Dinner with the Food Police

I know they think they are helping and being supportive…I’ve been told they mean well…but we are having dinner with two other couples this evening and both of the other wives have made food police type comments in the past. For some reason I am REALLY dreading this evening and know I can voice this concern here and have it understood.

What baffles me is that out of the three of us women I am the only one who is at ideal weight, I am the only one who gets regular physical activity (and I do a lot of it!!). I weigh I measure, I bolus, I test and log and…the list can go on forever.

I seldom (if ever) eat sweets in front of people who know I have D because I realize they don’t understand and I just don’t want to go there. I toggle back and forth between total rage and understanding the need and benefit of educating people who make these type of comments.

The few comments I have received make me realize how much people pay attention to what you are eating because you have D. I don’t even know how to feel about all this.

What is your experience with the food police? I know I’m being hypersensitive…but this is one of the few things that grates a raw nerve.

No, you are not being hypersensitive. I’ve had the same problems over the years - and like you - with those types of “police” - I tended to be abit more careful around them as to how I eat - but over time - I’ve just had to let these people think what they do - with of course my explaining to them as easily as I can in a “nutshell”. Just try not to let it bother you if you can. Some will over time finally have the light go off in their heads as they realise we know what we are doing - for those that don’t well - well - insert polite words here is all I can say .
Anna from Montreal - aka FatCatAnna - The Trials and Tribulations of a Diabetic

Thanks Anna. Sounds like you’ve “been there done that”. I think my anger comes from the fact that no one and I mean NO ONE knows what we do on a daily basis to make this all work. My husband “sees” it but he doesn’t hear the diabetes conversations I’m having with myself all day long “did I remember?..do I have juice w/me? how many carbs?..need to go walk…” It angers me when people fling a comment my way because I’m eating a chip, not even the whole darn bag…just a few chips! I just want to shake them and say…“let’s see you try this for 36 years, day in and day out!” Grrrrrrrr!

If helps to vent in this safe place.

Mike, one of our members here did this video on “The Diabetes Police” that sums it all up for me.

Hi Brenda,

This is a pretty good d-etiquette guide. Just email them the link today.


When someone gives me grief for eating a sweet (brownies, sugar in coffee, etc.), I just point out that their 8-oz. cup of orange juice/bagel with philly cream cheese/double order of baked potatoes has 2x/3x/4x times the carbs and calories of what I’m having, and that tends to quiet them down. Or you could say “I’ve already gone running/ice hockeying/cycling/weightlifting/gardening/etc. today, so I need this to replenish my sugar/glucose stores. When are you planning to burn off that double bacon cheeseburger with extra mayo?!”

And yes, I tend to get a bit snippy. I don’t tell other people what they should eat and do, and I expect to be given the same courtesy. I’m in charge of my body and my 'beetus. I have to deal with the good/bad consequences of my good/bad choices.

Cheers, Mike

You shouldn’t have to dread going out to dinner. This should be an occassion to anticipate with eagerness.

So, I would keep in mind that they probably mean well. Probably. You know them better than we do.

My suggestion is to tell them what you’ve told us. “Thanks. I know you’re trying to look out for me, but I’ve been successfully managing my own meals for 36 years and I know EXACTLY what I can eat and should avoid. In fact, I’ve already planned what I’m going to eat this evening. (smile) So . . . how’s your son doing?”

That is, if you ever want to see them again. Or if you expect to see them again. Or if you have to see them again.

I’m a big fan of frankness if they are really close, in which case you might add, before (smile) - “I’m sorry to say that I am actually beginning to dread going out to dinner with you because of the comments I know you will make about the food I choose. I don’t like feeling that way because I enjoy your company otherwise. Please trust me that I know what I’m doing. Really.”

But if you don’t want to see them again feel free to snap at them and make comments about their food choices, their weight, their size and their health.


Hi Brenda! It is nice to have concrete proof that there are folks out there who care about you, and I try to dwell on this. However, it IS demeaning to to feel that others are inspecting every morsel you put in your mouth while they pass judgement. Most people do NOT understand diabetes, and haven’t a CLUE as to just how complicated trying to balance it is. I liked the response of “I’ve already done my exercise and need to replenish my glucose stores” for when I choose to be polite. But, I love the “I’ve already exercised today, but how will you be planning to burn off all those carbs/sugars you just ate?” remark for continual offenders. Of course, I guess the thing to do would be to simply suggest that, since they obviously have your best interests at heart, you’d be thrilled to point them at some websites and other sources where they can get a better grip on how best to support and help a diabetic loved one.

