I received an interesting email from the American Diabetes Association more than a week ago, but I saved it until today because I’m reasonably sure it’s intended to be an April Fools’ joke.  Here it is, with my comments:

Dear ,

Yup, that’s an exact quote.  No name after Dear , just a space for my name should I care to insert it.

Our country is headed down a costly, and dangerous, path – leading to 1 in 3 adults having diabetes by 2050.  However, you can act to change that, and it only takes a minute!

Well, I’m a pretty busy guy, so I don’t know if I have can spare a full minute to save the country from diabetes.  But okay, I’ll keep reading.

Congress needs to know that the cost of diabetes to our nation – over $245 billion a year – is unacceptable.

Congress needs to know having nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes and 79 million more with prediabetes is unacceptable.

Congress needs to know that inaction is unacceptable.

So that’s why we have so many diabetics these days – not enough action by Congress.  Back when diabetes rates were a fraction of what they are today, Congress must’ve been all over the issue.  I suppose my daughters will eventually endure a history lesson in school explaining how diabetes was low during the Great Depression because of a New Deal program that was later canceled by Ronald Reagan, leading to the current epidemic of diabetes.

(Sara was recently taught that the New Deal lifted the United States out of the Great Depression.  She asked my opinion on that lesson, which led to one of those heart-to-heart conversations she’ll remember fondly when I’m gone.)

Can I count on you to take just one minute and act now?

The letter was signed by someone whose official position at the ADA is National Advocacy Committee Chair.

Now, I have nothing against advocacy per se.  I consider myself a health advocate.  But when I come across the words advocate or advocacy in an organization’s name or a person’s title, little alarm bells go off in my head … because it usually turns out that advocacy translates to trying to get Congress to spend a shootload of the taxpayers’ money on our cause.

So I clicked the COUNT ME IN! link in the email and ended up at a page with the headline Tell Congress to take action to Stop Diabetes! Here’s some of the text:

Some Members of Congress want to derail ongoing diabetes research and undermine proven prevention efforts despite the fact a staggering 100+ million Americans either have or are at risk of developing diabetes.

So let me wrap my head around this:  1) we have proven prevention efforts, but 2) diabetes rates are through the roof.  Those proven prevention efforts must not be working out so well.  And if we already know what the proven prevention methods are, what’s the big concern with derailing diabetes research?  Sounds as if the ADA has it all figured out already.

We must act now – Congress is in the process of making crucial budget decisions about vitally important diabetes research and prevention programs.

Send an email and urge your Members of Congress to support funding for diabetes research and prevention and add your voice to those of Diabetes Advocates who will be in Washington, D.C. next week for our Capitol Hill Advocacy Day.

Translation:  Yes, we receive a ton of funding from the makers of food-like products consisting largely of sugars and grains – but it’s not enough.  TELL CONGRESS TO GIVE US MORE OF YOUR MONEY!

Your email will have more impact if you personalize it, so please take a moment to explain the impact diabetes has had on your life.

Diabetes hasn’t had an impact on my life because I ignore the ADA’s advice.  Well, okay, that’s not entirely true.  One of my relatives who’s a type 2 diabetic recently went into the hospital and was served pancakes and syrup for breakfast.  Then an obese dietician stopped by to tell him to follow the ADA guidelines and eat plenty of carbohydrates while avoiding fat.  That made me really, really mad.  So I guess that had an impact on me.  My cortisol levels went up for awhile.

Just so we don’t personalize that email to Congress too much, the ADA was kind enough to write most of it for us:

Dear [Decision Maker],

As your constituent, I stand with the American Diabetes Association in urging you to support funding for diabetes research and prevention programs.

A 2013 study showed that diagnosed diabetes cost our country $245 billion in 2012 alone, up 41% from 2007. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes. Our country is facing a diabetes epidemic and we need a stronger federal investment in diabetes research and public health initiatives.

And remember, Congressperson, if we spend the money now, it will save money in the long run! (Everyone who wants to spend taxpayer money uses that line.  That’s why we’re awash in government budget surpluses these days– all that federal investment during the last 40 years that saved money in the long run.)

