Diabetes UK Carb Restriction Debate








Diabetes associations are notoriously famous for promoting a high carbohydrate diet to diabetics, in the range of about half of one's calories from carbs, which is even too high of an allotment for non diabetics, unless they are out to get the disease, as high carb intakes are strongly associated with the incidence of the disease.

When they prescribe the same high carb diets to diabetics though, who suffer from a disease that does not allow one to tolerate carbohydrates as well as normal people, even though we're seeing this kind of diet disturb the glucose metabolisms of normal people as well, resulting in things like obesity, insulin resistance, and hyperinsulinemia, which are all both precursors of diabetes and also serve to progress the severity of the disease once one gets it, well if they want us to eat that diet too, that's just craziness, beyond belief.

However, you can believe it, and the net result is that we have people with high blood sugar, something we're supposed to be controlling, eating diets that raise their blood sugar way too much, and suffering the consequences.  There's no other disease where one has issues with a certain diet and is told to keep eating it.  This is like telling people with celiac disease to eat more gluten in their diet, and don't worry about all that extra inflammation, we'll just give you some extra meds for that.

The meds don't work that well though, aside from the fact that they come with a lot of side effects, and with some of them one of the side effects is a worsening of the disease itself.  That's true about high carb as well, this is the stuff that gave you this disease from eating stuff you can't handle, and if you continue to eat stuff that you can't handle, you can expect to get worse and worse, and their telling you that this is the nature of the disease is just a way for them to shirk the blame that is well deserved.

So I read a debete within Diabetes UK not long ago, and it's actually surprising that they have one of their dietitians who does seem to get it a little, who faced off with a more traditional thinking dietitian, and each had their say.

Dr. Trudi Deakin spoke for the carb reduction side, and pointed out that allowing people to eat a diet which raises their blood sugar substantially isn't a good idea at all, especially with what we know about the complications that arise from high blood sugar, including obesity.

She also mentioned the fact that there are people who are concerned with higher fat and protein causing diabetic complications, and it seems that this belief has caused them to decide that the overall prevention of complications is best achieved by limiting these other two macros and increasing carbohydrates.

I will add that it isn't the case at all that fat and protein lead to complications, there is a very mistaken belief that high fat leads to cardiovascular disease, but that's just a myth, although it's a myth that is still widely believed.  Another myth that plays a role in this is that high protein leads to kidney disease, another myth that has been disproved.  It's no myth though that a high carb intake leads to complications in diabetics though.

Dr. Deakin also mentions that the recommended intake of carbs is set way too high, 260 grams for a person of average weight and activity level, but when this is not consumed, the body can easily make up for this through using fats and protein.  This is a big one here, there are people who do fantastic on just 20 grams of carbs a day, there is an absolute minimum here as the brain does need some glucose, but it's a lot closer to 20 than it is 260.

So she wisely suggests that this should be individualized, although she does caution against going below 130 grams a day, as she claims this hasn't been studied enough, and I do need to point out that this isn't the case at all, it's been studied plenty and there's no reason at all to be concerned about going even a lot lower than this if you want.

Speaking for the other side is Carla Gianfrancesco.  She starts out by saying that we need to eat a lot of carbs because they have been proven to benefit our cardiovascular system.  They certainly haven't shown this to be the case with diabetics though as the high blood sugar this causes most definitely doesn't benefit the cardiovascular system, and quite the contrary, and in fact even among non diabetics the obesity causing diet of high carb is very unhealthy for cardiovascular disease.

She then mentions that without enough carbs we may get nutritional deficiencies, however it's a bad idea to ingest things in poisonous amounts when you can just supplement for these things.

The next two things mentioned are based upon the myths I was just talking about, problems with dietary fat leading to cardiovascular disease, and high protein leading to kidney problems.  Both of these assumptions are false.

She speaks of seeking to avoid using ketones for energy and the fact that we don't know what the effects of this are, but we do have a lot of science on this and there's no reason to suspect this is a concern at all.

It's actually pretty comical how she sets the bar so high as far as the potential health effects of a low carb diet, insofar as she claims that we don't have enough evidence to please her, although it's very likely the case that she hasn't looked very hard, to assure her enough that there aren't health implications involved in a low carb diet, so we want to instead go with a high carb diet where the ill effects are both extremely well known and quite severe.

So this didn't settle the matter by any means, and even the pro low carb speaker does stand off quite a bit as far as going with what we would consider to be true low carb, where she's willing to consider the ill effects of a high carb diet but only to a point.

Fortunately though, a lot of people are going off and learning about this on their own, where they can see how stupid the high carb side is.

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