Sugar is everywhere, how do you minimize it?

I wonder how everyone controls the sugar intake in every meal. Despite trying hard, I seem to find it everywhere:

  • Breakfast: corn flakes, juice, berries, baked goods
  • Lunch/dinner: sweetening, dressing, sauces, ketchup, breads

Unless I eat at home or track every ingredient, it’s becoming near- impossible to control the daily sugar content in my diet. Thanks!


Did you know that starches (corn flakes, baked goods, breads) are simply long chains of glucose molecules that are holding hands? Starches convert to glucose with the action of the enzyme, amylase, that rapidly cuts those starch bonds. Amylase is present in your mouth and starch is often broken down into glucose by the time it reaches your stomach.

You can control the “sugar” content of your meals, even when eating out if you avoid the foods that quickly break down into sugar. You may not want to read this but this means avoiding all grains, bread, noodles, pasta, carby vegetables, and all liquid carbs like juice, milk, and beer.

That leaves you with plenty of food to choose from. I regularly eat meat, small sides of above-ground grown veggies, nuts, heavy cream, cheese, yogurt, berries, limited portions of nut butters, fish and sardines.

Instead of taking my word for it, you could adopt an “eat to your meter” program. This program consists of doing a fingerstick just before eating and then checking at least once or twice after your meal, say at one and two hours. If your meter consistently exceeds acceptable post meal glucose then you drop that meal from your diet. Once you identify ten or so meals that satisfy your appetite and keep your post-meal glucose level at an acceptable range then that is a menu to adopt.

I find eating out an easy task. I generally go for meat and veggies, available at almost every restaurant. If I found myself faced with eating at McDonald’s, I would order three of their largest burgers without the bun or sauce. I would eat that with some ketchup and mustard. I might order a salad to accompany the meat. I definitely would avoid the fries, sodas (even diet!), and ice cream. Water or sparkling water would be ok.

Eat to your meter is a program that is customized to your body, not some recommendation from some “expert.” Most people resist any suggestion to change their eating style, me included! Once I figured out (after 28 years!) that I couldn’t continue eating in an unhealthy blood sugar fashion, I finally said goodbye to my cherished bagels and pizza. No food ever tastes as good as a normal blood sugar level feels.


My husband bought some “fancy” hot dogs: 4 g carbs each! Cane sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose in hot dogs?! Are Americans so addicted to sugar?? :flushed:


Yes, Salt and Sugar are the tastes most Americans are addicted to.


The low carb diet is not the only choice for a diabetic who wants to eat a healthy diet while controlling glucose levels. There are several. I eat a low fat vegan diet with plenty of grains, all kinds of vegetables including root vegetables, fruit, and

legumes.Reducing fat in the diet lowers insulin resistance. No junk food, or processed foods. This is very close to the Mediterranean diet which is considered to be very healthy.

I have had type 1 diabetes for 62 yrs and have a very low A1c.

Both diets are excellent for diabetics.

For more information about the low fat, vegan diet see or the book which can be purchased on Amazon. This way of eating is good for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.


I think if we avoid processed food, we will feel better and be in better control.

I use a modified “ mastering Diabetes” diet. I go low fat where I can and I avoid processed foods but I’m not vegan.

It was very difficult for me to give up staples like bread at least as much as I was eating before.

The sweet things were much easier to drop because back when I was diagnosed, there was no real way to dose for them and I would feel sick after eating sweet things, and my sugars would go out of control for days after.

I actually prefer foods that are not terribly sweet. I like things like sweet potatoes and even some regular potatoes and corn.

High in carb content, but I can easily dose for them. And with lower fat, I don’t need as much insulin to eat them.

I am type 1 and I have figured out a really good way to stay in range. I eat my low fat diet and I take 15 units of Lantus each day and I run my pump on Control IQ.

My average fasting or between meals sugar is 85 and at night I draw a straight line around 85. My doctor thinks it’s not a good idea but it is working so well for me, I can stay in range 4-5 days straight with hardly any effort. Stubborn highs and lows are pretty much gone.

Everyone is going to have a different sweet spot. This is mine, but if you experiment with your different options, you can find a way of eating and a way of medication that can work well for you.

I don’t know if you have a restaurant near you called CAVA. It is a Mediterranean faster food restaurant.

I can eat everything there I really don’t have to worry about it. Of course you still need to count up carbs, and they do sell meat if you want it, and they do have high fat foods and olive oil if you want it.

I think it is a really good example of tasty healthy food that you can grab and go.


What bothers your doctor about what you are doing?

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She worries about me going too low. My pump is programmed to keep me around 120 days and 112 at night, but I think these numbers are too high for targets of course I’m not going to worry when I’m at 120, but I means I will approach my limit faster when I eat.

I didn’t start taking the extra lantus for this reason, I did it because my sites were not absorbing after 2 days. I tried several different things, and this is working well.

The lower steady state is just a surprise benefit, and really I also don’t go low as often. I think when my site goes bad my pump will start increasing insulin until bam! I drop.

It’s not happening now with the added lantus. She still prescribes it to me but she thinks it’s dangerous. I think it’s actually safer.

