Often, neighbors or friends (one just last week, as a matter of fact!) will say, “Oh I made cookies the other day, but I didn’t bring you any because I know you can’t eat them.” As the above image implies, I can eat cookies, as long as they don’t contain any poison.
I don’t eat a lot of cookies. Or cupcakes. Or cakes. Or other sugary concoctions. I don’t indulge in them often, but I do occasionally treat myself. There is no morning more exciting than when my husband surprises me with blueberry donut holes!
The reason I eat these foods only on occasion rather than at every meal, is because I am a human being- And no human being was meant to eat these foods in abundance. They shouldn’t be a big part of anyone‘s diet, right?
Even if you’re a non-diabetic, sugary foods (as well as all foods that consist of carbohydrates, but that’s a whole other post for another day) cause your blood sugar to spike. If you’re non-diabetic, you have a well functioning pancreas that has cells that squirt out insulin as needed to lower that spike in your blood sugar. (I realize the phrase “squirt out insulin” isn’t very scientific, but I am not a scientist so it’s fine.) The healthy pancreas is such a fine tuned machine that it knows just exactly how much insulin to squirt out, and it knows exactly when to do it… Amazing!
As a person with T1 diabetes, an auto-immune disease that has destroyed the cells in my pancreas that produce insulin, I have to inject synthetic insulin anytime I eat food with carbohydrates (one example would be sugary foods), and my goal is to mimic what a fully functioning pancreas would do. Sounds relatively simple, but actually, it isn’t. It’s hard to know exactly how quickly the food I consume is going to spike my blood sugar, and how quickly the insulin will take effect. There are so many variables that change- on any given day, and on given minute of that day. It’s a difficult balancing act.
Since I save sweet treats for somewhat rare occasions, they’re that much more exciting and delicious to me when I indulge. If I ate donut holes every day, not only would I put on a lot of unhealthy extra weight, but the donut eating events would become less special. My taste buds probably would get so use to the sweet taste, they’d start taking it all for granted.
I like to keep it simple: The less sugar I consume, the less insulin I have to take, and the less margin for error I have when it comes to my dosage.
Sugar negatively affects our teeth, our bellies, our blood vessels, our hearts, our mood, and some people think it even attacks our brains. I remember taking Mom to a nutritionist during her cancer treatment. When she was listing off the types of foods we should avoid, at the top of the list was sugar. She referred to it as “toxic” and told us that sugar feeds cancer cells. I’m not sure that’s exactly true, but I’m not a doctor, or a nutritionist. All I know for sure is that sugar gets a LOT of bad press.
So, just like other fun or delicious things that may likely be bad for me, I consume sugar mindfully and in moderation. Not just because of my T1D, but because I am a human being!