Do I really believe that?
When I was a child my mother used to carry an uncooked baking potato in her handbag. She knew that potato contained 30g of carbs. When my meal arrived in the restaurant she’d get the raw potato out of her bag and compare it with the one on my plate. Ta-da, a very early version of carb guestimating technology.
Now, I will admit that it isn’t practical to carry in your bag a ready weighed version of all the food you intend to eat. I’m the woman who whinges about the amount of diabetes junk I have to take on holiday, a life size specimen of all foods I may encounter certainly isn’t going in my hand luggage.
Over the years lots of people (ok, more than 10, less than 100) have said to me that we should campaign for all restaurants to publish carb counts of their food. Sounds sensible.
However, I’m a big fan of self sufficiency. I don’t want to be dependent on someone else publishing carb counts when I go out. Surely it’s better to learn the skill of guestimating carbs with the help of a good book and some trial and error rather than rely slavishly on companies to publish the data? That way, you can go anywhere.
I’ve already recounted the Chinese dumpling banquet debacle. A label on each dumpling wouldn’t have helped, there’s no way I would have believed they contained so many carbs and I wouldn’t have been brave enough to put in the full bucket of insulin required.
McDonalds do publish carb counts and if I inject according to their carb count I’m on the floor within 2 hours begging for sugar. I’m sure it’s factually correct; it’s just that the fat content is so high it slows the absorption of the carbs. It doesn’t tell you that on the box.
I’m all for a bit of help to make life easier. However, I also like to pick my battles. Getting CGMS funded by the NHS? I’ll fight til I drop. Getting insulin pen needles on prescription when the Govt refused in the early 1990’s? Done it. Campaigning to ensure that all people with diabetes have access to decent patient education and support? Oh yes. Pushing water up hill to get all restaurants to publish carb counts? Nice to have but if I put my efforts into getting decent education and support for people with diabetes, this one almost becomes an irrelevance.