To diabetics, B.S. stands for blood sugar. We all know the other meaning of B.S. And when it comes to talk of blood sugar there’s a lot of bullshit going around – the most annoying of which, I believe, is the phrase “stabilize your blood sugar.”
For example: A few weeks ago I bought a seemingly healthful granola cereal for my kids, Fruit’X. Being Texan at my core with a soft spot for cowboy boots, and as someone who in the back of her mind thinks Pioneer Woman’s Chili is a sound breakfast, sometimes I get a little wowed by European things. In this case, I was in the supermarket and I noticed cereal in a bag, not a box. And when I saw the words “Swiss muesli” on the bag, I felt I needed to buy it, swayed by the word müesli, the umlaut upon the u two beckoning little eyes. While the Swiss probably consider muesli nothing more than bird seed, I allowed myself to see it as a symbol of high culture and therefore (obviously!) it was good for my children to consume.
Later at home, I read the muesli ingredients carefully (raw sugar, glucose syrup, sugar, and honey!), and saw that it was pure garbage. I didn’t get angry. It was fair game, after all. The ingredients were there, but I had been too busy gawking at an accented vowel to read them. I should know better. But, but, but… get this… the bag also says, “Fruit’X satisfies you for hours and helps maintain your blood sugar at a constant level.” For days after discovering that claim, Mike and I made early morning, pre-coffee, slightly delirious comments to each other such as, “Want to stabilize your blood sugar at 1,000 for the day?” while offering the bag of Fruit’X like a waiter with a tray of hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party.
Assuming you are post-coffee and not delirious, please consider this: Is there any food or food product these days that doesn’t claim to stabilize blood sugar or reduce insulin resistance, or lower blood sugar levels? I could search for a lot of links to share, but since this isn’t much more than a rant, I won’t bother. Go ahead and do your own search sometime and you will probably find out that you can eat any of the following to lower your blood sugar: dairy, cinnamon, prickly pears, oats, beans, shoes, and so on… Other than shoes, I’ve tried them all. They do not lower my blood sugar. They do not stabilize my blood sugar. They just don’t. Sorry. Fasting lowers my blood sugar. Exercise lowers my blood sugar. Insulin lowers my blood sugar. That’s about it.
Now, please journey with me to the land of Reader’s Digest, which unlike my blog, is read by hundreds of thousands of people each month, and let’s take a look at an article called “Stabilize Your Blood Sugar.”
Why do I hate this article so much? Because of these sentences: “All this scary talk of blood sugar and body chemistry is intimidating to many people. But it needn’t be so; blood sugar isn’t really that complicated.” Obviously RD writer has never woken up in the middle of the night with a blood sugar of 38, or found himself at 250 after eating nothing, or been stuck below 70 for two hours despite downing two liters of grape juice.
But anyway, thank you so much, RD, for clearing that up. Now that we know blood sugar isn’t complicated we can safely go on to assume that diabetes isn’t really all that complicated either, and do the following things you suggest to improve our health like eating dairy, cinnamon, baked chips, and yes, we’ll all be sure to have our doughnut with decaf (not regular) coffee.
“British researchers found that combining decaf with simple sugars (like those in doughnuts, cakes, and cookies) reduces the blood sugar spike such sweets create.”
Reduces by how much? Post doughnut B.S. of 240 instead of 250? And thanks yet again, RD, for making me think about eating doughnuts when I totally wasn’t.
In another tremendously helpful article, RD tells us about super foods, a phrase almost as annoying as stabilize your blood sugar. “Eating right is key to managing diabetes. Here are 10 super foods that will help minimize blood sugar and even throw your disease into reverse.” Yay, minimized blood sugar and diabetes in reverse! Take a look at superfood number 4 – cereal. No signs of pretentious Swiss muesli, only good old American high fiber cereals like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. It’s not that I don’t love Raisin Bran, but with 46 grams of carb in a cup and both sugar and high fructose corn syrup as ingredients, I don’t see any blood sugar minimizing potential, but… maybe that’s just me. And wait… there’s more! RD says, “Top your cereal with fruit and you’ve checked off a fruit serving for the day.” Good. Now with the 13 grams of milk carb my Raisin Bran is floating in, plus the 20 grams of fruit carb… we’re up to 79 grams of carb for breakfast (but we got our fruit serving and fiber in didn’t we?!).
I know these articles are written for a type 2 diabetes audience. That said, I think especially type 2’s should be wary of foods like cereal, fruit and chips- whether baked or fried. And finding ways to eat sugary foods under the guise of stabilizing blood sugar is not going to improve anyone’s health, diabetic or not. As for me, the only time my diabetes is in reverse is when I walk backwards.