American Diabetes Association – Giving Conflicting Advice

As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I keep up with reading the published standards from the “leading” diabetes organizations (doesn’t mean I agree with them, but I read them).  In reading the most recent published standards from the American Diabetes Association, I was surprised to find their official position statement on healthy eating is nearly IDENTICAL to mine (yep!)  It is as follows:

“To promote and support healthful eating patterns, emphasizing a variety of nutrient dense foods in appropriate portion sizes, in order to improve overall health and specifically to:

  • Attain individualized glycemic (blood glucose), blood pressure and lipid goals
  • Achieve and maintain body weight goals
  • Delay or prevent complications of diabetes.”

Why was I so surprised to read this?  Because almost nothing that they teach to the public aligns with their OWN position statement! 

I want to analyze this position statement very closely because, as I said, it so closely mimics with what I teach, namely 1. EAT REAL FOOD (without overeating) and 2. EAT TO YOUR METER.  It SEEMS like the ADA is completely on target with this position statement.

So why do I NOT support the ADA?

It’s not the position statement that is the problem.  It is how the ADA’s advice is completely contradictory to it.  Let’s take a closer look at this statement, and then we will see how closely (or should I say NOT closely) the ADA lives up to it’s own position on healthy eating…

“NUTRIENT DENSITY”

Ok, we all remember my #1 rule right?  EAT REAL FOOD.  That is what they seem to be saying here as well.  Choose the most nutrient-dense foods you can find.  Why?  Because if you eat nutrient-poor foods, you will have to eat a LOT more food overall to make sure that you are getting adequate nutrients.  By choosing nutrient-dense foods, you get “more bang for your buck.”  Nutrient density is SO IMPORTANT.  I once read that if a person were to eat by the old USDA food pyramid, (with its base of UP TO 11 SERVINGS of processed, refined, nutrient-devoid foods like: bread, pasta, cereal and crackers), they would have to consume approximately 27,000 calories per day to meet their nutrient needs.  Well, I honestly don’t know how to verify that, but let’s take an average daily intake of 2,000 calories with up to 11 servings of nutrient poor food.   Yes, you would either need to eat MUCH more food to get your nutrients, or pick better quality foods.  (Now I know we don’t use this food pyramid anymore, but the MyPlate is not much better, only in a different format.)  CLEARLY, nutrient density is KEY.

So, how do you translate that?  EAT REAL FOOD.  Eat food that doesn’t sit on the shelf in a box or bag (or even most cans).  Eat food that either has NO label or one that has less than a handful of ingredients, all of which you can identify.

However, contrary to their position statement, the ADA continues to encourage large amounts of sugary and starchy carbohydrates in each meal (3-5 servings of them), along with processed and refined high carb snacks (like baked chips and light popcorn)…and don’t even get me started on their dessert suggestions (see below).  Certainly not nutrient dense foods.

“APPROPRIATE PORTIONS”

So, what about “portion sizes?”   Does anyone HATE the words PORTION CONTROL as much as I do?  How many of you think of this image when you hear “portion control.”

A close cousin to “portion control” is “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.” (My article HERE.)  In other words, it’s ok to have junk, just have “small portions” or eat it in “moderation” (whatever that is.)  “Moderation” means nothing, because everyone’s idea of what moderation is completely different.  This guy may feel like he is eating his pancakes in “moderation”…useless term.

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Enjoy this comical video on “serving sizes.”  LOL!

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We all know that people are going to occasionally eat things that are bad for them, but this should be left to their personal choice, NOT ENCOURAGED.

To me, a better way of saying portion control is saying: “eat only when you are hungry” and “don’t overeat.”  How can someone figure out a portion size for you if they don’t know what it takes to fill you up?  In other words, eat to YOUR satisfaction level, but don’t eat until you have to loosen your belt.

“GLYCEMIC CONTROL”

Next up, attaining glycemic control.  There is nowhere that the ADA is further away from its own position statement than when it comes to glycemic control.  First of all, the targets set for glycemic control are arbitrary at best, extremely harmful at worst.  With glycemic targets of up to 130 at fasting and up to 180 post meal, the ADA is NOWHERE NEAR helping people attain TRUE glycemic control, since normal fasting blood sugar is <90 and normal post meal blood glucose is below about 110-120.  You simply cannot state that you care about glycemic control and place targets  that are typically DOUBLE that of normal blood sugar.  Many, many studies show SIGNIFICANT increased risks of heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, cancer, alzheimer’s, brain shrinkage, blindness and amputations just increasing from an A1c of 5% to 6%.  By the time most people are diagnosed with diabetes (A1c of 6.5%), they already have significant metabolic disease and complications.  So, why promote an A1c of up to 7% as “glycemic control?”

