Low-Carb to Manage Type 1 Diabetes

Skärmavbild 2013-10-31 kl. 15.05.27

A low-carb diet is great for managing type 1 diabetes (not just type 2). Here’s a typical story from an email I got today:

Dear Andreas,
Thank you for your website. It is a fantastic source of information and inspiration.

My name is Troy Stapleton. I am a 42 yo radiologist from Australia. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2012. (hbA1c 11.9). I followed standard advice for two months during which time I would spike over 7.5 mmol every day and have a hypoglycaemic episode about once per week. My insulin dose was 30 units/day.

Then I went low carb and this has resulted in a dramatic improvement in my life. My most recent HbA1c was 5.3. I rarely spike over 7.5 mmol, perhaps once per month and rarely have a hypo. My insulin dose is now 6 units at night.

I was interviewed regarding this on Australian radio in August. Please find a link below to my interview. The comments section underneath also makes for interesting reading with numerous other type 1 and 2 diabetics also describing similar success with a very low carbohydrate diet.

Yours sincerely

Dr Troy Stapleton MBBS FRANZCR

Congratulations Troy! Here’s the radio program with the interview:

ABC.net.au: Low carbohydrate diet to manage type I diabetes

28 comments

  1. Briana Cousins
    Thank you!!

    This is such true advice. I am so happy that others are seeing these results as well.

    I have been type I diabetic since 1988. Trying to follow the "mainstream" advice will little luck and a ton of frustration. It wasn't until I followed the advice of Dr. Richard Bernstein (a god in my opinion) and his low carb diet recommendations, that I saw any success.

    Like you my hba1c was high (around 10). With the low carb diet and the genius of Dr. Bernstein it has come down below 6!

    Thank you so much for your efforts to pass along this great information!!

  2. John
    Let's acknowledge that the recently diagnosed Mr. Stapleton is likely LADA. Most LADAs experience honeymoon periods, some quite extended. I am in my 39th year of battle. While I agree that LCHF does help, it is not the silver bullet Mr. Stapleton's numbers would lead us to think it is. Once on dumps. that honeymoon wanes, he too will experience unexpected glucagon dumps, higher spikes, lower lows, and all the other fun we more brittle type 1's experience even with tight diets. It might also be that his circadian rhythms are flat, unlike my roller-coaster basals. I'd trade an arm and a leg for flat basals. *sigh*
  3. Mark.
    Likely the Australian doctor is having a honeymoon period and will eventually need more insulin. I had one in 1970 when I was diagnosed with type 1. Back then it was all urine-sugar testing and for months almost every test was negative. Mind you, the American Diabetes Association hadn't fallen madly in love with starch yet and still had little fear of fat, and my family went for a diet heavy on meat and vegetables anyway: pasta was for poor people, my Mom made cookies and cakes with half the sugar called for in the recipe anyway and not too often, and soft drinks and candy bars were a rare treat. Still, I wish that (as when insulin first became widely available) the standard diabetic diet had been LCHF. I'm taking half the insulin I used to with better control now, though I'm still 115 kg when I should be 90; I'm considering a ketogenic diet and no restaurant food, but I keep avoiding those.
  4. sten
    Troy says that he was in the "honeymoon period" first two months after diagnosis:

    "But I was in the honeymoon phase for the first two months post my diagnosis, and it made a remarkable difference. In those first two months I had a blood sugar average of 8.4 and I was having a hypo a week, and I would go over 7.5 every single day. And now I go over 7.5 maybe twice a month. My rate of hypoglycaemic episodes has dropped to about once a month. "

    If he is having further honeymoon we may hear of it.
    If he had been on LCHF a year before DB1 struck, would he have saved enough of his islet
    cells to manage without insulin ? Or is it increasing visceral fat or other things that "push over the edge" ?

    Didn't know about sudden glucagon dumps. Is this only among DB1's ?

    Reply: #5
  5. Zepp
    DB1 is a autoimun disease.. but bad eating make it come faster!

