Saturday, February 26, 2011

What are you eating?

I like to go to restaurants.  I don't go often and I stay away from fast food restaurants for the most part.  I've been learning a lot about restaurant foods and the more I learn the more shocked I am about what I'm really putting into my mouth when I go.  I'm especially shocked by the fact that what I think is healthy is really just not!

For example an Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad with the dressing will pack on 1240 calories and a whopping 87 gms of carbs!   Don't be surprised if your blood sugar spirals out of control after that meal.  If you take away the dressing you have a more reasonable calorie count of 570 but the carbs are still too high for a diabetic at 53 gms.

The better choice at Applebees is the Grilled Chicken Salad at 820 calories with the dressing or 370 calories without the dressing and 21 gms of carbs.   The point to be made is that what looks healthy is not necessarily so.  

David Zinczenko has written a whole line of books such as Eat This, Not That or Cook This, Not that.  Womens Health also has a website where you can look up foods before you go out to eat or before you buy them at the grocery store.  You can also sign up for the email newsletter there.   I just happened upon the website and have been searching it.   As I said I have learned a lot!   Many of the books are available at your local library if you don't want to buy them.   If you like what you read you can always buy it later.  

Here is a link to the Womens Health "eat this not that" web site to get started searching and find out what you're really eating!    Just click on "restaurants" to check out your favorite restaurant meals.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Carb control=Glucose Control

I've been reading Dr Bernstein's book "The Diabetes Solution".  I got it from the library last week.   I've learned some very interesting information from this book so far although I'm not finished reading it yet.   Dr. Bernstein explains that 1 gm of carbohydrate increases blood sugar by 5 mg/dl.   That's approximate because your weight plays a part in it too!  It's making me rethink my food choices as well as my serving sizes.    I just looked at a serving of ketchup for example and saw that 1 Tbsp has 4 gm's of carbohydrates.  So,  that 1 tbsp. of ketchup will increase my blood sugar by 20 points.  I guess that's fairly significant when you think about it.    If I eat a meal that includes 1 chicken breast without breading (0 gm's), a small baked potato (22 gm's), and 1/2 C of corn (20 gm's) and one small whole wheat roll (13 gm's)   I can expect a rise in blood sugar of 275 points for just that one meal for a person who produces no insulin (type 1 diabetic).  For those of us who are type 2 diabetics our bodies would make and use some insulin of our own and we wouldn't necessarily see our blood sugar rise quite as high as that.  If you are on insulin or oral medications you would not see your blood sugar go that high because of your medication.  But, you can see why a meal like the one above would make it much harder to control your blood sugar even on your medication.

Now that I am aware of how much my blood sugar would be affected by the meal above I can choose to make some changes.  I can eat the same chicken breast (0 gm's) and instead of the small baked potato I choose a cup of cooked cauliflower (5 gms), add a small lettuce side salad (3 gm's), and the whole wheat dinner roll (13 gms), I am eating a larger amount of food and I am going to see a blood sugar increase of 105.  (again assuming that your body would have no insulin or medication to control it).   Take away the roll and instead eat a larger salad and you'd reduce your after meal numbers even more!

This seems complicated at first but it is a very important tool in figuring out a menu plan to help get our diabetes under control.    It is an important reason for planning ahead so that we aren't just quickly throwing just anything together at the last minute or hitting the drive through at the fast food restaurant on the way home.

So, I guess there is some science in all of this.