November 8, 2009

Meaningless Diabetes Days and Months

Diabetes Month is here and World Diabetes day is coming, and I am not about to get all excited about either.

Diabetes month is an excuse for the merchants who profit from diabetes to tout their wares. Though the drug store flyers may announce that it is "Diabetes month", I note that the prices of the diabetes test strips they are highlighting haven't gone down a penny-and are twice what they were in 1998 when I started buying them. This price increase is far greater than inflation. Are you earning twice what you earned in 1998?

Diabetes month is an opportunity for nutritionists to be quoted in the media telling us how if we cut all the fat out of our diets and ate healthy grains we wouldn't have diabetes.

Diabetes month is when you will read how children cause their Type 2 diabetes by being lazy, though it is far more likely that the huge increase in the Type 2 diabetes in levels in children too young to have caused it via eating patterns has almost certainly been caused by prenatal exposure to environmental toxins like Bisphenol-A which occurs in detectable levels in many canned foods and juices and, more importantly, in baby bottles sold as "Bisphenol-A free." Other common promoters of diabetes in children and adults are commonly used herbicides and arsenic which have contaminated our water supply and the SSRIs, routinely fed pregnant women, which research has proven raise insulin resistance and cause obesity.

World Diabetes Day is even more useless. A bunch of folks in the online diabetes community have been wasting their energy campaigning for a "blue doodle" on Google for World Diabetes Day. My response to this is, "Why?" The doodle doesn't convey a single bit of useful information to a single person. Which is the reason that World Diabetes Day bothers me.

Because the only reason to "raise awareness" of diabetes, is if the awareness we were raising included the simple, easily conveyed information that could HELP people control their diabetes. Which is does not.

What is that information? Just this:

Eating Any Kind of Carbohydrate Raises Blood Sugar. Cutting Out Carbs Lowers Blood Sugar Safely and Effectively.

This stupidly simple statement would be enough to help the tens of millions of people with Type 2 diabetes world wide improve their blood sugar. It would be news to a lot of people with Type 1 too.

In fact, it would surprise a lot of doctors who still do not know it is for people with Type 2 to achieve normal blood sugars merely by cutting way back on carbs.

Unfortunately, you will look in vain for any hint of this in any of the activities associated with any of these Diabetes Days, Weeks or Months.

Until they do, these diabetes events will remain what they really are: fund raising opportunities for organizations that have never told people with diabetes the truth about their condition.

If you feel strongly about the importance of these token diabetes events, I would urge you do the following.

Instead of lighting real or virtual candles, how about burning boxes of breakfast cereal labeled "Diabetes Friendly."

Instead of a blue doodle, how about campainging to see the American Diabetes Association explain on its "tight control" web page that lowering carbohydrates will lower blood sugar safely and effectively. The word "Carbohydrate" still does not appear on the ADA's "tight control" page.

Instead of encouraging people to contribute to the large, bloated charities whose track record for doing anything for people with diabetes is abysmal, why not print and distribute as many copies of the "How to Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control flyer" as possible. I have heard from hundreds of people with all kinds of diabetes who tell me that following the instructions on that flyer has dropped their blood sugars from levels producing A1cs as high as 13% to the normal 5% range.

You will find the link to download the flyer in a format using the blood sugar units your country uses at the bottom of THIS PAGE.

I don't want to raise awareness of diabetes. I want to raise awareness of how to CONTROL diabetes.

Until then, all raising awareness about diabetes does is reinforce the tragically flawed beliefs the population has that diabetes is caused by gluttony and sloth and is the punishment people get for overeating.

This is of course not true. If you want ammunition for countering this misinformation you will find it here:

You Did Not Eat Your Way to Diabetes

Diabetes is caused by the fatal combination of specific genes and environmental factors which attack people with those genes. These factors attack people with diabetes genes starting out in the womb and continuing on through life. Dramatic increases in the incidence of diabetes have been associated with a host of chemicals that pollute our environment, including common herbicides and plastics, and widely prescribed psychiatric drugs, many of which are now in trace amounts in our drinking water.

And as we all know by now the high fructose corn syrup, which also invaded our food supply a generation ago, greatly increases insulin resistance because it converts to intracellular liver fat.

The huge increase in the incidence of Type 1 diabetes probably is linked to the invasion of our food supply a generation ago by soy protein, because soy contains substances that damage the lining of the gut and allow food proteins, most notably gluten, to enter the blood stream and provoke antibodies including those that attack the pancreas.

