The impact of flash glucose monitoring on adults with type 1 diabetes’ eating habits and relationship with food
Aim To gain a better understanding of how the FreeStyle Libre (FSL) flash glucose monitor influences the eating habits and relationship with food of adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Methods Reflexive thematic analysis was conducted on fifteen semi-structured interviews conducted with adults with T1D, exploring their experiences of at least one year of FSL use. Results Four themes were constructed from the qualitative data: (1) Personal Food Story (what food represented before and after diabetes diagnosis), (2) New Opportunities (the FSL offered novel discoveries and increased self-confidence regarding food choices), (3) Body as a Machine (participants viewed their bodies as a collection of complex processes requiring continuous maintenance), and (4) Re-evaluating Diabetes (participants expressed a shift in their expectations of themselves and their diabetes management). Although the FSL offered participants more freedom and flexibility with their eating, this was constrained by feeling forever under scrutiny from the data. Conclusions Findings suggest the FSL influences users’ eating habits, including when, why, what and how much they eat. Participants described both the positive and negative impact of these changes on their emotional wellbeing and relationship with diabetes, arguing for a need to address patients’ relationship with food in routine clinic care.