tufts University reported on a study on learning methods, particularly retrieval practice (learning by taking practice tests), and how this strategy can protect against the negative effects of stress.

The researchers analyzed two approaches to learning:

  • one group was given multiple study periods to memorize a set of images and word (memorization)
  • the other group took timed practice tests, attempting to recall as many items as they could (retrieval practice).

After a 24-hour break, half of each group was exposed to and experienced an episode of acute stress.

After this, both groups were given two memory tests to recall the words or images studied the previous day: one immediately after the stress scenario, and one twenty minutes after.

The stressed group who practiced retrieval practice remembered more items than their non-stressed counterparts who simply used multiple study periods (memorization). Those who used memorization and were exposed to a stressful scenario remembered the least out of the groups.

This study suggests that retrieval practice can help with long-term memory retention and guard against the adverse effects of stress!

Are you enrolled in our Diabetes Ed Online University?

We are proud to be using “retrieval practice” as the mode of studying for our practice tests and courses based on these scientific studies.

Our test results let students know if they chose the right our wrong answer. This approach encourages review of the material and retesting for better recall in finding the right answer. By omitting the answer key and encouraging retesting, we provide the opportunity for students to enhance long term knowledge retention and incorporate “retrieval practice” into their studies.

Read the full study here.

We hope you all appreciate and enjoy the test questions we come up with for our Question of the Week, Free Quizzes, and for all of our courses!

Interested in more practice? Our Test Taking Toolkit offers over 200 practice questions for the exam! You can purchase that here for only $49.

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Happy Mindful Monday! Today we’re offering a new perspective by showcasing dishes around the world. This comes from the New York Times after they interviewed 18 families around the world to see what their typical weeknight dinner is:

In Bangkok, Thailand:

Omelet and Thai Sour Curry

Omelet with carrots, stir-fried minced pork and eggplant, and Thai sour curry with cauliflower is a common meal. Family members are expected to clean up after themselves and help cook at least one night a week.

In Gurgaon, India:


The Osan family eats around 9 p.m., normally with palak paneer (spinach with cheese), raita, kadai aloo (potatoes with onions and spices), cucumber salad and roasted chapatis.

In Rome, Italy:

Tomatoes Au Gratin

The mother normally cooks for the rest of her family, and an easy weeknight meal includes saltimbocca (veal rolled with ham and sage), homemade pesto with trofie pasta, and baked tomatoes au gratin.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:


The Khojandi family eats a mix of prepared and homemade foods during the weeknight. This includes smashed beans, shakshuka (eggs poached in a tomato and green pepper stew with onions and garlic), and masoob (a mix of banana, bread, dates, cream, and honey.

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti:

Many Haitian families take their main meal at midday. The Charles’ family prepares avocado, white rice, sos pwa nwa (black bean puree), beef and blue crabs marinated in orange and lime, and lalo (boiled jute leaves and chopped spinach).

In Rehovot, Israel:


The Levy family eats Yemeni soup, chicken schnitzel, chraime (white fish in tangy and spicy tomato sauce with smoked paprika and cilantro), with challah (bread) and rice.

In Paris, France:


In Paris, roasted chicken and couscous were part of an early dinner for the Devouges. Their meal ended with various cheeses (Petit Suisse, Comte, and Emmental).

In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa:


Chakalaka (relish made with fried peppers, grated carrots, and baked beans) is a South African favorite. Ujeqe (steamed bread) and braised oxtail is a common weeknight meal.

In Western Australia:


The Opie family eats pan-fried nannygai (red snapper), broccolini, and sweet potato fries for dinnr. Their children get extra fruits and vegetables like strawberries, raspberries, snow peas, and carrots.

In Amsterdam, Netherlands:

The Henkets eat a dinner of salmon with basmati rice and broccoli and a dessert of homemade custard with fresh raspberries and berry jam.

In Lagos, Nigeria:

In Lagos, their meal revolves around the sauces. With plantain flatbreads and chicken suya, condiments include peanut butter sauce, papaya chutney, hibiscus green chile sauce, mint and spring onion oil, tamarind ginger sauc, and beet and carrot sauerkraut.

In Monterrey, Mexico:

Huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs with chorizo and onions, served with flour tortillas) is a staple, even for dinner.

