Treating Type-1 Diabetes And Hypoglycemia Through Portion Control

Ginger Vieira Health Guide
  • Why do I love Sugar-Free Je-ll-o? There’s no such thing as too much fat, too many carbs and too many calories in Sugar-Free Je-ll-o. However…when it comes to peanut butter and mashed potatoes and ice cream, you should be paying close attention.


    And believe me, I turn a blind-eye now and then, too — hence, the tummy I’m trying to trim.

    One key reason many type-1 diabetics gain weight can be traced to how they’re treating their hypoglycemia. We all know those low blood sugars make us want to eat everything in sight — it’s our brain telling us we NEED sugar. However, we also know we really only need about 15 grams for the average low. If you aren’t being responsible for the way you treat your lows (eating bowls of ice cream and loaves of bread) you’re going to gain weight, and you’re certainly going to have a hard time losing it, too.

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    Fortunately, my no-nonsense endocrinologist harps on the fact that you DO NOT NEED more than 15 grams — so I’ve broken that nasty habit for the most part. Here are a few habits I’ve formed in order to help prevent overeating due to lows:


    -If it’s around a mealtime, treat the low with a glass of juice and wait 10 minutes before sitting down to dinner — don’t try to treat a low with part of your meal.


    -Measuring cups. If I have a low and I really, really want to treat it with ice cream, I use a measuring cup. They don’t lie. I know exactly how much I’m eating (which should line up with exactly how much I need…right?) and when that ravenous low blood sugar temps me to go back for seconds, I’ve got a measuring cup to remind me just how much more I’m going back for.


    -Good old-fashioned WILL POWER. Sometimes, when I feel like my hypoglycemia would send me on a calorie rampage if I let it, I grab a juice box and take a seat. Sit down in front of the TV, lie down in your bed, zone out on the Internet or curl up with a book — just do something to distract you as you let 15 grams and 60 calories in that juice box do its job.


    Meanwhile, portion control goes beyond hypoglycemia. It’s so easy to scarf the whole meal when you’re at a restaurant and the plate in front of you is mountainous. A recent article covering the issue of portion control in New York was explaining restaurant reluctance to follow the new guidelines — which means, just like the rest of your responsibilities as a diabetic, it’s up to you to use good judgment and eat appropriate amounts. Ask for a box!!! That will taste delicious tomorrow!


    Eat more slowly. Use your fork to section out how much you think you should eat that evening and much you’ll ask to take home. I’ve even heard of people who ask for a To-Go box before they’ve even begun eating so they can package up the extra amount before they’re even tempted to eat it! That is a major proactive approach towards curbing your portions… but if you’re serious about maintaining a healthy weight, it might be necessary and helpful for you, too. Of course, you could also just remember that your stomach is really just the size of your fist…so don’t try to fool yourself into thinking you really need an entire plateful of food in the first place. And of course, when you just need something sweet, Sugar-Free Je-ll-o is essentially harmless. My favorite flavor is strawberry.

Published On: July 05, 2007