Saturday, August 10, 2013

A problem in the education of newly diagnosed type 1's

There's something wrong with diabetes education. Even after a complete change in lifestyle, some core beliefs about diabetes that are false spring up on me at unexpected times.

I met someone new at my friend's party the other night and we got to talking somehow about diabetes (even though at this point he didn't know I had it). He said something along the lines of, " I mean, you just can't walk around eating sugar and carbohydrates whenever you want, its just not healthy and probably keeps people with diabetes with the disease!"

Now this man said exactly what I believe, almost verbatim. But I had this immediate knee-jerk reaction where the words "that's not true, we can eat whatever we want" almost came out. But I caught myself and noticed that I had this vestige of a reaction implanted in me even though my core beliefs are absolutely opposite to that now.

The problem is in the education. We are taught that we are "normal" and can "eat whatever you want". Not true. Its the same as someone having a peanut allergy- they can't eat peanuts because peanuts make them sick; we can't eat sugar or too many carbohydrates because they make us sick.

I've become increasingly concerned about how we educate newly diagnosed type 1's, and think its time that we find it appropriate to say, no you can't eat that, and that's okay. You can be as strong and happy without it (in fact, probably more so), and no one is "normal." We could brainstorm ideas of how to go about teaching this, but something must change.

1 comment:

  1. I agree and it is common sense that a person who cannot metabolize carbs normally (e.g. T1 diabetes) is better off limiting them. In our culture of McDonald's/big agriculture/high fructose corn syrup, this logic is not obvious (yet). I feel better knowing that excessive carbs are not good for non-PWD's either. My T1 is pushing me to better food choices that I should be making anyway.