How is it that "no food is healthy. Not even kale."

You can say that again for sure!


I take exception to the slanderous attack on sugar. Sugar is needed to provide fuel. Now if you mean to say that it’s unhealthy in the amounts and forms eaten by most Americans, I’m with you. Is it readily available from other sources that provide additional nutrients? Absolutely. But sugar is not evil, it is necessary to all mammals.

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That’s a common misconception based on a failure to distinguish between food on your plate and the glucose your cells use, which is converted from protein in a much healthier pattern of delivery in amounts more than adequate to meet needs.

Even in endurance athletes.

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Not my misconception, but yours. My point, which you’ve made, is that sugar “is necessary to all mammals”, unless glucose is no longer a sugar?

The most readily-available fuel source we have are sugars from plants, whether fruits, leaves or roots. Protein is a poor substitute. BTW, this has nothing to do with the food on my plate, but rather the chemical content of that food.

More importantly, we humans are not designed to be carnivores, as a pure protein diet would suggest. We have the teeth and digestive system of omnivores, genetically designed to eat a varied diet that includes foods high in sugars.

Note that I’m not saying we can’t live on protein alone, simply that we’re not designed to, and it naturally follows that sugar, being essential to our life, cannot be evil.

This subject gets complicated quickly - and I’ll once again state my argument, that it is complicated because we are focusing on “elements” of food, rather than on whole foods . . but I digress.

It gets complicated because the human body is an amazing thing and humans can survive on a very wide range of food sources. What the balance of “elements” is depends on where you live in the world and your cultural history. You can find populations that survive, and survive well, on nothing but protein. You can also find populations that survive on lots and lots of carbs. The human body can accommodate that insane range.

So when one person talks about the more “western” diet, which we’ve survived on for a very long time, being driven by a carb fuel - that is true. And our bodies can and do use carbs for fuel very well. But then when we say that sugar is “necessary” to survival - the actual amount of sugar that we “need” to survive is actually very low. So we don’t necessarily “need” to add lots of sugar to our diet because yes we can convert protein to sugar, which is why you can find populations that survive essentially on nothing but protein.

I’m not sure if there is anyone who can say what the optimal balance is of all the dietary “components/elements” are. And I think trying to do so feeds this cycle of vilifying food “elements” unnecessarily. But we keep trying to and I think that is why everyone gets confused.

For me, the question is how to do we get people to recognize “real food” (foods that are as close as possible/necessary to their original form), not be blinded by all the false marketing claims that this focus on “elements” allows, and get those types of foods into the mouths of as many people as possible (including, and maybe especially, those mouths of people that rely on assistance programs and in areas where finding these things is very very difficult).

No misconceptions on my part. We’re just working from very different sources of information.

That’s an excellent point. A dear friend who’s an RN and Certified Diabetes Educator tells her clients that there’s no such thing as a bad food or an empty calorie. Scientifically speaking, she’s right. Even if something provides little more than calories and salt, like a sugary soft drink, it’s still providing 2 things our bodies need. She’s all about balance and choices, where the more nutritional choices outweigh the less nutritional choices, which seems a very good way to eat, IMO, and a good approach to life in general.

We’ve all got Guilty Pleasures, and just because there are healthier alternatives doesn’t make the GP inherently bad, it’s only bad in excess.


An organization trying to rescue the industry corruption of CDE and RD education and the death grip of sugar and cereal and junk food companies on their practices and recommendations.

CDEs and RDs recommend a diet plan that leads to higher mortality in combination with the amount of drugs it takes to counter its effects. ACCORD trials showed that intensive treatment with the ADA recommended diets raised mortality risks.

Strong dietary carb restriction has the opposite effect on disease progress by all measures. It’s the only intervention to do so, even in end stage diabetic renal failure.

I don’t know whether or not my friend has attended any food-industrry-sponsored “education” events. Knowing her reputation for healthy living and the many years of post-graduate schooling she’s had, it’s doubtful, but I cannot say for certain.

Respecting the ACCORD trials, this article says exactly the opposite of what you state:
The trial group (following an intensive glycemic control diet) had MORE deaths than the control group (following standard protocols). If they’ve misstated the results, will you provide a link to another article?

