Is The ADA Against Low Carb Diets

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2014-05-28 08:53:43 -0500
Started 2014-05-14 13:44:44 -0500

Now here is an interesting article that I received today. I was surprised at the logic that is expressed. here. It appears that the ADA is moving along in an interesting direction. I know many of us tend to believe that the ADA recommendation for carb intake, is kind of high. My experience has been that it is impossible for me to consume the amount of daily carbs recommended by the ADA in the past. The one exception would be, if I found it acceptable to have blood glucose above 200 routinely and a resulting high A1c, and of course I don't.

So, check out this link, and let us know what you think! Share with us the amount of carbs that you consume on a daily basis, and your resulting A1c, if you like.

67 replies

evaziem 2014-05-27 13:45:53 -0500 Report

There are two types of carbs: simple and complex.

The simple ones are refined sugars and refined flours. They convert into glucose faster and their glycemic index is high.

In contrary, the complex carbs that are whole, unprocessed plants like fruits, vegetables and nuts have a longer chemical way to become glucose and that is why they are better. Their GI is low.

Bananatee 2014-05-23 00:21:15 -0500 Report

carbohydrates are complex as there are many different types of foods that contain them. interesting article

jigsaw 2014-05-23 05:36:39 -0500 Report

Knowing the good carbs from the unhealthy carbs, and which are acceptable for your food plan is a fair share of the battle for good diabetes mgmt.

jmontalvo 2014-05-19 03:14:31 -0500 Report

I'm a new Diabetic. I have been reading as much as I can, and was confused by the high amount of carbs recommended. I thought I must be missing something, but decided to err on the side of caution when I planned my meals and snacks.

jigsaw 2014-05-19 07:27:20 -0500 Report

You are very fortunate, to have made such a wise decision so quickly! The correct type and amount of carbs consumed, is so critically important when managing diabetes. Keep reading, and learning, and I bet you'll do just fine!

MoeGig 2014-05-17 10:18:51 -0500 Report

I guess I have a different opinion on ADA's stance. I think they're waffling. They should have a definitive opinion, but maybe politics or other issues are holding them up. For a long time, the medical community was against Atkins, and now, they can't turn around and endorse its principles. Controlling carbs is the only way to really control diabetes. For every gram taken in, you need insulin to convert it to energy…whether T1 or T2. If you take in too many carbs, you have to take in too much insulin to properly control it and your BG will spike up and down…the ultimate measure is A1c. It has to be less than 7 or your body is dying. This is a fact, not an opinion. Personally, I don't try to get lower than 6 because I will have to take too much insulin and when I guess wrong, my wife ends up calling 911 because I've passed out. After 49 years of this, take my word for it: you need to avoid problems, and the best way to avoid them is to watch your carbs closely. Yes, the ADA should have a firmer stance on this…what else is there!

haoleboy 2014-05-17 19:13:32 -0500 Report

The American Diabetes Association suggests an A1C of 7%, which is an eAG of 154 mg/dl
It is my understanding that damage can/will start occuring at bgl's of over 140 (seen as low as 110 quoted also)
So if damage starts at 140 why do they recommend an average bgl of 154?
What am I missing here?

jigsaw 2014-05-19 17:37:38 -0500 Report

Nope, you're not missing a thing. Give them time, they'll catch up with us!

haoleboy 2014-05-19 18:25:49 -0500 Report

… and in the mean time more type 2's will buy into their "7.0 is okay" just like I did and develop some of the lovely complications I am now dealing with.
To be clear I accept full responsibility for the condition I am in as I should have done much more research on my own when first diagnosed.


jigsaw 2014-05-19 19:15:59 -0500 Report

Maybe so, but I think with all the info that has become available, and easily accessible, that hopefully will not be the case. There are so many indications, and ways that our bodies warn us. More and more doctors are pressing for more acceptable #s. Hopefully, less people will depend on one organiztion to make their decisions for them.
I agree that what happens in our lives is ours to deal with, and our responsibility, but it is not necessarily our fault. If we didn't have the experiences that help us to see the light during our ignorance, maybe something worse would have happened. ADA or no ADA, there will always be some that will accept unacceptable conditions, then again, there are those that will eventually see the light.

