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November 17, 2002

Daily Care, Type 2

Question from New York City, New York, USA:

My friend, who has diabetes, takes insulin orally. Isn't he supposed to cut out sugar and refined carbs? He doesn't do that. He apparently thinks taking the pill is all he needs to do. What is your opinion?

Answer:

It is likely that he takes another medication other than oral insulin. Oral insulin does not have potent effects on lowering blood sugars. He is more likely taking one of the other oral hypoglycemic agents used for the treatment of type�2 diabetes.

This is a condition that preferentially affects overweight individuals from families at risk. The most important changes are lifestyle changes, increasing physical activity, promoting healthy weight loss, and avoiding excess refined carbs. I agree with you that taking the pill does not substitute for good nutritional choices.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: Meal planning for people diabetes these days does include the use of refined sugars and carbs. However, the amounts are limited and usually based on guidelines from the Food Guide Pyramid. Research has shown that is the total amount of carb intake rather than the source that is important for glucose control since all carbs convert to glucose. Hopefully, your friend is seeing a Registered Dietitian who has developed an individualized meal plan for him delineating his recommended daily carb intake and including all foods.

SS]