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From Florida, USA:

My four year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 1 1/2 weeks ago. I have been looking at information through Children with Diabetes and there seems to be such diet restraints. Our physician only said to eat good foods and snacks had to be a minimum of 15 grams of carbohydrates. Are we missing something? Should we be seeing a nutritionist?


Yes! In general, your doctor's advice is correct; however, it is important to keep carbohydrate intake fairly consistent from day to day to help avoid "rollercoaster" blood sugars.

It's our opinion that everyone with diabetes, whether a child or an adult, would greatly benefit from the advice of a knowledgeable diabetes dietitian. Physicians just don't have the time or training to tackle all the nuances of meal planning. A dietitian would be able to assess the optimal meal plan for normal growth and development.

You used the term nutritionist. Please be aware that this is a generic term that anyone interested in nutrition could use as self-identification, without any formal training in the field. The proper title for a trained specialist in meal planning is Registered Dietitian. If at all possible, make sure the person you're talking with has two sets of initials after their name: R.D. (Registered Dietitian) and C.D.E. (Certified Diabetes Educator).

And for kids, the RD/CDE should ideally be someone who specializes in pediatric diabetes.


Additional Comment from Michelle Hansen, MS, RD, CDE

If you find a dietitian with whom you can work closely, the diet restraints do not have to be that strict or overwhelming, especially for a four year old. However, it does take some time to learn some of the food nuances.


Original posting 11 Dec 96


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