Diabetes Association: Telling it like it isn’t
How are Americans supposed to know what food is healthy if the major medical organizations propagate wrong information?
So far, so good
Parade magazine, the Sunday supplement in many of the country’s newspapers, recently carried a two-page advertisement by the American Diabetes Association advising people with Type 2 diabetes on a healthy lifestyle. The flip side of the ad was, for the most part, fine: Reduce stress, get daily exercise that makes the heart pump faster, eat foods high in fiber.
The problem with the advice lies in its primary source for the fiber. And the front side of the ad says red meat is to be shunned because it contains more saturated fat than does seafood. Wrong on both counts.
Mediterranean diet chart
The ADA recommends the Mediterranean Diet, and it includes a lot of vegetables, fruits and nuts, all three of which are good. But it also recommends priority be given to whole grains, which consists mainly of wheat, corn and soy in processed American foods, and pasta and rice — all high in fat-producing carbohydrates. The ADA is all about keeping blood sugar down. The ad quotes Marjorie Cypress, Ph.D., its president of health care and education: “Foods that are high in fiber take longer for the body to break down and metabolize, so you don’t get the high spikes in blood sugar after eating.”
What is NOT good for diabetics
What Dr. Cypress doesn’t seem to realize is that wheat is among the highest of all foods on the glycemic index, which means it causes a spike in blood sugar. And corn and soy also are high in carbohydrates, which cause consumers to pack on the pounds. Seventy-five percent of the carbohydrate in wheat is amylopectin A, which is rapidly transformed into glucose, raising blood sugar higher than sugar does: Two slices of whole wheat bread sends blood sugar higher than do two tablespoons of sugar, leading nutritionist Mike Geary says. The stuff bears little resemblance to the wheat of a hundred years ago, before fertilizers, pesticides and genetic modification drastically altered it. But even in ages past, grains comprised a tiny fraction of the human diet – probably between 1 percent and 5 percent, Geary calculates. These days, 67 percent of the average person’s caloric intake is from wheat, corn and soy, he says. You wanna get fat? Eat wheat. You wanna get slim? Ignore the diabetes association and stay away from the stuff.
Saturated fat IS good
Another way the association goes astray is in telling people that saturated fat is bad. Red meat is demonized because it contains this form of fat. One wonders how a medical organization can be so ignorant of cutting-edge research. Are these people not aware of the enormously important meta-analysis concerning saturated fat that emerged a few months ago? The prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine reported on an analysis of 72 studies, going back years, involving more than 650,000 people in 18 countries. The findings? People who consumed high amounts of saturated fat had no greater incidence of heart or heart-related problems than did those who consumed low amounts of saturated fat. That report made the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Time, which admitted in the June 23 cover story that it unknowingly followed “junk science” in condemning saturated fat and cholesterol in past decades. Both the CNN and MSNBC networks did features on the findings and on the simultaneous publication of New York
Out of the mainstream
Leading alternative doctors and nutritionists have long been preaching that saturated fat not only isn’t unhealthy, but that it is in fact healthy for a number of reasons. They do advise against eating the red meat sold in most grocery stores and served in restaurants because it comes from cattle given growth hormones and antibiotics, and fed adulterated grains. They advocate organic meat from grass-fed animals. However, most people can’t afford such meat, even if they can find it. My personal compromise is all-natural beef, which at least is free of hormones and antibiotics, and not a lot more expensive than regular beef when on sale, which it frequently is in the supermarket chain where I shop.
I phoned the ADA branch in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which forwarded me to its national headquarters. No one had heard of Dr. Marjorie Cypress, and headquarters assumed the reason was that she was an ADA board member rather than a staff person. She would be located and given a message to call me, I was told. Neither she nor anyone else ever called.
These days, it seems, a person who wants to maintain optimum health must do due diligence, searching the Internet for voices crying in the wilderness against the shams perpetrated, willingly or unwittingly, by mainstream medicine.
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