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Question:

From Michigan, USA:

I have a neighbor that has a 8 year old diagnosed 3 years ago with Type 1 diabetes and I've noticed that she feeds her a lot of candy and sugar and uses it as substitutions for a nutritious meal. Example: popsicle for lunch or milk shake. She also tells me how her blood sugars are very labile. She only gives her insulin 2 times a day. She tells me she's not concerned with a blood sugar of 377 and I don't think she gives her coverage for high sugars. I've tried to hint to her about better food choices and she said minimizing sugar is the old school of thought and she just has to adjust the carbs. The diet this child is on I wouldn't have a healthy child on. She gives her a honey bun for snacks. She always tells me the doctor and dietitian says she's doing fine. I can't believe that a doctor would approve such a diet.

Please give me some advice. I know this is hurting the child but I don't want to offend the family I just want to be helpful. Am I off base about being concerned or what?

Answer:

People tend to interpret a healthy diet by using their own experiences as a measuring stick. I would hope that her diabetes team could help her introduce a few more nutritious foods, but the fact is that the carbohydrate content of a meal plan can be achieved using sugar and sugar containing food. The Food Guide Pyramid places these foods in the top of the pyramid, meaning they should be used on an occasional basis. Interpretation of" occasional" is left up to the individual.

I understand your concern, but I believe you probably will not get too far by offering your opinion of your neighbor's food choices for her child. If the child has an opportunity to eat a snack at your house, you can lead by example. The new method of meal planning is carbohydrate counting which does allow inclusion of sugar. Again the intent is to add sugar to a well balanced meal. Blood sugars can be very labile during the years children are growing and sugar may have little to do with the blood sugar readings if the family is following the number of carbohydrates she is allowed for each meal and snack.

I would stand ready to help if asked by your neighbor. Many children have food jags where they refuse to eat nutritious foods and when insulin has been given, they must eat something. It could be that this mom is having some difficulties with behavior issues.

JM

DTQ-19991101124623
Original posting 16 Jan 2000
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:08
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