“Should you be eating that?”

Do you ever hear the questions “should you be eating that?”.  One of our slim and trim Diabetes Queensland members who lives with type 1 diabetes is frustrated with people criticizing her portion size or food choices.

Jane, shall we call her, is aghast whenever anyone asks her “Should you be eating that?”

“I’m an adult and I’ve had diabetes for many years. I think I know what I should be eating!”

Shannon’s story

Jane’s frustration was brought to mind in a story published in the US by Shannon Marengo, also living with type 1 diabetes, who was discussing her favourite lollies and desserts with a work colleague.

Another co-worker joined the conversation. She asked the dreaded, “Aren’t you diabetic? If you have diabetes, I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to be eating all that crap.”

Shannon responded, “I wear an insulin pump and am in excellent control, so it’s ok to indulge occasionally.”

Her colleague, who does not have diabetes, wasn’t finished: “I’m pretty sure that wearing an insulin pump doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat whatever crap you want. I have known plenty of diabetics in my life, and I know what I’m talking about.”

Oh dear.

Shannon replied with, “Well, I’ve lived with it for 24 years, over half of my life, and I’m pretty sure I also know what I’m talking about.”

Her colleague had another light-bulb moment.

“Wait – do you have juvenile diabetes? Aren’t you a little old to have been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes?”


Shannon made the point that some people think they know a lot about diabetes, and that can be painful.

“Some people are ignorant and just don’t know better, but it’s the ones that are ignorant and act like they know it all that drive me bonkers.” 

We hope that you don’t hear the question “Should you be eating that?” in 2020. But if you do, why not take a leaf out of Shannon’s book when responding. Remember people are just trying to be helpful.

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