In addition, the diet that is often promoted by the ADA will IN NO WAY help people achieve true glycemic control.  (See some examples below)

Here is a confusing statement on the ADA website “In the past, people with diabetes were told to completely avoid sugar. Experts thought that eating sugar would raise blood glucose levels very high.  Research around this issue has shown that while the type of carbohydrate can affect how quickly blood glucose levels rise, the total amount of carbohydrate you eat affects blood glucose levels more than the type. Now experts agree that you can substitute small amounts of sugar for other carbohydrate containing foods into your meal plan and still keep your blood glucose levels on track.”

(That is similar to the calories in calories out theory where people claim that the TYPE of calorie is not that important, as long as you don’t exceed the NUMBER of calories you should have.  Nothing could be further from the truth.)

So let me get this straight,  30g of carbs from vegetables…

Will raise my blood sugar more than 27g of carbohydrates from, predominantly, sugar…

Anyone beg to differ?

Why is a diabetes organization ASSISTING people in figuring out HOW to replace their healthy foods in their meal plan with sugar?  How about we encourage healthy eating and leave the indiscretions to people’s own personal choice…you know, instead of encouraging it by using words like “portions” and “moderation.”  Why do they never say “use portion control on your broccoli” or “eat your salad in moderation.”  Because “portion” and “moderation” are just code words for junk.

“BLOOD PRESSURE, LIPIDS, WEIGHT CONTROL AND AVOIDING COMPLICATIONS”

Next up, blood pressure, lipid, and weight control, as well as avoidance of complications.  Well, if you don’t promote NORMAL blood glucose targets, you will not achieve ANY of these goals, PERIOD.  No need to comment further.  You must achieve true glycemic control in order to achieve any of these.

Ok ADA, so I agree with your entire position statement…so what’s the problem?

Let’s see if ADA’s advice matches their official position.

Recently, the ADA published a “diabetes friendly” sugar-laden dessert recipe on Facebook.  I will not get into too much detail about this because there are already two excellent articles HERE and HERE.  After the post, hundreds of people protested the recipe being called “diabetes friendly.”  There were so many negative comments that the ADA removed the post, not because they felt anything was wrong with the recipe, but because, as they stated, it “lacked context.”   The real reason is that the post was an utter public embarrassment of their advice.  (In the end, they still could not admit that their advice was bad.)

Let’s see if that “diabetes friendly” recipe measured up to their own standards:

Nutrient dense: the ingredients were rice, sugar, milk and sweetened condensed milk (or, in other words…sugar, sugar, sugar and sugar).  Oh yeah, it had cinnamon!  That will balance out the blood sugar after the 38g (nearly 10 spoonfuls) of sugar (wink wink).  Fail.

Portion control:  well, I gotta give it to you here.  The portion WAS controlled.  In fact, for 38g of carbs/sugar, only 1/4 cup of rice was split into 10 portions.  Now, I know rice swells, but not that much.  Can you imagine how SMALL the portion was, yet it still had 38g of carbs?  Score 1 point for portion control, lol!

Glycemic targets: Can even a person WITHOUT diabetes eat this recipe and maintain normal blood sugar?  Doubt it.  Fail.

Normal blood pressure, lipids, and weight control, as well as prevention of complications: once again, without glycemic control, these goals are not attainable.  Fail.

Here is another example.  Here is a page out of the American Diabetes Association’s Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating written by Hope Warshaw, a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Medical Science who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management (bet you were wondering what all those acronyms meant…).

Folks, there is almost no one’s advice I would stay FARTHER away from than this woman’s advice.  She is TRULY a wolf in sheep’s clothing…and the worst kind because she is usually at the head of a major diabetes organization and a person in whose position we should rely on for helpful, accurate information.

So, here is one of her “healthy and hearty” choices for eating out (don’t worry about going somewhere and getting real food, like salmon and salad, just go to Dunkin’ Doughnuts)…simply choose TWO glazed cake doughnuts for 70g of carbs (sugar)!  As if one glazed cake doughnut wasn’t bad enough, she recommends two.

One question…what school did she study nutrition in?  To call two glazed cake doughnuts “healthy” is a crime that should be punishable by law for a nutritionist.  Once again, people are going to eat unhealthy foods at times.  But they are going to do it EVEN MORE if someone tells them they can have their doughnut AND good health at the same time (“have your cake and eat it too”, lol!)  How do you get SUPER healthy, eat a whole dozen?

