Thursday, January 5, 2017

Friday Morning Iced Coffee Date (1/6)

Hey, hey! How was your first week of 2017? I hope it was wonderful and you’re feeling really great about it! 🙂

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly (iced) coffee date. I have quite the mix of stuff to tell you about this week, everything from what I’m loving lately to some anxiety stuff that I’m experiencing and, of course, plenty of randomness thrown in because, hey, that’s how I roll. Ok, guys, here we go!


What I’m loving lately: Our recent trip to the Boston Children’s Museum! I can’t believe we’ve never visited before. The place is AWESOME. Seriously, I want to take Qman there all the time now. He absolutely loved it, especially the construction room on the third floor. The only drawback about our visit: parking. Holy cow, it was expensive. Any tips for affordably parking around there?

Boston Children's Museum

Another family favorite right now: Dance parties before bed. We turn off the light in Quinn’s bedroom, break out his constellation nightlight, Mal plays music on his phone, and we all dance (and run) around the room. Some of us even take off our shirts! It’s ridiculous, and I love every minute of it. You’d think a dance party would be the worst way to get a toddler to wind down at night, but I think Qman likes running/dancing out the last of his energy for the day because he always goes right to sleep.

Speaking of winding down at night… I recently went through a stretch of semi-sleepless night. I’ve had so much on my mind lately with regard to work, it’s hard for me to shut off my brain come bedtime. Ugh, it’s a constant struggle. I actually slept pretty well a few nights this week, so I’m hoping things are turning around.

I actually receive questions from readers quite a lot about my sleep/anxiety issues, so I wanted to share some of my tried-and-true strategies and a couple of the new things that I’m trying to manage my stress levels and help me sleep better at night. If you’re new to CNC, here are a few posts I’ve written on the topic:

Ok, so my no-fail tricks that help me sleep better:

  • The “waterfall metaphor” from 10% Happier (aka “the book that changed my life”) is definitely my go-to and almost always works for me. I basically force myself to shut off my brain. I picture myself behind a waterfall and ONLY focus on the water rushing down. My mind will occasionally wander off, but I always bring it back to that rushing waterfall. Related: Mal and I have started listening to “Thundering Rainstorm by Joe Baker” (typing that actually made me smile because I ask Alexa to play it when we go to bed every night), which also helps me focus on the waterfall.
  • I wear earplugs at night. I started using them when Mal had a cold and was snoring up a storm, but now I use them every night. It’s almost like they’re a signal to my brain that it’s time to sleep. Wearing them also reminds me of being under water… that quiet calm is so peaceful.

Here are a couple of new things that I’m trying, both of which are related to magnesium deficiency. Anxiety and sleepless nights can often be related to a lack of magnesium, especially if you’re a coffee drinker and exercise like I do.

  • I use this body lotion just about everyday. You apply it just like regular body lotion, and it smells like coconut! 🙂
  • I also started using Natural Calm (after my new massage therapist recommended it). I bought the raspberry-lemon flavor and use it in my water as a way to get some extra magnesium in my diet.

I’ve only used these supplements for a couple of months now and, truthfully, I probably need to be a bit more consistent with them, but I have definitely noticed a difference with my overall anxiety levels. It’s not a huge difference, but I feel more even–keeled during the day, especially when stressful situations pop up. It just seems like I can handle them better lately. Also related: I absolutely believe that hormones affect my anxiety/stress levels, so I’m trying to figure that out, too. Right now, I’m just paying special attention to how I feel at certain times of the month and trying to make some connections.

Also related: I recently listened to an interesting episode of Balanced Bites. Liz interviewed Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt about their new book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness, and, at one point during their conversation, Mickey talked about the connection between nature and the immune system. She actually found a study that showed being in nature, even if you go for a weekend camping trip, your immune system is modulated for the full month after you come back into real life or in a city. A full month! After I heard that, I vowed to take Murphy on an epic walk (like we used to do!) at least once a week. We both need it.

Ok, let’s switch directions. That was a lot of serious stuff…

I’m also loving Westworld on HBO. It’s a TV series about a futuristic Western-themed park, which is run by lifelike robots that allows guests to live out their fantasies. Truthfully, when Mal first suggested it to me, I kind of rolled my eyes at him. Robots? Uh, they’re not usually my cup of tea. He actually had already watched the first episode and really thought I would like it, so I gave it a fair chance. Well, I was immediately sucked in, and now I want to watch it all the time. If you’re looking for a new TV series, definitely check out Westworld!