In Moscow, Russia:

Liza prepares dinner for her husband and six children. While she cooks, the children and her husband are in charge of setting the table. Kotleti (beef patties with bread, egg, and onion), rice, green salad, and an eggplant, red pepper, basil salad make for a perfect weeknight meal.

In Tokyo, Japan:

Fish, rice, and miso soup are a classic Japanese meal. Yasuko cooks for her adult son a few nights a week, with mebaru (rockfish) being on the menu that night. Fresh fruit serves as dessert.

In Istanbul, Turkey:

Kofte (meatballs), lentil soup, bulgur pilaf with tomato and bell pepper, dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and red beans in olive oil make up the Terzi family dinner. A rice pudding called sutlac with tahini and walnuts is for dessert.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil:

In Brazil, the mom cooks the meal of picadinho (beef, potato and carrot stew) with rice and salad, while the dad sets the table. The children are expected to clean up afterward.

Read full descriptions and see in-home photography from the New York Times report!

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As lifestyle coaches and diabetes specialists, we all know how important regular activity is to improve well-being, glucose levels, and overall health. Yet, keeping engaged in an ongoing activity is one of the biggest challenges most people face.

Soul line dancing might just offer an unexpected solution.

Soul line dancing – like country line dancing – is really just choreographed dance moves that you do in a group, without a partner. “It’s a sneaky way to get exercise in”

Andrea powell – soul dancing devotee

This activity offers the benefit of connecting with friends, learning a sequence of moves (that is great for brain function) and having fun. It’s an efficient way to improve cardiovascular health and keep fit.

Soul line dancing is held in local churches, gyms, community recreation and senior centers. “There is such enjoyment and that is part of music and part of rhythm, and is almost innate in humans,” say Terri Lipman, a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Lipman is collecting data on the impact of soul dancing programs and says that the data shows that soul line dancing counts as moderate exercise.

Since soul line dancing is an exercise that is both fun and social, it creates a habit that is more likely to last for the long run!

Read more here from NPR Story: Soul Line Dancing: Come For The Fitness. Stay For The Friendships

And, if you want to learn the World Diabetes Day Flash Mob, here are the steps and a video. Just in time for National Diabetes Month in November.

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A recent study, analyzing more than 2,600 German adults, showed an association between height and diabetes risk. Specifically, that tall people may have lower risk for developing Type 2, while shorter people may be at increased risk for developing Type 2.

The study showed that for every 10 cm of greater height, the risk for Type 2 was 41% lower for men and 33% lower for women.

Research found that the association between height and risk for type 2 diabetes was a stronger association in people with normal weight, rather than those experiencing overweight or an elevated BMI above 30.

For men and women with normal weight, every 10 cm of greater height lessened the risk of developing Type 2 by 86% in men and 67% in women.

The study suggested that this association between height and Type 2 diabetes risk may be based on healthier cardiometabolic profiles attributable to height.

For full study details, read more on Healio.

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Happy Mindful Monday! Below we highlight a beautiful poem by Liezel Graham who has a son living with type 1 diabetes.

In my fridge,
in the shelf that is designed
to hold cheese,

there are vials of hope,
and an emergency kit
in bright orange,

remember, remember 
in case you forget
how to breathe,

with pre-filled hormone,

so that when my fingers 
fumble with fear
I have a needle 
to plunge deep into muscle,

to bring you back
if you should ever slip
too far away 
from me.

I keep nocturnal vigils with foxes
other moon mothers 
who have to keep on keeping on,


and how tired can a mother
be and still breathe?

I punch a calculator in my head 
with every meal, 
I sing songs of

no, you cannot eat that now
and please, 
you must drink this now, 
or else…

and in this home we know needles, and


and we are the ones with 
a yellow sharps container
on our kitchen counter
have no such things, and

we are intimately familiar 
with the fear 
a word,


but, I also know this hope that lives in delicate glass vials,
where every drop
holds life


and also my heart, and

I promise you 
that cells might forget
how to keep
you alive,

but I will not forget,
give up,


for you, 
and for life,
I am grateful.

— on mothering diabetes.