I urge you to request the following actions of the Appropriations Committee:

Allocate $2.066 billion for the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the primary federal agency that conducts research to find a cure and advance treatments for diabetes.

Provide $137.3 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT) whose mission is to eliminate the preventable burden of diabetes through research, education, and by translating science into clinical practice.

So now I’m picturing my representative receiving this email from me and thinking to herself, “Man, this ordinary citizen is really specific in his demands for appropriations … exactly $2.066 billion for NIH, exactly $137.3 million for CDC … he must have really done his research to come up with those figures.”

The annual costs of diabetes will continue to skyrocket unless we invest in stopping the spread of diabetes and finding a cure. If Congress does not take action, diabetes will overwhelm the healthcare system with tragic consequences for all Americans.

Yes, the cost of diabetes could indeed overwhelm the healthcare system.  I don’t care if we’re talking about private insurance, Medicare, ObamaCare, or all of the above; when a third of population is diabetic or pre-diabetic, we’re going to run up medical costs we can’t afford to pay without sinking the rest of the economy.  No method of payment will solve that, because no method of payment will generate wealth that doesn’t exist.

But I’m pretty sure getting the federal government more involved isn’t going to avert this disaster by fixing the diabetes epidemic.  In fact, I’m reasonably sure federal involvement in the food-production and dietary-advice business is part of what got us here in the first place – along with helpful advice from the ADA, which still tells people to avoid saturated fat and eat plenty of whole grains.

Happy April Fools’ Day, ADA.  Thanks for the laughs.

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26 Responses to “April Fools’ Joke From The ADA”
  1. Be says:

    I started with my daughter’s first picture book of US Presidents. FDR was “the evil one” before she even went to Kindergarten.

    She had a book explaining how FDR “created jobs,” and yet unemployment remained high. Kid you not.

  2. scott says:

    You forgot the part where the ADA says April Fools eat a HFLC diet to control and prevent T2 diabetes.

    If they do that, I’ll know they’re joking.

  3. Mark. says:

    I blame the ADA for several miserable decades I spent drinking skim milk and shunning fat and gorging on pasta and wondering why my control of my type 1 diabetes remained marginal and my health problems increased.

    Thinking about the ADA isn’t good for me. I mostly avoid that.

    Sorry to raise a sore subject.

  4. BarryD says:

    Perfect fisking. So many of these solicitations from groups like the ADA, and stuff like the fine advice from the scum at CSPI, fall apart the moment one thinks at all.

    Unfortunately, so few people do think at all.

    That’s how they stay in business.

  5. Firebird7478 says:

    You should just print out their form letter along with your comments and send it back to them.

    Maybe, but I’m pretty sure it would be like talking to a wall.

  6. Ash Simmonds says:

    “Congress want to derail ongoing diabetes research”

    Why research something we know plenty about? I’ve seen the ADA’s suggested meal plans – they clearly already know how to cause and maintain diabetes.

    They’re quite good at keeping their members (doctors who treat diabetes) fully employed.

  7. Lori Miller says:

    If the ADA et al gave advice that actually worked, a whole lot of people would be out of a job.

  8. Bret says:

    I am counting on Rand Paul and Justin Amash to romance the American public into demanding the federal funding cuts that will make the ADA completely irrelevant.

    Under such circumstances, the ADA would have two options: start providing effective advice, or go extinct.

    Well, the ADA gets enough funding from Big Food to stick around for awhile.

    • Bret says:

      Ah, but what funds Big Food? Certainly not willing consumers in a free market. Not when you consider the tax breaks, the subsidies, the anti-small-farm regulation, the armed USDA raids, the everlasting lawsuits that bleed small farmers dry…all of which either eliminate competition to Big Food or drive up costs on whatever competitors remain. That’s how the gigantic genital wart of American agriculture, which calls itself Monsanto, manages to offer us such “cheap” food.

      Got to cut them off at the source!

      Yup. People who blame free-market capitalism for this mess don’t understand what free-market capitalism actually looks like.

