Why Is Dietary Advice For Those With Diabetes So Bad?

Three different conversations between a healthcare provider, and patient:

HCP: “Mr. Jones, you have celiac disease.  Your body cannot tolerate gluten.  You need to remove gluten containing foods from your diet.”

Patient: “That makes sense.  Thank you.  I will do that.”

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HCP: “Mr. Smith, you have lactose intolerance. Your body cannot tolerate lactose.  You need to remove lactose containing foods from your diet.”

Patient: “That makes sense. Thank you. I will do that.”

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HCP: “Mr. Williams, you are overweight. You also have high blood sugar.  You need to lose weight and control your blood sugar.  My suggestion is to eat a diet high in carbohydrates.  At least 55% of your diet should come from carbohydrates.  Avoid fat as much as you can.”

Patient: “Don’t carbohydrates turn into sugar?  Won’t that make me gain more weight and raise my blood sugar even more?  Can’t I just cut down on carbohydrates?”

HCP: “No.  Low carb diets are a dangerous fad.  No healthy diet restricts any foods.  Eat anything you want in moderation.”

Patient: “But what about my weight and high blood sugar?”

HCP: “We have pills and shots for that.”

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For any health condition where dietary choices cause instant unpleasant side effects or health consequences, the advice is ALWAYS to remove that food from our diet, or at the very least, restrict it. Why is the same advice NOT given to those with diabetes? Because diabetes is called the “silent killer.” In other words, it is killing us slowly, usually, without us even knowing it. Why? Because the symptoms are not always as obvious. Often, the symptoms are not unpleasant enough for many to have the desire to make the needed dietary restrictions.

Make no doubt about it, diabetes is doing WAY MORE damage than just about any other health condition, as it effects every part of your body and is at the root of almost all major chronic disease. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the lack of unpleasant symptoms. By the time symptoms start appearing, significant and sometimes irreversible damage has been done.

And can we just address the “everything in moderation” mantra once and for all? What is moderation? There is absolutely no definition when it comes to people’s eating habits. Moderation SHOULD mean…”once in a while,” or “for a special occasion.” However, moderation to a sugar addict might mean cutting back from 10 sodas per day, to 5.  There is no standard of “moderation.”  That phrase is COMPLETELY unuseful.  Sugar has been found to be highly more addictive than illegal drugs (wheat products are just about as addictive.) Do we tell drug addicts “just have your crack in moderation?” Ridiculous! So, why do we tell people with unhealthy eating habits to eat those addictive foods in moderation?  The “everything in moderation” is the famous tagline of major food corporations.  “You can have our sugar-laden death drink, or it’s sugar-free zero calorie chemical-nightmare alternative “in moderation” as long as you don’t overdo your daily calories and you exercise enough.”  Please, can we just stop the insanity?

Rather than having something “in moderation” every day, make healthy living your daily habit, saving anything typically off your menu for rare special occasions. And if certain foods are addictive to you, if they increase cravings or cause unpleasant side effects or aggravate your health condition, there is nothing wrong or “unbalanced” with avoiding them completely.