Diabetes can actually be a pain in almost every body system but I chose to say pancreas as a little tongue-in-cheek, like pain in the neck would be. It really does cause physical pain, however, that's not what I'd like to talk about today. I'd like to say diabetes is annoying and yes, it would definitely be on my annoyancizer scale.
It's bad enough that there is a disease, disorder, whichever you'd like to call it, that can be devastating and leave a profound mark on the human body. Humans, who are also known to leave a profound effect, can be, and are annoying. Sometimes humans make things more difficult than they need to be. Today I'd like to gripe about carb counting and the packaging of foods with nutritional information.
Here's a very brief overview on how we manage diabetes in our home. My daughter checks a blood sample on a little meter which tells her what her blood glucose is. Our diabetes doctors have given us a specialized target they'd like for her to be. Her optimal blood sugar number is 120. Easy. The meter gives a number and we use an algorithm to compute and factor in a sensitivity number. This will tell us how much insulin to give her to correct her number since her body is no longer able to on its own. Next, she eats a meal and we count all the carbohydrates. Carbs are all those yummy foods which are either sweet and contain sugar, or break down into our bodies as sugar, such as breads and pasta. Even foods that you wouldn't think of have some carbs, such as milk and broccoli. We are educated on what a serving size is (not necessarily what we put on our plate) so we can use another formula to cancel them out with medication, or 'cover' her number. Adding both the number to correct her and the number to cover equals how much insulin we need to give her to compensate for what her body lacks. My problem is with the manufacturers and how they calculate carbs.
Like I said, in today's world, at least here in America, our serving size is way smaller than what we consume. Knowing how much a serving is helps us 'tighten up' the numbers we use. Having a blood sugar that's too high for too long does a lot of damage to the body so this is very important. I already knew most of what the dietician taught us (being a nurse), so I have no difficulty in gauging, say, what a serving of spaghetti looks like. Reading the nutritional information on packages is a stress-free no-brainer for foods that aren't homemade (those are tricky to figure out)--except when it's illogical and impractical.
Let me start with the easy stuff. If you'd like some milk, pour one measuring cup. Eating one medium sized apple is worth 17 carbs. Double the carbs for the bread of a sandwich because a slice is 13 each. Got it? Good. I won't give name brands, just know that this information is from very popular manufacturers who have the money to make it easier, not from a hole in the wall like George's cake mix (I made that one up). Now, imagine being at a party and it's cake time. We ask to look at the box if we're able. Serving size is 1/10th of the package. What the hell? Brownies are 1/20th. Shall I get out a measuring tape? Let's move on. Croutons are 2 tablespoons. Have you ever tried to balance croutons on a measuring spoon? Does that mean one or two? Couldn't they just say roughly two pieces of hard seasoned bread pieces? Morning pancakes are great. Serving size is 1/3 cup. I'll admit that I should be more aware of that but that would be directly related to how much coffee I've had before I start cooking (it doesn't matter that I don't drink caffeine). Most people don't measure what they pour on the griddle so how do you know? There's even a product out there, a side-dish noodly thing that gives the serving size of just the dry ingredients, which no one eats until the milk and butter are added. Some prepared foods give a serving as 3 ounces. Again, what is that supposed to be? I'm unable to do the math on them and have to guesstimate. Can you see how this is unreasonable? When the people in white lab coats are figuring out the facts, they could at least think about how people eat. They don't sit down at a table and measure out ounces of food that is supposed to serve a family.
There, I feel a little better with that off my chest. I think since so many people suffer from diabetes there'd be a tighter grip on how to manage it better. Once I get off my soap box I will probably send these companies a friendly little comment on my thoughts. That is all for now.