Friday, June 22, 2012

Sugar is Poison, and it’s Everywhere!

I was recently introduced to a video that has opened my eyes.  Most of the information contained in this video isn’t new news, but it’s new to me.  As in most things, we only know what the media tells us and unless we seek out information or have it presented to us, we continue on in our oblivion.

This video was posted on Diabetes Daily and the full 1.5 hr video can be viewed here . It’s full of lots of science and can get pretty thick but I feel it is well worth watching.  I learned so much. 

Since most people won’t take the time to watch it, and to help myself process the information, I decided to blog about it.

The premise of the video is to prove, through science, that sugar is toxic.  The speaker, Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, presents a compelling argument that sugar is indeed the cause of our obesity epidemic and that it will eventually lead to all sorts of disease, including cancer.  Even though the science in the video was a bit over my head at times, he does a good job of explaining.  Today I’d like to focus on how sugar, and more commonly high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), have crept into our food supply.

In 1973, Richard Nixon was concerned that rising food costs would have a detrimental effect on his campaign so he wanted it removed from the political arena and the way to do that was to make food cheaper.  High fructose corn syrup was introduced to the US market in 1975.  It is cheaper, by half, than sugar and it’s sweeter.  HFCS and/or sugar, has found its way into nearly every processed food on the market today.  Americans consume an average of 63 pounds of HFCS per person, per year, and total sugar consumption (which includes HFCS) is up to 141 pounds per person annually.  HOLY CRAP! Adult obesity more than doubled between 1970 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Coincidence?

Dr. Lustig explains in his video how sugar is making us sick (I may try to tackle the specifics of that in another post).  The insidious thing about it is that 1 meal containing lots of sugar isn’t making us sick but thousands of meals will.  It’s like water torture….slow but sure.  We don’t need sugar to live and yet we can’t avoid sugar if it is in all the processed foods we eat.  It’s not easy to avoid. You will find it in bread (including whole wheat), cereal, crackers, even mayonnaise. Yes, we can all eat veggies and protein avoiding as much processed foods as possible, but that isn’t realistic for the majority of Americans.  Why?  Because processed foods are cheaper and quicker to fix.

I have posted before that the quality of the foods we Americans are consuming has led to our unhealthy selves.  Based on what I learned from this video, I was right.  Go figure.  Our government isn’t going to do anything about it so it’s up to us to educate ourselves and change the way we eat.  I do think that it’s in our best interest to make an attempt to force the powers-that-be to see the light and make some changes, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

A Milestone!!

Today, my blog surpassed 10,000 page views!  Sweet!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Call to Action

I did something yesterday that I’ve never done before.  I don’t hold much hope that it will do any good but I had to try.  I sent letters to my congressmen asking them to educate themselves about what it’s like to live with Type 2 Diabetes and use that knowledge to make informed decisions regarding health care costs, nutrition and medical research. 

I’m continually frustrated by the way people with T2 are portrayed in the media.  I think it’s important for people to understand that we’re just people; people who are dealing with a serious disease; people who are stigmatized because of this disease; people who need help.  Here is my letter:

Dear Senator/Congressman, (my actual letters were personalized)

I write to you as a concerned citizen who has Type 2 Diabetes.  As you know, there is an epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes in our nation and around the world.  I’m sure you’ve seen the media coverage from ads to news stories about this issue.  However, did you know that a lot of what you see and read is inaccurate and/or misleading?  The media portrays people who have developed Type 2 Diabetes as people who are obese, lazy and unable to make informed decisions about their health.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes, some of us are overweight but the stigma that has been attached to this disease is seriously hurting our chances for good research for a cure and better treatment plans.  This isn’t just about being overweight; it’s about genetics and poor diet.  We need your help!

Many people who are diagnosed are shoved out the door with little education or direction.  We are expected to control our condition but we aren’t being given the tools to succeed.  Diabetes is not a “one size fits all” type of disease.  Each of us reacts differently to medication and food.  Each of us has to figure out what works for us.  There isn’t just one way to deal with Diabetes.  We can’t just lose weight and be cured.  

People with Diabetes need support; we need better food; we need widespread effective education about what we should eat in order to control our disease or prevent it from developing in the first place.  Yes, we need a cure but we also need help for the 25.8 MILLION people who are dealing with this disease right now!

I am writing to ask you to educate yourself about what it’s really like to have Type 2 Diabetes and think about this when you’re faced with legislative decisions regarding health care costs, nutrition and medical research.  There are many people who blog about their lives with Diabetes, including me.  I ask you to have someone on your staff read these blogs and try to understand just what it’s like to live with this disease.  You can find my blog at which includes links to other blogs.  You can follow people on Twitter like @DiabetesSocMed who hosts a TweetChat on Wednesday evenings at 9PM Eastern for people with Diabetes (#DSMA).  There are amazing websites dedicated to helping people with Diabetes like Diabetes Daily.  

This isn’t about politics; this is about people who need help.  This is about understanding your constituents and doing something effective to lighten their load.  Diabetes isn’t a sentence, it’s just a word.  However, unless something dramatic is done to change the tide, we are doomed.  Please seriously consider my request.  


Kate Cornell

I urge you to follow my lead and write letters to your congressmen too.  Let them know how you feel about Type 2 Diabetes and how it’s perceived.  Let them know that we demand to be heard and treated fairly.  Let them know that something needs to be done about the poor nutrition in our nation and that people need to be educated about Type 2 Diabetes; what causes it and how to control it.  It may be futile but nothing happens when you do nothing.  You can use this website to find the contact information for the congressmen in your state.  Just do it!!