Wednesday, November 3, 2010

T1 diabetes and Food, another common misconception

(NaBloPoMo Day 3)

Another VERY common misconception (that also drives me crazy) is that people with T1 Diabetes have to restrict their food intake.

For this misconception, I will say it is more of a personal choice on how to handle food when dealing with Diabetes.

In theory, a T1 Diabetic person CAN eat ANYTHING he/she wants as long as they are able to match up the insulin dose to cover the carbohydrates eaten.

Some people choose to manage their Diabetes *partially* with diet. There is NO way to completely manage T1 Diabetes with food, people with T1 MUST have insulin via syringe or pump to survive. However, they can reduce the amount of insulin needed by reducing the amount of carbs they eat. This is something that is recommended doing under a doctor's care only.

Since The Superhero is SO young, we do NOT choose to limit his food choices at this time. If he should ever WANT to try a low/no carb diet as he gets older, we will discuss that with his doctor at that time.

When thinking about what we feed The Superhero, it is important to take several things into account prior to administering insulin. The main things I ask myself are how many carbohydrates (carbs) are in the food and how much fat is in the food, along with knowing his current blood glucose level (BG).

Some foods have "fast acting" carbs, such as juices, bananas, Skittles, etc. These types of carbs are typically used for "low" BG or in conjunction with the more complex carbs. If these foods are eaten without these two conditions it is likely that the person with Diabetes will end up with a higher than normal BG level quickly.

Other foods are more "complex" when it comes to carbs, such as M&M's, chocolate, pasta, breads, etc. These foods can typically be given matching doses of insulin with no problem. Though I know many people who have trouble with pasta since it is a very complex carb.

Then there are high fat foods like pizza, peanut butter and ice cream. Some people with Diabetes can eat this and not have any problems at all, as long as the bolus the carbs with insulin. And others (ie: The Superhero) need to have the insulin spread out over MANY hours in order to ward off a HUGE BG spike. It is not uncommon for The Superhero to have a BG level stay in the 300-400 range on nights where we "guess" wrong on his insulin dosing.

And still other foods which seem complex, never work out right no matter what we do, such as CEREAL! (I HATE cereal, especially Fruit Loops!) We usually see a HUGE spike and then a HUGE CRASH afterward. I try to give the insulin a little ahead of time on this one and it helps, but then I have to count on The Superhero actually eating what he says he will eat. This has caused MANY Breakfast Battles.

And since nothing in our lives with T1 Diabetes is EASY, we have to think about what foods we are feeding our kids and how those specific foods will affect them THIS time. Because what worked one time may not work the next time.

And for fun, here is a post my friend Meri wrote. Go ahead on over there and see if you can help her figure out how much insulin to give her kiddo for his lunch. :-)

Next time you see a person with T1 Diabetes eating a cupcake or having some pizza, please, please don't judge them or think they have poor control. If YOU can eat it, so can they! It is all about moderation, just like it is for YOU.

Diabetes Fact #3: People with Diabetes CAN eat anything they want as long as they match the carbohydrates with insulin.

Diabetes Fact #2: T1 Diabetes is NOT caused by eating too much sugar or being over weight. It IS an autoimmune disease and cannot be prevented.

Diabetes Fact #1: T1 Diabetes CANNOT be treated with medication. The only way to manage T1 Diabetes is with insulin. Without insulin, T1 Diabetics would die. Period.

*Disclaimer: I am a mom of a T1 Diabetic child. I am NOT a doctor. I just play one in real life. Please do not take anything in this post or any other post on this blog as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns of your own, please seek advice from your doctor.*


Jen said...

Well put! Cereal is a KILLER for us too. If a cereal has more than 3g of sugar in it FUGGATABOUTIT! We just can't have that in the wreaks havoc!

Jen said...

I hope I said 3 g of SUGAR not CARBS!

Reyna said...

Great informative post Tracy! Love the education and awareness you are spreading with the facts for NaBloPoMo...definitely better than my goofy stories.


Denise said...

lol, I just posted this fact on my facebook page. It is one of my pet peeves about misunderstanding D

Misty said...

Great post! I love your diabetes facts-roll (isn't that kind of like a blog roll of facts?) at the bottom of your posts.

Hallie said...

I love your idea, too! Cereal is banned at our house - other than cheerios! I try to convince Sweetpea that our stores don't carry Lucky Charms. Sometimes she's too smart for her own good

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