Wil Dubois

Need help navigating life with diabetes? Ask D'Mine! That would be our weekly advice column, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and educator Wil Dubois. This week, Wil tackles two questions about the relative merits of ice cream, and how claims that chiropractic adjustments might help keep diabetes in control (?)

{Got your own questions? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}


Vickie, type 1 from Tennessee, writes: I am a sugar junkie and struggle with the desire for sweets. What is the difference between 21 carb grams of sugar-free ice cream and 17 carb grams of non-sugar-free ice cream? Oh, the serving size is the same: 1/2 cup. If you can answer this for me, I would be most appreciative.

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: The difference is 4 carbs. See, you take 21, then subtract 17 and you get 4. Lucky for you I've been helping my sonRio with his fourth-grade math homework.

But seriously, there're three types of ice cream: "normal," no-sugar added, and sugar-free. To make normal ice cream, you milk a cow, separate the cream, add sugar or corn syrup to it to make it sweeter, and then freeze it. To make no-sugar added ice cream, the sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners. To make sugar-free ice cream, un-specified black magic is used to remove the naturally occurring sugar from the cream, and even more artificial sweeteners are added to make it taste right again.

Often, but not always, the artificial sweetener of choice is a sugar alcohol, or two, or three sugar alcohols - in some cases. Sugar alcohols are far from natural, even further from natural than sugar or corn syrup are, and there are a couple of things you need to know about them. First, using some sort of loophole in the Nutrition Facts labeling, food makers are allowed to claim that these substances have no effect on blood sugar, and can be wholly subtracted from the carb count to create a "net carb" impact that are supposed to benefit low-carb dieters and PWDs. This is not true, and if you gobble down something with sugar alcohol in it, please know that you need to cover 50% of the carb count with your insulin.

Interestingly, the rationale behind net carbs is that sugar alcohols aren't digestible. And for many people that is true, as the number one side effect of sugar alcohol is the quaintly named "laxative effect." For many people, raging, gut squishing, porcupine-in-your-stomach explosive diarrhea would be a better description.

My feeling on ice cream, and on many other sweets, is that the ones with real sugar taste better, the differences in glycemic impact from the carbs are very close, and they generally have about the same number of calories. So why put all that artificial crap in your body?

When it comes to regular or unleaded in my sweets, I just take regular every time.


Ismael, type 2 from New Jersey, writes:  I have been told that chiropractic adjustment can help most, if not all, diabetic problems. Of course you have to follow the guidelines as to what to eat, drink, etc.  What is your opinion on chiropractic adjustment helping diabetics? 

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: My opinion is that anything claimed to help "most, if not all" of any kind of problem is pure bunk. I remember a dozen years or so ago there were these snake oil salespeople in all the shopping malls selling the juice of some sort of tropical fruit guaranteed to cure asthma, arthritis, cough, depression, hiccups, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and on and on. Oh yes, and it cured leukemia and diabetes, too.


Now, I'm open-minded enough to believe that some tropical juice might actually be able to cure any one of the things on that list. But all of them? Give me a frickin' break. That's utter nonsense. Consider the wide range of body systems affected by the ailments on that menu of misfortune.

Nothing cures everything. There is no cure-all. Period.

That said, who on earth told you that chiropractic adjustment is a cure-all in the first place? Not the American Chiropractic Association, that's for sure. The leading organization for medical spine-benders, with over 15,000 members, claims their members can treat both acute and chronic pain, especially in the lower back. As well as headaches, neck pain, and... Oh. Wait. There is no "and." That's it. Back pain. Head pain. Neck pain.

Of course, not all chiropractic folks are created equal, and some have a more expansive view of what they can do for the human body. (A less kind person would say there are fringe practitioners and there are mainstream practitioners, but I am a Gentleman.) For what it's worth, the chiropractic profession has a long, fascinating, and controversial history well worth reading about.

Now it might be that you encountered a report of Dr. Charles Blum's "study" published in the prestigious-sounding but seemingly absent-from-the-world Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. Assorted online "news" outlets have been reporting and re-reporting on this 2006 "study" for years (and even as recently as this Spring), trumpeting the fact that chiropractic treatment could normalize diabetic blood sugars in as little as a month.

Whoa. Hold on folks. First off, here's a reprint of Dr. Blum's article. And to his credit, he said no such thing. Second off, this was not clinical study, and Dr. Blum never claimed it was. It was a case study. And it was a case study of exactly ONE person with diabetes, a then 48-yearold man described as having "early onset diabetes." The man received chiropractic treatments of several sorts, as well as "dietary modifications and exercise," whereupon his blood sugar got better. Huh. Alrighty then. Dr. Blum ended by calling for more research on the subject, and noted "it is not clear if chiropractic and allied care which might help balance glucose levels will prevent the side effects associated with diabetes..."

So, what's my opinion on all of this? By all means drink the snake oil, if you wish, but don't cancel your chemotherapy appointment. And see a chiropractor if you want, but don't stop taking your diabetes meds, and for God's sake keep checking your blood sugar.



This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.