"Should you be eating that?"
This is a question that is wrought with guilt, doubt and perhaps even frustration. Should you really be eating something that tastes so nice, and has a higher sugar content than that salad you had for lunch? Maybe. Maybe not.
When someone with diabetes is initially asked that question, there are many possible replies and reactions. The person could be overcome with a horrible feeling of guilt. Maybe they shouldn't put their body through the extra sugar? How will this one slice of cake affect them, in years to come? Will it? Maybe if they chose a piece of fruit, instead of the cake, their health will be better.
As peer support volunteers, we are in no position to tell someone what they should and should not be eating. We are not healthcare professionals, and cannot say what the consequences of eating something in particular, would be. However, what we can say is that we understand how tough it can be, to constantly have to question every piece of food, every drink, and whether we can afford to.
It may seem like people who don't have diabetes, are trying to dampen the person with diabetes' spirits. Why should someone with diabetes be allowed a custard cream/chocolate digestive, every now and then?
Like everything, 'unhealthy' food is ok to have, every once in a while. There is no food that someone with diabetes, is categorically not allowed to have. Everything is ok, if it is in moderation. The odd chocolate digestive with a cup of tea, will not affect that person's sugar levels in the long run. It may cause a spike, on that day, but it won't rule the person's sugar levels in the long run.
Of course, even within the two main types of diabetes, there are different attitudes and approaches to what someone eats. It has been suggested that those who are insulin dependent, are at an advantage, as they can take into consideration the extra sugar they consume, when they are judging how much insulin to give themselves. Those who treat their diabetes with tablets, may be more inclined to shy away from the sugary food, as they aim to maintain their sugar levels, through tablets only twice a day (rather than at every meal time).
Whatever your attitude toward food and drink, what other people say, shouldn't make you feel guilty, or like you're in the wrong. It is YOUR diabetes, not their diabetes. No one knows your body as well as you do. If you want the occasional treat, this is ok. Everything is ok, in MODERATION.
We may not be healthcare professionals, but if something is bothering you, in regards to your diabetes, please feel free to talk to us. We have many contacts, within the healthcare profession, who will have the answers to your questions, if we don't.