A few weeks ago I talked about the old days and the diabetic exchange system diet. It was up to the diabetic to understand and almost commit to memory the exchange system. It has been at least 30 years since this was the way the diabetic diet was managed, but I still remember that 5 cashews equals a fat exchange. Although people believe nuts are high in protein (and they are a source of some protein), they are higher in fat than protein. The diabetic diet is now managed by counting carbohydrate content. As an old timer, I feel something is lost in the nutritional value of the meal when counting carbohydrates only. In this new jack swing system of carbohydrate counting it doesn’t matter if you eat mostly from one food group as long as it meets the carbohydrate count. Man does not live by bread alone, but if he’s carbohydrate counting, who’s to say he can’t live by beer alone?

And who did away with Tes-Tape™? Remember before the days of glucometers and home blood testing, that gray tape dispenser with yellow tape that we had to pee on before each meal? It was ¼ inch wide and you cut off a piece about 2 inches long to pee on to test your urine sugar. It was the closest thing we had to estimate (I mean really guess) at what our blood sugar was. I mean really, how accurately could urine sugar indicate blood sugar?

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I participated in a study of one of the first glucometers. I carried with me to college a 1 ½ foot long by 8 inch wide by 4 inch deep, 40 pound machine with manual gages like an old airplane cockpit. With it was synthetic blood vials used to calibrate the machine whenever it was moved or unplugged; strips, and steel lancets designed to poke a hole in the finger that almost required stitches to stop the bleeding. Test results were complete 2 minutes after the poke and the results were displayed by the hand on the gage stopping on one of four hashes: 0, 120, 240 and 480. If the hand landed between the hashes, you had to estimate the best you could.  

Boy how technology has improved! Today glucometers fit in your pocket, and even come with an ap to record blood sugar and suggest meals or exercise.  Even beyond the snapshot picture that the glucometer provides is another advancement called the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). If the glucometer is a snapshot of what your blood sugar is at that moment, the CGM is a video camera of how your blood sugar varies throughout the day. This is valuable information as the diabetic can better schedule and plan rather than prepare for just in case.

Change resulting in progress is good! What are your memories of the good ol days?