haoleboy 2014-05-19 20:19:37 -0500 Report

everything happens for a reason and in its own time.
the positive take away is that I am now an outspoken advocate for diabetes and stroke awareness and education. as well as prevention of childhood obesity.

jigsaw 2014-05-19 20:37:42 -0500 Report

And that is definitely superb! I really do admire you for your firm and positive attitude.

jigsaw 2014-05-17 18:44:34 -0500 Report

It would be a good thing if they would put more focus on the carb situation. I suspect that as the general public along with medical professionals, become more informed, their stance will change. After all, who will they be catering to? Unfortunately, it probably wont happen soon enough!

IronOre 2014-05-15 22:47:12 -0500 Report

I did not read the article, but I am very glad to see the negativity about low carb diets.
Diabetic or not . . . normal intake of carbs should not be looked at as a bad thing, they are crucial to the operation of our bodies, especially the brain.
I could go on and on about this . . .

jayabee52 2014-05-16 17:10:38 -0500 Report

Why didn't you read the article Iron?

I agree with Steve and Jigsaw regarding carbs.

Plus are you unaware that our bodies can operate successfully on a meal plan which is ketogenic? It is one of the ways many T2s can lose weight (Adkins and others like Paleo)

Of course, please note that I mentioned T2s and not T1s due to the danger of Ketoacidosis for T1s especially. .

haoleboy 2014-05-16 15:25:59 -0500 Report

how do you determine "normal intake of carbohydrates"? A quick search of the web turned up … "if you eat 2,500 calories a day, aim for 281 to 406 grams of carbs."
Eating that many carbs helped me get here.
Minimum recommended is 130 grams … even that is high for me (as a type 2)


jigsaw 2014-05-16 17:02:21 -0500 Report

I can only tell you what works for me. But first and foremost, one must have goals to shoot for. You and your doctor are probably your best bet. In my case, and for many reasons, I keep my A1c around 6.0. ( This is not necessarily the best number for others ). I try to keep my post prandial bg below 140. Should it get that high, I exercise ( frequently a brisk 1/2 to 1 hour walk ) to bring it down below 110 as soon as possible. The less time ones bg stays high, the less chance of any serious damage. I also try to maintain a bg between 100 and 110, as frequently as reasonably possible. Any #s lower then that, and I would have to restrict my carb intake to a greater degree,, or exercise much more then I most likely would.

As far as establishing an actual number for normal carb intake in general, that is a good question. For me, I have seen a few dieticians over the years, as well as diabetes educators. They have given me some established guidelines for carb intake based on my sex and weight. From there, my meter and the response of body, guide me and help me to modify the recommended amount of carbs, to what I can actually tolerate. Let's not forget the amount of exercise and daily activity in general. If I were to become a marathon runner, I am confident that I would increase my carb intake. On the other hand, if i was disabled in a way that limited my activity levels, then I'm sure I would have to decrease my carb intake.

So to summarize, any standardized guidelines can only be rough estimates in general. The best way to determine what is normal intake of carbs, is on an individual basis with your doctor. Then along with a healthy food plan, exercise, and any meds if necessary, your body will let you know.

jigsaw 2014-05-16 14:36:49 -0500 Report

Yes, carbs are crucial, but in the correct quantity, and balance for ones body. I believe that carbs are frequently consumed in excess, by those who are unaware. Back in my youth, I barely knew what a carb was, and hardly gave it a thought.

sugarbaby07 2014-05-15 04:57:07 -0500 Report

Hi jigsaw , I "try" to keep my daily carb intake about 150 gm with my last meal (dinner) being the majority…I am still learning about carbs but have managed to maintain an A1c of 5.4 since my diagnosis last year. In the beginning of my diagnosis I was always on ADA website but the carb amount recommended did not make sense to me . I Also feel that the recommended under 180 2 hours after is still to high, that would probably mean that I probably spiked over 200 at 1 hour post meal which I am not aiming for. So I just use my best friend ( my meter) to monitor …and I adjust accordingly ;)

jigsaw 2014-05-15 13:52:11 -0500 Report

Appears that you are doing an amazingly good job of controlling your diabetes! An A1c of 5.4 is better then good, it's great! I also find the meter to be an excellent tool. I've been using it with excellent success for years. The meter and ones body, are two of the best tools we have.

