6 Things To Never Say To A Diabetic
1. "What is your blood sugar number?"
One time I was at a restaurant, checking my blood sugar before I ate, when a waiter noticed me and asked me what the number was, announcing how he was in school to become a doctor.
I told him the number, but it was a rude question. If you wouldn't walk up to someone and ask them what their weight is, then don't ask them what their blood sugar reading is.
There are exceptions to this rule, if you are close to the person and they confide in you regularly about their diabetes and how they are doing on their diet and with their medication, then it's fine. But asking strangers or acquaintances in particular can be really offensive.
All diabetics struggle with their blood sugar sometimes. Even if they are eating perfectly, exercising like they are supposed to, and taking their meds, random things cause our blood sugar to rise. Like getting ill will cause our blood sugar to go out of control. Also, as time passes our diabetes gets worse and worse naturally, so it gets harder to control the numbers. We may be working on this with our doctor and changing our meds.
So asking,"What's your blood sugar reading?" Is none of your business, especially since most non-diabetics don't even know what the numbers mean anyway.
2. "Should you be eating that?"
More than any other group of people, diabetics think about each thing they put into their mouths. They think about the risks to their health, their blood sugar numbers, and adjust their diet accordingly day to day.
Other people get overly concerned with diabetics choices as well. Even strangers sometimes.
You don't know our numbers. You don't know what we are dealing with that day. It's not your judgement that matters.
Even if a diabetic is eating a brownie, their life might actually be in danger if they don't, especially if they are on insulin. Because diabetics don't only struggle with high blood sugar, they struggle with low and low is life threatening. So if a diabetic is eating a brownie it may be to save their life. Our doctors tell us to keep candy on hand, just in case.
Don't ask if they should or shouldn't be eating something. Mind your own business.
3. "I heard of this cure for diabetes."
There is no cure for diabetes. Once you get it, you have it forever. What you might have heard of is people who lost weight and their diabetes is now "controlled".
Type 1 diabetics can't be cured no matter how much weight they lose or not. They just don't have insulin in their bodies anymore.
Type 2 diabetics can only control their diabetes. They can not cure it. If someone loses weight and their diabetes goes into remission, it's still there. It's just controlled and over time, it will get bad enough again that even the weight loss will not control it any longer.
4. "Did you eat too much sugar and that's why you have diabetes?"
No. Test people who don't have diabetes after they eat a bowl full of candy. I've done this before. They don't magically get diabetes. Their blood sugar is fine.
Diabetes is contracted either because of genetics or an autoimmune disease.
Certain factors like eating poorly and not exercising can make your diabetes worse, but it will not give you diabetes. Ever.
I have type 2 and I hear so much that I must have done this to myself. Both my parents have diabetes and so does my grandma. Guess what? None of those people are obese.
Not only is this rude to say to diabetics, but it prevents people from being diagnosed with diabetes. I've met so many people who have told me "I'm not going to get diabetes like my mother because I eat right." I would guess that at least half of those people already have diabetes, but they are so delusional about the genetic link of it that they're not going to get themselves checked before they already suffering from complications and are in serious danger.
Non-diagnosed diabetes is a serious problem in our country and promoting myths like this make it worse.
5. "Here's some fruit. It's low carb." or "Have a smoothie. It's good for your diabetes."
You'd be surprised by the amount of people who say these things to me. Eating fruit and having smoothies may be healthy for the average non-diabetic, but for diabetics, it can be awful.
Fruit has carbs in it. It has fructose, which is nature's sugar. So it does raise our blood sugar, sometimes by a lot.
When diabetics drink carbs instead of eating them, the sugar hits our bloodstream faster, causing it to spike higher and worse than if we just ate our carbs. So telling a diabetic to drink smoothies to cure their diabetes or because it is healthy is one of the worst things you can tell them. You might as well tell them to guzzle chocolate syrup.
6. "You don't really need to eat right now." Or "You should skip lunch."
Part of controlling diabetes is eating at the right times every day. When we get too hungry, sometimes our blood sugar gets dangerously low. When you feel ravenous from low blood sugar, it's hard not to overeat to make yourself feel better and then your blood sugar spikes. Before you know it, you're on this horrible roller coaster where your numbers are going up and down and all around.
All because someone made you skip a meal.
So trust a diabetic to know when they do and don't need to eat.
Do you know someone with diabetes?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 EB Black