By all means, lets spread "awareness" but let that awareness be of the FACTS. Not the garbled, industry friendly message that the corporate sponsors of these diabetes organizations would prefer the public to hear.

 

25 comments:

Matt Stone said...

Amen to throttling the the Diabetes powers that be and amen to "gluttony and sloth" not causing diabetes. I overeat at every meal and my favorite physical activity is sunbathing. In fact, one of the few overfeeding studies that has been done, brought forward by Russ Farris and Per Marin in the Potbelly Syndrome showed marked reduction in insulin and leptin resistance.

The simple belief that carbohydrates are like the hokey pokey (what it's all about), is way off base though. For example, for breakfast this morning I ate 2 cups of brown rice with a half stick of butter, 3 eggs, mushrooms, snow peas, and spinach and my 1-hour postprandial glucose is 86 mg/dl.

Plus, lowfat diets have been proven not to cause diabetes. They've even been able to reduce insulin resistance, glucose levels, and A1C tests in impressively short amounts of time - allowing unlimited consumption of natural sugars and starches. (see Neal Barnard or Joel Fuhrman for example).

Jenny said...

The beauty of the strategy described on the Flyer is that it will tell each person who tries it exactly how much carbohydrate they can tolerate.

A few may find, as you do, that they can tolerate a lot. Most won't.

There is a subset of males whose diabetes manifests mostly as fasting blood sugar abnormality who can tolerate carbs. They probably have a different underlying condition from those of us who cannot tolerate carbs at meal time.

gail said...

Thanks Jenny. I wasn't conscious of the marketing that goes along with Diabetes Day and Month but now can see that commercial enterprises are the real winners here. You no doubt read the same magazines as I and I'm constantly amazed how they tout recipes as being healthy for diabetics when all they're doing is substituting Splenda for sugar. Hello it's dessert. It's still loaded with carbs. The pork chops stuffed with apples and figs are still loaded with carbs, even with the "fruit." Whole grain may slow down the reaction but it's still carbs. And when did au gratin potatoes become do-able except as a tiny serving? They're potatoes. It ain't easy working our plan when there is so much ignorance being thrown at us.

Khurt said...

Since you know what the problem is ... lack of real information about what to ABOUT diabetes ... then I suggest you start a campaign to do exactly what you said this post.

"All complaints should go to the person who can do something about it."

That's usually the person in the mirror.

Ellen said...

I use World Diabetes Day as another day to raise awareness of the need to fund cure-focused research to restore normoglycemia and ultimately to cure and prevent type 1 diabetes. My now 22 year old son was diagnosed in 1989.

Kathy W. said...

Matt, it's my understanding from reading your blog (could be wrong) that you're not diabetic. When I was in my 30s as you are now, I could eat anything and everything--my fasting bg was always 80 and my postmeal, even after Thanksgiving dinner, never went above 110.

That changed in my 40s when I simultaneously gained weight and my blood sugars rose. My brother and half-brother are both Type 2s, and the genes had kicked in big-time.

So the food experiments you're doing, while really interesting for showing the effects of food on someone with normal glucose tolerance, may not be as relevant for those of us with diabetes. Two cups of brown rice and my bg goes over 200, no matter what I eat it with.

Jenny said...

Kathy,

I certainly do have diabetes.

Eating a "normal" meal will put my blood sugar up into the 300s.

What I am not is an insulin resistant Type 2. I make fasting insulin which eventually will bring my blood sugar down after eating, but I don't make meal time insulin.

I inject insulin at any meal that isn't very low carb.

Jenny said...

Khurt,

I already put about 20 hours a week of completely unpaid labor into aintaining the Blood Sugar 1010 web site.

That involves reading all the journal articles, reviewing the studies, updating the site, and responding to hundreds of desperate emails from people all over the world whose doctors have let them down, many of whom are in very rough shape with no idea what to do next.

I may be deluding myself, but I think that IS doing something to get the facts out.

Jenny said...

One more thought. I am with every one of you in wanting to see the day when there is a cure for Type 1 diabetes. I support Dr. Faustman's work.

But when you give your money to the big diabetes organizations, it mostly isn't going to find a cure.

People with diabetes of all kinds keep whole industries profitable. It would be a disaster for investors if diabetes was cured.

The ADA doesn't fund any significant diabetes research. The JDRF concentrates its energies on developing pump-CGMS solutions--the so called "artificial pancreas" which will earn huge profits for its sponsors.

