Diabetes, informed decisions and respect for the patient

 (versión en castellano: pinchar aquí)

Only an informed person is the position to decide what to do. And to take responsibility for the consequences of that decision.

The following sentence was said by a doctor explaining why currently low-carb diets are not recommended to diabetic patients:

«So what we attempt to do is actually allow people to continue to live their life the way they wish, eat the way they wish.» Dr. Kemp

«Live their life the way they wish, eat the way they wish». Are diabetics informed of their options? Do physicians respect their patients, informing them of what their options are?These two are the options they have, and this is not told to diabetics:

  • Option 1. You will eat whatever you want, but table sugar, that is forbidden, and fats that we make up that they are unhealthy. You will use drugs to control blood glucose levels, but it is an impossible task, so you’ll always have high sugar and insulin in your blood, your disease will progress and you will probably suffer all sorts of health complications. But hey! you can eat fruit, bread, pasta, rice and drink beer.
  • Option 2. You will decrease the carbohydrates you consume to 30-50g/day maximum. You’ll never eat certain foods, but they are actually not needed. That will keep your glucose and insulin under control. You’ll still be sick, but you will have no symptoms, and you will need minimal or no medication. You will live a normal life without major health complications (unless a hypothetical constipation seems to you worse than the consequences of an uncontrolled diabetes).

What would diabetics choose if they were informed of their options? What life would they like to live, what food would they like to eat? What choice would have chosen my older brother, a diabetic since childhood, knowing that at his 40s he would end up with renal failure, therefore dialysis, and after a few months on a waiting list, suffering a double, kidney and pancreas, organ transplantation? What would my coworker choose, who has been told that his 13 year old daughter, diabetic, should «eat all kinds of foods,» including carbohydrates ,to be healthy? What would an acquaintance of mine choose, who is now frightened by the evolution of his prediabetes and has been tolds by the doctors that he may can eat bread and Marie buiscuits?

May be a lot of them would choose option 1, but what would be really important is that there was a minimum of respect for the patient. Respect that nowadays does not exist. Diabetics have a right to decide and to have all the information to do make the decision. They are entitled to know all their options. And if it were true that fat increases cardiovascular risk, which is false, they should be told: your risk of cardiovascular disease will increase this amount if you base your diet on fats while your risk of kidney failure, blindness, diabetic foot , amputation, etc. will increase this amount if you base your diet on those foods that your body can’t handle and you take medications that perhaps could have been avoided. Accurate information, compared to the current condescending approach where patients are not informed of their options nor of the actual risks of such options.

Diabetics are the main victims of the anti-fat fundamentalism.

It’s surreal that a nonexistent risk, consuming saturated fats, has led to a situation where carbohydrate intolerant people are told to base their food intake on something totally unnecessary in a healthy diet, such as carbohydrates.

Scientific studies show that LCHF diets, high in fat, can help control diabetes and the cardiovascular risk associated with blood lipids (see). How is it possible that a non-existent risk, consuming fat, has been considered more important for the health of a diabetic than the real and 100% sure risk of consuming carbohydrates and taking medication all your life to alleviate the effects of that stupid action? Isn’t there a single person in the medical profession with enough decency and common sense to stop this aberration? Why is it that diabetics don’t deserve

  • To be treated with respect and dignity at all times, and
  • Knowing all the options available for the treatment of their case and the degree of actual effectiveness of these possibilities?

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