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May 26, 2003

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Ridgewood, New York, USA:

I take insulin four times per day, my stomach looks like I am 10 months pregnant, and my blood sugar goes up to 500 mg/dl [27.8 mmol/L] and more every day. What kind of foods should I avoid? Is there such a thing as emotional diabetes? What is happening?


I think you may be experiencing what happens to folks who don’t have diabetes and are just eating more than their bodies require for keeping weight in the normal range. If you add insulin to get your blood sugars down, you must then make sure there is enough food to keep them from going low.

I would suggest that you keep a food diary and see what all you are eating. If you see lots of high fat foods like French fries, chips, prepared snacks, desserts, high fat meats, breaded meats, and salad dressings you may benefit from cutting back on these foods. Stress can also raise blood sugars. You may benefit from noting what kind of feelings you are having when your blood sugars are high. I would also suggest you seek some help from a dietitian who understands diabetes and insulin and your doctor and nurse to help you get your medication and food balanced.

Additional comments from Stephanie Schwartz, diabetes nurse specialist:

It sounds as if you would benefit from meeting with a registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes meal planning. An RD can develop an individualized meal plan that will optimize blood sugar levels and allow you to lose some weight (to decrease insulin resistance and allow your injected insulin to work better). And yes, emotions and stress can affect blood sugars (usually higher to your detriment). Ask your physician for a referral to a RD if needed.