So what is it ADA?  Do you want people to eat nutrient-dense foods that will help them control their blood sugar, weight and health markers and avoid complications?  Or are you going to keep promoting PURE JUNK as diabetes and heart friendly foods…we are getting confused!

What the ADA may not be aware of, is that there IS a small band of dietitians, nutritionists, diabetes educators, physicians and nurses who are actually upholding that position statement, DESPITE the ADA’s continued poor advice to the public.

It’s time that the ADA follows suit.

Two Years of Low Carb RN

Hi folks!  Have been so busy over the past month that I almost forgot an important milestone for Low Carb RN, and that is, our two year anniversary (earlier this month)!

I wanted to say again thank you to so many people who have been so instrumental on my own personal health journey and those who are helping so many others to do the same.  This is my last year’s anniversary post (HERE) as well as my “special thanks” post (HERE) and without reiterating the exact same thing, I wanted to thank all of these folks again.  They remain my biggest supporters and dear friends.

Since that time, I have come to know and have grown close to hundreds of folks in the low carb world who are doing so much to help others, such as my friends Amy Berger, Lisa MarcAurele, Dr. Michael Tremba, Dr. Keith Runyan, Sandy Bahr, Bill Rust, Tim Rice, Ivor Cummins, Marty Kendall, Jeremy Fazackerley, Jamie Moskowitz, Jeff Cyr, Mike Julian, Gary Snow, Ron Gillespie and Ken Gordon and so, so, so many others…this is just off the top of my head.  If I missed you it was not intentional.  Just know that if you are in the low carb crusade, I appreciate you and I’m here with you…and proud of it.

And thanks to the readers out there.  Please share the site with others.  It has helped hundreds of thousands of people, although I wish I could say millions, because it is here as a free resource for anyone who needs it.  So feel free to share.

And, if you see anything that needs improving or you would like other topics added, let me know J

Here is to another great year of healthy living!

Why Are You Relying on Your Doctor (or Nurse) for Nutrition Advice?

I would like to perform brain surgery on you.  Would you let me?  No?  Why not?  The answer is obvious.  Although I am a healthcare professional, I have not been trained in brain surgery.  Ok.  Well, I’m not a doctor either, so maybe this is not a fair question.

So, how about your general practitioner or your primary care provider?  That person is a doctor.  Would you let them perform brain surgery on you?  No?  Why not?  The answer is just as obvious.  We do not rely on a healthcare professional to do something OUTSIDE of their training OR to provide us with advice OUTSIDE of what they have been educated in and are experienced in.

Then why are we relying on our doctors (or nurses) to provide us with nutrition education, when they have not been educated to do so?

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Doctors are NOT educated in absolutely everything they need to do to help people achieve good health.  In fact, medical education is geared toward recognizing symptoms and matching disease process with MEDICAL (not nutritional) treatments.  According to the American Medical Association, only 27% of the medical universities in the U.S. offer the recommended 25 hours of nutrition education.  But even for those receiving such education, it does not include extensive advice about healthy eating.

For Registered Nurses, nutrition is not a requirement.  Surprised?  (Some BSN programs do require one nutrition class).  When I took nutrition in nursing school, it wasn’t about how to eat healthy.  It was about how metabolism works, digestion, absorption, etc.  It approached nutrition from a chemistry standpoint, ie, what happens to a carbohydrate (or protein or fat) when it is consumed, how does it break down in the body and what type of processes does the body use to metabolize that nutrient.  If  there was any information about “healthy eating” at all (maybe a chapter or two), it would have been the same standard, outdated, dis-proven low fat, low cholesterol, low calorie mantra.

So, why are we relying on these healthcare professionals for nutrition advice?  A more pointed question is, why are these healthcare professionals OFFERING advice when they really have not been educated to do so, (KNOWING that patient’s treat advice from their healthcare professionals as GOSPEL?)  Isn’t giving advice about something you know nothing about, a form of malpractice?

This really grinds my gears because often when giving nutritional advice to family members or friends, they will say, “well, I will see what my doctor has to say.”   Ugh!!!  OK, while you are at it, please ask them how they would perform brain surgery, because you are likely to get just as accurate an answer.

That is not to say that there aren’t doctors (and nurses) out there who can rightly give nutrition advice.  But is it advice that they learned in school?  No.  Doctors and nurses who are educated in nutrition (specifically to prevent, treat and reverse chronic disease) have taken it upon themselves to receive that education.  I have been pleased to find a few handfuls of these great docs and healthcare professionals around the world who not only challenge the current nutritional status quo, but also to make it their practice of using nutrition as medicine (for a list of such healthcare professionals, see HERE).

