Head in the Sand? Stunned

Hi all I am new to this site and also newly diagnosed with type 2. I am also a total idiot I think, I cant believe I fell for the media rubbish. Since being diagnosed I have been carrying on as 'normal' no changes really including me moaning about the awful sweet taste after certain foods. But as I have been reading a few topics here the picture is forming that this is really quite serious not just about me being fat and having brought this on myself.

My GP has basically told me nothing except eat more meat and less carbs oh and lose weight and has referred me to some nurse about my feet?? My feet are ok just a bit swollen at night. Sorry to sound like an idiot but I have had a rough year really, diagnosed with Angina and also Sleep Apnea and now this. But this Diabetes sounds like a different ball game altogether, what on earth do I eat? My main foods are pasta and potatoes. Is there some sort of 'idiots 7 day menu guide' and also 'idiots guide to complications if you dont take control of diabetes'.

Thanks for taking time to read my waffling and would appreciate some guidance also please forgive me as my concentration and thought process sometimes become muddled and I have a really bad memory so come across as slow at times crazy world so if I answer bluntly or repeat myself please be patient Thanks :)

Hi topcat and welcome to the best place on earth to come when you've just been diagnosed with Diabetes! Stop being so hard on yourself! We all were ignorant before we started on this path. I guessed I had diabetes from my symptoms and asked for a blood test. When I called the nurse said my fasting blood sugar was 325. I had no idea what the number meant, I just said, "does that mean I have diabetes?" Then I went blithely on my way with a prescription in hand, and happy that the cde or dietician whatever she was said, "you don't have to change anything" when I told her I was a vegetarian and ate lots of pasta and rice. It took a long time before I knew enough to say, "WHAT?" Oh yeah, and I accepted that I was Type 2 for 15 months before I realized I was actually type 1.

Yes, it is overwhelming and confusing and scary! All the above. What it is NOT is your fault. You did NOT bring this on yourself. Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition and its causes are not completely understood (ditto type 1).

Ok, breathe.

No unfortunately there is no "idiots 7 day menu guide" because we are all different. Yep, as you've gathered carbs make your blood sugar rise, so the less carbs the less your blood sugar rises. Simple? Not really. We all have different foods that send our blood sugar through the roof and some that we can tolerate in reasonable amounts. For example, I don't even bother trying to eat rice or cereal. I've tried. It doesn't work. But I do eat some pasta and some potatoes and some bread. Some. Some of the time.

We have lots of sayings and acronyms on here. One of the best that will help you with your question, "what can I eat?" It's this: "Eat to your meter." What does that mean. Try one of your favorite foods and test your blood sugar two hours later. if you are high (most of us define high as over 140) try it again, only a smaller portion. Add more vegies to the pasta, or add a salad instead of a second serving. Or have a second vegie or salad with your pork chop instead of a baked potato. Test again two hours later. Wash, rinse, repeat. Write it all down. Soon you will begin to get answers to your question of "what can I eat?" Try open faced sandwiches, try wrapping in lettuce, etc. Drink herbal iced tea instead of soda. Etc. Unfortunately, what I CAN tell you is "pasta and potatoes can't be your main foods" anymore. Are you a vegetarian or do you eat meat and fish? If you eat meat and fish then those proteins with healthy (and tasty!! gotta be tasty or you won't eat it!) fresh vegetables and salads should be the center of your diet.

Unfortunately I can't totally advise you as a Type 2 because as a Type 1 insulin is a big part of the equation. But others on here will make suggestions, for example about exercise (something I know NOTHING about!).

Your GP isn't off the mark, just too general. If you are overweight and lose weight you will lower your insulin resistance which is the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes and why your blood sugar keeps spiking. So start a program of weight loss but one you can live with ongoing, not a radical diet you will put up with for 2 weeks, then feel deprived and splurge. Slow and steady.

As I said I can't help with some of the Type 2 particulars, but can tell you that you are indeed welcome and will find help, information and caring in this place!

