June 24, 2002
Question from Cottage Grove, Oregon, USA:
My 34 year old brother, who has had type 2 diabetes for five years, weighs 225 pounds and is having trouble getting his glucose level under control. He has seen several doctors, only gets scare tactics, and needs more direction on meal planning (how much, what kinds of foods, when to eat). He is a long-haul truck driver and must eat out most of the time. All he has been told is to eat four "Lean Cuisine" or comparable meals per day. I am have diabetes, was told to count carbs, and I have less problems controlling mine. Any help will be appreciated.
My best advice to your brother would be to contact the nearest diabetes education center and enroll in classes. He has special needs that will require one-on-one counseling. From personal experience, I know that truckers have a tough time of it. It requires extra preparation and more time to care of yourself when you are a trucker.
The first thing is to make sure your brother is ready to make that commitment. It will not be easy. I often indicate that truckers can prepare their own meals and take them with them on the road. This is not as glamorous, but is better for them. Exercise is also difficult to get but needs to be done. He needs to monitor his sugar often and report to his care provider with results so that changes can be made more frequently than every three to six months. As you can see, this is more work than usual, but it will help and pay dividends in the long run.
[Editor’s comment: I’d strongly suggest that your brother make an appointment with a registered dietitian who is well-versed in modern diabetes management. At that time, together they can develop a meal plan that is conducive to optimizing glucose control, while at the same time taking into account his food preferences and lifestyle issues.
It appears that you are quite satisfied with the dietitian who counseled you, so perhaps you could set up an appointment with that person. You might even offer to go with him to add support.