A Reaction to "Diabetes-Friendly" Recipes
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A Reaction to "Diabetes-Friendly" Recipes

Sugar substitutes don't make a recipe my friend.

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A Reaction to "Diabetes-Friendly" Recipes

There's a new Facebook fad: recipe videos. Swirling cake batters and fresh guacamole take over most users Facebook newsfeeds, and they're hard not to watch. I recently viewed a recipe video by "Tasty" while scrolling down my newsfeed titled "Diabetes-Friendly." I watched as the chef prepared the dessert and wondered why they thought it was diabetic friendly. Sure enough, some Stevia was added to the mix instead of sugar. I laughed a little. Sure, some sugar substitute is lower in carbs (which is what diabetics look to count, not actual sugar intake), but "diabetes-friendly" is a loaded term.

Firstly, there are two types of Diabetes. Give yourself a pat on the back if you already knew that, but a lot of people don't. I don't blame people for not knowing; so many people just say "diabetes" and don't add a Type 1 or Type 2 to their statement. I can understand why people don't know the difference when they never hear people specify.

Here's a quick lesson given by the American Diabetes Association:

Type 1: Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Only 5% of people with diabetes have type 1. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is needed to get glucose, which is the type of sugar the body turns starches into, from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.

Type 2: Type 2 diabetes, sometimes referred to as being "insulin resistant" occurs when your body does not use insulin in the necessary way. At first, your pancreas produces extra insulin to make up for it, but over time it isn't able to keep up, so it cannot keep your blood sugar at healthy levels without diet and exercise.

Okay, so moving forward, type 1 diabetics can eat almost whatever they want, as long as they cover the amount of carbs eaten with a given amount of insulin. That being said, certain foods will still spike blood sugar and some foods are very hard to count. Any food can be diabetic friendly these days, because type 1 diabetics can eat anything! When people say diabetic friendly they mean low in sugar, but coming from a diabetic, with new technology what we really want are recipes that say the carbs, fiber, and sugar, or foods without ingredients like corn syrup and white grains that spike blood sugar. The video I watched included almond flour, and a diabetic viewer commented saying that she noticed almond flour spikes blood sugar. She also notes that not all diabetics are the same and each diabetic reacts to food differently regarding which foods spike his or her blood sugar. That's why it is so difficult to label a recipe as "diabetes-friendly."

Insulin, which is the medicine used to lower blood sugar levels, is a hormone. So, while sugar and carbs definitely play a huge role in blood sugar levels, so do random things like our moods and the weather. Blood sugar raises due to sugar intake, but also due to hormones. Even if a diabetic cooks and eats a really "diabetes-friendly" meal and exercises that day, he or she may still experience high blood sugar.

At first when I saw the words "diabetes-friendly" I was pleased that this company was thinking of diabetics. When I saw the Stevia substitution I laughed a little at the lack of updated information on diabetic dietary needs, or perhaps lack of "Type 2" in the title of the video, but I still appreciated that the thought was there. Some people reacted a little harshly, in my opinion, not truly appreciating that at least someone is trying, and others liked the recipe too much, forgetting that the substitution was not all that helpful.

So, for the future, if you're trying to make a recipe "diabetic friendly" for a type 1 diabetic, give the nutritional information, and do some research on classic sugar-spiking foods, like corn syrup. (You'll want to avoid including those in the recipe.) If you're trying to make a recipe "diabetes-friendly" for type 2 diabetics, sure, add a sugar substitute, but also do research on other foods besides sugar that help in a type 2 diabetic's diet. Diabetes is complicated-- it has a lot to do with sugar, but there's more to it than just sugar intake.

Most importantly, if you're trying to make a recipe "diabetic friendly" specify which type of diabetes you chose as the recipe's demographic, because educating people on the difference between the two types is increasingly difficult when articles or videos, like the one I saw, lack information.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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