One of the things I try really hard to avoid doing at my blog is making the subject of my criticisms the people and personalities involved rather than the issue at hand. But in the case of registered dietitian and self-proclaimed diabetes “expert” Hope Warshaw, I have to make an exception because she has crossed the line into causing more harm than good with her irresponsible advice for people living with Type 2 diabetes. As my buddy Steve Cooksey from the “Diabetes Warrior” blog so succinctly put it at the beginning of an April 2011 post about her, “Has any ADA Minion harmed as many people as Hope Warshaw?” The pure arrogance and condescension this woman puts on full display every time she writes or speaks about what is best for diabetics to control their disease is sickening. And when you bring up the subject of low-carbohydrate nutrition for Type 2 diabetics to naturally controlling blood sugar and insulin levels with little to no drug therapy, the woman seems to lose all sense of rationality and civility. In fact, I’d dare say she’s downright clueless for being touted as a top “educator” on behalf of the principles promoted by the American Diabetes Association–the leading advocate for diabetes education in the United States. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for associating themselves with the reckless views this lady is espousing.
The social networking sites and blogosphere lit up like a Christmas tree last week when a top diabetes magazine published a column by Warshaw about the supposed “new realities” of living with Type 2 diabetes. It appeared in the June 28, 2011 issue of Diabetes Health and was titled Type 2 Diabetes: From Old Dogmas to New Realities – Part 2. In that column, Warshaw explained that we know more about treating and controlling Type 2 diabetes now than just a decade ago and that these “new realities” have replaced the “old dogmas” about how to best deal with this disease. She focused specifically on the “two most common old dogmas” and why she believes they’re no longer relevant. The first one was about losing weight to bring blood sugar down which she says has been trumped by the use of medications from the get-go for people with diabetes. As if that were bad enough, you’re not gonna believe what the second one was. Try not to bang your head against the wall too hard as you read this:
Old Dogma: People with type 2 diabetes should follow a low carbohydrate diet.
New Reality: Nutrition recommendations for people with type 2 diabetes from the American Diabetes Association and other health authorities echo the recently unveiled U.S. 2010 Dietary Guidelines (1/31/11) for carbohydrate: about 45 to 65 percent of calories. (Americans currently eat about 45 to 50 percent of calories as carbohydrate–not a “high carb” intake.)
Countless research studies do not show long term (greater than six months to a year) benefit of low carb diets on blood glucose, weight control, or blood fats. People with type 2 diabetes, like the general public, should lighten up on added sugars and sweets (yes, they’re carbohydrate). They should eat sufficient amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy foods–all healthy sources of carbohydrate.
Bottom line: The most important new reality for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is: Take action as early as possible after diagnosis. Don’t delay, don’t deny. Get and keep your blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol into recommended target zones.
Ummm, really Ms. Warshaw? Has it come to this now after all we’ve learned in the past decade from people like Dr. Richard Bernstein, Gary Taubes and others about what impacts blood sugar? To paraphrase a famous line from the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign, “It’s the carbs, stupid!” Anyone who thinks Type 2 diabetics should NOT be lowering their carbohydrate intake shows an obvious ignorance about the carb connection to blood sugar. Here are some cold hard facts and stark “realities” that Hope Warshaw needs to learn if she’s going to continue spouting information for people living with Type 2 diabetes:
Of course, I honestly believe Hope Warshaw knows all of this and is simply saying what needs to be said so she can keep her cushy position as a bona fide diabetes “expert.” But the gig is almost up and there will be a heavy price to pay to her reputation as Type 2 diabetics realize they have been lied to. Perhaps Warshaw honestly believes in her heart of hearts that the answer to treating diabetes is indeed more and more medication. Yet it would seem to me that if there were a way to control blood sugar levels, lower A1c numbers, and get this disease under control WITHOUT medication, why wouldn’t you shout it from the rooftops and to everyone dealing with Type 2 diabetes? It’s rather conspicuous that Warshaw would describe a low-carb diet as “old dogma” and replace it with her “new reality” recommendation of more carbohydrates which will then require more medications to cover up. Am I missing something here? Cue the Twilight Zone music and Rod Serling.
