Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beware Orange Produce


The other day during a phone consult with an online client it was mentioned to me that the previous nutritionist this client had worked with (a “diabetes specialist” as this client is pre-diabetic) had recommended the strict avoidance of all orange produce. Yes you read that right, orange produce.


range produce – carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, oranges, etc – were all on the Not To Be Eaten list. The rationale was that they are digested too quickly and therefore will exacerbate the pre-diabetes issue. This is such a misunderstanding of the science it is utterly scary.

So this “expert in diabetes” is telling me that if I am pre-diabetic that eating a serving of baby carrots (which we will say is 10 of them, close enough anyway) is going to harm my pancreas/increase my insulin resistance? Does this make any semblance of sense? Do you see the ridiculous of this assertion? I understand carrots have a relatively high GI for a vegetable, but that test requires 50 grams of digestible carbohydrate. That takes 1.5lbs of carrots! No one eats that in a sitting and it is utterly irrelevant to every day intake.

This type of advice is nutritionism at it’s worst. It’s just like telling someone to not eat eggs because they contain cholesterol. Focusing on one aspect of a food to the exclusion of all others is just asinine, and is missing the forest for the trees. Carrots are a lot more than their GI value, just like eggs are a lot more than their cholesterol content.

Do you judge an engagement ring simply on cut? No! You look at size, color, clarity, price, etc. Odd analogy I know, it just popped into my head and I think it works nicely.

The point is that whether or not you eat carrots or sweet potatoes is not in anyway going to affect your diabetes risk. Losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, decreasing stress, getting adequate sleep, and eating a nutrient-rich calorically balanced diet are your best weapons against most diseases, including diabetes. Avoiding orange produce is not.

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