When most people think about diabetes, they think of Type 2 diabetes, where the individual through healthy eating, can both prevent the onset of and reverse the effects of the diabetes. With Type 2, it is essential for most people to limit the amount of carbohydrates they are ingesting, watch their sugar intake, and strive not to over eat on a regular basis. Type 2 is most times associated with people who are overweight and are usually older. This happens when they go through life eating whatever they want and then as they get older, their bodies can't process all the food they ingest as efficiently as it once could. Their indulgence when they were younger has caused their body to limit the amount of insulin it produces and if it gets extreme enough, forces them to supplement their own naturally produced insulin with the synthetic type that all diabetics receive. Type 2 diabetes is growing increasingly common and when most people think about diabetes, they think of Type 2. And while Type 2 and Type 1 diabetes are related in the sense that they deal with a person's ability to produce insulin, the similarities quickly dissolve once you start to look more closely at the two. When we tell most people that our son has diabetes, they instinctively think of Type 2 and limiting carbs, watching your weight and the amount of food you ingest and have a hard time understanding Type 1 in the sense of eating and what a body needs.
So with Type 1, carbohydrates are a necessity. There is a limit on how much someone with Type 1 can have as if they have too much, their blood sugar does spike. However, unlike Type 2 where carbohydrates are limited extensively, at least for us with our son, it is extremely hard to get him to eat enough carbohydrates. For some people with Type 1 who don't eat healthy, there is a greater balancing act with eating enough vs. too much. For us, however, we struggle to get our son to eat enough carbohydrates throughout the day. He loves proteins like cheeses and meats and for us to get our son to eat enough "healthy" carbohydrates, we really need to struggle. We need to supplement what he eats with fruits and breads, and even then, it is sometimes not enough. Sure, we could give him animal and graham crackers non stop, but that's not how we eat and we don't want to just pump him full of carbohydrates that don't also carry some other benefit. We instead seek to have our son easy the healthier carbs that can be found in fruits and juices. That is where the struggle comes in. While he loves fruit, he needs to eat a lot more fruit to make up the amount of carbs his body needs versus the quicker carbs of crackers and breads. And on top of that, he is only five, so the room that he does have for food is limited by his size. So we count the carbs in everything we eat and do math every day to make sure he is eating enough and of the right kind of food. I think it is more of an adjustment for us at this point than it is for him. We have always eaten healthy in our family so for him, the adjustments seem to be easier than it is for us when we are preparing meals. Needless to say, we will most likely not be going out to eat anytime soon as the headache that would ensue over calculating the carbs in a meal prepared by a restaraunt would not be worth it. So next time you hear of someone with Type 1 diabetes, you will know of the different struggles they go through versus someone with Type 2 diabetes. I know this has been riveting information for a Saturday morning read, but if you have made it this far, your almost done and can get on with your day. Happy Saturday!