It was sent by "Austin-based competitive food eater Hungry Todd Rungy" and it announced that in support of the American Diabetes Associations "Tour de Cure" Mr. Rangy would "attempt to break the world cupcake speed eating record at this year’s Cupcake Smackdown, on June 4th!"
The email continued, "By speed eating sugar-free cupcakes, Hungry Todd Rungy wants to bring attention to the Cure de Tour and their efforts to help stop a disease that affects over 23 million Americans, let people know what they can do to contribute to the American Diabetes Association..."
This, my friends, is a good example of why you should tell all your friends and family to hang up on the ADA telemarketers who are calling this month to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.
The sad truth is that this particular fundraises encapsulates everything that is wrong with the ADA. This extremely powerful organization, which dominates the discussion of diabetes and provides the treatment guidelines most family doctors follow, has a long, ugly history of working against the interests of people with diabetes.
Indeed, a case could be made that the ADA is the single worst thing that ever happened to people with diabetes. In brief here's why:
1. The American Diabetes Association is not working towards a cure. The organization is run by and serves the interests of the industries that profit from people with diabetes: drug companies, food companies, and doctors. It funds very little research of any kind, but concentrates on "education" which is centered on teaching people with diabetes that they can "eat normally" and, despite a decade of research contradicting this concept defines "tight control" as a blood sugar less than 180 mg/dl (10 mmol/L) two hours after a meal--a level that guarantees complications.
2. The ADA is headed by people who do not have diabetes and gives those of us who do no significant role in the organization except when it is time to raise funds. Most ADA executives were health industry lobbyists (i.e. big pharma stooges) before they got their very well paid jobs as ADA honchos. The few doctors involved are those "high profile" doctors who have received huge amounts of money from drug companies--the same doctors who urged patients to keep taking Avandia for a year after it was shown to raise the risk of heart attack, and who have fought for a generation against teaching people with diabetes that eating carbohydrates raises blood sugar and eating less carbohydrates lowers it.
Though the organization raises hundreds of millions of dollars in our name, The ADA shuts out people with diabetes who its chief executive has referred to as "poor victims." The ADA raises money in the name of those "victims" but gives them no voice in the organization except when its time to trot a few of them out as poster children. The role they assign people with diabetes is to shut up and do what they are told.
3. The ADA gives a false impression of how it uses the money it raises. The main function the ADA serves is supposedly "education." Most of that education turns out to promoting the toxic advice that teaches people with diabetes to dine on dietary abominations like this Havana Banana Cake you will find on the ADA web site.
Though you will see "carb counting" emphasized on its redesigned web site, the ADA urges people with diabetes to eat at least 50 grams of carbs per meal, an amount few Type 2s on oral drugs can metabolize without damagingly high blood sugars.
It could be argued that ADA's one useful educational function is that it publishes the journals Diabetes Care and Diabetes which are filled with reports of research studies that are ignored by the ADA's policy makers. But before you convince yourself that contributing to the ADA will help continue these publications, you should be aware that the ADA has made these journals a profit center. They are extremely expensive to subscribers--$395 a year, each.
But that's only the beginning, because these journals charge the researchers who publish in them hefty page fees. Currently they are as follows:
Page charges are assessed for Original Articles and Brief Reports to help defray costs of publication. The charge is $90 per page. As noted under Color Figure Approval (Section 4.5.), each color figure printed will incur a charge of $490.
4. The ADA's fundraising practices are among the worst in the charity industry. They use telemarketers who pocket one out of every five dollars raised. The Charity Navigator web site awards them one star out of a possible five. (View their rating HERE.)
5. The ADA has abrogated the role of defining how diabetes is diagnosed and how it should be treated despite the conflicts of interest implied in its corporate-influence funding and ex-drug company lobbyist leadership.
It has long set the diagnostic criteria arbitrarily in a way that ignores decades of reproducible research. (Details HERE.) The guiding principle seems to be to ensure that people with Diabetes continue to eat the junk foods produced by its sponsors and counteract the very high blood sugars they produce by taking as many expensive, poorly tested, oral drugs as possible.
The practice guidelines and diagnostic criteria the ADA publishes are treated as gospel by America's family practitioners and have a strong effect on WHO's recommendations too, even though study after study shows that their diagnostic criteria fail to diagnose large groups of people and that their recommended blood sugar targets are high enough to produce significant complications.
In fact, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists'(AACE) review of the relevant data have concluded tht the blood sugar targets the ADA recommends for people with diabetes are high enough to produce retinopathy (leading to diabetic blindness), kidney failure, and nerve damage. But the ADA has ignored the AACE blood sugar target recommendations for almost a decade now. Probably because it is impossible to reach the AACE targets without testing blood sugar after meals and lowering carbohydrate intake.
For those of you who wonder, the AACE recommends testing after meals and keeping blood sugars under 140 mg/dl at 2 hours. The data emerging from heart disease research suggests keeping blood sugars under 155 mg/dl (8.6 mmol/L) at one hour, and my recommendations based on that and many other research studies is to keep them under 140 mg/dl (7.7 mmol/L) at one hour, if possible.
The ADA also describes as "tight control" a fasting blood sugar of 129 mg/dl (7.2 mmol/L) though it warns it will be difficult and possibly dangerous to attain this. The AACE recommends a fasting blood sugar of less than 110 mg/dl (6.1 mmol/L).
Every time I see a death notice in my local paper where the grieving relatives suggest that contributions in honor of their loved ones be made to the American Diabetes Association, I feel the way I would if a victim of drug overdose was being asked to contribute to the funding of a Mexican drug cartel.
A better name for this toxic organization would be The American Association for the Preservation of Diabetes, because that is what it does--probably because without diabetes the corporations and professionals who support it would cease to profit.
So when the ADA telemarketer calls you, don't send this toxic organization your money--and make sure that the people those who care about you are also educated enough to do the same.
And, before I forget, someone really needs to warn Hungry Todd of the probable effect on his digestive system of eating a record setting number of sugar free cupcakes. Those of us who have experienced the sugar-alcohol total clean-out know what I'm talking about.