Glucerna 2014-05-14 21:15:22 -0500 Report

I read the article today as well, and I appreciate this discussion and everyone's input. Because the ADA bases their clinical recommendations on a body of established research, the current stance is that each person needs to figure out the type of eating plan that best manages diabetes as well as promotes overall health, especially since people with diabetes are at increased risk for heart disease. There actually isn't a 'diabetic diet'! ~Lynn @Glucerna

jigsaw 2014-05-18 13:43:19 -0500 Report

Although i had guidelines for healthy food plans, it still took quite a bit of experimenting , and hard core experience, before I got it right. At least I hope it is. According to all the tests I've been through, including various blood tests, It appears I'm doing much better now then previously. All my numbers are good. A food plan consisting of many vegetables, poultry, fish, some fruit, and many other whole foods too extensive to list, works well for me.

IronOre 2014-05-15 22:44:07 -0500 Report

There really never has been a diabetic diet or diabetic food . . .
So can you explain what Glucerna is ?
It appears to be gimmicky diabetic food to me.

jayabee52 2014-05-17 10:47:35 -0500 Report

Howdy Iron
Check out this on Glucerna from Amy T (T1) from Diabetes Mine: ~

My GF (T2) was put on Glucerna to help with some healing from a surgery she had. She reported to me that the Glucerna spiked her and she had to call the nurse to give her insulin shot to cover. So you can take that for what it is worth.

As is mentioned in DMine it is a meal replacement shake so it has a lot of carbs and calories in it.


jigsaw 2014-05-15 13:58:55 -0500 Report

And, this is good news! I believe with this current stance by the ADA, they will be a stronger, and more positive influence on those with diabetes, their doctors, dieticians, and all those involved.

camerashy 2014-05-14 18:26:57 -0500 Report

The ADA has usually always kept in mind that everyone is different, and this article just goes to show it.
My usual meal carbs is less than 50, usually around 35, but then, I only eat one real meal a day. I snack on fruit and veggies during the day. Celery - yum! An occasional apple. For breakfast I have a V-8.
By the way, somehow my A1c had gotten up to 9.4, but at my last check-up it was 8.1. The 9.4 is one of the reasons apples went from almost every day to "occasionally".

jigsaw 2014-05-15 14:06:11 -0500 Report

I devour so much celery, I expect to turn green some day! It's great with a bit of peanut butter smeared on it also. An occasional very small apple is all I can handle also. Actually, I don't have much of a problem with what I eat, my problem is when to stop! I do manage ok in that area, but I admit that it's difficult.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-18 19:02:15 -0500 Report

Jigsaw my aunt ate celery almost all day everyday. She got sick and the doctor took her off celery all together. I can't remember what problem it caused for her. She would buy large bunches and munch all day and included it in her meals. She was a real celery junkie.

evaziem 2014-05-28 08:53:43 -0500 Report

I make green juice every day, a cup per person and celery it one of the ingredients.

I also add a bunch of parsley, bunch of cilantro (takes heavy metals out of the body), cucumber, small piece of a beet (has some sugar) with its greens, small carrot (has some sugar) with its green, one lemon, 1/2 grapefruit, chard leaf, sometimes some spinach, kale leaf.

This makes two cups. I use a masticating juicer Omega because it does not raise the juice's temperature and does not destroy the enzymes.

