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Are your snacking habits killing you?


Strong wording this week, but I needed to grab your attention!

This week I saw a nice man in clinic. He has diabetes and treats it with an insulin pump (which gives insulin under the skin 24 hours a day). The pump is programmable and he has to manually input some doses when he eats. I looked at some of his glucose numbers and noticed he had high values every single night, and lower ones during the day.{{more}} So, I asked about his day’s schedule:

Woke around 6. Did not eat breakfast. Went to work.

Ate lunch around 12 or so, usually a sandwich, never drank anything but water.

Did not snack in the afternoon.

Dinner at around 6, usually a somewhat heavy starchy meal; drinking water again.

Then, from 7 to about 11, he was relaxing. And eating. And eating, and eating and eating.

Now, it is true that some of his meals during the day could get a bit better, but at least he was drinking water. I also would prefer if he had a regular breakfast. But my main concern was the evening hours when he was relaxing and eating continuously, snacking his way through the evening. As I discussed with this man, he had two choices: decrease the snacking, or increase the amount of insulin he was taking in order to make his blood sugars better. He agreed to try to stop the continuous snacking and have only one small snack at a specific time when he could give himself some insulin to take care of that meal.

This man had blood sugars all pretty good until he hit right around 7 in the night, and you could see his number skyrocket and stay high until early morning when they started to come down.

These are the types of habits that sneak up on you, but can really be harmful. Eating because you are bored or not paying attention is especially sneaky because you have NO idea of how much you are REALLY eating.

My suggestions to this man? First, pick a snack for the evening, ONE SNACK, have it and do not have any more for the evening. Second: the snack should be a specific amount, not the whole bag of chips etc coming to sit with him in the living room. Third: try to pay attention to WHY he was snacking? Was it because he was hungry? Because his sugars were low? Or because he was bored? Important to find out why, so that the reason could be better addressed as well.

So, what is your answer? Do YOU have snacking habits that could be killing you?

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227