Screw you, diabetes! I’m eating this Italian Beef sandwich whether you like it or not!

diabetes italian beef

If I were on death row and about to get my “last meal,” I would want the world’s biggest Italian Beef sandwich. This is probably my favorite food in the world, and it’s one of those things that is almost exclusively available in the Chicago area.

It’s very similar to “French Dip,” but it’s a thousand times better. Italian Beef is basically French Dip’s slutty cousin … hot, moist, drenched in juices. Wow! I’m starting to gross myself out.

Italian Beef is an amazing sandwich. I prefer mine “baptized,” as in completely soaked in au jus (a.k.a. beef juice), and buried under a layer of hot giardiniera peppers.

diabetes italian beef giardiniera
Hot peppers are great, but hot giardiniera is a gift from the gods!

Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of thing where you can just leave the bread out of the equation. The bread, soaked in au jus, is half the reason this sandwich is so awesome. So what’s a diabetic to do?


I was visiting family a while ago, so I had the chance to do two blood sugar tests on Italian Beef sandwiches. I definitely ate more than just two sandwiches during my visit, but I wasn’t carrying my blood sugar monitor with me every time I ate one.

Blood sugar reading before eating: 99

This reading of 99 was around lunchtime. I don’t think I had eaten anything else at that point.

Blood sugar reading after eating: 154

This reading was about an hour after I finished the Italian Beef.

99 → 154 isn’t bad at all! And I’m sure it helps that I didn’t order the biggest sandwich on the menu. Buona Beef sells a 9-inch sandwich, but in an amazing show of restraint, I ordered the 7-inch.

Blood sugar reading before eating: 104

This reading of 104 was also around lunchtime.

Blood sugar reading after eating: 187

OK, so this test didn’t go quite as well as my first one. This sandwich was also a 7-inch, but the blood sugar hit was higher this time. Still, 104 → 187 isn’t THAT bad. I’ve gotten worse results from eating much less delicious things.

The next time I go to Chicago, maybe I’ll try doing a Buona vs. Portillo’s test. For science!

diabetes italian beef portillo's buona beef
Buona Beef is great. Portillo’s is great. I don’t care where my Italian Beef comes from as long as it’s hot ‘n very, very juicy.