Treating The Sting, Drug-Store Magazine For Diabetics

I finally decided to see a doctor about the post-sting swelling in my arm. I’m not a big fan of running to the doctor for every little thing, but when the red area spread past my elbow and my arm began to throb, I was convinced.  So I left work early and went to a Vanderbilt-run clinic.

Conversations with the nurse before seeing a doctor are always fun:

“What medications do you take?”


“Did you say none?”

“Yes, none.”

“Who’s your primary doctor?”

“I don’t have one.”

“Mr. Naughton, are you some kind of weirdo?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Okay, she didn’t ask that last question, but I saw the look.

The doctor said the bright red patch is probably an allergic reaction to a sting, while the swollen (and expanding) red-pink area is definitely an infection. Apparently when nasty little insects sting us, they sometimes push bacteria into the wound.

“I don’t like taking antibiotics.  What’s the danger of waiting this out?”

“The infection could move into your lymphatic system, and then the treatment will be a lot worse than taking pills. You don’t want to risk that.”

So it was off to a Walgreens for the antibiotic and a steroid cream. I had to wait awhile for the prescription to be filled, so I grabbed a copy of their free magazine for diabetics to read.

Ugh. No wonder people are confused. Most of the articles were written by the same two authors (a nurse and a nutritionist), and I’m not a fan of either one. Here’s a gem from an Ask The Expert column:

Why is diabetes so common today?

It’s true that diabetes is more common than it used to be. People are getting type 2 diabetes at younger ages, even children. No one really knows why, but part of the problem is that as a country we are heavier and less physically active than ever before.

Seriously? Diabetes is characterized by an inability to process carbohydrates … don’t you think perhaps the dramatic change in the number and quality of the carbohydrates we consume today has something to do with the sudden rise in diabetes? And how do you explain people like my father-in-law, a very physically active guy who became a type 2 diabetic without ever gaining weight or becoming fat?

Is it common to have mood swings?

Many people with diabetes say that as their blood glucose levels go up and down, so do their mood swings.

In that case, I’m thinking perhaps a diet that doesn’t cause glucose levels to go up and down would be a good idea.

To their credit, one of the articles suggests limiting between-meal snacks to foods that contain no more than 15 carbohydrates per serving. So they recognize (sort of) that diabetics shouldn’t be loading up on carbs.

Then the guaranteed-to-confuse advice shows up elsewhere. One article mentions that carbohydrate meals can raise your mood. Another promotes (of course) low-fat diets.

The recipe section includes meals with up to 38 carbohydrates per serving. Now, perhaps that’s not a major carb-overload for some diabetics out there, but the meal only provides 315 calories. I sincerely doubt many adults are satisfied with a 315-calorie dinner. It’s more likely that someone will follow the recipe, eat 600 calories’ worth, and end up consuming more like 70 carbohydrates in one sitting.

Naturally, a good number of the pages are full-sized ads for diabetes medications.

Here, folks, follow this nutrition advice. And when that doesn’t work, take these drugs.





38 thoughts on “Treating The Sting, Drug-Store Magazine For Diabetics

  1. Lori

    Sorry to hear about your arm. This may be a little late, but when I had a sinus infection back in February that didn’t clear up after a round of antibiotics, I took a huge dose of vitamin D (about 150,000 IU) over the course of a few days. It’s a natural antibiotic/antiviral/anti-inflammatory. It did the trick, and I haven’t been sick since. (I’d had four courses of antibiotics for sinus infections over six months, and didn’t want another.)

    I’ve taken 100,000 units for a day or two to ward off the flu. I’m not sure if it will work on what appears to be a staph infection, but I’ll up my dose.

  2. Kati

    I really don’t understand how doctors and nutritionists cannot figure out that any carbohydrates can be more harmful than beneficial for certain individuals (the poison is in the dose). Even someone close to me says sugar does not cause diabetes, meanwhile their SO struggles to keep normal blood sugars, a prediabetic.

    It’s amazing, frankly. The answer is staring them in the face. Don’t eat the foods that produce the glucose spikes.

  3. Howard

    I thought about telling you to go see a doctor with that thing, but I see you went ahead and did it. Yeah, I realize that you don’t much care for running to the doctor (neither do I), but in this case, a local doctor is more likely to correctly identify the cause of that big welt than you have. On the whole, even though they tend to know less than nothing about diet, nutrition, exercise, or how to stay healthy in general, they can treat things like broken bones, cuts, and infectious diseases reasonably reliably.