Remember my Oatmeal Minus the Oats recipe? An oldie, but goodie for sure! Well, I finally came up with an awesome microwave version, which simplifies both the prep and clean up. Cleaning the pot was such a PIA! New and improved recipe below!



  • 1 medium banana, mashed inside peel
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop (~15g or 1/8 cup) protein powder (I used SFH)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax (I used a flax hemp blend)
  • optional: chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, nut butter, etc.

DIRECTIONS: Combine ingredients in microwave-safe bowl (take banana out of peel) and then nuke for 90 seconds. Remove from microwave, stir, and eat!

Makes 1 serving 

Mal has a Houzz obsession and sent me this link the other day: Your Clutter-Clearing Plan for the New Year. I love that it gives you a month-by-month plan. We’re definitely going to do it this year to get ourselves organized. Just wanted to pass it along in case you wanted to do the same!

Guys, I’m obsessed with these Lemon Hemp Chocolate Clusters. The nice people from Theo Chocolate sent them to me to try and, wow, they are delicious. And, bonus, they’re good for you! They’re made from crispy quinoa, toasted coconut, cocoa flavanols, hemp seeds, lemon essential oil, and 60% dark chocolate. How’s that for an all-star cast?! You definitely want these babies in your life!


And, finally, just wanted to give a shout-out to my friend Gina’s Post Baby Bod Fitness Plan! I know she’s put a ton of hard work into it, and I am so excited that it’s finally here! There’s even an advanced version! If you’re an expecting mama, or if you just had a baby, be sure to check it out!!

Questions of the Day

How’s life? What’s new? 

How do you deal with stress/anxiety?

What are you loving lately?

from Carrots 'N' Cake

New Year Pitfalls: Where Kick-Start Plans Go Wrong

Inline_Pitfalls_of_Kick-Start_ProgramsYesterday I laid out the benefits of doing a kick-start program—what a good community challenge, elimination program or other total reset could offer you in reclaiming (or enhancing) health. For the most part, I believe in the power of these plans. Obviously, I organize one every year here. I’ve seen countless folks turn their well-being around—lose weight, build strength and stamina, relish new energy, reverse or dial back medical conditions, kick medications they thought they’d be on for the rest of their lives. A kick-start gave them enough structure, support and momentum to move beyond the drag force, and they’re flourishing today as a result.

And, yet, I’d be remiss to to say I haven’t seen them fail for some people. As a professional and a friend, I’ve witnessed (or at least heard the story after the fact) people getting fully sidetracked and even losing their footing on one of these plans. It happens, and there’s usually a clear reason why.

You’ve chosen an ungrounded or unrealistic plan.

Not all dietary plans, challenges and programs are created equal. In fact, a sad portion (dare I say majority) have little regard for how human metabolism actually works.

We’re all well-acquainted with the various fat-averse variants, but there are legions of bad plans that purport irrational claims and/or dangerous methods, such as those promising the moon to people if they only subsist on a handful of calories and virtually zero nutrients for a month or more.

The same can apply to any number of other elimination or combination diets, which pull their rationale out of thin air rather than scientific fact. Others propose extreme “fitness” regimens that overwork the body and exhaust the adrenals, making life hell and the hormonal picture infinitely worse.

Unfortunately, too few people look beyond the wild claims and “before/after” shots to the actual fundamentals of the diet. Does it have unbiased, peer reviewed science to back it up? Does it make sense, from a metabolic, nutritional and even anatomical perspective? Does it require hours of time in the gym (or, on the flip side, no movement at all)? Does it sound fun, sustainable? Happiness matters. So does balance.

The program’s intensity doesn’t fit your personal disposition or current readiness.

Some people absolutely thrive on intensity. The bigger the challenge, the better. Boot camps, elite programs are their style. It’s what gets them motivated and keeps them invested.

But this isn’t everyone. The free spirits, the slow burners tend to live a different way, and that can work, too. (More on that next week…) Likewise, some people might fall somewhere in the middle, but their readiness just doesn’t match up with the all-in expectations of a very intense program.

