One of my favorite things about my husband's work is that we spend a lot of time hanging out with volunteers who come to do skilled work for us. Most of our volunteers are retired handymen, contractors, mechanics, and the like, who are getting restless now that they don't have 9-to-5 jobs. We really enjoy having these amazing, willing volunteers around, and I get a little spoiled being around such good humor and wisdom.
Anyhow, we had lunch with a few of our volunteers yesterday, and as we sat and chatted, the conversation turned to two of the gentlemen's diabetes, what medicine they were on, how often they did blood tests, and what their doctors had to say about the whole business.
One of the men said, in an offhanded kind of way, "You know, when I first heard I had diabetes, I tried to get rid of all the sugar in my diet, but my doctor told me that we need a little bit of sugar every day to be healthy. So I make sure I have a candy bar or a soda every once in a while." The smirk on his face made it quite clear that he felt his doctor had given him an early Christmas present.
Oh, the angry thoughts that blazed through my brain! Your doctor told you what?! He said you needed sugar, but didn't make any distinction between, say, a candy bar and an apple? I mumbled something about, "Well, you can get sugar from fruit and stuff too..." but didn't feel it was my place to say anything else. The conversation moved along to types of blood testing, and I was left to stew over what I had just heard.
I have nothing against doctors. I think they are (generally) incredibly intelligent, hard-working professionals who stuck it out through a ton of rigorous schooling so they could help people. I do have a problem with unsuspecting doctors being fed a bunch of rubbish about sugar's valuable contribution to our diets, and then passing that information along to innocent patients, who accept it because "doctors always know best, right?"
For the love of Pete, skip the daily candy bar and eat an apple instead. Or an avocado. Or a stick of butter (yes, I think that would win out over the candy bar... Mmm...)
And for the rest of us, I think this is another good example of needing to analyze everything we are told for ourselves, instead of just accepting it because the doctor, the professor, or the pharmacist, told us it is true. While they may have a lot of specialized knowledge, they are human like the rest of us, and subject to misunderstanding or misinterpreting that knowledge. They are also subject to being misinformed, unintentionally, or intentionally, by those who stand to profit from that misinformation.
Okay, now I sound like a full-blown conspiracy theorist (I am one, I just don't want you to know it).
Bottom line, sugar stinks, doctors shouldn't blindly advocate it, and we have some super awesome volunteers who don't need to be eating candy bars everyday, because we want them to live long, healthy lives so they can keep coming and helping us.... I mean, so they can be happy and feel good for a long time.