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October 29, 2004

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom:

We live in the UK and our eldest son, Joshua, has type 1 diabetes. We are coming to visit my folks in Florida for a month in November which we are all really excited about. However, I am a bit worried about how I am going to know which foods will be suitable for Josh over in the states. I am skilled in the art of reading nutrition labels on food here in the UK but having just checked out the General Mills web site and read the nutrition labels on a packet of Chex cereal, it seems the labelling is totally different! Here, we say that anything over 30 in sugars (per 100 grams) is too high. Can you give me any similar guidelines to follow in the U.S.? Are there any brands, especially cereals, that are commonly used by diabetic children in the U.S.?


From: DTeam Staff

You ask a very good question and I’m glad you are thinking about these things before the vacation. In the U.S., I typically teach my patients to focus on the grams of carbohydrate and match the carbohydrates with their meal plan or their individualized insulin to carbohydrate ratio. It is more important to use the carbohydrate information on food labels rather than the sugar content, because the sugars are INCLUDED in the total carbohydrate. Do not compare sugars to carbohydrates, but rather use a carbohydrate level that will control blood sugars and provide adequate calories. I would suggest you speak with a registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes meal plans to determine your son’s appropriate carbohydrate level.