One of the best pieces of advice anyone can give a diabetic is to eat to their meter. Now you might think that this would be obvious, after all, as diabetics we have high blood sugar, we eat certain things, certain things put our blood sugar up more than others, we have a meter, we test our blood sugar, we don't want high blood sugar, some things put it up too high, and with the meter we can tell which ones.
So since the goal of treating diabetes is to reduce blood sugar, at least that's the goal that the medical people tell you we should be pursuing, even though there's a lot more to managing diabetes than just managing blood sugar, you would think that the first place to start would be your diet.
This is not the case though. They give you a meter, but they don't want you to use it to manage your own diabetes by managing your diet. If you did that, and eliminated the foods that gave you a lot of trouble, well that's just not allowed.
So instead you're given a one sized fits all diet that doesn't really fit diabetics that well and perhaps doesn't fit anyone well, as this sort of diet has not only been shown to be a poor way to manage diabetes, it actually contributes to people getting diabetes. The focus is on getting about half your calories from carbs, there are some general recommendations such as 3 meals of up to 60 grams a day plus a coupe of snacks of up to 25 grams each, and this is based upon about a 1600 calorie a day diet, which is on the lower end of what people eat actually.
There are all sorts of people on the internet up in arms about this, especially those who have done this diet and seen how bad it is for them, I'm pretty moderate about it though and instead of saying, well no one should be on this diet, I will say that people need to find out how a particular diet affects them and tailor it accordingly.
I do not believe though that getting 45-50% of your calories from carbohydrates is a good idea for anyone, diabetic or not, and especially not for a diabetic, who suffer from glucose dysregulation, meaning we cannot process glucose, which all carbs turn to, as well as normal people.
When we look at how non diabetics do on a diet that is so carb focused, we see a lot of overweight and obese people, a lot of people with dangerously high insulin levels and insulin resistance, and a lot of people with faulty glucose metabolism enough to get them qualifying to be a pre diabetic at least, and there are more and more of those each year, as there is diabetics.
Metabolic disorders have been steadily rising since they started recommending diets this high in carbs, percentage wise, and that all came from the low fat craze that still dominates conventional thinking. So this sort of diet is making a lot of people sick, most people are overweight these days from eating it, and this leads to diabetes, so they want to give this diet to diabetics too? What?
As incredibly stupid as this sounds, it's true unfortunately. In spite of their obsession with blood sugar, it's off the table when it comes to diet, nothing trumps their goals of a low fat diet, not even diabetes. The treatment goals with this diet isn't even blood sugar control, it's cardiovascular health, even though this is the absolute worst diet for that as well, and they talk about low fat and low sodium and no one even cares how much glucose you're going to make from this.
They also follow the calorie model of obesity which has been shown to be mistaken, so they do tell you to manage your weight but don't realize that weight management is a matter of not letting your insulin levels get too high, and too many carbs, half your calories, is the exact wrong thing to be doing if you want to lose weight.
It's not even a matter of what percentage of carbs one eats, diabetes is highly individualized and maybe you could handle this many, although a low fat diet is just plain stupid and harmful, especially focusing more on polyunsatured fats in favor of saturated fats, more stupidity and actually ignorance since there's tons of good science showing this is all wrong.
So if you are really worried about your blood sugar, and everyone should be concerned about driving your blood sugar way too high by exceeding your tolerance level of carbs, then it's simple. You eat, you test, you decide.
So this is what they call eating to your meter, tailoring your diet to the actual effects of certain foods on your blood sugar, and avoiding the problematic ones. They might be included on your diet sheet but this does not mean you can eat them. There's a little more to this than just testing though, you have to know what to look for, and we'll talk about that next time.