WebMD stands for Web Mindless Drivel

December 9, 2010


After attempting to relay the benefits of low to no carb eating to type II diabetics (T2D) on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) web forum to no avail, I decided instead to do some searching around the web. I wanted to see if any web-based organization stated that a high carbohydrate diet is a cause/risk factor of/for T2D.

After a time I landed on WebMD. Web MD is a popular website for health and medical information (as is the ADA website). Many look to WebMD for solid, sound and accurate explanations of various different conditions. In looking over the section on diabetes, I came across this info on Web MD’s causes of T2D:

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Other type 2 diabetes risk factors include the following:

High blood pressure
High blood triglyceride (fat) levels
Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
High-fat diet (The bold is my doing.)
High alcohol intake
Sedentary lifestyle
Obesity or being overweight
Ethnicity: Certain groups, such as African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese Americans, have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
Aging: Increasing age is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes begins to rise significantly at about age 45 years, and rises considerably after age 65 years.

Hold the phone – a high fat diet is a risk factor/cause of T2D? Since when? Fat doesn’t raise blood sugar in the least and is an essential macronutrient unlike carbohydrate). Only carbohydrate raises blood sugar. It is well established that chronically elevated blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance which in turn can lead to T2D. But WebMD makes no mention of carbohydrate intake at all.

If they are going to point a finger at fat for whatever reason, they’d better point a finger at carbs too. Bear in mind that diabetes is a condition of carbohydrate intolerance. I am not saying that eating carbohydrates directly causes diabetes (as many of the folks on the ADA web forum thought I said – they get very touchy). But if you have either T1 or T2 diabetes, you don’t tolerate much if any carbs.

How can WebMD leave carbohydrate off the list? Again, diabetes is a condition of carbohydrate, not fat intolerance. How can the doctors that supposedly wrote this info confidently state that a high fat diet is a risk factor for T2D when there is no physiological or scientific basis for such a claim? If you want to hypothesize that it’s true, fine. Get some funding do some studies and see. But the current research show us pretty clearly that, high fat, adequate protein, low carb diets result in lower blood glucose levels and improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Makes one wonder about WebMD, no?

And if they mucked up that statement (and they did), what else on the website is flat out wrong and misleading? If someone with diabetes saw their webpage on diabetes risk factors, she might opt for a low fat diet and a low fat diet is, by default, a high carb diet. Not good.

WebMD also states:

The Basics of a Healthy Diabetes Diet
Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no “diabetes diet,” per se — and that’s good news! The foods recommended for a diabetes diet to control blood glucose (or blood sugar) are good for those with diabetes — and everyone else. This means that you and your family can eat the same healthy foods at mealtime. However, for people with diabetes, the total amounts of carbohydrates consumed each day must be monitored carefully. Of the different components of nutrition — carbohydrates, fats, and proteins — carbohydrates have the greatest influence on blood sugar levels. Most people with diabetes also have to monitor total fat consumption and protein intake, too.

Wow. You mean it’s good news that no one has yet developed a diet that is best for diabetics? Sounds more like bad news to me. And notice how they say “Contrary to popular belief…” as if scores of people are murmuring about the best diabetes diet and are wrong about it. It’s as if they are suggesting that there shouldn’t be a best diet for diabetics or that a diet that is best for diabetics is a tasteless and bland.

Notice too how they state that diabetics have to monitor their carb intake carefully. Well if they do then would not a low carb diet be the best diet for a diabetic and not a low fat diet? Someone needs to snatch these people bald headed.

The folks that write for WebMD also cleverly try to lead one to believe that protein and fat negatively affect blood glucose levels when they don’t – at all. And these are supposedly doctors who write this drivel? And if diabetics have to monitor total carb, fat and protein intake – what exactly are they suggesting – starvation?

Here is a very good paper to read if you are diabetic and want to adopt a low carb diet. You’ll see that what WebMD is saying regarding fats, proteins and carbs and how these three macronutrients affect diabetics is wrong. Show it to your doctor at your next visit and insist she reads it.

Be well!

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