Pasta and Rice

I wish someone had warned me about these foods when I first started on insulin. These foods are difficult to control because they seemed to affect me a little differently each time I tried to eat them. I eventually gave up, and I now avoid them altogether except in small quantities as an occasional side dish. Here’s the low down on how to treat these foods withe type 1 diabetes.

Forget your carb count with these. A pasta dish from a restaurant could easily contain 80 grams of carbohydrates. If your carb/insulin ratio is 10/1, then you might think that 8 units of insulin are necessary to cover this meal. I suggest you not take these 8 units all up front. Pasta and rice seem to have a sneaky way of creeping up on you when you’re not expecting them. Instead, try taking 4-5 units and then check often over the next few hours following the meal. Every type 1 diabetic will react slightly differently, but for me, the second onslaught of carbs would hit me around 3-4 hours after the original pasta or rice meal. I remember the first time I ate pasta after starting insulin . . . it was ugly. I covered the entire load of carbohydrates in the meal with a large bolus of Novolog like the dutiful naive diabetic I was. 45 minutes later, I was sweating and crashing hard. My blood sugar was in the low 40’s. I ate a bunch of chocolate and got my blood sugar into some normal numbers. The next morning, my blood sugar was 280! I wish I could say that I learned from that initial experience, but I loved pasta and I was committed to mastering it. I had a few successful experiences with pasta and rice, but far more failures.

As I mentioned, all type 1 diabetics are going to react differently to pasta and rice, so the message here is be careful. Don’t cover the initial load of carbohydrates up front. Try taking fewer units of your fast-acting insulin and check your blood sugar often following the meal.

Good Luck! 

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