Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Ridiculousness of the Diabetes Diet

Well, now that the spring semester at UConn is in full swing, and I'm frequently busy spreading the word that skim milk is the dietary solution to everything, I haven't had time to blog much.  And I definitely haven't had time to put together any type of science-intensive post.  But I've had this one on the brain for a while now, and I think it's time to put it to paper.  Or virtual paper.  And this one really fires me up.  Begin rant...

So last semester in my Medical Nutrition Therapy class, we discussed type 2 diabetes extensively.  That's the type that's acquired later in life because of a shitty diet, not the type that you get when you're younger and require insulin injections.  Type 2 diabetes used to be called "Adult-Onset Diabetes", until it started showing up in younger people, and that name sort of went out the window.  I'd rather they kept the name though; it'd be pretty embarrassing to be a 12-year-old and have adult-onset diabetes wouldn't it?  Maybe that would have helped stress to those kids just how god-awful it is that they have diabetes at such a young age.  But that's neither here nor there.

What I want to talk about today is the standard diabetes diet the conventional wisdom folks recommend.  In case you didn't know, diabetes is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism.  When you're diabetic, your body stops responding to insulin, the hormone that normally gets those carbs into your cells so they can be used for energy.  Well diabetics can't process those carbs so well.  As a result, the glucose just hangs out in the bloodstream, and high blood glucose is extremely toxic.  Given the fact that diabetics have to deal with this carbohydrate metabolism issue, it would seem to follow that they should reduce their carbohydrate consumption, right?  Nope.  Not according to the conventional wisdom.  In fact, the standard diabetes diet doesn't reduce carb consumption at all, and in some cases it may even suggest more carbs; they simply recommend that you spread your carb intake evenly throughout the day.  Doesn't make any sense does it??  But why on earth would any sane person not recommend a low-carb diet for diabetics?  Answer:  because if you eat fewer carbs, you have to eat more fat and protein.  And increasing your fat would give you heart disease, something that diabetics are at much higher risk for.

The Diabetes Diet:  eat more bread