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What Should A Diabetic Eat Before Bedtime

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A1c Tip: What You Eat…before Bedtime!

Unfortunately, the time of day when many people (whether or not they have diabetes) want to veg-out and eat some kind of junk food is at the very end of the day. There’s no mystery: it’s comforting to sit down with something delicious and perhaps less-than-ideal for a person with diabetes after long day at work. As the days get shorter and winter approaches, that urge can only grow stronger. But how is it affecting your overnight blood sugars and your blood sugar the next morning? Personally, I’ve found that when I have a really indulgent treat, like a slice of gluten-free blueberry pie, for example–something really high in both carbs and fat–that even if I manage my blood sugar tightly before bed and am “in-range” throughout the night, I actually see my blood sugar rise between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. the next morning! Normally, my blood sugar is extremely steady during the morning hours, but what I ate before bed can impact my blood sugar nearly 12 hours later. What are you eating before bed? How is it affecting your blood sugars not only through the night but the next day, too? What You Eat Before Bed: Things to Consider Here are just a few of things to consider if you t Continue reading >>

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  1. Diabetes Yoyo

    In this article I would like to emphasise the importance of evening snacks for type 1 diabetics. In the past I never had an evening snack and often woke up with high sugar levels or had hypos during the night. My sugar levels were erratic and I was confused. Over the time that I have spent in Malta and have had regular visits to the doctors, I came to a realisation that evening snacks are good for type 1 diabetics. In fact, a couple of doctors have suggested to me that even if my sugar levels are high before bed, I should still have a snack. The reason for this is apparently that your body is like a fridge and if there is no food available in the body, it goes to the fridge and gets some stored food/glycogen. This is in a way concentrated food.
    Glycogen was discovered by Claude Bernard. His experiments showed that the liver contained a substance that could give rise to reducing sugar by the action of a “ferment” in the liver. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles and functions as the secondary long-term energy storage. Glycogen forms an energy reserve that can be quickly mobilized to meet a sudden need for glucose. The most common disease in which glycogen metabolism becomes abnormal is diabetes, in which, because of abnormal amounts of insulin, liver glycogen can be abnormally accumulated or depleted. Restoration of normal glucose metabolism usually normalizes glycogen metabolism, as well.
    I think glycogen plays an important part in diabetes management; if you are on a wrong dosage of insulin or if you are under a lot of stress in my experience your sugar levels can fluctuate for unexplained reasons and it looks like glycogen is the culprit.
    Over the last couple of months, I have started eating evening snacks. What I have found out is,
    even if your evening and morning readings are high, still have a snack and wait for a couple of days for your body to adjust
    check your sugar levels at 3am to make sure that you do not get hypos while sleeping
    check your sugar levels at 5/6am to make sure, your evening insulin gives you a good reading in the morning. If it is still high increase your long acting insulin, you need to consult your doctor regarding dosages and the time you take the long acting insulin. I found reducing my long acting insulin to once a day helped me a great deal, as mentioned before I only take 16 units of Lantus at 11am.
    I have found out that changing your evening insulin can also alter your short acting insulin ratio, however before making any changes to your ratio allow a couple of days for your body to adjust.
    I am a fan of evening snacks, but a 2003 study published in the Diabetes Care journal suggests that people with diabetes, who have blood glucose levels over 180 mg/dL before bedtime should not eat a bedtime snack; but those with blood glucose levels below 126 mg/dL at bedtime should have a snack (roughly 15 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories) to prevent late-night lows. In general, a diabetes-friendly snack should contain 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates and between 100 to 200 calories[2] In a way, this contradicts my findings above, but in my experience the best snacks are a little bit of carbs (10g) and other items such as protein and fats. The reason for that is that if you eat a bread with some cheese and tomatoes for example, it sometimes gives a peak after an hour of eating. This is because the long acting insulin does not necessarily cover the carbs if sugars are being released to the blood stream quickly. So, avoid any sugary/high carb foods to avoid high sugar levels during night. You can find some tasty sugar free snacks through Google search such as this website. Having said that if you exercised during the day, or if your sugar levels are below 10 mmol/L you may want to eat a bread with some protein/salad.
    A study also found that people with liver disease can benefit from Late Evening Snacks. They could improve energy malnutrition, correct amino acid imbalance, and ultimately may improve glucose intolerance in patients with liver cirrhosis.[3]
    Personally, my sugar levels seem to be better controlled when I avoid eating snacks during the day. However, if I fancy a snack, my body seems to be tolerating up to 20g carbs snack 2 hours after eating. Especially if the meal intervals are longer than five hours or if you exercised during the day snacks can be good. I found out that if I walk up to an hour, my sugar level generally goes down 10 hours later. This is strange as I never noticed this before, but only a few months ago. So, snacks should help you avoid evening hypos. We all know how horrible they are.
    In addition, I feel that eating evening snacks has had a positive impact on my day time blood sugar management. A couple of years ago, I could not have imagined that my sugar levels would be under control or I would understand why they went up or down. Since I have found out that the best way of managing my diabetes seem to be eating an evening snack, getting your long acting insulin amount correct, find out your ratio and avoid stress. I have also benefited significantly from reducing my long acting insulin to once a day and keeping short acting intervals to 5 hours, as otherwise insulin would overlap and be hard to measure and control.
    Over the years, I have also found it quite hard to fall asleep. Apparently tryptophan type of foods as a bed time snack are really good and aids your body with avoiding depression and help falling asleep.[4]
    In conclusion, I would recommend evening snacks on a daily basis, but increasing the amount up to 20g carbs depending on exercise during the day.
    Hope you found this article helpful, and hope that evening snacks will avoid your hypos and will give you a better control over your sugar levels.
    The above writing is based on my experience with type 1 diabetes. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.
    You can also follow our journey on Twitter.
    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycogen
    [2] http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/health_articles.asp?id=1588
    [3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12957206
    [4] http://www.lifescript.com/diet-fitness/articles/archive/diet/eat-well/bedtime_snacks_that_help_you_fall_asleep.aspx & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan

  2. hale710

    Some of this is true yes, but if you BG is not low at bed time it's not necessary for EVERYONE to snack. If I have a snack I wake up high. If I don't, I stay steady.
    Everyone's body is different. It's great that it works for you, but it's not a blanket rule
    Blogging at drivendiabetic.wordpress.com

  3. michaeldavid

    Claude Bernard effectively used to torture animals, incidentally.
    "Bernard was quite explicit in his determination to pay no attention to the pain his animals suffered".
    - Bad Medicine, David Wootton (page 185).

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