    Oh, and for chiggers: I use some stuff called chiggarid (or something like that). It suffocates and kills the larvae that the chigger just laid in your skin, and it has a mild topical pain-killer. For general itching, I’ve discovered that generic “muscle rub” cream works really well, but keep it well away from your crotch, armpit, and eyes. And use it *VERY* sparingly on children — there have been some reported cases of death from liver failure in people under 18 from chronic exposure to the stuff over more than about 20% of the body. Adults don’t seem to be quite as vulnerable to that, but it would seem prudent not to use the stuff any more than you have to.

    One last bit of advice: For most stinging insects, the best first aid is washing the area with a mixture of dish detergent and baking soda. Then get somebody to look at the area with a magnifying glass to remove any solid parts the insect may have left behind, and repeat the wash. Baking soda neutralizes the acid in most sting venoms, and the detergent helps the baking soda penetrate. That was pretty much a life-saver back about 25 years ago when I got about 30 stings from mowing through a yellowjacket nest.

    Yee-ouch! I’m glad I pay someone to mow the pastures.

  4. Erik

    I mentioned plantain as a medicinal in a previous post. It’s a powerful antibacterial. I used it to get rid of a staph infection on my leg that didn’t respond to antibiotics. Bottom line is that it works, supported by millenia of medicinal use and numerous modern studies (mostly of european origin and harder to get in english, sadly).

    Just chew up a couple leaves and stick it on the site.

  5. Stacie

    I had a similar experience yesterday. I had to have my yearly physical for work. Here is how the conversartion went.

    Doctor: Who is your regular physician?

    Me: I do not have one.

    Doctor: How old are you?

    Me: 52

    Doctor: You really should have a regular physician. When was the last time you had your cholesterol checked?

    Me: I do not get my cholesterol checked.

    Doctor: Why not?

    Me: I am not afraid of cholesterol. I think it is really good for you. Studies show that people, especially women, with higher cholesterol levels live longer.

    Doctor: I would like to see those studies. (He did not believe me) So, do you have any interest in getting mammograms or colonoscopies?

    Me: No.

    Dr.: Well, it is your life.

    Me: That’s right.

    I could tell that he and the nurse thought I was a little off. Maybe I should send him a copy of the book I am currently reading: “How Statins Really Lower Cholesterol and Kill You One Cell At a Time” by Hannah and James Yoseph. WOW! What a book.

    Ask him to show you the studies in which statins were shown to benefit women.

  6. Marilyn

    Let’s face it. That diabetes magazine was there to sell drugs. The articles are just filler so the drug company/representative can put together a magazine that people are more likely to carry home.

    Hope that antibiotic works FAST!

    Sure, we have to consider the source.

  7. Cathy

    Glad you went to the doctor. I don’t like antibiotics either, but this is definitely one of the cases where you don’t want to mess around.

    I have hope that one day the low-fat diet as a ‘cure-all’ will go the way of medical dark ages the same way leeches and tapeworm treatments have.

    It will, but it’ll take years.

  8. greensleeves

    @ Kati:

    “Even someone close to me says sugar does not cause diabetes”

    Hear, hear! Where did this myth come from, that sugar has nothing to do with diabetes? It freaks me out. What’s next, the flat earth?

  9. Janknitz

    I’m glad you went to the doctor. I’m sure your healthy lifestyle will help you heal quickly, but even a healthy lifestyle alone can’t beat a superbug.

  10. Elwin Ransom

    I’m glad to see you got it looked at.
    Like you, I don’t like to run to the doctor for just every little thing, but seeing from the pics the spread of the inflammation, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    Once the red area spread into my forearm and started throbbing, I decided to be smart about it.

  11. Andrés

    I think that the first line of defense should be increasing our immune system effectiveness, not going to the exogenous substances route: antibiotic courses can have a non-negligible impact on our gut flora. Certainly mega-dosing on vitamin D is one step on this strategy, although I would focus first on titrating on vitamin C.

    Is vitamin D mega-dosing a full spectrum antibiotic and antiviral?: after reading Dr. Cannell on Blood Irradiation and on Common Cold, I get the impression that it is not going to be effective against staphilococcus aureus, rhinoviruses and influenza B at least.

    With respect to the effectiveness of vitamin C, you have to realize that Linus Pauling got it almost right and that Dr. Cathcart completed the needed strategy (start reading Paul Jaminet’s take on the subject): you have to try to saturate your blood of ascorbic acid just like animals with functioning livers increase its production (some even 100-fold) under any physiologic stress.

