As of 2014, 29.1 million people (9.3% of the population) have diabetes in the United States while 86 million people (27.5% of the population) have prediabetes. Of those that have prediabetes, 15 to 30 percent will develop type-2 diabetes within five years.
This particular disease cost the country approximately $245 billion in just medical costs and lost work or wages in 2014. And, on top of all this, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that one in three people will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050.
Can we really trust the ADA and its diet programs?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a trade association based in the United States. For 75 years, they have claimed to lead the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes, as well as fight for those affected by the disease. They do this through funding research to prevent, cure, and manage the disease. They also deliver services to hundreds of communities as well as online.
Because the risk of death for diabetics is 50 percent higher than adults without diabetes, prevention of the disease is crucial. The American Diabetes Association provides diet plans, recipes, and other food information for diabetics. After all, diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot metabolize blood sugar properly which leads to an excess sugar buildup in the bloodstream that accelerates the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and damages other bodily systems.
Therefore, learning to eat correctly is very important for diabetics.
So, here’s the ’$64,000 question’: Do the diet plans of the ADA really help in treating symptoms? According to several studies, the answer is no. In fact, studies have shown that their recommendations actually increase blood sugar levels – levels so dangerous that they’ve been accused of killing diabetics!
Blood sugar goes wild with the diet plan of the American Diabetes Association
The ADA recommends diabetics eat meals comprised of approximately 15 to 20 percent protein, 55 percent carbohydrates, and 25 to 30 percent fat. The carbohydrate portions should be 45 to 60 grams per meal. While this macronutrient split may be appropriate for certain healthy individuals, scientific studies prove this guideline is misleading and can actually be detrimental to blood sugar for diabetics.
Even a study published in one of the association’s professional publications goes against their own recommendations. In Diabetes, the recommended diet plan of moderately high carbohydrates was tested against a lower carbohydrate diet. The mean result of the 24-hour serum blood sugar at the end for the higher carb diet plan was 198 mg/dl, while the mean result was 126 mg/dl with the lower carb diet plan.
According to Diabetes Action (a research and education foundation for diabetics), normal or good blood sugar levels taken at any time of day with or without fasting should be less than 140 mg/dl for the diabetic. Therefore, this proves that the association’s advice is not healthy.
Scientific study proves that the ADA diet plan is insane
Another large study published in Nutrition & Metabolism found similar results with low carb diet plans. They tested three types of isocaloric weight loss diet plans for 8 weeks: very low carb, high unsaturated fat, and very low fat.
While the very low carb and high unsaturated fat diet plans resulted in similar fat loss, the very low carb diet had positive results in several other areas that are beneficial to diabetics – improved triacylglycerols, HDL-C, as well as fasting and post prandial glucose and insulin concentrations.
In fact, insulin levels dropped 33 percent on the very low carb diet plan. The study concluded that the very low carb diet “may be useful in the short-term management of subjects with insulin resistance and hypertriacylglycerolemia.” However, long-term studies still need to be completed.
Several other studies mimic the same results as these two studies which prove that the American Diabetic Association’s recommendations can be detrimental to the health of diabetics.
It is very unfortunate that the primary source for consumer information on treating diabetes is coming from the American Diabetic Association. Their recommended and misguided diet plans are too high in carbohydrates to actually control blood sugar and insulin levels to adequately control the complications of diabetes – especially type-2 diabetes.
New research proves a balanced diet plan will cure type-2 diabetes
The Revue Mêdicale Suisse journal reports that type-2 diabetes is “a potentially reversible disease.” Along the same lines, a very recent study published in October 2015 by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom revealed an experimental treatment to reverse type-2 diabetes.
By placing diabetics on a low calorie diet for 8 weeks, they were able to determine that insulin production from the pancreas regained normalcy. Blood sugar was also improving after each meal. Fat content in both the pancreas and liver also returned to normal.
According to Professor Roy Taylor who led the study:
“We believe this shows that Type 2 diabetes is all about energy balance in the body… if you are eating more than you burn, then the excess is stored in the liver and pancreas as fat which can lead to Type 2 diabetes in some people.”
This research was revealed at the American Diabetes Association conference in 2015. Therefore, you may find revisions to their current guidelines very soon.
About the author: Abby Campbell is a medical, health, and nutrition research writer. She’s dedicated to helping people live a healthy lifestyle in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Abby practices, writes, and coaches on natural preventive care, nutritional medicine, and complementary and alternative therapy.