    If you not excret any insulin.. glucacagon does.. becuse its insulin that regulat glucagon secretion.

    And its a thing for DB2 altso.. quite common that one have a damaged pancreas and the regulation betwen insulin and glucagon is bad.

  6. VKOOL
    My mother-in-law is suffering from diabetes. She is having a strict diet to follow. Her health is getting worse though she follows the diet tightly. She takes medicine daily and jog half an hour a day.
  7. DB1
    Where do you get your information on DB1?
    You do not get DB1 from bad eating.
  8. Jen
    Greetings, after reviewing your postings just curious if this type of diet change would work for me. I am type 1 diabetic for almost 45 years and have lived with celiac disease for 39 years,

    The last few months my sugars have been very high with only eating limited carbohydrates. With celiac disease and substituting with gluten free, it's very carb heavy so it can be very challenging to keep my blood sugars under 7.

    I am 47 years of age and so frustrated and looking for an alternate measure to keep under control. I have always had excellent HAIC so quite concerned after all the years of following the mainstream diabetic diet that my body perhaps is not absorbing insulin the way it should.

    I tried the insulin pump for almost a year and absolutely hated it. I now am taking up to 12 shots a day to keep my blood sugars in so-called range but lately this seems to be failing.

    Would truly appreciate any assistance. I thank you for your time and look forward to your response.

    Regards,

    Jen M.

  9. Jonathan Weaver
    Hi Jen M. I have been reading a lot of books over the Christmas period - mainly with the aim to help my wife with repeat headaches and vascular inflamation. But it has lead to me going on a low carb diet - giving up bread, rice, poatoes and most processed foods to avoid gluten. You dont want to eat products that have the gluten replaced with corn starch and other carbs. So no bread, crackers Pizza, biscuits or cakes! Carbs turn to sugar really quickly and will drive your insulin up and down on a roller coaster. You are better off eating meat, fat, green leafy veg and limited fruit - say one piece a day. I think I may have been prediabetic or sensitive to gluten as I feel so much better. Joint aches gone, calmer, eyesight better, sleeping better, lost 10 lbs and still eating loads - I snack when I am hungry but not on carbs.

    Fats are good for you - good for the brain and also will promote healthier type of LDL and increase HDL.

    The books are grain brain and wheat belly, the other book was the great cholesterol con. And "Pure white and deadly" about sugar - which was written in the early 70's. My latest read is the Paleo Solution - which is very informative - and recomends adequate sleep - 8 to 9.5 hours per night and also exercises and recipes!

    Hope this helps

    Jon

  10. Tania
    Thank you for your informative post Jon. Last night on British TV there was a science program called Horizon (available to watch on bbciplayer) that claimed a high protein diet leads to pre diabetes. I have followed the Paleo for one year , have lost lots of weight, and feel physically great. Am not so strict now and allow some types of carbs, but no processed ones.
    I wish I could be 100% clear on whether low carbs is the healthiest option in the long run. I know it works for me.
  11. Debbie K
    For a great interview with two medical scientist on the benefits of low carb eating then watch this, it's a bit long at 1.5 hr but very informative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFD2q5iqevY
  12. Colum
    New T1D at 40. DKA & diagnosis 12/5/13. My weight was 135 lb at 5'9 (after lossing 40 lb over 5 years.) I follow a strict low carb diet, supplements, excersise, & cardio; since I've come back from the dead; Gained 30 lb of muscle, eye sight has come back 20/20 (from being both near/far sighted! Blind!) Only have numbness from Neuropathy. Mind, Body, ENERGY is brilliant! BGL avg. 100 over last 60 days.Yes I am having Honey moon effects; I experience hypo only.
    Reply: #13
  13. Zepp
    Very nice to read.. wright more pleas.. many like to know more about how you did it!

    Both backlasches and benefits.. how you eats.. any hypoglycemia, acidosis and anything.. frome real life.. for other Type 1 to read.. and what to expect!

