“Our diabetes clinic wouldn’t listen, but reported me to the authorities”

A 9-year old is firmly advised to eat half a pound of root vegetables per meal for the brain to work

9-year-old is firmly advised to eat a pound of root vegetables per meal for the brain to work

Diabetics are routinely exposed to neglect, because of old ingrained dogmas on how they need to eat. Diabetics are getting sicker unnecessarily, and often often their attempts to improve their health are met by opposition from health-care professionals.

The following example is one of the worst I’ve encountered. A mother managed to help her 9-year-old son with type 1 diabetes to become healthier and feel better by eating fewer  carbohydrates. The result of the mother helping her child? The diabetes clinic reported her to the authorities!

However, the report was soon abandoned – because everyone involved, including school health professionals, noticed that the child was doing much better than before – but the diabetes clinic continues to put up resistance.

Recently, the diabetes clinic sent a letter to the school, stating that the child needs to eat at least a pound of root vegetables per meal in order to “ensure that enough glucose reaches the brain”. The fact that the child was already feeling better than ever before doesn’t seem to matter. Here’s the full translation of the letter, signed by a dietitian at the clinic:

“The recommended intake of carbohydrates at lunch is no less than 30 g (1 oz).

In order to ensure that enough glucose reaches brain cells and other body tissues, a minimum of 30 g of carbohydrates is required at lunch.

If carbohydrate intake has to be in the form of root vegetables, then 300–700 g (about a pound) is required to get the carbohydrate intake up to 30 g (1 oz).”

This is a story from Sweden in the year 2014. A story that an appropriate investigative TV show should dig in to:

The Email Translated from Swedish

My son is 9 ½ years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago. Early on, our diabetes clinic prescribed eating large amounts of carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta and potatoes. As I was raised in a different country and environment I didn’t have any knowledge about how to treat diabetes and I did as the diabetes clinic recommended.

My son got an insulin pump early on, as injections worked poorly and his blood sugar was very unstable. He also has a very sensitive digestive system, which led to constipation lasting for days, due to all the potatoes, rice and pasta, and the blood sugar roller coaster continued. After about 1 ½ years with diabetes I contacted the National Board of Health and Welfare and read up on various guidelines used in both Sweden and elsewhere about alternative diets and then decided to remove all carbohydrate-rich foods and limit him to 10 % carbohydrates. I also started to cook all meals at home from scratch.

I quickly realized that he was feeling very much better on a slightly higher dose of basal insulin (about 15 IE), no mealtime insulin and a moderate low-carbohydrate diet. With time, his digestive problems improved a lot and he hasn’t had constipation since the diet change. His blood sugar rarely goes high, over 230 mg/dl (13 mmol/l), and it’s even rarer that it goes too low.

When I told the diabetes clinic how I’d changed his diet they reacted as if I’d committed a crime. I tried to explain that he eats an appropriate amount of complex carbohydrates, low impact on both his digestive system and blood sugar. After the diet change he’s now feeling a lot better, both body and soul, but the diabetes clinic didn’t want to listen but instead reported me to the authorities because of my choice of diet for my son. I felt like a criminal. The filed report was dropped after a very short investigation where the authorities soon realized that my son ate a good and well-considered diet, was doing great and was in good hands.

The school physician and nurse supported me in my opinion on diet and saw nothing wrong with his diet. The school sent a letter to the diabetes clinic where they advocated my diet choice because they could clearly see that his blood sugar control had improved, his numbers improved and he felt great. My son’s assistant also says that this is the first time that she meets a diabetic with such a stable blood sugar. She finds it very easy as his blood sugar is not on a roller coaster.

However, the diabetes clinic at Karolinska won’t give up the idea that my son has to eat more carbohydrates and they are doing everything in their power to influence me and the school. Recently, the dietitian sent a recommendation to the school stating that my son should eat at least 30 g of carbohydrates for lunch in order to “ensure enough glucose to the brain cells” (see picture). The claim lacks scientific basis, and I think it nearly constitutes child abuse to suggest that a 9-year-old eat a pound of carrots for lunch every day, and moreover, this would worsen his blood sugar levels.

