American Diabetes Association ties to Big Pharma

Those of us in the low carb community have long shaken our heads, wondering why, oh why, the American Diabetes Association still insists that the best diet for people with severely impaired carbohydrate metabolisms is a low fat diet loaded with starch -- aka "lots of sugar holding hands." The research and clinical experience of doctors like Dr. Richard Bernstein and Dr. Mary Vernon seems to affect them not at all. Nor do years of positive clinical research, or the stories of millions of diabetics who have controlled their blood sugar through low carbohydrate diets.

They also seem oblivious to the fact that before hypoglycemic medication was invented, low carbohydrate diets were commonly recommended for diabetics: Dr. John Rollo, Surgeon General in the Royal Artillery of the British Army being credited as the first modern doctor to recommend such a diet for treatment of the disease. This text, Diabetes Mellitus and Its Treatment, by R.T. Williamson MD, was published in 1898, and includes this statement:Ever since Rollo published his book on diabetes in 1797, and pointed out the value of restriction of the carbohydrates in the food, it has been acknowledged that of all forms and methods of treatment this dietetic one is the most important.

Yet the ADA continues to recommend a diet of the very foods that destabilize blood sugar, instructing diabetics to "cover" those "healthy" carbs with higher and higher doses of medication -- this, despite it being generally recognized that tight blood sugar control is the most important preventive of diabetic complications. Why?

Take a look at this: a list of the ADA's top corporate sponsors. See the "Banting level" sponsors, the biggest bankrollers of the ADA? All but one of them are pharmaceutical companies. The remaining one -- BD -- is a medical supplies corporation whose business includes "diabetes care" and "pharmaceutical systems. All of them make money off of diabetes. All of them. They are all making money, very big money, off of diabetes medications. I question whether those sponsors have any corporate interest in diabetes interventions that would dramatically lessen the quantity of drugs diabetics have to take.

The Bible says "A man cannot serve two masters." The same holds true of a corporation. And for any publicly traded corporation, their "master," their main and driving goal, must be shareholder profits. Legally, ethically, that is their greatest responsibility. Not one of these companies can, therefore, have the health of diabetics, their toes, their kidneys, their eyesight, as their greatest concern. Their greatest concern is, must be, the bottom line. Anything that reduces shareholder profits is inimical to their mission.

I don't know if the folks at the ADA are actually doing the Mr. Burns finger-steeple-ing thing, intoning "Excellent!," as they plot the further enslavement of diabetics to their Big Pharma corporate masters. I actually doubt it. On the other hand, I can't help but think that thirteen companies (Hmm. I just counted them. That there's thirteen of 'em just seems so... theatrical.), each contributing a minimum of a cool mil a year, have at least a modest degree of influence.

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Good post Dana. It is indeed a sad state of affairs. It's a grass roots effort and always will be. One diabetic at a time. The word spread. We need to spread it like a virus however. But as you know, even when presented with the facts and seeing others around them become "cured" there are many diabetics who would rather take their meds and eat crap. If the ADA started preaching low carb, there are millions of diabetics who wouldn't listen.

What is needed is a type of Scared Straight TV campaign - something showing limb amputations and eye removals/blindness to freak these diabetics out. Remember the ads against Dope? "This is your brain on dope" which was the fired egg in the pan? That kind of stuff. Man I wish I was rich.

So do I

Wish I was rich, that is. For a whole lot of reasons, of which getting the word out is only one. I wouldn't mind hand-tailored clothes and three cruises a year, either. And professional landscaping service for my 10-acre yard.

There was an article in this morning's paper about two cases of people donating kidneys -- one a wife who donated to her husband of many years. He's a diabetic, and his kidneys failed. I found myself thinking "If they'd only put him on a low carb diet. I bet he's ruining the good kidney as I read this." The human toll is staggering.

google ads

I am so sorry to be laughing but the ad at the top of the page for the big pharma blog is... INSULIN THERAPY in little blue letters and when clicked on reads TRY LANTUS. I am amused by the google ads.

Insulin ads

Glad you find it funny! Please don't hold it against us.


I won't and I will never need insulin!!

ADA & Big Pharma

A very wise person once said, "Follow the money". So when I see a study, my first questions is who paid for it? That usually skews the data. In this case, who's paying for the "advice" ? That skews the advice. I've been on Atkins Induction for 2.5 years, and my A1C is 5.1. I take no meds, relying on my diet to keep my Blood Glucose Levels under control. So far it's working, and the diet is far less harmful than the drugs my doctor wanted me to take. And despite the "diabetes is a progressive disease" thery, mine has actually regressed...Viva Low Carb!


Hi Dana,
Even here, in faraway New Zealand there is no escaping the obesity phenomenon, with all its consequences. My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes many years ago. I had commenced the Atkins way of life in early 2000 and he tagged along and to this day still eats a low carb diet. His weight is around 80 kg.
His Lab test come back nowadays with a note attached suggesting that quote "the patient has excellent control, or is not diabetic". A friend to whom I recommended Atkins (An insulin dependent man) was severely reprimanded by the people in the diabetes clinic and even though his insulin requirement dropped significantly, he returned to eat as before.
Unfortunately he has since died.
Marianne (Petronella)

The Banting Circle

When I first saw that the corporate donors you identified were part of The Banting Circle, my first thought was that it would be a delicious irony if this level was named after William Banting, who was the first doctor to publicize a low-carb eating plan, back in 1863. Gary Taubes starts out Good Calories, Bad Calories, with a discussion of Banting's work, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.

However, William Banting is a distant cousin of Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin, who is the Banting the ADA names its corporate donor circle after. Sounds to me like they're honoring the wrong Banting, as there would be much less need for insulin if people followed William Banting's advice.


Having been diagnosed as being diabetic, I resumed my low carb diet (Atkins) and lost 30 pounds which in turn caused my blood sugar to drop to near normal levels. I still was taking my medication, but my hemotologist insisted I start to cut back on my meds. Within a couple of months, I found myself 'slipping' on my low carb intake and my blood sugar spiked dramatically. I have resumed my low carb diet and I also am back on my meds in lower doses. My hopes are to eventually lose enough weight to stop the meds completely since I know they are bad for me in the long run. Today, I still am low carb and still taking medication, but my blood sugar levels are near normal at all times of the day. Low carb is THE BEST LIFESTYLE! It is good for you and tastes good, too. Thank you, Dana, for your cookbooks and your ezine. Keep up all of the good work.

Barry Maher