As a nurse, I have spent more time in nutrition self-education, and the use of nutrition to prevent, treat and reverse chronic disease, than I did on my original nursing degree, that is to say, THOUSANDS of hours.  And even with this, I don’t have all the answers for all people and every disease process, as our knowledge of nutrition is ever-evolving.

Don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally see my doctor.  She is awesome.  She does just what I expect her to do with how she has been trained to care for me.  I am not against the medical establishment.  In fact, I am a part of it.  But, I use it for what it was designed to be used for.  For example, if I have strep throat, yes, I see my doctor.  If I cut myself with a chain saw, yep, I’m going to the doctor.  But most of what people see their doctors for today is for chronic, lifestyle-related diseases…those that need a nutritional (not a medical) solution.  For that, your doctor most often cannot help because they have not been trained on the nutritional treatment of disease, UNLESS they educated themselves.  (In fact, have come to know SO MANY people that are not even healthcare professionals that have become SO knowledgeable about health and nutrition that I’d be more willing to listen to one of them, than my doctor on this subject.)

So please, unless you have a physician or nurse who has taken it upon themselves to become educated in the use of nutrition to prevent, treat and reverse disease, I suggest that you educate yourselves.  I would NEVER ask my doc a nutrition question.  In fact, when I go to see her (once or twice a year for labs), I TEACH HER.

Your best bet is to become your own nutrition and health expert.  It’s ok to be the most knowledgeable person in the room (about preventative health and nutrition) when you are sitting in your doctor’s office, lol!!  No one will be a bigger advocate for your health and wellness than YOU!  And no one will know what advice best suits you, except YOU.  When you try nutrition advice out on yourself and you see how it affects your health markers, you become the expert of YOU.

So please, don’t rely on life saving advice from a person who is not in a position to give it.

Be happy and healthy!

Taking a Break From Social Media

So folks I have come to a difficult decision that has been on my mind for nearly a year. But I think this decision is actually going to benefit all of you in the end.

I’m going to step back from social media for a bit. This in no way means that I’m going away. In fact, I plan on using some of that time to improve, update and add new content to the website. Here’s why I have made this decision.

For those of you that don’t know, I am a wife and mother to two school-aged children and step mom to three adult children (from whom I have three beautiful grandchildren). I homeschool both of my school-aged children, I run my own business providing diabetes education and training services and I am also actually employed by a medical clinic for whom I provide diabetes education as well. So with all of that, I work about 50-60 hours per week. In addition, I have developed and solely manage 3 nutrition, health and wellness websites, run a social media page and manage 5 online support groups, serving over 10,000 people. In my “spare” time, lol, I participate in volunteer work, typically every week, with my family in my community. Finally, in my efforts to keep my family healthy, I try to cook the majority of everything that my family eats from scratch.

This last year, some events happened (my husband’s heart surgery, the death of my grandson) that caused me to start thinking about the value of my time. I have two children that will soon begin entering the teen years. They need more of my time. I have a patient husband of 17 years that deserves more of my time. I have a brother with a recent diagnosis of metastatic cancer. He deserves more of my time. I have parents in their 70’s. They deserve more of my time.

So what is it about social media that takes so much time? Every month, I answer probably 100 or more requests for information and help. While I’m very happy to do this, about 95% of the questions posed are already answered on my website. I have spent thousands of hours in research and development of this website, and I would love to increase its use to manage the number of information requests I get.

Next, when I post to social media, I actively participate in the discussions that ensue. I read every comment and respond to many of them, at the very least, “liking” comments to show my appreciation for folks participating in the discussion. I diligently monitor my page and all 5 of my support groups for inappropriate comments, posts, or spam. I also review the profile, likes and groups of every person who requests to join my support groups to see if they appear legitimate to try to keep spammers and trolls out of the groups. Finally, I spend a great deal of time reviewing new information from my colleagues in the low carb world in order to share updated relevant information, as well as looking for new recipes to test and share.

I’ve been doing this for over 4 years now. I do not sell books, or cookbooks, or meal plans. I do this in my own “free” (lol) time strictly because of my passion to help people. And I will CONTINUE to help people free of charge. But I feel that social media is not the best place to do that.  I find that time spent on social media is less productive than time spent elsewhere.

So I will be significantly reducing my social media activity. I will leave my social media page up, as it will contain valuable and helpful links to my website. However, I will clean off the content on the social media page so that it will not be a temptation for social media “spammers” to come in and make comments on old content that I might not see.  Don’t fret!  Everything that has been posted on social media is right here on this page.  Feel free to use the Table of Contents to find the content you are searching for, quickly and easily.  I will check in on social media, but only infrequently. In return, I’m going to make better use of my time. First and foremost, I will give more to my family.

