Home ยป Thank you, Oprah!

Thank you, Oprah!

Oprah Winfrey aired a show on Thursday about diabetes, the Silent Killer. The show featured America’s doctor, Dr. Oz, as well as Bob Greene. USA Today put out a great article on the show.

If you didn’t get to catch the show, here’s a 10-minute excerpt:


I am passionate about diabetes and nutrition — it’s what I do. And we are learning more and more about diabetes, the disease that is predicted to bankrupt our health care system. I loved the show — diabetes and its compliacations were explained in a fashion that any American could comprehend.

Facts I learned:

  • Drinking just ONE can of regular soda a day increases one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 83% !!!!!!!!!
  • Engaging in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week reduces one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60%!!
  • If your waist circumference is greater than half your height in inches, you are at increased risk of diabetes. Ex: 5’5 = 65″; waist > 32.5″ is a risk factor for developing diabetes

Points made that I question:

  • Dr. Oz said that type 2 diabetes is reversible. I think this is debatable. Can a type 2 diabetic lower blood glucose levels to safe, normal ranges (with or without pills or insulin)? Yes.  Does this erase their diabetes diagnosis? Nah. This was just a logistical thing that I wanted to voice my opinion on. Specifically, for insurance purposes…chronic disease diagnoses don’t just disappear, even if they are well managed.

Other points to clarify:

  • Dr. Oz discussed staying away from the “whites” — white bread, pasta, sugar, etc. I agree with him in that these foods should be limited and more healthful replacements should be used when possible. However, I wanted to point out that there are a LOT of foods that are carbohydrates and ALL breakdown to sugar (glucose) in the body, such as: milk, wheat bread, brown rice, fruit, vegetables, juice, cereal, etc.

The bottom line:

  • Eat a balanced diet with an emphasis on lean proteins (animal sources of otherwise), complex carbohydrates (fiber-containing foods), fruits, and vegetables
  • DO NOT drink your carbohydrates — kick the soda habit and limit juice (even 100% all juices — eat the fruit instead!)
  • Exercise. 30 minutes a day. Most days of the week. As Bob Greene stated on the show, “Exercise is not an option!”
  • Do not focus on the dollar signs. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are cheaper and more easily accessible, yes. Be an educated consumer and understand the long-term cost that can be associated with poor health.
  • If you have uncontrolled diabetes and “feel fine” — please, don’t fool yourself. The statistics don’t lie. Change NOW before it’s too late. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “If only I did something before it was too late…”

After watching the show on Friday, I walked into my local Walgreen’s. And look what was on the door:

In the red circle it says, “As featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show”

There was a woman getting her blood sugar tested and I thought it would be rather invasive and  inappropriate to take a picture, so just take my word for it 😉 The table was set-up right inside the door. What a wonderful event! Go, Oprah and Walgreens!

Question: What’s your take on soda? Juice? Do you choose to drink regular or diet soda? No soda? If you were counseling a regular soda drinker, how would you encourage them to kick the habit? What about diet soda drinkers?

I feel soda drinkers have VERY strong opinions on soda and easily justify their habit. Diet soda drinkers say, “Regular soda is too many calories and sugar.” and regular soda drinkers say, “Diet soda has that fake stuff that isn’t healthy.”

Random question: Do you say “soda” or “pop”…or “soda pop”? 😉

P.S. Email any burning nutrition questions to me at [email protected]! I’m planning my next Q&A! 🙂

Giveaway alert:

Michelle over at Lucky Taste Buds is giving away a $50 Safeway giftcard!

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  1. February 6, 2010 / 5:56 pm

    I’ve been anti-pop ever since my high school track coach told us all not to drink any :-). And yeah, I call it pop. As far as encouraging someone to kick the habit, I’d show them evidence as to why it’s not good for you and then suggest an alternative like flavored water, or perhaps an all-natural fizzy, pop-like drink.

  2. February 6, 2010 / 6:57 pm

    Wow, those statistics are staggering, especially the one about soda! I very rarely drink a diet Coke, but that’s motivation for me to cut it out completely! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think a good way to get people to change is to show them why they should (that statistic is motivation!).

  3. February 6, 2010 / 7:40 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve ever had a non-diet soda in my whole life since I was allllllways on a diet. But I was never a big diet soda drinker either, like one after the other. I would maybe have one with a meal and then it was only Diet Pepsi (not a rationalization, just a personal tidbit). They always made me feel kinda weird and shaky. I hardly remember giving it up, but one day I realized I hadn’t had a diet soda in a really long time. My co-worker drinks Sobe Lifewater, and I tried it and couldn’t drink it – it tasted so fake. I’d already bought some at Costco so now I cut it with a LOT of seltzer from our SodaStream. It turns pretty colors and I can fool myself into thinking I’m having a nice glass of wine!

