Planning meals and eating healthy when you have diabetes can be a struggle, especially if you are on a budget. But it is one of the most important factors in good diabetes control and management.
But it is hard to cut out favorite sweet or salty treats. And it takes a long time to train your body to crave healthy foods more than those delicious mouth-watering desserts or satisfyingly salty snack.
So most people don't — and they lie about it.
When the doctor asks how your diet has been going it is easy to just say "pretty good" without further explanation. That's a problem for you and your healthcare team and a problem for researchers studying the eating habits of people in general.
Kusum Ailawadi, a professor of marketing, has recently been successful in finding a way around all the lies about food. Ailawadi and her team conducted a study examining household food purchases over several years. The numbers don’t lie.
Some of the research was general and expected. For example, the study revealed that families that were more educated about nutrition made healthier food purchases on average.
But the researchers also looked at how food-buying patterns changed in a household after one person was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The results: Total purchases of sugary foods declined. But consumption of fatty foods actually increased following a Type 2 diagnosis. And most of the sugar decline was due to swapping high-sugar colas and juices for low-sugar alternatives — not a decline in consuming treats like cookies or ice cream.
One factor that did influence food choices positively was higher income. With the fortune we already spend on treatment and care, it's a shame that the market is set up to force lower-income families to food that are worse for them.
While you may not be able to change your income, according to the results of this study, the best thing we can do for our families is to go out and get educated on nutrition so that we can make healthier food choices and to work on being honest with ourselves about our food choices.