So I’m not going anywhere. This website has been paid in advance for many years to come! Lol!! I just want to prioritize my time so that people (particularly my family), get my best.

I HIGHLY recommend that you follow this website so that you will be kept informed of new content, as I will probably not share it through social media. To follow this site, simply type your email in the “follow” box and hit enter. If you get an email to confirm your request, confirm it. Your email address will remain private.

Then, make good use of the site. Use the search box or the table of contents to search for answers to your questions. And if you can’t find them, feel free to contact me through the contact page (HERE).

While I have loved getting into lively discussions on social media, or sharing my random thoughts (or rants, lol), I have discovered that it is not the most productive thing I can be doing. Thanks so much for participating with me and stay tuned for great things to come!

Wishing you health and happiness.

What Ever Happened To Exercise?

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I find it strange that when I write posts about exercise, I actually get more criticism than support. It truly baffles me.

I think what has happened is that, just as people are (rightfully) rebelling against the age old advice not to eat fat, they are rebelling against the adage “eat less and move more.” And they should. Eat less and move more is not a solution. It’s not about eating LESS, it’s about eating the RIGHT KINDS of foods. No matter how little processed, sugar-laden food you eat, it’s still bad for you. It’s not about eating bad foods less, it’s about eating good foods 95% (or more) of the time, and eating what your body needs to be nourished and healthy. “Eat less” is a ridiculous oversimplification of what the body really needs. And “move more” is NOT a solution when you have a poor diet. So I understand the backlash against that lousy advice.

But, once you have cleaned up your diet, ridding yourself of processed foods, sugar, grains and carbs that spike blood glucose, then what is wrong with “moving more?”

I’m not saying use exercise to try to cover a bad diet.

I’m not saying use exercise as an excuse to splurge.

I’m not even saying to count on exercise as your means of weight loss.

I’m saying, once your diet is right, why NOT move more? (barring any physical limitations). Can someone please tell me one thing WRONG with getting MORE exercise, or even SOME exercise? (Now, I’m also not talking about excessive exercise. Just your basic 1/2 hour of vigorous movement daily.)

The benefits of exercise are just to numerous to mention.

I’m going to steal a great list from Dr. Mark Hyman:

  • “It makes your cells and muscles more sensitive to insulin so that you don’t need as much. Less insulin = less belly fat.
  • It reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol and you become insulin resistant and store belly fat. Too much cortisol also makes you crave sugar and carbs and seek comfort food.
  • If you do interval training (going fast, then slow), you can speed up your metabolism and burn more calories all day long, even while you sleep.
  • Strength training builds muscle, and muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat.
  • Exercise improves memory, learning and concentration.
  • Vigorous exercise is a better anti-depressant than Prozac.
  • Exercise protects your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Exercise reduces inflammation (the cause of almost every disease of aging).
  • Exercise boosts detoxification of environmental chemicals.
  • Exercise balances hormones and reduces breast and other common cancers.
  • Exercise improves sexual function.”

So where is the downside?

I’m going to tell you an interesting tidbit about me. Every time in my life where I instituted an exercise regimen, I lost weight. But, in the past, my diet was poor, so my overall health did not improve much. Exercise NEVER covers a poor diet. When I went low carb, I lost 80 lbs with absolutely NO exercise. My body responded extremely well to getting carbs very low because my diet prior was VERY VERY heavy in carbs. That initially made me think that exercise wasn’t really necessary.  (Maybe many of you are at that point).

But that was about five years ago. I found out later, for me anyways, that MAINTAINING weight loss over a long period of time, is MUCH HARDER than losing it to begin with. So I had to pull out all the stops and get active to maintain what I had achieved. I have now found that as I approach middle age, there are even more challenges to maintaining weight loss. I have to also get enough sleep, manage my stress, and keep hormones balanced (things I’m not always able to do. But that is a subject for another day, lol!)

“I don’t like exercise” you say? Have you ever heard the expression that you only do “something enough to hate it?” That is extremely applicable to exercise. If you don’t do it regularly enough to experience the benefits, you won’t like it. It will always seem like work and you won’t have much to show for it. I know, you’re tired and have no energy. But if you make exercise a REGULAR part of your routine, YOU WILL like it, you WILL have enough energy for it. And the excuse “I don’t have time.” I don’t even address that. The average person watches 5-6 hours of television daily. Just 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening may be all you need to get going. There is time. You know the old saying “If it is important to you, you will make time. If it is not important to you, you will make excuses.”

