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Benefits of a low carb diet and taking less insulin

Discussion in 'Type 1 and low carb' started by DConnolly, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. DConnolly

    DConnolly Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hello,

    I've recently been diagnosed T1 and i've been managing it fairly well with reasonably small insulin doses and adjusting my diet

    Essentially I'm looking for information on why taking less insulin and going on a low carb diet is better.

    I don't really understand what difference it makes if I'm taking insulin regardless
     
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  2. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
    Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi there. I'm not T1, so will tag in @tim2000s here, and I'm sure he'll tag others in, in turn.
     
  3. Kristin251

    Kristin251 LADA · Expert

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    I do low carb SO I can take less insulin which leaves me with less chance/ fear of hypos. Got that from the. Ernstein solution. Low carb = less insulin = less chance of error. This is my choice and many others do well with carbs and timing. I don't.

    I also don't digest carbs well. They make me sleepy and achy. Not to mention the blood sugar roller coaster.

    But.... that's just me.
     
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  4. donnellysdogs

    donnellysdogs Type 1 · Master

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    Me too, pretty much same as Kristin251. My main food though is mushy veg. Dont eat pasta, rice, cereal, bread or meat though as those foods do not travel well in my colon. Limited foods mean I eat as much of everything organic because I dont eat a lot I can afford them. Always have broccoli daily for my iron. Having less food/insulin is just the way it is for me but I think its better for me. I've only been a size 12 once and that was with being told to eat stuff I know is dire for me. Not only made me worse but shoved weight on me too.

    Insulin wise and diabetes wise it just enables me to see whole picture of my body with diabetes....
     
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  5. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    As a type2 on insulin it works very very well for me too. :)
     
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  6. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
    Retired Moderator

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    The main reason that people look at lower carb if they're type one is to reduce insulin needs, and the reason for this stems from the time Dr Bernstein has spent trying to manage his condition. It results in the "Law of Small Numbers", which is basically:
    • The fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you need, and the less your blood glucose levels are going to move around in the event of an error in insulin dosing or carb estimation.
    As a recently diagnosed T1, it's likely that your pancreas is still producing insulin, and therefore the amount you need is unlikely to be huge, however, over time that usually changes.

    Once you are in a position where you may find you need more insulin for the same amount of carbs, you may decide that you don't want to eat as many.

    But basically that's the main reason why. Lower carb = lower insulin requirement = less fluctuation, more time in range and better margin for error in situations with incorrect dosing.

    Of course, many people manage very well not eating a low carb diet. The choice is entirely yours.
     
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  7. Snapsy

    Snapsy Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Nail on head, @tim2000s ! Excellent question, @DConnolly , and welcome to the forum!

    I find my day-to-day life very much easier eating lower carb and therefore having less insulin on board. I have fewer hypos, and any I do have tend to be a much much slower drop than before. And I'm more relaxed in myself, too, because I am in range most of the time.

    I'd had 29 years with diabetes eating a 'standard' diet containing lots of starchy carbs and plenty of fruit - and I coped as well as I could, not knowing any different. Yes, the insulin covered the carbs, but with lots and lots of peaks and troughs in my blood sugar levels. It always felt like a compromise - as I I were missing something.

    This is of course entirely people's own personal choice, but I find my own control much more balanced and predictable now I have a lower carb eating style.

    In my job, I have three things I need to consider for my working practice on an ongoing basis, and I think these are also valuable questions for my diabetes management, too!

    Are you safe?
    Are you comfortable?
    Is it working as you'd like it to?


    I have to say that my way of eating ticks all three of those boxes. And I don't at all feel I'm missing out.

    :)
     
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  8. dbr10

    dbr10 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Dr Berstein argues that, if you eat fewer carbs, you need smaller doses of insulin to cover the meal. If you make a mistake in dosage or timing it is less likely to gave a disastrous effect. In addition, insulin makes you gain weight, which increases insulin resistance, and which then requires bigger doses of insulin.
     
  9. smd

    smd Type 1 · Member

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    I have been t1 for many years and had always been told to have carb with every meal and count carbs for insulin dosing. Having coeliacs disease as well this became more difficult. I have found in the past that I have better BG control by low carbing but recently my BG is going high and I am injecting considerably less insulin due to low carb. Is there a low carb formula and new means of dosing I need to work out when I am not eating carbs for a meal. I had thought simply low carb, low amounts of insulin and/or no carb no insulin, except of course I am continuing with the basals as normal
     
  10. Kristin251

    Kristin251 LADA · Expert

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    At DX three years ago I was told to ear 20 c per meal. My bs was all over the place so I went back to my Atkins induction phase which I had done for many years pre DX. Lowered insulin ( with a few hypos of course) and figured my doses for my meals.

    The thing with vlc and insulin is in the absense of carbs, protein converts to blood glucose via gluconeogenisis. Roughly 58% so I bolus for half my protein as it were carbs. So if I eat 3 ounces (21g) protein, I bolus as if it were roughly 10 carbs. If I eat more than 3 oz protein I generally split my bolus. Half upfront then a small dose about an hour and a half later as protein comes in lower and slower. . I rarely eat over 3 oz at one meal though.

    I have become a creature of habit and I eat 4 small meals a day that are centered around avocado and 2 oz protein. I make my lunch after bf and split it into two meals. Then dinner. I also have a small cheese snack around 5 pm. Nuts, olives and a few low carb veg are snacks if needed.
    All my carbs are from avocado, nuts and above ground veg. Mostly salad or lettuce wraps. Asparagus.

    So I think if you bolus formyour protein and time your bolus accordingly you will see better numbers. I bolus 20 min before eating avo and protein as it takes humalog that long to start working. I do convert protein to bs quickly.

    Hope that helps!
     
  11. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    If you eat too few carbs, you'll need to bolus for the protein. Protein can cause a delayed rise.

    Some people on very low carb diets find their insulin needs actually stay the same or increase, so you need to find the 'sweet spot' of carb amounts for you as an individual.
     
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  12. Kristin251

    Kristin251 LADA · Expert

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    My insulin needs decreased by a LOT
     
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  13. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    Some people's do, but others find their needs gradually go up.

    We're all different :)
     
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  14. Kristin251

    Kristin251 LADA · Expert

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    I
    I can see that if people are replacing their carbs with excess protein or lots of animal fats.
     
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  15. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    I think where the difference lies is whether their IR or not. Maybe?

    Remember when I was 30g carb my bgs wouldnt reduce, in fact increased, due to protein. We discussed that I should reduce protein and increase fat. Can you remember?
    I added weight.
    So I increased carbs to 150g gradually and now use half insulin, I still eat too much protein but oked by bariatric dietician as losing on average 1kg of weight per week.
     
  16. Kristin251

    Kristin251 LADA · Expert

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    Yes. I remember. Goes to excess protein and too much animal fat. Not necessarily added ca bs but reduced protein and animal fat.
    I don't eat loads of calories in general so protein and animal fats aren t high

    Calorie restriction is a form of fasting. Fasting doesn't work for me but calorie restriction does. For sure. In many aspects.
     
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  17. GrantGam

    GrantGam Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    This is not the case for us T1's @dbr10. It's important not to blur lines between T1 and T2.
     
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  18. dbr10

    dbr10 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is. And this doesn't apply to type 1s then?
     
  19. GrantGam

    GrantGam Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Considering you're recently diagnosed, I wouldn't be changing my diet radically from what it was before diagnosis. That said, change it if you want to - it's your choice. However, if you do set your basal/bolus doses, ratios and timings all on a LC, VLC or keto diet - then you will struggle if you do revert to a carb based diet and have to adjust every ratio and dose again.

    I eat moderate carbs as it works best for me, I've tried almost all diets available and somewhere around 180g works well for me, although it can vary from 130g-220g and still give the same results:)

    It's trial and error with diabetes and efficient management. In time, you'll find your ideal.
     
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  20. GrantGam

    GrantGam Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    No @dbr10, exogenous insulin does not make T1's insulin resistant. It does keep us alive though... If I injected 15u bolus per day to cover my 180g carbs - then I would have the same amount of 'insulin resistance' (non existent by the way) as I would if I injected 10u to cover 120g carbs.

    I'm not overweight, nor have I gained any weight from injecting varying quantities of insulin to cover my carb intake.

    T2's association between insulin and weight gain is due to a surplus amount of endogenous insulin and innate IR, a prerequisite of T2 itself.
     
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