No matter how you say it, it’s serious. Diabetes is common and can wreak havoc on someone’s body, so I’m more than happy to spend some time focusing on this condition and how to manage blood sugars by counting carbohydrates.
For anyone who is looking for a review of what carbohydrates are or what they do in the body, check out this post. Carbs are the numero uno focus when it comes to managing diabetes and reducing risk of complications.
To understand how diabetes works, let’s go back to the house/insulin key/sugar explanation I wrote about here. Check it out because my upcoming explanation will likely not make sense if you’re not in on the metaphor. Let’s also bring my highly sophisticated representative drawing back for a second look:
In people with diabetes, the sugar people are not able to get into the house, causing a buildup of sugar people in the streets. They get crowded and angry and start flipping cars, breaking windows, and rioting all over the place. It makes for a pretty hostile environment.
This buildup of sugar people in the streets typically happens for one of three reasons:
- The person has an autoimmune condition that prevents the body from being able to make insulin keys at all. This is called Type 1 diabetes.
- The person’s locks are all rusty and take a long time to open. While the lock and key are fumbling around, sugar people build up in the street. This happens for a variety of reasons including genetics, obesity, stress, and inflammation, among others. This is called Type 2 diabetes.
- The person’s locks are temporarily rusty because of the effects of hormones associated with pregnancy. This is called Gestational diabetes and most of the time it goes away after the baby is delivered, though it does increase a woman’s risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life.
In order to keep there from being too many angry sugar people in the blood, nutrition recommendations include portioning total amounts of carbohydrates eaten at one time. In other words, we send sugar people into the street single file all polite-like rather than stampeding en masse. That is why, in support of my patients and anyone with diabetes, I will be counting and moderating intake of carbohydrates at each meal and snack starting on Monday. We’ll also be going over more specifics about what types of foods are carbohydrates.
There are several other things we can do to help keep the sugar people from building up and rioting – look for more info in upcoming posts!