So, what type of exercise should you do? Well, that is up to you. But I find the most beneficial exercises for me are interval training and strength training. I do cardio interval exercise for 1/2 hour almost every day. Most recently, I have been splitting this up into two 15 minute segments after meals daily, most days. It’s quick and very effective. Then 3 times per week, I do strength training. I try to work at the max intensity I am able to, but I keep my movements very simple. As I have gotten older, my coordination, balance and flexibility are not as good as they once were. But my regularity in doing the exercise is helping me improve in all of these areas.

If you have physical limitations, tailor your exercise regimen to fit your abilities. Most people can walk for exercise. If you can do that, start there. Then change it to interval style, increasing intensity, then maybe add weights. Try to continually challenge yourself. When your routine gets too easy, increase intensity or resistance.

And it’s not just structured exercise that is beneficial. Adding more activity every day can help as well. While being sedentary IN ITSELF is not the CAUSE of the obesity epidemic, is there anyone out there who wouldn’t agree that being sedentary is just not good for us? So take the dog for a walk (your pets need exercise too), use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the farthest parking spot away from your destination and walk in, get up and move during commercial breaks of your favorite television show, etc. Find ways to be less sedentary. Your body will thank you 😉

So while exercise is not the ANSWER to weight loss and good health, it is certainly ONE of the KEY elements. Maybe 2017 will be the year that we can renew interest in this great health boosting activity.

Wishing you health and happiness!

If it Has a Health Claim on the Label – Leave it on the Shelf

So who of us in the 1980’s were fooled by these FAT FREE cookies?  FAT FREE meant we could eat all we wanted and never get fat, right?  I remember specifically thinking that if I didn’t eat more than 20% of my calories from fat, my body would eventually be no more than 20% fat.  Omg!!  Now we know better.

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And how many millions of parents out there are now being tricked into feeling better about serving their children this sugar laden cereal (with 24g of carbs, or 6 teaspoonfuls of sugar per serving), because it has NO GLUTEN?

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Ok those seem like no brainers to folks in the low carb world right?  So how about something a bit closer to home, like these “sugar free” cookies?  My question is, how can anything made with flour be called “sugar free?”  Flour is 100% sugar, almost immediately after hitting your tongue.  Don’t be fooled.  These cookies have 20g of carbs, or in other words, 5 teaspoons of sugar in just one serving.  That is, if you can stop at one serving of three little cookies 😦

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Ok, let’s talk about this one.  “No sugar added.”  Do you know what “no sugar added” means?  It means that it was already so full of sugar (either milk sugar or fruit sugar), that it didn’t NEED anymore table sugar.  This one has 24g of carbs (or 6 teaspoons of sugar) in one serving.  (And who ever eats 1/2 cup of ice cream?)

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Now these next two really bother me!  Why?  Because they appeal to the diabetic, elderly population and use trick marketing to intentionally try to hide their harmful content.   First of all, when carbs are in liquid form, they are more rapidly absorbed and will spike blood glucose quicker and higher.  This is why I have a motto “never drink your carbs.”  IMHO, people should never drink their meals unless they can no longer chew.  (And when you get to that point, blend your own food at home.  Please don’t resort to these sugar shakes as a meal.)

This sugar shake, DESIGNED for people with diabetes states it only has 6g of sugar.  It also states that it has “carb steady,” apparently the right blend of nutrients to keep blood sugar stable.  When in actuality, it has 23g of liquid carbs, which will almost immediately turn into nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar.  Try to keep your blood glucose “steady” on that!

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This new version of the sugar shake uses deceptive marketing.  Instead of just coming out and saying it has 16g of carbs (which are liquid and will quickly become 4 teaspoons of sugar in just 8 ounces – a small drink), they try to hide that by saying it has “only 1 carb choice.”  First of all, if you are a person with diabetes who never had diabetes education (more than 3/4 of the people with diabetes have never had education), you wouldn’t know what a “carb choice” is, and might MISTAKENLY a believe that “1 carb choice” means 1g of carbs.  Why not just be truthful and say 16g of carbs, or 4 teaspoons of sugar?  This is reprehensible!

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Ok let’s get a little closer to home.  Several months ago, I did a blood sugar testing experiment on this product, which has 32g of carbs, but claims only 6g of net carbs.  I experienced a spike of nearly 40 points in my blood sugar, and I’m am not technically even considered a person with diabetes.  In other words, it is not on my diagnosis list.  (But I know the truth.  I know that my blood sugar and A1c are controlled at non-diabetic levels due to my way of living, not because my diabetes magically cured itself ;).)

