In 1961 I started to read The New York Times when I went to work in Washington. But its magazine always disappointed me.
Until Sunday. This week’s issue focuses on “Health and Wellness 2011.” All four of the magazine’s main articles are essential reading for everyone.
The cover story by Gary Taubes, “Is Sugar Toxic?,” makes the case against sugar. This isn’t his first time to tilt at the medical establishment in this magazine. Nine years ago his article, “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?,” began his crusade to expose the myth that fat was bad and carbohydrates are good.
His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, built on that article so well that it convinced me and thousands of others to follow a very low-carb diet. In “Addicted to Carbs” I wrote here three years ago about how that book changed my life. With his book, Why We Get Fat: and What to Do About It, Taubes takes his argument to a wider, non-scientific audience.
The social network space for people with diabetes lags well behind the Internet’s superb ability to provide information. Websites like HealthCentral far exceed the older sources of information that we have — including our health care teams, our books, and our magazines — in the quantity and often even the quality of information that we seek about diabetes.
But the Internet hasn’t been doing a good job in connecting the real people who have diabetes with other real people. Those of us who have diabetes often feel isolated from our communities because of the special need we have to control our condition. Many of us, particularly those who live in small towns or rural areas, don’t have anyone with whom to discuss our dietary, activity, and medication requirements.
Local support groups often fail to provide positive reinforcement when they exist at all. Many of us in fact lack that option within a reasonable driving distance.
Support and communication are functions that the Internet can provide to people with diabetes on a much larger scale than even the best local support groups. But even the so-called social networking sites are instead top heavy on information.
All over the world people with diabetes are slacking off how well they control their diabetes. Their A1C levels are climbing to 7.0 percent or more, apparently blessed by scientific research.
Researchers designed the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes trial, universally known as ACCORD, hoped to prove that we would have fewer heart attacks and strokes when we able to bring our A1C levels below 6.0 percent. Instead, they were surprised to discover that 257 patients in the intensive-therapy group died, compared with 203 patients in the standard-therapy group. Consequently, they terminated the intensive therapy regime 17 months before the scheduled end of the study.
You need to help me a lot with this one.
All of you who read my articles here are motivated to control your diabetes. Almost all of you have a positive motivation. I doubt if many of you have a primarily negative motivation based on fear of the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes. Negative motivations just don’t keep us doing what we need to do for long.
What are your positive motivations? What do you tell people you know who have diabetes to encourage them to tame it?
We can’t completely trust anything, anyone, or any organization. Nowhere is this more true than for our health.
Yet we have to decide. Doing nothing is impossible.
A correspondent that I know only as “drscll” prompted these reflections. He or she asked if we could trust even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The question startled me at first, because if any part of our government is trustworthy, I’ve always thought that it was the CDC. Staffed by a dedicated group of people, many of whom put their lives on the line to control epidemics, the CDC deals in facts, not opinions or recommendations.
Once upon a time I knew some people who wanted me to help them set up a charity. They were smart enough to know that they could make a lot of money by establishing a not-for-profit organization that would pay them outrageous salaries.
They said that I could be the vice-president of the charity. While I respected their intelligence, I declined their offer. I decided that I wasn’t as big a scumbag as they were.
However, they weren’t the first scumbags earning big bucks from our charity contributions. The salaries that many heads of charity organizations take home are obscene. And that includes some of our most respected diabetes organizations.