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Quick quiz: What is an ADA diet?

Quick answer: That's a trick question – there is no such thing as an ADA diet.

Many of us were trained to use the terminology "ADA diet" to indicate a diet planned specifically for diabetic patients that has controlled carbohydrate portions and limits on overall calorie intake. The "ADA" was supposed to stand for the American Diabetes Association, with the implication being that the ADA had created or approved the diets.

The problem? There is no such thing as an "ADA diet", according to a spokesperson for the ADA, and the ADA says it does not recommended specific calorie or carbohydrate targets for any diet. The ADA does provide good information and suggestions for meal planning, as well as general diabetes information, but does not offer any official diets. (Other good resources include the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and government sites like Medline and the NCCIH).

In fact, the ADA has requested that its name NOT be used in connection with any specific diet or meal plan. The most common alternative is "Consistent Carbohydrate", and that is the official terminology used here at GRMC. Our consistent carbohydrate diets have three levels of caloric intake (1500, 1800, and 2000 kcal/day), and may be modified for patients with higher overall calorie needs.

Habits are slow to change, but it is important that we keep our language consistent and avoid the trademarked ADA name. As always, specific diet information for diets available at GRMC is available on the Intranet page under the "Manual of Clinical Nutrition Management" link.

- Bret Sarnquist RD LD



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