Angela Bassett Opens Up About Losing Her Mother And Saving Lives With New Campaign

Yes, Angela Bassett is an A-list celebrity. But she’s also a mother, wife and daughter who works to protect her loved ones.

The actress lost her mother, Betty Jane, in 2014 to heart disease caused by type 2 diabetes, and since then she’s made it her mission to educate other’s on the close link between the two illnesses.

On a warm Wednesday morning, the actress talked to ESSENCE about type 2 diabetes, her work with the For Your SweetHeart movement, and upcoming projects.

“She had a very, very strong constitution so I know that if she was able to get that under control she’d be sitting beside me today,” Bassett said about her mother’s diabetes.

“She had heart disease, high blood pressure, and complications with that. Each exacerbated the other. Sometimes just trying to grab ahold of all these different issues simultaneously was hard. Listening to your doctors and taking that advice and doing it is vital.”

With 29 million Americans suffering from type 2 diabetes, we wanted to know from the incredibly…

Low glycemic index diet found to lower health threats from high blood pressure

A new review of a dozen randomised controlled trials has found that a lower glycemic index (GI) diet proves effective for reducing blood pressure and, by extension, reducing heart disease risks.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the features of the metabolic syndrome and a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a common long-term complication of type 2 diabetes.

Damage to nerves and blood vessels can arise from high blood sugars, and heart complications develop much more quickly if blood pressure is high. This is because tissues in the heart are especially vulnerable to increases in blood pressure.

We know from previous research that a lower-carbohydrate diet, which generally is considered a lower-GI diet, is associated with measurable decreases in blood pressure.

In this new research review, comprised of a total of 14 six-week long trials and involving 1097 healthy participants, researchers found similar results.

Thirteen of those trials reported that a reduction in glycemic index by 10 units decreased both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DPB) by 1.1 and 1.3 mm Hg, respectively.

In addition to that, nine trials found that a reduction in glycemic load of 28 units reduced overall SBP and DBP by 2.0 and 1.4 mm Hg, respectively.

Taken together, these results tend to indicate that lower-GI and GL diet may benefit high blood pressure, likely because they help reduce blood sugar.

It is thought that when the body produces too much insulin and leptin in response to a higher-carb, high-GI diet, it causes blood pressure to increase. Another factor is the effects of glycation on lipoproteins leading to atherosclerosis and therefore narrowed blood vessels.

Yet, one of the first recommendations to lower blood sugar is to cut back on salt. There might be far more to maintaining a healthy blood pressure than eating a low-salt diet, which is a strategy that works for some people and fails for others.

In that sense, this review may implicitly suggest that it is time for guidelines aimed at controlling hypertension to shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more consequential reduction in sugar.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, going on a low-carb, lower-GI diet may go a long way toward controlling your levels. You can find out more by joining our Low Carb Program.


Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison.

This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar, likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse diabetes through methods including low-carb diets, very-low-calorie diets and exercise.

For guidance on healthy eating to improve blood glucose levels and weight and to fight back against insulin resistance, join the Low Carb Program.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells in your body. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy.

Ineffective use of insulin results in the body becoming resistant to insulin – also known as insulin resistance, which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

In advanced stages, type 2 diabetes may cause damage to insulin producing cells in…

Is cheese safe for people with diabetes?

Compared with many other foods, cheese is high in fat and calories and may not be an obvious choice for someone with diabetes. Cheese and diabetes can, however, be a healthful combination.

Cheese lovers can enjoy a wide variety of cheeses without elevating blood sugar, raising blood pressure, or gaining weight.

For diabetes-friendly meals or snacks, people should choose healthful cheeses and serve them with foods that are rich in fiber and low in calories.

Can people with diabetes eat cheese?

People with diabetes can safely eat cheese as part of a balanced, healthful diet. Just as with other foods, moderation is the key. A diet mainly consisting of cheese is unhealthy for anyone.

When selecting cheeses, people with diabetes need to consider a few things:

[Selection of cheeses]
Although cheese is high in fat, it can be enjoyed in moderation by people with diabetes.

Cheese is very high in calories and fat. Though calorie content varies among cheese varieties, people with diabetes should avoid overindulging in cheese.

