Monday, October 4, 2010

Why I hate nutritionists

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.


Rob Carr said...

Agreed. The amount of evidence of the increase in allergies because eating "bad" food is astounding also yet they don't seem to be waking up...

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Reminds me of the locum doctor who told me I should never touch red wine (I's had a little burst of gout) until I showed her the picture of the angiogramme with clear arteries.

She was buggered when I asked her why I should forgoe a sore tow in exchange for a dead heart.

JC said...

Taine randell Proved this over at Flaxmere Hawkes Bay.

"Taine Randell, Maori eating like their ancestors, losing weight, improving health. 60 minutes
Posted on July 7, 2010 by julianne

Yesterday TV3 had a 60 minutes piece on Maori living in Flaxmere, who have taken part in a 10 week trial eating the way their ancestors did 150 years ago (pre-European) Meat, seafood, fat and vegetables. The result, diabetes reversing, blood sugar dropping and an 8 kg average weight loss in 10 weeks. Ex All Black captain Taine Randell went back to his home town and teamed up with nutritionist Ben Warren to support this trial, as well as coaching the local rugby team to success. Article on Ben Warren and the trial here.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I must say Milt, that is one of the most comforting and uplifting pieces of prose I've seen for many a day.

Just russled up a nice little fried egg with a piece of bacon and a bit of tomato to balance off all that bony crap I had for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

The sugar and corn syrup lobby in the US have spent alot of money debunking people like Atkins and low-carb diets in general.

The calorific content of say, a Big Mac combo, lies not in it's fat as widely thought (the meat is particularly lean in fact) but in the carbs. Three bits of bread, sugary sauces and dressing, potato, and a sugary drink are the problems there, not the meat or slice of cheese.

Yet how many times have you heard Maccas referred to as fatty food? It's carby not fatty. KFC helps makes Polynesian's fat because of the chips, bread and potato that goes with it.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Anon. not for nuthin' do my PI mates refer to taro as 'Samoan steeeroids!'

Prue said...

100% agree. This column is fantastic!
Hope it's widely read, especially by Diabetes NZ and those damn nutritionists/dieticians.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.46 is close to the mark. Clearly not all sugars are created equal and there is a natural order of things that your body knows about. The book Omnivores Dilemma sets out a lot of the issues about the food industry. Its a good read.

Psycho Milt said...

Just russled up a nice little fried egg with a piece of bacon and a bit of tomato...

Changed my breakfast from toast to bacon and eggs 8 years ago - immediate improvement in post-breakfast blood sugar levels.

Three bits of bread, sugary sauces and dressing, potato, and a sugary drink are the problems there, not the meat or slice of cheese.

I still do occasionally eat from McD or Burger King, courtesy of my kids. Easy enough - whip the top bun off the burger, eat the meat, cheese and veg, leave the bun, the fries and the extra sauces for the kids, drink the diet Coke or water. No probs.

Anonymous said...

I suspect a large percentage of nutritionists and dieticians are women. Women like to eat pasta, they are body conscious, so pasta, fruit and veges gets the big approval. So in the interests of bossing your diabetic life around, you will eat what they like to eat, irrespective of the fact you have dietry cravings to eat meat.

I had an attack of gout once, and didn't know what it was. I wouldn't wish that condition on a leftist progressive even. The GP cheerfully informed me of the foods to avoid [most of them with any taste] and was quite happy to line me up with drugs for the rest of my natural. Stuff that! I did online research and consulted every gout bunny I know. I drink a teaspoon of barley grass powder every night in fruit juice. The only repeat attack I had was when I went off it for 6 weeks. I have learned my lesson about body acidity. 1 attack in 3 years because of my own stupidity-- and I have consumed every verboten item in the book.

The Omnivore's Dilemma is a highly recommended read. Stay away from any item that contains corn syrup, using canola oil, or hydrogenated products. They are next to toxic.


Oswald Bastable said...

I'm type two and have got that under control by going low-carb.

I used Atkins to lose weight initially, now I just work at keeping the carbs down- lay off the bread, pasta and anything floury and greatly reduced portions of rice & spuds.