For most people, kickstart plans and challenges need to allow some room to move. The Primal Blueprint as a whole—and the 21-Day Challenge itself—offers this, I believe. It’s certainly why I choose to live it each day, and it’s what I hear from Primal types again and again. There’s room to breathe, live, indulge, experiment and simply be—whatever and wherever you’re at.

You’re paranoid about perfection.

I’ve seen this many times before. If a person’s dead set on achieving a state of dietary perfection hitherto unknown, it’s almost inevitably a setup for failure. Setting realistic, achievable goals for bettering health is one thing, but committing to a notion of perfection puts an unnecessary strain on one’s aspirations. Stressing about every minute detail of diet and lifestyle gets exhausting and leads most people to abandon the venture altogether.

Allow for the occasional kick-start misdemeanor. Just don’t make a regular thing of it.

You’re allergic to certain foods.

No matter how polished the kickstart plan, if you continue to eat a certain type of food that frazzles your immune response—no matter how “central” it feels to your chosen plan, progress is going to be difficult to achieve. A food allergy, even sensitivity in some people, has the potential to derail progress. First things first: dial in what you can’t eat—or experiment with an elimination program like Whole30 to figure out what might be short-circuiting your process.

You’re trying to do it alone.

Taking responsibility for your own process doesn’t negate the importance of garnering support for yourself. Maybe your inner circle isn’t interested in going Primal with you or taking on whatever goals you have—and that’s okay. (If they do, good for you. Let the experiment bring you closer together.)

Most kick-start programs offer some form of support. For the 21-Day, folks share on the comment boards and forum. Whatever the plan, chat groups offer a place to ask questions and occasionally whine or joke a little. Physical get-togethers (e.g. Grokfeasts) go a step further and connect you more intimately with others who can guide or support your process. Don’t wait for your enthusiasm to wane before getting yourself some community.

Likewise, sometimes we need more. More support. More guidance. More interaction. It’s all very well to be an extensively-researched Grok enthusiast, but it’s quite another to know the ins and outs of human anatomy and how to maximize its potential. Health coaches and other functional practitioners can do just that, so I’d recommend aligning yourself with a health expert if your kick-start plan just isn’t taking off. They’ll be able to guide you beyond any stumbling blocks, point out any nutritional or lifestyle tripping points, and ensure you achieve your aspirations that much faster.

You’re overcomplicating things (or the plan is).

If life and coaching have taught me one thing, it’s that simplicity is king. Depending on where you’re starting from and where you hope to go, too much change at once is like jumping into a glacier-fed lake: shocking. And that shock can put a lot of people off. Just like going from no exercise to a sledgehammer-wielding, barbell-squatting exercise program is shocking. Not everyone is that fast to warm up.

Ease into the process with the least amount of pain, struggle and convolution. It’s not the only one that offers this of course, but the 21-Day Challenge capitalizes impact from its straightforward, uncomplicated, easy-to-follow recommendations.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Have you or a loved one been caught in any of these pitfalls? What are you doing differently for yourself now? Take care.


The post New Year Pitfalls: Where Kick-Start Plans Go Wrong appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

9 Nutritionists Share Their New Year’s Resolutions

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and eat healthier. So what about nutritionists whose expertise is to eat healthy? I was curious to find out what type of resolutions they make.  I asked 9 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) across the country to share their 2017 New Year’s resolutions, and it turns out even the food experts can always improve their healthy lifestyle in a variety of ways.

Preparing more meals at home

“While I eat healthy, nutritious meals and work out regularly, I often am so busy I don’t plan  evening meals for my family. Then we end up going out or picking something up to eat at home. I need to do what I advise others: create menus on the weekend, make a grocery list and go shopping so all the ingredients you need are right there ready to go. It doesn’t have to be something long and involved. It can be simple, fresh, nutritious and taste good!”

Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD, Dallas-based nutrition communications consultant

Separate screen time and meal time

“My #1 goal in eating is to be mindful and savor my food. In general, I do well, especially since I do not own a television. However, when I eat alone or eat out while traveling, I tend to use my phone or laptop at the table. As such, I plan to make desktop reminders for all my screens, encouraging me to put the screen away and focus on the deliciousness of my food.”

–Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, President, Nutrition for the Future, and Social Media Guru at School Meals That Rock.

Add color to every meal (and snacks too!)

“We aim to include colorful produce at lunch, dinner and our snacks. Since eating fruits and veggies is the best way to fight chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity as well as the common cold, we simply add berries or fruit to oatmeal and quinoa, greens to pastas, sandwiches and burritos, and mix a side of steamed veggies right into the sauce of whatever we eat for dinner.“

–The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT & Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, co-owners of The Nutrition Twins.

Cooking new dishes

“While 2016 was a big year professionally with the release of my book, my kitchen creativity took a back seat resulting in a lot of repeat dinners. Although each dinner was healthy, quick, and easy, after a while they got boring. My New Year’s resolution is to re-stock my spice rack and get back to trying and creating new recipes. My goal is to prepare one new meal each week, exposing my family to new flavors and hopefully finding new favorites that everyone enjoys.”

–Heather Mangier, RDN, author of Fueling Young Athletes and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Establishing calm every morning

“In 2017, I want to spend at least 15 minutes practicing yoga each morning.  Since I work from home, I plan on setting up a yoga spot right in the living room to remind me to spend a little time stretching and breathing every day.  My hope is that establishing this positive and calming morning routine will help me remain more mindful and energized throughout the entire day.”

–Stephanie McKercher RDN, dietitian and blogger at The Grateful Grazer.

Focus on weight training

“My new year’s resolution is to up the free weights I use by 5 pounds each. Right now use 15 pound dumb bells for bicep curls, and I am hoping to get to 20 pounds by summer. I’m going to do this by focusing my heavy weight training 2-3 times per week (supervised by my trainer) with higher weights and lower reps to increase my strength.”

–Abbey Sharp, media registered dietitian and blogger at Abbey’s Kitchen

Expanding fish preparation techniques

Residing in the Pacific Northwest, one of my goals is to learn how to cook fish (like salmon) in various ways, so I want to sign up for a cooking class on fish preparation.”

–Angel Planells MS, RDN, CD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Finding fitness classes I love

“I struggled in 2016 with finding a type of physical activity that fits into my busy schedule and that I enjoy! I found myself slogging to the gym and ended up making it a low priority. Being active is such an important aspect to health and wellness that my resolution this year is to find a way to be active on a regular basis that I love and look forward to. I’m starting 2017 by experimenting with new gyms and classes until I find the right fit.”

–Ginger Hultin MS RDN CSO Seattle-based dietitian and owner of ChampagneNutrition

Eating Mindfully

“Food and what to eat can be overstimulating and mind-consuming. I’m focusing on what I really love to eat, what I want to try, and savoring every bite. I’m hoping to achieve a more mindful perspective to my food choices and eating.”

-Jill Castle, MS, RDN, childhood nutrition expert and author

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Don’t Make Goals, Make Changes.

I shared this graphic on social media this week inspired by the daily Healthy Habits, Happy Moms email which reported:

“Research shows us that if we try to change just one small thing in our lives, we have about an 80% chance of achieving that change. If we try to change two things at one time, that success rate drops to less than 30%. If we try to change three things at one time, the success rate drops close to ZERO.” 

Fascinating! Most people know WHAT to do, but it’s the HOW that holds them up.

You would think that eating well would come completely naturally to folks. And in fact, it does when we are children. But all of the complexities of our culture, hundreds of little factors and habits and influences, shift and tweak our eating habits so that sometimes they become completely unrecognizable. My starting point on a healthier journey after I graduated from college in 2005 wasn’t one of disordered eating or even one of a major weight gain – I was just normal in that I wasn’t mindfully aware of how my lifestyle was connected to my health. I went through a few years where that awareness became very apparent and now it has become habitual in that I can 100% enjoy life and know that my healthy habits are the foundation of my choices.

If you are looking for some support making changes in your life, here are a few ways I recommend connecting with others. No restrictive diets or replacement shakes in sight!

immaEATthat Registered Dietitian, Kylie Mitchell just created a video course called “How To Eat.” Kylie specializes in coaching those struggling with their relationship with food and their body.  The course is appropriate for those who have been in a diet mentality or disordered eating for their entire life and would like to learn more about intuitive eating and taking care of their body.