Type 2 diabetes is linked with obesity, and losing just a few pounds can reduce the risk of diabetes.

There are several steps that people with diabetes can take to help them eat cheese without gaining weight:

  • stick to small servings
  • choose lower-calorie cheeses
  • use cheese as a source of flavor rather than as the main course

Cheese is high in saturated fat compared with many other foods. In small quantities, saturated fat is harmless and can actually be beneficial to the body. But excessive intake of saturated fats is linked to weight gain, high cholesterol, gallbladder problems, and heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommend a diet that contains no more than 5-6 percent saturated fat. That means that in a 2,000 calorie diet, no more than 120 calories or 13 grams (g) should come from saturated fats.

Other experts advise no more than 10 percent of daily caloric intake, which increases the amount of saturated fat, and cheese, that a person can consume safely. People with diabetes can meet this goal by sticking to no more than one serving of cheese per day.

The connection between saturated fat intake and heart disease is not as clear as it once seemed. An analysis of previous research found insufficient evidence linking saturated fats and heart disease.

However, people with diabetes are already at a higher risk of heart disease. As a result, they should continue consuming only small quantities of saturated fats until research provides clearer guidelines.

Until this time, the emphasis for people with diabetes should be to eat lots of plant-based foods that are rich in unsaturated fats.

People with diabetes…

Study finds significant decrease in cardiovascular diseases among individuals with diabetes

The incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Sweden has decreased sharply since the late 1990s. These are the findings of a study from Sahlgrenska Academy which included almost three million adult Swedes. In relative terms, the biggest winners are persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

“This is a huge improvement and a testament to the improvements in diabetes and cardiovascular care throughout Sweden,” says Aidin Rawshani, medical doctor and doctoral student in molecular and clinical medicine.

The study, which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows that the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and deaths among individuals with diabetes in Sweden dropped significantly between 1998 and 2014. The population in general exhibited the same trend, albeit to a smaller extent.

Among persons with type 1 diabetes, with an average age of 35 years, the incidence pf cardiovascular disease was reduced by 40 per cent during the period in question. In the control group of persons of similar age but without diabetes, the decrease was 10 per cent.

Among individuals with type 2 diabetes, with an average age of 65 years, the incidence of cardiovascular disease decreased by 50 per cent. Among control persons of similar age without diabetes, the decrease was 30 per cent.

Surprising results

“We were surprised by the results, specially for persons with diabetes. Some smaller studies in the past have indicated that numbers were improving, but nothing of this magnitude,” says Aidin Rawshani.

In total, approximately 2.96 million individuals were studied, of which 37,000 had type 1 diabetes and 460,000 had type 2 diabetes. The results of the study are based on linked processing of data from the National Diabetes Register, the Cause of Death Register and the part of the Patient register that concerns inpatient care.

In addition to matching by age and gender, the groups that were compared were also matched geographically using register data from LISA (the longitudinal integration database for health insurance and labor market studies).

The deaths that took place in the groups during the study period were almost exclusively related to cardiovascular disease. Individuals with diabetes have previously shown to suffer a risk of cardiovascular disease and early death that was between two and five times as high as in the general population.

Better risk control

“One of the main findings of the study is that both deaths and the incidence of cardiovascular disease is decreasing in the population, both in matching control groups and among persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. One paradoxical finding is that individuals with type 2 diabetes have seen a smaller improvement over time regarding deaths compared to the controls, while persons with type 1 diabetes have made an equal improvement to the controls,” notes Aidin Rawshani.

The positive trends that have been observed in the study are most likely due to an increased use of preventative cardiovascular medicines, advances in the revascularization of atherosclerotic disease and improved use of instruments for continual blood sugar monitoring, and the fact that Swedish diabetes care has generally worked well with good treatment guidelines and quality assurance efforts.

“Out study and analysis does not include explanations of these trends, but we believe that it is a matter of better control of risk factors, better education patients, better integrated treatment systems for individuals with chronic illnesses and individual care for persons with diabetes. There is often an entire team working with a patient, ensuring that their needs are met,” says Aidin Rawshani.

