June 15, 2012

What is Your Diabetes Diet?

At times I wish I was an expert, then I realize this is not something you can be educated for nor to be desired. I enjoy being able to write about many topics and not be chained to an organization or profession. As a patient, I am able to advocate and write about topics from a patient's perspective, applying what I experience and learn from others. When people that want us to believe they are experts, I sometimes need to stop and question if they are truly what they want us to believe.

Hence, when I saw this article with the title “Diabetes Diet” I had to read it to see what they were saying. True the title is a misnomer as there is not a diet specific to diabetes. There may be people that think this or want to believe this, but there can only be suggestions that fit us as individuals, that we have found work for us, and what our blood glucose meter says works for us. The experts don't want us to use our meters.

This article starts with the proper lead-in and is understandable. Let me back up and clarify that. Diet is the word used and we all understand that diets fail. Food plan is a more appropriate description for what people with diabetes need. The author starts the second paragraph right and I quote the first four sentences. “There is no prescribed diet plan for those with diabetes. Rather, eating plans are tailored to fit an individual's needs, schedules, and eating habits. A diabetes diet plan must also be balanced with the intake of insulin and oral diabetes medications. In general, the principles of a healthy diabetes diet are the same for everyone.”

I may be reading something into the “plan must also be balanced with the intake of insulin and oral medications;” however, I will try not to think this means that the insulin or dosage of oral medications determines the amount of food to be eaten. The last sentence in the paragraph above is what disturbs me, and the sentence that follows just confirmed my thoughts.

Consumption of a variety of foods including whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, and lean meats or vegetarian substitutes, poultry and fish is recommended to achieve a healthy diet.” Yes, the high carbohydrate, low fat mantra is again the saying of choice. The individualization idea is thrown out and it is the same one-size-fits-all mantra they have been preaching for years. This makes this author no different from others.

They all want us to think they are promoting the individual (platitudes) but they eventually fall back to the same approach. The article is downhill after that and I will come back for another point later. While reading and thinking about this article, I have wondered why in discussing food plans, nothing is ever mentioned about blood glucose testing. This would give meaning to the individualization as everyone would be different and food plans would take on a more individual flair.

Yes, but I keep forgetting about the obvious collusion between government agencies and medical organizations and related groups of “experts” and the fraudulent intent of misleading diabetes patients. This lengthy list includes three (no four) government agencies and four organizations. On one side is the USDA, which sets the food policy and this, is promoted by the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. On the other side are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding studies to prove that patients do not need to test that often and derive no benefits from testing. The goal is preventing patients from knowing how foods affect their blood glucose levels and finding out how bad the advice is, being promoted by our “experts.” This is probably the reason that self-monitoring of blood glucose is discouraged by the four organizations.

The point that the author makes next really makes me vent and rant. It also gives me cause to never be considered an expert. I have to quote, “Many experts, including the American Diabetes Association, recommend that 50% to 60% of daily calories come from carbohydrates, 12% to 20% from protein, and no more than 30% from fat. People with diabetes may also benefit from eating small meals throughout the day instead of eating one or two heavy meals. No foods are absolutely forbidden for people with diabetes, and attention to portion control and advance meal planning can help people with diabetes enjoy the same meals as others in the family.”

The only good advice in the above quote is about people with diabetes possibly benefiting from eating small meals throughout the day. Some of us call this grazing and this does benefit many people with type 2 diabetes. I am currently using a food plan of 10% to 20% carbohydrates, 20% to 35% protein, and 45% to 60% fat. I am feeling better and all indications show positive effects in better diabetes management and lipid panel results.

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