For the kids! Canadian dietitian, Jessica Penner created Happy Healthy Eaters to guide parents through the murky waters of feeding children. Jessica is a mom herself, and this research-based course will tell you everything you need to know about the best practices of feeding kids. You can also either purchase a lifetime access or subscribe per month. I took it myself and have noticed improvements with Mazen already. There is a lot of information inside.

Balance 365 is the year-long parent course to the free Screw Your Resolutions Challenge I am doing. The Balance 365 program focuses on being REALISTIC with 12 core habits and making lasting lifestyle changes. “No more supermom, super detox, super do-everything-all-the-time,” they say. Targeted at moms, the program community is a great support network for all things healthy living.

If you are a new mom, check out Gina’s Post Baby Bod program. It is completely tailored for those easing back into fitness. There is also an advanced version for those a little farther along the path. You’ll get 12 weeks of new-mom targeted workouts, meal ideas, and an online support group.

If you are looking to once-and-for-all making healthy eating a priority, Cook Smarts is my go-to meal planning, recipe, food tips and learn-to-cook service. Check out the “For The Love Of Salads” challenge or the “Make Ahead Breakfast” recipe book. There’s also a great Facebook community for all kinds of questions and support.

And lastly, check out this article on Buzzfeed (which featured my split pea soup!) for a bunch of food bloggers and dietitians’ healthy meals.

And keep reading Kath Eats Real Food 🙂 Check out my How To Eat Real Food post and other nutrition topics here!

***Some of these programs invited me to promote as an affiliate member, and I am happy to share the ones that align with my focus. 

The post Don’t Make Goals, Make Changes. appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

Why Won’t We Tell Diabetics the Truth?



I’m appalled constantly at the misinformation we nutrition experts are telling folks with diabetes. It’s all over the place. The “everything in moderation” mantra, and how we need to eat less meat, less fat, and more whole grains, is a pervasive theme drilled into young dietitians, and spread to the public through our dietary guidelines. This information is making people sick.

Last week, the following ad popped up in my Facebook newsfeed several times for “10 Foods That Are Great For Diabetics“. (This click bate article is also making the rounds on several other sites.) Here are the foods: dates, berries, garlic, flax seeds, apples, broccoli, oats, melons, kale and barley. Now, I don’t think that kale is BAD, but this list is like telling alcoholics to drink a little more orange juice or sprinkle some chia seeds into their martini and omitting the fact that they need to stop drinking boozescreen-shot-2016-12-30-at-10-54-35-am

In our quest to avoid the truth and focus on individual super foods that will save us, this post is telling diabetics that dates are so amazing because 7 of them provide 4g of fiber. They forgot to mention that 7 dates equals 126g of carbs with no fat, so that’s pretty much like a syringe of sugar shot directly into your blood if eaten on an empty stomach. None of these top 10 lists had protein, and the only fat was flax seeds (for their omega-3’s) but what about fatty fish or fish oil, which is much more bioavailable? Why aren’t we instead telling them to avoid excess carbohydrates, because the last time I checked, you can actually reduce blood sugar by… not eating sugar!

I’ve been on a protein and meat vindication kick lately, looking into how much protein we need, how much we’re eating, and what the best sources are. For this post, I decided to switch gears and look at the recommendations for carbohydrate intake to see where they came from and if it matches what we’re telling people to eat.

How Many Carbs Do We Really Need?

The short answer: ZERO.

The macronutrient recommendations are based on this book published by the Institutes of Medicine. I reviewed the recommendations for protein intake in this post, where I illustrate that the science justifying the RDA for protein is pretty poor. The evidence is even worse when looking at the carbohydrate recommendations.

Here’s a direct quote:

“The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed. However, the amount of dietary carbohydrate that provides for optimal health in humans is unknown. There are traditional populations that ingested a high fat, high protein diet containing only a minimal amount of carbohydrate for extended periods of time (Masai), and in some cases for a lifetime after infancy (Alaska and Greenland Natives, Inuits, and Pampas indigenous people) There was no apparent effect on health or longevity. Caucasians eating an essentially carbohydrate-free diet, resembling that of Greenland natives for a year tolerated the diet quite well. However, a detailed modern comparison with populations ingesting the majority of food energy as carbohydrate has never been done.”  

