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Book Summary Video Interviews with Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. on his book “Program for Reversing Diabetes” for HealthBootcamps.
Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 80 scientific publications and 20 books for medical and lay readers.
As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. He has hosted four PBS television programs on nutrition and health, and is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook made available to all U.S. medical students. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. In 2016, he founded the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC, as a model for making nutrition a routine part of all medical care.
Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Barnard received his M.D. degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the same institution. He practiced at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York before returning to Washington to found the Physicians Committee.
This is auto-generated and may have mistakes. Please listen to the interview for accuracy.
[00:01] REENA JADHAV: Hi everyone its Reena Jadhav here with Dr. Neal Barnard and today we are talking about how to test and track progress which is one of the chapters in his book reversing diabetes. Alright Dr. Neal how do we test and how do we track?
[00:13] DR. NEAL BARNARD: Okay, great so let’s say you change your diet and you are hoping to see if you can really improve. What do I want to know when I’m at the doctor’s office? The first thing that is going to be on your mind probably is your blood sugar control, that’s what the test called A1C or hemoglobin A1C and the doctor does the test, just a simple blood test and I wanted to be below 7 if a person has diabetes. If I can get it down below 6.5 you don’t have diabetes anymore, if you can get it down below 5.7 you don’t have pre diabetes so those are the numbers to just drive for but if you are above 7 that’s diabetes and it’s not good for you. While you are at it, check your cholesterol because the biggest risk of diabetes is heart problems. So when your doctor does a cholesterol test the thing to really zero in on is your bad cholesterol LDL- low density lipoprotein I want that to be below about 100 okay. Sometimes the numbers are a little more liberal, I would like to see that below 100; some people would say even below 80 but if it’s below 100 you are doing pretty well. When you go into the doctor’s office make sure you are not just a blood test have the doctor look at your body to; your eyes could be affected by this disease. Once you know you have a good diet you need an exam, this is not going to the eye glasses guy, this is the person who puts on the drops expand your pupil and looks at your retina and when you go see a regular doctor every time you go in there undo your lasses on your shoes kick them off throw off the socks and sit there waiting for your doctor to come in and when your doctor comes in, your doctor is going to look at your feet to because people with diabetes they get foot sores, they don’t heal very well you have your doctor to check your feet and this is my secret way to make sure my doctor does it every time.
[02:08] REENA JADHAV: Oh what a great tip, that’s brilliant and so simple. One of the things I’ve had more of lately so is get your blood sugar tested actually not just after fasting but regular you have eaten and now you are getting your blood sugar tested based on how it is reacting after eating food. What are your thoughts on this?
[02:28] DR. NEAL BARNARD: I think you can do that and many people do and when we do a specific test on glucose tolerance testing we do exactly that in a really organized way. So I’ll give you a measured amount of glucose and then I’ll measure it every half hour and so that can be a good idea but gives you extra information as well and the hemoglobin A1C that I mentioned is a rough guide to how your body is handling glucose throughout one week after another.
[02:56] REENA JADHAV: Okay there is all this cool new wearable’s as well that I mean technology there are things that are especially in Europe that are available where you strap it on and it helps you track during the day what foods you are reacting to and that way you can start to say oh my body reacts just proportionately to let’s say broccoli verses white potato, I’m just telling that us sometimes I react negatively to broccoli that I won’t have to eat it anymore but what do you think of this new tools technology that are testing and tracking diabetes, any cool one that you really like?
[03:30] DR. NEAL BARNARD: Well yeah, I think they can be handy and I’ll tell you one other thing, they are not just a guide to show you if your blood sugar is going too high but they can also be useful if your blood sugar is going too low and this will happen on this diet, a person comes in here or they are reading the book, they are watching this program now and they say I don’t want to try that vegan and its Monday on about Friday they wake up in the morning and they are feeling shaky and they are sweating and they are feeling nervous and they are feeling so hungry they already eat the sofa. What they don’t know is that they changed their diet, the diet is bringing their blood sugar down but their medicines stay as powerful as before so the combination of a good diet and the medicines means your blood sugar is going too low and your brain is saying I’m not getting enough glucose here to work properly and so you start feeling bad. Bad as the time to call your doctor and say, I think my blood sugar is too low and the doctor will say hung on the phone stick your finger and check your blood glucose right now I’m on hold, so you stick your finger and it’s too low and then this is the one and only time the doctor will say I want you to have some junk food so that we can bring your blood sugar right up and now let’s [inaudible] so what happens is this, when people follow this program the need for medication diminishes, you work with your doctor, your doctor writes you off your medicines and exact the benefits.
[04:58] REENA JADHAV: Which good home tracker do you like, what do you recommend for tracking kind of pricking that finger at home?
[05:04] DR. NEAL BARNARD: I don’t have a preference for any they are more and more good products everyday and give it a try see the one that really works for you.
[05:12] REENA JADHAV: Fantastic that sounds great, alright so next episode we are going to talk about the perfect diet in and imperfect world and my God I need to listen into that one. It’s so hard to stand good diet in this really awful ad filled world. Alright we’ll see you then.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Address: 5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
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