ObjectiveTo assess perceptions of healthful eating and the influence of diabetes management on dietary behaviors among youth with type 1 diabetes and parents.
Research design and methodsYouth with type 1 diabetes (n = 35), ages 8-21 years, and parents participated in focus groups. Focus group recordings were transcribed and coded into themes. Clinical data were abstracted from the electronic medical record.
ResultsCentral topics were perceptions of healthful eating and the impact of diabetes management on diet. An emphasis on limiting postprandial glycemic excursions occasionally contradicted the traditional perception of healthful eating, which emphasized consumption of nutrient-dense whole foods in favor of prepackaged choices. Whereas fixed regimens required more rigid diets, basal-bolus regimens provided more opportunities for unhealthful eating. Most youth perceived "refined" grains as more healthful grains.
ConclusionsFor youth with type 1 diabetes and parents, an emphasis on carbohydrate quantity over quality may distort beliefs and behaviors regarding healthful eating.