We all know what pizza does to our kids. They seem to stay high for hours. Foods that contain high fat do affect blood sugars.
The fats in food digest slower, which can cause problems for kids with type 1 diabetes. It seems the insulin dose doesn’t match the carbs in the food. Carbohydrates can cause a fast rise in blood sugar, but when you pair the carbs with fat, the rise is much slower. The injected insulin is absorbed and ready to work on the rise in blood sugar, but then the rise doesn’t happen until later, sometimes causing a low blood sugar.
This frequently happens after a restaurant meal. Many restaurant meals are high-fat, such as pizza, fast foods, pastas, and fried chicken. The lasting rise that happens after these meals is usually from the fat.
Here’s a few ways to counteract the high blood sugars:
- Eat less fatty foods. Try to limit the fatty foods. This is good for anyone, not just children with type 1.
- When you do eat fatty foods, be aware of how much your child is eating. Help them not overeat fatty foods. This goes along with not overeating anything. Obesity is still a threat with our kids who are mostly thin, and teaching them to listen to their bodies and eating when hungry and stopping when full helps prevent unwanted weight gain.
- When giving insulin, give the dose a little bit later than usual. If you need help with counting carbs and calculating doses based on carb intake, check out the article on Understanding a Carb Ratio.
- Try splitting the dose. Instead of giving the full dose, give half when eating, then the other half an hour after eating.
- If on a pump, use a dual-wave, combo-bolus, or extended bolus. (it’s named differently on different pump choices.) An extended bolus or dual-wave bolus gives part of the dose upfront for meals, then extends the rest of the bolus out for the amount set. A typical way to do a dual wave is to give 50-60% upfront and then extend the 40-50% rest of dose to be given over two hours.
Speak with your child’s doctor about trying some of the above techniques if your child stays high longer than wanted after eating high fat meals.
If you are interested in learning more about using an insulin pump and the special features such as a Dual Wave or Extended Bolus, be sure to get the first chapter free of Sylvia’s book Pumping Kids, A Step by Step Guide to Insulin Pumps. Sign up here!