Despite Proven Success of Low-Carb Diets, American Diabetes Association Advocates for Insulin: Conflicts of Interest?

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The Guardian: Low-carb diets work. Why does the American Diabetes Association push insulin instead?

The American Diabetes Association takes millions from companies that stand to profit from our reliance on drugs. Is that affecting their guidance?

For a glimpse into how big business influences the $4tn US healthcare system, look no further than the world’s most powerful diabetes advocacy and research non-profit, the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Diabetes afflicts 38 million Americans, with another 90 million considered pre-diabetic. Every year the disease claims the lives of over 100,000 Americans and disproportionately affects people of color. It is also ruinously expensive, as doctors visits, hospital stays, insulin, blood test strips, leg amputations, continuous glucose monitors and numerous glucose-lowering drugs add up to about $400bn a year. To put it bluntly, we are losing the war on diabetes.

And unlike many other diseases – such as certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, or Crohn’s – type 2 diabetes is reversible.

This bears repeating and elaboration. Numerous nutritional studies have shown that diabetes can be reversed through a strict diet low in carbohydrates, the macronutrient that people with diabetes cannot metabolize without the help of drugs. The ADA concedes this – but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the drug therapies or the foods and recipes that the organization recommends to people suffering from the condition.

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In 2020, the then ADA president, Tracey D Brown, rocked the diabetes world when she disclosed that she had type 2 diabetes and had gotten off insulin and other medications by adhering to a low-carbohydrate diet.

“Here is what I do. And it is pretty simple,” she said in an interview that might have made the ADA’s pharmaceutical benefactors crazy. “Elevated blood sugars happen when you have sugars in your body and you don’t have insulin to manage the sugars in your body. Carbohydrates turn into sugar. So I just try to get people to be aware of how many carbohydrates you are actually putting in your body.”


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