SEX, Carbs, Rock and Roll and ….Diabetes


This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

The phrase “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll” came into prominence in the 1960’s. It described a wild way of living that paid no heed to the customs and manners of the past.
Since my diagnosis in 2008, perhaps the title here is more relevant to me/us now. Truth is I was a hard working kid. Remember I started working in the family restaurant when I was 8-9 years old. My drug of choice was food. Some of my recipes have been wildly fresh and delicious so it is NOT all bad. So I thought it was time for a Diabetes riff on the theme.
SEX - Now that I have your attention.

I read a bit about the effect of Diabetes on your intimate life. To add to the fears of losing sight or a limb, do we also have to fear the loss of our sex lives?

From a Joslin Diabetes Center Newsletter:

“Of people with complications from diabetes, 50 to 70 percent of men and 40 to 50 percent of women may have sexual difficulties because of nerve damage.

If intercourse has become uncomfortable or nearly impossible, either as a result of chronically high blood glucose levels (an occasional high level will not cause long-term problems) or nerve problems, diabetes could be the cause.”

It is clearly more prevalent in men that women, but both can be affected.

The good news From Diabetic Living Magazine:

"Research has shown that people can lower their risk for diabetes-related sexual problems by taking steps to control their diabetes, including:
• controlling blood glucose
• lowering blood pressure
• lowering cholesterol
• lowering triglyceride levels.”

CARBS- Your carbohydrate budget

As people with Diabetes shouldn’t we be doing those things anyway? What I have found is by lowering MY carbohydrate intake, my cholesterol and triglyceride levels have come down into the “normal” range. My doctor has explained to me there is a relationship between carbohydrates and cholesterol.
Lowering your intake of carbohydrates is generally considered the thing to do. But all of us are different and different foods work differently on each of us. A small amount of potatoes (beautifully seasoned) does not raise MY blood glucose, for others it sends it right through the roof.

Science Daily published an article on how each person with Diabetes reacts to what they eat:

“Which is more likely to raise blood sugar levels: sushi or ice cream? According to a Weizmann Institute of Science study reported in the November 19 issue of the journal Cell, the answer varies from one person to another. The study, which continuously monitored blood sugar levels in 800 people for a week, revealed that the bodily response to all foods was highly individual.

The huge differences that we found in the rise of blood sugar levels among different people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices are more likely to help people stay healthy than universal dietary advice."

Rock and Roll

Frankly, I am a Jazz and Classical man. As for the rock and roll part, I thought I might mention to you that Nick Jonas and Patti Labelle both have Diabetes (them and millions of others).
Patti Labelle is from a family with a long line of family members with Diabetes. She was quoted in a Diabetes Living article saying: “The diagnosis made her angry, even though she knew diabetes ran in her family. Yet instead of taking charge of her disease, she spent the next four years ignoring it. While Patti still enjoys feeding friends and family she's also learned to adapt her style to suit her needs. "I'll make an apple pie the regular way for everyone else, but I'll also bake one with a sugar substitute for me.”

Nick Jonas is part of the young group the Jonas brothers. He is the only brother with type one Diabetes.

For some of us it is family history, for others it is the “fickle finger” of fate.


Type 1 or Type 2, we have Diabetes. Each of us must choose how to manage it (or not) for ourselves. Everybody is different and everybody needs to come to terms with managing THEIR Diabetes in their own way. What works for Jane might not work for John. The trick is to choose. Good luck and…

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic