I haven’t quit sugar and I’ve no intention of doing so because Nutella, doughnuts and the red velvet Tim Tams* that Adriano Zumbo has just developed with Arnott’s. Also, candied bacon.

So looking at the I Quit Sugar Facebook page the other day was a pointless exercise that was only ever going to end in stress eating (of foods mentioned above). And the development of a twitch in my right eye.

The I Quit Sugar (IQS) Facebook admins had caught on that last week was National Diabetes Week and were outraged – OUTRAGED – to discover that on some diabetes sites were recipes containing sugar. Because, you know, sugar causes diabetes. Right?

Wrong!

But let’s not allow facts, a broad evidence-base, and the medical fraternity to get in the way of a good bit of ignorance, will we?

I know; I should have walked away. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Instead, I read. And read and read and read post after post after post of ignorance and judgement and lies.

Whilst for the most part I sat there shaking my head at the witlessness of the posts, it was when people started outright lying that I decided that I had to write something.  One woman claimed that the Australian Paediatric Endocrine Group (APEG) is run by ‘pharmacy companies that make insulin’. She went on to say that JDRF is ‘owned and run by pharmacy companies with an interest in insulin’.

Both these statements are complete lies. The APEG Council is made up of very highly regarded healthcare professionals. The current President of APEG is Professor Fergus Cameron who is the head of Diabetes Services at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

JDRF is a global not-for-profit, raising much-needed funds which go towards research that is looking to find a cure for, and improve management of type 1 diabetes. Run by pharmacy companies? I don’t think so.

The conspiracy theorists on the IQS bandwagon remind me of the anti-vax brigade. The ridiculous claims that the entire medical establishment is simply trying to keep people unwell and feed the pockets of Big Pharma is offensive. The only difference between the two is that the anti-vaxxers are stupid and dangerous. The IQS zealots are just plain stupid.

But here’s the other thing that I find so offensive about so many of the posts from proponents of IQS – the judgement. One woman (in a comment that has now been removed) said she’d like to ‘slap diabetics who eat sugar’.

Quitting sugar is a personal choice – a lifestyle choice, if you will. In exactly the same way that doing yoga, going for a run, not eating red meat or only wearing stripes is a personal choice. These things may work for you, which is terrific, but judging someone because they still want to eat sugar – or wear polka dots – is crazy.

The foolish conspiracies on the IQS website say the advice provided by the medical establishment and health organisations should be questioned and ignored.

But, as I posted in my comment on their FB page, whose integrity should we really be questioning here? Researchers and healthcare professionals with years of training in their specialised field? Organisations supporting people, and raising money to help researchers further developments in living well with these conditions? Or money-making endeavours based on pseudo-science with no evidence-base run by a celebrity?

 DISCLAIMERS

*I am so not sponsored by Arnott’s, but seriously – these are amazing! And perfect for an intended week of eating only red food to coincide with a new-found addiction to True Blood!

Professor Fergus Cameron is a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Diabetes Camps Victoria Program at Diabetes Australia – Vic. I am employed by DA-Vic and the chair of this committee.

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