What frightens me the most is the diabetes clinic’s attitude and how I, who finally think that I’ve managed to get my son’s diabetes under control just fine, have been treated. I’ve really experienced that I don’t have this right, but should obey the diabetes clinic’s health professionals, who assume that they are the ones to decide. I asked the dietitian for a reference to support her recommendation, but the only source she gave was the agency that issues the official dietary guidelines.

After 1 ½ years on a low-carbohydrate diet my son now feels confident in his diabetes and thinks it’s very easy to manage. I’m currently writing a book about children with diabetes and diet, hoping that others may benefit from our experiences.

Sincerely, Katrin, mother of a 9-year old with type 1 diabetes


Diabetes – How to Normalize Your Blood Sugar

LCHF for Beginners

Scientists: A Low-Carbohydrate Diet Should Be First Approach for Diabetics!

One Year on an LCHF Diet with Type 1 Diabetes

Previously on Type 1 Diabetes

Previous health and weight success stories


Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated) to andreas@dietdoctor.com. Let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous.


  1. Garry Lee
    This kind of ignorance of metabolism is ingrained in the medical and dietetic professions. I was at a retired doctors' function today and one of the chaps, a pediatrician queried me on my diet. I told him I was on low carb. He told me I needed carbs for energy. I gave him a short talk on the actual knowledge of the matter and when he looked at me askance, I asked him how I could have cycled the end to end in Britain in May on 30g carbs per day if he was right...
    He still looks puzzled I imagine
  2. FrankG
    I can only begin to imagine the stress of parenting a 9 year old with Type 1 Diabetes, let alone having to fight tooth-and-nail against some of your son's health care team, in order to pursue an approach which is clearly working and has the support for those health care professionals (other than yourself) who see him on a daily basis... and this Karolinska clinic sees him how often exactly?

    Stick to your guns Mum! Trust your instincts and the proof of your own experience, over unscientific dogma.

    This is really shameful. I had thought that Sweden was a World-leader in accepting an LCHF approach?

  3. FrankG
    If you have not yet read this, may I suggest Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution... you can read parts of the book for free online...


    Here is a man with over 64 years of living with Type 1 Diabetes and still going strong! He started off as an Engineer and also refused to accept the establishment advice. He was a pioneer of home BG testing and went back to school in his 40's to train as an MD, in hopes of making better headway against the establishment.

    Sadly, not all are so open to learning new things.

  4. Mary Beauchamp
    This could just as easily have been a U.S. story. This is one of the biggest reasons why I home-schooled my children. In the U.S.--having the authorities called on you (parents)--is becoming an indication that you are doing a great job as a parent. You will be an example to others who are charting a new path into the future of parenting and food awareness. Thank you!! Can't wait to read the book!
  5. Zepp
    In another clinic att Karolinska, (its a big hospital in our capitol) they treat Epileptic children whit a verry harsch ketogenic diet!

    Soo this is for there diabetic center!

    They schould send there dietian to the epileptic center so she could learn a little about human biochemi and nutrtition!

  6. Kat
    The government and its cadre of "authorities" has no business in our personal lives, full stop. The fact that they have the power to mangle people's lives they way they have should convince people of this. And, no, there is no such thing as "authorities" not taking it too far and sticking to areas where they might (maybe, on the off chance) do some good. They always will take it too far because it's their nature. Telling government and "authorities" to limit themselves is like asking a severe heroin addict to stick to doing just a bit of heroin every day. The government has no business in people's private lives and government "guidelines" should be completely ignored by the population.
  7. Lori Miller
    Don't let the $&heads get you down! My sister-in-law reported me to authorities accusing me of starving and stealing from my elderly mother. Of course, the authorities determined it was a bunch of lies. I know it's stressful, but hang in there--it sounds like the social services and the school are on your side, and that your son is doing well.

    By the way, I wrote a couple of blog posts last year where I fact checked, through endocrinology books available on Google books, some tenets of insulin, diet and glucose.