They base the carbohydrate requirement of 87g-112 grams per day on the amount of glucose needed to avoid ketosis. They arrived at the number 100g/day to be “the amount sufficient to fuel the central nervous system without having to rely on a partial replacement of glucose by ketoacid,” and then they later say that “it should be recognized that the brain can still receive enough glucose from the metabolism of the glycerol component of fat and from the gluconeogenic amino acids in protein when a very low carbohydrate diet is consumed.” (Meaning, ketosis is NO BIG DEAL. In fact, it’s actually a good thing and is not the same as ketoacidosis.) The RDA of 130g/day was computed by using a CV of 15% based on the variation in brain glucose utilization and doubling it, therefore the the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for carbohydrate is 130% of the EAR (estimated average requirement).

What are the Dangers of Overeating Carbohydrates?

Answer: DIABETES (but they won’t actually say this)

On the DRI (dietary reference intake) guide for carbohydrate intake, the column for “Adverse effects of excessive consumption” states “no defined intake level at which potential adverse effects of total digestible carbohydrate was identified.” WHAT? It also happens to say that the maximal intake of added sugars be limited to providing no more than 25 percent of energy. That’s 125 grams of carbs from sugar on a 2,000 diet. To give some perspective, one 12oz can of coke has 39g of sugar. This means they’re saying for someone eating 2,000 calories, it’s ok to drink more than 3 Cokes a day, (plus other carbs) as long as you eat less meat, less fat, and of course, more whole grains. Is that really what we should be telling people?

According to the Institutes of Medicine, “Published reports disagree about whether a direct link exists between the trend toward increased intakes of sugar and increased rates of obesity… it appears that the effects of increased intakes of total sugars on energy intake are mixed, and the increased intake of added sugars are most often associated with increased energy intake. There is no clear and consistent association between increased intake of added sugars and BMI. Therefore, the above data cannot be used to set a UL (upper limit) for either added or total sugars.” WHAT?!?

I’m not kidding, this is exactly what it says. The authors also go on to say there’s no risk of diabetes from consuming increased amounts of sugars, and they cite this study, saying that it showed that the more sugar one ate, the lower the risk of diabetes. I looked up the paper, and the authors did say that the more sucrose someone ate, the lower the risk of diabetes, but they also said that glucose and fructose intakes were positively associated with diabetes risk. Last time I checked glucose + fructose = sucrose. How does this make sense? The researchers also found significant discrepancies between self-reported diabetes and actual diagnosed rates of the disease (only 64% of those saying they had diabetes actually were diagnosed) and of course we all know that people love to lie on food frequency questionnaires. Is this really the research we’re relying on to form public nutrition guidelines?

Of course there’s actually tons of evidence that increased carbohydrate increases type 2 diabetes, and that reducing sugar and carb intake reduces blood sugar. Pubmed lights up with evidence showing a low-carbohydrate diet is therapeutic in type-2 diabetes.

So, How Many Carbs are We Telling Diabetics to Eat?

Answer: TOO MUCH

If type 2 diabetes is a result of uncontrolled blood sugars, you would think that we should be telling folks to reduce their intake of sugar. Actually, the Clinical Practice Guidelines and Recommendations from the American College of Physicians lists “Oral Pharmacologic Treatment” as the official treatment, not diet counseling. With depression, for example, other non-pharmacologic methods like therapy and exercise are listed. When a type 2 diabetic does meet with a dietitian, we’re telling them to eat more than the RDA. 

Even though we have no actual need for carbs at all, and the RDA is 130g/day, the general guideline for adults with diabetes is 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal, and snacks having 15 to 30 grams of carbs. For the average adult eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day (recommended) this equals a daily recommended intake of between 165g and 240g of carbs per day.

