Fit 5 on Friday: Lattes and Blood Sugar

December 13, 2013By 1 Comment

untitled88Whether you are into the holiday spirit or not, one thing is for sure; who can resist all those delicious flavored and seasonal latte’s at your favorite coffee stop? For those of us who have had diabetes and who have been taking insulin for longer than we can remember, it goes without saying that we need to consider the carbohydrate content of EVERY SINGLE thing we put in our mouths.  However, there is the occasion, where it is very easy to simply forget about liquid carbs.  When you’re in a rush and trying to find your wallet in your purse it’s easy to forget to pull out your pump or insulin pen and guesstimate the carbs in that seemingly innocent flavored latte you just ordered.

I met up with some old friends from camp the other day at Panera.  We all ordered the same thing; a non-fat vanilla latte.  I told them that I had found out that the vanilla syrup at Panera is always sugar-free.  So we sat down and sipped our hot drinks.  I know enough that sugar-free or not, caffeine is just one of those things that does give my blood sugar a little spike, and that there are still minimal carbs even in sugar-free syrup.  So I guessed, and took about 2 units on my pump.  Two hours later, I was 412.  WTF!!!!!!!  I swear, when things like this happen, I want to go back to the restaurant or shop and grab the ditzy teeny bopper behind the latte counter and scream “Because you didn’t pay attention to my order I feel like shit!” 

But, I take a deep breath, and wonder.  Is the syrup really sugar-free, it couldn’t have been, or the girl grabbed the wrong syrup.  No lie, I go to Starbucks the next day and order a SKINNY peppermint mocha, which I am assured once again has SUGAR FREE syrup in it.  Bam, 2 hours later. 325!!! Really?!  After going online and doing some research, I found out that Panera does not use sugar-free syrup as their default.  The sugar-free vanilla latte has 14g of carb while the regular one has 36 grams.  That’s enough of a difference to cause a high blood sugar if not bolused correctly for.  I specifically recall  asking the cashier if the syrup was sugar-free, and instead of asking me “would you like sugar-free?” she just said “yes“.  I paid the price, but is it really her fault?  As for Starbucks, the regular peppermint Mocha latte has a whopping 63g of carb, while the sugar-free version has only 17g.  That one I can assure you the girl screwed up on.

So, here are my tips for enjoying your latte this season without paying the price of feeling like a bag of bricks afterward:

  1. Even if you sound like an annoying broken record, emphasize to the cashier as well as the barista “PLEASE make sure it is sugar-free“, as many times as you need to.  If you even feel comfortable doing so, say that you are diabetic.
  2. Get to know the nutrition facts of your favorite coffee stops and favorite flavored drinks and memorize the carb content.
  3. Consider the size.  Don’t forget that the bigger the latte, the more carbs.  Make sure to bolus for even the sugar-free version… it still has carbs!
  4. As for calories, this blog is not encouraging you to drink a latte everyday or you may as well eat a bagel everyday with it.  Latte’s are very heavy in fat and calories, so always go for the skinny or non-fat version…unfortunately you have to emphasize that as well or else your latte, and I’m not complaining, will taste like a hot smoothie.
  5. Oh, and as for that girl behind the counter who is more concerned if her boyfriend texted her then paying attention to your order?  Don’t get mad, we’ve all been a waitress/waiter or done some sort of food job in our lives and made many mistakes, so just be your own advocate, as I always preach, and speak up and repeat yourself!

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Fitting Post….As I Sip My Skinny Salted Caramel Latte At My Desk. My FriDay Treat!

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