Following a very low carbohydrate lifestyle along the lines of the method advised by prominent physician Dr Richard Bernstein can result in ‘exceptional control’ in type 1 diabetes, according to researchers.
The findings of the survey showed that the group, of over 300 patients, were able to achieve an average HbA1c level of 39 mmol/mol (5.7%) and only 2 per cent of the group required hospitalisation for diabetes-related reasons. This shows very good control of type 1 diabetes and represents a very low rate of hospital visits for young people with the condition.
The data was taken from an online survey of a social media group for young people with type 1 diabetes that are managing type 1 diabetes with a very low carb lifestyle.
The very low carb lifestyle used by the group is set out in the popular diabetes book ‘The Diabetes Solution’ by Dr Richard Bernstein. Dr Bernstein is a physician, and former engineer, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 70 years and has developed his method for managing type 1 diabetes over the course of his medical career.
The social media group used in the study is the TypeOneGrit Facebook group run by another engineer, Dr R D Dikeman. Dr Dikeman’s commitment to managing his own son’s type 1 diabetes has seen many parents of children with type 1 diabetes looking to emulate the same excellent results.
Those that took part in the survey were generally children or young adults, with parents completing the survey for their children. The results showed that the average daily carbohydrate intake across the group was 36 grams of carbohydrate.
The researchers state: “We suggest that a [very low carbohydrate diet] may allow for exceptional control of type 1 diabetes without increased risk of adverse events.”
They add that this ‘exceptional control’ is possible because much lower carbohydrate intake greatly reduces blood sugar levels between meals, plus smaller insulin doses are required which makes large dosing mistakes unlikely, therefore minimising the risk of severe hypos.
The group is a committed and engaged group that is achieving very good results. The researchers note that a next step is to see how well the very low carb lifestyle will work under randomised controlled trial conditions. This would be when a group of patients are split into two groups with one group following the very low carb lifestyle and the other following the standard type 1 diabetes dietary recommendations.
Many people on the Forum report similarly excellent type 1 diabetes control by following a low carbohydrate lifestyle.
The study is published online of Pediatrics journal.

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