Food for Thought

Rachel’s post on how “food restriction isn’t torture because Americans diet all the time” reminded me of this…

A friend requested that I “hold her hand” at a Diabetes Education class this week.  I hadn’t realized she’d meant it literally.*  I wasn’t really surprised by a lot of it, including when the nutritionist emphasized that carbohydrates are a useful and necessary part of good nutrition and blood sugar moderation. Or that she focused on how to keep carbs, protein and fats in porportion to help your body manage your blood sugar.**

But I did feel the earth lurch for a moment when the nutritionist said:

I wouldn’t recommend any adult eat less than 130 grams of carbohydrates a day.

Contrast this with the 30 grams of carbs a day regimen I had on a low-carb diet some years ago and … yeah.  Or the coworker who got disgusted at the fruit basket his sister sent him for Christmas: “Pears, apples, oranges, crackers, cheese – it’s all sugar!”   

The nutritionist went on to recommend that adult male diabetics who want to lose weight*** aim for 60 grams of carb per meal (and also protein and lots of non-starchy vegetables)  and that female adult diabetics who want to lose weight aim for 45 grabs of carbs per meal (again with protein and veggies).  

Yeah.  She’s telling diabetics who want to lose weight to eat more carbs per meal than I was eating in a day.****   It felt weird.

 

*It was just a squeeze or two. :)   
**She also pointed out that if a diabetic measures their sugar before breakfast and it’s always high?  This does not mean they shouldn’t eat.  It means their liver is kicking out too much sugar overnight and they should get their meds adjusted. 
***Almost all of the diabetics in the room had volunteered that they want to lose weight.
****For contrast, this carbohydrate calculator assumes you aren’t trying to lose weight.

7 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Yeah, DH got that from his doctor. He’s supposed to have 45 – 60 grams of carbs at each of 3 meals and 15 grams of carbs for each of 2 snacks. Then she wonders why the hell we can’t get his A1c below 8, even with 96 units of Lantus once a day, and 20 units of R insulin twice a day. 165 to 210 grams of carbs a day does not lead to good blood sugar control, not for DH anyway. We try to keep it to about half of what the ADA recommends (and doing that, we got his A1c down to 6.3).
    So what people with type 2 really need to do is test, test, test, and test some more until they know how different foods affect their blood sugar numbers (DH used to test before every meal, 1 hour after, 2 hours after, 3 hours after). By doing that, we got a really good idea of how what he eats affects his numbers and how we needed to leave some things out of his diet and add other things. And type 2s who use insulin have a harder time losing weight than type 2s not using insulin, so weight loss isn’t always possible.

  2. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was sent to a “Diabetes Educator” who was also a Registered Dietician. I was new to the disease and frightened.

    She wouldn’t even shake my hand when she met me, and she treated me as if the disease was MY FAULT and was all because I had eaten myself into the ZOMG Deth Fatz.

    Well. She gave me a worksheet and ticked off how many servings of carbs and proteins I could have, etc. It didn’t seem like she was allowing me much food, so when I got to the car, I added up the calories in the diet she’d outlined for me.

    850.

    That’s all. She expected me to live on 850 kcal a day.

    Luckily, I found another Registered Dietician who helped me a lot more with understanding the glycemic index and finding the right way for ME to eat, regardless of my weight, and I’m now a very successful diabetic, with my last a1c being 5.5.

  3. I don’t have diabetes but seven years ago I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and was told I was on the verge of developing it. I don’t keep track of the carbs I eat each day (and it fluctuates) but I know I probably eat a lot more than 30. I went to the doctor this week and my blood sugar and insulin levels are awesome. There is a difference in eating carbs like those in sugar and white bread than in eating carbs like those in fruit and wheat products. The low-carb diets (with which I am well familiar) don’t take this variance into equation and instead, classify all carbs as evil.

  4. Ha. Whenn I was pregnant and borderline for Gestational Diabetes, the ‘nutritionist’ I went to told me to eat at least 130gm of carbs a day.

    Hmm.

    My OB went a little nuts when I told her this. Hee!

    Of course, that nutritionist also told me that eating the skin on a potato would ‘help keep the blood sugar from rising too quickly’. Um, okay then. My favorite bit was how she completely and utterly ignored everything I said. Gottla love those medical professionals.

  5. Along the lines of Michael Pollock and “In Defense of Food”… my mom (not American, cooks traditional food from scratch) always restricted sugar and white flour use, especially sugar. She did, however, stick apples and carrots in my hand when I got home from school and we had potatoes probably close to twice daily. I don’t know how many times I heard an (non-American) adult say “Soda is really bad for your teeth, only drink a little of it!”, or “Don’t eat too much candy, you’ll get sick!”. Never heard an adult say “Don’t eat too much of that rye bread, it’s bad for you!” If carbs really made you fat, people in the Nordic countries would have national average BMIs of about 40 with the amount of potatoes, bread, and root vegetables in those diets.

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