Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hospital meals make it difficult to control blood sugars, KevinMD.com

My mom doesn’t take any diabetes medicine.  She keeps her blood sugars normal through a combination of common sense and careful carbohydrate consumption.

A few months ago, she had to be hospitalized for what she calls a “minor procedure.”  The procedure went fine, but not the food.  The first meal they brought her consisted of breaded fish (frozen), mashed potatoes (instant), corn (canned), a dinner roll (frozen), and tea (2 sugar packets on tray).  “If I ate that, my blood sugars would have gone through the roof!” she told me.  She drank the tea, and called my dad, who arrived shortly with chopped salad, roasted peppers, and meat loaf.  This week’s post is about hospital food, if you can call it that.  You are not going to believe what it’s like to order meals for hospitalized patients.

Let’s imagine, for example, a diabetic guy in the intensive care unit.  His blood sugars have been completely out of control, up and down, up and down.  He is recovering slowly from a very serious pneumonia, and is only now beginning to eat again.  The nurse asks if I’d like to order an 1800 kcal ADA diet, which I do not.

An “1800 kcal ADA” diet means 1800 calories total each day, in accordance with the recommendations of the American Diabetic Association.  Their recommended diet is loaded (and I am not exaggerating here) with processed carbohydrate items guaranteed to make it nearly impossible to control one’s blood sugar.  No thanks.

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Andrew Lopez, RN
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