Confessions of an sporadic Diabetes Police… DISCLAIMER: I only do policing with my husband, and I have learned (from TD, because he doesn’t complain) to be very careful of how and where, and when. I try my best, I know it is hard for him… it is hard for me too since I worry a lot when his numbers are bad, and I notice he is eating lost of carbs and not bolusing right away, or just not realizing how much he is eating… However, I don’t think I will ever dare to tell anything about lifestyle in general to anybody who is not really close to me, like my mom or my husband.

Apart from diabetes, that adds so much stress to everything, there is so much judgment on everything we people do, I tend to think judgment is not healthy in general, unless is kind and constructive. Many time we are the hardest judges on ourselves, and so we care for other opinions on how we deal with our lives… In my home country, Venezuela, family tends to be very intrusive, and there is always a very well intentioned aunt pointing out loud how fat I am, (even if I have a healthy weight). Before I go there I tend to diet, so I don’t have to deal with it… and sometimes I think to myself… why do I care so much?

I definitely sympathize with you, Brenda, as I know how awful it feels to be criticized, especially when you work so hard day in and day out. I agree with the things everyone has said about finding a way, knowing your friends to say something so it doesn’t continue and you don’t dread seeing them. For me, I’d want to convey that I know what I am doing and also to offer to explain how it works a bit more if they are interested in details, followed by thanking them for their concern.

I do have a little different take on what might be going on. I find that people who are out of shape and don’t eat healthy tend to be a bit defensive around those of us who work really hard on taking care of our diets. Even if they know we have to do it because of our diabetes they still feel a bit threatened and defensive, as if WE are criticizing THEM (by our actions). So I tend to explain that it is not that I am so GOOD but that this is what I need to do to take care of my diabetes. I’ve had other experiences like these before diagnosis where people feel because I am a vegetarian and because I don’t eat sugar I am judging them. So I explain that I don’t eat meat and I don’t eat sugar for my own reasons and don’t really care what other people do. I don’t serve meat or desserts in my house, but will provide sugar for coffee (when I remember) and don’t care at all what people eat when we are out together.

I’ve actually had the opposite experience where people wonder “why I’m making such a fuss” about what I eat and get irritated with me for requesting certain restaurants or certain mealtimes. They know I don’t eat sugar but don’t understand that diabetes is about more than that. Most people don’t. I don’t eat sugar due to my eating disorder but ironically for years I let people assume I had diabetes especially in other countries where they think you’re nuts if you don’t eat sweets, because they could understand that better. I think it’s just ignorance that people don’t know that carbs cause us problems, not just sugar. I’ve explained this to many and now they get it…a little.

Don’t think you’re being overly sensitive. Dinner with friends should be enjoyed & hard not to dread the anticipated comments you’ve received before.

Been the target of the food police. It’s either the usual comments, people staring at what I’m eating, or a raised eyebrow. Sometimes all three. At one dinner, a birthday celebration in a very nice restaurant with six couples, a friend announced to the waiter that I had diabetes so the chef had to be careful with my order. Was embarrassing, to say the least. I quickly said that I know what to order & don’t need anything special.

Some people are well-meaning. Others like to judge, butt in or feel superior. Quite honestly, whatever the motivation I think it’s bad manners & intrusive. I thank people for their concern, firmly say that I know what I’m doing & it’s upsetting to get comments. That usually shuts them up.

Brenda when I read the Headline to your blog i Thought She must be going out to dinner with my sister in Law…LOl
I love my brother so much and put up with it for his sake…but one of these days…
Right on the Kisser…HeHe…

Do they do this to each other also, or just pick on you? What I’d like to know is why they think they have license to tell you these things? Did you ask for them to carry the food badge? I’m all for being polite and civil, but these 2 are stepping over boundaries they shouldn’t even approach. I’m ticked off just thinking of it!

Be proactive, tell them before hand while you appreciate their concern, you’re capable of making your own food choices and have done so for years with excellent results. If they ignore your request, do not go out with them again. Its obvious they do not respect you.

My 12 year old niece is getting very angry about this issue. as well. Not having D, I have told her to ignore the issue, but those around her just do not let it rest. It does not matter how many times you tell the person. She does not eat sweets at lunch at school, or even very often at home, though she is allowed to. She is a Potato Chip type of kid. She likes the 100 calorie packs of Doritos and 100 calorie pack Lorna Doones better than the real thing. Still, “why are you eating that” comes up again and again from the other kids at lunch. I think the only real way to get rid of the food police is to not even tell anyone you have diabetes in the first place. This will only work for casual acquaintances, though. I am very sorry that we took it upon ourselves to educate her classmates when she was eight. Honest to God, I wish most of them did not know. Maybe you will just have to remind them that you have had Diabetes for a while, you take good care of your health, see an endo, and that you certainly know by now better than they do what you can and cannot eat. Or… you can just quietly order dessert to go for you and hubby. It would be hard for me to enjoy the dessert after having to listen to all the comments on it and having to defend food choices. So I would probably just chicken out and put the dessert in a doggie bag.

