The draft title of this post was, “Don’t go to THIS* hospital for outpatient Type 2 diabetes care,” but space didn’t permit. The warning, however, stands. It will only cause you harm, and as Hippocrates said, “First, do no harm." Beware, therefore, of the clutches of THIS hospital's outpatient department.
I discovered this while visiting my wife as she was recovering from successful back surgery (yeah!). I decided to check out the cafeteria and along the way saw signs for the Diabetes Care Center and decided to visit. The waiting room and reception station were empty, so I just gathered up all the free literature I could find.
There were four types available: 1) 2 3-fold 8½ x 11 glossy sheets promoting the hospital’s Diabetes Care Center, 2) 2 8½ by 11, 3-page, 2-sided color pages about “Healthy Eating” and food “Tips for People with Diabetes,” “brought to you by the AADE (American Association of Diabetes Educators), and “supported by an educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company,” a big pharma company that makes insulin, 3) 2 different 5 x 7 glossy magazines filled with diabetes drug advertisements, and 4) an educational flyer about injecting insulin.
Suffice it to say, the theme that dominated the “individualized” diabetes education program was drugs, specifically “initiation of insulin, instruction on blood sugar monitoring, insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring sensors, medical nutrition therapy and follow-up education.” But, those “individualized” therapies were the domain of the doctors and RNs. I was interested in seeing their advice for pre-diabetics.
One of the two hospital brochures addressed that. It said, “Dieticians who are Certified Diabetes Educators Serve as Resources,” both for “medical providers” [doctors and RNs] and for “participants” [diabetes patients]. For the diabetes educators’ advice I turned to the 3-page Xeroxed handouts on “Healthy Eating” and “Summer Fun and Food Tips for People with Diabetes.” And therein lies what I am warning you to avoid, like the plague.
Essentially, the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), the organization comprised of CDEs (Certified Diabetes Educators), espouses the same one-size-fits-all diet for pre-diabetics and diabetics (both type 1s and type 2s) that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015) prescribe for everyone else in the U. S. over 2 years old: that is, “the plate method,” or in the “Summer Fun” version, “the paper plate plan”:
· "Fill ½ the plate with non-starchy vegetables (such as greens, green beans, broccoli, cabbage)
· ¼ should contain meat or other protein (fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, beans or legumes)
· ¼ contains starch (such as a potato or whole grain bread)
· On the side, include an 8 ounce glass of low-fat milk or a small piece of fruit."
Also, you are reminded that a “healthy meal plan” should include “a limited amount of heart-healthy fats.” Examples given are oils and nuts, all high in unsaturated fats. Meats should be “lean” and cheeses “low-fat.” In other words, avoid as much as possible, red meat, saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. Straight from the “Guidelines.”
Your plate in this “healthy meal plan” is thus ¾'s carbohydrates. Doesn’t the AADE and their CDEs know that Type 2 diabetes is a dietary disease?!!! Apparently they do because elsewhere they want you to “count carbohydrates,” lose weight and exercise. But how are you going to do this on THIS meal plan, plus eating “small snacks between meals…to help keep your body going”? Answer: the hospital outpatient department will help you with 1) “emotional support,” 2) “empowerment,” and 3) “tools for self-care” (“education” and a meter). They will also supply you with oral medications (as needed, up to max dose in 3 different classes), then “initiation of insulin” [injections], insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring sensors, and eventually – and here’s an area where THIS hospital excels – they’ll help you with bariatric surgery.* THIS hospital shall be nameless because this outpatient department for Type 2 Diabetes care is neither worse nor better than all the other hospital outpatient departments that deliver the establishment message about “Healthy Eating”. Here’s a clue though. A display in the main corridor proudly proclaims it is ranked among the best in the country for “Bariatric Surgery, Women’s Health and Heart Care.” Telling, isn’t it. Once they get you – the pre-diabetic or type 2 diabetic – in their clutches, you are destined to “progress” along this course: Your glucose disregulation will continue to deteriorate and your heart disease risk will continue to rise. Your Type 2 Diabetes will ipso facto be progressive on THIS “healthy meal plan.” Solution: Just don’t go there? Don't be a "participant." This is sick care, not health care.