Thursday, August 23, 2007

Feinman To Warshaw: How Healthy Is A Diabetes Diet That Requires Medication?

Dr. Feinman tells Warshaw what she can do with her high-carb advice

One of the most controversial debates within the diabetic community right now is around the subject of carbohydrate-restricted diets as a means for naturally controlling blood sugar levels and insulin production (we can thank Men's Health columnist Adam Campbell for writing this outstanding column about it in late 2006 to get the ball rolling). It's a fascinating subject since so much research is pointing to livin' la vida low-carb as an excellent way to tame and virtually "cure" diabetes naturally without the use of drugs or insulin in many patients. It truly is a miracle for diabetics!

Nevertheless, the so-called "experts" in the field of diabetes are none too pleased with all this talk about low-carb diets because they do not give this way of eating any credence whatsoever as a legitimate nutritional approach for taking on diabetes, especially the ever-growing Type 2. One such leader in the anti-low-carb movement happening within diabetes circles is author, nutritionist, and diabetes educator Hope Warshaw.

I've previously blogged about Warshaw when she went head-to-head with low-carb diabetes champion Dr. Richard Bernstein on dLife last year. Warshaw is deeply entrenched in the politics and talking points of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), so it's not surprising she would write a short but to the point column like "Why You Don't Want To Go Low Carb Or Vegan" in a major diabetes publication like Diabetes Health.

Her key reasons for opposing livin' la vida low-carb for diabetics is this:

- It's too "extreme" a "fad" diet to be taken seriously
- It's not appropriate over the long-term
- You can't stick with it and maintain your weight on it
- Blood glucose levels do not return to "normal" after meals
- Carbohydrate is necessary for a healthy diet
- A low-fat, low-calorie diet is more effective

We also learn from this "Diabetes Mine" blog interview with Warshaw that she believes that diabetes control is "not about carb restriction," but rather eating lots and lots of fruits and vegetables as part of a high-fiber, low-fat, low-calorie diet. Does this include sugary fruits like bananas and raisins as well as starchy vegetables like white potatoes (which a recent ADA report found some startling statistics about regarding typical American consumption), hmmm?

Interestingly, despite including a vegan diet among those to avoid in the title of her column, Warshaw mentioned it a grand total of ONE time compared with EIGHT references to "low-carb" in the six-paragraph article. Can you say obsessive? Sure looks that way!

While most diabetes professionals who read this predictable missive from Warshaw a couple of months back no doubt grinned and nodded their head in complete agreement with all of her conclusions about the low-carb lifestyle for diabetics, at least one did not. His name is Dr. Richard Feinman from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York who serves as Editor-In-Chief of the scientific journal Nutrition & Metabolism.

I've previously interviewed Dr. Feinman at my blog and he has a rather unique perspective as it relates to helping diabetics beat their disease with as few medical interventions as possible by using a low-carbohydrate treatment option. He has been on the front line of this debate on behalf of the science regarding carbohydrate-restriction for diabetics and has seemed to step it up a bit in 2007.

To directly rebut everything Warshaw wrote in her column, Dr. Feinman penned his response entitled "Low Carbohydrate Diets: Why You Don't Want the 'Experts' to Tell You What to Eat" which brilliantly laid out and explained why low-carb diets are not only appropriate for diabetics, but actually preferred for those patients desiring to end their dependence on drugs and insulin.

Please go read the entire column which was published this week in Diabetes Health, but here are my favorite points that Dr. Feinman makes:

- Low-carb diets control glucose metabolism problems
- Encouraging carb consumption for diabetics is ridiculous
- High-carb diets demand the use of more medications and insulin
- Eating carbs WILL raise blood glucose levels
- My favorite: How healthy is a diabetes diet that requires medication?
- Reducing medication should be a sign of improvement for diabetics
- Diabetes is a metabolic disease that require a metabolic response
- There is no biological need for carbohydrate
- Glucose can be supplied to the brain through gluconeogenesis
- The obesity and diabetes epidemics caused by high-carb, low-fat diet
- More carbs in the diet means worse weight and health control
- If the low-carb diet were a diabetes drug, it'd be the hottest seller
- Compliance is a problem with ALL diets, not just low-carb
- Eating candy and taking insulin is really bad advice
- Diabetes control should be left to the patient's personal choice

That pretty much sums it up and Dr. Feinman should get a medal for making his points so clearly and succinctly with all the references and evidence to back up everything he wrote in that response. THANK YOU for being one of the few who "gets it," Dr. Feinman. We need more brave researchers and medical professionals who have seen the positive impact of low-carb diets on diabetes to step up like you did.