    Soda’s like smoking – it’s so obvious and should be easy to give up but people dig their heels in and refuse.

  4. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    February 6, 2010 / 7:55 pm

    awesome post! i just wrote a paper on diabetes for my public health class, i was getting all heated as i typed it out bc it’s osmething i feel so strongly about too! i never had a regular soda habit, but i have to admit that i am a diet soda consumer! i used to be really awful, like many cans a day, but i’ve cut it down to 1-2. and it’s definitely SODA not pop ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. February 6, 2010 / 7:58 pm

    Type 2 diabetes runs in my dad’s family. They are typical southerners. Fried, fried, and more fried. I feel like I’m doing all I can to prevent it… lowered carbs, increased protein, regular workouts, pretty much the whole 9 yards! BUT, every now and then I get shaky and feel super hungry and I’ve heard this can mean you’re prediabetic. Scary. I was not a healthy teenager and I wonder if that screwed me. I do drink diet sodas (that answers one of your questions! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) pretty regularly and have tried many, many times to give it up, but it’s the one bad habit I have and the way I look at it is, I could be doing much worse. I do try to limit it to 1-2 diet sodas a day.

  6. February 6, 2010 / 7:59 pm

    Wow go Oprah! What a great topic to cover, especially because she has the ability to reach so many people out in the world.

    About 6 months ago when I decided to nix artificial sweeteners (best decision!) I stopped drinking diet soda (never really drank regular soda). It wasn’t that difficult of a decision to make and I mainly switched to drinking more tea… maybe that’s how I’d help someone quit their pop drinking habit, switch to tea!

    I change between saying soda and pop, but I used to only say pop.

  7. Holly
    February 6, 2010 / 8:24 pm

    Absolutely no pop (yes, it’s POP in Chicago!) for me! The only times I bend are when I have a horrible stomachache– then it’s Whole Foods ginger ale.

    I do love my juice though… however, I do 100% and I dilute it 50%. It saves a ton of money, and I think of it as flavored water… ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. eaternotarunner
    February 6, 2010 / 9:29 pm

    I say soda….but I don’t drink it!

  9. February 6, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    My mom is a diabetic so I am very aware of diabetes and the risks. I am trying to take super good care of myself so I don’t develop it.

    I don’t drink soda normally – when I do, it is a regular coke and I call it soda – not pop.

    I’m a water and tea drinker!

  10. February 6, 2010 / 9:54 pm

    Pop!! ๐Ÿ™‚ In h.s. I would have 2-3 cans a day. Probably similar in college although since mom wasn’t buying it, may have slacked off a litte. While on WW after college, I finally saw how I was taking most of my calories via my beverage choices (pop, milk, juice). I am not a big fan of water and so mostly switched to Gatorade. However I go on spurts now where I crave some pop every now and then – but I only need a little to satisfy me. I can tell it’s the sugar I want – like dessert after dinner. Now if I buy it, I get the 8 oz. Mt. Dew cans or 12 oz. Coke bottles – LOVE the mini portions. And sometimes I don’t even want to drink all of that. It’s funny how I need to have one via can and one via bottle, but switch ’em up and it’s just not the same.

    Great post!! Never thought I would need to worry myself about diabetes, but maybe I do….

  11. February 6, 2010 / 10:10 pm

    I say soda. I only drink diet though. Just because that’s what we always had growing up, and whenever I have a taste of the regular, it hurts my stomach. I used to be seriously addicted to my diet soda! I would drink more than 1, 2-liter a day! I’ve cut back soooo much since I’ve decreased artificial sweeteners. I’d say I have a soda about once a month now, if that.

    And I drink juice sometimes too! I love the taste.

  12. February 6, 2010 / 10:32 pm

    I do drink diet soda, but I’ve cut back a lot in the past year or so. It’s one of those things; I know it’s not good for me, but it’s somehow the lesser of two evils. At least from a caloric standpoint.

    Both of my grandparents on my father’s side had diabetes and so does my father.

  13. February 7, 2010 / 12:31 am

    I call it “pop” but I think thats maybe a Canadian thing.

    I dont drink pop. Ever. I used to, but I dont even find it tempting anymore. I stopped drinking it actually because it hurts my teeth. Unfortunately my ED left my teeth in not the best condition. Theyre extra sensitive now, and I just cant risk a cavity, end of story.
    This was a really great post. My boyfriends father and brother both have diabetes so I read this out loud to him. Hopefully they’ll both start taking it more seriously.