Dropped 40kg that way, over a couple of years.

julianne said...

I saw that too! Couldn't believe my eyes at how ridiculous the advice was - and I'm a nutritionist. Not your everyday one - but one who goes against the grain. I'm not the only one out there who does things differently in New Zealand, but it sure feels weird going against what the food pyramid says.

So far I haven't found anything with myself or clients that trumps a low - moderate carb Paleo diet (Carb amounts depend on health issues, exercise amounts, individual 'what feels right', and weight loss goals in my opinion)
Personally I eat paleo, low carb, quite high fat.

It gets results with my clients that most nutritionists just wouldn't see

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I don't hate nutritionists.

I hate swede turnips, brussel sprouts and yoghurt.

Psycho Milt said...

Juliane: OK, now I just hate nutritionist dogma. You being a nutritionist is indisputably a Good Thing - I'm just grumpy about having spent the 1990s sticking with bad professional advice and failing to control my blood sugar.

julianne said...

I like your post - I'm going to put it on my blog, it's more than time real people with real results were listened to by nutritionists and dietitians.

It was a client that actually gave me Dr Bernsteins book a long time ago, I've recommended it to many diabetics.

Anonymous said...

"....Not your everyday one - but one who goes against the grain"


Anonymous said...

"...So in the interests of bossing your diabetic life around, you will eat what they like to eat, irrespective of the fact you have dietary cravings to eat meat..."

I know what you mean. Every time I go to a food court for Chinese food or something I always try to avoid being served by the tiny mousey girl, as she'll fill (if that's the word) the plate with about as much as she'd eat herself, not what a 6'1" white boy would.

Everyone has speciality bias, nutritionists, and food court workers, are no exception.

mojo said...

Aha ... I can feel an intense, possibly extreme blog coming on ... good on you Milt.

julianne said...

Okay posted (hope you approve) - with links to diabetes studies - Why do nutritionists ignore the evidence?
(Gotta get these heading shorter)

sagenz said...

Milt - I am gobsmacked at the official advice. For some years I have tried to avoid carbs (frequently unsuccessfully). I can monitor how balanced I am by how quickly I get the shakes after having Kelloggs corn flakes or white toast and marmalade.

It is the processed carbs and the hydrogenated fat that is poison as someone said.

Psycho Milt said...

Scientific orthodoxy has a lot of inertia - Thomas Kuhn would probably recognise a familiar story in those official diabetes sites.

Julianne: thanks for the link!

Falafulu Fisi said...

A nutritionist once told me to stop eating too much taro and lamb-flaps (I love eating that sort of fatty food) because it causes high cholesterol. I told her that my last lab check-up (at the time) was normal (i.e., my cholesterol level). I told her that it's not rocket science to figure out that if you eat fatty food, then you must sweat it out in some way, such as exercising (which is something I do regularly - gym workout). I find that nutritionist's advise only apply to those who don't do much exercising. My weight is stable & has been fluctuating between 110 kg and 112 kg over the last 12 years or so. The key for anyone is exercise. If one does that on a regular basis, then he/she can eat as much as she/he can, fatty food as he/she chooses to, then that person is guaranteed to never have a health problem at all. Any while men of my age-group are getting pregnant (ie, beer belly), I have maintained a flat-tummy (not wash-board but flat).

muzza3 said...

Ok , so I go low carb ,what can I drink .Present choice is chardonay.Cheers Muzza

Anonymous said...

Psycho milt can you please contact me on
we have a just turned 7 yr old son with type 1 for 1.5 years - I see some of the info I've read is interesting to me. I too don't trust the hospitals diet crew either. Love to here from you.
We are in chch.

Anonymous said...

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO, the Chinese Holocaust.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. Revelry will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles will survive the 1000 years. They will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during Planet Earth's history.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new population, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial element in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.

Only children go to heaven. By the time you hit puberty it is too late. This is charecteristic of the gods:::Once you realize what you have lost it is too late.
Now you are faced with a lifetime to work to prepare for your next chance. Too many will waste this time, getting stoned, "Hiking!", working, etc.