Breakfast at Europe’s Biggest Diabetes Conference

Judging from the breakfast served, the solution to the diabetes epidemic doesn’t seem to be at the EASD, Europe’s biggest diabetes conference.

The problem, on the other hand, seems to be everywhere.

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27 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Jay Wortman MD
    This is the norm at health conferences of all types, in my experience. I attended a course for physicians in Omaha this year and breakfast was cinnamon buns, glazed donuts, bagels, sweetened yoghurt, juice, pop, etc. The only thing I could eat there was hard-boiled eggs. I remember the doc sitting next to me having a stack of three glazed donuts for breakfast. I calculated that 40% of the participants were obese and another 25% were overweight. During the lecture on weight management I mentioned that I got good results with a low-carb ketogenic diet. I think this was news to every one of them. My impression was that nobody there knew what I was talking about. What chance does the average person have when their doctors are so profoundly uninformed? I think our profession made a huge mistake when nutrition was abandoned a few decades back as we chose to pursue pharmaceuticals and intervention technologies instead.
    Read more →
  2. Francois
    I agree with my colleague Dr Wortman... Except for Germany, where breakfasts have real food (tons of cheese, smoked salmon, (heaven!) etc), every conference I have attended in Canada, the US or France has the type of high carb breakfast Dr Wortman described. How do the Germans manage to serve real food (God bless them), I have no clue. But in the other three countries, it is pathetic.

    There is a reason for this: these "foods" are cheap and taste (to most people) good. But why are they cheap? Contrary to real food and fat ( there was even until recently a tax on fat in Denmark - speak of people who do not understand) - grain-based products and sugar are heavily subsidized. And they are because of great lobbying done by their organizations.

    These cheap (in all sense of the word) "foods" make it difficult for people with a lower income to follow a LCHF diet: zucchini noodles are more expensive than wheat noodles, spiritachi noodles even more, rice goes a long way to fill your plate... I have had countless arguments with my two adult kids who are beginning in life: it boils down to the fact that real food is unfortunately more expensive than cheap crappy carbs and people need to eat.

    We are fighting an uphill battle on many fronts:
    1. Cheap dangerous carbs are heavily subsidized
    2. They are advertized as "health food", "protecting against cancer and heart disease - though the comparison is always done between whole grains and white flour products, never between whole grains and "no grains".
    3. Because of the action and subsidies of big sugar companies and subsidized grain companies, Government agencies and professional agencies still promote a high carb diet as healthy
    4. Dieticians (not well informed) give a higher carb / higher dessert diet to make diet more palatable for patients battling cancer, not realizing they are feeding the cancer, killing their patients, while they could starve it completely by severely cutting the carbs

    We have the scientific evidence:
    1. LCHF works better than everything for painless weight loss.
    2. LCHF works better than anything to improve biochemical markers of inflammation.
    3. High carbs turn on epigenetic switches of inflammation AND stimulate insulin, which in turn increases two other hormones, IGF-1 and decreases IGFBP-3. IGF-1 stimulates all cells to grow, including tumor cells. On the other hand, IGFBP-3 prevents unregulated tissue growth and its presence induces apoptosis (cellular death) in cancer cells. So insulin stimulation stimulates indiscriminate cell growth and prevents cancer cell death.

    BUT it will remain relatively difficult to "sell" LCHF to many non-obese non-sick people as long as the grain and the sugar industry has the unfair advantage of government subsidies.

    We must continue educating people on this extremely important subject, but we must also lobby our professional organizations (for those of us who are members of such organizations), consumers associations and Government agencies if we want those insane subsidies to stop and be transferred to real food producers (I know, I'm dreaming). And for doctors, nurses and dietitians, we must insist that breakfasts at our professional conferences provide real food for breakfast, not the crap we are offered.

    It will be a tough battle: even after I provided them with excellent research showing the risk of stroke with artificial sweeteners, my medical colleagues (they should know better) continue with their addiction to soft drinks and drink an average of 4 to 6 cans per day.

    It is not impossible to win, though. Let's start lobbying now.

    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Sia
    I've been trying to shake off a sugar addiction for over 10 years, sometimes with more success than others, but I still look at pictures like that and think yum :-( :-( :-(
  2. Sahanya
    Unbelievable!
  3. Galina L.
    I was caught couple times with such choices when breakfast was included in a hotel accommodation. My reaction from looking at the picture - "It looks like there is nothing to eat, but to drink coffee". I am lucky not to have a sweet tooth.
  4. robert
    I see... a self-perpetuating topic.

    Those pastries are so incredibly tasty and cheap. A cheese platter would cost 10-fold.

