By Nicolle Kelly
Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or just want a sneak peek into the life of a diabetic dietitian, I’m sharing the five most commonly asked questions I get about diabetes.
Don’t worry, I won’t sugar-coat it, just simple and honest responses - and I’m giving you full permission to steal my answers if you get these questions as much as I do!
“Is it ok to eat fruit and carbs as a diabetic?”
As someone who loves pasta, let me confirm that you do not need to completely cut out carbohydrates as a diabetic.
People with diabetes often need to be more mindful around their carbohydrate intake (especially when taking insulin). However, it can be quite dangerous for someone with diabetes to remove carbohydrates from their diet without involving their healthcare team.
Foods like fruit, vegetables, grains and cereals contain carbohydrates. Within a balanced diet these foods are important to provide energy, fibre, nutrients, and honestly, they’re just delicious.
“Will insulin make me gain weight”
Having high blood glucose is often a sign that your body isn’t able to turn glucose into usable energy for your body’s cells. This can be very damaging for many reasons and causes the kidneys to work to get rid of the extra glucose through urine.
Taking insulin means that your body is able to better utilise glucose for energy. This is important for our health and as a result of increasing nutrient absorption may cause some weight gain.
“Do you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?”
I’m not completely sure if people say this as a joke or not but it comes up so frequently that I needed to address it.
Diabetes can be caused by a whole range of reasons – genetics, illness steroid treatment, pregnancy, alongside lifestyle factors like diet, alcohol intake and sedentary lifestyle.
“I was told that I shouldn’t eat [insert any food here] as a diabetic?”
I’m glad that COVID-19 has sharpened up my running skills so I can sprint away from people who tell others not to eat certain foods. All edible food can be incorporated within a healthy diet for someone with diabetes. Even I include the occasional chocolate cake, and you can too!
“Is type 1 the bad type of diabetes?”
Clients ask me this all the time, and my answer is it’s not sweet to have any type of diabetes.
There are many more types of diabetes than just Type 1, type 2 - I have MODY diabetes and there is also LADA and gestational diabetes too. All pose their own challenges and can have their highs and lows (literally).
Diabetes can literally be a prick sometimes, but it would be a whole lot easier if more people understood what it meant to be a diabetic. I hope I’ve given you a few quick and easy responses to whip out the next time you’re asked these questions!