  8. Daniel
    As a parent of a 1.5 year old, I'm pretty protective over the little guy. I'm not sure I could have contained my anger if I were in your position. For the benefit of everyone I'd ensure that know-it-all dietician loses their job. You should start an online petition to force reform in their department.

    I think the grounds that they care more about units of insulin sold than the true welfare of your child is disgusting a warrants a wider audience than Andrea's fine blog where everyone already knows the score.

    I wish you and your son the best of luck.

  9. Murray
    Katrin, your devotion, diligence and persistence is admirable and inspiring. You son is blessed.

    Health care professionals who slavishly follow guidelines should heed Ralph Waldo Emerson, who observed, "Good men must not obey laws too well."

    Guidelines typically reflect various political, ideological and commercial agendas that exploit residual uncertainty in science to suit agendas. As a result, the health establishment has in many contexts lost credibility. Defiance has resulted in the emergence of LCHF as a healthy alternative and, in many situations, an effective drug-less therapy. In other situations, defiance has led people to shun vaccines categorically, without regard to whether there is in fact any material person-specific risk of a reaction to the vaccine, which has resulted in the re-emergence of serious communicable diseases. In another context, in a recent case here in Canada an Aboriginal parent refused to allow chemotherapy treatment for her child, which would probably cure the cancer, seeking instead an alternative treatment with little prospect for success. This pitted Aboriginal rights versus society's interest in the health and best interests of the child, which came before the courts. The health bureaucrats and their media lapdogs equate all these situations, treating guidelines as irrefutable truth and those who question guidelines as Deniers. Each situation turns on the degree of uncertainty in the underlying science, the influences in the formation of officially sanctioned guidelines and the acumen of those critical questioning and interpreting the state of the science and anecdotal and clinical experience. Major advances generally challenge the status quo; but not all challenges are well founded. There is no a priori formal rule or method that distinguishes these situations, as much as people like to put aside difficult questions by labeling.

    With LCHF the basic science is quite strong and there is compelling, trustworthy anecdotal experience backed by ample clinical experience. A lot of very intelligent, critical minds with a wide variety of scientific and medical expertise are triangulating to similar conclusions. I especially attach a lot of credibility to physicians who got ill and homed in on LCHF as clinically effective therapy--physicians who healed themselves!

    The myth about requiring dietary carbohydrates for the brain is antediluvian and ludicrous. Where is the evidence? I probably haven't had more than 30-50 grams of carbs in a day for the past 5-6 years, and I work in a brain-intensive job that requires a lot of creative thinking on a deadline. The inference that the typical brain uses 100 grams of glucose a day therefore we need to eat 100 grams of glucose per day is a plausible starting hypothesis in the absence of evidence, but the evidence is now plainly to the contrary, and grasping at this as a rationale to reject LCHF is naked ignorance, ideology or worse.

    Reply: #23
  10. Murray
    These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies I have heard!
    Our courtiers say all's savage but at court.
    Experience, O thou disprov'st report!


    Every good servant does not all commands,
    No bond but to do just ones.

    ---Shakespeare, Cymbeline

  11. Andrew
    Wont he turn orange if he eats that many carrots? Also how was recommending a vegetable such a crime!!!!????
    My neighbors son is diabetic and at his school is served honey nut cheerios frosted flakes granola bars and fruit juice WAY worse than a dam carrot! I understand you're frustration that they disregarded you're ideas and neglected the fact that you're son was doing well on the diet you where feeding him but they could have done alot worse!
  12. Galina L.
    But the Swedish Expert Committee just recently cleared the use of LC diets for therapeutic reasons! What happened with such recommendation?
  13. Daniel
    @Andrew - The crime isn't so much the recommendation of carrots. It's the fact they are undermining the improved health of a young boy in the face of commercial gain the party that makes me angry is the reporting her to the authorities. What was their end goal? Having the child removed from the family? Getting him back to the programme of as much insulin as possible? Making an example of the family for challenging their guidelines? Or just to be a thorn in her side?

    At the end of the day the boy is clearly doing better now than he was following their guidelines, the chronology of the story suggests that even with that knowledge they're still trying to enforce their dogma by going behind her back directly to the school and potentially undermine the boy's health! That is the crime!!!

  14. Janknitz
    There is a family here in the Silicon Valley area of California who took an engineering approach to their son's type I diagnosis. They were prompted by their son, who at age 9 was first hospitalized for his diabetes and asked "why do they want me to eat a lot of carbs if they make my blood sugar unstable?"

    So they collected data, made spread sheets, used technology like a CGM and insulin pump, and tweaked his diet to gain spectacular control of his blood glucose by carefully restricting the carbs. He was active in sports and doing great physically and academically. He was an active participant in his own treatment. The family posted a blog to show how successful this approach was for him, including a video of their son proudly explaining how he kept his bg under such good control. Then suddenly, one day, all the blog posts were pulled. The family had been reported to child protective services for going against medical advice to gain control of their son's diabetes.

    At the same time a local radio personality had a child newly diagnosed with Type I and he was terrified because of the roller coaster blood sugars, especially the lows at night. This guy could have used some mentoring from the other family, instead they were being told to load in the carbs and consider getting a service dog trained to detect hypos because that was the reality their child "will have to live with" from now on. None of the doctors the radio host now put his faith in ever suggested there might be a better way through carbohydrate control.

    I get that there are some crazy parents whose dietary strictures do harm their children. But the most terrifying thing about this is that the medical establishment fails to recognize the difference between some whackadoodle who is actively harming his child and a committed, intelligent, and caring family who are truly helping their child when all the medical evidence is right in front of them.

    Reply: #26
  15. Lori Miller
    Re: reporting parents of healthy kids, a blogger I follow wrote a timely post on stifling the urge to save the world. He says, in part,

    "Before you decide to become an 'activist' and fight the man and 'save the day' ask yourself the following:

    1. Does the day need saving, or are things pretty much going OK as they are. Bear in mind that things not going exactly as you would have done it, if you were in charge is no excuse to stir up trouble.

    2. How do other people feel? The four people in the "coalition" living room might constitute an echo chamber. Do other people really think the same way you do? Are you really doing what is right for the community, or just stroking your own ego (because, frankly, you don't think you're wrong about anything, right?)

    3. Do you have your own s*** together? Have you saved enough for retirement? Are you about to lose your job? Is your house clean and tidy, or a hoarder's nightmare (hoarding and "save the day" are related, remember). Are you smoking pot or abusing other drugs? Could the energy you put into "Saving the world" be better spent saving yourself?"

    Bravo. More here: http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/2014/12/narcissistic-liberals.html

  16. George Henderson
    If it wasn't for the insulin, your son would have high fasting blood glucose, in part because the production of glucose by the liver would not be suppressed.
    Even in a fasting type 2 diabetic, hepatic production of glucose from glycerol (fat) is 1.7x that of a non-diabetic.
    Fasting non-diabetics get enough glucose for their brains to function.
    Ergo, any diabetic has enough glucose on tap for brain function without eating carbohydrate.
    There is no benefit from eating outside one's glucose tolerance.
  17. Nate
    Katrin, you are a great mother. You should win an award!

    And it sounds like your son is no slouch either. It is great that he can handle his diabetes already. Here in America, we have awards for Type One's that live for 50 or even 75 years with the disease. Your son may require that we create an award for those living 100 years.

  18. Nan
    So the clinic would rather be "right" than see your son healthy and free of excess medication. Astonishing hubris! That people are suffering and dying because these medical people can't learn and grow beyond the old ideas is really sad.
  19. Alexander
    I think it boils down to the fact that the official guidelines from governments and food authorities need to change.
    If they change their guidelines, institutions like this diabetes clinic, which are probably not 'allowed' to think on their own, and try to cover their a$$e$ with advices like in this story,
    will have to follow the new guidelines.

    But of course, easier said then done, I expect it will be a gradual path,
    if they would change the guidelines for diabetics to begin with, it would be a big step forward.

