Diabetes is not our area of expertise (we scarcely have enough time to keep abreast of allergy, let alone taking on diabetes) but I do feel very sorry for diabetics. Their lives used to be trying, but simple – they had a strict diet to which they had to adhere and specific (not very nice) foods that they were able to buy for them alone.
But, over the last few years, while ‘freefrom’ food for coeliacs, the allergic and the intolerant has been growing like topsy, ‘diabetic foods’ no longer exist – indeed the very notion is frowned upon – and diabetics are told to go and eat a ‘healthy, balanced diet’. Well, while no doubt they are delighted to get rid of the complex ‘points’ system by which their lives used to be ruled, but being told to just ‘eat a healthy balanced diet’ with ‘plenty of good quality carbohydrates’ is not hugely helpful . I mean, unless you are in the business, how on earth do you translate that into a Tesco shopping list ? Obviously very few diabetics or potential diabetics know, if the growth in Type 2 diabetes is anything to go by.
So I was struck by a blog from Dr John Briffa last week talking about a massive new study – Cardiovascular Effects of Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Type 2 Diabetes, just published in the New England Journal Medicine.
As he points out, diabetes is all about failing to metabolise sugar properly. Where does sugar come from? Well, from sugar, obviously – but also, almost exclusively, from starch and carbohydrate. Yet this massive study, which found that dietary intervention was less effective than they had hoped, was focused entirely on low fat diets and did not, at any point, mention sugar, starch or carbohydrates…
Err…. Am I being stupid here – or what is going on? For more detailed comment, see Dr Briffa’s blog.