    Aren’t you convinced of the efficacy of vitamin C? Then just read their detractors, as for example Quackwatch, where they disregard the results of meager doses of less than 8g of oral vitamin C on common colds: they conclude that it has a negligible effect, I conclude they were using a ridiculous dose (I titrated the first three times on vitamin C for, presumably, two colds and one ear infection, arriving to 20-30g per day; for what I suppose it was a flu, I got to more than 60g per day during 4 days —once saturated, you dispose of all symptoms—). It is noteworthy to point out that it is perfectly possible to do double blind randomized trials proving vitamin C effectiveness: it only requires intravenous administration (it is not possible to titrate and keep it blind) of doses bigger than 20g. Perhaps it could even be done with liposomal encapsulated oral vitamin C.

    What we want the vitamin C for if we have antibiotics? For two reasons. First, I doubt it has such an impact on our gut flora as oral antibiotics. Second, it works through upregulating our own defenses (although in Spanish, you may look at the referenced studies extracted from Primal Panacea): bacterial resistance is futile.

    The beauty of the vitamin C is that you can check its effectiveness by yourself, perhaps first for a common cold or something else less threatening than your arm infection ;-).

    I now go to stealth mode again…

    Quackwatch is run by the pharmaceutical industry. I assume any advice they give is designed to keep people on drugs.

  12. gallier2

    Yes, when I was a child the Germans in my family called that disease “Zuckerkrankheit” and they knew full where it was coming from: sugar; especially in its insidious form of cake. My mother and my father had an aunt with it and both had complications from it, one got blind and was amputed, the other got “tütelig” (North German word for crazy, nowadays one would say Alzheimer). But til the end both would make a scandal if they didn’t get their 4 o’clock “Kaffestückchen” i.e. their afternoon cake. But this would not have been this severe if people had registered that potatoes and bread are also a kind of sugar. This is imo an important knowledge.

  13. mark

    Make sure to replace/eat as much healthly bacteria as you can during and after the antibiotics. This seems to be the key for being healthly and antiB’s kill off both the good and bad.

  14. LCNana

    Glad you went to the doc, Tom. Don’t forget after your course of anti-B’s is done to load up on “good” bacterias like yogurt and stuff! I had a terrible time with candida overgrowth after taking anti-B’s for a sinus infection. Your lovely wife may have a good recipe for homemade kimchi or other fermented veggies that will be a great help too.

    And we want “progress pics” as you get better. Gad, how’s this for a lonely life – I’m looking forward to pictures of the red, swollen upper arm of a total stranger on the internet!!! Well, maybe not a total stranger!!!

    That’s why I don’t like taking antibiotics. I’ll be sure to re-load the good bacteria afterwards.

  15. Marc Sitkin

    My insurance company sent out a newsletter to their diabetic patients with a recipe for corn pudding in it. Great minds at work.

    There’s the big mystery: I would think insurance companies would actually have a vested interest in promoting advice that works, since they’re paying for treatments.

  16. LeeAnn

    I have seen these, and they crack me up. I love the ‘women’s’ magazines at the check-out discussing diet plans. I have to say, one of the more recent ones I saw actually touted a ‘Caveman’ diet. I was thrilled…thinking someone MIGHT finally print something of value in these things; until I opened and read it. It recommended lean beef, and very little of it, no bacon, but plenty of veggies, and a substantial amount of whole grains. After all, if they are ‘whole’ grains, then it must have been what the cavemen had.

    Sure, we’ve all seen the cave paintings of stalks of wheat.

  17. Liz

    No wonder people are so confused and messed up with diet advice. Ever read a women’s magazine? They’re full of BS advice (eat 5-6 small meals a day, 20 min of steady-paced walking will help you burn fat!, eat lowfat everything…)

    Bad advice, bad results.

  18. Cor Aquilonis

    Just out of curiosity, what was the cover picture? When I stopped by Walgreens last year for my flu shot, the cover picture was a cake. A cake for diabetics. At that point I just had to laugh, because weeping for the people who follow that advice would’ve looked a little weird.

    The cover was a photo of beef shishkabobs — sitting on a big plate of rice.

  19. Reeda

    Those excerpts seem almost to be trying to downplay the seriousness of diabetes. Why are so many people, even children, getting “adult-onset” diabetes? Oh, we dunno [bat eyelashes and play dumb]. And can diabetes screw with your mood (which, in turn, affects your job, your family, your friends)? Oh, yeah, ain’t that just the pits [fake a concerned look].

