November 10, 1999
Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from Orange Park, Florida, USA:
My son is twelve and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six months ago. I don’t understand the diabetes “diet” thing and eating healthy. From what information I can gather the cells of the body use glucose to power the system. If all carbohydrates and portions of proteins are broken down to the fundamental “fuel” glucose, what’s it matter if you eat a piece of cake or green beans and bread? While I understand the nutritional aspects, as far as controlling blood glucose I see no need for a specific diet for diabetics, in the end all carbohydrates are created equal.
You are pretty much right on. We do want people to be sure to make nutritionally sound choices in that they include fruits and vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates, but above and beyond that, including some sweets or other less than wholesome foods as the carbohydrate allotment, is acceptable, in moderation. Keep in mind most of the highly desired sweets are high in calories and fat, which is often not in the best interests of the individual (especially if excess weight is a problem). Also, keep in mind the insulin doses need to correspond to the carbohydrates eaten.