Sunday, March 31, 2013

I’m Mad

Today, I’m mad. Angry. Pissed. Ticked. I want to punch something.  The other day was a bad day where I didn’t feel well and was grumpy.  I re-read this post and felt better.  My last post was about feeling lucky and I still feel that way, but today I’m mad.
When I was diagnosed in 2005 I didn’t receive any direction or assistance or encouragement.  That lack of attention to the seriousness of diabetes led me to believe that I could continue eating in a way that wasn’t really good for me.  I went about figuring out how I could continue to eat some of my favorite foods and still control my diabetes, when in reality I should have let them go from the beginning and start to find healthier options.  

I have always advocated for slow change, especially when it’s someone whose diet has been filled with a high percentage of processed carbohydrates.  I still feel that this is the best approach but I’m beginning to think that we’re moving too slowly.  Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that the mainstream medical society hasn’t been doing those of us with type 2 diabetes a service by coddling us and encouraging us to continue to eat foods that contain higher amounts of carbohydrates.  The idea of a “healthy diet” is under scrutiny and some doctors are now admitting that they’ve been wrong for several decades.

Dr. Dwight Lundell is a cardiologist who has spoken up to say that he was wrong about a low fat diet and heart disease.  You can read his words here,
which I highly recommend you do. 

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.”

“(We) have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.”

“What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.”

I’m lucky because my diabetes was apparently caught before my insulin resistance was very high.  I could still get away with eating higher amounts of carbs without medication and not see glucose spikes…for a while.  Now, not so much.  I feel cheated!  By sticking my head in the sand, with the help of my “team”, I merely delayed the inevitable: I must drastically lower my carb intake in order to control my diabetes.  Let me rephrase that: I must cut out most carbs and replace them with non-starchy vegetables, beans and nuts.  My body just can’t handle carbohydrates any longer.  Sigh.

This brings up a subject that I’ve been grappling with for some time now: Is it better for a PWD, T2 to cut out carbs in order to control glucose, or should we just take more medicine?  I’ll just betcha if I asked a dietician or CDE I would be told to up my medication.  In fact, I had a reply to a comment I made in a forum from someone who claimed to be a dietician who said that if I couldn’t even eat a sandwich without seeing a bg spike then I needed to take more medicine. But is that really the best answer?  Is the almighty whole grain really that important?

I need to clarify which carbs I’m removing from my food plan.  I’m not talking about a box of macaroni and cheese; that stuff went out the door a long time ago.  No, I’m talking about whole wheat bread, cereal (even oatmeal and high fiber options) and some fruit.  I occasionally eat small quantities of pasta and couscous.  This adjustment has taken a long time for me to achieve (and I still “blow it” on occasion).  I think that the slow change has made it easier for me to accept that I can’t just eat whatever I want but now I’m wondering if this change in food plan shouldn’t have happened sooner.  Someone should have slapped me up the side of the head and made me realize that I needed to make major changes right away instead of basically being told to “watch what I eat and move more”.  

I’m mad.  I’m indignant for all of us who are dealing with type 2 diabetes.  We’re vilified in the media for being fat and lazy when we aren’t much different from anyone else.  We’re told, even by the medical profession, that we can control our diabetes if we “simply” make some changes to our diet and increase our exercise, and yet, we are encouraged by those same medical professionals to continue to eat higher amounts of whole grains even if our meters tell us otherwise.  If our blood glucose numbers don’t go down, or continue to rise, we’re accused of cheating, of being non-compliant.  We’re told that diabetes is a progressive disease, but would it progress as quickly if we dramatically changed our carb intake early on?

I’m pissed.  I want to shout from the rooftop so that people will listen, but they won’t.  I can’t fight the mainstream thinking.  We are being sold a bill of goods by well-intentioned people who just might be wrong.  I feel as if my generation has been a huge science experiment that went horribly wrong.  We’re fatter and sicker because we ate a low fat diet filled with processed foods which are supposed to be “safe”.  When are we going to wake up?


  1. Very Interesting!

  2. I totally agree with your post. I was diagnosed with T2D a little over a year ago. But, I had GD when pregnant with my daughter, and my daughter was diagnosed with T1D in Jan. 2010, so I knew better than to follow the ADA diet my doctor gave me. Instead, I used my meter to test my blood sugars and came up with carb limits for each meal and snack during the day. If I eat under those limits, my blood sugars rarely go above 140. There is nothing wrong with reducing carb intake, and it's required for people with T2D to manage their condition. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important topic.

    1. Hi Amy, thanks for your comment. I think that the mainstream thinking is slowly coming around to advising lower carb intake but it seems painstakingly slow. I will just do what I think is best for me and hope for the best! I'm glad you've found something that works for you!

  3. The day of my diagnosis I was 15- 20 lb (9 lbs from healthy BMI) overweight, not exactly in the obese category. Last summer I weighed 9 lbs less than I did on diagnosis day, and had a healthy BMI. It was the high end of healthy but I technically was not overweight. I had indications of diabetes 15 months ago so even with a healthy weight I had diabetes. So not exactly fat & lazy. Genetics plays a part in my diagnosis and how I gained weight or where the extra pounds are. I found eating nuts as a snack helps lower my glucose. I'm current avoiding milk, sugar, gluten, grains, starchy foods, corn, potatoes, pasta and carbohydrates.


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