Dear Crossfit

Dear Crossfit,

I must say that I was rather offended by your recent social media posts claiming that sugar causes diabetes.


I don’t know if you realised, but there are actually TWO completely different types of diabetes. While a diet high in sugar may contribute to type 2 diabetes, there is actually another type of diabetes that has no definitive cause.

Its a little thing called type 1 diabetes. I live with it. And I manage it, to the best of my ability. Every. Single. Day. And there are thousands and thousands of other, mostly young people, who develop this disease each day. There are young children, even babies, who get this horrible disease. There are concerned parents and loved ones who take on the emotional stress of this disease day in, day out.

And please know that they did nothing wrong to deserve it. They weren’t lazy children. They did not get it from spending too much time in front of the television. They did not get it from eating too much junk food. They did not get it from not playing outdoors enough. And they most certainly did not get it from eating too much sugar.

Please know that you attach a stigma to people living with type 1 diabetes. Just one of many stigmas we already face when living and dealing with diabetes in our day to day lives. You are helping others to make assumptions and judgements about me, and about people like me. Assumptions and judgements that are not true, and will have an impact on my own personal feelings and the opportunities that will come my way in life.

And to be completely honest, I’m insulted when I have to hear such disrespectful and untrue statements from companies like yours. You make me feel about this big. And I worry for all of the young, impressionable minds. To the individuals out there who are struggling with the physical and emotional aspects of this disease right now. When they have to hear messages like this, its probably enough to make them give up hope. To stop trying. To stop fighting. To stop aspiring.


But what bothers me most of all is your ignorance. Any other company would acknowledge that they’ve done wrong. I could even accept that this marketing message wasn’t thought through well enough. But your total ignorance and willingness to continue defending this message is an absolute disgrace.

I, along with every other type 1 diabetic in the world, are waiting for an apology. Even just an acknowledgement that you’ve done wrong would be greatly appreciated.





8 thoughts on “Dear Crossfit

  1. Frank,
    This is disturbing for a type 2 as well. From everything I’ve read after I learned I didn’t have type 2 but actually had a slow onset type 1 (LADA), type 2 is actually INHERITED (sorry to shout ;). It’s just that, if you have insulin resistance your pancreas deals with the extra demand for insulin until it reaches a point where it can’t anymore. A diet high in sugar will only hasten that demise but it isn’t the cause of insulin resistance. The problem is most people don’t even know they have this issue until they’re blood glucose level is checked by a doctor when they’ve gone in for some other reason. By that point they’ve probably been living with it for years. You know from experiencing lows that the brain triggers a strong “eat carbs now or die” response to a low. What I found interesting to note in my reading is that it doesn’t just signal this when your blood glucose drops below 70. It registers any significant drop in blood glucose and sends the signal. Which means that when, as a type 2, you have these huge spikes in blood sugar, when your pancreas does it’s job and returns you to normal levels your brain notices the drastic drop and signals the “eat carbs NOW” response. And, of course, your body converts all that extra sugar to fat which increases the insulin resistance. It becomes a vicious cycle that Type 2’s are told they caused by their diet and because they have no will power or because they are fat.

    Now, Type 2’s do have the ability, once they know they have Diabetes to begin with, to make dietary/exercise changes that will greatly improve their sugar levels but that will not cure or reverse insulin resistant Diabetes. It will seem like a cure for some because they can go for years or even perhaps the rest of their lives with normal levels if they maintain their diet and exercise regimen that helped them achieve normal sugar levels but their insulin resistance is still there. Because of this there is the misconception that diet causes type 2 Diabetes. Most people don’t know there are different types of diabetes, they just assume that you got diabetes because you ate too much sugar. I’m OK with the fact that people are largely unaware in the sense that I didn’t know anything about it until I got Type 1. After all, unless you are a physician or are touched by Diabetes directly, you have no need to completely understand the mechanisms of Diabetes. Still, I think it’s wrong that companies advertise like this and further cement these stereotypes in people’s conscientiousness.

    1. I’m so glad you brought this up and you’re absolutely right – sugar/bad diet isn’t the sole cause of type 2 diabetes either! Its great to hear a type 2 perspective and this would definitely be insulting to many type 2s as well

  2. Just to be clear, I have type 1 diabetes. I spent six years misdiagnosed (very common I understand with LADA) thinking I had type 2. I lived with the misconception that I had somehow caused my disease. Because of the prevelent sugar = diabetes advertisements and misconceptions there is a social stigma that many type 2’s just accept as fact. Of course, type 1’s face the same stigma but the difference is, we know Diabetes is not our fault. There are a lot of emotions to go through when you are diagnosed with Type 1 but guilt that you somehow brought this on yourself isn’t typically one of them.

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