Tag Archives: carbohydrates

Can a type 2 diabetic eat carbs?

An elderly gentleman with type 2 diabetes whom I know was told by his doctor he could have fruit.  So he eats bowls of fruit which include oh so sweet banana and grapes.

He was never explained that some fruit have more sugar than others nor that a small piece of fruit and an entire bowl were two different things when it came to his blood sugar.

As a result his blood sugar is regularly over 200.

I think a better job by doctors needs to be done when recommending food for diabetics.  The cold hard reality is that if someone has type 2 diabetes, all sources of carbohydrates might affect blood sugar.  Some people with type 2 can have fruit and keep their blood sugar down, others cannot.  So the issue is on an individual basis.

I don’t know.  All I know is that whole wheat pasta, lentils, whole wheat bread, and fruit are commonly recommended foods for type 2 diabetics.  This sounds like a disaster!  When I eat those foods I need plenty of insulin to cover them and I gain weight really fast.  So when a type 2 diabetic who does not take insulin eats one of these foods, they will normally suffer an elevation in glucose.

Just because the sugar in fruit is fructose doesn’t mean it won’t hurt you.  Sure, fruit is low on the glycemic scale but, it still raises blood sugar.  If you are a diabetic, any blood sugar over 100 is not ideal.  Anything over 140 is going to definitely do harm in the long run.

We all like to have something for all of our suffering but, if you are a diabetic, get a manicure or enjoy your favorite TV show or go out with friends.  Don’t enjoy that sandwich on whole grain if it causes your blood sugar to go up.  In the end, you will suffer even more.  Same goes for all of the other carbohydrate containing foods out there.

I think it might be better to enjoy those foods only once you get your body under control.  This means getting to a healthy weight, sleeping well, exercising, lowering stress, and eating right for your blood sugar levels.  If you are able to hit these marks, then maybe try adding more and more carbohydrates.  If your blood sugar goes up though, I’d try to limit them once again.

Diabetes complications are no joke.  And if you are on medications, they probably have a host of negative side effects.  What if it is possible to come off of those eventually?  Every case is different and anything like this would obviously need to be monitored by a doctor but, what if limiting carbs gave you better chances?

I’m a type 1 diabetic who has a lot of insulin resistance issues and in that regard I treat myself a bit like a type 2 by limiting carbs and omitting grains completely in order to avoid being overweight.  I don’t like this reality because I love my carbs, but it’s my reality and accepting it has helped me be healthier which is SO worth it.

Must read book if you are a diabetic

1bernsteinThe book is called, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard Bernstein.

He has had type 1 diabetes for many many years and became a doctor in his late 40’s.  He did this because he learned a lot living with diabetes and turned his health around and the only way to publish what he learned and be listened to was to become a doctor.

When I heard about this doctor I thought to myself…”He should really know what he is talking about for he actually has the disease.”

I was right.  The book recommended almost everything I had discovered the hard way throughout my 15 years with diabetes except he lays out a precise management plan for normal blood sugars. I’m in the process of adapting to his protocol.  The top ideas I would recommend you from this book are the following:

1.  “The Law of Small Numbers”

Each time you administer insulin there is a certain margin of error regarding absorption.  Sometimes more gets absorbed by the body than other times.  If you eat low carb, you give less insulin.  This lowers that margin of error considerably.  So, hours after you’ve given insulin, instead of being “off” by a lot, you chance being off only by a slight amount every time, improving your overall glucose control.  I found this out on my own and was so happy to see it affirmed in this book.  Conclusion?  It truly makes life easier to omit most carbs.

2.  Frequent blood sugar checks

Dr. Bernstein recommends 5-7 checks a day.  This is assuming you have some sort of routine way of doing things.  I will go ahead and assume if you don’t have a routine about your day, you need to check  your sugar even more frequently.  I typically monitor 8-10 times a day.  Notice that this is because currently I have a very unusual schedule-I take care of my newborn twin infants round the clock and can only sleep and eat when a miracle opens a small window of time.  This hectic schedule calls for extra monitoring.  If I only checked 4 times in a 24 hour period I’d end up in the ER very soon from a low or I would eventually suffer the consequences from too many highs.  I prefer checking more often thank you very much.

