This is an original post I wrote that was published on Hugging the Cactus on January 26, 2018. I am republishing it now because there’s been some buzz on the Diabetes Online Community recently about different diets people with diabetes “should” and “shouldn’t” follow…and this sums up my feelings on being told what choices I should make when it comes to my own health!
Recently, a random person on the Internet criticized my choice to incorporate carbohydrates in my daily diet. Thanks for the unnecessary judgment, stranger!!!
I’m not really upset about the comment, though, because it prompted me to reflect on why I consume carbs.
For me, it’s about more than just enjoying (relishing, adoring) the taste of carb-heavy substances both starchy and sweet. Carbs also help me achieve balance in my blood sugars. For instance, I find that consuming a serving of carbohydrates at dinnertime keeps me steady as I move through the evening hours. Say that I’m eating grilled chicken with a side salad for dinner. That’s a good meal by itself, but I like to complement it with a carb like half a cup of mashed potatoes or brown rice. I’ve noticed that the carbs kick in more slowly when they’re consumed with minimal or zero-carb foods, thanks to the power of the glycemic index.
The glycemic index is, in short, a measure of how quickly the carbohydrate content of foods will affect blood sugar levels. Since learning about it in college and subsequently researching the glycemic indices of various foods I eat, it’s been an immensely useful tool in determining the makeup of my meals throughout the day. Knowing the glycemic index of a wide array of foods also helps me figure out the timing of my insulin doses; in turn, preventing crazy spikes or crashes after eating.
I can’t shortchange carbs for the fact that they literally save my butt sometimes, too. When I’m experiencing a low blood sugar, nothing BUT carbs will bring me back up to a normal level. Whether it’s carbohydrates from healthy fruits or straight-up candy, it’s giving my blood sugar the surge it needs to keep me going. Like many things in life, it’s a matter of moderation – making sure I don’t consume TOO many carbs when I’m experiencing a low.
If you’re someone who thrives on low carb, high fat diets, that’s great! I know that many people find this to be a successful method in achieving target blood sugars. But for me, my tried-and-true technique of balancing carbs, fats, and proteins is always going to be my ideal strategy. Just because that’s what works for me doesn’t give anyone a right to criticize me for it. I’m here to live my best life, as we all should try to do. Shouldn’t we encourage one another to thrive, instead of judging?
The answer, if you didn’t realize, is YES.
3 thoughts on “Why I Refuse to Quit Carbs”
I love this post because, it’s inclusive and real. I was super low carb for years and just adding carrots and pumpkin and other veggie carbs has hardly affected my blood sugar and enabled me to enjoy food so much more.
As you stated in this post, it is a personal choice as to which diet you use to control your diabetes. Each person has their own life routine and challenges to deal with. After talking me into using the G670 insulin pump to “better” my life as a diabetic, my doctor began to preach about how I was eating wrong and that was why I had such drastic changes in my sugar levels. I eat the same basic diet now as I had when my A1C was 6.9 back in 2009ish (on the pump it actually went up for 8.4 to 8.8). It was up to 12 last year but has come back down to 10.1 now after getting a handle on the dosing with the Walmart insulin switch. She had wanted me to use a ketogenic diet but I did not want to try it since the issue was how low my sugar levels were while exercising. The pump was shutting off at 140 to 120 and my sugar was still dropping into the 40s and 50s. Not only that but it would stay there for over 4 hours unless I ate carbs to bring it back up. She finally sent me to another specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This doctor agreed with me that I was not a good candidate for a ketogenic diet as my activity level was too high. We did make changes to lower my carb intake though. She said a ketogenic diet was suited more for office workers than production workers. Even if she had not told me this, I had no plans on stopping carbs. I like them and see no reason to change my diet. It is my choice and choose to use them, in moderation, but still use them.
[…] whole freakin’ Internet knows how much I love carbs (as documented in a previous blog post). But that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to eat low or lower carb from time to time, […]