Complex Carbs, do you have problems with them too, even whole wheat things?

Hey all!
I am newly pregnant and am trying to find things I can eat to keep my blood sugar in good control, however I have a terrible time with all whole wheat products from bread, to pasta, etc. Does anyone else have this problem? I will be fine, and then spike for no reason! Also does anyone have any tips on doing the dual wave boluses, maybe that will help? I ate a grilled cheese sandwich at lunch today with a cup of tomato soup and at first I checked and 180 then i gave a correction, with a lot of insulin leftover in my system still active, then it came down to 153 then back up to 180 again?! grrrr! I used a dual wave for lunch and it split my carbs perfectly in half and I set it for an hour and a half, what am I doing wrong?!

Spike to just 180 after eating bread or pasta is very good result. Many people spike much, much higher from this kind of food.

No, you are not alone. My body reacts to all carb the same way, regardless of whether it is a ‘simple’ or ‘complex’ carb. GI value also irrelevant, and in fact I find I spike less with high-GI food.

I keep reading about the ‘good’ complex carbs versus the ‘bad’ simple carbs but my meter has yet to find a difference between them.

Is this a new problem you are having because of pregnancy? Some PWD do find that wholegrains are better tolerated, was that the case with you before?

Hi -

I don’t tend to spike right after a meal so I can’t help you there but I have found sprouted grain bread (Ezekial Bread is the one I use) is much easier to handle than regular whole wheat bread. It has a glycemic index of about 36. Canned or boxed soups tend to push me up quickly. You might think about bean soups if you’d like something hot and wet with lunch.

Congratulations on the pregnancy!


Congrats! I’ll just throw this out there – the spike you saw could have been due to fat rather than whole wheat bread. The grilled cheese contains a fair amount of fat (butter for toasting, and cheese obviously), and tomato soup depending on recipe can have cream or 1/2 and 1/2 in it. A dual wave will help. How long after you ate was the 153 and the 180?

I am still kind of new to type 1 and still learning, but I wonder if maybe whole wheat as a slower spike vs white bread and pasta products works better for type 2? My friend with type 2 is often suggesting whole wheat to me, as she eats much greater quantities of bread and pasta than I can tolerate despite bolusing, but I have found that for me, at least, there is no difference. Both cause equal increases in blood sugar and I must eat very small amounts and sometimes bolus for double the amount of carbs. Do other type 1s have this problem, or is this maybe just a YMMV thing?

Does your friend the T2 actually test after meals? many T2s don’t, and so don’t realize that they are spiking badly.

I don’t understand how the spike could have been due to fat. As far as I know, fat does not have much of an impact on blood sugar. But what it can do is delay the digestion of the carbs and proteins. So fat has an impact on the timing of the blood sugar changes. It does not cause them. So it could just be changing the timing of the spike; the spike was brought on by the bread.

It sounds to me more like you aren’t counting the carbs correctly, or your BG wasn’t where you thought it was before you ate. I eat a fair amount of whole wheat bread and pasta. I don’t find it to be much slower than other bread and pasta - I just prefer it to white bread/pasta. Don’t assume that it is low-carb just because its whole wheat - make sure you measure how much you’re eating and know how many carbs are in it (I don’t subtract for fiber) and bolus accordingly.

Lunch with whole wheat bread is very predictable for me - I will rarely go up to 180 unless I really screw up the carb count by eating something extra or something else is going on.

If you eat the same bread every day for a while and adjust the amount of insulin and timing of bolus you’ll be able to get it to work. (Assuming you can eat the same bread every day for a while)

Congrats on your pregnancy.

We’re all different in terms of our responses to various foods. I prefer whole wheat but it doesn’t seem to make much difference in what I can and can’t manage. I can’t eat cereal or rice at all. I can eat small amounts of pasta, too little to be satisfying, and when I eat more when I go out and that is my only option (I’m a vegetarian) I have very varied results bolusing for my usual I:C ratio. I can eat one slice of artisan bread in the morning or lunchtime so I avoid sandwiches, and actually have switched to refried beans at breakfast. At dinner I can tolerate a vegie burger on a Double Fiber orowheat english muffin, and usually am fine but this isn’t 100%.

I disagree that you made some kind of mistake to get the 180. For some of us, that is just the inevitable result of eating certain foods. I agree that fat doesn’t cause spikes but only slows the timing. I’m still experimenting with combo boluses but haven’t gotten the knack of them yet. I’m interested in hearing other people’s responses on that. Personally I don’t expect to be able to eat foods I totally couldn’t before, due to using combo boluses, (not unless I used a lot more insulin, which I don’t plan on doing). But I’m hoping it can help me with the occasional unexpected spike and I can learn to utilize it when I’m at the mercy of other people’s restaurant choices.

This definitely seems to be an area where YMMV.

For some people, fat had a definite impact, not just a delay. If you don’t see this you are lucky :slight_smile: The TAG group here at tudiabetes is a great way to learn how both fat and protein can impact blood sugar. In some people a % of both fat and protein is converted to glucose…it is not just a delay of carbs. Unfortunately, fat does spike my daughter (not a delay or she would go low after her full insulin is given).

I have major issues digesting complex carbs too. I had to stop eating pasta completely for a year. I slowly re-introduced it into my diet last summer and I can eat pasta in small tiny amounts now. I still avoid potatoes though. But a spike to 180 is great after pasta. For me, my spikes would go to 300s and then wouldn’t come down for 6 hours after regardless of how many bolus / injections I did to correct. (I’ve posted many threads and blogs about this)

I’m type 1 for 13 years and 17 weeks and am seeing that my carb to insulin dosages have doubled in the past week due to pregnancy. My ratio was 1 : 4 for the morning, but now it’s 1:2. I am learning that I may need to cut out morning carbs altogether for my second trimester to avoid highs.