Dr. Feinman is not all alone on this. Dr. Eric Westman from Duke University and Dr. Mary C. Vernon from the University of Kansas are also outspoken practitioners who have seen changes happen to patients with their own eyes day in and day out.

It's funny how these so-called "experts" like Ms. Warshaw are trying desperately to ignore the findings of people like Drs. Feinman, Westman, and Vernon, but the word is starting to spread among diabetics. Patients are curious about getting off their medications and insulin if at all possible and livin' la vida low-carb is opening that door of opportunity.

Something tells me we're gonna keep hearing positive reports about how low-carb is providing beneficial results to diabetics helping more and more of them reduce or eliminate their need for prescription medications in the coming years. When that happens, do you think folks like Ms. Warshaw will be singing a different tune?

Doo-dah, doo-dah! :D

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Blogger Science4u1959 said...

May God save us from the "experts".

You know, what these know-nothing "experts" believe (not based on any science known to man, mind you) and what they keep touting, to me, borders to the criminally insane.

What is it with these people that they want diabetics to consume large quantities of the very substances that will kill them? It's almost Kafka!

These people are so rusted, do dogmatically entrenched in their belief systems that they even ignore and ridicule the most fundamental, most basic facts of the human metabolism as well as nutritional science. It is absolutely mind-boggling, and totally incredible.

I've said this many times and I'll say it again: if I ever get rich I will personally sue them so fast it'll make their thick skulls spin. I would love to see an expert jury (and expert witnesses) totally demolish these imbecilic ideas and unscientific theories in court, and to hell with the costs. Just make sure, Jimmy, that you are there too with the iPhone plus giant memorycard so we can YouTube it!

8/24/2007 5:15 AM  
Blogger lovinglife said...

The doctor who continue to subscribe to a high carb, high medication plan for diabetics are so stuck in their wrong dogma that their mantra should be: "My mind is made up - don't confuse me with the facts!"

It is nearly criminal what is happening to diabetics these days - with all the evidence on how you can turn diabetes back, how you can actually lose the diabetes at best and control it fully at least through a low carb lifestyle. Well, it's just beyond me that anyone would say things like, it's just a fad or it's to difficult to stick with it for the long term. Hey, if your patient had cancer and had to undergo a year or more of chemo, etc., would you tell them that yes, chemo would make you better but it's too hard to do. DUH!
My husband is living (and I do mean LIVING) proof that a low carb lifestyle is the "cure" for diabetes - not high carb and insulin. After being on insulin (43 units a night) for over 1 1/2 years, we began a low carb lifestyle nearly 5 years ago. Within 3 months he was able to come off of insulin completely and HAS NEVER GONE BACK! His doctor is amazed - they always are - that something other than medication actually works to reverse diabetes. Hey, diabetes starts because of eating too many carbs and not moving your body - it makes perfect, logical sense that reversing that process would reverse the diabetes!

BTW my husband also lost 80 pounds within 9 months. For the twenty years previous, his doctor told him to lose weight but never told him about low carb. It wasn't until he went on low carb, that he lost weight.

And as an added bonus, his energy level is so high, it is amazing.

Please people with diabetes, read Dr. Richard Bernsteins book, "Diabetes Solutions Newly Revised and Updated", Read any and all books on the healthy aspects of low carb living. You need to listen to your body - your body will tell you that low carb and exercise is the best thing you can do for your body.

8/24/2007 10:26 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing your husband's story, lovinglife! He is EXACTLY the kind of patient that Dr. Feinman was referring to in his column and a fine example of what livin' la vida low-carb can do for diabetics.

I agree that every diabetic needs to have their own personal copy of Dr. Richard Berstein's newly revised and updated Diabetes Solution book if they are serious about implementing a low-carb strategy for controlling their disease. Dr. Mary C. Vernon's Atkins Diabetes Revolution is another GREAT one!

8/24/2007 10:38 AM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

When I saw Hope debate Dr. Bernstien on dLife, I wanted to reach through the TV and shake the living you-know-what out of her. Low carb has helped me and I find it much easier to stick to than her low fat approach.

Thanks for highlighting Dr. Feinman's article. If you haven't, check out the comments to the article at Diabetes Health. One person insists on eating pasta, bread, potatoes, etc and has an A1C of 9. He and his doctor are happy with that. Sad, but it's their choice.

8/24/2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Diet Pepsi Girl said...

I am so tired of people saying "You can't stick to low carb long term." How many people go to Weight Watchers or follow Jenny Craig (or any other low-fat, high-carb plan) only to return heavier than they were? I've heard this from people I know and it's the truth, b/c you are deprived on these plans.
Carbs turn to sugar, and sugar is poison for diabetics. When will dr's get this?

8/24/2007 2:04 PM  

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