      • Walter Bushell says:

        Aside from the drug trade *is* there a free market in America?

        Hmmm, good question. Ever since the Supreme Court allowed Congress to seriously abuse the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, nowhere near as many as there should be.

  9. Lisa says:

    Sounds just like Diabetes Australia who promote the diet of death for diabetics. My child is type 1 and I feed him the opposite of what they promote- high fat and low carb. His doctor can’t figure out why his blood glucose, blood lipids and Hba1c results are all normal. He’s never seen it before. I must be a genius because I worked out how to keep him healthy via my own research. He uses half the amount of insulin other kids use. Imagine if every diabetic ate like he does!!

    Your son is lucky you took the time to figure it out.

  10. Linda says:

    I’ve mostly learned not to get too mad and bang my head on the desk at some of the crappy advice put out by all these people. I do, however, remember one near concussion when my poor obese aunt was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Her doc referred her to his “in house” dietician, so she wouldn’t have to spend the money going to someone else (read so he would profit from the diet consult.) My aunt said the chipper young dietician whizzed through all the dietary stuff at break neck speed, and at the end said, “but the easy way to remember what to eat is just don’t eat anything white.” What??? So my aunt went to whole wheat pasta, gave up her white bread sandwich and apple she normally ate for her evening meal. Now, she eats her sandwich with whole wheat bread and has watermelon chunks every evening! ARGHHH! Now, she feels she’s following that d**n advice to the letter- let’s see, whole wheat pasta isn’t white, and whole wheat bread isn’t white, and watermelon certainly isn’t white even though it’s mostly sugar and water! Brown rice she now eats isn’t white- need I go on?? Funny, after four months on this crap, she’s actually about ten pounds heavier and can’t figure out why. Her doc says there must be something she’s not doing on the diet. It’s times like those that I have to take deep breaths and keep repeating my mantra from Fat Head- “Follow the money.”

    Just don’t eat anything white … lovely. Nacho-flavored Doritos are orange, so I’ll start eating those to control my blood sugar.

    • Dave says:

      Linda, maybe you could point out to her that bacon and egg yolks aren’t “white” either. ;)

    • MC says:

      Found out my aunt and uncle are trying to have a child when I went along with my aunt for a doctor’s visit. Overheard that she apparently had four miscarriages, and lots of trouble getting pregnant.

      I also found out that she eats a very low fat vegetarian diet, and also doesn’t eat eggs, so it’s almost vegan really. She’s also not one of those vegetarians that eats a significant amount of vegetables or good carbs either. It’s mostly wheat. I think the diet has something to do with the baby problems.

      They’ve told me to avoid eating red meat, avoid fat, eat more whole grains, and avoid cholesterol, because that’s what the doctors say, so they seem thoroughly indoctrinated.

      Yeesh. Any chance she’ll listen to this?

      http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/3821/dr-michael-fox-on-low-carb-for-fertility-episode-454/

      • MC says:

        Doubtful. But I’ll give it a go. She does seem to have a certain level of desperation cause she’s getting higher up in age. so might be willing to listen.

  11. Dave says:

    It’s funny because it’s true? Well, I get funny emails from Real Age.com all the time. Most of the time I send them to the trash, but this morning (April 2, so not really an April fools joke) I checked out their advice on how to get rid of that “spare tire.”

    “3. Grab the whole grains. When it comes to foods that burn belly fat, you can’t beat whole grains. And it’s a pretty simple trade-off. Just replace some of the processed foods in your diet with three daily servings of 100% whole-grain cereals, breads, and pasta to lose inches off your waist.”

    With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    Now I know why I was so skinny when I lived on grains.

  12. Fred says:

    Yeah, about that Great Depression thing…..maybe some of you should study this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_GDP_per_capita.PNG

    You realize government spending is counted as part of GDP, right?

    • Fred says:

      Um, yeah, why wouldn’t I?

      I wasn’t sure what point you were trying to make. If you were asking us to look at the rise in GDP after 1932 as proof that FDR’s New Deal was working, I wanted to make sure you understood the graph is essentially just showing a big spike in government spending, not an economic recovery.

