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August 18, 2002

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Danbury, Essex, United Kingdom:

My 88 year old grandfather, who has type 2 diabetes, is painfully thin (128 pounds at 5 feet 9 inches tall), and he has had very little help with his diet, mostly information leaflets clearly aimed at the overweight, which he follows strictly. He has not been referred to a dietitian by his National Health Service physician. Eating more carbs makes his blood sugar go up which frightens him and eating more fruit and vegetables gives him diarrhea, so he won't really eat them. He feels gassy and bloated. He eats cereal for breakfast, three slices of toast for lunch and then a meal for dinner. I need advice for him because I'm very worried and he is miserable and still losing weight. I can't find anything on diet for an elderly underweight person with type 2 diabetes.

Answer:

Seek out a dietitian (contact your local hospital or your father’s physician for a referral) to assist your dad with an individualized meal plan. Dietary advice such as you desire really needs to come from a dietitian, specialized in developing a balanced meal plan targeting all of your father’s nutritional issues and sensitivities. Although helpful, written advice cannot take the place of one-on-one consultation and follow up with a healthcare professional.

DMW