Ok, I first saw the CrossFit advertisement on Type1writes by Frank several weeks ago. I’m going to include my reply to his post below. His post was spot on but I felt there was another perspective that needed a voice as well. It is hard to see the different advertisements and know that they only enforce misconceptions about diabetes regardless of type. And, certainly, Cross Fit is not alone. I heard an ad around Easter this year advertising a “Bacon Bunny” from a local chocolate company on the radio. It referenced diabetes while playing the sound of a heart monitor gradually slowing and then flatlining. I don’t remember the exact wording but it was upsetting because it was wrong on so many levels.
Anyway, here is my comment from July 1:
“This is disturbing for a type 2 as well. From everything I’ve read after I learned I didn’t have type 2 but actually had a slow onset type 1 (LADA), type 2 is actually INHERITED (sorry to shout 😉. It’s just that, if you have insulin resistance your pancreas deals with the extra demand for insulin until it reaches a point where it can’t anymore. A diet high in sugar will only hasten that demise but it isn’t the cause of insulin resistance. The problem is most people don’t even know they have this issue until their blood glucose level is checked by a doctor when they’ve gone in for some other reason. By that point they’ve probably been living with it for years. You know from experiencing lows that the brain triggers a strong “eat carbs now or die” response to a low. What I found interesting to note in my reading is that it doesn’t just signal this when your blood glucose drops below 70. It registers any significant drop in blood glucose and sends the signal. Which means that when, as a type 2, you have these huge spikes in blood sugar, when your pancreas does it’s job and returns you to normal levels your brain notices the drastic drop and signals the “eat carbs NOW” response. And, of course, your body converts all that extra sugar to fat which increases the insulin resistance. It becomes a vicious cycle that Type 2’s are told they caused by their diet and because they have no will power or because they are fat.
Now, Type 2’s do have the ability, once they know they have Diabetes to begin with, to make dietary/exercise changes that will greatly improve their sugar levels but that will not cure or reverse insulin resistant Diabetes. It will seem like a cure for some because they can go for years or even perhaps the rest of their lives with normal levels if they maintain their diet and exercise regimen that helped them achieve normal sugar levels but their insulin resistance is still there. Because of this there is the misconception that diet causes type 2 Diabetes. Most people don’t know there are different types of diabetes, they just assume that you got diabetes because you ate too much sugar. I’m OK with the fact that people are largely unaware in the sense that I didn’t know anything about it until I got Type 1. After all, unless you are a physician or are touched by Diabetes directly, you have no need to completely understand the mechanisms of Diabetes. Still, I think it’s wrong that companies advertise like this and further cement these stereotypes in people’s conscientiousness.”
Let me reiterate that this is my view and understanding of the facts. I am not a scientist, doctor, nutritionist, or diabetes educator. I’m just a person who has lived with diabetes for eighteen and a half years (first Gestational, then misdiagnosed as Type 2, and now insulin-dependent Type 1).