Food - Friend or Foe for Diabetics

**This is solely my personal experience & opinion:)

This morning it was suggested to me, to write about food. As an emotional eater, this was a welcomed challenge. To a Diabetic, food is a life saver or killer. Most diabetic would agree, somewhere along the line you lose the joy in eating. I cant remember the last time I ate something while I was truly hungry, or was actually craving what I ate. Most healthy people classify their foods in usual food pyromid (now plate) manor, carbs, protein, fat, veggie/fiber. To a Diabetic its much more complicated than that. Let me explain.

1. Carbs - low glycemic or not, starchy or not, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), refined grains, and good ole plain SUGAR.

2. Proteins - can be a nightmare for a Diabetic. Is the protein fatty, is it lean, is it animal based or vegetable based. Educated diabetics bolus for proteins, as,in my opinion, they should.

2. Fats - This is my personal nemesis, fats SLOW blood sugar absorption, which usually wreaks havoc on my BS control. . . I hate fats! I love fats! no wait . . I hate fats! Also, this one is under scrutiny and I have seen "fats" cause arguments between professionals. The trend right now is that "fat" does not cause high chelosterol, its the carbs w/ fat that does. So if you reduce or eliminate carbs from your diet, one can eat saturated fat w/ positive affect on cholesterol. I am still reading and educating myself on this topic, very controversial, and I suggest that one proceeds w/ caution. Some good websites I would suggest is, and good ebooks/books "Think like a pancreas" or Dr. Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution". Very interesting.

Here is a great example of the difference between a Weight Watcher participant and a Type 1 Diabetic. . .
"I can eat pizza today, because I saved up 45 points." I think, WTH, I don't get "points" for eating healthier earlier in the day? Pizza, really pizza? here's what I think when I am presented w/ pizza. . .
Crap, how am I going to figure out this carb load? O.k, I've got about 45 grams of carbs for a hand size piece, plus all the fat from the butter and fatty meats, oh yeah, this is a "refined carb' so I better consider that into my ratio, plus dont forget to change my basal rate for the next 12 HOURS due to carb/fat load will keep my BS high for that long. . Then if I DO eat the pizza, then I am guilt ridden, "dang it, I know I am doing organ damage to my body right now, why did I eat that stupid piece of pizza" next time, I won't do it, I swear I wont do it." The Weight Watcher participant is thinking "I am so proud of myself, I was able to stay within my points today even w/ having a piece of pizza, yeah for me."

Another tough one. .. Alcohol. .

Generally speaking, alcohol and HFCS is metabolized the same, only difference is alcohol metabolizes in the brain also, HFCS does not, but the inflammatory damaging effects are same. So that's why you get the "buzz" when you drink alcohol and not when you eat HFCS. (I wonder how many "moms" out there would still be pumping their kids w/ HFCS if they knew that little tidbit, eh?) So here we go. . . . .

We go out w/ friends for dinner & drinks, Weight Watcher friend says " I can have two glasses of wine, they are 2 points a piece." I am thinking, "Ok if I have low fat/low carb dinner, (unlikely being "out" for dinner) then follow that w/ two glasses of wine, i need to adjust my bolus AND basal rate, because alcohol makes MY Blood sugar rise at first, but then drop in the middle of the night, then go back high for the following 12 hours.

I had a friend try to tell me that it depends on "what type of alcohol" one drank, determines how it's metabolized. Bullsh!t! Alcohol w/ carbs or alcohol w/out carbs, its still metabolized the same, it just changes your 'points" system. Prime example . . . a martini w/ straight vodka has a ton less sugar than a strawberry daiquiri, so i would opt to drink the martini, less sugar, but alcohol is still metabolized the same, equals the same damaging effects on the body.

A new tough one . . . .Boxed foods

I have been a Type 1 for 35 years and this one has become an issue for me in the last 5 years or so. HFCS is hidden in EVERYTHING boxed. It wreaks havoc on my blood sugar. It is amazing how our food has changed, and if you dig deep there are alot of foods, I bet, you would no longer eat, if you REALLY knew what was in them. Even our fresh fruits & veggies no longer carry the same nutritional value that they did 20 years ago, due to "speed farming" and unhealthy soil.