But setting that aside, I have only been trying to make one point through all of this, and that is that a severely restricted diet, where a wide swath of foods are 100% taboo (which you seemed to be implying in your posts about complete carb avoidance) can be a bit of a quality-of-life buzzkill. What point longevity if you’re not enjoying those years? You may love a carb-less life, but it’s not necessary to a long and healthy life. If the occasional slice of birthday cake feeds your inner carb lover, it’s not going to kill you, even if you’re diabetic, as long as your A1C is well-controlled and your diet is one that prevents glucose spikes and crashes. This is per my internist in the 1990’s, FWIW. She recommended the AHA diet instead of the ADA diet, because she felt it provided more cardiovascular benefits. For those of us who aren’t diabetic, it makes even less sense to completely eliminate carbs.

Still, it seems we’re not likely to come to any agreement about the role of plants in our diet, so unless there’s further discussion of the ACCORD study, I’ll retire from our conversation.

Here’s what the objective science and clinical outcomes indicate:

Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base

Here’s a very plain lay language analysis by someone whose information has always accurately reflected the research I’ve been reading on the topic for decades now:

I read the science, not the author’s stated conclusions. ACCORD did not have a diet controlled group to compare with their starch and sugar and drug filled study population.

The statements made about normal glucose representing a danger to diabetics would be hilarious if they weren’t causing so much needless suffering and death.

ETA: your inferences about my diet indicate you haven’t paid attention very well. My diet is nothing like “total carb avoidance” nor is it a "carb- less life. My plate is piled high with carbs by volume, just not starchy sugary ones. Carbs are a very small part of my diet as a % of calories, not by the volume in my meals.

If you’re suggesting that eating flavorful, lower calorie, nutrient dense veggies in place of starch and sugar is less balanced or healthy or even totally carb free, you’re mistaken.

I have often discussed that on a typical day, starch and sugar don’t play a role in my meals. I have also often discussed that I have planned treats. I don’t routinely eat sweets, nor do I miss them, but if I know a really worthwhile dessert is on the menu at a holiday or restaurant, I will have some, usually shared because my husband low carbs for health and fitness, has no health issues and we are both out of the dessert habit. To get onto my plate, a dessert has to be really special, not junk food. And I eat so low carb on a daily basis it won’t do lasting harm the way regular consumption does.

Bottom line is, nothing tastes as good as reversing my long standing kidney damage and peripheral nerve damage without drugs feels 18 years later. No more pain, no more numbness no ending up on dialysis. Occasional treats are great, but calling sugar worthy of 10% of total daily calories the way the guidelines do, and grains important for fuel, even for diabetic is stupid and causes horrible suffering.

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It appears we’ve been talking at cross-purposes. When you mentioned getting all the glucose we need from proteins, well, it read like you meant a carb-free diet. So just as you’ve never advocated a diet without carbs, I’ve never advocated one high in sugary/starchy foods. It seems we’ve both misunderstood the other.

Congratulations on your improved health. I’ve been celebrating every day since my diabetes was cured, although it was surgery that restored my health.

I’m sorry surgery was required to get your diabetes under control; I’m sure there was a difficult struggle leading up to such an intervention. There’s a reason they emphasize carb restriction and focus on protein for post bariatric surgery patients. If only they emphasized it beforehand.

There is no such thing as a “cure” for diabetes, only interverntions and management. On average a type 2 diabetic has lost 50% of pancreatic insulin producing beta cell mass prior to even being diagnosed. That is never restored, hence not a cure.

Every glucose excursion above 140 at any time is doing lasting cellular damage to organs, nerves and vision, and that’s way lower than the numbers the industry funded crowd is recommending.

I just came across this and thought it was a good counterpoint to the “moderation” argument I’ve never bought into:

"And a study published in PLOS ONE last year analyzed the diets and relative risks of obesity and diabetes for a diverse group of about 5,000 American adults. The results were a pretty strong argument against one of nutrition’s most persistent axioms.

“Our results challenge the notion that ‘eating everything in moderation’ leads to greater diet quality or better metabolic health,” the authors concluded. “Our findings support the importance of diet quality, independent of diversity.”

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