Dietary fat raises blood glucose and insulin needs in type 1 patients

Tue, 18 Dec 2012
Dietary fat can significantly increase blood glucose levels and insulin requirements in people with type 1 diabetes, a new study has revealed.

The research, published online in the Diabetes Care journal, found that high-fat meals cause postprandial hyperglycemia and raise insulin requirements for patients with type 1 diabetes, compared to lower-fat meals with the same amount of carbohydrates and protein .

Howard A. Wolpert, MD, of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, and colleagues carried out a crossover study that compared glucose control after either a high-fat dinner (60 g) or a low-fat dinner (10 g) in seven patients with type 1 diabetes. While different in fat content, each dinner had identical carbohydrate and protein content.

The researchers found that the high-fat meal required more insulin units than the low-fat meal and, despite the additional insulin, caused more hyperglycemia. In addition, the carbohydrate-to-insulin ratio for the high-fat dinner was significantly lower.

There were, however, marked inter-individual differences in the effect of dietary fat on insulin requirements.

The researchers said: "The evidence from this study that dietary fat can cause postprandial hyperglycemia in some individuals with type highlights the limitations of the current carbohydrate-based approach to bolus dose calculation that is widely used in intensive diabetes management."

"These findings point to the need for alternative insulin dosing algorithms for higher-fat meals and suggest that dietary fat intake is an important nutritional consideration for glycemic control in individuals with type 1 diabetes ."
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