Why do you read nutrition labels, if even at all? Are you a carbohydrate counter, a calorie tracker, an ingredient monitor?
There are plenty of reasons to check the nutrition label of any grocery store product we purchase. For some, these labels help to calculate insulin dosages. That is, of course, if you are a Diabetic.
Type 1 Diabetics can often encounter a tangled trouble with food. Tangled like angel hair pasta on a plate heaped with tomato sauce and meatballs.
The tangled mania has to do with the fault in nutrition labels in combination with our own bodily reactions. How accurate are nutrition labels? Can we trust these labels?
I have lived with Type 1 Diabetes for 12 years now (and counting.) After years that felt like an eternity, I have become a master in knowing the types of foods that affect me differently than a nutrition label suggests.
It is no secret that pizza is a heavier and more unhealthy food than a clump of celery and carrot sticks. The more unhealthy meal, many times categorized as junk food, has a higher amount of carbohydrates. It is a relevant guideline in the “guidebook” of Type 1 Diabetes.
You learn this quickly, almost on day one of the diagnosis.
Similar to any guidebook or set of regulations, there is always that one hole that just can’t be covered. That gray area. That element that can always be proved wrong. That “what if” factor turning true.
There are certain foods that claim to be carb-heavy. Carb-heavy foods make blood glucose levels rise, which means a higher insulin increment must be delivered.
The first example of faulty nutrition labels is placed on the containers of ice cream.
Since ice cream is a dessert and something sweet, it is known for having carbs on the upper end of the spectrum. While this is true, it is not as carb-heavy as a slice of cake or pie.
Ice cream is my favorite dessert. It is something I’ll eat no matter how deep into winter we are. Ten degrees or one hundred, it is always a part of my post-dinner cravings.
According to the nutrition label, at least on the brand I purchase, it claims that one cup of ice cream equals 31 grams of carb.
In my world, one cup of ice cream certainly isn’t enough. For me, the bigger the bowl, the better. This means that my bowls are two to three cups worth of ice cream, therefore increasing the carb. Now, it is between approximately 60 and 90 grams.
Regardless of the amount of ice cream, 30 carbohydrates is the magic number for me. This causes my blood sugar to respond pretty well, after checking hours later. To dose, my insulin pump would deliver about three units.
Entering a higher carb to my pump and dosing with a larger insulin increment would cause my blood sugar to dip. And in an hour (at least) I’d be low, having to drink and/or eat carbs to cover the insulin still in my body.
Unlike what the nutrition label suggests as the serving sizes increase, my body reacts differently.
Ice cream is not the only food that I do not strictly follow the nutrition label on. For me, pizza is another struggle.
I used to eat pizza any chance I had. Now, I don’t eat as much as I once did. Still, I remember how quickly blood-sugars would rise and a lot of insulin needed to be delivered to have a half-decent number a few hours later.
Pizza is heavy in dough, cheese, and grease that it seems like no amount of insulin would suffice.
The amount of carb in a single slice differs based on size, ingredients, crust, and so on. Typically, one slice can be anywhere from 35 to 40 grams of carb.
This amount per slice never did seem to work for me. That was until I found a potential hack. This hack made my blood sugars much more manageable even after a pizza dinner.
Crust, for many, is the best part of a pizza slice, but not eating the crust on a pizza, especially if it is thick and dense, can create better blood sugars and carb counting in return.
All around, your body will feel better and improved. High blood sugars can have dangerous affects on the body of a Type 1, though this is something all Diabetics surely know.
It is normal for Diabetics to react differently to food from one another, but also based on what the nutritional labels claim. As a Diabetic, it is important to use the labels as a guide and change your insulin dose accordingly. The more you eat a particular meal, the better you will become at recognizing its affects and adjusting based on the outcomes.
Do you know anyone who has Diabetes?
Do you have Type 1 or Type 2 yourself?
Reply in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading!