Changing your diet may lower depression

A new trial conducted by researchers at Macquarie University found a strong association between poor diet and depression. To conduct this trial, researchers split participants into two groups: one group ate a Mediterranean-style diet while the other control group continued to eat their usual diet.

They found that in the group that had changed their diet to eat healthier, depression levels decreased from moderate to non-depressed. The other group remained in the moderately depressed severity range.

“Highly processed foods increase inflammation,” researcher Heather Francis, a lecturer in clinical neuropsychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, told NPR via email. What’s more, “if we don’t consume enough nutrient-dense foods, then this can lead to insufficiencies in nutrients, which also increases inflammation,” she said.

The “healthy group” ate around six more servings of fruits and vegetables than the control group. They were also told to increase their intake of whole grains and healthy proteins and avoid processed foods.

NPR noted that this trial was not a stand alone. In 2017, one study found a link between eating a diet full of refined grains, red meat, and high-fat dairy products and depression.

Although there may be other factors affecting this data, such as the fact that there is no way to “blind” the participants (hence there’s the potential for placebo), this trial could be the first step to lower levels of depression. What this trial truly highlights is how much of one’s life can be affected by the food choices they make.

Read more on this study here.

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Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy every year just for Halloween. That means lots of extra calories and sugar temptations for days and weeks to come.

One strategy to decrease temptation and consumption, is to remove these sugary treats from your home and donate leftover candy to persons or organizations in need. Donating provides a great opportunity to teach children about sharing and kindness, while supporting healthy food choices.

Raegan’s 1st Halloween!

“Giving back to our Soldiers” provides a fantastic opportunity to express our gratitude by sharing these treats and maybe even adding a note of thanks for their service.

Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops stationed in overseas and first responders stateside. The organization’s mission is simple: to put a smile on soldiers’ faces. Kids are encouraged to include letters and pictures, too. Check out the organization’s map for drop-off locations.

Soldiers’ Angels
Soldiers’ Angels organizes Treats for Troops annually. Visit the website to find a donation drop-off point, or register to start a drive of your own.

Operation Shoebox and Any Soldier
These are two more organizations that collect and send care packages to troops overseas. Operation Shoebox accepts individually wrapped candies all year long. Meanwhile, Any Soldier allows you to decide which branch of the armed forces you’d like to support: Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines.

Here are some other strategies:

  • Out of site, out of mind: Try keeping their favorite fruits and veggies in sight and put the candy somewhere where they have to dig for it.
  • Trade treats for treasures: Plan a visit from the Halloween Witch.Tell your kids a tall tale about the Halloween Witch (or fairy). Like her cousin the Tooth Fairy, she sneaks in on the night of October 31 to spirit away candy–and leave a special toy or other gift in its place.Jennifer Tyler Lee posted this clever idea for reducing candy consumption on the Huffington post: Some parents invite their kids to leave a donation to the Switch Witch, who collects up Halloween candy and leaves a present in exchange. Similar to this idea, we’re going to trade treats for treasures. Five candies buys you a pack of hockey cards or a take-apart eraser. Twenty-five candies gets you a bucket of balls at the driving range. One hundred candies can be redeemed for tickets to the local college basketball game.
  • Use candy for crafts: Use use the candy as the raw material to build a holiday house. Have your kids make a candy wreath by gluing packaged candies onto a wreath. Fun and decorative at the same time! A great way to use up extra candy and keeps the kids busy.
  • Just add milk: Serve a glass of nonfat milk or water to enjoy with the candy. This will help balance what they are consuming and leave less room in their their stomach for more candy.

Don’t forget, today is the last day of our October Sale!

Be sure to take advantage of the books on sale and our CDE Prep Bundle which is only $319 right now!

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Whether it’s the candy, the turkey, stuffing, or the desserts, the holidays are a difficult time for anyone to eat healthy and avoid weight gain. Experts suggest that the holidays are not the best time to set weight loss goals. Instead, a more realistic approach is to focus on enjoying special events and weight maintenance coupled with lots of good self-care.

Weight watchers, most dietitians, and health bloggers suggest several strategies to make healthier choices when tempted by holiday fare:

  • There is no need to eat to be polite – save calories or points for favorite foods. If there is lots of pressure, have 1-3 bites of whatever family or friends are suggesting.
  • Be prepared for extra calories: maintain regular eating routine for the whole week leading up to the big meal. On the day of, make sure to have breakfast, and if the big meal is in the afternoon, have a small lunch or snack to avoid over-eating at the party.
  • Drink calorie free beverages and choose vegetables or other low calorie options first before digging into the richer food choices.

Some interesting, alternative strategies that people are reporting success with:

  • Plating up with a smaller plate: it tricks our brains into thinking we are eating more, and on average this strategy decreases intake by 40% or more.
  • Wear something fitted and fabulous: boost self-confidence with an outfit that makes the wearer feel great about how they look, but also keeps them aware of quantity of food consumed.
  • Take a walk after the meal instead of sinking into a recliner or couch to burn a few calories and keep metabolism revved up a bit longer.

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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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There are approximately 15 million people enrolled in Medicare who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease which is eligible for the benefit of personal nutritional counseling.

Medicare pays for the first three hours of dietary counseling during the first year the benefit is used, and two hours in subsequent years.

Only 5% of Medicare beneficiaries receive Medical NutritionTherapy Counseling. Yet, participants who receive counsel from Registered Dietitians have A1c drops of 1-2%.

Kaiser Health News gathered testimonials from people who took advantage of the nutritional counseling referral and people found it help to bring down their blood glucose readings and realize what and what not to eat and portion sizes. One man, Louis Rocco, didn’t realize until seeing a dietitian that eating a lot of bread could be dangerous for him. He said “I’m Italian, and I always eat a lot of bread,” but he could see the difference in his readings after two, hour-long consultations with a dietitian.

The problem may be that not enough physicians know about the Medicare benefit. Doctors have to refer patients to a dietitian. See Kaiser Health News for the full article.

Wanting more nutrition information? Our Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes book is on sale now! Only $38.95 for all the nutritional information you could want when working with people with diabetes.

Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes covers a wide range of valuable topics, from basics like recommended eating patterns, and macro and micro nutrients, to nutrition therapy for pregnant women, older adults, children, and more! Buy your copy before October 5 to take advantage of the sale.

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Developed in tandem by scientists, nutritionists, and chefs, the Nordic diet was designed to enhance the nutritional intake of people in Scandinavian Countries. The Nordic diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet in that it promotes healthy lifestyle habits like choosing local, fresh ingredients and pairing diet with active habits like bicycling and walking.

The Nordic diet’s aim is to limit sugar and highly processed foods while emphasizing whole and minimally processed foods; high-fiber vegetables, whole grains, fruit, dense breads (pumpernickel/real sourdough), fish, low-fat dairy, lean meats of all types, beans and lentils, tofu, skinless poultry, and fermented foods.

The Nordic Diet ratio recommends 50% of calories from high fiber carbs, 25% lean protein, and 25% from mostly plant based fats. Fermented foods — fish, vegetables and dairy — also play a strong role, as do herbs and spices

A caveat is if you live in a warmer climate, some of the Nordic foods may be difficult to find, so the Mediterranean diet may be better. Also, registered dietitian Layne Lieberman advises limiting cured fish which is high in salt, sugar, and often nitrates. Read more about the Nordic diet here.

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A new study shows intermittent fasting may help reduce hunger and promote weight loss. The typical American mealtimes occur during a 12-hour window, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Intermittent fasting is a strategy of limiting down the amount of hours spent eating, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This small study compared two groups who ate the same amount of calories but one group stayed on the typical American eating schedule (from 8am to 8pm), and the other group ate within the intermittent fasting schedule (from 8am to 2pm).

Those who fasted 18 hours (from 2 p.m. to 8 a.m.) had lower levels of ghrelin and higher levels of peptide (they were more satiated and less hungry) and lost weight.

Those practicing intermittent fasting, even though they ate the same amount of calories as the non fasters, also had better metabolic flexibility. You can read more details 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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Many people with diabetes seek out natural remedies to improve blood glucose and lipid levels. Supplements can be costly and are not reviewed for efficacy and safety by the Food and Drug Administration.

As diabetes educators, we want to provide our clients with evidence-based information regarding supplement use so we can make recommendations and assist our clients with informed decision making.

Evaluation Chart of Supplements for Glucose and Lipids

For a rating of commonly used supplements, click here to view a detailed evaluation chart of “Recommended” to “Not Recommended – High Risk” supplements. Thank you, Cleveland Clinic, for creating an evidence-based review that we can share with our clients!

To learn more about the latest in diabetes and nutrition, you are invited to join our Diabetes Educator Course in San Diego, Sept 4-6, 2019. Get ready to be “awed” by a nationally recognized nutrition expert, Dana Armstrong, as she provides a insightful review of the latest research and findings in diabetes and nutrition therapy.

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In 2017, a study found that 11 million deaths worldwide were linked to poor diet. The research demonstrated that too much sugar, salt, and processed meats can contribute to diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Although there is still debate on the “ideal diet” a recent study recommended people double their intake of fruits, vegetables, and legumes and halve their intake of meat and sugar.

The study reviewed the diets of over 195 countries. “Consumption of healthier foods such as nuts and seeds, milk and whole grains was on average too low, and people consumed too many sugary drinks and too much processed meat and salt. This led to one in five deaths in 2017 being linked to unhealthy diets. “

A study from The Global Burden of Disease, from 1990 to 2017 found that an unhealthy diet was responsible for more deaths than any other health factor worldwide.

“The study found people ate only 12 percent of the recommended amount of nuts and seeds – an average intake of 3 grams a day, compared with the recommended 21 g – and drank more than 10 times the recommended amount of sugary drinks. Diets high in sugar, salt and bad fats are known risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer.”

The global diet also lacked in consumption of whole grains and doubled the recommended intake of processed meats.

As health care professionals we want to promote a healthy lifestyle and help encourage our community whenever we can. We have created a Plant-Based Eating Resource page and the “Joy of Six” sugar campaign to provide resources for healthy eating. We also invite you to join our Diabetes Education Course September 4-6, 2019, where nutrition expert Dana Armstrong discusses the importance of improving global and individual through diet.

Plant-Based Eating Resources

The Joy of Six Campaign Materials

Diabetes Education Course September 4-6, 2019,

To learn more: One in five deaths worldwide linked to unhealthy diet – Reuters

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