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A woman surrounded by potted plants shrugs as a red decoder lens reveals a bowl of Special K cereal sitting in front of her.

Sometimes It Is the Food

In May last year I posted a video titled Things That Affect Blood Glucose. One of my key messages in the clip was that food is not always the culprit responsible for high blood glucose levels. I listed several other things associated with high blood glucose levels including illness, exercise, dehydration, medication, menstruation, alcohol, lack of sleep, smoking, being hot or cold, rebounding from a low blood sugar, steroids, caffeine, allergies, stress, and the time of day. The message – it’s not always the food.

The affects of food on blood glucose levels

I was reminded of this video one morning last week as I was coaching a patient who was very upset about her high blood glucose level when she had had “nothing to eat.” As we walked through some of the alternative possible causes for her mysterious hyperglycemia she became more and more frustrated as none seemed to fit. Finally, I asked when and what she had last eaten. Her answer, “just a bowl of Special K about an hour ago.” Sometimes it is the food!

We chatted a little more about how Special K is made from rice (carbohydrate) with a little added sugar (carbohydrate) and eaten with milk (carbohydrate) with a portion size of 1 ¼ cup cereal with ¾ cup milk coming in at 38 grams carbohydrate. It turns out that her “nothing to eat” comment meant (to her) nothing that should have (in her understanding) affected her blood glucose. But, it was the food.

My client was still following “rules” – only sugar counts, just avoid white food, etc. – that are simply incorrect. Eventually, I will convince her to look at “total carbohydrate” on nutrition facts labels and to realize it’s fruit, starchy vegetables, beans and lentils, grains, and milk and yogurt as well as sweets that we must manage in our diet. And, by the way, wait two hours after “eating nothing” like 40 grams of carbohydrate before checking your blood glucose.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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