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Jul 23, 2013 10:20 AM

visual help for type 2 diabetic..

my MIL is a type 2 diabetic. has been for YEARS. However, with her advancing age, she seems to be confusing her good foods and bad foods, and is allowing more bad foods to slip into her diet. i am looking for something like a "food pyramid" for diabetics she could hang on her fridge, or a simple (chldlike) book that is highly visual. (her doctor gave her a handout, but it's densely populated with sentences, and no pictures of "good" foods) She seems to believe that she will be missing out on food if she eats according to her diabetes: i'd like to be able to SHOW her the variety available beyond bread and pancakes. Is there anything simple and visual available out there? Thanks!

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    1. re: kathryn

      NO, completely opposite that!

    2. Do you think perhaps this recent confusion with stuff she's known for years should be discussed with her PCP, unless you've done so already?

      Another image is here:

      2 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst

        thank you both kathryn and pinehurst.. YES!!! just like those!
        i think i might have to get the one kathryn recommended ONLY because she once went on a low carb diet and claimed she didn't lose weight so those words next to the pyramid would immediately turn her OFF. She is at the stage in life where she isn't really caring what other people think, and doesn't listen to advice very well. Very stubborn and opinionated: I'm pretty sure she's just ignoring the advice.

        Her wonderful doctor can only do so much (poor man, he's trying...). Thus, I was thinking visuals might be easier for her to relate to than his many lectures and information about the horrible effects of diabetes.

        thanks again!

        1. re: rmarisco

          Why not just print out the Low carb one, without the words? or just call it 'weight loss pyramid'.

          Makes a lot more sense than giving a picture that shows foods that are likely to exacerbate blood sugar management concerns.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. Is this helpful?

          May help to see on the actual plate portion sizes

          22 Replies
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            Not with that big starch portion, which fuels type 2 diabetes, it's not, no. I could never stay in healthy, normal numbers eating that way.

            1. re: mcf

              Were you looking at the special plates for diabetes? It showed half the plate as veggies, one quarter as starch and a quarter as the protein....

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Yes, which means a plate for diabetics is promoted containing about 55% of its calories from carbs, the only macronutrient group that raises blood glucose.

                1. re: mcf

                  You may feel that's too much starch for you, but it's a proportion that more people are going to be able to live with than saying 'no starch at all'. Having half a plate of vegetables alone is a huge challenge for a lot of people.

                  1. re: Kajikit

                    It's too much starch and total carbs for any diabetic hoping to avoid progression of the disease and loss of vision, limbs, kidneys, etc.

                    There's no excuse for any supposed health provider or advocate to be recommending it, in the face of strong research finding how damaging it is.

                    1. re: mcf

                      "It's too much starch and total carbs for any diabetic hoping to avoid progression of the disease and loss of vision, limbs, kidneys, etc."

                      This may be true for type 2 diabetics, but isn't so for us Type 1 diabetics. Just to be clear to others who are following this thread. And all veggies are not created equal. I think a cup of spinach, for instance, is like 1 carb.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        95% of all diabetics are type 2.

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          Lynnato, actually there is no insulin delivery regimen that adequately recapitulates the fine tuning of our pancreas for controlling blood sugar spikes after a high carbohydrate meal. It is in large part those very post meal blood glucose spikes that can damage tissues over time. So a type 1 diabetic still benefits from eating low glycemic foods. I realize that the adjustment of insulin levels to avoid hypoglycemia is a distinct challenge for the type 1 patient, but it doesn't mean that eating high glycemic foods still isn't bad for that patient. It's just not a good idea for maintaining a normal lifespan over the long haul. Whomever gave you that advice is just not correct.

                          1. re: slowcoooked

                            I'm not certain what advice you're referring to but I think you are misunderstanding my point. My point was that as T1D's we do not need to live a carb-free life. I choose to eat low carb because that's the type of restrictive mgmt I was taught but also because I am a health/fitness person and it's a choice. I eat less than 100 carbs a day. Many T1D's eat more and live long, healthy lives. I agree low carb is better and make mgmt easier. But it's subjective and there is no magic # for anyone. Everyone's disease mgmt is unique.

                            T1D management has come a long way and we now can live normal lifespans with the aid of insulin pumps, CGM's, etc. And actually the artificial pancreas is soon to be an option (Medtronic has a pump & CGM that they call an artificial pancreas but in reality it is simply a cgm & a pump that can suspend insulin delivery when it detects a high bg). The JDRF is funding some amazing technology that is in it's human trial stage and they've had great success.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              *Correction: I eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day and approx. 100 grams of protein daily.

                        2. re: mcf

                          i'm with you! I am recently diagnosed. Met with a nutritionist for advice after seeing my PCP. Have been so careful- and have lost 35 pounds since Memorial Day, got both of my sugar levels back in the normal range- and no way would I have done that with eating 55% of my calories from carbs. Nutritionist recommended no more than 30-45 carbs per meal ( wish I could "stockpile" my carbs!), and I average a lot less than that! Easy to do (for me), in the summer with so many great offerings at the farmers market. And I can truthfully say I am not hungry!

