Penny Marshall died at age 75…of “complications from diabetes.” A commentator lamented, “She was only 75.” Nobody explained, which was correct, I suppose. An obituary is about a person’s life and accomplishments. Penny Marshall was brilliant in “Laverne and Shirley” and as a director. “A League of Their Own” is one of my favorite movies, but when I saw a recent picture of her, I knew she was probably diabetic. She was fat.
I don’t want to blame her for that, although I regularly hector and cajole my readers for the very same thing. I do that because, like the rest of us, she probably followed “doctor’s orders,” especially when she knew she was sick and presented with unmistakable markers. But when we simply gain a little weight over the years, and have no symptoms, we (including the doctor!) mark it up to eating too much and moving too little. We are told “diet and exercise” is the way to drop the weight. We try it again and again, and we fail, again and again.
So, it’s our fault. We heeded the doctor’s advice and we tried. We went to the gym (maybe) and tried to eat less of the foods the doctors and the medical associations and government told us not to eat, and we lost some weight. We were always hungry, and eventually we lost resolve and gained it back. We failed. We did as we were told to do, and we failed. Over and over again. Is anyone thinking of the famous Einstein aphorism?
Einstein said, apocryphally, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
That’s why, I suppose, there are so many different diets out there. It’s so we don’t see ourselves as doing the same thing over and over again. But, don’t you see, we are, really. We are getting the same result! It’s insane.
All these diets have different names and other things that make them seem different, but they are really much more similar than we think. They are mostly “balanced.” What does that mean? They include the ratios of fat, protein and carbs (the “macronutrients”) that government and the medical establishment have recommended, without solid scientific evidence, for over half a century.
These ratios are on the Nutrition Facts panel on every box and bag that we buy at the supermarket. The daily amount recommended for every adult woman is 300g of carbohydrates, 50g of protein, and +/-65g of fat, mostly polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), from “vegetable” (seed and grain) oils. That translates to 1,200kcal of carbs (@4kcal/g), 200kcal of protein (@4kcal/g) and 600kcal of fat (@9kcal/g).
Here’s the truly shocking Percent Daily Value (%DV) of that 2,000kcal diet that “women of a certain age” are counseled to eat: 60% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 30% fat. Did you know that? That’s 60% percent carbs! And for men the percentages are the same; it’s just that we’re allowed 2,500kal a day, as follows: 375g carbs, 62.5g protein and 83g fat. That’s still 60% percent carbs, men! Is that insane, or what? Bonus trivia: this is an excellent recipe for fattening livestock. No, I’m not joking.
That’s why Penny Marshall was fat. Not because she ate too much and didn’t exercise enough. Her obituary didn’t say that. It didn’t have to. The simple statement “complications from diabetes” said it all. Let that sink in. Then, ask yourself, was it a Microvascular complication? Neuropathy (with amputations), retinopathy (with blindness), or more likely nephropathy: end-stage kidney disease, with dialysis. Or perhaps a Macrovascular complication (stroke, heart failure, or old-fashioned MI (heart attack), increasingly common with diabetics.In any case, Penny had, and you still have, a choice. Type 2 diabetes is a dietary disease. It is the result of eating a “balanced” diet of way too many processed carbs and foods with added sugar and processed vegetable oils. What does that have to do with being fat? When you greatly reduce the amount of carbs in a meal, starting with “breakfast,” you allow your body to burn its own fat for energy…so you won’t be hungry all the time. You won’t eat as much and put on the extra pounds. In fact, you will start to lose them, quickly. Just have coffee with heavy cream for breakfast, or bacon and eggs. No cereal, no toast, no fruit, no yogurt!