Diabetes Food and Diet Dilemmas

Obtained diabetes? Want guidance? Of course you do! And you came to the ideal place: Request D’Mine, our weekly Q&A hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes writer and community teacher Wil Dubois.

Now, Wil requires a look at heart and each of those challenging food choice issues that can materialize when we’re trying to change our eating routines.

Sarah, type 1 from Ohio, writes:Hi Wil, I have been reading your column for quite some time today and I have a query. I’m a kind 1 diagnosed 18 decades back at age 25. I’m at a place where I’m familiar with my diabetes management and manage to (mostly) keep my sugars inside reach. Lately, I have been doing a great deal of reading about Real Food diets — removing processed, lab-created ingredients from the foods we consume. I have done some experimenting and have found that I feel much better, have more energy, sleep better when I follow this diet. The problem is, as a diabetic I gave up sweeteners such as sugar and honey in favour of Splenda years past. If I follow the Actual Food plan I would have to replace my Splenda using honey. That will surely cause a rise in blood glucose and insulin necessary. So my question is, for your pancreatically challenged, is it better to stick with the low-carb sweeteners which are all chemically created, or is Real Food a workable diet option even when it increases insulin requirements? Thanks so much for your input.

Wil@Ask D’Mine replies: It has been some time since I have seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure Moses came down from Mount Sinai with a rock carved with all the Ten Commandments, not the Actual Food Presents.

No diet rules are carved in rock. Do not frame things to yourself that you’d “have” to replace anything to properly follow this diet, or any other. Feel free to tinker with diets to allow them to work better for you. Swapping Splenda for honey won’t create the world collapse or, more importantly, make the diet suddenly ineffective.

Trust me, nobody has made a diet so perfect as to become divine.

Now, I can understand the actual Food people’s belief that, at the Garden of Eden, Splenda is much more wicked than honey. But in the actual world you and I live in, the honey will twist with your health over the Splenda will. The honey will give you sugar spikes, and require more insulin–that is also an evil lab-created product, after all–to suppress.

And you did not ask, but as we are on the topic, I believe that the notion of Actual Foods has merit, at least as a concept, if not as a specific plan. And science backs me up. Yale researchers compared all the modern diet “crazes” and demonstrated that nearer to the shrub is better.

OK, I paraphrased that. Written in Stone

What they actually said was, “A diet of processed foods near nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and illness prevention.” This doesn’t surprise me. It’s just logical that ingesting foods which are organic is healthier.

However, what’s natural? It’s easy to say it is natural to consume exactly what we evolved to eat, but there are two issues. The first is that we people happen to be dicking around with character because we came down out of the trees. (I always get amused when folks get PO’d over Monsanto modifying corn when, in fact, there are no cornfields in character. It’s a totally man-made harvest in the first place.) And second, we’ve never stopped growing.

So there’s no way to line up evolutionary shift with the alteration of character and state, FREEZE! This is perfect. It doesn’t work that way. Still, the inclusion of a lot of the chemicals in our current diet started in the decades after World War 2, and I don’t think development has caught up yet.

So minimizing those things makes sense, but in the event that you’ll pardon the pun, I don’t have the stomach for extended lists of exactly what I should and shouldn’t eat. I chafe under rules. It’s not that rules were meant to be broken, so I’m not an anarchist; it is just that it is impossible to write rules– diet rules–which can apply to every person, woman, and child. For those sugar-normals as well as also the pancreatically-challenged alike.  

We need to keep flexible, as the world–such as Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments timeless–is in techni-color, not black and white.

Debbie, type 3 from the Philippines, writes:My kind 1 (diagnosed 2 years ago) boyfriend just transferred to a new firm. And this specific firm has a flexi-time perk where you don’t really need to come in at a specific time, you simply need to work and then you’re free to leave. He pops up late in the morning, and does not eat breakfast and doesn’t bother to eat snacks in the afternoon. I certainly know that this is an immense diabetic no-no. He has been doing so for almost 4 weeks, and his levels have been okay. 90-150 at the daytime and 130-150 at the day. My question is, isn’t his body getting affected with this entire sleeping, waking, eating no breakfast and snacks thing?? I’m so worried about his job schedule since I believe it is affecting his body in some way but I can not construct a good situation because his sugars are PRETTY DARN OKAY. Ugh!! Thank you so much Wil, I hope this email finds you well and healthy. Blessings to you!

Wil@Ask D’Mine replies: First things first. There are no diabetic no-nos, huge or differently. (Except, perhaps, not paying attention to your diabetes. I guess that could be a no-no in my book.) However, no way is not with a bite a no-no. The fantasy of snacks being necessary for people with diabetes comes to us from the dark ages of crude insulin formulations. Back then, taking enough insulin to pay the blood glucose in the meal pretty much guaranteed between-meal low blood glucose levels. The solution? Snacks.

People had to feed their insulin as it was a hungry dog.

But that’s not true. Of course, anybody who wants a bite and isn’t overweight, should have one, but nobody should feel they’re obligated to bite.

Now, on to his mad eating pattern. Here’s where we must create a distinction about the objective of diet ; and when I Food clockstate “diet” here I suggest the consumption of nutrition to fuel your body’s physiological processes. For people with diabetes, the most important thing about diet is to consume foods which, in conjunction with our medications, permit us to keep our blood glucose pretty damn OK. That’s job one.

However, I need to be more clear that eating healthily for blood glucose and eating healthily for general health aren’t necessarily the same thing. You could maintain great blood glucose if all you consumed was Diet Coke and Pork Rinds, but I doubt that the worldwide long term consequences on the body would be useful.

So what about your man? Is just eating at mad times bad for you? No. I really don’t think so. So long as he eats well, and can maintain good blood sugars, so I can not see the harm of eating erratically.

Hey, the entire body is built to be flexible. It stores sugar when we consume to use later when we aren’t eating. Back to development, that’s how we evolved — in an environment of meals doubt. And I’m pretty sure that we have not (yet) evolved to the stage where we are determined by the civilized feeding cycles of 3 squares a day and snacks.

So really, eating erratically is… well… only natural.

This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and publicly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are just a small portion of your total prescription. You still need the expert guidance, treatment, and maintenance of a licensed medical professional.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn’t adhere to Healthline’s editorial guidelines. To learn more about Healthline’s partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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