Curious minds want to know, Brenda. How did dinner with the food police go?


Dear Fellow D Warriors,
Dinner went fine regarding the comments. None were made and a good time was had by all. There have only really been a few comments sprinkled here and there throughout the years…but each time I am simple shocked into silence. Thanks to your comments I now have some appropriate responses. I doubt I’ll ever be one to lash back…but I do think a few direct and well stated replies can go a long, long way.

Thanks to all of you for the suggestions. I laughed, agreed and chuckled my way through each response. I enjoyed learning different perspectives to this tired old problem. And most of all…I am so glad I have an opportunity to share the frustrations of this disease in a safe and understanding place.

Here is a big hat tip and knuckle bump to all of you! Thanks from the bottom of my inept little pancrease.

When I want to eat a big snack, I explain to people that IF my blood sugar is low, I need to eat food with lots of carbs fast. So when I tell them about diabetes, I always emphasize that sometime I can’t eat things and sometimes I have too.

Then I just let them think that my BG is low whenever they see me eating something that they think that I should not. If they ask me if my blood sugar is low, I tell them that I think it is dropping and now I NEED to eat the cake (which is always true because if I give enough insulin for a piece of cake then my blood sugar is about to drop).

I do this with acquaintances – my family and close friends know better and they also know that I do not like to be told what I can and cannot eat!

Hi Brenda.
I’ve had this happen to me too. I know it can be VERY frustrating. My boyfriend and I went out with my best friend and her boyfriend. I had ordered a burger and fries and had a little ketchup on the side. No not exactly healthy. But I feel as long as I know how to dose for it and monitor my blood sugar I am fine. It’s not like I go out to eat often, and when I do I want to eat something GOOD. Not a boring salad. She told me how I shouldnt be eating this and that. I tried to stand up for myself the best I could. But emotions were just too strong that I decided to keep quiet. I didn’t want to come off as being mean.
But when I tried to explain that as long as I keep my blood sugar down it’s fine. That’s why I have insulin. But she wouldn’t drop it. She kept going on and on. So I just shut up
Later I wrote her an email stating how she had made me feel. How she upset me, how it’s my body, and how she didnt’ understand what it’s like having to live with diabetes. Just because I have been diagnosed with this doesnt mean I will die if I splurge from time to time. I tried to explain more about diabetes. After sending the email, she is much more understanding and supportive of me.
I think some people are just ignorant about the situation. When I speak out about this disease I think people understand more. And 9 times out of 10,. they will listen and be more understanding.
Maybe one day tell them how it aggravates you and just explain how you feel. Maybe they will put a stop to their nagging behavior. It is YOUR body. As long as you do what needs to be done, there shouldnt be a problem. =]

food police or soooo crazy. Basically if its a small comment i’ll let it slide, but if i get mad enough i might just tell them what i eat and choose to eat whether it be crazy good or crazy bad is none of their business. I find that people tend to have amnesia when it comes to what you food you end up putting in your mouth anyway. If i’m caught with something decadent then i usually smile and say its perfect for diabetics as well as non. So ha!

Some great responses here.

I agree with Jan about explainning to classmates. I have Type 1 and sadly my daughter also has it. When she was diagnosed I was encouraged to tell her friends and teachers about it. However, my daughter and I agreed not to and we have “need to know” basis only.

I also say to her teachers they have no need to worry as she is always prepared and will always have what she needs. I have given them sheets on dypos and things but I tell them my daughter does not like to discuss it and they should only discuss it with me. This stops anything being discussed in class which my daughers find extremely embarrassing.

I also say sometimes to people: “There are a lot of myths around the subject of diabetes” and hopefully they are reluctant to say any more on the subject in case they are about to say one of the myths.

I also say to people “There are no dietary restrictions, although food intake has to be managed but I won’t go into that as it is very complex.” I hope that this also makes them reluctant to start talking rubbish.

Also Brenda I think you get to a certain stage in life and some “friends” have to go. I always like that answerphone message that says “Hi, I’m Brenda and I am not here at the moment. I am making a few changes in my life and if you don’t get a call back you are one of them.”

Good luck with the dinner.

Hello to all on the site. I love reading them all and seeing what is going on America and a few of us dotted around the world.


Well like I have posted in the past… i control my diabetes with MDI. I am not a terrible eater however i do enjoy a bag of chips or chocolate bar at some unusual hours. Anyway what gets on my nerves is when i’m eating a chocolate bar or something and someone is like “can you have that”… it makes me angry at times… like if I walked upto someone who didn’t have diabetes and said something like that i’d expect to get punched or something. Anyway I wouldn’t worry about the “food police” sounds like you got your stuff under control so dont worry about it. Don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff:)