Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh Those Sugary Treats

It's the holiday season and the smell of amazing baked goods, candies and treats fills the air. So what is the harm in having just one of these treats if you are diabetic? Well, let's take 2 diabetic people and see what these treats can do.

"Janie" has had diabetes for 20 years. She checks her blood sugar daily and takes her medications as instructed. She is careful about the amount of carbohydrates and sugars she eats daily and exercises regularly. So for Christmas dinner, she indulges with a small piece pecan pie. She also drinks plenty of water. That evening she checks and her sugar is slightly higher, but returns to her normal routine the next day without the sugar treats. All is good for Janie.

"Robert" was recently diagnosed with diabetes 1 year ago and still refuses to check his sugar daily because he doesn't like to stick his finger with that needle. In fact, he hasn't checked it in 4 months. He takes his medications, most of the time. As he says, "I get busy and sometimes forget". He thought about exercising a year ago, but just hasn't found the time to fit it into his schedule. When he saw his doctor 6 months ago, he was urged to take better care of himself so he switched from regular Coke to Coke Zero. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, he enjoys all the wonderful breads, cakes and munchies homemade by his friends and family...all full of sugar and carbohydrates. Christmas night he becomes dizzy and confused and his family calls 911 after he becomes unconscious. He spends the next week in ICU at the hospital in a diabetic coma with sugars over 800.

So, it is obvious that Janie is in better control and much more attuned to what she can and cannot eat. Robert on the other hand knew he shouldn't eat the "sweet" treats, but did it anyway. But didn't realize the breads and other food full of carbohydrates like potatoes and pasta does the same thing to his body as the sugary stuff.

Educating yourself about what foods do to you as a diabetic is so important in preventing what Robert went through. But realizing you cannot bury your head in the sand and it will all go away is the most important. Take control of your diabetes. Check your sugars daily so you can actually see what that pasta meal does. Take your medications as prescribed. If you have questions, ask your doctors. Become a member of the American Diabetes Association which is a vast amount of resources to help you gain control.

Enjoy the holiday season and don't let those sugary treats tempt you! It's not worth it!