Wednesday, November 01, 2006

ADA Still Inescapably Fixated On Saturated Fat

The ADA--it's their way or no way at their trade shows!

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has made great strides over the past year in their attitude towards supporting the low-carb nutritional approach as an effective means for managing and treating diabetes, especially since the release of this study at the annual ADA meeting in June. Carb-counting is becoming more and more commonplace with diabetes educational seminars taking place all across the country. The tide is indeed turning within the ADA.

However, their continued concerns over the subject of saturated fat remain intact despite new data confirming the healthy benefits of consuming it and even the American Heart Association (AHA) changing their guidelines earlier this year to allow up to 7 percent in their dietary recommendations. Nevertheless, the ADA won't budge from wanting less than 2g saturated fat which is a major reason why we are no closer to a cure for this disease and why we'll stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Confirmation of the undeniable fact that the ADA is still inescapably fixated on saturated fat happened just last week when our friends who make those ever-so-yummy ChocoPerfection bars, a well-made sugar-free/low-carb chocolate bar made with erythritol and oligofructose (see my interview with company founder Mary Jo Kringas from earlier this week), were not allowed to have a booth at the upcoming ADA trade show coming to Denver, Colorado in April 2007 because they contained too much saturated fat.

This event is very prestigious within diabetic circles and it attracts so many people interested in the subject of diabetes all in one place which makes the ChocoPerfection company a perfect fit. ChocoPerfection chocolate bars are very safe for diabetics without even an inkling of sugar in them whatsoever. Nobody is going to argue that point.

Unfortunately for ChocoPerfection, though, the saturated fat content in the bars (12g/bar) was much too high for the ADA's standards. They requested Kringas reduce the saturated fat content to LESS THAN 2g and she could talk to them again about having a booth. Incidentally, Kringas informed me that not one single chocolate bar sugar-free or othewise has ever been made with less than 2g saturated fat, so the request by the ADA was both unreasonable and arrogant at best.

Not one to take no for an answer, Kringas then started doing some research on her own and came across this article published by the ADA's very own Colorado State University in January 2004 which answers the specific question about the saturated fat in chocolate and how it comes from stearic acid which does not play a role in the risks for high cholesterol and heart disease like other types of saturated fat purport to do.

Quoting from the column, Kringas found evidence to present her case to the ADA:

"Consumers are warned mostly about saturated fat intake. This is primarily due to evidence showing that saturated fat increases cholesterol levels in your blood. Researchers are now stating within the saturated fat category are several types of saturated fatty acids, including lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Although these are all saturated fatty acids, they do not all raise blood cholesterol. Stearic acid, which is found in chocolate, is one type of saturated fat that has been shown NOT to raise cholesterol levels. Possible explanations for this include its carbon chain length, inefficient absorption, or conversion to oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid."

Armed with this information regarding the saturated fat content of her ChocoPerfection bars, Kringas went back to the ADA again to see if the ADA had modified their guidelines based on this research. Sadly, they weren't buying into it.

"No, the saturated fat guidelines are not going to be modified for chocolate because of its stearic acid content," retorted ADA spokeswoman Stephanie Dunbar to Kringas' inquiry. "There is not enough research, nor clear labeling on products, to distinguish between the different types of fatty acids. Also, the second guideline is reduced in calories and chocolate doesn't meet that one either."

So even if Kringas had reduced the saturated fat in her ChocoPerfection bars to the ridiculously low 2g, then she still would have had a problem with the calories. What is the ADA so afraid of? Don't diabetics have a right to eat chocolate like all of us non-diabetics do? Hmmmm? The great thing about ChocoPerfection is that they are made from natural, high-quality ingredients instead of the cheapo sugar alcohols like maltitol and other ingredients.

Kringas wisely retorted the ADA rejection rhetorically with this question.

"Where's the research that shows chocolate causes diabetes?"

VERY GOOD QUESTION! All the latest studies confirm that chocolate is GOOD FOR YOU and so any chocolate that is devoid of sugar and made from all-natural ingredients like ChocoPerfection should be heralded by an organization like the ADA. When are they going to get their head out of their tail and start applying the most recent science to their recommendations for diabetics. They really are doing people with diabetes a grave disservice using archaic, outdated research.

Like I said in Episode 2 of my podcast show this week, you can read THE WHOLE TRUTH about the role of saturated fat in your diet and how it isn't the great evil it has been made out to be by groups like the ADA in Chapter 8 of this book. It's just too bad that we've got a bunch of close-minded people in leadership positions at the ADA.

You can let the ADA's Stephanie Dunbar know just how disappointed you are in her shortsightedness about the saturated fat issue by e-mailing her at

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Blogger Science4u1959 said...

I've been saying it for years and it's in my opinion still valid: organizations like the ADA are a bunch of barking mad idiots. Their twisted and distorted opinions have absolutely nothing to do with proper nutritional science, nor even the basic dietary needs of anyone.

Cure - care - commitment my foot! The slogan should be Detrimental Dilitants [in] Denial.

11/01/2006 11:59 PM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

I could rant all day about the ADA. While they may be doing some good things as promoting research into diabetes, I think the ADA is also doing more to benefit drug companies than diabetics.

The 2006 ADA nutritional recommendations say that low carbohydrate diets, less than 130 grams/day, are NOT recommended, even though they did admit that glucose control is better on a low carb diet. Their glucose control recommedations are a way too high. They say diabetics can have a before meal reading of up to 140, an after meal reading of up to 180, and an A1C of up to 7%, which corresponds to an average blood sugar of 170. Dr. Bernstein points out that most normal, non-diabetics have blood sugar readings of 83 - 85, both before and after meals, and an A1C around 4.6 - 4.8. An A1C of 5% represents an average reading of 100. With the ADA's dietary recommendations, many diabetics have trouble even maintianing the ADA levels of glucose "control," so that increases the need for diabetic medications. An A1C greater than 5 increases the risk of heart disease. The higher glucose levels bring higher cholesterol levels, especially the small, dense, dangerous LDL particles -- more demand for statins. Increased glucose levels also lead to higher blood pressure -- more need for drugs there. It also means more diabetic complications and more meds to counter those.

I'm better off ignoring the ADA recommendations and trying to normalize blood sugar through low carb, rather than just trying to "control" it per the ADA.

11/02/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

One more interesting point. I'm following the Schwarzbein Principle, by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein. She is an endocrinologist who started in medical practice working with diabetics. She describes how she watched them get worse on the ADA's low fat, high carb diet. Then she figured out that the carbs were the problem. When she had them reduce their carb intake, they got better. However, she was initially concerned about cholesterol and saturated fat, so she told them to lay off red meat, use egg substitutes, and use oils as the primary source of fat. Some later confessed that they were "cheating," eating red meat and real eggs. Ironically, she discovered that the "cheaters" got better faster.

11/02/2006 10:17 AM  

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