Good luck!

Hey Mariah. CONGRATS…and welcome to the curve ball that is…placenta hormone! It is very, very antagonistic to insulin. You’ll probably find your insulin needs climbing and climbing and climbing as the weeks tick by. I was low all the time during my first trimester – a bit counter-intuitive, but common. Then, almost like flicking a switch, my basals were nearly 200% of normal in my 2nd trimester. My I:C was 1:1 in the mornings and 1:5 for the rest of the day by my third trimester (whereas it was 1:10 in the am and 1:15 the rest of the day in the non-pregnant state, and I’m pretty much back there now, 8.5 months postpartum.)

So pretty much all the things you thought you knew about how your body handles carbs, stress, etc, are going to pretty much fly out the window if they haven’t already! (Oh, and your spikes aren’t necessarily related to your intake at all.)

Pregnancy was tough, and I learned a lot, including the tricky but very helpful “pre-bolus.” (I had twins so TWICE the placenta hormone monkey wrench.) My daughters were born with no complications and at very healthy weights. Please feel free to message me off this discussion if you’d like.

Best of health and happiness to you!

Congratulations!!! I have a different ratio for grain-based products. I usually need about 1.25 X the amount of insulin for something like a slice of bread compared to something like an apple. It probably has something to do with the amount of glucose compared to the other simple sugars in one food vs another, as well as the other components that affect digestion. I guess the best way to test it out is to eat something with just grains and try to fine tune that ratio. It makes it more complicated, but it may be best to develop different ratios for it.

I’m having pretty good success using a super bolus when ever I eat grain products. I front load one hours worth of basal, or almost one hour, using my prime function and then set a temp basal at 0.1 for that hour. It does help keep it down



Hi Zoe,
Thanks so much for responding and backing me up, I am pregnant and watching my carbs more closely than ever, I am a crazy tester, 12 plus times a day and I count everything! I am especially careful now that I have another life to look after, so that was definately not my issue, i am also on a pump so even if i was slightly high my pump would have given me a correction added onto my food. I do agree with you that we all are different and not everyones bodies work the same way. So you can do the Orowheat Double Fiber english muffins well? I tried that yesterday morning and it was great! :slight_smile:
Thanks so much for your response!

Hi marps!
Thanks for the reply! I have a friend who is in her second trimester also and she isnt able to eat until 10 in the morning to avoid spikes :frowning: So hopefully your doctors can figure something out and you wont have to do that :frowning: Doesnt it suck that some of us just have trouble with complex carbs and others dont?? I wish so much that I could eat bread normally but that is just not the case, I have as well cut out pasta and rice :frowning: For a pasta replacement though I do spaghetti squash and that is pretty good :slight_smile:
I hope you are having a good day! I go in for my first doctors appt on Thursday :slight_smile:

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Glad to hear you’re testing so much - I think that makes a huge difference. Note that Zoe is not a T1, so her own insulin production may be complicating her response to food. Are you a full out T1, or are you also a T1.5 (LADA) and maybe have the same thing going on?

I’m surprised to hear that people find they “can’t eat” certain foods. I used to think I couldn’t eat white rice - but that was before I actually measured the amount of rice I was eating and saw that a serving of rice at a restaurant is often huge and far more than I was estimating. Once I started paying better attention to the serving size, I found that a cup of white rice is about the same as a cup of whole grain rice is about the same as a cup of white pasta is about the same as a cup of whole wheat pasta in both carb count and in the BG effect it had on me. I prefer whole grain rice or whole wheat pasta - but if I’m eating out and don’t have a choice I find I can substitute what they have without a huge impact as long as I know how much I am eating.

The huge impact would happen if I ate three cups of rice and bolused for one cup (been there, done that) or visa versa (been there, done that too).

I don’t mean to imply that this is simple - because there are always other things going on that complicate it - like the food we are eating the bread/pasta/rice with (lots of fats and protein will be different from lots of vegetables) and of course hormones (I certain don’t envy you trying to balance BG when pregnant - that must make balancing and predicting incredibly difficult) or response to exercise (which can make my I/C ratio differ from day to day). I just haven’t found anything other than candy, chocolate, desserts that I absolutely “can’t eat” without facing a BG storm.

Uh, Jag, first of all, I am a Type 1. LADA is merely a variation on Type 1 that relates to the onset. Two years ago my c-peptide was only .38, so given that and the fact that when I had a failed infusion set during the night I woke up at 175 and by noon was in the 300’s, I seriously doubt I am making any of my own insulin any longer. My clinical picture at this point doesn’t differ from any other Type 1, only my etiology.

Second of all, I’m not sure why you have to “qualify” my experience with foods. We are all different and if you review this and other threads you will hear many other type 1’s who say they cannot eat certain things…at all. Many others like yourself, can. I do measure all my food and found that with some foods the amount I can bolus for with any degree of accuracy is too small to be useful. With others it is utterly impossible. If you haven’t found anything other than sweets you can’t eat, than you are very lucky, but for me and some others that is just not the case. Oh I’m sure if I doubled or tripled my insulin dose (1/2’d my I:C ratios) I could probably manage it, but I’m not going to do that.

You’ve had LADA for three and a half years. I’ve had T1 for more than ten times that long. I think it’s not unreasonable to expect this could cause some differences between us. Sorry if that offends you.

Second, let’s be clear here. Are you saying that a slice of bread (15g carb) takes significantly more insulin - like “double or triple” - to cover than an orange (15g carb)?