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Talk to Them Fast Because a Burrito Isn't Just a Burrito

The case here is a woman we spoke to recently about her diet – and why she wasn’t able to lose weight and control her diabetes. She swore she ate a healthy diet - which was the same as what her (very healthy, non-diabetic) parents and grandparents ate. She, being of Mexican decent, said she ate burritos just as her ancestors always had, with no negative consequences.
For anyone who as read the “Jungle Effect” (by Daphne Miller), you’ll recognize a classic “diet lost in translation”. (This refers to a food which has the same name as a traditional food, but which shares only a superficial similarity to the original product). Based on the great research done by this books’ author, Dr. Daphne Miller, a nutritional comparison between these two burritos is the following:
Fat (g)
Sat Fat (g)
Carb (g)
Protein (g)
Sodium (mg)
American Burrito
Traditional Mexican Burrito
Given this knowledge, we immediately jumped to the conclusion that she was in fact eating these American styled burritos. But, even through further discussion, she was unable to confirm or deny our assumption.
Though it remains unclear how much of this person’s claims in this particular case was true lack of memory versus denial, it highlights the fact that the nitty gritty details of exactly what was eaten need to be known in order to actually know the physiological outcomes  – and to accurately educate an individual about the effects of their actions. Unfortunately, such details are increasingly forgotten over time. The conversation needs to occur soon after the meal – often measured by (in diabetics) a high rise in blood glucose levels.
By missing that short window of time, you miss the teachable moment. Over time, we only remember the “burrito” – though we all know that a burrito isn’t just a burrito.

Rebecca Dubowy, Chief Medical Officer



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