Hospital Food for Diabetics - FAIL
Recently I had the unfortunate experience of being hospitalized over several days. While my A1C was only 5.4 when admitted, the IV steroids they HAD to give me shot my BGLs into the 250-300 range temporarily. For a couple of days I had to go on insulin to manage this side effect.
So I trimmed my carbs as much as possible, eating only eggs, meats, low carb veggies, and the occasional diet Jello.
Sticking to such a regimen is not easy to do in a hospital - even when the doctor prescribes a "diabetic diet". The hospital's idea of a diabetic diet contains a crazy amount of carbs. It seems the American Diabetes Association advises them, which is disappointing. One night I sent my husband out to El Pollo Loco just to pick me up a chicken breast...otherwise I would have been very hungry.
Had I eaten the crap they were trying to feed me, I would have had to remain on insulin a lot longer than I did. Instead my BGL was running around 100 right after I was switched from IV steroids to oral steroids.
Oh, and when I was first admitted to the crappy hospital (I was transferred to a better one the next day) they doctor assumed my BGL were high because I was an out of control diabetic - not giving full credit to the steroids. That was fun. The admitting doctor at the next hospital complimented me on my low A1C, and was surprised to hear I have been diabetic for almost 10 years.
I took photos of my hospital meals for posterity - I really thought it was so ridiculous. I will need to find a way to post them here. I do regret not taking a picture of the menu they eventually sent me. Having the option of making menu selections sounded like a solution to this problem, only they would not vary serving sizes. So I would only get one scoop of eggs and one skinny slice of "heart healthy" bacon...or one 3 oz piece of chicken breast. *Mini meals* Since I rejected their oatmeal, high-sugar yogurts, cakes, muffins, potatoes, rice, juices and breads, the least they could have done was give me a little extra protein portion. But no...
Toward the end of my stay the nurses began to support my low carb quest, probably because they noticed how well-controlled my BGL had become - whatever I was doing obviously worked. They told me they would call the kitchen for more or different food...They were great.
(On an earlier day a different nurse offered to have their nutritionist come talk to me about the importance of carbs...yeah, cakes and muffins are sustainable carbs...whatever. That talk would NOT have gone well, and I was feeling pretty crappy anyway, so I declined the opportunity.)
The following are the meals that were served to me. I was careful to only eat low carb stuff and sent everything else back.
First morning at bad hospital:
Liquid diet - 2 cups of apple juice (approx 54 carbs); full sugar jello cup (24 carbs); the worst chicken broth powdered mix imaginable. This was offered to me when my BGL was hovering around 200 and insulin had not yet been prescribed to control it. I just drank my vitamin water instead.
First late night dinner at better hospital:
Turkey sandwich on whole wheat. I removed the bread and ate the innards. Not enough food.
Eggbeaters, one slice of "heart healthy" bacon; bowl of oatmeal; english muffin; fresh fruit cup
Chicken noodle soup (I drank the low sodium broth, ate a few bits of chicken, and skipped the noodles); crackers;
3 oz chicken medallion, coated in a sweet asian sauce (which I scraped off); large scoop of rice, low fat milk; veggie mix (carrots, celery, onion, red peppers); Fresh fruit cup; SF Jello
Rice Chex; Low fat milk; two tortillas; eggs scrambled with peppers and onions; fresh fruit cup; salsa
Beef Stroganoff - little meat, a lot of pasta. Wheat roll. Salad with high carb dressing.
The worst meal:
Beef stew - 80% potato (seriously). I was able to pick out 3 very small bites of beef; Southwestern chicken soup (6 carbs); muffin; angel food cake
I asked the nurse to bring me a salad with grilled chicken instead...she was great about it. I had to have the same thing for dinner though...This is the day when that El Pollo Loco chicken saved me...
When the kitchen tried to give me low carb foods:
Small piece of grilled chicken breast. Large scoop of peas and carrots. Wheat roll; sugar free pudding
Eggbeaters with one slice of bacon and 1/2 a banana.
Hospitals really need to reconsider how they feed diabetics. Their current ADA inspired dietary belief systems runs up BGLs to unhealthy levels. Answering this with more and more insulin is a mistake.
DH and I have talked about this, in the case that he is hospitalized. It has happened twice in the last few years, so we wanted to be prepared with his new WOE.
Thank you for some real world experience with this!
Still trying to figure out how to load pictures.
I was able to right click and choose "open image in another window" to see.
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