May 11, 2015

Diabetes Diet Myths – Part 1

When doctors write about diabetes myths or discuss them, I sincerely wish they would realize the problems they create. This article in WebMD is a typical example of what the doctors don't take into consideration.

They list ten diabetes diet myths and in general have some validity, but do not consider everything. The list in this blog includes:
Yes, I am leaving them active for those that want to read them as they are covered.

Myth 1 is about sugar and poorly explained. Quote: “Simply eating too much sugar is unlikely to cause diabetes. Instead, diabetes begins when something disrupts your body's ability to turn the food you eat into energy.” Unquote. This much is true, but does not account for genetics, environment, or exposure to other causes. Certain medications or chemicals can also cause diabetes and most writers totally ignore what steroids can do to people with a pancreas that is already in trouble.

The fact that the pancreas is aging and not working as efficiently as it once did, or that insulin resistance has increased is seldom mentioned. Yes, glucose is needed by the cells for fuel, but even sugar needs to be converted.

Myth 2 is totally false as there are no rules for a diabetes diet, only what your meter tells you and you need to develop your own food plan. Having diabetes simply means that you will need to plan your meals and what you consume around your activities and medications. Yes, you will probably need to make changes in the quantity of food you eat.

Your aim is to maintain your blood glucose levels near normal for the long term. Yes, you should consider making some adjustments, but your food plan may not require as many changes as you thought, just decreasing to quantity may suffice.

Myth 3 In fact, carbohydrates (or "carbs," as most of us call them) should be limited for those of us with diabetes. They form the foundation of an unhealthy diabetes diet, or of any diet. Mostly, carbohydrate-rich foods, especially wheat and whole grains are creating much of the overweight/obesity problem in the United States today. Carbs have the greatest effect on blood glucose levels, which is why a diabetes diet asks you to monitor how many of them you eat. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber; however, these are found in other foods, and often at higher levels. So choose those with the most nutrients, high-fiber fruits, and vegetables. You may find it easier to select the best carbs if you meet with a nutritionist.

Myth 4 Yes, carbohydrates often cause your blood glucose levels to rise rapidly. That is why you should consider adding more protein and fat to your food plan. Many dietitians and doctors warn about too much protein and discourage red meat, as they still believe in the myth about saturated fat. Because everyone is different, you should talk to a nutritionist or a knowledgeable doctor about whether you may have problems with too much protein or adding too much fat to your meal plan. These are large variables and your meal plan needs to be tailored to your needs. Be careful of anyone using a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Remember you are unique and this will not necessarily work for you.

Continued in the next blog.

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