A Cautionary Tale – Glucose Is Our Public Enemy #1

Our carbohydrate excesses need reining in!

Last week we talked about Harvard University’ Glycaemic Load tool,  great for keeping track of the amount of glucose you make from eating carbohydrate.
Today I will do a quick recap on this, and tell you why we are on the precipice of a catastrophic health emergency. One which could overwhelm our already over-stretched health system.

And I’ll talk about how we all need to get real to tackle this problem and turn it around, and what you need to do to help and maybe help yourself.

Basically, this issue is this…

We need glucose for energy and that glucose comes from carbohydrate. If we exceed the amount of glucose we need, then the excess is stored as fat. If we continue to do this year after year, our mechanism for clearing the glucose from our bloodstream fails.

A high glucose level damages blood vessels and circulatory system. That can lead to amputations and life threatening conditions like diabetes, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure.

The most frustrating thing for me is that we already know what the problem is… and how to fix it!

Imagine if Alzheimers or cancer researchers knew the exact trigger points for those illnesses, and how to avoid them? That would cause huge celebrations and immediate action!

Well surprisingly, when it comes to Type 2 diabetes and related conditions,  the cause is known but not acted upon by many  health authorities and organisations.

I remember a few years ago sitting down with the diabetic team from a local health board. I was with a doctor whose patients with weight and diabetes issues had been helped by Eat For Keeps programmes. Many of these patients had received life changing benefits, avoiding some of the truly terrible conditions I mentioned earlier.

You would think that these diabetic educators would be all ears to find out how we achieved such good results? Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, it all fell on deaf ears. They regaled us with the grand news that they had just received funding to employ more staff… to take on the expected tsunami of Type 2 diabetes. They believed this was inevitable. Just like the massive increase in numbers that I talked about last week, which came from diabetic modelling researchers.

And, of the six educators, only one was a healthy weight and at least two were obese. Walking the talk? I think not.

Fred’s Story

Here’s a story about Fred from Mount Maunganui.  Fred’s motivation for telling his story was to warn others about the dire consequences of living with an excess of simple carbohydrates – cakes, fizzy drinks and white bread.

Fred lived an impaired life, relying on a home dialysis machine. 

I remain inspired by Fred’s attitude. But at the same time I’m very sad for him, hooked up to this state of the art piece of kit for so many hours each day. 

The health board that put me in contact with Fred, also asked me to make contact with a man who had just had a life-saving kidney transplant. Talking to him, I discovered that he was an overweight, Type 2 diabetic. We talked about his diet, he ate cornflakes for breakfast, still enjoyed Diet Coke, and white bread was his bread of choice.

This man was receiving tens of thousands of precious health care dollars, but no one had offered him any dietary advice!

In disbelief, I contacted the health board. They were immediately defensive and it became obvious that my take on all this was not welcome…  what had formerly been a good relationship with this health board was over!

Excuse the pun, there is no way to sugar-coat what follows…

Over the last ten years I’ve had various discussions with Diabetes NZ about some of the nutrition advice on their website.

Diabetes is all about glucose load control, with the primary source being carbohydrate. The Diabetes NZ  plate has only 25% allocated to protein and fat-rich foods. These are not a primary source of glucose.

The balance of the plate is carbohydrate type foods…which is astonishing!  25% to grains, cereals, starchy veg etc, and 50% to other vegetables of the complex variety. All of this 75% makes glucose. This is not the right mix for people with glucose intolerance, whose lives depend on getting the right advice.

The Diabetes NZ  food guidelines suggest at least 6 servings a day of breads, cereals and starchy vegetables. This includes pasta, rice, potato, bread rolls… this is not offering best practice advice to diabetics!

And, that’s without fruit, another carbohydrate food not included on the plate. They suggest 3-4 servings. This further increases the carbohydrate percentage and dilutes the protein and fat-rich content.

This advice would only just be OK for people with normal blood glucose control. For diabetics, it provides a glycaemic load which is way too high. And doesn’t take into account the glucose from the disproportionate amount of other carbohydrate type foods.

I could go on and on about my experiences with these type of organisations… they will doggedly stick to methods which don’t work and woe betide anyone who questions them.

We are already at record numbers for obesity and diabetes and the numbers are growing. We need an urgent rethink and a clear focus on the big issues like blood-glucose control. Otherwise our already stretched health system will likely crumble.

We need a revolution to move on from this inward-looking, patch-protecting mentality!

There are some great people in our community, doing great things. David Letele of South Auckland is one of these, and it is excellent to see that he is now being backed up by public health expert Boyd Swinburn.

And Eat For Keeps is doing their bit by offering our own simple and practical road code for nutrition. Lets see if we can start our own revolution to find a way out of this mess. We know what causes it and how to fix it. Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

Join Our FREE Online Programme – The EFK Method

This free online programme has been developed using our 20+ years of experience in helping people overcome
weight-related and diabetes-related issues.It’s a simple, practical guide and takes less than one hour to complete.

Get started now and tell all your friends and family about it.
Click on this link, follow the prompts and enter your details.
You will be directed back to the Home Page.
Go to My Dashboard in the top menu select ‘Edit’ and change your password.
You’ll see the EFK Method in your my My Courses tab.

There’s nothing like word of mouth and social proof to help get a big movement going! And we need your help to achieve this.

Even if you have no weight or diabetes issues yourself, you will still get some benefits by learning these simple and practical food and life skills. Pass the programme  on to your friends and family, its free and of so much value. 

The EFK Method can be completed in about an hour. You can immediately start to practice your new skills, at the supermarket or in a cafe or any other food outlet.