A hectic month – by Vanessa


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Hi everyone! Hope you all had a great Easter, unfortunately I only received one Easter egg, one of the main reasons being the fact I am diabetic, so maybe that’s a good thing! However I did find it hard watching everyone else gorge on milk chocolate. I was offered a diabetic Easter egg, but as you all probably know, diabetic chocolate is a big no-no! Zero sugar does not equal zero fat or carbs, but probably more. I did however eat my one Easter egg in proportion, whilst carb counting and adjusting my insulin of course!

I would say I have had a hectic month, and I would say this month has been somewhat of an eye opener, as I recently had my yearly eye test, and my results showed that I have Stage 1 Retinopathy. When I received the letter I was very shocked and upset, as I never thought it would happen to me, and I think this goes for everyone else. I wouldn’t say my control is bad, but I wouldn’t say it was perfect in my teenage years, and maybe that is to contribute to why I have contracted Retinopathy.

But instead of dwelling upon the negative aspects of the situation, I thought positive and I told myself that this situation was now going to be a turning point in my life, for the better. I have started to check my blood sugars before and after every meal, adjusting my insulin according to my results, along with carb counting properly rather than just ‘guessing’ (The ‘Carbs and Cals’ app on the iPhone is brilliant!). Overall, over the past few weeks, having better control over my condition has made me feel a lot better in myself, and I am determined to keep it up!

One aspect that has helped motivate me includes talking to other diabetics when I have been attending the Peer Support meetings in Birmingham, to which I attended the last meeting at the end of March. I met a nice man in his 60’s that had had type 1 diabetes for 50 years! And he seemed very happy and healthy! I also met a man in his 60’s that had had type 1 for 40 years also! This was brilliant for me because it made me realise that with good control (even just with a few blips) people with diabetes can still live a full happy life, and I thought to myself, I want to be one of them.

I will be starting my peer support work very soon hopefully, there are just a few technical bits to get through concerning my email and contact number etc, but then I will be ready to answer questions and provide support! I believe that this opportunity will help me along the way also, as I get to listen to other’s experiences and viewpoints. I am incredibly excited to start and I will be writing in my next blog about overall how I found it! Hope you all have a great month and let’s hope the weather starts to improve!

Want to talk to someone who has diabetes to share your experiences or ask any questions? Try our Peer Support service

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Make sure you get as wide a range of opinions on dietary sources – even some official sources are extremely questionable.

Fruit is in fact a particularly bad choice for people with diabetes – not only is it high in sucrose (which raises blood sugar), it is also high in fructose. Fructose seems to have less of an impact on blood sugar but also I believe needs to be converted to fat before it can actually be metabolised. This is part of the reason why many fruits in cold countries come out in autumn and animals start to eat them – fruit acts as a valuable fat-building source during the lean months on winter.

There is also a LOT of confusion over what constitutes a ‘good’ meal for someone with diabetes. Official NHS advice is that 50% of every meal should be starchy carbs. Unfortunately, ALL carbs break down into glucose. So if you have 75g of pasta (about 55g of carbohydrate), you are essentially eating 55g of glucose. I would question whether any T2 who doesn’t have a risk of hypos should be eating the glycaemic equivalent of a chocolate bar for every meal, and a case can be made for T1s as well. Furthermore, excess glucose is stored as fat – the more carbs you eat, the more fat you store. Conversely, if a T2 eats fewer carbs, they need to release less insulin. High levels of insulin slow down fat metabolism (you still need insulin though).

Your body can run quite adequately on fatty acids either derived from dietary fat or body fat, and glucose supplied by gluconeogenesis, where protein is broken down into glucose. The dirtiest secret of all is that dietary fat does not necessarily make you fat or even have a role to play in cholesterol – triglyceride levels increase in line with insulin and blood sugar levels.

All of this is actually backed by science and some European health authorities. However, many organisations and public bodies in the UK don’t even seem prepared to discuss these issues. The NHS dietary advice is entirely predicated on T1s using mixed insulins and bears no resemblance to modern diabetes treatment.

You shouldnt really think about it too much I’m a type one and been diabetic for 13 years now, I’m still learning even though I’ve been diabetic for so long but I found looking on this website (www.changingdiabetes.co.uk) really helpful tells you a lot hope it helps you like it did me. X

Steve
There is some fantastic information on the internet, especially Diabetes UK. They talk about what is recommended to eat and what is not so good. The magazine ‘Balance’ also gives lots of ideas for meals etc.
Try not to get too downhearted. Good Luck!!!

I’m relatively new to this desease, it’s been two years now and I’m still a bit bewildered by what’s right and wrong, as I live in Barnsley and the so called health care around here is grossly underfunded, so diabetes gets put on the back burner with only the bare minimum of information, and treatment given.
I’m, type two, and thats about all I know, been told to watch what I eat?????? I can have as much fruit as I want but only a few grapes or raisins, I made myself ill last year eating strawberries, so I am left as much in the dark as before I descovered I had it. Still I learn as I go along and keep away from food that makes me slow down and feel aweful, I hope that I can find some really useful info somewhere, and speed up my learning curve on this really rotten desease. Thanks