Not only that, but my blood sugar was still elevated 4 hours later.  Does that sounds like something 6g of carbs would do?  When I eat 6g of carbs from broccoli, it doesn’t move my blood sugar at all.  Seems suspect to me…how about you?

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This supposed low carb pasta settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit over their health claims (read HERE).  Some folks doing blood sugar testing found no difference in blood glucose spikes, despite its claim to have only 5g of digestible carbs.

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Bottom line folks, if it sits in a bag, box or bottle on a shelf, and has ingredients you can’t identify, leave it on the shelf.  It’s not real food anyways!  And if it has a health or nutrition claim on the label, be even more wary.  How about just eating real food that is NATURALLY “sugar free” and “gluten free”, etc?  Those foods look like this, and rarely have a label.

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Wishing you health and happiness!

I Guess I’m Not Good at Following the “Rules”

An angry teacher holding a composition book and pointing a ruler.

Recently, I was told that I don’t follow the “rules” because I try to help people find out what is best for themselves individually, rather than making sure everyone stays STRICTLY “on plan.” It was not the first time I’ve heard such statements.

Warning: I’m going to use sarcasm freely in this post.  I’m feeling sassy.  Hang on for the ride 😉

First of all, when it comes to nutrition, what I’d like to know is: what are these “rules” that I’m supposedly not following? You can’t accuse me of not following rules that I wasn’t aware of even existed. Who wrote such “rules” and who made the decision about whose “rules” we’re best? And what is this magical “plan” that is good for all living beings that I need to direct everyone to, and then make sure they follow it? Please share.  Because I’ve been looking for a “plan” like that forever and I haven’t found it yet! 😉

In reality, if I followed “rules” (such as the current nutritional guidelines) then this page would be called Low Fat RN, and we would all be slowly following each other like lemmings as we marched toward our demise.

That is the problems with “rules” and “guidelines” when it comes to nutrition. They don’t teach people how to think for themselves and listen to their own bodies.  I remained on a low fat diet for decades, eating gobs of “heart healthy whole grains” and low fat EVERYTHING, despite obvious clues from my body that something was very wrong (such as increasing weight, pre-diabetes, hypertension, constant hunger, and poor mood.)  But I stuck to it because that was what I thought I was supposed to do.  I had not learned how to think, just to follow.

Yep, for decades, this was me following nutritional guidelines…lol!

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But after decades of being hungry and feeling lousy, I decided NOT to follow the “rules” and go low carb. It was life changing for me.

Now that I’m low carb, apparently I’m not following the “rules” again. Well darn it! 😉

Folks come on!! There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition that is good for all people. And even if there was, we all have this beautiful gift called “free will.” It is not my right to tell other people what to do. All I can do is share what worked for me in hopes that it can help or encourage someone else.

As I have said a million times, I have only two true guiding principles when it comes to my own nutritional choices. 1. Eat real food (don’t overeat it though). 2. Eat in a way that helps you achieve optimal health markers (particularly blood glucose, as I feel it is the MOST important marker of health, hands down.)

I know for me personally, to accomplish these goals, I have to be strict with MYSELF. Now, how everyone else achieves these goals for themselves, that is up to each person. If you accomplish that with paleo, keto, primal, low carb vegetarian, whatever, more power to each one of you.  I’m truly happy for you and will support and encourage you, all the way!!  You won’t find a better cheerleader than me!

But if following strict rules is what you need, I’m sorry, you will have to impose them on yourself because it is just not in my nature to enforce rules on anyone except my own kids, lol! And even then, I’m not so good at it.  My kids are doing something right now that they are not supposed to be doing.  I have to go and tend to that!  LOL!

So, I’m sorry if this page is not rigid enough for you.  You may call that “not following the rules.”  I call it being reasonable.  It’s the only way I know.  😉

Wishing you all health and happiness.

Macros vs. Plate Method

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You may have heard me share this quote from Dr. Mark Hyman many times:

“You may not know this, but the body could survive without carbohydrates. Our bodies require essential amino acids to build proteins and essentially fatty acids to function properly – yet there is no such thing as an “essential” carbohydrate. At the same time, nobody would contest the nutritional value of plant-based carbohydrates. However, if you never ate another carbohydrate again in your life, you would survive!”