If there were an idiots guide to T2 a lot of us would be in line to buy it but the truth is there are no idiots only those that have not yet learned.

Whether or not being overweight causes T2 or its the other way around where weight is a result of having T2 really does not matter, the excess weight is your enemy. Losing weight if you are overweight should be a high priority. Carrying extra poundage increases the severity of insulin resistance found commonly in T2.

Your doctor is also giving good advice about eating fewer carbs. Lot of folk do increase the amount of meat they eat because meat has no carbs but remember that one cannot live on meats alone. The key is to avoid high carb foods not just eat more meat. Try to avoid things like grains which are high in carbs and instead focus on lower carb foods such as green leafy vegetables.

When faced with a T2 diagnosis we have basically two choices. We can deny the disease and suffer the consequences later or we can accept it and set our mind to fighting it tooth and nail. I hope you will be one that joins the fight now. There are a lot of us here that are fighting along side you.

Hi -

I'm sorry you have to add T-2 to your health worries but welcome. This is a good site and people really do help each other out here. I'm also sorry that your doctor hasn't provided you with much guidance.

Do you have a glucose meter yet? If you don't have one, get one from your doctor or at least have your doctor give you a prescription for one so that your health insurance will cover your meter and strips. Strips are expensive if you have to cover them out of pocket but they are absolutely necessary.

A diet centered on pasta and potatoes will no longer work for you. Your body no longer handles carbohydrates efficiently and you will have to limit them to a greater or lesser extent. Fairly standard advice is to use labels or a book like Calorie King and limit your carbohydrates to 30-45 per meal. Fill in with more protein and fat including foods like olive oil, avocados, red meat within reason, fish.

Use your meter to see how different foods effect you. Take your blood sugar before a meal and then two hours later. Ideally, your blood sugar shouldn't rise more than 30 points. If a meal makes you rise much more than that you have to adjust your portions and proportions.

You didn't say anything about medications. Treating someone with an A1c of 8.5 with just diet and exercise is a set-up for failure. If your doctor won't prescribe some medication (usually metformin to start but perhaps even insulin to give your pancreas some immediate help0 and at least 200 strips per month you probably need a doctor who is more willing to treat your situation with the seriousness it deserves.

Good luck,


Actually, there are some Idiot Guides for Diabetics and Diabetes Guides for Dummies.

Mean no offense, and I haven't read them, but often times the information contained in some books can be quite helpful

You hit the nail on the head when you said this is serious. It deserves all the attention that should be afforded something that can kill you. I used to eat a lot of pasta and potatoes too. My body can't process them safely, so I reluctantly gave them up.

The best advice I got was what others have already told you "Eat to your meter". The Bloodsugar 101 website taught me the finer points of eating to my meter and is worth checking out. You can also learn a lot reading back posts on tuD. You can't do anything about the past and it's not worth beating yourself up about. But getting your blood sugar under control is a very doable project, many around here have done it and you can too.

Thank you all for the replies, I have taken all the advice from you all on board and it has helped me think NO MORE SELF PITY or DENIAL but more SELF CONTROL :)- the doctor has put me on metformin slow release 500mg and must say I do have more energy these days but it isnt really getting rid of the weird sickly sweet taste in my mouth. I have read the booklet on this site and drummed into myself 'anything white' = higher sugar level and Sugar = acid. And have arranged to join slimming world next week and they have a healthy eating plan for ppl with diabetes and also to go back to the gym ( i used to go 4x a week). I have also ordered the book diabetes for dummies as looks really straight forward. Well here's to changing my life style and taking this serious I have to for myself and my children. Thank you again :)

Topcat, keep your head high as you travel this road. You can do this. come and see us and share your success, or vent frustration, we get it here. I thought I'd pass on this little gem of advice from a while back:


Topcat, the single, most important piece of advice at this point is to get a Blood Glucose Meter if you don't have one, and start testing -- a lot. Like at least 8x a day:

  • Shortly after waking up in the morning, before eating/drinking anything, including coffee
  • Before each meal
  • 3 hours after each meal
  • Before bed
That's 8 tests a day right there. It can get expensive with the "name brand" gear, so get a cheap system -- TrueTest at Walgreens, or Relion at Walmart. The latter is $9/box of 50 test strips.

