Not All Sugars Are Created Equal

Back in the 1980’s, my parents were of the opinion that all I required for proper Diabetes control was to avoid “sugar.” The concept of carbohydrates never entered their mind (and somehow my dieticians never brought it up, either). So plenty f high-carb consumables, such as bread, milk and apple juice never entered their minds as something that could affect blood sugar. Thank the light that i took control of my own Diabetes care before any permanent damage was done.

I can’t place TOTAL blame on my parents; like most parents, I was their first exposure to Diabetes and they did the best they could. But their best can’t answer for the multitude of comas I suffered through as a child, or the Diabetic Retinopathy I had to deal with in later years, as a result. And truth be told, carbohydrates have gotten a pretty bad rap in recent decades. Multiple “fad” diets have burned carbohydrates (pun fully intended) in such a way where people genuinely believe that carbohydrates should be eliminated from their daily diets.

Here’s the thing: carbohydrates are a necessary form of energy on a person’s everyday diet. And although it’s possible to reduce your sugar consumption (you won’t catch me eating donuts every morning), reducing your carbohydrate intake is a bit trickier, since your body needs it as a primary source of fuel. But are sugars created equal? I would certainly say no!

You would think that sugar is sugar, right? It’s all 100% carbohydrates. But carbs are actually a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which is what makes up the name carbohydrates. There are many more complexities behind this, and I don’t want to drop y’all down the rabbit hole to an extreme extent, but it gives you an idea of what carbs truly are, besides the usual “you need them” rhetoric I usually stuff down your throat.

So, although regular, everyday processed sugar is 100% carbohydrates (100 grams of sugar is 100 grams of carbs), did you know that brown sugar is actually a couple of grams less in carbohydrates for 100 grams of sugar? Although that doesn’t make a huge difference in terms of usage, over the long it can mean a lower carb-count for the amount of sugar you’re using.

I’m on a bit of rant in terms of sugar, but my point is that you can never be sure of how many carbs you’re actually taking in unless you do the research and the measuring yourself. Even some nutritional information labels may not be accurate, although it can be hard to tell as your insulin sensitivity plays a big role in how you deal with those carbs.

That’s why a well-informed nutritionist or dietitian can be an invaluable tool, in tandem with your endocrinologist being on top of his or her game in ensuring your pump settings are on the ball. And most importantly, remember that not all foods, even sugar, are created equally. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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