Summer days, drifting away…but uh oh the hidden carbs

June 28, 2012By 1 Comment

Written for the American Diabetes Association online Summer Newsletter:

When summer comes around and the smell of the gas grill fills the air, the last thing we think about is carbohydrates weighing down the picnic table and our diabetes.  Taking a minute before your meal-time insulin and looking at what you are putting in your mouth can mean the difference between dehydration from too much sun and dehydration from a high blood sugar that sneaks up on you like rain on a cookout.

There are the obvious foods that most people with diabetes know to either avoid or to at least cover with insulin: the bun on the burger or the hotdog, the potato chips and the red, white and blue frosted cookies.  Just when we think we have this diabetes thing figured out so that it doesn’t get in our way of enjoying endless days of lounging, eating, and maybe having a cocktail, there are some hidden carbs that we must address.  First, think about what you drink.  Many people, if they so choose to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, find themselves drawn to the summer cocktails such as Mojitos, Margaritas or frozen fun like Pena Coladas.  Keep in mind that any drink that has simple syrup, juice, or even a flavored liquor, still needs to be accounted for when dosing.  Always remember to check your blood sugar before and during the time you are enjoying alcohol, since alcohol can make your blood sugar crash hours later.  Another food to watch for with a hide-and-seek carb agenda is salad, and I don’t mean the green stuff.  Pasta and potato salads are not only loaded with carbs, but they are usually loaded with fats.  If you are on a pump, even better, you can allow your pump to give you your insulin spread out over time so that when the fat digests and finally allows those carbs to spike your sugars, you’re already prepared.  Think about your condiments, many salad dressings (usually those made with honey or anything sweet) and especially ketchup can have a significant glycemic effect.  If you’re a ‘picker’ and you graze while you enjoy any social gathering this summer, take the time to check your blood sugar more often so that you can stay on top of it and enjoy every moment.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask the host of the party what ingredients they used in any homemade dishes so that you can double check your carb accuracy.  Now you can bask in the sun and not be afraid of those carbs sneaking up behind you!

For one of my favorite lite summer salad recipes, click here.

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