  14. intheskinny
    February 7, 2010 / 5:58 am

    I always say “Coke” because I live in Atlanta, the Coca-Cola headquarters. ๐Ÿ™‚ When I lived in Boston I heard people say “pop” and it would just seem silly to me.

    I’ve always been a diet coke drinker. I didn’t have too much of it in high school or college, but as soon as I began teaching it became a bad habit – one per day. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I don’t want to drink it everyday.

  15. February 7, 2010 / 6:30 am

    That’s a really helpful post. I never drink soda because I don’t like the taste of it. And if I see people I really love drinking coke or sprite or whatever I always want to stop them – but I am not doing it because they have to find ther way by themselves ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. February 7, 2010 / 6:58 am

    I say soda. When I first hear pop I was very confused.

    This is a great highlight on diabetes. I know many young students in my school who have diabetes related to diet and nutrition and it is so sad.

  17. February 7, 2010 / 7:24 am

    Great info! I switch between soda and pop since I’ve moved all over and never really know what’s “normal” where I am ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. February 7, 2010 / 7:41 am

    I very rarely drink soda (I do enjoy the occasional diet coke… we’re talking 1 every few months) and can’t even remember the last time I had juice. I simply don’t believe in drinking your calories. I like eating way too much to waste delicious food space on soda.
    My sister is a pediatric dentist and she strong opposes soda/juice for children, not only for teeth reasons but also for overall health and wellness.
    Great post, as usual!

  19. February 7, 2010 / 8:04 am

    Gosh I do love Oprah! I do not drink any soda at all. It is just empty calories and all sugar. I would much rather have a cup of tea or hot chocolate or something. I dont really drink juice, unless I make it myself using my juicer ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. February 7, 2010 / 8:05 am

    I am from Indiana, so I call everything “pop”, occasionally Coke. I used to drink a ton of Diet Coke my freshman year of high school. I realized how bad it was and just stopped. Haven’t had a sip of pop since then and can’t even remember what it tastes like, so I don’t miss it. My running also got so much better after I stopped drinking it all the time.

  21. February 7, 2010 / 8:14 am

    So I’m not the biggest Dr. Oz fan because I feel like he sometimes tends to hyperbolize things…especially really science research based things. I just know that after watching him my mom has definitely made some comments about stem cells and other things that were completely untrue…it’s probably all about the media though and slightly about my mom’s lack of understanding in general.

    That being said, all of his messages on diabetes and nutrition sound valid. I think the only way to “reverse” Type II diabetes is through diet, weight loss, and exercise. I’m pretty sure you can build up your glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity again (I’ve seen it happen in mice…used to do research on calorie restriction and lifespan extension) but I wonder whether it’s the kind of thing where the second you revert to your old ways, it will kick back up again.

    I hate drinking my calories. I don’t drink juice ever or regular soda (although I do drink diet soda on occasion and coffee – skinny cappuccinos!). I just always feel like I would rather eat something than drink something…much more satisfying.

  22. February 7, 2010 / 8:30 am

    Thanks but no thanks Oprah.
    I watched the show and I must tell you it was much ado about nothing. Too much misinformation to help anyone and dr. Oz is not an expert in everything. She should have used a diabetes expert at the very least and the usual scare tactics ploy was as unhelpful as the woman with failing health who did a poor job at controlling her diabetes. Would people rather be scared into action or given hope.
    Yes diabetes is a life long challenge and the people who do a poor job controlling is because they get frustrated and give up, why not give them hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel instead of scaring them into more futility.
    Thanks Oprah but no thanks you did a poor job at showing the diabetes life, I will stick to the DLIFE on MSNBC every Sunday at 730pm they do a better job for the diabetic community.

    • Nicole
      February 7, 2010 / 8:36 am

      Hi Ronald, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. May I ask what you would’ve liked to see on the show? I’m not defending the show, but as a diabetes educator (working towards certification), I felt the show addressed some important points that many diabetics choose to ignore, or just think, “not me.” After skimming your blog, it’s clear that you have a great handle on things – props to you! Thank you for inspiring others to do the same!

  23. February 7, 2010 / 8:35 am

    You have a very nice blog and great information!…thank you!


  24. February 7, 2010 / 9:12 am

    I saw part of the show, it was very informative!

    I think soda drinkers are totally addicted which is why they justify drinking it so much. I used to have at least 1 diet coke a day..now, when I drink it it gives me a headache!

  25. February 7, 2010 / 9:29 am

    Wow – I hope my mom was able to catch that episode!

