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Life with Diabetes

Updated: September 16, 2013

It is not difficult. Follow a few simple rules and you can live as normally with diabetes as anyone else.

Simple Rules

Test blood glucose regularly. It is difficult to correct hazardous elevations in blood glucose (sugar) if you don’t know what the level is. Do not trust the way you feel – test!


Eat sensibly (“all things in moderation”). See the DCC Easy Diet.

1. You can have some sweets, but only if A1c is in control, less than 7%.

2. If your blood sugar is in control, have occasional sweets but limit them to 30gm carbohydrate 3 times a week. Get a carbohydrate/calorie counting book.  Ice Cream has about 45 gm carbohydrate in ½ cup. But be aware it also has 54 calories from fat; 98 from carbohydrates and 8 from protein. Eat this too often and you will need a new heftier sized wardrobe.


Read Labels

Don’t be caught in the “Sugar Free Trap”.  Total carbohydrates will have the greatest effect on your blood sugar. Some “Sugar Free” items have more carbohydrates than similar ones containing sugar. When you look at a label, the first thing to notice is serving size. Next notice Total Carbohydrates. Sugars and fiber will be included in Total Carbohydrate grams.


Exercise regularly. A brisk walk frequently is excellent.  Try to work up to 150 min/week if approved by your doctor. If arthritis or weather (or neighbor’s dogs) prevent you from walking outside, consider arm exercises with small weight as you sit in a chair.


Take your prescribed medicine without fail.


Have fun, diabetes isn’t the worst thing that can happen in your life.


I have type 2 diabetes, controlled with an insulin pump. I play tennis 2 – 3 times weekly and eat well. I am fat but I feel better now than when I developed diabetes more than 20 years ago. Charles H. Raine, III, M.D.

Losing weight is tough! If you have trouble losing weight, stay as fit as you can anyway. There is evidence that fit and fat is better that just fat.

Check out this article on the subject Click->Fit_Fat.pdf

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Glucose Toxicity

Many of us with Type 2 diabetes have trouble with high blood sugar in spite of taking pills and what seems like gallons of insulin. This situation is called glucose toxicity. There are many scientific explanations but the short definition is that insulin producing cells have been exposed to very high blood sugar (glucose) over a long period of time and can no longer respond by making more insulin AND the cells of the body no longer respond to insulin in a normal way, for the same reason. This generally happens in overweight persons with long standing type 2 diabetes.
If this is the case, talk to your doctor or practitioner, if approved; try the Very Low CARB (VLC) approach below.

WARNING: this approach is not for children or those with type 1 diabetes. Do not try this without medical approval. It should be used only on a temporary basis, as soon as target blood sugar is reached (e.g. A1c< 7%), return to a maintenance diet. There is danger of low blood sugar, check often, especially before driving. For more information on Very low Carbohydrate Diets, click here.

The Very Low CARB (VLC) approach to food

General Rules

  1. Have no more than 15gm of fast carbohydrates at each meal and for snacks.
  2. Eat 3 meals a day.
  3. Have no more than 2 snacks a day.

Free Foods

  1. Raw vegetables.
    1. Do not add dressing containing more than 5 gm carbohydrates
  2. Fish and Low fat meat, NOT FRIED.
  3. Green Beans.
  4. Rabbit Food e.g. greens (Turnips, cabbage, collards, spinach, etc), broccoli, asparagus .

Fast CARBS to Limit (1 serving per meal or snack)

  1. Bread (1 slice about 15gm)
  2. Beans (1/2 cup about 15gm) (Green Beans excepted)
  3. Peas (1/2 cup about 15 gm)
  4. Rice (1/3 cup about 15 gm)
  5. Pasta (1/2 cup about 15 gm)
  6. Fruit (1/2 banana, apple, orange, grapefruit about 15 gm)
  7. Fruit Juice (4 oz about 15gm)

Items to AVOID

  1. Pizza.
  2. Macaroni and cheese
  3. Pork and beans

Suggested Low CARB Snacks

  1. Lite Yogurt
  2. Sugar free Jello™
  3. Half a piece of fruit
  4. Diet Soda

LInks to sources of carbohydtate content and other nutritional values of foods.





Reading Nutrition Labels.

If one is primarily concerned about the effect of this soup on blood glucose (sugar), there are two major areas to look at:

1. Serving Size.

2. Total Carbohydrate (per serving).*

 nutrition label

Note the serving size for this can of soup is only ½ cup. If you have a whole cup then the Total Carbohydrate is 16gm. There are 2.5 servings per can If you have the whole can, Total Carbohydrate becomes 2.5 x 8 or  20gm.

The same goes for fat, sodium and calories. Do the math.

*Note, Dietary Fiber and Sugars are included in Total Carbohydrate.



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