Look at the sponsors whose ads you see in the magazines these organizations send out. Ask yourself where will they earn their profits if diabetes is cured?

The research funds go into expensive and largely ineffectual new drugs and devices and always will, and there is little motivation from a business standpoint to really work on a cure and lots of motivation for businesses to make it appear like they are "working towards a cure" when in fact they are working overtime to find more expensive half-measures to sell people with diabetes.

We people with diabetes provides thousands of jobs just by having diabetes. It's almost unpatriotic to want it cured.

Scott Strumello, a Type 1 who has followed the industry closely for years really opened my eyes to this reality with his blog posts.

Kathy W. said...

Jenny, my comment was to Matt, wondering if he's diabetic. Just to clear up any confusion!

Helen Howes said...

Can't download the rest of the World version - comes out corrupted... I really would liek this to hand out to all the people I describe the solution to all the time.. Like the man opposite me this weekend who injected 5x during the day and ate 6 bananas....

Helen Howes

Jenny said...

Helen,

Is this the link you were downloading?

UK FLYER

Is anyone else having trouble with downloading it?

trinkwasser said...

""All complaints should go to the person who can do something about it."

That's usually the person in the mirror."

BUT the person in the mirror has almost inevitably been told to eat a high carb low fat diet and not to test. IMO the Heart Healthy Diet is directly responsible for the major "epidemics" of obesity and cardiovascular disease including Type 2, since it does not differ significantly from the SAD in its ability to express genes you may not want to be expressed.

To prevent this happening you need to do the exact opposite of what you are told by most (though not all) medical professionals.

Here DUK are whingeing about the "hidden epidemic" of prediabetes while NICE are about to ban testing for all Type 2s, and my PCT (local government equivalent of an HMO) has banned A1c tests for prediabetics.

faced with such odds, all the Diabetes Days in the world aren't going to change a thing.

Khurt said...

Jenny,
I support (financially) the work that Dr. Faustman is doing and the JDRF. I don't do anything with the ADA. If there are others actively funding research on a cure I will support them as well.

The WDD and other awareness campaigns are designed to bring awareness to the "general public". They are not designed to inform people with "D" about "D". I don't think for a moment they are useless and I happen to know lots of people with "D" who are starting to get the message that there is a problem.

What I really hear in your statements is that you feel the discussion/campaigns should be driven by the community not by big business. I agree with that.

I think the community building work being done by the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF) is starting to change the way things work. But ... it will take time.

After all, it took Ghandhi over 20 years to free India.

Matt Stone said...

Kathy -

Thanks for the nudge. No I am not diabetic, but I'm obviously very interested in diabetes as I'm breaking ground on a type 2 diabetes book project right now.

The point of my glucose testing was to try to find out how to lower glucose levels in response to the same food. Going vegan may have done it very efficiently, but after returning to normal food, my glucose response was much higher. My 1-hour glucose after the first mixed meal was over 170 mg/dl.

After overfeeding on an unrestricted diet revolving around saturated fat, meat, starch, and vegetables - my glucose tolerance is better in response to the same meal. With a similar macronutrient and calorie breakdown, I'm hitting 86-91 instead of 173. That's worth investigating, diabetic or not.

But I challenge many of the thought processes here because they are fatalistic. I am just as aware, as anyone, that it is not a matter of what you eat, but what your body does with what you eat. If I eat 2 cups of rice and my glucose level peaks at 86 while someone else's goes to 300 with the very same meal, then clearly my body's management of glucose (insulin sensitivity) is far superior. The question is why.

From this you guys would conclude that I have good carb tolerance while the other person who spiked to 300 does not. Therefore I can eat carbs, but the other person shouldn't.

But must a person, when discovering they have poor carbohydrate metabolism, make a big frowny face and say "aw shucks, looks like I just suck at handling glucose," and relegate themselves to a Bernstein diet for life? I say get busy fixing your carbohydrate metabolism instead of demonizing perfectly acceptable food sources (carbs), searching and searching until you absolutely exhaust every possible option before giving up.

There are obviously a lot of misconceptions about genes here as well - looking for that magical gene that makes a person a type 2. No!

Kathy, your genes did not suddenly kick in at a certain age. This is preposterous. Genes don't have some 40-year time release. You used to be able to tolerate carbs, and now you can't. What changed? Your genes? Well, not exactly. You became hypometabolic - that's what happened. Still want to call it genes? Great! Call it mitochondrial DNA, which is in fact what changes, what is passed down from parents to children, and what typically gets degraded over time and generations (when diet and lifestyle aren't right) to cause health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc.

