For the past two months I’ve been scouring the library and bookstore shelves in search of practical guidelines for preventing and managing Type II diabetes with diabetes-careful meal plans.
I have two goals for myself:
1. Get down to a healthier weight by eating less and exercising more–this is the big one with the best correlation to reversing prediabetes. And it’s going okay but slowly.
2. Eat balanced meals with somewhat less carb per meal, fewer free sugars and fewer calories overall than usual. This is the easier one generally…as long as I keep a food diary. Luckily, I know how to cook and I’ve been doing meal planning for a Type I diabetic child for four years now, so I know how to count carbs. And when I don’t, I have a copy of the American Dietetic Association’s handy, simple and cheap $3 or so guide on the shelf. And a link to the USDA nutrition database for the exotic occasional items like chestnuts in the shell (note to self, about 5 grams apiece).
But I still wondered if the diabetes and weight loss cookbooks I see around are solid and I’ve just been too lazy, arrogant or impatient to take them seriously all these years. Hence the trips to the library.
Because no doubt about it, the diabetes cookbook scene is burgeoning. There are loads of good-looking cookbooks out with pretty, gourmet-looking recipe photos and promises of perfect blood sugar management amid the desserts on the cover.
Here’s the short version of this post: a read through most of these books is NOT encouraging. All the popular diet book gimmickry of the past 40 years seems to have been transferred to a lucrative new target (read: gullible victim) market, complete with bright, shiny new drug company advertising and sponsorship potential on the coordinating web sites.
Considering that there’s no precise required diet for diabetes, just guidelines for budgeting meal carb totals and keeping some kind of commonsense balance between starches, fiber and sugars, even the premise of prescriptive diabetic cooking guides is a little shaky to start with. But what’s actually being presented as guidance in these popular books is far from that approach.
Even cookbooks affiliated with or endorsed by organizations like the American Diabetes Association and so on fail some pretty simple commonsense tests for honesty, accuracy, consistency, or relevance to standard public health guidance on preventing, managing and reversing Type II diabetes by way of diet. And if you don’t already know your way around carb counting and portion size measurement, they’re extremely confusing. Sometimes even on purpose.
So here are the main common flaws I’ve discovered in most of these books, with a few books singled out for personal ire and bemusement. You might want to consider these as warning signs if you’re looking for actual guidance to get you through.
10 Warning Signs that Your Diabetes Guide Cookbook is Half-Baked
1. The Dessert First approach to diabetes management. Telltale sign: does it show cake or ice cream on the cover? About half the books I scanned do. They treat desserts and snacks as a top priority, as though that were what diabetes control is all about. As though sweets were somehow necessary at every meal, or even every week. None of them ever say, “just stick with a small apple or orange most days. No recipe required.” Actual endocrinologists recommend keeping desserts occasional and snacks un-glamorous and limited in carb.
1b. Aside: Many of the dessert-first books show cheesecake on the cover, usually a 1/8 to 1/10 cake portion–a pretty hefty wedge by any standards. This is a come-on–cheesecake is usually high in fat calories, so it’s rarely a good pick for anyone attempting to lose weight (the main strategy for Read more »
Filed under: books, cooking, Desserts, Diabetes, Eating out, Food Magazines, nutrition, top 10, unappetizing | Tagged: agave syrup, artificial sweeteners, carb counting, diabetes cookbooks, diabetic desserts, Eat This, Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook, glycemic index, Joslin Diabetes Center Gourmet Cookbook, MUFAs, Not That!, online diet plans, Splenda, Type 2 diabetes, weight loss cookbooks | Comments Off