Expert advice on food should come from a dietitian!

I volunteer with our local type 2 diabetes support group. They are a great bunch of people and so appreciative of everything you do for them and every piece of information you provide them with.

The great thing about our get-togethers are the faces change often and I meet new and interesting people all the time. It's not a requirement that you attend every meeting but I'm happy to say that most people attend most of the time.

At our get-together last week, we talked about a lot of things; from diabetes education options to the shock of being diagnosed and marched out of the doctor's office without any further information (Grrrrrrrr).

One individual asked the group about the fact that they were told not to eat lamb! A separate individual who has a grown up child with type 1 diabetes said they were told at the clinic not to eat pork or goose!!

I've heard so many comments like this over my 22 years with diabetes. Don't eat Grapes! Bananas are full of sugar! Carrots have too much sugar! Stay away from white bread! I have become a cynic and I question everything.

I regret that I did not handle these comments to the best of my ability. I did ask if the individuals knew why this instruction was given to them. And in the case of the goose & pork the reason given was that those meats have insulin. (!?!?)

I poo-poo'd the idea of not eating Lamb, Pork or Goose. I implied that I was more of an expert than a health care professional BUT I am not! I'm not qualified to give anyone health or medical advice and I'm usually very good about sticking to my side of that fine line.

However ridiculous the idea sounds, I do not have a medical degree nor am I a registered dietitian and therefore have absolutely no right to insinuate that I know better. There could have been any number of reasons why patients were told this (I hope). Just because I can't think of one or find one on Google doesn't mean that there isn't one.

I wish I could turn back the clock and that I had asked these individuals if that instruction came from a dietitian. A dietitian is a food expert and a healthcare professional.

However, not every health care professional is an expert (or even knowledgeable) about nutrition. They can't be unless they have received specialised training. A student nurse once told me that her degree covered diabetes in 20 minutes with no further information. That's not enough to cover even all the types of diabetes!

My party line is now going to be "Ask your Dietitian" because that's what I should have said last week. And they're amazing, especially the Diabetes Dietitians!!!