Monday, August 18, 2008

Thoughts on Sugar

To sugar, or not to sugar? See Myth #2 on the ADA web site. Diabetes-wise, sugar is sugar, whether it's in a starch food or an overtly sweet dessert food, and it must be accounted for like any other carbs.

So the big question for many is, "to carb, or not to carb?" From what I've read, many people who manage diabetes choose a strict low-carb diet, ala Bernstein. (As you can see from the comments on the link to this article, this subject is a passionate one for many.) Perhaps going totally low carb would bring my numbers lower. But while I could take or leave most starches, I do love my fruits and dairy. So my approach (discussed with my diabetes CNE and nutritionist) is to keep daily carbs less than 130, targeting 30-45g/meal (except breakfast, because my fasting numbers run high). I also generally choose higher fiber choices and low Glycemic Index foods. Since I don't feel carb-deprived, I don't only count the "net carbs" (that is, I don't exclude sugar alcohols or fiber). Some days I go a little lower, some days I go a little higher, but I generally keep it around that.

But back to sugar. I personally am going for about 97% "overt" sugar free. There will be some "hidden sugars," and for those I'll try to make least sugar choices. And last night, I did have a small bit (2 not tiny, but not huge bites) of (*gasp*) a full-sugar chocolate ice cream at a friend's birthday party. Several folks thought it looked rather pitiful on my plate, next to 4 bite-sized sugar-free chocolate chip cookies, but that's because I hadn't bothered scrounging up a smaller plate. It's weird, I felt more deprived in the red wine vs. margarita situation than I did now, even though pre-diabetes I was a total chocoholic and would have felt sad about not having the cake and heaping scoops of ice cream. (Would I have felt less deprived had I taken a sip of margarita? Hard to say...) I enjoyed those couple of bites, knowing (1) I'd skipped some dinner carbs in order to have it and (2) this would not be a regular thing. Yep, chocolate ice cream still tasted the same as it ever did...I have not missed anything during the past couple of months. When I tested my blood glucose later, it was looking good, although my morning numbers were above range, as usual. We'll see how it affected my weight loss at Weekly Weigh-in tomorrow...

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