All should be organic because we pass all the bad chemicals to the juice.

camerashy 2014-05-16 10:22:01 -0500 Report

Portion control is my biggest problem, too. I try. Really I do, but when I start on something I really like it's so hard to stop until there just isn't any more of it.

jigsaw 2014-05-18 18:31:34 -0500 Report

Yes, seems like tiny portions of food by exercising TREMENDOUS amounts of self control. Pays off in a BIG way though, with smaller amounts of body fat to worry about.

jigsaw 2014-05-16 11:29:06 -0500 Report

Sounds like the same problem that I have. The only solution for me, is to limit or eliminate those tasty treats. I replace them with veges, whenever possible. I do slip up from time to time, and the pounds begin to sneak up. That's when I crack down on myself, and eliminate almost all goodies.

Type1Lou 2014-05-15 07:36:52 -0500 Report

I eat an apple with peanut butter nearly every day as my lunch. Because the apple size can vary greatly, so do the carbs it contains. A friend gave me a scale which tells me how many carbs are in the apple based on its weight after I input the code for fresh apples. The scale is called Chefmate Digital Nutrition Scale and was marketed by Target…the copyright date is 2006, so I'm not sure they still sell it. This has been a godsend for me since the range of carbs for one apple has run from 25 grams to 40 grams. It helps me dose my insulin properly. (BTW, the PB I eat is all natural…just peanuts and salt…no sugar/sweetener at all…I'd rather pass on the PB if there's only the regular commercial stuff (Skippy, Peter Pan, Jif…I now hate their texture and taste)

jigsaw 2014-05-15 14:15:43 -0500 Report

That scale sounds interesting. I found from experience that only tiny apples are the most I can handle. They're probably about 2 inches if not less in diameter. Sometimes, I wish I could safely eat an apple the size of a watermelon, with no restrictions whatsoever! Peanut butter is so delicious, but only a teaspoon or so for me. )-;

camerashy 2014-05-15 10:29:29 -0500 Report

Peanut butter really ruins me. I'm not allergic to peanuts, but peanut stuff makes my stomach feel like it's cramping really bad. I love apples, but my BG doesn't. If I can find one of those scales, does it list carbs for everything else?

Type1Lou 2014-05-15 12:23:48 -0500 Report

The scale comes with a booklet of codes for 53 different categories of food covering nearly 1000 items. It displays 10 nutritional elements of the weighed food: calories, calories from fat, carbs, cholesterol, protein, fat, saturated fat, fiber, sugars and sodium. I'd be lost without it. Being on insulin, it's no doubt easier for me to dose for the carbs than for someone who is on oral meds alone.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-14 21:16:37 -0500 Report

The ADA is simply a tool for the medical field to use. Because it is a tool or guidelines it does not take into consideration that everyone is different because the medical industry still gives diagnosis based on industry standards. As Gabby said we usually have to work it out ourselves with or without our doctors.

camerashy 2014-05-14 23:53:45 -0500 Report

My doctor explained to me that everyone is different, and the way he manages their diabetes is different. I know this for a fact just because my boss goes to the same doctor. (I sent him there :-) )
He's never once mentioned the ADA, so I believe he handles each patient based on the patient. Once I went in with highs several days in a row and he asked if I'd been sick, and I said no, I made potato salad. His eyes opened real wide and he said "No potato salad!" lol

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-15 10:39:36 -0500 Report

LOL I bet that was some good potato salad. I made some for Easter Dinner. My doctor never tells me not to eat something. He told me if you want to eat a donut eat it but remember there are ramifications that come with it. My doctor does the same he treats each diabetic differently. My neighbor and I have the same doctor and he chews her out because she has gone from 500 mgs metformin to 2000. She won't listen to him.

jigsaw 2014-05-19 06:57:29 -0500 Report

I actually think this Doctor gets it! I tell you, it took me many moons, but I finally think I found a doctor that does more than write prescriptions. Hard to believe, but true!

GabbyPA 2014-05-14 18:18:05 -0500 Report

To be honest, that artlcle makes me feel better about the ADA. What they say is true about being unable to control people for studies like you can a rat or a mouse. There is too much freedom involved and the tiny choices we make can skew the studies in a big way.

