Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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New Diabetic - What can he eat?

My husband is a newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic.  He just got out of the hospital with ketoacidosis and had an HA1C of 12.1.  His sugars ranged from 160 - 380.  We had this checked 6 months ago and everything came out "normal."  Anyway, he is now on insulin, but we are having a hard time figuring out the whole diet thing.  He has been put on a 75 carb/meal diet.  He is 6'3" and weighed 150 lbs at the hospital, so he actually needs to put on weight.  He is eating the carbs appropriately, but is still hungry.  What can he eat and still stay within the diet.  Can he have more meat or vegetables????  Can he have a snack?  And what about all this sugar free stuff - it still has carbs??  We're so confused!  We're going to the doctor tomorrow and are going to the education classes as soon as we can, but I wanted to get some advice from some of you who have dealt with this for a while.  My dad's a Type 2 diabetic, but this is so different with the insulin shots and such.  My husband's under the impression that as long as he's taking the shots, he can pretty much eat what he wants.....but I know this is probably not right.  I just hate to see him hungry when he doesn't need to lose weight.  UGH!!!  Thanks for any advice.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello umobile98!  I'm glad you've come to the Forum in search of answers to assist your husband in taking the best care of himself possible.  I hope I can provide you with some answers and I know you'll probably get lots of additional suggestions as this topic is one that concerns everyone affected by diabetes, especially at the beginning.  I want to let you know that none of us here are medical professionals ~ we are parents and spouses of type 1's or type 1's themselves.  I am the mother of a now 18 year old son, so I can offer you suggestions from my personal experiences of the past 7 years of living with this disease.

First, I'm happy to hear you'll be seeing the doctor tomorrow ~ is he an endocrinologist?  That's a doctor who specailizes in diabetes, and is preferable, as he should be up-to-date on current diabetes management more so than say, a general practicianer.  Your education classes will most likely answer your questions regarding meal planning, etc., but I can provide you with some initial suggestions.

You mentioned your husband has been put on a 75 carb/meal diet ~ that should be enough to fill him up if he's balancing those carbs with enough fat and protein.  The fat and protein allow the carbs "to stay with" him longer and will allow better asorption of his insulin.  You didn't mention what kind of insulin routine he's on and that definitely will make a difference in how his meal plan is structured. Some insulins require a VERY strict timing, as well as quantity of carbohydrate intake.  There is a newer insulin regimin called Lantus which doesn't require a person using it to eat at prescribed times as does the other long-acting insulins.  For a person using Lantus, they would take that injection 1 or 2 times each day to cover their basal rate of insulin.  Then when they eat, they calculate how many carbs they'll be consuming and given an insulin-to-carb ratio provided by their doctor, they would deliver the proper amount of insulin.  My son for example takes 1 unit of fast acting insulin (Novolog in his case) for each 15 grams of carbs he consumes. Theoretically, when you are carb-counting such as my son, you can eat as many carbs as you want as long as you "cover" them with insulin.

One thing that was most helpful to us, especially at the beginning, was getting a Carb Counting book, one for fresh foods, packaged foods, etc. that you would purchase in the grocery store and then another one used for dining out.  There's one that covers most of the major fast food chains as well as some of the  larger eat-in restaurants.  These can be most helpful as you learn to 'guesstimate', which I promise you will learn to do!

I wanted to give you an example of what a 75 carb dinner might look like.

1-1/2 C. spaghetti with 1/2 C. sauce                      60 gr.
1 dinner roll                                                                 15 gr.
3 meat balls (  1 oz. ea. )                                             0 gr.
Salad with oil/vinegar dressing                                 0 gr.

At your doctor visit, as if they have a nutritionist/dietician who you and your husband can work with to plan out some meals.  I'm sure others will come and offer their own suggestions, but bottom line it takes some learning and working with the doctor to figure out the best insulin to carb ratio for your husband.

Best of luck and let us know how you all are progressing!

Avatar universal
Yes to everything that JHG has posted.

Also, it's not uncommon that we diabetics feel hungry when our blood sugars are not yet under control.  Until we get our blood sugars back into more normal ranges, our cells are, literally, starving.  The weight loss you hubby has experienced is the result of his cells having been starving for a while.

Probably you were given blood test meter & strips so your hubby can begin to recognize patterns of how he feels relative to his blood sugar.  Encourage him to drink plenty of water or other non-sugary, non-caffeinated beverages with & between meals.  Often we think we're hungry, when really we're thirsty.

Adding protein & fats to his meals and including them in snacks is great, as JHG has explained.  Once your hubby gets his insulin routine and blood sugars under good control, and once he understands how his particular system responds to life (stress, exercise, illness, food, etc.) he can pretty much eat what he wants.  I say "pretty much," because none of us would be healthy -- diabetic or not -- on a fast food, high fat, sugary meal plan.  However, if hubby's food interests are reasonable, a good Certified DIabetes Educator (working as part of your diabetes team with your endo) will be able to teach you how to incorporate the foods & beverages he likes into the new way of eating.

There's lots to learn, do be patient.  While an a1c is very high, it *could* be worse.  My experience is that folks who embrace what we need to do to FEEL good, will also naturally lower our a1cs.  It takes time, however.  And it takes time for our bodies to FEEL GOOD at good numbers -- after enduring life at high numbers.  Feeling good at good numbers will come gradually as he experiences more good numbers on a regular basis.

There are plenty of stresses on you, now, too.  Hubby is fortunate to have your involvement and your concern.  He may not always *like* it, however ;-)  especially when his blood sugars are not good.  Try to be patient with him and yourself ... this disease requires "marathon" skills; not "sprint" skills, so keep the long-term in mind.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
Just found something interesting that I thought you might find helpful.  Lifescan's website:  http://www.lifescan.com/  has lots of recipes you can look though, but additionally they have a meal planning/recipe booklet you can download for free.  It gives some great information that might help you better understand carbs and meal planning.
Avatar universal
what a great website===although im type 2 at present ,i find the comments re aspartame/coffee etc very useful. thanks
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