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September 2, 2017

The American Diabetes Association versus Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

by Anne Paddock

We envision a life free of diabetes and all its burdens, which is fueled by our mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of al people affected by diabetes.                                                    ~American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) works to “prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.” The organization does this by education, advocacy, and providing grants for research.

Approximately 30 million Americans have diabetes with the majority (an estimated 29 million according to the ADA) suffering from Type 2. An additional estimated 84 million Americans 18 and older are prediabetic.  In other words, 113 million people or 1 in 3 people in the United States suffer from prediabetes or diabetes.

Most people know there are two types of diabetes:  Type 1 where the body does not produce enough insulin and Type 2 where the body produces the insulin but cannot effectively utilize the insulin. There is a big difference between the two types of diabetes.
Type 2 is preventable and reversible whereas Type 1 is not.  To understand what causes insulin resistance, watch the 5-minute videos by Dr. Michael Greger, MD entitled “What Causes Diabetes?,”  “What Causes Insulin Resistance?” and “Diabetes as  a Disease of Fat Toxicity.
The bottom line is that Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes are caused by a drop in insulin sensitivity blamed on the buildup of fat inside our muscle cells (called intramyocellular lipid). In the most simplistic terms, the sugar (glucose) is not able to absorb into the muscles and so the glucose levels increase in the blood. The fat in the muscles is preventing the insulin from doing its job. Although most Prediabetics and Type 2 Diabetics are overweight, many are not (they simply adhere to a diet that is too high in saturated and trans fat).
Talk to a Prediabetic or a Type 2 Diabetic and the discussion usually centers around sugar since diabetes is measured by the sugar count in the blood. It seems to make sense but if you think deeper about the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, then you realize the discussion should really be about the whole diet.  Type 1 Diabetics focus on the sugar in the whole diet to determine how much insulin is needed whereas Type 2 Diabetics and Prediabetics should also be focusing on two major dietary changes: decreasing the fat (particularly saturated and trans) in their diet because it’s the fat buildup in their muscle cells preventing the effective utilization of the insulin released, and second, increasing fiber consumption.

Other informative short (5 minutes or less) videos on Dr. Greger’s site include:

Knowing the above information made me go to the ADA’s website where “Recipes for Healthy Living” or “Diabetes-Friendly” recipes are posted on-line. Among these recipes are 51 recipes that include bacon (a meat labeled carcinogenic by the World Health Organization), 511 recipes that include cheese, 195 recipes that include butter, 120 recipes that include beef, 541 recipes that include chicken, 152 recipes that include pork, and 73 recipes that feature eggs. When I searched for “plant-based” recipes on the ADA site, the result was 10 recipes, 4 of which were vegan, and 6 of which included cheese, yogurt, and even turkey or chicken while a search for “vegan” recipes yielded 5 recipes, of which only 2 were vegan. What’s going on?
If the ADA “envisions a life free of diabetes and all its burdens, which is fueled by our mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of al people affected by diabetes,” then the questions that naturally arise include:
  • Why is the ADA not promoting a whole grain low-fat plant-based diet to prevent and reverse prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes?
  • Why is the ADA promoting recipes that include foods high in fat and particularly saturated fat?
  • Why is the ADA promoting the consumption of foods that have been identified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization?
  • Does the ADA really want to prevent and reverse prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes?

What can you do? Contact the ADA (askada@diabetes.org) and demand the ADA do a better job of preventing and reversing Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes by promoting dietary changes to a whole grain low fat plant-based diet.

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