My wife pointed out to me a bit in the Sunday paper yesterday about cooking for guests with special dietary requirements, among which was diabetes (I'm a type 1 diabetic, ie the insulin-injections one).
Apparently, if you're cooking for a diabetic, no foods are to be avoided and you should give them plenty of starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta etc) and vegetables. This according to Diabetes UK (article was presumably reprinted from a British paper).
I had hoped that nutritionists would have come to their senses about diabetes in the 10 years since I started ignoring them, but it seems dogma still holds sway. I went and had a look at Diabetes UK and their food recommendations for diabetics are horrifying. Double-checked by having a look a the Diabetes NZ site, and yes it's the same shit: a food pyramid recommending you eat mostly the stuff that will make your diabetes worse, and cut down on the stuff that won't.
Diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, essentially means the body is no longer able to handle glucose in the blood properly. In type 1 it's because you've stopped producing insulin, and in type 2 it's because you've become insulin-resistant and it takes prodigious amounts of insulin to overcome that resistance. If your blood has high glucose levels over the long term, you can look forward to blindness, impotence, kidney failure, amputated limbs and an early death, so the diabetic's task is to keep those blood glucose levels down as close to normal as possible.
The body gets glucose from food, and some foods are turned into glucose by the digestive system much more rapidly than others. So it seems clear that nutritionists will be a big help to diabetics, because they can tell diabetics which kinds of foods will guickly raise blood glucose and should be avoided, right? Well, you'd think.
As a quick rule of thumb, here's what raises blood glucose levels rapidly: starches and sugars (ie, carbohydrates: bread, potatoes, pasta, beans and pulses, rice, fruit, non-leafy vegetables, milk etc).
Here's what doesn't: fats, proteins and cellulose (meat, fish, nuts, cheese, eggs, butter, leafy vegetables etc).
You'd think, based on the above, that the diabetic who isn't keen on a future involving blindness, impotence etc would be following a pretty Atkins-y sort of diet. Well, not if that diabetic is listening to professional nutritional advice, which actively warns them off the foods that won't raise blood glucose rapidly and actively encourages them to scoff down the foods that will. It burns me up that these imbeciles are encouraging people to sabotage their chances of surviving diabetes.
Here's the kicker. Why? Why would professional nutritionists instruct diabetics to eat mostly foods that are going to turn them into broken-down pieces of shit? The answer is dogma. Nutritional orthodoxy is that fat is bad and fruit&veg is good. I have in all seriousness been given medical advice that I should eat a high-carb diet that will wreck my blood sugar control because low-carb diets involve lots of fat, and diabetics have an increased risk of heart attack. Why, it could add as much as 5% onto that risk! Uh, right. You know, I don't think a slightly-elevated risk of heart attack is really my biggest health concern for... let's see... oh, yes - the rest of my fucking life.
Yeah, I really hate nutritionists.