I had no idea. I am fortunate enough to not be directly affected by diabetes and possibly naive enough to not totally get the big picture for those living with diabetes everyday. I mean I am a nurse as well as a “all things bison ambassador”, so I understand the struggle of balancing blood sugars, but maybe in a more clinical way. I know the signs and symptoms of Hyperglycemia (blood sugar too high) and Hypoglycemia (blood sugar too low) but not exactly how even healthy snacks affect that.
First of all lets talk a little bit about diabetes. The total population in Canada with diabetes is estimated to be 3.4 million people (9,3%) in 2015 , and is projected to rise to 4.2 million people (10.8%) by 2020. While the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes is already high, an additional almost one million are estimated to have the disease but do not know it. It comes with a host of routines, blood sugar checking patterns, doctors and specialist, equipment and symptom management that those not affected will for sure be taking for granted.
One of the main ingredients that can cause a blood sugar spike are carbohydrates. There of course are more that carbohydrates that can affect blood sugar but they are the ones most closely monitored.
• Your body breaks down carbohydrate into glucose. This raises your blood glucose (sugar) levels.
• Carbohydrate is found in many foods including grains and starches, fruits, some vegetables, legumes, milk and milk alternatives, sugary foods and many prepared foods.
• Meat and alternatives, most vegetables and fats contain little carbohydrate. Moderate servings will not have a big effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels. (www.diabetes.ca)
So why am I talking about diabetes on our BUFF blog?? Well it all started with a friend of mine looking for a healthy snack for her son to take to school. He is an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic. Because we chose the premium ingredients we did for BUFF, the nutritional facts are very diabetic friendly (**along with those people following Paleo or gluten free diets wink wink!**) with only 1 gram of carbohydrates per stick BUFF is a great option.
Turns out we are not only making a super tasty and healthy product. But one that can help families trying to find satisfying and appropriate snack for their family.
Here is the story of one of our super fans “Davis”.
Davis is five (birthday in September) and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on March 5, 2016. He is a super active boy who loves his hockey, lacrosse, soccer and baseball. Last March, after a couple of weeks of symptoms like frequent urination, being persistently thirsty, generally sad disposition and losing weight despite eating normally, we took him to Owen Sound where he was quickly diagnosed. We spent one night in ICU as they worked to stabilize his blood sugars and the next three days on the pediatric floor where he got used to the insulin and we got used to his new way of life. We met with a specialized nurse and nutritionist where they basically told us that a) it wasn't ours or Davis' fault that he got diabetes and had nothing to do with his diet and b) the common misconception is that you only need to control your sugars (which you do to a point) but the important thing is to watch the carbs.
Every morning and before every meal, his blood sugar is checked and he is given insulin (via pen or syringe) depending on that level. Additional checks are performed based on if he REALLY wants another snack or if his behavior is a bit off.
Davis' meals need to average 40 grams of carbs. Anything over that can cause high blood sugar levels and anything lower can make him crash. The amount of physical activity can also affect his levels - the more active he is, the quicker his levels go down; and on the flipside, if he's just sitting around after eating, his levels will generally rise.
Drew and I are still trying to wrap our brains around it - just when we think we've got it figured out, we get thrown another loop. Davis has become a champ at recognizing when he doesn't feel good and it's easy to tell when he's too high (hyper, thirsty) or too low (sleepy, sad, lethargic).
Snack time is always a challenge. Another common misconception is that diabetics can't have ANY sugar when in fact it's all about moderation. For example, Davis can eat a snack size chocolate bar, but not a regular size one and not too many of the small ones. His go-to's are usually two-bite brownies, chocolate chip muffins and veggie straws (similar to chips but slightly healthier). Obviously all of these are high in carbs so it's a mission to find healthier, lower-carb alternatives and BUFF sticks are perfect for that! He can even have a couple if he's really hungry and no one has to worry about his levels spiking. Your products are a lifesaver - literally. 😊
Stock up at www.buff.ca and share with anyone you know that is affected by diabetes. Finding quality and tasty items that fall under specific diet restrictions can be a real challenge.