Revelations aus Deutschland

First, the really ugly revelation: apparently my new diabetic self can no longer tolerate cocktails. Uggghhh. Yet another enjoyable consumable that’s off my list. I thought it was the jet lag, but apparently it was just the hard liquor that was making me sick after dinner every night. OK, so I’m sipping German Sekt very gingerly and squinting my eyes to make all those fantastic European baked goods look a little less appealing. *Sigh*

Secondly, I have no idea how most European diabetics manage carb counting! The packages over here do not list carbs per serving — oh, no, much too easy for the consumer! Instead, every package lists number of carbs per 100 grams of food. Great, so I’ve got a package of snack pretzels that weighs just 75g in total, and I’m only eating about a third of it right now. Have I mentioned how much I hate math? Especially when I’m forced to do the math just in order to enjoy some paltry bit of food. Aergerlich! (as we say in German).

Finally, I read in the newspaper here that the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children is going up dramatically (can’t seem to locate the article online to quote the numbers). But they mentioned two conflicting theories on what’s causing the increase:

1) the notion that the human immune system is underchallenged in our Western Industrialized overly sterile environment, thus in the need to fulfill its fighting purpose, the system attacks natural elements of the healthy body…


2) the opposite — our immune systems are overwhelmed, and therefore going haywire.

Which is to say, the scientific community here KNOWS NOTHING either. May I just say: Disappointed!! So much for the idea of Europe being at the forefront of medical progress. I guess they’re still able to make progress toward finding a cure, since that work focuses on saving or regenerating the insulin-producing cells, right? But it sure seems to stand on shaky ground when no one seems to have the slightest idea what’s kicking the autoimmunity in gear in the first place. Sheesh! Now if I could just have a Martini, things wouldn’t look so bleak ;)


12 Responses

  1. sam
    sam July 17, 2005 at 7:49 am | | Reply

    You’re not alone. I’ve taken to calling all hard liquor “InstaDrunk”. If I drink any, I end up intoxicated, and then I feel like (insert German expletive here) for days.

    I found out that I can tolerate Michelob Ultra, though, without the stupidity, and without any significant change in BG. Which is good, since my stomach prefers beer, anyway. :)

  2. Rachel
    Rachel July 17, 2005 at 1:55 pm | | Reply

    2001: lost 35 lbs due to pre-diabetic levels.

    2002: Gained back 8 lbs on honeymoon to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland despite daily walking all over. Too many yummy looking baked goods!

  3. Kirk
    Kirk July 17, 2005 at 2:57 pm | | Reply


    Sorry to hear about the cocktails, BUMMER. The human body today is underchallenged that is why Asthma is increasing. When I was young we ate dirt. Enjoy Germany….


  4. Felix Kasza
    Felix Kasza July 17, 2005 at 6:24 pm | | Reply

    Regarding nutrition info, I actually prefer the per-100g way. I weigh all my food anyway, and things like “serving size: 8-1/3 pretzels; servings per container: 3.75″ are not as easy to figure out as plain powers-of-10 arithmetic.

  5. MarathonSwimmer
    MarathonSwimmer July 17, 2005 at 9:05 pm | | Reply

    I think there are lots of reasons that the 100g way is better. Even though I’m from Canada, it seems we’ve never actually published a carb book of our own, so I primarily rely on the US ones. (Except for basic produce-type foods, where I use one from the UK.) First, um, what the heck is a medium apple? And how am I supposed to measure half a cup of ice cream — by *melting* it? Don’t even get me started on the horrors of “a cup of crushed filberts”. (How crushed, exactly?)

    It also makes it a lot easier to figure out the percentage of fat and protein.

    Also — just a heads up — I think (though I’m not sure) that the 100g way already deducts the fibre content from the carbs. This might throw your counting off if you’re not aware of it.

  6. Derek
    Derek July 18, 2005 at 6:35 am | | Reply

    hehe. The bread here in Germany is simply the best. The carbs/100g is pretty easy for me, I just use the 10g carbs is one bread unit (is that term even used in the US?). I don’t know any other way to do it though so I’ll grant that that statement is pretty one-sided…. And I guesstimate on carb content nowadays almost exclusively. Since I stopped writing every fart down and loosened up a little, my control has gotten a LOT better! :-)

  7. AmyT
    AmyT July 19, 2005 at 12:01 pm | | Reply

    It is always so eye-opening to hear from readers, thanks! I never would have guessed that anyone actually liked the 100-gram system…

  8. Nancy
    Nancy July 19, 2005 at 1:00 pm | | Reply

    Have you done any reading on immunizations and children developing Type 1?
    I did a lot of reading about it several years ago–there are studies that were done in Europe that seem to confirm the connection. It interested me because my son developed Type 1 about 2 mos. before his 14th birthday (at the end of a long series of childhood immunization shots, including some of which are more suspect than others.) We will never know what triggered his disease but the repeated assualt on the immune system via required shots seems like a real possibility.

  9. Kirk
    Kirk July 19, 2005 at 1:28 pm | | Reply

    It could be worse, Amy. It hasn’t been that long since there was no nutrition info on packaging. In fact GI and GL are relatively new also.


  10. Jana
    Jana July 19, 2005 at 7:48 pm | | Reply

    There’s also a much higher incidence of type 1 diabetes in all the Scandinavian countries…and I believe it’s always been that way. One of the theories about that is that there is a virus specific to the region that can trigger an autoimmune attack in persons of a certain genetic disposition. My endo told me this when I was diagnosed, after he asked me when the extreme thirst and peeing had begun, and I said that it had started right after I contracted a nasty some-kind-of-sickness in Finland.

  11. DensityDuck
    DensityDuck July 20, 2005 at 8:16 am | | Reply

    Nancy: Correlation does not imply causation. I developed Type I at age 15; I hadn’t had an immunization in over a decade.

    Even if it were true that the immunization shots did engender an autoimmune response, I’d rather have diabetes than smallpox. Diabetes we can deal with.

  12. Nancy
    Nancy July 20, 2005 at 8:51 am | | Reply

    Hi Double ‘D’,
    I did not mean to imply that immunizations are the cause, only that it is something else to consider as a trigger. (If you’ve seen some of the graphs, showing the rise in Type 1s, that go with these studies they are pretty alarming.)
    About not having had an immunization in over a decade, it is also my understanding (and was the case with my son) that diabetes likely develops over time (sometimes a very long time.) I think that you cannot automatically exclude an immunization given even years before.
    About 2 years before my son was diagnosed, we did one of those public screenings for cholesterol. There was no follow-up with a physician–just a result that arrived later in the mail. One of the components of his cholesterol count was a little low (the HDL, I believe.) It was specifically noted but not suggested to us that we should seek further attention. Only after my son’s diagnosis did it come to my attention that that might have been a red flag for something significant going on in his body. I believe, and have seen some information to suggest that the “off” cholesterol component, prefaced the slow onset of his diabetes.

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