Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Canadian Diabetes Association needs to learn to count calories

Friend, and occasional friendly debating opponent, Helene Charlebois, a registered dietitian here in Ottawa forwarded this to me.

It's a form called, "Just the Basics", and presumably it's given to newly diagnosed Canadian diabetics by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) to help them begin to understand and manage their disease.

While I already covered the CDA's carbohydrate recommendations a little while back, Helene noticed something I didn't. The calories.

They break down their suggested meal plans into, "For Smaller Appetites", and "For Bigger Appetites".

And they do mean bigger.

Let's take a look at the bigger calories (though the "smaller" ain't so small):


600-700 calories


800-900 calories

Afternoon snack

100 calories


800-900 calories

Evening snack

600 calories


2900-3200 calories

Thatsa lotta calories!

Furthermore, looking at their suggestions, it's boatloads of carbohydrates/sugars as well.

While calories certainly aren't the only nutritional determinant of health, given the impact of weight loss on glycemic control, and the impact of obesity on insulin resistance, I would suggest that the CDA ought to at the very least, provide, "just the basics", on calories as well.

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  1. WOW!

    A while back I did a post on starvation diets.

    At this point I think part of the failure of traditional dietary advice may well boil down to an overestimation of the calories we actually should be eating.

    I think it's fair to say that dieting in general and all the theories of not eating too much, creating a deficit, etc.etc. really boomed right around the obesity epidemic.

    The standard prescription for a woman? 1200 cal/day. Well in the 1970's the average intake for a woman was just over 1500 cal/day.

    All of the formulas WAY overestimate how much we should be able to eat for maintenance.

    800-900 cal for dinner and a 600 cal evening snack? That's maintenance eating for this woman!

  2. Yeah that seems like a huge overestimation. Not only that, the afternoon snack is only 100 calories - everything I know about diabetes (which isn't a lot) is that consistency is key to maintaining good blood sugar. Where all the other meals should be lower that one should be a bit higher.

  3. Anonymous10:20 am

    Ironically "Just the Basics" also recommends (at least for the 'bigger appetites') 4TBSP of peanut butter at the bedtime snack. This was brought to their attention back in 2005 with an older version of the handout. Still no changes made 6 years later.

  4. i dont understand why they just didnt do 3 350 calorie meals and 2 200 calorie snacks. Its soo many extra calories, that won't be burned. It will just turn to fat causing these people to gain more weight and never escape diabetes. If anything people with diabetes should be eating less to lose weight, not more. No snack contains 600 calories unless it's packed with sugar, carbs or fat. I think the diabetes association should be less concerned with the excess calorie allowance and be more concerned with how those calories are spent.

  5. Holy calories! I suppose that would be appropriate for a 25 year old guy with a very active lifestyle. Woof!

    There is certainly issues with too many OR too little calories.