Candy For Diabetes? Blue Cross Blue Shield Defends Itself

After we exposed them for promoting sugar to children and diabetics yesterday, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina commented twice.

Below is one BCBSNC comment in its entirety. See what you think:

“Here at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we feel very proud of your work towards keeping our diabetic citizens healthy. It’s only with initiatives like yours that the country can achieve its goal of being an overall healthy nation.

We wanted to address your comments regarding our new diabetes campaign ‘Let nothing stop you’. As you mention in your blog the complications of diabetes can be deadly, and as such the advertising for diabetes management has always been somber and serious.

Our intention with this campaign was to fight that stereotype, to give diabetics this message of empowerment: if you take good care of your condition, if you are disciplined and well-informed, your life does not have to be a nightmare. You can even enjoy a beer or some chocolate.

We think it is important that diabetes patients feel like managing their condition is not an impossible task or an unbearable burden. We want them to know that the challenges they face have been defeated by others and there is plenty of information that can help them get through it.

If you go to the site http://www.livingwithdiabetesnc.com, you will find that we are both communicating similar information: tips about prevention and management, and useful information for those who suffer from diabetes. We decided that diabetics are no longer going to be portrayed as sad or dying people, because they are not. They are functional, happy members of our community, and their happiness and wellbeing is always our main objective.”

Is the “wellbeing” of diabetics truly the “main objective” for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and check out livingwithdiabetesnc.com.

The front page shows a diabetic eating candy:

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 7.12.18 AM.png

Perhaps that’s an anomaly. Surely the rest of their site focuses on reversing diabetes through dietary changes. Let’s scroll down.

Oh, here are some diabetics eating cheesecake.

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 7.13.59 AM.png

These are just the front page images, though. Let’s look deeper. Where does more info lead us?

Here’s a video with “Mariana,”a diabetic who is “addicted to chocolate.

“Mariana” recommends that diabetics eat “dark chocolate.” A 100-gram Safeway dark chocolate bar yields 21 grams of sugar, nearing the limit set by the American Heart Association for healthy women. Again, Blue Cross Blue Shield is recommending this food to diabetics. And, BCBS extols the health benefits of chocolate, saying,

“A growing number of studies have linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack, even though more research is still necessary to establish this officially.”

(We’re guessing Hershey’s, David Katz and Mars. Inc. had something to do with these “studies.”)

Are you thinking that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s website looks less interested in promoting the wellbeing of diabetics, and more interested in promoting junk food? Just wait until you see the next section.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina recommends that diabetics with hyperglycemia, or dangerously high blood sugar,

“drink electrolyte fluids like Gatorade or Pedialyte”

The other Blue Cross Blue Shield content might kill diabetics in the long term, but this recommendation could kill them right now. Drinking Gatorade for high blood sugar is like drinking Absolut Vodka for alcoholism.

A 20-ounce Gatorade bottle packs 34 grams of sugar, 36% more than the limit set for a healthy woman in one day. Why does Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina recommend sugar water to diabetics suffering from dangerously high blood sugar? Prescribing sugar to diabetics who already have dangerously high blood sugar can be fatal.

(If you think that Gatorade’s electrolyte benefits would somehow make up for its sugar, Gatorade is so dilute that it can lower electrolyte concentration levels to dangerous levels.)

We were unable to find a single bit of information on BCBSNC’s website on how to reverse diabetes through diet and exercise.

And while BCBSNC is just one Blue Cross Blue Shield company out of many, there is reason to believe that Blue Cross Blue Shield supports its junk food campaign. After all, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has young girls do burpees for candy.

6 comments

  1. theloniusmobile

    It is hard to know whether BCBS is fully corrupt or simply incompetent but this campaign leads diabetics in the wrong direction. Great work exposing it, hopefully someone with authority and better judgment will listen to your critique.

    Mike Bowerman 403.461.6079 (Calgary, AB, Canada) skype: mjbowerman twitter: mjbowerman

  2. californiaesque

    Stop lying to your customers. The profit motive inflamed by the pharmaceutical industry’s unholy alliance with medical group executives, physicians and shareholders is perpetuating this hideous epidemic. I’ve reversed my Type 2 Diabetes to normal insulin and blood glucose, and my insurance -funded medical care provided ZERO effective support or advice. NOTHING. The truth was found in the wisdom of crowds and support from other similarly impacted people who had succeeded before me and walked me through the science. Tell the truth.

  3. californiaesque

    It’s simply not possible to eat like an insulin-sensitive metabolically normal person no matter how much you exercise and whether those processed carbohydrates, sugar and starches are in “moderation” or not.

  4. M Russell

    Big pharma rules all. I watched my mother slowly be eaten up by diabetes and any time she ate anything off her diet it wrecked her body and levels. The problem most people have with diabetes is that they eat JUNK like this regularly. Really pretty surprised such a large insurance company such as BCBS would put up garbage like this. Seems they’d wanna get people healthier so they could stop paying out for services.

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