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14 November 2013 @ 05:43 pm
Diabetes disconnect  
Spoilered for people who don't care due to discussion of eating habits and food:

Yesterday--and also today and tomorrow, but it's the same thing so I only went to one--we had a diabetes screening and diabetes prevention seminar at work. In the morning they took people's blood pressure and hemoglobin A1c readings and then talked about them later. My A1c was fine (<5.7 is good, and I was well below that) and my blood pressure was high because ZOMG DOCT0RZ, but the examination isn't what made me want to write a blog post.

No, it was the dietary advice. Obviously, the doctor giving the presentation made the point that eating a lot of sugar is bad, which is the kind of thing that I'm pretty sure everyone knows, and also that all carbs are basically sugar according to the body, which is not the kind of thing that people think about with all the talk about healthy whole grains. Then, what does the actual diet consist of? The DASH diet, basically--lean meat, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy.

So I listened to this and I thought, "Huh? Where do the calories come from, then, if it's supposed to be low-fat," so I looked it up, and apparently the macronutrient ratios as listed here are: 27% fat, 18% protein, 55% carbs. So after telling us that the body treats all carbs as sugar, the way to prevent diabetes is a...sugar-based diet? Sure, it has better results than eating the standard American diet, but if you compare it to, say, the fat-based diet I usually eat... (note: tiny sample size)

I'm not going to get into a diet comparison or discuss effectiveness other than that link, because that's not the point of this post. The point is the doctor giving the presentation giving advice that was contradicted elsewhere in the same presentation. Too much sugar is bad, because it leads to insulin resistance, and that leads to diabetes, so base your diet on sugar to avoid it. The picture for "eating healthfully" was a bowl of cornflakes with blueberries. What.

No wonder diabetes is so prevalent in America.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Roll for Initiative podcast
q99q99 on November 14th, 2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
Yea, this is a known disconnect
dorchadasdorchadas on November 14th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC)
I've seen it in disconnected sources, but it was really bizarre to have it all put together in the same speech given to the AMA.

Then again, I only went for the extra points on our health tracker program that reduces my insurance costs. I already knew I was going to ignore everything she said about diet. :p
q99q99 on November 15th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
I know, it's like the new information hasn't penetrated the whole speech.
marianlhmarianlh on November 15th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
I'm so confused about this point about what is or is not healthy to eat that I've basically just given up.
q99q99 on November 15th, 2013 04:12 am (UTC)
That carb-heavy isn't the best is a relatively new thing, so I think it hasn't sunk in.

A well-mixed diet is still good. And if you want to avoid sugar, a high fat diet is fine- meat is good, just avoid too much processed meat (since that's where the salt and other stuff that is associated with the bad sides of a meat diet actually come from).
Beckamiss_rynn on November 15th, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
I believe it's a chemistry thing. While carbohydrates are sugars, it takes more energy to break the molecules up into smaller, useful sugars than say glucose or sucrose. That's the idea behind "complex carbohydrates" - your body needs to do more work to get the energy out of them. This is also why complex carbohydrates satisfy you for longer than just plain sugar; rather than using the energy from the sugars instantly, a slow and steady breakdown of the carbohydrates will sustain you for longer.
q99q99 on November 15th, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
Though there's always just doing fats instead.
dorchadasdorchadas on November 15th, 2013 02:18 am (UTC)
The presenter did make that distinction, and the handouts separated out complex carbs from white rice or candy bars...

...and I was going to go check what exactly was on the handout except I left it at work. (-_-;)

Apparently vegetables count as complex carbs, though, which I didn't previously realize. I thought it was just whole wheat and beans and so on.
Beckamiss_rynn on November 15th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Almost every living thing is made up in some way by carbohydrates. Sure, some have more than others, but virtually everything that is edible has some form of sugar or another as part of its make up. Hell, even DNA is made out of sugar.