Then he turns around and says that half your plate should be carbs, but the bulk of your calories should come from fat. What? Can we have half our plate in carbs and be low carb? The answer is yes!  But how can half our plate be carbs but get most of our intake from fat?  here’s how…

If we were to create a pie chart of our macronutrients, let’s say 65% fat, 25% protein, 10% carbs, or some version thereof (your macros may differ), it would look like the pie chart in the left side here. But is that what it would really look like on your plate? No. Why? Because fat is energy rich and often dense. Therefore, a pat of butter may give you the same amount, calorically, and energy-wise as an entire plate of non-starchy vegetables. So it is not uncommon to have a generous portion of vegetables while still eating only about 10% of your energy from carbs.

For instance, on half your plate, you could have two full cups of cooked cauliflower (a lot) for only around 10g of carbs (6 of which are fiber). Toss it in one and a half tablespoons of butter, which has about 18g of fat. Or you can have two cups of raw salad veggies for around the same amount of carbs. Toss in some olive or avocado oil based dressing and you will have similar fat content. While it appears that half your plate is covered in carbs, in reality, that half of your plate is predominantly fat. Then we go to the other side of the plate which contains your protein, which comes with its own portion of fat. Now, let’s say you ate a medium sized chicken leg with skin. You will get about 29g of protein and an additional 15g of fat. Tally for the meal 10g carbs, 29g protein, 33g of fat. Calories: 40 from carbs, 116 from protein, 297 from fat. Percentages: about 9% carbs, 25.5% protein, 65.5% fat. (If your fat macros are higher and your protein lower, you can accomplish this by choosing a meat that has a higher fat content.  Eggs also have higher fat to protein ratio.  If your carb macros are higher, you can choose vegetables that have more carbs, broccoli has almost twice as much as cauliflower ;).

So it is entirely possible to have the macronutrients on the left, look like the plate on the right. Sometimes, it is easier figuring out what to eat when we are not overly obsessive about the exact macronutrients but rather can just visualize what it looks like on a plate.

I haven’t intentionally tracked my macros for a long time.  But whenever I used My Fitness Pal to track what I eat, using the 1/2 plant 1/2 animal image above, my macros always end up in a similar range, with only slight variation between fat and protein.

So yes you can have 1/2 a plate in carbs and be low carb.

Happy eating to you!

Offering Low Carb Education

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Many who follow my page are nurses, dietitians, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals.  Because low carb is not the standard recommendation, many in the healthcare field are hesitant to offer low carb education to their patients?  Why?

I have developed a 3 part series that will examine why offering a low carb approach to patients is healthful and addresses common objections to doing so.  Those also not in the healthcare field would do well to consider these articles so as to know how to answer their healthcare provider who objects to a low carb way of eating.

Part 1 – Do We Really Need 130g of Carbohydrates Per Day?

Part 2 – Can Diabetes Educators and Dietitians Teach Low Carb?

Part 3 – Common Objections to Offering Low Carb Education

Low Carb Mag – Top Blogs

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So, folks!  I am super excited to be featured as a “Top Blog” this month in Low Carb Mag!

A few months ago, I had the privilege of being interviewed by the absolutely pleasant Mark Moxom of Low Carb Mag.  It was a lot of fun!  My interview is now being featured in their January issue, where there is a brief article along with the video interview.

I will warn you in advance, when it comes to all things Low Carb, I LOVE to talk.  Poor Mark didn’t have a chance to get many words in, lol!  You’ll also have to pardon me. When I speak, I say “ya know” a lot. My mom usually reminds me by saying “no I don’t know.” Lol!

I hope you enjoy both this month’s issue and the article/video.

This month also featured a great article and interview with Will Harris, a rancher in Georgia that focuses on environmentally sustainable responsible, animal-welfare-focused farming.  I LOVED it!  The magazine also includes other great articles, videos, recipes and low carb products.

Below, you will find important links:

To read the January issue of Low Carb Mag, and view my video interview, please click HERE

(Video interview also below)

For the Low Carb Mag Website, please click HERE

To read Low Carb Mag on your iOS device, click HERE

You can also sign up to get the latest new and information about Low Carb Mag and be the first to be notified when a new issue comes out, click HERE

NOTE: there is a slight blip in this video where there is a little bit of the interview is missing. Maybe about 15-30 seconds? It occurs at about minute 8:15 where it makes a total change in subject. In this blip, we completed talking about how people with Type 1 can achieve normal blood sugar with a low carb lifestyle (and of course, insulin). We then transitioned into talking about weight loss, where you hear me discuss that weight loss is not my PRIMARY focus. There are many ways to lose weight, most of them are unhealthy. So I focus on improving health first, and weight loss is a side benefit of getting healthy.

So with all its blips, here it is. Enjoy!

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I am looking forward to working with Low Carb Mag again in the future to help spread the message of health and wellness.

Thank you for watching!

For those that have trouble viewing, below is a PDF version.

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