  5. L-Jay
    They might be trying to preserve their future employment...lol. ;)
  6. Jason K
    This reminds me of a reception I was at recently which only had food like this. They had a light cream dispenser for coffee (aka half and half), so I had a glass of that instead.
  7. Anya
    This is not breakfast - this is diabetes. What ever happened to good ole European breakfast, with eggs and bacon?
  8. Jan
    Oh dear, I don't like seeing pictures like this - and at a Diabetes conference. Alas the same happens at UK based diabetes events.

    We who follow a LCHF lifestyle still have a lot of work to do, to encourage and educate that dropping sugars/carbohydrates can be so worthwhile to improved health all round, diabetic or not.

    Yes, alas cost does come into eating but it doesn't have to be the most expensive. What about some cold meats, boiled eggs. I'm with Anya "eggs and bacon" superb food for me, and a great way to start the day

    All the best Jan.

  9. FrankG
    The office where I used to work ran training courses and in the kitchen we often had trays of sweet treats for the trainees at break times. I can remember how hard it was to walk past that table without having a snack... that was until I started LCHF and then almost literally overnight, the constant gnawing "hunger" went away. Yes I could still imagine how those "treats" tasted but they held no draw for me anymore... it was easy to walk on by. Isn't it amazing how a physiological/biochemical change is reflected in our "behaviour".. something usually attributed to "psychology"; using terms like "willpower".
  10. Barb
    Wow... that is just crazy. But, it is the same here in Canada.
  11. Melisa Zachrich
    This seems so typical of supposed "health" events and organizations. I'm stunned whenever it happens. We recently had a "Step it Up" program at work to start walking and get healthy. Our department won. The prize was ice cream!!!!
  12. Tuck
    Where's the tray of insulin hypos? The caterer needs to be fired...
  13. DoragonMama
    So this was a conference on how to get diabetes?

    Totally explains the food then.

  14. Jay Wortman MD
    This is the norm at health conferences of all types, in my experience. I attended a course for physicians in Omaha this year and breakfast was cinnamon buns, glazed donuts, bagels, sweetened yoghurt, juice, pop, etc. The only thing I could eat there was hard-boiled eggs. I remember the doc sitting next to me having a stack of three glazed donuts for breakfast. I calculated that 40% of the participants were obese and another 25% were overweight. During the lecture on weight management I mentioned that I got good results with a low-carb ketogenic diet. I think this was news to every one of them. My impression was that nobody there knew what I was talking about. What chance does the average person have when their doctors are so profoundly uninformed? I think our profession made a huge mistake when nutrition was abandoned a few decades back as we chose to pursue pharmaceuticals and intervention technologies instead.
  15. laza
    This wasn't a conference on how to get diabetes. See the title. It was the conference on how to get the Europe's Biggest Diabetes. With such high ambitions, the food couldn't have been anything else. World's Biggest Diabetes conference, however, will also soak the donuts in Pepsi.
  16. Orit
    It isn't better in Israel. I'm a volunteer EMT here and when we take people to Dialysis (90 % from diabetes) we are shocked by the lunch they serve them. A sweet yogurt, sponge cake and white bread sandwich.
    Go figure!
  17. Scot
    Serving this at a diabetes conference is just plain disgusting, you should be ashamed. Looks like you are trying to make things worst to keep your business going.

    I a lost for words.

  18. Henrik B
    OMG! it´s just wrong!
  19. Michelle
    I had my 3 month 'treat' day yesterday. I know it's not the perfect way to do LCHF but sometimes I need something. I had cake and a little ice-cream last night after eating LCHF for over 6 months now and it was horrible. I now look at tables like the above, groaning with sugar and it really makes me feel ill. I discussed this with my partner after we ate this 'treat' and we both agreed what we both really wanted was some wonderful bread (I know!) and some great Pate. So next treat day, 3 months away, we will have our favourite bread and pate.

    I am so happy that this way of eating has changed my tastes and I know bread is not on the LCHF food list, but sometimes as a modern human I need something. I still lose weight and I am usually back in ketosis at the end of the next day.

    Why do I feel so guilty????

    M x

  20. Jo tB
    The conference in Barcelona was about diabetic research where manufacturers could present their products and services.

    It was NOT a conference that diabetics attended. So the photo was misleading. The attendees weren't interested in healthy eating, just in being able to flog their propducts. Proper food doesn't sell. How many people there were diabetics? Not many I can assure you.

  21. Jo tB
    Just to clarify, It wasn't a conference on how to PREVENT diabetes. It was a conference for manufacturers of diabetic products. So the people attending weren't interested in helping diabetics live as healthily as possible, so wouldn't give the table a second glance and think this is no way to treat diabetics.
    Reply: #22
  22. robert
    One can only hope the sugar-pushers and associated industries will share the same fate as the tobacco industry. The subject of personal health and business interest of big companies in the health-sector really don't mix well. The only way out is education. It must become common knowledge what high refined-carb foods do to the body, especially as you might not feel any ill effects for the first 10 or 20 years. And then one day you run against a brick wall... perceived as coming out of nowhere.

    The whole nutrition "thing" is still in a messy state. Just today I had the 'pleasure' of watching an interview of a nutritional scientist (a Professor, whatever that may mean). He recognized that junk-food is to be avoided (good), and then recommended to use lots of whole-grains and mufa/pufa vegetable oils. "Use less butter and less saturated fat."...

    It seems the news from Sweden hasn't reached quite a lot of the professionals yet. Or it was dismissed as biased. Who knows.

  23. Nan
    No wonder it is taking so long to get through to these people; their brains are numbed by sugar.

    http://www.sugaraholics.com

  24. Francois
    I agree with my colleague Dr Wortman... Except for Germany, where breakfasts have real food (tons of cheese, smoked salmon, (heaven!) etc), every conference I have attended in Canada, the US or France has the type of high carb breakfast Dr Wortman described. How do the Germans manage to serve real food (God bless them), I have no clue. But in the other three countries, it is pathetic.

    There is a reason for this: these "foods" are cheap and taste (to most people) good. But why are they cheap? Contrary to real food and fat ( there was even until recently a tax on fat in Denmark - speak of people who do not understand) - grain-based products and sugar are heavily subsidized. And they are because of great lobbying done by their organizations.

    These cheap (in all sense of the word) "foods" make it difficult for people with a lower income to follow a LCHF diet: zucchini noodles are more expensive than wheat noodles, spiritachi noodles even more, rice goes a long way to fill your plate... I have had countless arguments with my two adult kids who are beginning in life: it boils down to the fact that real food is unfortunately more expensive than cheap crappy carbs and people need to eat.

    We are fighting an uphill battle on many fronts:
    1. Cheap dangerous carbs are heavily subsidized
    2. They are advertized as "health food", "protecting against cancer and heart disease - though the comparison is always done between whole grains and white flour products, never between whole grains and "no grains".
    3. Because of the action and subsidies of big sugar companies and subsidized grain companies, Government agencies and professional agencies still promote a high carb diet as healthy
    4. Dieticians (not well informed) give a higher carb / higher dessert diet to make diet more palatable for patients battling cancer, not realizing they are feeding the cancer, killing their patients, while they could starve it completely by severely cutting the carbs

    We have the scientific evidence:
    1. LCHF works better than everything for painless weight loss.
    2. LCHF works better than anything to improve biochemical markers of inflammation.
    3. High carbs turn on epigenetic switches of inflammation AND stimulate insulin, which in turn increases two other hormones, IGF-1 and decreases IGFBP-3. IGF-1 stimulates all cells to grow, including tumor cells. On the other hand, IGFBP-3 prevents unregulated tissue growth and its presence induces apoptosis (cellular death) in cancer cells. So insulin stimulation stimulates indiscriminate cell growth and prevents cancer cell death.

    BUT it will remain relatively difficult to "sell" LCHF to many non-obese non-sick people as long as the grain and the sugar industry has the unfair advantage of government subsidies.

    We must continue educating people on this extremely important subject, but we must also lobby our professional organizations (for those of us who are members of such organizations), consumers associations and Government agencies if we want those insane subsidies to stop and be transferred to real food producers (I know, I'm dreaming). And for doctors, nurses and dietitians, we must insist that breakfasts at our professional conferences provide real food for breakfast, not the crap we are offered.

    It will be a tough battle: even after I provided them with excellent research showing the risk of stroke with artificial sweeteners, my medical colleagues (they should know better) continue with their addiction to soft drinks and drink an average of 4 to 6 cans per day.

    It is not impossible to win, though. Let's start lobbying now.

  25. Eddy
    wow !! Hard to believe!! Has Dunkin Donuts joined the list of the other food giants funding the diabetes association???
  26. Butsch
    unbelievable!
  27. DuncanEngland
    Incredible. Talk about a 'disconnect'. I wonder if breakfast was funded by the pharma companies attending the event?
    I had the same feeling of bewilderment a while ago when attending a Cancer Research charity run (Race for Life). Lots of mobile catering units in attendance. All that was available was absolute rubbish e.g. hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chips, coke, donuts, ice cream. There was NOTHING healthy / nutritional. And guess what? There was no shortage of people lining up to buy and consume this rubbish. I simply can't get my head round why people can't make the connection. Not just the consumers but the event organisers and sponsors who surely must have the knowledge to see what's going on.
    It's simply staggering.
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