Day To Day

Fight diabetes: cheat meals and down days

I have seen people asking others what they do for cheat meals or cheat days. That really bothered me because it means to me that they don’t understand what diabetes is.

Managing diabetes isn’t like being on a diet to lose weight. When you’re on a diet simply to lose weight, you can have cheat meals and down days. You know that the consequence is that you will delay weight loss by a day, maybe two, but in the grand scheme of things, it won’t make a huge difference. The consequences are minimal over the course of your lifetime.

Managing diabetes through diet and exercise is completely different. A bad day with diabetes, will likely increase damage to organs that are already damaged (liver, pancreas, kidneys, even brain). It’s not entirely clear yet if any of the damage can be reversed through remission for T2DM. It is certainly generally accepted that kidney damage won’t be repaired and will likely lead in time to chronic kidney failure. It is also generally accepted that dead beta cells in the pancreas won’t be repaired, even if overall the load on the pancreas is lightened by reversing insulin resistance.

So when you have a cheat meal or a down day, what you do is make things worse for your body, possibly permanently. There is no do over, no second chance.

For that reason, I don’t think there are cheat meals of down days. You can’t trade short term fun for long term damage. A meal or a day is either designed to manage your diabetes, or it’s not. And if it’s not, it will make things worse.

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