                          1. re: macca

                            30-45 gms per meal is typically about 50-55% of the calories on your plate, following their reccos for low fat and protein. I eat a total of 30-70 grams of carbs per *day*, usually in the middle of that. My glucose would spike all to hell on 25 gms at once, and on 10-15 in the a.m.

                            I keep my glucose true normal, not ADA normal, which is high enough to destroy your health. I aim for 120 or below at all times post meal, always at one hour after the first bite.

                            I reversed my long standing kidney and nerve damage this way, along with dyslipidemia.

                            Congrats on making progress!

                            1. re: mcf

                              I think I probably only eat 50-70 carbs per day- An I get the most ( about 16) from my morning yogurt! My last bloodwork had me at 108! Dr still does not think I need a blood monitor kit, and will reconsider after my bloodwork in October. Personally, I want one, so I can see the effect foods have.
                              Love me drs approach- though I am doing well, I have appts with podiatrist and eye specialist just to establish a baseline.
                              Great you could reverse things- amazing how much a change in diet can do. I am determined to keep things normal, as my Dad had diabetes, ended up on dialysis, with vision problems and heart trouble. Not for me!!

                                1. re: macca

                                  I bought my own meter, found high post meal numbers after years undiagnosed, despite protein in my urine and severe neuropathies. Reversed all damage, maintaining without meds all these years.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Hope she gives me an rx for a meter at my next visit- really need to have control!!

                                    1. re: macca

                                      Do you need an rx? In the U.S. we don't. Meters are typically cheap or free, the cost is the test strips they want you to buy. Free meters are available on the internet, too. Here's the most valuable guide to managing diabetes I've ever seen:

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        Don't need an rx- just thought it would be cheaper with one! Thanks for the info- may just get one myself if they are inexpensive. Thanks for the link- saved it to my favorites!!

                                        1. re: macca

                                          Look for the price of the strips, then select a meter with the lowest cost ones.

                          2. re: Kajikit

                            funny that you chose the phrase "live with", since it's a sped-up recipe for a very quick progression of the disease, leading to an untimely death.

                  2. I'd think about advancing dementia as much as reinforcement of a long ago adopted eating plan.

                    If she cannot or will not stick to her diabetes diet, then someone might have to prepare food for her at set times, and make sure stuff she should not have is not around for her to get into. These adjustments are part of dealing with advancing age and the encroachments of dementia.

                    There are consequences to not following a diabetic diet if one is a diabetic.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo

                      how old is she? high-carb diets are thought to promote alzheimer's, is this the issue, or is she simply becoming a bit more absent-minded and/or stubborn?

                      is her doctor supportive of her eating low-carb? or of the more cw approach of "managing" diabetes with insulin?

                      does she do her own shopping? can this become a more cooperative effort so that off-plan foods aren't in the house?

                      eta: i googled ketogenic diet pyramid and got these:



                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        her doctor is definitely supportive - he has given her tons of info, and talks to her a lot. they manage her diabetes with insulin, but, right now, it's not very well managed because she has gotten so bad about her diet! Problem is the info from the doctor is all words... i was looking for something visual to plop on the fridge door, to help her remember before she puts something in her mouth.

                        part of her problem is definitely the shopping. She believes that convenience/prepackaged foods are stretching her dollar more. maybe that's true, maybe not. she hates to cook, and doesn't want fresh food to go bad, so i can see where frozen would definitely be better. However, she also buys junk on the shelf next to the healthy choices.

                        She has no one to help her shop. We've offered many suggestions for assistance, but, she is not yet infirmed enough for the county to help out, above the poverty line, and doesn't want to bother anyone. (Raise your hands if this sounds like a parent you know..)

                        Part of this is definitely stubbornness. I think she feels she has a right to eat what she wants. By telling her what to eat, she gets very upset that we are trying to take away some of her independence. Plus, she's definitely of that mindset that diet means deprivation, rather than healthy fuel for your body, and she does NOT want to diet...

                        It's a complicated problem: the idea of a visual aid was a single simple step in a multi-layered approach

                        1. re: rmarisco

                          It's very stressful having to make big life changes, at any age, but I would guess the older we get the more difficult it would become. There is a ridiculous amount of info. thrown at the newly diagnosed and it is certainly a lot to digest. Throw into that trying to manage diabetes with insulin - wow. There is no exact dosage so it's a constant balancing act.

                          I'm sorry she's having a difficult time. I wonder if she would respond better to a diabetic mentor or support group? You could contact your local chapter of the JDRF. Many chapters have volunteer adult mentors that help by listening and sharing stories about what they eat, how they manage and what works for them. Sometimes we hear things clearer from strangers than from our family members.

                          I feel for you all and wish her well. :)