Food Journaling For The Diabetic (and why we need to) rev.1

A food journal is a wonderful way to find out what foods you are going to be able to eat and what ones to avoid. Not only the type of food, but the volume of food also. It is always best to test foods by themselves. That way, you know exactly what they will do. As an example, let’s say you test green beans. You start with 2 ounces and after the proper testing you find that it has spiked your blood sugar above the 140 level. Do not despair at this point. Redo the test the next day, but only eat 1 ounce and follow the testing procedure. If that still causes to high a number, then test the next day at half the quantity. You will either get the food down to a volume your body can handle or find that you cannot eat that food.

Testing should be done as follows: Allow at least 4 hours to pass from the last meal. This will give you plenty of time to digest the previous meal and not affect your readings. Start with a good test of your blood to get a baseline of where you are beginning from. Write this number down on a scratch paper. Later you can transfer this information into your journal. Let’s say as example you eat 1 ounce of green beans. After eating them you will want to test your BG (blood sugar) at 1 hour after eating. This should be your peak BG reading as you digest the green beans. If it is below 140, then you probably will be able to eat them. Write that number down on your scratch pad. The last BG test is made exactly 2 hours after finishing the meal. The BG should be pretty close to the starting amount.

Of course this is a generalized procedure and everyone may be a little different. My stomach empties slower, so I am more on a 3 hour cycle than 2 hours. This link explains delayed stomach emptying symptoms.

All foods that contain carbohydrates will have a glycemic index of either high or low. If they are low, they will take longer to digest and are better for you. (see chart)


As you can see, dates are very high (103), whereas plain yogurt is very low (14). The slower the better for you. You want to keep the peaks down. To learn why read up on Phase 1 & Phase 2 insulin here.

OK, back to our example. So the 1 ounces of green beans were a success. In your journal you want to add green beans, the amount you ate, and how much it raised your BG. If you want you can put starting/one hour/two hours (94/125/97) like that. So, now you know the beans will raise your BG by about 30 points. You can then add a non-carb meat to this and make a meal that won’t hurt you.

As you get ready to test a new food, use the same procedure, and if successful, you can add that one. In a short time your book will have many, many foods that will keep your numbers down. If you bolus for meals, eventually you should be able to go sliding scale and eventually reduce your basal also. Use care, go slow, make small corrections, any will start lowering those numbers.


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  1. Trackback: Beginners Links | Diabetic Treatment Alternatives

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