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Diabetes Education Service’s (DES) one-weekend only Labor Day Sale is ending today! Be sure to take advantage of this 15% off sale by visiting our Labor Day Collection in our store. This sale features a rare discount on our Diabetes Leaders’ Conference. Register below to enjoy a sunny December in Florida, 7.5 CEs and networking opportunities with technology session! Also included in the sale are a number of online course bundles and online+book bundles, all able to be found in our Labor Day Sale Collection. Sale ends 11:59 p.m. today!

Enter discount code “Labor2019” to get 15% off select items.

Objectives:  By the conclusion of this conference, participants will:

  1. Create new possibilities to improve diabetes care.
  2. Gain fresh ideas and inspiration for your diabetes setting.
  3. Develop a realistic action plan for change.
  4. Collaborate and network with colleagues and experts in the field.

December 6, 2019 | Safety Harbor, FL

Location: Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
105 North Bayshore Drive, Safety Harbor, FL  34695

Registration Fee of $229 includes: 

  • Catered breakfast and lunch
  • Diabetes Med PocketCards
  • 7.5 CEs for Nurses, RD and CA Pharmacists
  • Ask the Expert Panel 
  • Networking Opportunities 

Sign up for Diabetes Blog Bytes – we post one daily Blog Byte from Monday to Friday. And of course, Tuesday is our Question of the Week. It’s Informative and FREE!  Sign up below!

A new study from the University of Nottingham suggests yes! The study examined the effect coffee on brown fat.

Brown fat is a heat generating form of fat, unlike white fat which simply store the body’s excess calories. The heat generation of brown fat helps burn calories in the process of thermogenesis.

Brown fat normally is triggered in response to cold and helps the body produce heat by burning sugar and fat. In this study, the brown fat actually became hotter after a drink of coffee!

Michael Symonds, the study leader, explained the next step will be testing if caffeine supplements create a similar effect. Read the full report on the study here.

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A study from the University College London, published in Depression & Anxiety showed an association between eating dark chocolate, and lessening symptoms of depression.

This study isolated the effects of dark chocolate only, avoiding variables such as socioeconomic status, which they believed could “confound the association between chocolate and depression.”

The study showed significantly lower odds of symptoms of clinical depression in study participants who ate dark chocolate as compared to other chocolate types.

The findings indicate a positive relationship between dark chocolate and lessened depression. However, they need to be confirmed in duplicate studies that carefully consider confounding variables.

In another study, researchers highlighted that highly stressed people who ate the equivalent of one average-sized dark chocolate candy bar (1.4 ounces) each day for two weeks experienced reduced levels of cortisol and catecholamine levels compared to highly stressed people who did not eat dark chocolate for 2 weeks.

Researchers also say dark chocolate appeared to have beneficial effects on the participants’ metabolism and microbial activity in the gut.

Bottom line – looks like we all need to eat more dark chocolate!

Read University College London Study on Chocolate Reduces Depression Risk

Read Dark Chocolate Lowers Stress Hormones from Web MD

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The University of Auckland in New Zealand has released a new study showing a positive association between gratitude journaling and A1c levels in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

60 adolescents were assigned either to 8 weeks of gratitude journaling, where they had to list three positive aspects of their life, compared to adolescents who did not journal gratitude (usual care). All participants had a baseline A1c of 8.4%.

After 8 weeks, those who were not assigned to gratitude journaling had an 8.9% at the end of the study. Those in the gratitude group experienced a lower A1c of 8.3%!

For full details of the study, visit Healio Endocrine Today.

Interested in learning more about adolescents and diabetes? Take our tots to teens course, where we cover special issues diabetes educators need to be aware of when working with children and their families.

When it comes to insulin pumps, sensors and calculation, many of us feel overwhelmed and unsure about diabetes technology management. Plus, with the vast amount of information, it may seem impossible to figure out what to focus on for our clinical practice and to prepare for the diabetes certification exam.

Coach Beverly invites you to enroll in our NEW Technology Toolkit Online Course Bundle, to keep you abreast of the rapidly changing world of Insulin Pump Therapy, Continuous Glucose Monitoring and calculations while preparing for exam success. 

Technology Toolkit Airs August 20 and August 23

If you want cutting edge information on diabetes technology, problem solving and using formulas to determine appropriate insulin dosing, we highly recommend this toolkit.

Sign up for Diabetes Blog Bytes – we post one daily Blog Byte from Monday to Friday. And of course, Tuesday is our Question of the Week. It’s Informative and FREE!  Sign up below!

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