Sunday, September 24, 2017

Type 2 Diabetes, a Dietary Disease #399: WebMD and Walgreens, a new collaboration

While waiting in my wife’s doctor’s office the other day, I picked up a FREE magazine, “WebMD diabetes, at Walgreens.” I’ve been a type 2 for 31 years, and treating it as a dietary disease for 15, so I didn’t expect that the magazine would have much to offer me, but…was I in for a surprise! It was loaded with material for my blog!
The featured article was “Savor Summer,” with a recipe section: The subtitle was “New ways to bring sweet corn to your table” (my emphasis). But to a carboholic, the added emphasis is unnecessary. The brain sees “sweet” and translates it to “SWEET.  And the food photography was great! Really mouth watering stuff!
“You can almost taste sunshine when you bite into a freshly picked ear of corn,” the article begins, adding, “It’s also nutritious” because it’s “chockful of Carotenoids.” (No mention of sugar.) But then, unabashed, it says, “It’s also a starchy vegetable, easily rounding out your plate with more fiber than a refined grain.” Okay, so it’s not a refined grain. That’s good. But corn is starch. It is pure sugar and starch. For a diabetic, that’s just as bad as a refined grain. The sugar alone is 62% glucose (the rest is fructose) and the starch is 100% glucose.
And if that wasn’t enough, 2 of the 3 corn recipes added honey! Added honey, for diabetics! As if corn wasn’t sweet enough! The recipes had all been reviewed by the WebMD medical editor, an MD, and she could do it with a clear conscience because, by the U. S. Dietary Guidelines “MY PLATE, a healthy meal plan for everyone, even diabetics, – includes ¼ starches. Corn certainly fills the bill. But should a magazine for diabetics, intended to help both type 2 diabetics and pre-diabetics make healthy food choices, suggest and feature recipes that will assure that the pre-diabetic progress to diabetic and the diabetic remains in a diseased state? C’mon!
 Why would the medical community and Big Pharma encourage people who have “presented” with evidence of Insulin Resistance, which equates to Carbohydrate Intolerance, suggest, recommend, and even encourage people to eat a diet comprised three-quarters of carbohydrate (¼ starch and ½ non-starchy vegetables)? Why? One size fits all!!! For 37 years the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” have ordained that one-size-fits-all. The Guidelines have gone through various iterations, from various food pyramids to today’s “My Plate,” but they all have one thing in common: by following them, you, the diabetic, most assuredly will get sicker and sicker.
Who benefits from this whack-a-mole recommendation? I know, I know. It’s easy to conclude it’s the doctor’s and the pharmaceutical industry, including retailers like Walgreens. And they certainly do benefit. We all get sick, and they take care of us. But that’s their business. They’re just doing what they are in business to do. Altogether, the 23 page Diabetes magazine included 4 pages of corn recipes, 8 pages of other content, and 11 pages of ads, 4 for Walgreens products and 4 for diabetes meds from Lilly and Pfizer, available at Walgreens.
But that’s not where the problem lies. It originated forty years ago when the U. S. government got into the nutrition business. In 1977 a U. S Senate select committee convened and held hearings. So-called “experts” testified. Later, the lay staff of the Committee produced the “Dietary Goals for the United States.” In 1980, and every five years after, HHS has produced the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” It’s been a disaster.
The Nutrition Coalition has proposed that the Guidelines be reformed. They say, “Americans have followed the Guidelines, but their health has not improved.” “The Guidelines have not always provided the best dietary advice.” “The science is not settled and in some cases has been reversed,” and “(T)he process of drafting the Guidelines needs reform.” I certainly agree. I have signed their petition and ask you to consider adding your name to the growing community of people like us who are in-the-know. We need Guidelines based on sound scientific evidence. And there will still be plenty of ways in which WebMD and Walgreens can collaborate. And then my wife’s doctor won’t have the shame of having this awful magazine in his waiting room.

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