August 17, 2006

Bad Science: ADA: "Type 2 BG Testing Doesn't Work"

Just when you thought the ADA was finally starting to get some faint foggy idea of how to improve the lives of people with Type 2 diabetes, they put
on their web site.

Here's the punchline:
"For patients with type 2 diabetes, control of blood sugar (glycemic control) does not appear to be improved if they self-monitor their blood glucose levels, according to researchers at the University of Western Australia, Fremantle."

As usual, the ADA page does not give any details about the study, in line with their usual belief that one of the complications of diabetes is extreme stupidity. This, apparently, is what keeps them from putting any explanations that could not be understood by a third grader into any of the materials they publish for diabetics.

But before you throw out your blood sugar meter, here's what the study actually proved: People who were told to only test their fasting blood sugars a couple times a week and whose only advice about how to control with diet was to eat a low fat diet full of healthy "whole grains" got no benefit from blood sugar testing.

Well, duh!

Fasting blood sugar is the hardest blood sugar to change. For people not on insulin, it can only be changed by modifying post-prandial blood sugars over a period of weeks. And, of course, before you can lower post prandial-blood sugar levels, you have to know what they are--by testing.

Then when you see blood sugar levels that are to high after a meal, you have to cut back on your carbohydrate intake until those post-prandial readings come down.

Unfortunately, Diabetes Australia still mandates that control via "Diet" for diabetics means cutting way back on FAT and eating "healthy grains".

So the poor victims here--I mean subjects--when they saw high fasting blood sugars, if they did anything at all, were likely to cut back even further on meat and cheese and pile their plates higher with pasta which, of course did not lower their fasting blood sugars. Not being as stupid as the researchers, when they couldn't change the test result, they didn't do much testing.

Does anyone still think this study showed that "blood sugar testing doesn't work?"

What wasn't explored at all by this study was what happens if you tell people to test AFTER MEALS and explain to them that if their blood sugar is too high, they can bring it down by eating less carbohydrates.

But as we all know, the ADA, which receives major funding from the big food and snack manufacturers, refuses to tell people with diabetes that they can change their blood sugars by cutting carbs. They still are resistant to the idea that people with diabetes deserve to know what their blood sugar is after meals and to be told--in terms any 3rd grader could understand--that starch and sugar are what raise it anc cutting back on them could keep them from needing hundreds of dollars a month of expensive drugs to counteract the impact of all those supposedly "healthy grains."

Bad advice and poorly thought-out research is nothing new from the ADA. But the real tragedy here is that this latest study gives insurers around the world the green light to stop paying for testing supplies for Type 2 diabetics, because "now we know, for Type 2s, blood sugar testing doesn't work."

Did ADA major-funder and carb supplier Cadbury Schwepps' stock just go up again on this news ? . .


Lili said...

This study is nuts! How many Type 2s have I met that think 200 is "a good number?" They're certainly not going to gain much by testing, either. This is very frustrating, especially for those of us who test 7-10 times a day and are so often told we shouldn't.

Lori Rode said...

Here here! I too was horrified by this study. Did you see that the study itself referred to the cost of BG testing to Australia's government? Is this just a step towards gov & insurers ceasing to pay for self-monitoring supplies? Egads!

Lona said...

Yet another reason for my primary care physician to cut down on the number of strips she writes for. She already thinks I'm nuts for testing as often as I do!

What a horrid study. Only bad will come of it.

Bob Schrichte said...

The irony here is that if diabetics were educated to the benefits of a proper diet, they really would need less testing. I am a type 1 who only tests 1-2 times a day because my diet keeps my numbers low. My diet is low carb.