3.  Exercise

This simply applies to all human beings.  We all require exercise.  Period.  If you have type 2 diabetes, your health will improve dramatically by exercise.

4.  Normalizing blood glucose levels heals you

This one is great.  Dr. Bernstein was falling apart.  His health was in shambles and by normalizing his blood sugar levels he literally reversed the overwhelming majority of the damage that occurred during many years of terrible glucose control.  Let us take a look again at that word: reversed.  I at one point suffered a year of annoying leg cramps as a result of getting my blood sugar back on track.  The pain was caused by my body repairing itself.  Finally when those leg cramps disappeared, so did all of the neuropathic pain in my feet.  Look out 4 inch heels!  Very exciting to say the least.

5.  You don’t need to use alcohol swabs prior to an injection or finger prick

I have only used alcohol swabs when in public for other people’s sake.  People tend to relax when they see you “sterilizing” (although alcohol doesn’t sterilize the skin).  Anyway, apart from those instances I never use alcohol to clean my injection site or finger stick site.  No harm ever came as a result in all my 15 years with diabetes.  Dr. Bernstein sets the record straight as a doctor telling us that no, you don’t need to use alcohol.  So save yourself the hassle and just stick or inject away!

6.  Unless you are obese or use large amounts of insulin, stay away from insulin pens

Insulin pens do not allow for quarter unit doses.  For many people, this means rounding up or down and either getting too much or not enough insulin.  I once used a pen that didn’t even provide half unit increments.  This was very annoying.  I had to try to pull the needle out real fast so that a small amount of insulin would come out as a I pushed the insulin in.  I definitely don’t recommend this unreliable method.  Soon after my trial with the pens I switched to simple reliable syringes and haven’t looked back since.

7.  Use glucose tablets to control low blood sugars

Dr. Bernstein recommends that anytime your sugar is low you use glucose tablets instead of candy or juice or some other form of fast acting sugar.  This was hard for me but, I do get the logic behind it.  His reasoning is this:  glucose tablets work faster AND they are always going to provide you the same measurable amount of carbs whereas sometimes with juice or candy you may overdo the amount (because mmm candy is good!) and subsequently suffer from high glucose after your low.  I know this has happened to many of us.  It sure has happened to me.  When I practice this rule, I do avoid a high blood sugar reading after the low reading, every single time.

So there they are.  For type 2 diabetics:  Dr. Bernstein’s book talks a lot about issues which would help you as well.  He goes into type 2 medications which I don’t know much about.  So for ANY diabetic, I definitely recommend you read this book!

The problem with foods (most) that are white

          Consider removing or limiting white foods from your diet.  That would be bread, cereals, crackers, cakes, pasta, and rice. Reason being is these foods raise blood sugar levels for many hours after you eat them.

Has the following happened to you? You get up in the morning and your blood sugar is 102. You give insulin and enjoy a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with milk and 2 hours after this you’re blood sugar is 100. Excellent! Now some more time has passed and it is lunch time. You are ordering a chicken salad sandwich for lunch and can’t wait to eat it. You check your blood sugar and it is 204. HUH?! What happened here? Well, the complex carbohydrates in your cereal bowl kicked in some more AFTER the last time you checked your sugar. Now you are upset because you are hungry and cannot eat yet.

If you use an insulin pump you could use a square or dual wave bolus to deal with these kinds of foods. I don’t like that solution though because every time you give insulin a certain varying percentage is not absorbed into the body. The more insulin you give, the greater the margin of error here. This means you are risking blood sugars that vary from day to day, even if you eat the same thing every day and at the same time.

I finally got tired of this roller coaster and decided to simplify things. I now enjoy white foods only on special occasions. My body has thanked me. I feel healthier, my A1c is better than ever, and I even lost weight!