    For years, my step-dad was a raging jerk. His blood sugar finally landed him in the hospital, where he was put on a pretty strict diet (165 g of carbs a day, I believe). For the time he was on the diet, he actually became a halfway decent human being. Then after about two years he went back to eating whatever he wanted, and he became a raging jerk again. It makes me so sad to think about how many kids out there have to deal with parents with “those pesky mood swings.” It’s not a small matter.

    And lord only knows how many of those kids are put on medication to control their behavior.

  20. Scott

    I was always wondering if Quackwatch was a legit organization. I used to like what Dr Barrett had to say on a lot of things then I read an article by them where they were talking about the dangers of low carb diets and lost respect I had for them. They even talked about a woman who had a quadruple bypass due to the low carb diet she was on.

    She was probably on the low-carb diet for a year or two, and they blamed that for a disease that progresses over decades.

  21. Lucy

    I am type II diabetic and those magazines are a joke! I once read (in their free mag while waiting for a prescription) how, drinking a glass of orange juice is good for energy…the picture was of a woman drinking, what looked like, a 20 oz water bottle filled with orange juice! I thought “Are you kidding me…you’ve got to be insane suggest this!”

    If I was a better writer (high school drop out here), I’d write them a letter. The letter would state “Thanks for the advice on how to kill myself!” They’re reply would probably be, “Well if you take our insulin…”..uh, no thanks.

    Now that you mention it, there was a full-page ad for orange juice in the magazine too.

  22. Barbara

    I’ve noticed in the last couple of years (since I found out the Paleo diet cured my IBS), I’ve developed a kind of knee-jerk avoidance of any article or recipe that includes the word “healthy.” All the recipes I find for “healthy” main dishes seem to involve flour, sugar and/or low-fat meat–exactly the kind of thing that made me fat and gave me the IBS.

    I have the same reaction. I now assume them to be guilty until proven innocent.

  23. Michael

    I had a similar experience at my last doctor visit. I am a healthy 40 year old and rarely go to the doctor. I do not have a primary care physician I see with any degree of regularity. My prior visit was 3 years before this.

    The reason I did go to the doctor was because I had watched “Fat Head” and embarked on a LCHF diet 6 months ago. In the first 3 months, I went from 211 lbs down to 178lbs where I remain today. The only reason I wanted to go to the doctor was to see what my cholesterol was. Everything improved *dramatically*.

    When I was checking in with the nurse, she asked “What drugs are you on?”. Not “Are you on any drugs?”. She assumed it was a given a healthy 40 year old should be on drugs. When I said I was taking nothing, she was completely shocked. “Not even a multi-vitamin?!”.

    Why is it the prima facie expectation among health care professionals that we should all be on drugs?

    Despite having good cholesterol numbers (in the conventional medical sense), my doctor thought I should still go on a statin as a preventative measure because both my parents are on statins. Yeah, right.

    Most of the people I know who are my age are on at least one drug.

  24. Mike P

    The whole ‘business’ of diabetes, from the ‘no one really knows why we get it’, to the corporate vendor support and lobbyists, to big-pharma, to doctors pedaling bad science, to bad media making it worse, is one GIANT machine…

    It’s sad to think that so much money surrounds this machine of mis-information. The only way it will change is from the ground up, with curious minds like us seeking out bloggers like you, and then taking that to our doctors and medical providers…and that cycle re-occurring over and over all over the country. The top-down approach has too much money at stake to willingly change.

    Keep up the good work!

    Fortunately, we live in an age where we can seek alternate advice from countless sources.

  25. Peggy Cihocki

    Don’t forget that coconut oil also provides some antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal defense. Not saying you shouldn’t take antibiotics. You should. But CO can amplify and support the effect of the antibiotic. Whenever I have an infection, I up my (already high) intake of all things that have coconut oil in them. I’ve also been known to apply it topically to the skin. Just a little tasty insurance.

  26. Peggy Cihocki

    Yes, I had a similar reaction a couple of years ago when I went to my current doctor for the first time. I was 64 at the time. You should have seen the look I got when I said I wasn’t on any medication.

  27. CarbSanity

    And the silence in the LC/paleosphere on Jack Kruse remains as deafening as always… (Never mind that Jimmy promised to make a public statement – since when do we look to The Jimmer for honesty and transparency? He’s got expensive and unnecessary blood ketone measuring schemes to pitch. Now THAT’S paleo, baybeee!)

    You were warned about attempting to use this blog to attack Jimmy. Goodbye.

  28. dlm

    I stay away from doctors as much as I can to avoid having to defend myself from statins, etc, etc. The medical profession seems unable to understand “diet controlled type two diabetes” i. e. low carb, no drugs. Are they afraid their customers will get away?

