Friday, September 21, 2012

Carbohydrate counting


When I found out I was pre-diabetic (or actually before the official diagnosis, because I strongly suspected I was) I started moderating carbohydrates. Not because carbs are in any way the enemy, but because a large carbohydrate load all at once can cause blood sugar levels to go up in someone (like me) who has glucose intolerance. I found that, for me, up to about 3 serves of carbs at a time (1 serve = 15 grams of carbs, like 1 slice of bread) was fine but more made my blood sugar go too high.

Books about diabetes talked about the dangers of blood sugars going too high; but, confusingly, the information for pre-diabetics doesn't seem to mention it at all. Why not? When I finally got to see my doctor, she didn't mention it either. It's all about the losing weight and exercising to avoid getting full-blown diabetes, nothing about managing it along the way. When I said I was being careful with carbs she agreed that was a good idea but certainly didn't devote any time to the subject. And my nutritionist friend said I didn't need to count carbs unless I was taking insulin -- but that would be to insure my blood sugar didn't go too low, wouldn't it?

This morning I had 4 serves of carbs for breakfast. I tested my blood later and my glucose (sugar) level was up to 9.3 mmol/L. In what sense is this ok? Maybe it's not as high as a diabetic's glucose levels might go, so maybe it's not doing as much damage as if it was 16 or something. But it is still over the normal, safe level which I believe to be 7.8 mmol/L. The difference between being pre-diabetic and diabetic is just being a little further up a sliding scale; it isn't really a yes or no it is just a point at which the researchers decided it was bad enough to be called diabetes. So, as far as I can tell, it's not like something that is bad when you are a little bit further along isn't bad if you aren't quite there.

I think I need to talk to an expert, maybe contact the Diabetes Australia or Diabetes ACT people and ask some questions.

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