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Our daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 a year ago. She is now 3. Is counting carbohydrates the best way to compare the effect of a given meal on blood sugars 1-2 hours hence? Or does the entire makeup of the meal, including fats, proteins, and the specific foods eaten all combine to influence the post meal blood sugars?


Monitoring a meal plan in a three year old, as you've probably experienced, can be a difficult tasks as appetite, intake and activity can change rapidly in a given day. Some research indicates that if a child under five is offered three "healthy" meals and three"healthy" snacks throughout the day on scheduled basis, they will consume approximately the same number of calories daily. This can help with overall blood glucose levels with a few ups and downs depending on the day.

Although carbohydrates do tend to affect the blood glucose levels the most right after a meal, protein and fat can influence levels as well. It is generally thought the protein and fat slow down the absorption of carbohydrate (changing to glucose) in the blood. If excessive protein is consumed this may too affect glucose levels but to a lesser degree. Three year olds generally do not consume excessive protein if left to their own preferences, so this may not be a big factor.

Using the carbohydrate values of foods can aid a parent in deciding what foods to offer at various times of the day, considering blood glucose levels and anticipated activity. A book that may be helpful in fitting all of this together for a three year old is Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace by Betty Brackenridge, MS, RD, CDE and Richard Rubin, PhD, CDE.

Also, we have answered a similar question previously.


Original posting 3 Nov 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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