      • Fred says:

        Also, wasn’t WWII government spending?

        Of course. But I’m still not sure what point you’re trying to make.

  13. Vic says:

    When I first became “pre-diabetic” my dr had me go on the ADA diet. Yes, I gained alot of weight very rapidly and developed the real thing. Great. Then she accused me of not following it! No meds seemed to help, she kept increasing the Metformin, added Glipazide, and threatened me with insulin, and finally added a statin, because diabetics have to protect their hearts! One cane and dementia later, I weaned off all drugs except the metformin and glipazide, started lchf and within a couple of weeks I had to stop the Glip as it was causing hypos. fast forward 2 years and here I am with normal fasting blood sugars and normal A1C and no diabetic meds at all! That brings me to another blog I read where the STAMPEDE trial was being discussed. It seems the real cure for Diabetes is….Bariatric surgery! Because the people in the trial had better out comes with surgery than with heavy medication. Apparently all diabetics need to be either poisoned or mutilated. Am I bitter? You bettcha!

    I would be too.

  14. Ulfric Douglas says:

    So Skynet (obviously the robot that sent your the Dear , e-mail) wants TWO THOUSAND BILLION DOLLARS?
    Oh OK, TWO BILLION DOLLARS.
    Still a lot for some worthless shite.

    Bacon & eggs, you freaks!

    Why am I hearing Dr. Evil saying, “One MILLION dollars!” … ?

  15. Cindy C says:

    Hi,

    Not sure where to post this, but is anyone here familiar with this nutritionist that said fast food can be nutritious? I found out about him from a US magazine from 2/20/79. On the cover, it said “Expert Advice: Big Macs and Whoppers are good for you.” Actually, he was not really low carb, but stated that the food has nutritional value, and not that dangerous. Howard Appledorf had a PH D in nutritional biochemistry, and had many studies published. He was heavily funded by the processed food industry, according to a facebook page. His story was also in the news, as he was murdered.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1346&dat=19750302&id=JkdNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8voDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7010,458569

    http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/archome/MS56.htm

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=494795263897034&id=283805128329383

  16. Linda says:

    Dave, Thanks for the tip about eggs and bacon. However, my aunt’s doctor has a serious case of fat/cholesterol/heart disease phobia, so of course she needs to avoid all the things you and I can think of that aren’t white such as a well-marbled rib eye steak or real bacon, or even a nicely fried egg. Instead he has her on egg whites (yes, they are the exception to the no white rule,) turkey ?bacon?, and those slimming heart healthy whole grains. And of course for dessert, she gets to take a statin, just in case her muscles, joints, brain, kidneys and liver are still working well. Can’t have that, can we?? Pardon my sarcasm- unfortunately, my aunt believes her doctor is a god, and wouldn’t dare do anything he doesn’t say to do!! I’ll quit for now- I’m actively trying to avoid a concussion and I feel a “head bang on desk” moment approaching!

    • Dave says:

      Linda, I figured that would be the case. The good news is that the word is getting out there. The bad news is that not everyone who needs to listen will listen. I suppose I’m fortunate to have a rebellious streak that I inherit from my mother who is fond of calling doctors “tin gods.”

  17. Matt says:

    My wife is a nurse at a hospital and she has diabetic patients quite often. She hates it but she is forced to give the ADA advice. She would get fired if she said anything else.

    Yup, that’s the state we’re in.

  18. Dan says:

    When my Dad was in the hospital with lung cancer, he was also trying to cope with complications from Type 2 diabetes. I couldn’t believe the food they were serving him. His blood sugar would be out of control all the time, and the hospital had no idea why.
    It was bad enough that he was dealing with terminal cancer, but on top of that they were making his diabetes worse every day.

    I wish I had known about LCHF diets when my dad first got diagnosed years ago – I could have spared him years of coping with type 2 diabetes!

    I know the feeling. I wish I’d understood the connection between between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s before my dad lost his memory.

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