    My grandpa was diagnosed with diabetes when I was very young, and now my mom and her 2 siblings have it. It is a big part of why I try to be healthy – I’ve seen their struggles, and it scares me. I know it can be “manageable,” but to me it’s just easier to try and avoid it all together in the first place!

    Diet Coke addict here. ๐Ÿ™ I know it’s bad, I know it might catch up with me one day. But it truly makes me HAPPY to drink it – like, it really improves my mood! I don’t drink a TON of it, but more than I should.

  26. February 7, 2010 / 9:31 am

    I am not a fan of Oprah, however, sometimes she has some great segments, and this was one of them (but I missed it!). Thanks for the recap. I think soda pop should be banned from our Earth! haha. Seriously, I mean people can’t just have one a week or two a week, they have to have one a day, and that’s a problem. I don’t have a problem with the diet varieties, however, people can take that to a whole new level too, and then it becomes dangerous. There is not such thing as moderation for too many people!!

  27. February 7, 2010 / 9:39 am

    That soda statistic is incredible! I’m glad I don’t crave soda, nor do I hardly ever drink it. I’m learning a little about diabetes currently in my health psych. class and my nutrition class. It’s crazy how many people are diagnosed each year. We too learned that it’s reversible..but I actually assumed that this meant for some types of diabetes, if you did the right things, your body would change so that it was able to properly control its blood glucose levels. Thanks for clearing that up.

  28. February 7, 2010 / 10:15 am

    With my patients, I will try to recommend drinking mostly water. I work with kids who overload on juice and soda. Personally If I ever want a soda which is once in a blue moon, I will have a regular. For me, I just prefer the taste.
    If patients can’t do just water, I will then recommend sugar free alternatives. Sometimes you can stick with the sugar-free stuff and not drink enough water, which is what I see often.
    Great post!

  29. February 7, 2010 / 11:18 am

    That is interesting that he said Type II is reversible! I have not hear that.

    I don’t drink soda, tea, or juice. I drink water, and have a sports drink a few times a year. I say “soda.” I have never tried to encourage anyone not to drink it!

  30. February 7, 2010 / 12:15 pm

    Great post! I’m lovin’ Oprah this year actually ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh – I have a question if you’ll take it here (!) – do you ever find yourself needing a “break” from nutrition given that it’s your job, you write about it, research, etc.?? I don’t know – know what I mean?

    Or if you weren’t an R.D – what would you be?! Haha – something light!

  31. February 7, 2010 / 12:43 pm

    I don’t care to drink my food either, so I tend to stick to water with a bit of black coffee with a splash of almond milk as well as teas. I do have a diet soda on a rare occasion. The regular stuff is way too syrupy for me though.

    And I say ‘coke’ since I’m from Atlanta, the mecca of Coca Cola. Even if its Pepsi, Sprite, Ginger Ale….it’s all called ‘coke’ here. Haha.

  32. February 7, 2010 / 1:33 pm

    I’m eating healthy now so I haven’t had a pop this year so far. Before though I’d probably drink on average 1 gallon of diet pepsi a day.

    As for Dr.OZ: I like his show as it’s entertaining and informative. But if I was an expert I wouldn’t agree to go on his show….they barely get to say two words and then he takes over. What’s the point of bringing them on if you don’t let them do their thing.

    And you were talking about being able to cure Type 2: I think they play with the wording, too. I do believe you can reverse it to the point you may get to go off meds but you are obviously prone to go back on them if you fall back to your old ways. What you said right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. February 7, 2010 / 6:37 pm

    My dr. thinks I have PCOS. So being active and eating well is really important to me. My dr. is happy with my current weight (I’ve lost about 20 lbs since I first became her patient). Both sides of my family had diabetes. I am working to stop that, if I can.

    Thanks for the info. I will definitely be continuing my workout. Lessening my chance of diabetes by 60% is major motivation.

  34. February 7, 2010 / 10:49 pm

    Soda, pop, whatever…No Way!!! I work way too hard on this body to keep it clean and toned. If I am gonna blow it, it’s not gonna be on a beverage. I don’t like soda or juice. It’s either water, coffee, or my version of hot cocoa around here. For a sweet fix I have one of my frozen granita’s sweetened with stevia.

  35. February 7, 2010 / 10:50 pm

    And the Oprah show…..gosh I wish people could just “get it!” Keeps you in business though ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. aria
    February 8, 2010 / 11:23 am

    What about the apple cider vinegar comment?

    Coke! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. February 8, 2010 / 2:24 pm

    I just don’t drink pop either way. The last time I had a pop was…ummm…. maybe a year ago? We were in Vegas for my sister’s wedding and went to the Coca-cola store so I indulged.

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