I've just been notified that my second column is up at dLife.com! (meaning they liked me well enough to take the arrangement into month No. 2, whew!) This one's all about self-disclosure: how we feel about revealing our diabetes to friends and strangers, and that ever-present need to educate those not in the know about this disease. Note that Violet and Tekakwitha have some great personal stories on this one -- illustrating how we're each dealing with the jitters, frustration, and downright exasperation of self-disclosure in our own special ways :)
Now, about the Glycemic Index (GI). I've been meaning to post about this controversial measurement system for some time now. The new September issue of Diabetes Forecast features a "guest edtiorial" on why the GI has very limited uses. (This one-pager by Janine Freeman is perhaps the most genuinely informative piece I've ever seen in this mag. Read it on-line, or check page 11 of the print version.)
Note that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) does not endorse the Glycemic Index. The new Forecast article makes a few excellent points about why this is so: the GI value of a food differs tremendously on its type (country of origin, fresh or processed), its ripeness, the length of time it was stored, how it was cooked, and a half-dozen other variables. Also, the effect of GI values vary from person to person, and even in a single individual from day to day. What's more, the GI values are calculated based on 50g/carb portions, which is rarely the amount typically eaten. So heck, does this Index have anything valuable to tell us at all?
Coincidentally, one of my friends who's newly diagnosed with Type 2 just recently emailed to ask me the very same question. I chuckle. Because the answer seems to be yes, and no. If you search for this "health tool that lists fast and slow-acting carbs" on Google, you get about 294,000 hits! So lots of discussion here. The main thing to know is that the GI points out foods that make your blood sugar spike (very sugary and starchy foods) -- which are pretty much "bad" for everyone. Diabetics naturally have to use them more sparingly. But please don't get caught up on whether you can ever eat carrots again!
Freeman notes that the GI is now being used as the basis for a new diet fad: the Next Big Thing after Atkins bites the dust?... No, no, no! Yet another utterly imbalanced way to look at eating! As my CDE would cheerfully say, "Don't go there, please."