Study finds significant decrease in cardiovascular diseases among individuals with diabetes
Study finds significant decrease in cardiovascular diseases among individuals with diabetes

The incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Sweden has decreased sharply since the late 1990s. These are the findings of a study from Sahlgrenska Academy which included almost three million adult Swedes. In relative terms, the biggest winners are persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University make the case that metabolic syndrome — a cluster of three of more risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes — is the new “silent killer,” analogous to hypertension in the 1970s.

How does type 2 diabetes develop? A team of researchers headed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich has come closer to finding an answer to this problem. The team examined the functional effects of exemplary genetic variations relevant for type 2 diabetes. Their approach can be applied to many clinical pictures.

According to current estimates, 20 to 25 million Americans have or will develop gallstones, representing almost 15% of adults. Although only a small percentage of individuals with gallstones develop symptoms, more than 700,000 individuals annually undergo surgical gallbladder removal and many more take medications to manage the condition or undergo stone-dissolving procedures.

Nearly half of all deaths in the United States in 2012 that were caused by cardiometabolic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, have been linked to substandard eating habits, according to a study published in the March 7 issue of JAMA and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

A study from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre shows that physician-delivered step count prescriptions, combined with the use of a pedometer, can lead to a 20 per cent increase in daily steps, as well as measurable health benefits, such as lower blood sugar and lower insulin resistance, for patients with hypertension and/or type 2 diabetes.

A new study led by American Cancer Society researchers in collaboration with leading experts concludes that physical activity should be routinely assessed during the doctor-patient encounter, and that clinicians should design in collaboration with their patients a detailed physical activity plan with goals that should be set and monitored.

Recently, dietary guidelines for the general…

Eating Avocado May Help Prevent Risks Associated With Heart Disease

A new analysis of existing research shows that consuming the creamy fruit can help with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of diseases and symptoms that include heart disease and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

Researchers analyzed more than 100 published studies that examined how consuming avocado can affect individual aspects of metabolic syndrome. They found that avocado, along with avocado oil or even peel, may have protective effects on the heart, including lowering “bad” cholesterol, reducing hypertension and lowering risk of obesity.

An avocado-rich diet had the most positive effect on “good” HDL cholesterol levels and may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. That’s important because high levels of bad cholesterol is one of the biggest indicators of heart disease risk, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers also noted that…

The Truth About How Much Caffeine Is In Your Decaf Coffee

Drinking coffee comes with a range of health perks, from liver protection to reduced risks of diabetes and heart disease. And if you’d rather score its benefits without the jittery shakes, decaf is the best way to go.

You may have heard there’s actually some caffeine in decaf coffee, and it’s true. But it would take quite a few cups to make you feel like you’ve had the real thing.

The decaffeination process usually removes 94 to 98 percent of caffeine from a coffee bean, according to Mental Floss. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have any regulations around what can be called decaf, the baseline is typically a coffee that’s had about 97 percent of its caffeine removed, spokeswoman Deborah Kotz told HuffPost.

The average 16-ounce, caffeinated coffee has 188 milligrams of caffeine, while the average 16-ounce decaf has 9.4 milligrams, according to a 2006 study from the University of Florida. Researchers say you’d need to drink

A Shocking Number Of Deaths May Be Due To Poor Diet

Nearly half of all deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes may be due to diet, a new study finds.

In 2012, 45 percent of deaths from “cardiometabolic disease” — which includes heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — were attributable to the foods people ate, according to the study.

This conclusion came from a model that the researchers developed that incorporated data from several sources: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which are annual government surveys that provide information on people’s dietary intakes; the National Center for Health Statistics, for data on how many people died of certain diseases in a year; and findings from studies and clinical trials linking diet and disease. [7 Foods Your Heart Will Hate]

The researchers found that, in 2012, just over 700,000 people died from a cardiometabolic disease. Of these deaths, nearly 320,000 — or about 45 percent — could be linked to people’s diets, according to the study, published today (March 7) in the journal JAMA.

The estimated number of deaths that were linked to not getting enough of certain healthier foods and nutrients was as least as substantial as the number of deaths that were linked to eating too much of certain unhealthy foods, according to the researchers, who were led by Renata Micha, a research assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Tufts University in Boston.