Hope Warshaw has been at this nonsensical promotion of high-carb, low-fat approach for a while and is proud of it too. She is a big believer in the carbohydrate recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines while ignoring the countless success stories of Type 2 diabetics who have cut the carbs and experienced superior blood sugar control. Wanna good laugh at just how far off the deep end Warshaw has become? Check out this classic debate she had with the legendary low-carb physician and genuine diabetes expert Dr. Richard Bernstein in September 2006 on dLife:
As I stated earlier, the blogosphere has been going berserk over Warshaw’s column with so many people chiming in about how insane it is for a diabetes leader to be telling people with Type 2 diabetes to eat MORE carbohydrates while taking higher doses of medications to cover it up. Here are just a few examples of the passionate outrage that has been floating around out there:
Do you think comments like any of these shared in the columns above made it through the editorial desk at Diabetes Health? Actually not at all. Well, not publicly anyway. But they did get the comments and they heard them loud and clear in many “strongly worded” responses from people in the low-carb community according to Publisher/Editor-In-Chief/Founder of the magazine named Nadia Al-Samarrie. Rather than addressing the concerns raised by low-carbers who have controlled their diabetes through a healthy high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet, Al-Samarrie instead simply circled the wagons around Hope Warshaw in a snippy response article published today entitled “Righteous About a Diabetes Diet” where she defended Warshaw’s promotion of more carbohydrates for people with Type 2 diabetes. UGH! Ironically, she uses her defense and promotion of Dr. Bernstein and the late, great Dr. Robert C. Atkins two decades ago as proof they do not have a bias against low-carb nutrition for people with diabetes.
While that may be true that Diabetes Health defended low-carb previously, that was then and this is now. Al-Samarrie said they ran Warshaw’s column because “we believe that people could benefit from it.” Riddle me this Batman: How will Type 2 diabetics being told to consume more than half of their calories in the form of carbohydrates which will raise their blood glucose levels to the degree that they’ll need to take medications and insulin to bring them back down again actually “benefit” from this advice, Ms. Al-Samarrie? That doesn’t make any sense at all. While I agree there is no one-size-fits-all diet for most people trying to lose weight, diabetes is a whole different creature altogether. It is by very definition a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. Thus, low-carb diets don’t just become a simple choice in order to best control diabetes. They are an absolute necessity!
Rather than calming the firestorm that began when Warshaw published her original column last week, Al-Samarrie has instead just poured a big bucket of gasoline on it with this ridiculous response. It’s unfortunate she chose to take the tone she did to some genuinely serious concerns brought up by those of us who espouse carbohydrate-restricted nutrition for best controlling diabetes. Perhaps hearing from a few more of my readers who have had experience trying the Warshaw methodology of consuming more and more carbohydrates while taking medications only to see their disease get worse and worse can share with the Diabetes Health editorial staff how livin’ la vida low-carb has changed their lives forever by bringing their blood sugar numbers and A1c levels down, lowered or eliminated their need for diabetes medications and insulin, and gave them their life back. You can contact Nadia Al-Samarrie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a comment at their Contact Us page. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! Feel free to post your feedback for Diabetes Health in the comments section below.
If you want to support an organization that actually cares about sharing the science supporting the use of carbohydrate-restriction for people with Type 2 diabetes, then you should consider becoming a member of The Nutrition & Metabolism Society (NMS) (check out the new and improved web site which I’ll be sharing more about with you soon). For a nominal donation as little as $10 for a Consumer Membership, you can help NMS combat this kind of conventional wisdom idiocy espoused by Diabetes Health by spreading what the real scientific evidence is showing about this remarkably healthy, delicious and nutritious way of eating. If we ever hope to take on the ADA and other low-carb antagonist groups, then we need to unite our voices behind organizations who will stand up for nutritional truths. That’s what NMS is all about. THANK YOU for your support!