Has Carbohydrate Counting Made Us More Stressed?

March 30th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I read a snippet in the ADA’s Diabetes Forecast magazine (April 2010, page 24) this morning that said many parents and kids living with type 1 diabetes reported that they tend to eat more  packaged food than bulk foods because the carbohydrate count is clearly labeled on the packaged food and not on the food made at home.

Startling to me, and extremely sad, is their further report that they avoid eating fruit because they are concerned about the carbohydrate count involved and that the incorrect counts can lead to glucose spikes.

First off, let me say I understand how it is much easier to simply read a box than it is to guess how many carbs are in any given food.  I really do.  It’s hard to visualize just how much a half cup of rice is.  Or even harder for me, spaghetti!  Long stringy noodles visualized into a half cup measuring cup is conceptually close to impossible for me.

But eating whatever we want without paying attention to it isn’t the card we have been dealt; we have been dealt a malfunctioning pancreas and we get to manage that instead of eat with abandon.  We need to recognize everything we put into our mouths.  (All things considered, especially now with made-up chemically concocted foods, though, I think it’s probably a good thing we have that skill.)

I also understand that when faced with a box of nearly any kind of cracker, I usually guesstimate, eat, then do a re-count and see what percentage of the box I have eaten.  I did this with Weight Watcher points, too.  (How many carbs or points per serving, how many servings in the box, how many points or carbs in the total box, how much of the box did I eat…)

Did you clue in on that word?  GUESSTIMATE.  This is all an educated GUESS.  Carbohydrate counting has gotten us so much closer to living our lives first and being diabetics second that to exclude eating real food so that we can more closely count the number of carbohydrates to me undermines the entire effort.  Really?  Do you mean to say you don’t eat strawberries or cherries in summer or apples in the fall because you aren’t sure if the fruit has 17 grams of carbohydrate or 23 grams?  Really?!?

Please.  Recognize that loosening our grip on some of our goals for controlling our blood glucose opens up a life lived with less stress, more options, and in the end, greater control over ourselves.

Here’s to us.

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