Do this intensive testing for a few weeks, and log all the data. If you have a smartphone (Android or iPhone) there are many great apps for making this record-keeping really easy. You should log what you eat at meals too as much as your can -- again many smartphone apps make this easy. For Android, I'd recommend Glucosurfer or OnTrack Diabetes for managing blood sugar records, and MyFitnessPal as a nutrition/food lookup and record-keeping app. The latter is also and exceptional tool for tracking and managing a weight loss effort.

Getting 2-4 weeks of data like this will tell pretty much the whole story of the health (or lack thereof :-)) of you glucose metabolism. With this data, your doctor, and experienced fellow diabetics here on TuD, can give better advice.

Finally, this is the only way to put you in control, rather than being controlled by the condition. Testing is a real pain (literally!) at first, but it becomes pretty routine quickly, if you do it a lot (which all diabetics should), and with some discipline.

Information is power. You pancreas was watching your blood sugar for you continuously 24/7, and taking action instantly to keep it in line. Now it can't, so you've got to pick up some of the slack. That means a lot more than just popping a pill once or twice a day.

They are not “for dummies” books but Think Like A Pancreas by Gary Scheiner and Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solutions by Richard Bernstein are pretty good reads. Personally I haven’t finished either, but I do pick through them when I have specific questions and they are written for the lay person (both written by md’s who are diabetics)

Thanks, bit of a pain at the moment as seriously am not hungry but made sure I had 2 slices of seeded toast for breakfast then realised tonight I hadnt had dinner so had some porridge oh and an orange. I am planning to get a monitor etc so I can see what foods affect me so can avoid them. But am seriously not hungry at all.

Thank you that was a good read and very positive

Thanks I shall have a look out for them tomorrow :)

You've come to the right place. There is no such thing as a diabetic idiot. There are those both in the diabetic community and outside of it that are uneducated about various aspects of coping with diabetes. After twenty years of dealing with this disease, I am still learning. Do not expect to learn it all overnight. In the US, there are diabetic education courses whose attendance is covered by health insurance. I don't know if the same situation exists in the the UK. You have taken the first step, acknowledging that you have a lot to learn.

Not quite true that is no idiots guide to diabetes - there is a dummies guide that many, including myself, benefitted from reading shortly after being diagnosed.
Check out this URL:

Taking one small step at a time can eventually lead you on a long and positive journey.
You mention that you like pasta and potatoes. Are you familiar with the glycemic index? It is a way of measuring how quickly a particular food gets converted to the glucose that drives your blood sugar readings up. Slow conversion is best because it gives your body time to burn off the sugars through activity like walking.
On the glycemic scale, 100 represents the time it takes a portion of pure table sugar to become converted to glucose in the blood. Sugar is not the worst though, Kellogg's corn flakes scores a whopping 130 on the GI scale. Most cereals, including oatmeal, are very high on the scale. At the low end, carbohydrate sources like barley, squash and beans are converted very slowly.
As for pasta, fettucini has the best (lowest) GI rating. With rice, brown rice is no better than white, just like brown bread is no better than white bread. However, some types of basmati rice as well as Uncle Bens converted rice, have a decent score on the GI scale.
Potatoes are pretty much out, except for small nugget potatoes in the spring, boiled until still firm. Yams, baked or fried, are considered a far better choice. Even sweet potatoes are healthier for a diabetic stomach than the regular ones.
All bread made from wheat - be it white or whole wheat - has a terribly high score, while rye bread comes out at a healthy range.
If you are interested you will find lots of online information about the GI scale, including at the website of David Mendoza - http://www.mendosa.com/