American Diabetes Association: Sharing Recipes Loaded With Sugar?

Recently, the American Diabetes Association added a post to their Facebook page that read:

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this diabetes-friendly recipe!

Intrigued, of course, I checked it out.  What I found was inexcusable.  It was this recipe for Arroz Con Leche (aka rice pudding) that had such a heavy glycemic load it would cause any diabetic’s blood sugar to rage out of control!  This recipe had not only 4 cups of milk, but was loaded with rice, a couple tablespoons of sugar, and an entire 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk!  Just this single ingredient adds a whopping 220 grams of sugar to the recipe.  The total carbs per serving, according to the recipe, is 38 grams.  The recipe makes 10 servings, so this gives us a grand total of 380 grams of carbohydrates.

Thankfully, the followers of the American Diabetes Association’s Facebook page are smarter than they are, leaving over 500 angry comments on this post.  In fact, there was so much push back, the ADA removed the post and issued this apology:

Yesterday we posted a dessert recipe, and after further reflection and community feedback, we realized it was missing important context to show how people with diabetes can incorporate dessert into a balanced meal plan – information such as portion size and how to enjoy sweets in moderation. It’s important to work with your health care provider and nutritionist to figure out an approach to meal planning that works best for you.  At the request of our social media community, we have deleted this content from our Facebook and Twitter pages. We truly appreciate your feedback – we missed the mark, and will keep this in mind for future posts.

The harmful ignorance is also evident in their explanation. As many people have pointed out on their post, the problem really was not the lack of portion size information. The problem all along was calling a sugar bomb a “diabetes-friendly recipe!”

Chef Leticia, the author of the recipe, has been a partner with Merck, the sponsor of the Challenge, since 2013 serving as both spokesperson and provider of diabetes friendly recipes.  Ahem. With recipes like this one, I’m honestly not sure if the challenge was to gain more customers for Merck, or help those with diabetes.  Coincidentally, I’m sure, Merck (aka MSD) are the makers of medications for the “control” of diabetes.

It’s almost as if the ADA wants to give you diabetes in their new campaign, America’s Diabetes Challenge.  Why?  Because this is hardly the first time they have shared recipes specifically for their diabetics that are full of sugar and loaded with carbs… a diabetics worst enemy.

In fact, physicians often send newly diagnosed patients (or sometimes patients who are having trouble managing their condition) to classes sponsored by the ADA.  Recently, a friend who attended a local class shared equally horrible recipes including one for marinated chicken that included brown sugar and Coca Cola.  If this is how people are being “educated” then it’s no wonder diabetes is out of control.  Sugar is poison to a diabetic.  Wouldn’t it be better to share low carb recipes using natural sugar substitutes like stevia, erythritol, xylitol, or yacon syrup with a low glycemic load? 

On another occasion, the New York Times interviewed Dr. Maggie Powers, president-elect of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  She was asked what to tell a newly diagnosed diabetic to eat.  Here is her response:

“It’s a matter of give-and-take,” Dr. Powers said. “If somebody wants [sugar-sweetened] soda, we don’t encourage that, because a little bit gives you a lot of carbohydrates.” But, she said, -“If you say that you have to have a brownie every Sunday before you go to bed, I’d say, you typically have a snack of 30 grams of carbohydrates, such as a large apple or banana; you can have a brownie instead.”

Really?  A brownie?  This is what the president of the association advised?  Sigh.  Look, I believe personal responsibility trumps everything.  You alone are responsible for what you put in your mouth and it’s your responsibility to know what it is and what it’ll do to you.  The problem is that the ADA represents themselves as an authority on diabetes and puts themselves in a position to educate, and to be trusted as said authority.  Because of this, people will do exactly that… trust them to have their best interest and follow their guidance. 

Time To Get Real!

  1. Educate yourself.  Start by understanding how sugar affects the body.  Not only diabetics, but everyone.  One of the first resources I recommend is “Why We Get Fat” by author Gary Taubes, and then “Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution” by Andreas Eenfeldt, M.D.
  2. You are your best advocate.  You have to ask questions, do your own research, and make your own informed decisions.  Never assume that any association, group, doctor, hospital, or other “authority” is infallible or puts your interests before their own. 
  3. Go here and here for diabetic friendly recipes that are healthful rather than harmful.
  4. Subscribe here for free to get future recipes, updates and more! 

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  1. says: Tim Huneke

    Your information is on the mark. I don’t know about most people but rice is my eternal enemy. I do like it, but it sends my blood sugar out of sight. I’ve done a lot of reading and even more tracking and experimenting to bring my diabetes under control. (And a lot of help and advice from a wonderful little sister). I’ve learned to regulate my diet and use natural supplements to control my blood sugar. I say “regulate” because I didn’t really change to anything different. I just learned what not to eat and to keep eating the good stuff. I also learned that it can be done effectively without prescription drugs. Actually the natural supplements I take, control my blood sugar better than the prescription drugs. I’ve learned that a lot of bad advice has come from my previous doctors and the ADA. Question everything and learn on your own with an open mind. You’ll be amazed at what you will find.

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