OK. I'm confused big time.

By Emma2412 Latest Reply 2013-01-29 21:17:08 -0600
Started 2010-06-02 02:03:42 -0500

I guess I signed up to receive Good Eating/Good Living magazine put out by Kraft, but I don't remember doing it. LOL
Anyway, I'm looking through my mail and there it is. Ah, I said, "New information?" So, I get something to drink and make myself comfortable and sit there reading it, expecting to get some wonderful tips on diet, when all of a sudden, they start quoting an Amy Campbell, RD, CDE, education program manager at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, as saying:
"Sugar isn't the enemy. Sugar is just one type of carb. It's the total carbs, not the type, that will have the most impact on your blood sugar levels. It's okay to have a small dish of ice cream. Just count it as part of your total carb allowances. So, sugar isn't off-limits and neither are french fries."
So, my first question is to everybody at DC, since when are these foods recommended by an RD for diabetics? I mean I realize that sometimes we'll sneak something in when at a wedding or something like that, but to have an RD recommend this was shocking to me.
She also said in that article, "No matter what your eating plan, test your blood sugar 2 hrs. after the start of a meal. Generally, your blood sugar should be below about 160 at that point. If it's higher, it's likely you ate too much and/or didn't have enough medication on board. Watch for signs of high blood sugar, thirst, headache, frequent urination, and fatigue. If you experience any of them, check your blood sugar reading."
My confusion with this is since when is 160 not considered high blood sugar?
My doctor instructed me to take my medication just before I eat so that it'll help keep everything in balance as I eat. She doesn't want me going up to 160.
It's only if I forget to take my meds. before a meal that I get anything like 160. Then, when I see the reading, I thump myself in the head, call myself something unflattering, and run for the meds! Yikes!
But what does everybody think about these two little "gems" from an RD from Joslin? Can you imagine the confusion that something like that can cause someone who's just been diagnosed?

31 replies

robertoj 2011-08-19 04:55:39 -0500 Report

Information is a funny thing. When I was diagnosed with diabetes my doctor said that my BG should be less than 180 2 hours after starting a meal and my diabetes educator said it should be less than 160. I have seen different charts that support either position. I understand that sugar is type of carb and that you should focus on total carbs. The problem with that sort of statement is that is too simplistic and therefore misleading. Of course we need to focus on the total carbs but there are other factors to consider such as is it a complex carb which is less likely to cause spike or how about fiber. Try to be efficient with your carb intake you need to consume essential nutrients and wasting your total carbs on sugar means that you have fewer healthy cabs to work with. Remember carbs are not the enemy they are an important source of energy. The sugar industry is attempting to mislead us by saying sugar is sugar too. We must all be ever vigilant especially with the anti science crowd trying to end regulation and kill or defund consumer agencies. They are willing to sacrifice our health and the well being of our families for profit.

Elrond 2011-08-18 23:31:20 -0500 Report

A lot of this also depends on whether you're type 1 or type 2 and your weight loss or gain goals. My doctor and nutritionist are constantly encouraging me to eat more carbs and compensate with insulin but I'm an underweight type 1. After more than 30 years of denying myself sweet treats, it's very difficult to convince myself that a dish of ice cream or a candy bar is ok.

mysteria7130 2011-08-16 08:36:13 -0500 Report

I think it goes back to basics. Just stick to the pyramid. If you eat something extra, do not kick yourself for it." If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again."

margokittycat 2011-08-15 15:28:09 -0500 Report

Well, the part aout eating sugary things is really rediculous. Yes every so often you can treat yourself as long as your diabetes is under controll. The 160 though is fine. Your blood sugars will spike within the first two hours after you have eating, and 160 is not bad, now if you are a brittle diabetic and have been having issues with your BS than yes your doctor may say it is to high. I have been diabetic for 30+ years and my doctor always said not to be over 190 2 hours after meals. Using Splenda is great and it does not taste any different than sugar at least to me. I bake with it and make cakes and cookies with it since they have the Splenda for Baking and the Brown Sugar Splenda. Thetaste is really good and I make puddings and things with it. Anything I make that calls for sugar I use splenda instead. I am the only diabetic in our home and no one ever knows the difference.

MrsCDogg 2011-08-15 05:21:55 -0500 Report

I find that for me, and this is just for me mind you. I do better if I don't tell myself that certain stuff is off limits. We choose to use Splenda for coffee and tea here at my house to cut back on a few calories and because we both like the taste. I cook whatever we want to eat. I use Dreamfields pasta because it is fewer carbs and tastes just as good as regular pasta. However, if my husband is craving something sweet I bake. Yes, I eat a little of it too. I eat a small amount. I try not to go overboard with the sweets and starches. I cut back all I can 90% of the time that's how I keep my numbers down and my A1c in the normal range. Do I over-do it from time to time? Absolutely! I refuse to put myself in a prison because I am a diabetic. I've been fighting this battle for 10 years and so far I'm still here…:o)

AprilB 2013-01-29 21:17:08 -0600 Report

"I refuse to put myself in a prison because I am a diabetic."

I love that statement!! It took me a good 2 years to get there. I don't deprive myself and don't do it all the time either.

grandmaducky 2011-08-15 12:44:56 -0500 Report

thats what i do to if i want a dq sundae i have a small one and but not everyday lol

Marytea 2011-08-16 07:53:50 -0500 Report

I am a lifetime Weight Watcher member and have learned from them that if I deny myself a certain food, I will fail. I have learned to have a treat once in a while and that I can go long periods without doing so because of it.

Lakeland 2010-06-08 22:03:47 -0500 Report

I remember hearing I could have bread, I got mad at my diabetes educator because my dad was diabetic & things dad couldn't have, potato's bread, cookies, ice cream, was Ok for me as long as I counted it.

After being diabetic for several months now, I do have ice cream but I choose the ones made with splenda, I do have bread, but I choose the whole grain sandwich thins & treat them like bread, I do have candy bars, but I take a walk afterwards, I do have oreo cookies but I take a walk, What I don't do , is now I don't eat all that in one day!!!LOL

Funny I do better on the junk foods than I do on fruit. but I do have cottage cheese with fruit as a dessert but that spikes my sugars so I agree that a carb is a carb, unless it's high fiber & breaks down slower.

Just my opinion

princessbeiter 2011-08-15 19:36:24 -0500 Report

Instead of the regular versions of candy, I eat Atkins bars. They're a little less sweet, but not much and they satisfy the cravings.

I do the Splenda Blend, too. I don't even buy regular sugar anymore.

kdroberts 2010-06-02 10:06:00 -0500 Report

They are not as crazy as they sound but they are generalized for a population of over 25 million people of all ages and different types. Some people are very active in their diabetes care, some go to the doctors and do what they say but no more and a lot just don't worry about it.

Sugar really isn't the top enemy, carbs in general are. A small bowl of ice cream is likely less total carb than a sandwich or serving of mashed potatoes. If you also take the fat and protein into account you will probably end up with a slower, lower spike in blood sugar with the ice cream than the sandwich. Also, if you try and give up all your treats cold turkey then most people are asking for trouble. It may work fine for a few days, weeks, months or even years but there will be a point where the temptation gets to much and you go on a bender and cause more problems than the occasional bowl of ice cream to curb the cravings.

The 160 may be high to you but for a large percentage of diabetics are higher than that most of the time so it would be an improvement for them. The ADA recommends blood sugar under 180 after a meal, the AACE recommends under 140 so 160 is splitting the difference. A type 1 or type 2 without insulin production could hit way above 160 by a simple miscalculation or sometimes for no apparent reason. Other type 2's can stay under 160 quite easily and still eat a comparatively high carb amount.

On both issues you also need to take into consideration the vast differences between people. The parent of a 6 year old with type 1 is going to be looking at it very differently than you or an inactive 400lb 60 year old who has been newly diagnosed or a middle aged type 1 who has been dealing with diabetes for decades, and everyone in between.

Emma2412 2010-06-02 18:02:26 -0500 Report

I hear you KD, but really! Recommending ice cream? And, yes, I know that everyone's different with different readings, different problems, different reactions, but I guess I'm hearing what my doctor always says to me, that she wants the readings to be as consistent as possible even after I eat.
Yes, I've cheated on and off right along, being human, but I can tell you every time I do I see it in the readings and most of all actually feel it in my body. So, again, it just seems very odd to me that she's recommending diabetics eat sweets.
Of course, I'm not talking about Type I diabetics because I don't know anything much about Type I and the specific, everyday problems they have.
But from the standpoint of Type II, I would think that 160 is high. I mean I was 140 when I was told I had diabetes. So, why would you want to go up to 160 or higher.
As I said, I'm confused big time.

princessbeiter 2011-08-15 19:40:39 -0500 Report

I'm wondering if you're on insulin or oral medications. Insulin can be adjusted and taken all through the day, however something like metformin will do nothing for your after-meal highs. It helps your body use the insulin you already have, it does not add insulin.

AuntieM234 2011-08-16 07:31:40 -0500 Report

Why would you want to take more insulin or other drug? Why not just eat right, instead? IMO eating right doesn't include sugar anytime.

Emma2412 2011-08-18 23:16:32 -0500 Report

Yes, I agree that eating "right" is the best thing and that sugar is out (and should be out — the body does not need sugar). I, for one, am trying to gete off any sort of diabetic medication. I don't think it works that well, anyway.
Back to the food. Although sometimes I do have something in the "sugar" family, it's not often, believe me. I recently came across something called the "Food Combining Diet" which is really helping me greatly. It has a lot to do with proper digestion of food and what foods to combine. Anyway, it's just something I'm throwing out to all.

princessbeiter 2011-08-16 10:33:49 -0500 Report

But for some of us, cutting out ALL sugar is just not possible. I can do it for a while, but then the cravings do take over. I'm not advocating eating it all the time, just not cutting it out entirely. All things in moderation.

However, my question/comment was referring to the fact that Emma made this statement:

"My doctor instructed me to take my medication just before I eat so that it'll help keep everything in balance as I eat."

If she's on something like Metformin, this won't make a difference.

Emma2412 2011-08-18 23:18:55 -0500 Report

You're absolutely right, but the problem there is that the doctor doesn't tell you that. That's why I'm very, very interested in getting off any meds. I'm sick and tired of them and I don't think they do what they're "cracked up" to be. I'm all for natural cures anyway and I really believe Type 2 can be controlled as long as you watch your diet.

princessbeiter 2011-08-19 13:44:53 -0500 Report

Depending on your situation, it can be controlled with diet and exercise, however, some people still need the meds. Research all you can and YOU choose the best path for you to take.

jayabee52 2011-08-18 23:36:44 -0500 Report

I control my T2 with my meal plan alone. No meds using a low carb high protein meal plan of my own design.

I am not sure all T2s are able to do it without meds. They can greatly improve and reduce their med intake if they are diligent with their eating plans but at the insulin levels some of the folks here are on, I just don't see many kicking those meds out of their lives completely. Compared to them I was on a baby dose of insulin.

GabbyPA 2010-06-02 19:21:05 -0500 Report

I think what you need to realize is that every kind of food turns into sugar eventually. Even vegetables. So when they say that counting carbs is the key, they are generally right. However, we are not generally diabetic.

I can eat ice cream. I am thrilled I can. BUT it is only vanilla, only 1/2 cup, and only one brand. As KD mentioned, the fats and proteins in ice cream slow the rise.
I cannot eat corn. I am sad that I can't.Corn sends me through the roof no matter how little is in the food I eat. I cannot even eat things made with corn meals or corn products without big numbers.

What they have discovered is that the old thinking that we have to ban sugar from our lips is not true. Of course, we eat too much refined sugar in our typical diets so cutting it back just makes that special treat more special. We have to get beyond the concept of "cheating". We don't cheat, we choose poorly.

I can have that cookie instead of an apple, but I have to weigh the benefits of that choice. The cookie might have fat in it or fiber from oatmeal. That may slow down my rise. The apple may actually raise my levels faster, but I might feel fuller after eating an apple instead of a cookie. It depends on what my body does.

If you are keeping below 140 that is fantastic. The ADA does say we should top out at 180. Again everyone is different in that. Many of us struggle to keep levels below that and it may not be that we ate too much carb, but that we ate more than our particular bodies can safely handle. Again, we all have different levels of insulin resistance or medications that are helping our bodies to use the sugar in our blood. I may have more resistance than you do. My body might fight me more than yours does. It is such a hard disease to generalize as there are so many factors that change the outcomes.

margokittycat 2011-08-15 15:41:08 -0500 Report

Gabby that really stinks not being able to eat corn. I would not be able to survive summer with out the sweet corn we grow. That is one of many things we grown in spring and summer here and we love. We can our sweet corn so that we have it throughout the year. I would really miss that if I could not eat it, but the strange thing is I will only eat corn on the cob, once we've canned it I will not touch it or eat it. I have to have the fresh corn it does not spike my BS but other corns do.

Emma2412 2010-06-03 01:55:10 -0500 Report

Hi, Gabby
I think everybody has misunderstood what I'm trying to bring out about this RD. I apologize for not saying it in a better way. Let me try again.
I understand and concede that all food turns into sugar eventually, even protein. Did I know that when I was first diagnosed? No, I didn't, but what with all the tons I've read about diabetes I know that and a wealth of other important facts.
Also, from everything I've ever learned about health in general it's unhealthy for anybody to have sugary foods and foods with tons of honey or corn syrup in them, plus it's unheathy for people to be eating fried foods or foods loaded with saturated fat. I mean that's what we've been told. Right? If I go to my diabetes class, they'll tell me that I should stay away from sugary foods and saturated fat and instead eat foods that are healthy for me; i.e., fruits, veggies, fish, chicken, etc. They also will tell me that if I want to sweeten my food I should use a sugar substitute. So, I've got to conclude that sugar is not good for any of us, but especially those with diabetes.
Now, I realize that people once believed that it was actually sugar that caused diabetes, and that was proven wrong some years back. But I think we've all got to accept that when a diabetic has sugar, honey, corn syrup or anything like that, our BS levels are going to go much higher than if we hadn't had it. So, sugar might not cause diabetes, but it still is something we should not have.
So, now as to the RD, she said that it doesn't matter what kind of carbs a person has as long as it adds up to a certain total per day. However, she doesn't talk about the consequences of eating those particular sugary or fatty foods. She only says sugar, ice cream, French fries, etc. are OK as long as all those carbs add up to the prescribed daily total.
I think that it's the most dangerous statement I have ever heard. It really gives a person who, say, has just been diagnosed and doesn't know anything yet about what they should be eating the wrong idea. In other words, they'll see that and think, oh, good, I can have ice cream for breakfast, French fries at lunch, and corn or beets for supper/dinner, and, goody-goody, the kinds of carbs don't matter so long as the total adds up to what my daily total should be.
Like I said, I'm confused big time why a professional would say something so important in such a harmful, dangerous manner. I hope this clears up what I've been trying to express.

Gimpalong 2011-08-16 01:54:56 -0500 Report

You might be surprised what changes have been made in the diabetic classes. I was surprised how much it had changed since 1992 when I was diagnosed. My doctor has me on a 1500 calorie intake, but I am to eat 12-1/2 carbs, 8oz. of protein, and 6 servings of fat daily total intake. I find it difficult to get all the food eaten, but I am losing weight and my bg's are holding between 85-125. However, with the choices I make to eat, whether it is ice cream, a cookie,it is will show up as 140-160 at 2 hours after a meal. I personally try to stay away from the corn, and other GMO foods, because we really don't know how the grains were altered, and which companys do use the GMO processing in the fields for better crop yield. Each of us are different, and we respond to foods differently. I think that the RD should have expressed herself more clearly as to the moderation of some of these foods. Most of us know that our foods will eventually become sugars. I always go with friends on Wed. evening to Wendy's. That is my splurge for the week. I have one of their small malts, and enjoy it to the fullest without one bit of guilt. LOL. For some reason their ice cream doesn't cause drastic spikes. I have to pick my battles I'm willing to fight for, whether ice cream or green beans. Have a great week. Nanvy

margokittycat 2011-08-15 15:46:43 -0500 Report

I think you hit it on the nose. I totally understood where you were coming from. I completely understand. Even some type 2 diabetics can get away with doing that because they are boarderline and don't have to take any medications or take shots like some do.

RAYT721 2010-06-03 17:58:56 -0500 Report

Emma… what would you do for a Klondike bar??? :) I found some Edy's apple pie ice cream in these tiny little cups that I will eat (or just have 1/2 of) because it sure beats a 9" pie. I don't think they are suggesting that you eat your way to a 160 glucose level like the points in a Scrabble game. In our case the lower the reading, the better. I wouldn't recommend an ice cream diet but occasional treats (better when nobody's looking) shouldn't be off limits.

Emma2412 2010-06-05 18:27:49 -0500 Report

Hi, Ray
Did you read my response to Gabby's reply? Mine is dated June 3 - 3:55 a.m. I think everybody has taken my original message to mean that I want to start gorging on sweets because this idiot RD said that sugar is OK. But it's not that at all. I think I've finally made myself clear through that reply to Gabby.
Oh, and I USED TO love Klondike bars, but, no thanks. LOL

NCBarb 2010-06-02 09:44:48 -0500 Report

Since I'm new to D, I can't reply with any lick of authority. However, with my knowledge of Fibromyalgia, I know there is no set criteria with anything. Every Doctor has their own "theories", ideas, etc. There are standards, but they are rarely following strictly by those who are supposed to. It's maddening!

petals 2010-06-02 10:51:14 -0500 Report

I have Fibromyalgia as well. So I can understand were you coming from with that. What might work for me ,might not work for you. I feel that may be the same for diabetics as well.

Emma2412 2010-06-02 17:54:38 -0500 Report

Hi, Petals
Well, I know where everybody's coming from, of course, that no one is the same. But it just seems to me to be odd that she would be recommending ice cream to diabetics and saying that sugar is not the enemy. It really "floored me".

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