I would be shocked if there is a type 2 out there that can hit 98.6 degrees F first thing in the morning before getting out of bed with an oral temperature test (unless there is infection and fever present). This is why Broda Barnes, who treated the hypometabolic by returning basal body temperatures to normal, had precisely ZERO of his patients develop type 2 diabetes under his care, and reduced heart disease risk by 96% in his patients compared to the general public.

Helen Howes said...

Thanks for the mended link. It isn't the one further up, though, or the one from the page on the 101 site... I've got it now...

Shabnam said...

Matt Stone,have you checked your 2-3 hour postprandial? Or 3-5 hours after overfeeding on your unrestricted diet of saturated fat, meat, starch, and vegetables? ..You maybe very insulin sensitive but if you are producing lots of insulin it may not be good news. Hyperinsulinemia? Have you checked your fasting insulin level? Just curious.

Jim Purdy said...

"Eating Any Kind of Carbohydrate Raises Blood Sugar. Cutting Out Carbs Lowers Blood Sugar Safely and Effectively."

So true. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

dmoak said...

Two points - first to Matt. As a type 2 of 24 years who is now off meds thanks primarily to relegating myself to a Bernstein diet for the last 10 months, let me say that I feel no deprivation on this diet. In fact, the opposite is true. I find my meals more satisfying and I don't get hungry off and on throughout the day. The same is true for my wife, who is not only not a diabetic, but is also a prize winning baker who has not eaten grains, sugar or starchy veggies in 10 months. We feel better than we have in years and are demonstrably healthier as a result of our diet. Everyone may not have to eat this way, but don't make the assumption that it is a burden for everyone who does.

Second, Jenny, there is one good thing about this being diabetes month. Walgreens drug stores are having a diabetes day in which, among other things, free A1c tests are being given and you get the results on the spot. I know there will be much marketing going on, but to get a free A1c test next week is not all bad.

Matt Stone said...

Shabnam,

If you are insulin sensitive, you are producing an appropriate amount of insulin. Insulin is neither good nor bad. Rising and falling levels of insulin is no different from your chest rising and falling when you inhale and exhale. It's a basic function of all mammals in response to food or the release of liver/muscle glycogen. It's insulin resistance and the body's need to overcompensate for that resistance by producing larger-than-normal amounts of insulin that is the problem (compensatory hyperinsulinemia).

The higher your glucose level goes at any point following a meal, the greater your insulin resistance (barring circumstances related to beta cell burnout and legitimate HYPOinsulinemia). Otherwise, glucose is stored quickly and expediently out of the blood stream like it ain't no thang.

Shabnam said...

I am sure you know these.But I hope everyones read
Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects
By Ron Rosedale, M.D.
Part 3 and part 4 has some interesting information on insulin sensitivity.

(I hope providing such a link is allowed here.I am sorry if its not).

gindie said...

Interesting happening at a local "Diabetes Expo" last Saturday (World Diabetes Day!):

I was asked to spin the "Diabetes Wheel" and answer the corresponding question for the category that came up. I landed on "Nutrition Label". The question was "What part of the label should diabetics be most interested in?". I, of course, answered "Carbohydrates!". Ding, ding, ding...I was a winner. My prize? A multi-ounce bag of Rold Gold pretzels. 47 g of high-glycemic carbs! Amazing.

Nelle said...

Matt-

I know I'm late to this blog, but about Neal Barnard- aren't most of his patients on medication so they can eat more carbs? But can you explain what you mean by "fixing your carbohydrate metabolism" and the morning temperature influence?

lynn said...

Nelle - Matt realises that there is an epidemic of low basal temperatures in the population as a whole. Low basal body temps are indicative of a crappy metabolism. I totally agree with this. I am hypothyroid and before diagnosis my basal temps (even post ovulation) never went above 97F. I am still working on getting them up and, as I do so, I am healing my body. It is taking time as I heal from years of undiagnosed hypothyroidism and celiac disease, but I am getting there.

There is also a school of thought that pretty much everyone who is diabetic has a thyroid problem to some degree, as glucose is needed to get the thyroid hormone to the cells, and getting glucose to the cells is a big problem in diabetes.

Mike Hussey said...

Diabetic retinopathy could be associated with poorer memory and diminished brain power in people with Type 2 diabetes, according to a new research.

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