In other words, Americans need to do both: Eat more healthy foods, and less unhealthy food.

The researchers focused their analysis on 10 food groups and nutrients: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meat, processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fats from seafood, and salt, according to the study.

For each food or nutrient, the researchers identified an “optimal intake” amount. When people ate more…

The once a day slimming jab that can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 80%

A woman holds out her jeans to illustrate weight loss
A woman holds out her jeans to illustrate weight loss

A weight loss drug could help thousands of people avoid diabetes in the same way statins are used to ward off heart disease, according to a landmark trial.

The daily medication liraglutide slashes the chance of at-risk patients developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 80 per cent, scientists at Imperial College London found.

It is injected into the skin once a day and already prescribed on the NHS to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition.

But the study of 2,300 people, published yesterday in the Lancet medical journal, showed the drug was also very effective at stopping the condition developing in the first place.

When given to obese people with ‘pre-diabetes’ – those who already have raised blood sugar but who have not yet developed the full condition – liraglutide had a remarkable impact.

The drug uses a ‘twin attack’ mechanism to tackle type 2 diabetes.

By producing appetite-suppressing hormones it makes people feel full quickly so they eat less.

Simultaneously it promotes the production of insulin from the pancreas.

Over three years half of the patients taking the drug lost 5 per cent of their body weight,…

Women with diabetes are especially prone to developing heart disease


Women typically don’t develop heart disease — or high blood pressure, one of its major risk factors — until after menopause. But “if you have diabetes, that rule no longer applies,” says Christine Maric-Bilkan, a program officer in the vascular biology and hypertension branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Diabetes “dramatically increases the risk” of heart disease at any age — overall, people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as are other people — and its impact “tends to be greater in women than in men,” she says. Diabetes, a disease in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type 1) or cannot use it properly (Type 2), can cause spikes in blood sugar. Over time, these spikes can damage nerves and blood vessels, putting diabetics at elevated risk of heart disease and stroke.

Uncontrolled diabetes also contributes to vision loss, kidney failure and amputations, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

People with diabetes are up to four times as likely to develop cardiovascular disease as are people who do not have diabetes,…

Almonds may boost cardiovascular health in diabetic Indians

18 almonds
Researchers attribute this higher and earlier incidence of type 2 diabetes in part to the “South Asian phenotype,” a genetic predisposition that makes Indians more susceptible to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. (Source: File Photo)

Including almonds in the diet may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in Indians with type 2 diabetes and improve their general health, a first-of-its-kind study released today here claims. Almond consumption as part of a healthy diet may help improve glycemic and cardiovascular measures and lead to better health in type 2 diabetes patients, researchers said.

“India is known as the diabetes capital of the world, with the incidence of type 2 diabetes currently reaching epidemic proportions,” researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. Once deemed a disease of the affluent, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes now cuts across all social, demographic and age groups, they said.

They attribute this higher and earlier incidence of type 2 diabetes in part to the “South Asian phenotype,” a genetic
predisposition that…

How U.S. Farm Subsidies Could Be Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay ReporterTUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Americans get more than half of their daily calories from seven farm foods that are subsidized by the U.S. government, but a new study suggests those subsidies may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.The problem, according to the researchers: The biggest consumers of such food products are also much more likely to be obese, and to struggle with high cholesterol, high inflammation levels, or high blood sugar. The foods include grains, dairy, and livestock products.”We know that eating too many of these foods can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, we still didn’t expect to see such strong results when looking directly at the association between the consumption of subsidized foods and health,” said Edward Gregg. He is chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation with the U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.Gregg was not a part of the study. But, a team led by his colleague, Karen Siegel, reported the findings in the July 5 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.The researchers focused on seven leading commodities covered in the 1973 U.S. Farm Bill. Under that law, producers receive direct financial support from the federal government to grow or raise farm products that include corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, dairy and livestock.The goal is to ensure “a plentiful supply of food at reasonable prices,” given that domestic food production accounts for 80% of the food that Americans eat, Gregg explained.The…