    I think they just don’t know any better.

  29. Stacie

    I forgot to mention in my prior post that right before the doctor started his spiel about cholesterol, mammograms,etc., he had asked me if I took any medications. I tol him ” no, and I think it was that fact that “alerted” him. Apparently, you are not supposed to be medication -free after a certain age. Sometimes I think it mightbe easier to just lie, but I have a moral problem with that.

    That must be the assumption. Doctors and nurses seem surprised when I tell them I don’t take any prescription drugs.

  30. smgj

    Next time you get stung have some iodine (either lugol’s or iodine tincture ) close at hand. It’s very useful for disinfecting stings and since it’s transdermal it’ll also protect a larger area. Not to sure it would handle that one you got, though.

    We already had a bottle of iodine in the house when I got stung. I just wasn’t smart enough to treat the sting immediately. It was more like, “Ouch! Okay, that hurt … now back to my frisbee golf.”

  31. alh

    While I think I consume way too many carbs and fats are good for me, I was reading in other places that it is more about getting rid of the bad fats that have we have been brain washed into using (margarine, canola oil, veg. oil, corn oil-all of which are crap and likely gmo) and getting enough good fats (lard, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, etc). The cell membranes that control what goes into and out of the cell (ie made up of cholesterols and fats and contributes to regulating insulin) have been totally screwed up from crappy, hydrogenated fats and they no longer function correctly and therefore insulin and other things the cell uses does not get proper regulation. The good news is if you get rid of the bad fats and up your intake of the good ones, as your cells die and replenish they will have good cell membranes that are capable of regulating insulin and over time your body can actually heal itself of type 2 diabetes.

  32. Dan S.

    Let me sum up a “Living with Diabetes” course sanctioned and paid for by my insurance company. “You need carbohydrates in every meal, and for in-between meal snacks. It doesn’t matter what kind or from what source you get the carbohydrates, but limit each meal to 45-60g of carbs and snacks to 15-30g each. It’s very important to eat low fat meals and make sure to faithfully take your medications.” No joke, this is almost verbatim. I was depressed after my diagnosis at the professionals telling me, “This will kill you, but you need to make sure each meal has it in every meal.” Then I stumbled on Fathead on Netflix. Changed my life. I like my doctor as his focus is on sports medicine, but his internal medicine skills are typical. He was rather disturbed when I told him I stopped taking the statin after about a week. He seemed more bothered that my cholesterol still leveled out thanks to my diet of butter, bacon and eggs, and lots of coconut oil. I’ve been thinking of becoming a registered dietician, and then going rogue once licensed in my state. Somebody has to do something about our herd of sheep called Americans.

    We could use you in that profession.

  33. Peggy Cihocki

    “You were warned about attempting to use this blog to attack Jimmy. Goodbye.”

    Way to go, Tom! What’s with this whole movement attacking Jimmy, anyway? i do not understand.

    There are some pinheads out there who believe Jimmy is getting rich by promoting a low-carb diet. First off, he isn’t. Secondly, it wouldn’t matter if he were getting rich. That would be a just reward for all the work he’s done.

    There are other pinheads who are paleo purists and now feel compelled to attack anyone who doesn’t share their puritanism. I’m sorry to say a few screwballs in the paleo movement have adopted the attitudes of vegan fanatics: if you’re not totally with us, you’re the enemy.

  34. Lilli Sarantos

    I totally agree with all the above, however, I just want you all to realize that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and much different then Type 2. I have had Type 1 for 30 years (I am 42 years old). I’m pretty sure that my Type 1 had nothing to do with eating too much sugar – but I digress…
    My husband (after being recently dx with type 2 diabetes) was given Metaformin immediately after his A1C came back high. I told him don’t take it. And from there, we have been following a low carb, high protein diet (paleo, primal etc) and have both seen vast improvement in our health. As a matter of fact, my blood sugars have never been better (and my insulin levels are lower), and my husband’s blood sugars have been normal…..
    Our society has been given misinformation (crap) for so long…. Why? to make pharmaceutical companies lots of money….
    Personally, I have Type 1 diabetes, Celiac and Lupus SLE (see a pattern here??) and am determined to lower all my meds and improve my health greatly by following this wonderful lifestyle!

    Sure, if you’ve got type 1, you’re going to need insulin. Your husband is lucky you steered him towards a better diet instead of immediately going the drug route.

  35. Moira

    You’re really right. Generally, the advice on diabetes assumes that the reader is starting from a place of managing their condition really badly.


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