Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Taking insulin for Asian food

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend, and a few days later my husband and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. Both times we visited one of our favorite restaurants, both of which happened to be Asian: a Japanese sushi restaurant (my all-time favorite!) for my birthday, and a Chinese and Thai food restaurant for our anniversary.

Although Asian food is pretty much my favorite cuisine, it is also the most challenging to take insulin for. I treat my diabetes with something known as carb counting, which means that I determine my insulin dose according to what I am eating, rather than determining what I eat according to my insulin dose. My carb-to-insulin ratio is 15:1, meaning that I take one unit of insulin for every 15 grams of carbohydrates I eat.

When I'm eating something with a nutrition label, my insulin dose is pretty easy to determine. Foods without a label — produce, for example, and eating out — are a little more difficult. However, Asian is by far the most difficult to determine.

Sushi is probably the most challenging. Although you wouldn't think there would be many carbs in sushi, since most of it is raw fish, my blood sugars always run ridiculously high afterward — despite my best efforts to guestimate my insulin dose. I think there must be something more than just rice in the sticky rice.

Chinese food is difficult too, primarily because I have no idea what is in the sauces. Also, a nutritionist once told me that they soak the meat in something high carb (corn syrup?) in order to tenderize it. Whatever it is, Chinese food is usually difficult to guestimate an insulin dose for, too.

Usually, my guestimating for Asian food goes something like this: I calculate roughly twice the amount of insulin I would normally expect to take, and then add a couple more units for good measure. Sometimes that turns out to be dead on, but often my blood sugar readings are still in the upper 200s and lower 300s several hours after the meal.

Personally, I think that rather than meaning that I need to deny myself my favorite foods, I actually need more practice with them. I should probably eat sushi and Chinese food on a regular basis, until I get really good at guestimating my insulin doses for those meals!

1 comment:

lorna vanderhaeghe said...

It's hard to determine the required insulin dosage for foods that do not have labels.