September 21, 2007

Three Different Conversations

This past week I had some version of the following exchange with three different people. One works at the local diner. One is an executive at a well known political action organization. One is an excellent dentist. All occurred in the midst of a conversation about something else.

Me: I maintain a web site that summarizes what mainstream lab research tells us about controlling diabetes.

Other Person: Oh, really. My [mother/father, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, and grandparents -- chose 3] all died of diabetes. I really worry about it.

Me: Have you tested your blood sugar after eating?

OP: No. Why would I do that?

Me: To get an early indication of whether you are developing diabetes--so that you can cut back on the carbohydrates you eat and prevent it from getting much worse.

OP: Carbs? Why carbs. Aren't you supposed to eat a low fat diet? That's what they told my [mother/father, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, and grandparents -- choose 1.]

Me: Yes. Well that's sadly part of why they probably died of diabetes. It is carbs that raise blood sugar, not fat.

OP: Wow. I didn't know that. You ought to write something about this!

Me: I have!

The sad part here is that these people all see doctors. The doctors know that they are overweight and also know their family histories. But no doctor ever mentioned any of these ideas to them. Instead, they were simply told to "lose weight" and "to exercise" which they've tried in the past with little success, like 95% of all people over age 45. When they do try to lose weight, they eat a low fat diet full of healthy grains. Guess how much weight they lose. You got it. None.

None of these people had been tested for diabetes with anything but the fasting plasma glucose test. I suspect their FPGs are well over normal, too. But in this region at least, most family doctors won't tell a person they have a problem with their blood sugars until their fasting blood sugar reaches the 120 mg/dl range. And if they do tell them to diet, they still tell them to eat a Low Fat/HIGH carb diet.

Every one of these people could have been given the information that--without the need to lose midlife weight--could have given them normal blood sugars and an unrestricted future. None of them were. Sadly, all of them probably will develop diabetes, because who is going to pay attention to what some woman with a computer says?


Unknown said...

It is so sad that all this misinformation is still handed out. But the saddest thing are people like my mother and sister---their exact words---I'd rather take a pill than not eat potatoes, bread, pasta,(take your pick). I may have lost oodles of weight but I still watch my blood sugars and make sure I keep to my carb restricted way of eating. For one it keeps my weight down--but more importantly, it keeps my blood sugars and insulin response under control.

Bix said...

I identify with your experience here, Jenny.

I have often been tempted to bring my BG meter to a family function and do some random testing. Even then ... I doubt there would be much follow-up.

Anonymous said...

I love your site, by the way.
Last May, about a month after my poor father had his second heart bypass surgery, I took him to see his endocrinologist after explaining to him how important it is to keep his need to inject insulin way, way down--to zero, if possible (I read somewhere that insulin can possibly be atherogenic, e.g., it plays a role in clogging arteries) and I was going to try stating my case to the doctor.
We get inside the exam room and after my father told the doctor what I had made him for breakfast that morning (two scrambled eggs with bacon--no toast, no potatoes) she made such a nasty face at me and said "you're recovering from bypass surgery and you're eating all that fat?"
Look, I wasn't going to argue with a doctor--who am I, right? But I was furious because she wouldn't even consider with an open mind that consuming good fats doesn't affect blood sugars which doesn't require insulin, etc.
Long story short, I'm trying to find him another doc.
Thought I'd share. Glad (but not really glad) there's so many others out there getting this same runaround.

Russ said...

I paid attention after another woman with a computer (and diabetes) told me about your site, and you know the results -- they're on your 5% page.

But yeah, it's sad that nearly everyone starts with bad information and that many of them can't be convinced to discard it. But trust me -- some can.

Fredericksburg Food Ministry said...

Keep being that woman with the computer. Carb restriction has been my "ticket" into the 5% A1c club and I intend to remain a member in good standing for a long, long time. No pasta, no potato, no bread is worth my eyesight, kidneys, brain, heart, etc. etc. Thank you for spreading the truth about carbs.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I really liked it. I have also created a lens in same niche. This is my first time, hope u guys like it. Here’s a brief intro: With all low carb diets claiming success, it can be hard to pick the perfect low carb diet for you. Are all low carb diets the same? What is the difference among all low carb diets? It can be confusing with all low carb diets, products and plans you see out there. Luckily, thousands of people have been trying all low carb diets for years now, and almost all low carb diets have well known pluses and minuses.