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Take Your Hands Off My Beer!

I have to admit that I’ve been spoiled. Though I have recently ended a rocky, 10-year relationship, there were some benefits and perks to that relationship. Mainly, that both of us had diabetes, were fairly educated and acquainted with diabetes, and neither of us policed each other about what to eat. We both knew when we were burned out, and when we were ‘accommodating’ a certain food in our diet. We understood the language of diabetes, so to speak. We didn’t have to explain ourselves to each other all the time and it was rather freeing.

The Hard Parts of Spreading Awareness

But now I have to start from scratch. And having to explain diabetes to the uninitiated can be rather annoying. As much as this a part of my role in advocacy – and to also help explain the role of the nutritional choices I make, in its management – I really sort of hate having to explain it to the non-diabetic. I know, I know… we must spread awareness. We must spread education, with loving kindness, to help do away with stigma, and judgment, etc. And for the most part, I grin and bear it. It’s necessary.

But as humans, we seek to want to confirm the things we already believe, or suspect we know, about others, and about life. We seldom want to disconfirm or to be told that we’re wrong, or to learn that we’ve made a wrong assessment. People can become enormously focused on the ‘evils’ of sugar, and can become close-minded to the notion that it is not a single food item, on its own, which triggers diabetes in a person. Rather, it is a combination of triggering factors – some of the most common being visceral body fat, family history and genetics, age, ethnicity, and lifestyle. But JUST being overweight alone will not ‘cause’ diabetes in anyone, and just eating sugar alone, will not ‘cause’ diabetes in anyone.

But try to explain this to the well-intentioned man who wants to bar me from having a beer, because it has ‘too much sugar,’ and so he’s putting his foot down. Yeah. 1950, a la diabetes style.

The Sugar Problem

The unfortunate use of the word ‘sugar’ in place of the more appropriate word, ‘glucose,’ keeps perpetuating this notion that it is SUGAR that is the mortal enemy of the person with diabetes, instead of the body’s inability to process glucose (in general) adequately. If I have too many carbohydrates (from any source) at any one given meal, my body will simply become bogged down while trying to process those – and the result will be high blood glucose.

And now that I am dating again, I’m having to explain aspects of my life to people, which I have taken for granted FOR YEARS. And I have it to do it nicely. I’m going to have to control the darker sides of my personality, and just smile and lovingly explain to the mister, that I can have a cookie even if it has regular sugar – but that I cannot pig out on a whole batch of sugar-free ones, even if he made them with sucralose and love.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.