Thursday, May 13, 2010

Group Blog - To Carb or Not to Carb

This will be an interesting topic to compare with other diabetic bloggers.  I just checked the list and there are a lot of people participating in this blog week.  Its really a good idea.

Most diabetic diets are based on counting carbs.  One carb unit is one slice of bread, a serving of milk, a small potato, and so on.  Each diabetic has a ratio of insulin to carbs.  Therefore, the fewer carbs eaten, the less insulin you need to take.  Since insulin is not just the treatment, but the demon, it is favorable to take as little as necessary.

But carbs yield energy, so you need some.  I tried to keep carbs to a minimum before my transplant.  I would eat a very small bowl of high protein cereal (Special K High Protein) and sometimes some boost for breakfast.  I would have yogurt or a slice of toast with peanut butter for a snack.  Lunch was a Lean Cuisine with no more than 45 carbs in it or soup.  Afternoon snack was crackers and cheese.  Dinner was more varied, but about 45 carbs which included my milk. Then ice cream before bedtime.  It was the best thing I found to get me through the night, and it satisfied my sweet tooth.

That was an ideal typical day.  Not much variability except for supper.  Of course, before the transplant there was literally never a typical day.  Throw in orange juice or a granola bar if I was too low.  Skip a snack or a carb if I was way high before a meal.  And exercise lowers blood sugar and requires carbs for energy.  It was all very complicated.  My doctor would prescribe how to count carbs and balance with insulin.  And I would be constantly adjusting for the variables.  It felt like a very scientific crap shoot.

Today, I follow that same diet plan.  The difference is that instead of trying to balance the insulin with the carbs and exercise, my new islets do that for me.  And so much more efficiently.  There are no more calculations because the islet cells are there to react immediately to the glucose that is presented to them.  Timing is no longer a variable.

So, to answer the question at hand, I carb, but try to keep it to a minimum still.  My new islets are working from my liver instead of my pancreas and are fewer in number than a nondiabetic.  So I pamper them as much as possible.  I don't eat high carb foods and I exercise to supplement their work.

Sometimes I ponder the "use it or lose it" theory and am thinking of experimenting a little with some higher carb foods to see if they bring my glucose levels down more quickly.  It would be interesting if it did work like that.  I might have to change some of my thinking.

Here are two  scary things to see in your garden.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I found your post very interesting, being from the point of view of someone who now has islet cells again. I like to think that if a cure ever came my way, I would still eat much the same way that I do now. I believe all things in moderation is healthy for everyone, not just those of us with diabetes. (Although I must admit, I would probably eat ice cream a lot more often!!)