Top 5 Things, You Shouldn’t Say to a Diabetic

When you are a type 1 diabetic you have to put with a lot of “expert” advice.  Everybody seems to have an opinion on why you have diabetes and how you should treat it.  I put together a list of the top 5 annoying comments (the actual list seems endless):

Number 5:
“Diabetics can eat anything”

This is not entirely wrong. Theoretically I just have to take my insulin. But the amount of insulin is dependent on the amount of carbohydrates I eat. Everytime I eat I need to estimate the number of carbohydrates in my meal and calculate the amount of insulin I should take. This calculation depends on a lot of things like exercise, stress, inflammation, headache – you name it. If the carbohydrates reach my blood faster or slower than the insulin kicks in, or I miscalculate the amount of necessary insulin, my blood sugar can go too low (hypoglycemia – which can kill me now) or too high (hyperglycemia – which can kill me in the long run).  All in all, this is an extremely difficult task and the best advice is to eat slow carbohydrates and not too many.

Number 4:
“Have some cake. It won’t hurt you just this once.”

Maybe not, but if I eat a piece of cake every time someone says that to me, it will definitely hurt me (see number 5).

Number 3:
“This fruit/jam/candy/lemon/cola is organic, so you can eat/drink it. It’s good for you.”

While organic food may be good for you, it still contains lots of fast carbohydrates (see number 5).

Number 2:
“As long as you take your insulin, everything is fine.”

Nope, that’s not how it works. See number 5.

Number 1:
“I guess you should not have been drinking all that coke!”

It is true that I was addicted to Coke (the drink that is) for several years before I was diagnosed with diabetes but type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the immune system for some reason decides to attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This has nothing to do with how much sugar you intake. It is still unclear what causes the immune system to act this way but things such as vira, intestinal diseases, and stress are being investigated – anything that weakens your immune system. Some types of diabetes are even in your genes!.

Type 2 diabetes is a bit of different story. Research shows there is a correlation between type 2 diabetes and an unhealthy way of life.

I think most people sort of hope that it was my own fault that I got diabetes in the hope that they won’t get it themselves.

There is a bonus “expert” advice to this item: “Why do you drink Pepsi Max? I heard that it has the same effect on your blood sugar as regular Pepsi”. Well, you heard wrong. While some artificial sweeteners supposedly are converted to carbohydrates inside your body (so I “heard”), this is not true for aspartam used in diet soda. Diet soda is unhealthy in all sorts of manners but it does not affect your blood sugar.

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