  20. Paul
    Andreas, thank you for all you do to get the word out. I've long enjoyed and benefited from your website, and I wish you continued success. LCHF is one of several manifestations of people returning to real food that is biologically appropriate, and it helps us all live as designed.

    On one point I have to disagree with you, however. In other posts, you seem to support the idea that government, via legislation, has an appropriate role to play in limiting the amounts or types of "foods" we consume. But I would say that it is that very intervention by our various governments that has played the primary role in pushing counterfeit foods into the mainstream at an unprecedented rate. I'm an American, and unfortunately, it seems my government was leading the charge in this massive experiment with our health.

    I would suggest that government should have absolutely no role in our food choices. There are too many inherent conflicts of interest in the political system of any government to trust they will act in our best interest. They should not make recommendations, exert influence through selective taxation of "bad" foods, or have any authority to punish anyone who doesn't bow at the altar of their preferred interpretation of the truth. Individuals need to be encouraged to take full responsibility for their own acquisition of truth, and it's application to their own health.

    Sorry to get on the soap box, but this incident in your country perfectly illustrates why the government must not be allowed to influence our food choices. We had a similar incident here in the US regarding our new school lunch guidelines. In theory, the state could have a role to help us in this regard, but only if their motives were pure, their science was infallible, and their methods effective. I'm not sure about Sweden, but none of these ever seem to the case here.

  21. Amanda Wilson
    Hello??? It seems to me that everyone is missing the real point here. The Clinic will go out of business if all it's patients follow a LCHF diet. Duh. They benefit from advice just like what they gave his Mom. Carbs, carbs and carbs!!! Eat more and more!!!!

    Just like the AMA here in the USA doesn't really want to cure Cancer or other more lucrative diseases. .....they'd be putting themselves out of buisness. Atkins said that way back! And he was right.

    Thank heaven for people like Atkins and Gary Taub, and all the other wonderful people out there actually trying to really HELP us get healthier. With out them we'd be totally lost.
    Mandy in NJ, USA

  22. Linda N
    You know, we like to think that we live in a medically enlightened age. And of course that is what we are constantly told. That medicine is based on science. But in reality what is passed off as science is just corporate controlled pseudo-science based on greed and monetary gain.

    What in God's name do they teach these dietician's anyway?! This kind of ignorance passed off as medical science is unconscionable.

  23. Linda N
    With chemo the basic science against it is quite strong and there is compelling, trustworthy anecdotal experience backed by ample clinical experience. Please do not lump chemo in with LCHF diet!
  24. Meenie
    I'm appalled! I thought Sweden was a proponant of LCHF! That clinic should be charged with endangering the life of a child!
  25. John Doss
    This clinic is under a great deal of misconceptions in my option.The one doing the parenting should be the parents. There's nothing like a mother care in devotion to her child I'm not a doctor or a medical specialist, but I have been a diabetic for 27 years. I used a dietitian for a few years, and she tried to get me to eat a lot of carbs. I soon fired her, because I thought her training was faulty. If I needed to keep my blood sugars low, why would I eat something that raised sugar in my blood. In my case it made sense to me that with Type II diabetes I need to control my blood sugar. I started watching videos on the net, and found Andries's web site I love this web site by the way. However now it is my firm believe that I should keep my insulin low as humanly possible to keep my weight under control. My Father once said experience is the best teacher, but it also helps if you have the right information. Assumption can be a dangerous thing. I enjoyed all of the people who shared their views on this story...keep them coming I learn so much! And Thanks!
  26. Bill UK
    Unbelievable, I thought you lived in a free society.
  27. Paul the rat
    Metabolism. 2014 Oct 8. pii: S0026-0495(14)00297-2. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2014.10.004. [Epub ahead of print]

    Comparison of a carbohydrate-free diet vs. fasting on plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon in type 2 diabetes.

    Nuttall FQ1, Almokayyad RM2, Gannon MC3.
    Author information

    Hyperglycemia improves when patients with type 2 diabetes are placed on a weight-loss diet. Improvement typically occurs soon after diet implementation. This rapid response could result from low fuel supply (calories), lower carbohydrate content of the weight-loss diet, and/or weight loss per se. To differentiate these effects, glucose, insulin, C-peptide and glucagon were determined during the last 24h of a 3-day period without food (severe calorie restriction) and a calorie-sufficient, carbohydrate-free diet.
    Seven subjects with untreated type 2 diabetes were studied. A randomized-crossover design with a 4-week washout period between arms was used.
    Results from both the calorie-sufficient, carbohydrate-free diet and the 3-day fast were compared with the initial standard diet consisting of 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 30% fat.
    The overnight fasting glucose concentration decreased from 196 (standard diet) to 160 (carbohydrate-free diet) to 127mg/dl (fasting). The 24h glucose and insulin area responses decreased by 35% and 48% on day 3 of the carbohydrate-free diet, and by 49% and 69% after fasting. Overnight basal insulin and glucagon remained unchanged.
    Short-term fasting dramatically lowered overnight fasting and 24h integrated glucose concentrations. Carbohydrate restriction per se could account for 71% of the reduction. Insulin could not entirely explain the glucose responses. In the absence of carbohydrate, the net insulin response was 28% of the standard diet. Glucagon did not contribute to the metabolic adaptations observed.

  28. Kim
    Wow. So narrow minded.

    My type 1 daughter (since the age of 3) has been low carb for almost 2 years. Our clinic was supportive of our decision to eat low carb, but still worried she would not grow properly. She is 12 now and has not hit a puberty growth spurt yet and thus has dropped in the growth curve. They have been pushing us to get growth hormone tests. In my mind there are many reasons for her to have delayed puberty: genetic (my husband and I are both short and the fact that I had delayed puberty); a clean diet (it is the crappy SAD diet that has pushed the average puberty age lower and lower over the years.) I really hope I am right but even if her growth was affected, I still think controlling her blood sugars would be more important. The number one biggest risk in her life is getting diabetes complications. Period. Everything else is secondary.

    She feels awesome on this diet, is doing excellent in school and is very physically active. It has relieved a lot of stress in our lives because her blood sugars are so much more stable. She still has blood sugar swings because of hormones, but she ends up at 10mmol/l instead of 20! And she hates the way she feels when she is 10, so it motivates her to stay on track. She can't believe that any diabetic would not want to follow this diet because it makes having diabetes so much easier.

    Best of luck to you and your son. You are doing the right thing.

  29. Bret
    This example articulates poignantly the fallacy of the power typical of government regulatory institutions. Most people are eager to give them that power, so they can enforce "fairness" based on "the truth."

    Trouble is, who gets to decide what the truth is? Governments are full of people and thus constrained by human limitations, just like any other group. Give them a monopoly on the use of force, and their arrogance will become quite lopsided. So will their wrongness, as they will lack sufficient market-based competition to hold them accountable.

    This, Dr. Eenfeldt, is why people were comparing NYC Mayor Bloomberg's silly soda restrictions to Nazi Germany a while ago. When people start giving up their freedom in exchange for the promise of security, they end up with neither.

  30. Frances
    I would welcome the promotion of actual "% rates of degrees of recovery" across the entire range for medical professionals (individuals and establishments). For example: 75% of Clinic 'X' clients have fully recovered, 25% have partially recovered, 25% are a "work in progress" for T2DM. If this were the case measured results based on real life medical histories (turning a "downward" spiral "upward") would come to the fore.
  31. A
    Wow, irresponsible much! Basal insulin is not enough, and skipping the prescribed amount with meals is insane. Sure, BG levels might seem consistent but at what long term price? Insulin is needed to break down carbs from food so that they can enter the body's cells instead of circulating uselessly in a person's blood. The body-every single person's body- needs a certain amount of glucose in those cells. If they don't get it, the body slowly withers away. Eating a pound of root vegetables is certainly overkill but not giving your body proper nourishment is downright lethal.

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