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September 6, 1999

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

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Question from Corvallis, Oregon, USA:

My 18 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 3 weeks ago. As a teenager he has been on the thin side, but has lost about 10 pounds recently (6’2″, 128 pounds). Everywhere we look for nutrition guidance, the emphasis seems to be on how to lose weight. He will meet with a diabetes support team in a week or so, but we would like any pointers on low carbohydrate foods that will put some weight on my son. My son’s diabetes is controlled with 2 insulin (70/30) shots daily and a low carbohydrate diet. His blood glucose levels run between 150 – 260. I know this is high but the doctors are more worried about too low right now. Please advise about specific foods to put some weight on.

Also, the physician who diagnosed him (while my son was out of state on vacation) recommended a work-up by an endocrinologist upon my son’s release from the hospital, but our Primary Care Physician tells us it is not necessary. What is to be gained by a work-up by an endocrinologist?

Answer:

From: DTeam Staff

As long as your son is going to be seeing the diabetes team, I assume he will be seeing a dietitian and she/he can give your son some excellent information on gaining some weight.

You are correct that we are usually trying to have folks with diabetes cut back on fat intake and reduce calories, but he definitely needs to increase calories to increase his weight and feel good. Oftentimes one sign of diabetes in younger folks is weight loss and of course it does not sound like he had any weight to lose. So, sometimes we do have folks increase their fat intake until they and the team are okay with the weight and the subject’s health.

I think a diabetes team should be a great help and I would surely see the endocrinologist. I bet your son will receive a wealth of information.

LSF