The most popular way to educate diabetics is “carbohydrate counting.” In this method, one carb serving equals 15 grams of carbs. One serving of carbs could be 4oz fruit, 1 slice of bread, 1/3 cup of rice (that is a VERY small amount of rice), 2 cookies, or a 2 inch square of brownie. Yes, that’s right. No difference between a cookie and a piece of fruit or some rice. It’s advised that protein and fat be consumed with meals, but no guidance is given on quantities or quality, or why this is critical to include. When I was doing my dietetic internship, the sheet below is what the hospital gave me to educate a sick person with type 2 diabetes who had uncontrolled blood sugars. This is directly from the American Nutrition and Dietetic Association. (Sorry for the bad hospital lighting)


If I started the day with this high carb, low protein and low fat breakfast, I’d be a wreck. In fact, before I started eating a lower carb diet, I actually was in metabolic syndrome. I’ve never been overweight, ate a mostly vegetarian, low fat diet full of whole grains like lentils, tofu, slathered in canola oil. I was doing everything right. At the time, if I went more than about 2 hours between eating I would start sweating, have tunnel vision, and was incredibly irritable. The word is “hangry.” I lived this way for over 30 years. When I do a nutrition talk, I always start by describing how I used to feel, and every time, more than half the room nods their heads signifying they too feel this way. Yet, we continue to tell people to eat this way.

We’re Completely Failing Diabetics.

We nutrition experts are miserably failing at preventing and treating folks with diabetes. According to the CDC, 12.6% of Americans have diabetes, costing us $245 billion dollars in direct and indirect medical expenses. I’ve seen the incredible damage diabetes can do to people and it’s pretty ugly. It’s listed as the 7th leading cause of death, but because people don’t really die of “diabetes” but rather die of complications due to diabetes, like kidney failure and cardiovascular disease, the number is likely much higher. The rate is only increasing, especially in countries newly adopting our “heart-healthy” standard American diet. All over the world, people are giving up their healthy traditional diets and are drinking soda instead of water, using canola oil instead of traditional fats, and eating more refined junk foods – oh and it’s not only unhealthy but more expensive to eat this way too.


Why can’t we tell folks who have diabetes the truth: that eating an “everything in moderation,” high carb, low fat and low protein diet will increase your chances of a completely preventable disease that can lead to a very uncomfortable death?

I wish I could still reference the Facebook post from back in October 2016 of a dessert featuring sweetened condensed milk that the American Diabetes Association posted on their facebook page before they removed it. It was classic. All I have is their response:


The American Diabetes Association lists beans as the ideal protein choice. Beans are one of the highest carbohydrate “protein choices” you can make. Should we really be telling them that beans, dates, oats and barley are superfoods, giving the impression that a few magical additions to their diet will fix them?

As a dietitian with some sense, when I see a patient with blood sugar issues, I recommend a low-carb diet, adding more protein and healthy fats as the very first step. There are a handful of people who get it. In this literature review, researchers looked at 12 studies all showing the success of a low-carbohydrate diet had on reducing or eliminating the need for medication in type 2 diabetics.

“The inability of current recommendations to control the epidemic of diabetes, the specific failure of the prevailing low-fat diets to improve obesity, cardiovascular risk, or general health and the persistent reports of some serious side effects of commonly prescribed diabetic medications, in combination with the continued success of low-carbohydrate diets in the treatment of diabetes and metabolic syndrome without significant side effects, point to the need for a reappraisal of dietary guidelines. The benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes are immediate and well documented.”

Why Won’t We Tell Diabetics the Truth?
Answer: The real truth is that sugar, junk food and insulin sells.

Sugar is sexy. Brownies sell magazines and gets clicks on Facebook. Scrambled eggs, plain roasted chicken, or sautéed swiss chard does not. There’s a ton of bias against low carb diets, and a lot of financial interests pushing pharmaceutical intervention instead of a dietary change, and the people who are behind the dietary guidelines are also the ones charged with promoting commodity agriculture (wheat, corn and soy.)

It’s time to admit that we’re failing diabetics.

We can do better. They deserve the truth.


“I use the ‘cigarette’ analogy. We know it is bad to smoke, so we tell patents not to smoke. Why don’t we do the same thing with sugar and processed starches?  The excuse I hear is that ‘people won’t stop eating sugar and starches.’  However, by the same analogy, we could have thrown up our hands and said, ‘people can’t give up smoking.'” – University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor of Nutrition Barbara Gower, Ph.D. (one of the authors of the paper quoted above)

Here’s my unsexy truth:




from The Paleo Diet