  14. Dave
    LCHF diet is the way tho go. Troy is not honeymooning. In fact when you cut carbs the Wii he does achieving these great numbers comes quite easily. We do the same for our young son and he has excellent glycemic control. http://Www.typeonegrit.blogspot.com
    Reply: #17
  15. Lynne
    I have been a Type 1 Diabetic diagnosed in 1977 (diabetic now for 37 years). My doctor at the time put me onto tablets for the first 7 months. I got horribly ill, and could no longer keep water down. I was referred to a Physician who put me onto Insulin. I have never looked back. I presently take Humalog x3 times a day and Levimir at night. I just seem to still be incredibly sensitive to Insulin. A unit to much, here come the hypos and a unit too little and my sugar goes up! Total amount of insulin per day 25 units. I am going to give this Low Carbo, High Protein Diet a go. I weigh 88kg. I have for the last 3 days have stuck religiously to it and have lost 2.7kg already. I however, feel my vision is a bit blurred and I am feeling kind of sleepy (almost as if I can't concentrate properly). Hope it will soon fade!
    Replies: #16, #28
  16. Zepp
    Yeah.. type 1 is a sever condition that one cant revert.. only make it easyer to handle.

    And I presume that it is manly the same strugle and beginners side effects.. or worse for you.. till your body can use fat as a predominal fuel?

    Here is another type1.. Dr Bernstein!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdxPfxIbKqo

    Listen to him.. he know!

  17. olivia
    hi, my daughter was diagnosed last month, and am highly interested in this low carb eating...how did it affect your son with energy levels...do u do a low carb diet, or no carbs at all....she is on novorapid twice a day and protophane daytime and levimer at night..still in honeymoon phase, as she requires small amounts of insulin...the whole idea makes complete sense, why feed them more carbs to give more insulin...limit carbs then limit insulin...unless there is a side effect for long term of a low carb diet???!!!!

    ta

    LCHF diet is the way tho go. Troy is not honeymooning. In fact when you cut carbs the Wii he does achieving these great numbers comes quite easily. We do the same for our young son and he has excellent glycemic control. http://Www.typeonegrit.blogspot.com

    Reply: #18
  18. Zepp
    Dr Bernstein is the best expert on type1 and low carb.. self a type1 seens yout.

    http://www.diabetes-book.com/

    Type 1 is often not insulin resistante.. and they need to take there insulin anyhow.. so most can eat more carbs then type 2.. they can use it as a good fuel.. if they only take right amounts of insulin.. (small doses)

    You better look after its carb food with a lot of nutrients.. preferely veggies, dairy and som small portions of tubers.

    And the benefit is.. whit small doses of insulin.. small errors!

  19. Lynn
    Hello,

    I was diagnosed in early May 2014 at 45 years old as a Type 1.

    It is now September 2014 and I am still refusing to go on insulin. Instead, I immediately went on no/low carb back in May. I cut out all grains, even though I was only consuming healthy grains before. I was a vegan/vegetarian my whole life and preached about brown rice, quinoa, spelt, steel cut oats, amaranth, etc. I haven't had a soda since I was a kid and only have consumed filtered water since. I was a naturalist and led an organic lifestyle and even headed up the healthy school lunch program 18 years ago: I was the first to be shocked over the horrible food served at the school. I still got sick.

    Now, I cut out ALL grains, even "healthy" ones, and I just eat fruit (yes, fruit), vegetables, nuts/seeds, and am now consuming fish (I haven't eaten an animal since I was a kid and never really liked nuts/seeds before either but now they are my staple: flax seeds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, etc).

    My A1C went from 9.9 to the most current reading as of late August 2014 of 6.5.

    I just measured my BG level 2 hours after a tuna and romaine lettuce meal, and it is 115.

    I plan on NEVER going on insulin; I plan on curing Type 1. The doctors are mad at me and every 2-weeks, I am pulled back into their office and told that I must go on insulin even though all my readings are steadily improving.

    I am female: 5'7" and 112 lbs. I work out to keep muscular and I became a yoga teacher in order to improve my own health as well as everyone else's.

    Lynn

    Replies: #25, #26
  20. