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October 16, 2000

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Huntsville, Alabama, USA:

My 10 year old niece was diagnosed 10 months ago with type 1. Her mother consistently counts the about of "carbs" she can have at each snack and meal, but I feel like she is not getting enough "real food". My sister-in-law rarely cooks, and seems to be content to give her pre-packaged foods, fruits and salads. I was wondering if the pre-packaged foods are really that bad, or if a "home-cooked meal" nightly wouldn't be much better. My niece has been having trouble the last month or so keeping her level steady, and I feel that her diet may be part of the problem.

Answer:

Good nutrition includes foods from all of the food groups. If the prepared foods you are speaking of come from a variety of food groups and the carb count is correct, then I believe good control can be achieved. I am not sure if you are talking about high fat foods or just pre-packaged foods. Foods high in fat can sometimes elevate the blood sugars for a while after they are eaten due to the slowing down of absorption of other foods allowing them to enter the blood stream after the peak of the insulin has passed. This is common.

I think about all you can do is provide what you consider to be a healthy diet when your niece visits your house in the hopes of developing a taste for more “home cooked” foods. Other things besides food affect blood sugars such as stress and growth. It could be your niece is experiencing a need for an adjustment in her medication.

JM