Thought for the Day

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To Carb, or not to Carb

The fourth in the series of Diabetes Blogger Week posts is To Carb, or Not To Carb.

I am a type 1 diabetic, and this is one of those topics that I think is completely different from the different perspectives of type 1 and type 2.
For me, this is the way I look at it. High blood sugar is not my basic problem. It is a symptom of the real problem, which is that my immune system is destroying cells in my pancreas that are required for metabolic equilibrium.
The idea that people like me should avoid carbs because we have this problem reminds me of the old Vaudeville joke, where the patient tells the doctor, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." And the doctor replies, "Then don't do that!"
Carbs are not my problem. I take Novolog insulin analog to replace the insulin my body isn't producing. And as a type 1 diabetic friend once said, "I'm not on an insulin budget."
I think that basically covers my philosophy. Carbs are not the enemy. Insulin is not the enemy.
Of course it's a good idea to have a healthy, balanced diet. That diet would have to include a fair amount of carbs for someone who was going to put in a lot of miles.


PJ said...

I agree with you. That said, I think the types of carbs you put into your body make a big difference as to how efficiently you're able to control blog sugar levels. It's much easier to dose for eating a banana and some spinach than it is two bagels. Not that there's anything wrong with eating two bagels.

It's a matter of preference, I think, just for us like it is for anyone else. I could go out and eat McDonalds and Dairy Queen every day and still obtain a 6.5 A1C but I'd have to work pretty hard for it.

I used to eat a ton of carbs before becoming celiac and my A1C was always beteen 6.0 - 6.5 After having to eat gluten free, I started thinking differently about the way I eat, I started on QT2 Systems "Core Diet" which is not low carb, persay, but you only eat non-fruit/veggie carbs when they are needed for a workout (ie, within a designated time range of your workout which varies based on length of the workout). If I don't workout for a week, the only carbs I will eat in that week are in the form of fruits or veggies.

Having been on this diet for over a year, I can tell you that I feel SO MUCH BETTER and I haven't had an A1C over 6.0 since I've been on it.

So, no, being Type 1 diabetic does not mean you should or should not eat any certain way but I certainly think there are benefits to sticking to carbs that are lower on the GI scale. At least for me there has been. And after 20 years of this, I'll take easier control over a bagel any day.

PJ said...

Oh, and by blog sugar levels I meant blood sugar levels. You have to at least give me an A+ for that type.

PJ said...

And by type I meant typo. Yeah, I'll stop now. Promise.

jpnairn said...

Great reply and good points, PJ.
That was a thought-provoking typo, too.

Karen said...

Wow, I never really thought about it that way, but you are absolutely right!! I mean, I don't avoid carbs because I've never believed in eliminating whole food groups from my diet. But I love your philosophy that high blood sugars are the symptom, not the problem. So true!

thisiscaleb said...

Excellent point! The joke comparison is perfect. From reading so many of this day's posts, I think many agree with you. I do!

TypeOne46 said...

Your philosophy brings up an interesting principle. If you are an aggressive runner, and are not overweight, then you are paying the price to allow you to consume all those carbs. I think very few Type 1's are willing and/or able to pay that price; and, if you can't do that, then you have to drastically control those carbs. If you don't, then the amount of insulin you have to take can create a lot of problems, e.g., big time low's because it's easy to guess wrong. I get to the gym 3-4 times/week for 5k of aggressive running on the treadmill, and it helps me keep my weight at a reasonable level, but I maintain a relatively low carb diet so I can minimize the amount of Humalog I take.