Then you have the "blood sugar is low, gotta eat something" (When a diabetic's BS dips too low, the brain starts starving) even when your not hungry, that's usually when diabetics go for the sugar pop or candy. (God forbid smoking Aunt Bev is around to tell you that you can't have it) and then this happens to me alot. . now its lunch time or dinner time and now my blood sugar is too high to eat! well, crap! Then some insentive person says "Just manage your blood sugar better." What the heck do you think i am trying to do? I so want to say Yeah, walk in my shoes for a week,and you'd be crying in your Cheerios (oh wait, Cheerios are bad) in your salad! :)

I enjoyed this post so much, Francie. My sentiments exactly. I've been struggling with control due to old lady hormones and more than once over the last few months I've thought to myself..."if only I could just eat something without having to *think* about it and then just go to bed without worrying about my bg". If only...

I've also thought that life would be so much easier with D if I just didn't have to eat...period.

Thanks! It is a daily struggle for me too and getting burned out.

Excellent article! Remember STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS (I have to credit Seagater for that!

Thanks "stressed" I am going to share ur tidbit, I love it!!!

Yep, I agree. Food is not nearly as fun as it used to be. Over all I'm pretty happy with my routine diet/menu, but all the planning is a big food buzz kill. Going out is a true BG adventure and the spur of the moment decision to try that new beer is a thing of the past. I used to live to eat. Now I eat to live.

Great post. Gonna send it to my FB.

Great post and so true !! Non-D's have no idea what they are missing.

You make it sound so easy for Weight Watchers and so hard (as it is) for diabetics. This without the attitude of friends and family who 'know' how you should eat.

I don't have quite the same feeling but I am extremely boring in what I eat as, a lot of times, I eat the same thing and know how it works. I don't look for HFCS that much but don't eat that much stuff that has it. I sort of run through a lot of that stuff fretting about food but just think it really fast, throw some insulin at it and carry on.

AGREE! I eat the same things at the same time almost daily, it is monotonous. Thanks for the post.

Great post. No One but another concerned diabetic on insulin could understand the daily struggle. I like to eat, but sometimes I find myself just eating because I have to eat something. I generally have the same greek yoogurt with a bit of friuit breakfast and chai tea every morning, the same( carb count) salad and meat/fish lunch If my basals are set right, I do not have to eat anything,but the body needs fuel. I vary my meals from time to time, I have found a Mediterraenan resturant with lovely choices, I know how to bolus for favorie items, that I can go to and stay in range. I know how to bolus for Wendy's and Mcdonald's salads when on the run..So I do allow some variation.

But I can only do this through much trial and error and charting and looking over my data so I know what to do the next time, when making new food choices. No one else in my family or myu friendshipo group has to go to that much effort just to eat.
I try not to cimpare myself to them in my daily food life, which IS a science experiment..that much is a given. But who knows what crosses others have to bear? Bad marriage? unruly children? financial headaches, personal emotional pain? Most people have them and do not share them...
I get burnout, of course I do.And mI just go with the flow,SWAG on the run I call it. I Recently made an unfortunate choice of too many dollied up entertainment crackers to nibble on while at a friend's house. I then had to spend a couple of hours correcting the 200+ resultant blood sugars caused by the food choice for which I did not bolus properly .No one else at that little soiree porobaly had repersuccions from the hors d;oueveres...but then they may have had to stay uop waiting for an adolsecent who had misssed curfew for the zillioneth time..We can never walk a mile in another's shoes, so we do not know. what they "suffer" from.

Trying to stay grateful for the life I have..but I still know of what you speak,Francie. Have a great day.

God bless

I have been type 1 for 45 yrs and could not have said it better, I really try not to love food but just need it, you can imagine how things are different now compare when I was younger. I had to relearn my diabetes and treatment of it.