I’ll be getting new doctors when I move to Washington, I hope to get some who are flexible.


I think your judgment on this is better than your doctor’s. You should have a good selection of doctors to choose from in Washington. Just plan on waiting for about six months if you want to see an endo for the first time. That’s about how long it took me when I moved to Portland, Oregon back in 2016. As long as you have enough supplies to tide you over, you’ll be ok.

By the way, I experimented with adding Tresiba to my pump routine several years back. I found it surprisingly easy to manage as I shared the basal responsibility between Tresiba and the pump’s basal rate. If memory serves me, I ran the pump basal rates at a minimum, like 0.1 units/hour, just enough to keep the infusion site absorbing and the set from occluding.

I think I’ll ask my doctor at my visit next month to write me an Rx for Tresiba again. I’m due to refresh my MDI chops and maybe even try the untethered protocol again.


The wait time for changing a specialist seems to be 3-6 months everywhere, for many conditions…which is really concerning for those needing immediate attention.

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Terry - this seems to be similar to Keto diet. I have been focusing on but intermittent fasting & calorie restriction, but haven’t looked at your suggestions around controlling sugar content in the diet. Thanks for sharing these insights.

It’s just two paths to same destination when comparing “eat to your meter” with keto. Eat to your meter can often be more generous with the number of carbs it allows. Especially if you enjoy any pancreas function like in the honeymoon period.

A keto way of eating will limit carbs even more than an “eat to your meter” tactic for most people. Many people who use keto will limit total daily carb consumption to < 50 grams and some to < 30 grams. I will usually consume < 30 grams/day and I don’t count my glucose tabs.

I also use intermittent fasting by limiting my eating time to an 8-hour window each day. I don’t do any calories restriction but find that the whole foods I eat satiate me and naturally limit my calories without thinking about it.


Love the Whole foods /plant based for BG control. I do not do as well as you, Marily. I like my tahini and nuts, but find i can control the spikes with the grains, bean, veg, fruit etc. I have T1 51 years ! Strongly suggest checking out the link Marilyn posted.


Ya, it’s a profound change in everything we do. Shopping, eating, eating out. Yes, eat at home, track every ingredient. My husband keeps small stashes of processed foods, like ketchup and salad dressings in the house. I can’t keep my BG under control, even with a pump, unless I eat no sugar at all. A little honey maybe, but not every day. Also no artificial sweeteners. Very little processed foods. So I’m eating fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, veggies, almond milk, soy milk, if I can find the milks that don’t have gum thickeners. One piece of fruit a day, if that.

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I have essentially removed sugars from my diet, and it was frankly pretty easy given how popular the “keto movement” has become lately. I just google “keto cereal” or “keto bread” or “keto rolls” etc., and you’ll find low-carb options everywhere.

Warning: it’s not cheap! But it does help keep glucose from spiking!

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I just follow moderation in everything. It’s easy for me to eat limited amounts of carb. For example, if I’m making pasta for my family, I simply eat .5 cup of it with lots of low carb veggies, chicken breast chunks and low fat mozzarella cheese. I eat one piece of toast in the morning with peanut butter, no-sugar added jam (I measure the one tablespoon of it so I can count the 5 grams of carb accurately) and slivered almonds on top. I put about 6 ounces of oat milk into my tea during breakfast and lunch. At lunch, I have one piece of bread or toast with eggs or with cheese and tomatoes. I don’t drink juice, unless I’m going low, but I pretty much eat whatever I want, I just limit the amounts. Personally, I don’t feel I have good quality of life if I can’t have any carbs, or most carbs, so I don’t do that. I just use small portions and for the first time in years, I’m managing both my weight and my diabetes effectively.


That’s good that it works for you.
I personally have a very hard time mixing carbs with fat.
I did a test where I ate a piece of dry toast. And then the next day ate a piece of toast with peanutbutter.

It requires nearly twice the insulin to metabolize the peanutbutter which is nearly all fat.

It was an indication to me taht I should try low fat diet instead of a keto diet.

On my diet I don’t eat much bread anyway but I was trying to see what would happen.

I eat mostly whole foods. Carbs are ok because with low fat it’s quite easy to dose for them.

When I was mixing carbs and fat my insulin requirements were increasing from about 50 per day to the mid 60s. It’s back down to 50 or less now.
I don’t know if getting a little older plays a role in it because I never tested foods back when I was younger.

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Have you found Intermittent Fasting helpful? I thought it’s just a way to restrict calories by eating in a shorter period.

Limiting my food consumption to a 8-hour window or less, gives my body time free of the digestion burden. I think I sleep better without having to process food from a late dinner. I don’t think we do well when we eat constantly from first thing in the morning to just before bed.

I don’t use intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. I’m at a reasonable weight now and my body seems to prefer my current weight.

This is a topic on which, I’ve found, little agreement and I’d like to explore this. Why do you think you don’t do well with artificial sugars? I’ve heard that they can generate an insulin response. Not sure if that’s true or not, but is it possible to have an insulin response without first a rise in blood sugar?