At least they understand that they are proposing a guide and encourage us to do what we usually it out for ourselves with our doctors.

jigsaw 2014-05-15 14:27:38 -0500 Report

Absolutely true! Everybody does things differently, especially when it comes to the way we perceive things. Activity levels, the stage that our diabetes is at, the type of foods consumed, stress levels and their frequency, quality of ones doctor, etc, to name just a few variables that come into play. Even though where all human, we're all unique!

haoleboy 2014-05-14 17:33:18 -0500 Report

No secret that I am not a big fan of the ADA's recommendations in general but they do have a tough row to hoe in that they deal with two (at least) very different diseases under one rather broad umbrella.


Type1Lou 2014-05-14 15:43:44 -0500 Report

I feel that the ADA could be more encouraging of the low-carb approach. To say that it doesn't work because people can't stay on a low-carb diet is disingenuous at best. I try to consume no more than 120 grams of carb per day which helps me maintain my 5'3" body weight at 120 lbs. Yes, individual needs will vary based on body size and activity. My last A1c was 6.8. It would be better if I exercised more regularly. Many of the recipes in the ADA cookbooks I've seen are way too high in carbs for me.

evaziem 2014-05-27 13:55:47 -0500 Report

I agree. ADA and other organizations like FDA encourage tooooooo much carbs. They promote the spin that whole grains are good and we should eat them every day and many times a day. The whole grains are same as refined ones except they contain the husk (outer shell) milled in. If I add some non-poison to a poison, it's still a poison…

Look at this official recommendation for our food compilation during the day:

It's suggested that we should have 75% of our food as carbs (plant food) and 25% of daily intake should be GRAINS!!!! If I would eat so much grains I would be 220lb like my mother, while I am 116 (same height). I do not eat grains at all.

They also confuse terms. It should say: fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, fats (that are omitted) OR: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, right?

jigsaw 2014-05-15 14:30:20 -0500 Report

I think that they're moving in the right direction. Important especially for those that have been newly diagnosed.

robertoj 2014-05-14 14:52:34 -0500 Report

Guidelines are simply a tool. If a tool isn't properly used it may not get the job done If one goes strictly by the guidelines some will do fine, some will be slightly harmed and others will suffer serious effects. Each individual should find whats right for them.My doctor wants my numbers to be in the higher range of safe for my over all health needs.

jigsaw 2014-05-15 08:15:47 -0500 Report

Robertoj, you make a very important point! A GUIDELINE is definitely a key word to keep in mind. That's something that I can honestly say, that I've learned from experience. Flexibility, and listening to understand what one's body is saying, cannot be stressed enough. Actually, I don't think I'll ever stop learning about it!

jayabee52 2014-05-14 14:32:36 -0500 Report

Howdy Jigsaw
I currently eat about 180 gm of carbs per day.

It seems to me the ADA is waffling on the question of carbs, but that is probably due to the political nature of the ADA. It is medical decision making be committee, but that is not the way to run a medical practice. Unfortunately many medical practices seem to rely on ADA for their clinical judgments which to me is very troubling, especially in the area of carb intake. I guess I am a stick in the mud.

James Baker

jigsaw 2014-05-15 08:10:22 -0500 Report

Seems to be a valid point of view. It's probably quite safe to assume that due to money and politics, there is a bit of infiltrating corruption in play.
By the way, I have definitely had the experience of dealing with some doctors and dieticians that appear to rely on ADA decisions with extreme rigidity. Fortunately, I have been able to glean some good info from most.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-14 13:57:35 -0500 Report

Jigsaw, when I was first diagnosed, I spent a lot of time on their website. Then I realized that much of what they are saying does not make any sense at times. I have found that some of their recipes are high in carbs and sodium than ones posted by members here. Now I pay no attention to them at all unless I get an interesting article.

jigsaw 2014-05-15 14:33:23 -0500 Report

Flexiblity in ones approach, a good meter, and listening to the bodily response, can be a wonderful path to take!

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