The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 13, 2013

RALPH COUEY | Sweet offerings sour dining experience

— We’re all familiar with the scenario. We’ve just finished a sumptuous dinner, three courses of artistry and flavor that has filled us to the point that some are surreptitiously loosening the belt. We are sure that no room remains in the stomach. We may not have to eat again for two days.

Then a shiny silver cart is rolled up to the table. Across its top are arrayed a dozen or so plates and bowls containing things like cake, fudge, ice cream, or any one of a hundred other temptations. Suddenly, we find there is room after all.

 But not for all of us.

 For those afflicted with diabetes, we have to turn away, ignore the plaintive cries of our sweet tooth and decline the offering. We can’t help but feel deprived, not of the food itself, but the pure pleasure of sweetness on the tongue.

 Diabetes is a growing problem In the United States. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 25.8 million people have the disease, a figure that includes nearly 8 million undiagnosed cases. That’s about 8 percent of the population, but there are also some 80 million who are termed pre-diabetic, whose blood sugar counts are high but don’t yet exceed the gateway count of 120.

Fortuately, it is a manageable disease for most, although the long term prognoses are grim. These include neuropathy, blindness, dementia, and loss of blood flow to the extremities requiring amputation of the feet and hands. Therefore it is important that people, especially those whose family history includes diabetes, manage their sugar intake.

For those of us already diagnosed, it becomes a constant conflict between the desire for sweets and a strong memory of how ill we feel after indulging. At home, I keep a container of sugar-free pudding in the fridge and that’s usually enough to satisfy those cravings. But on those occasions when we eat out, I get frustrated when I look at the dessert menu and don’t see a single sugar-free sweet.

Now, I’m not a marketing expert, but it would seem to me that a restaurant chain might look at the 105 million diabetic and pre-diabetic restaurant patrons and see a potential opportunity.

I’m not looking for an artistic brownie swimming in hot fudge and topped with whipped cream, mind you. I’d be happy with a couple of scoops of sugar-free ice cream to finish off a meal. Just enough to sate the sweetness devil.

And, by the way, if restaurants advertised that they had desserts tailored to the needs of 105 million Americans, I wonder how many of them might find their way to their tables.

I’m not necessarily chipping my gums here. I know that if one is not living with diabetes on a daily basis, it’s an easy thing to ignore or discount. But the problem isn’t going away.

If you’re a chef, or a restaurant manager, or chain owner, I’m just asking you to think about it. Try test marketing a few items and see what the response is.

It would be the sweetest thing you could do.

Ralph F. Couey of Chantilly, Va., is a freelance writer and occasional contributor to The Tribune-Democrat.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads