The Illegal Marketing of Diabetes Treatments

The number of people suffering from diabetes is on the rise, and that has led to more and more illegally marketed cures and treatments flooding the market.

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers to steer clear of these treatments. Some of these supposed “wonder cures” are sold as over the counter treatments when they actually contain ingredients that should make them prescription drugs. One of the big issues here is that diabetes sufferers often go off effective legal drugs in favor of the illegal variety. Without the proper care and treatment, these people can end up becoming at risk for even more serious health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the US alone, more than 29 people deal with diabetes, with roughly 7 million going undiagnosed. There are millions more who are in the pre-diabetic stage, which means that they have high blood sugar levels that could effectively be brought back to normal with proper diet and exercise.

In discussing the rise of illegal diabetes treatments, Jason Humbert, a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service, of FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, spoke about how people who suffer from chronic ailments will often become desperate and go with any type of treatment that promises to help, regardless of the risks. He also warned that failing to follow proven treatment plans can lead to further health issues, with the likes of kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and even death being near the top of the list.

Unapproved Diabetes Drugs

Several companies have received warning letters from the FDA in regards the marketing of diabetes products that are in violation of federal law. These products are usually marketed as the following: OTC drugs; ayurvedics, dietary supplements, alternative medical treatments, or homeopathic treatments. Diabetes is not the only disease targeted by these companies, with the likes of cancer, macular degeneration, STD’s, and more also on the list.

Upon inspection of supposed “all-natural” products, the FDA discovered that most contained undeclared active ingredients usually found in prescription diabetes medications. Serious health issues can arise from these undeclared active ingredients. Consumers and doctors unaware of these ingredients may end up in a situation where said ingredients interact in potentially harmful ways with legally prescribed treatments. One of the most common complications is that the recommended daily dosage of a diabetic drug may be exceeded. The end result in this circumstance would be a big drop in blood sugar levels that is referred to as hypoglycemia.

Online pharmacies who illegally market prescription drugs are also a target of the FDA. There are several ways to spot legitimate online pharmacies, and they include: requiring consumers to have a physical US address, requiring patients have a valid prescription, being licensed by a state pharmacy board, and having a pharmacist on hand to answer questions about medications.

Illegal online pharmacies often market and sell drugs that have not been approved in the US. They may also sell medications without the consumer being required to present a valid prescription. The FDA cannot guarantee that the drugs sold on these sites are safe or effective, or that they have not been contaminated or tampered with.



Carb Counting and Blocking

Low carb diets are popular. It is like everywhere you look you find a variation of these. The reason it is so popular is simple; it works. But what if you love your breads, pastas, and potatoes? Can you eat carbs and still lose fat? In this post we shall look at the benefits of natural carbs blockers and whether they can help you lose fat.

While cutting down on some carbohydrate foods such as white bread, white rice and other refined grains and sugars is recommended, cutting carbs drastically may not be a good idea. The reason is that you need carbohydrates for energy.

While the term “carb counting” appears to be more commonly used, we prefer the term “carb blocking”. This is not the same as carb cutting which, as mentioned, may not entirely be healthy. Carb blocking is about how your body manages (read utilizes) carbohydrates. You see, the digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into sugar, which enters your bloodstream. This causes the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin. This is the real enemy in your weight loss battles. Why?

Insulin prompts your body to absorb blood sugar for energy, or store it as glycogen in the liver and muscles, or as fat. However, due to poor dietary habits consisting of high levels of processed carbs, many of us have developed a certain level of what is known as insulin resistance. This means that body is not able to effectively use insulin.

Certain foods and compounds have been found to potentially influence the way the body manages carbs, which can influence body weight. These work in one of two ways:

  • Carbs blocking: Also known as starch blockers, carbohydrate blockers block amylase, a compound that helps digest carbs. This causes the carbs (and calories) to pass through the system undigested.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity: When your body is sensitive to insulin, only a small of the hormone amount needed to clear glucose from your system is released into your bloodstream. This is a good a thing as the presence of insulin can negatively affect fat burning.

Healthy Food Choices

The FDA are going out of their way to help people make healthy choices, which they are doing via a two-pronged approach. The first part is providing the information you need to make those choices.

The second is that the FDA is helping food manufacturers change or reformulate their recipes so that the food they produce is healthier.

Nutrition Facts Labels are New and Improved

The Nutrition Facts label has appeared on packages in your local grocery store for over 20 years, serving as a guide to health-conscious consumers. The FDA has made changes in format and content to those labels in recent years.

The changes made include:

  • Calorie and servings information is highlighted, as those are two of the most important elements in making healthy food choices
  • Additional nutrients are listed. “Added Sugars” are now included on labels for the first time, both in grams and as a % Daily Value. We are now aware that exceeding 10% of your total daily calories via added sugars is considered unhealthy. This is information that is consistent with 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Besides Added Sugars, you will now find that potassium and Vitamin D are a required part of nutrition labels
  • Serving sizes are now more in line with how people really eat, which means that the per serving information is more on point. This information now holds a more prominent place on the label, making it easier to find.

With these new changes to the nutrition label, food manufacturers often feel more inclined to make healthier choices in their recipes. The biggest change came back in 2006 when the FDA required trans-fat be shown on nutrition labels. This change led trans-fat levels to be drastically reduced, which also mean less added sugars.

New Labelling Takes the Mystery Out of Calorie Counting

It is estimated that roughly 1/3 of the calories that Americans consume via food and drink happens outside the home. With this in mind, it’s important that accurate nutrition information be made available everywhere. Restaurants now routinely show calorie counts on their menus, which includes fast food and takeout food chains. You may even find that movie theaters now show calorie counts with their food items.

The information shown usually includes the following:

  • Calories from alcohol are not always shown, but food vendors are now routinely required to show that information on their menu
  • Putting calorie information in context can be tough for consumers, which is why the new rule demands that the following message be placed on menus and menu boards: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.” This same footnote appears on nutrition labels.
  • You may also find that vending machines now post calorie counts for the foods sold there

Targeting a Salt Reduction in the Food Industry

Sodium is another big issue in the U.S. It is estimated that the average American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium per day, which amounts to 50% more than the recommended total. Processed and prepared food accounts for the majority of that total.

Sodium is shown on nutrition labels, but even if you are careful about reading the nutrition facts, it can still be tough to limit salt intake to 2,300 mg per day. This is because restaurant foods tend to be high in sodium.

There are some members of the food industry who have made steps to reduce sodium levels in food, but those levels are still way too high. The FDA has voluntary 2-year and 10-year programs in place to help manufacturers reduce sodium levels in their foods.