The 'Cutting Out' Culture
It really does concern me the kind of information that is posted online, even on seemingly helpful ‘support groups’. I fully respect the aims of such groups and they can be a great network for individuals to share their thoughts with those in a similar situation. But that is also part of the issue, there is a very important line between thought and fact. A lot of information posted on these groups is simply something someone read online, from whatever source it may be.
There is a lot of nonsense on the internet, the trouble is that it is very well-put-together nonsense, so much so it seems ‘legit’. Even worse, said nonsense is often presented by a highly charismatic individual who wins over audiences, regardless of whether what is being said is true. In an ideal world, individuals would just stick to 1 or 2 reputable websites, with advice based on the latest conclusive evidence and best practice guidelines. We should ignore the rest, but the internet is too distracting.
You see information out there about the ‘ideal’ diet or ‘cutting out carbs’ or ‘this is what your blood sugar should be to be normal’ and most of the time the advice is either over-simplified, inaccurate or just misleading nonsense. Some of the advice may have some truth in it but just the way it is presented is unsettling.
Carbohydrates, the apparent enemy?
For example, you may see a post about cutting out white bread, because white bread contains X amount of teaspoons of sugar. What interests me is exactly how an individual will process and use this information. The instant reaction for many is to cut out white bread and anything else similar to white bread to be safe. This particularly true for an anxious individual who has recently had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. This happens multiple times each time they read something or they receive unsolicited advice from a peer (probably another victim to this process just passing it on).
Over a short period of time, this generally goes on to create an unhealthy relationship with food and a general inability to self-manage. It takes away someone’s autonomy and prevents them from developing their own intuition around food choices. Not to mention the highly restricted, unsustainable diet and miserable existence. This should be an opportunity to try something different and experiment with your options. Not simply a ‘cutting out’ exercise.
What can we do instead?
White bread does indeed contain carbohydrates, and it does tend to cause a spike in blood sugar compared to wholegrains, but describing it as simply ‘table sugar’ is not 100% true. I truly dislike the ‘cutting out’ culture or any ‘diet’ culture for that matter. Maybe just try another type of bread and/or change the portion size? We do not need to scare the living daylights out of people, this is coming from someone that works with some of the most complex cases of diabetes. The obsession with cutting things out while fretting over the detail can detract someone from making real simple and meaningful changes to their lifestyle. Mindset is often more important than anything for long-term success.