Today, in light of Thanksgiving being this weekend, I thought we could talk about how food and diabetes go together.
Often times, people think that people with diabetes aren't allowed certain foods, such as candy, cookies, cakes, pies, etc. That is not true. People with diabetes, more specifically Type 1 Diabetes, are in fact allowed to have these things. They just need to learn portion control, moderation, and cover the carbs with insulin properly as well as monitor their blood sugars closely.
For educational purposes, let's start with the basics.
There are two main types of carbohydrates. Simple carbs, and complex carbs.
A simple carbohydrate are things like fruits, candy, sugar, etc. These are carbohydrates that go in and out of your system pretty rapidly. They spike your blood sugar relatively quickly, but do not typically keep it up for an extended period of time, unless accompanied by a complex carbohydrate, protein, or fat. Simple carbohydrates are good for diabetics to use to bring their blood sugars up quickly if they are having a hypoglycemic reaction.
A complex carbohydrate are things like breads, pretzels, etc. They take a little longer for your body to digest and raise your blood sugars, however, they also remain in your blood stream a little longer than a simple carbohydrate as well.
Protein, as most people know, is most often found in meats, peanut butter, etc. However, it is also found in many other things as well. Not all protein is created equally, just as not all carbohydrates are created equally. Protein takes a while longer than carbohydrates do to be broken down in your body and used... in fact, it can take a couple of hours!
Fat. Everyone knows that we all should watch our fat intake to acheive optimal health. Fat takes the longest for your body to break down and absorb. Once it is broken down, it is stored in your cells for later use. Fat can take several hours to break down... up to 12-24 hours!
These are the basics. I have decided to make the "Food and Diabetes" posts into a multi-part post, since there is so much information I could tell you about this topic. If you have any questions regarding this topic, or don't understand how I have things worded, or would just like to say hello (LOL!), please feel free to comment!
*NOTE: In this post, when I say "diabetes", or "diabetics", I am referring to Type 1 Diabetes and/or Type 1 Diabetics. People with other forms of diabetes may have different effects to food consumptions, types of foods, or may be instructed to do things differently by their health care providers. Please, always, ALWAYS go according to your health care team's medical/dietary suggestions, no matter what type of diabetes you may have. This article is primarily for educational purposes on how food affects blood sugars in general.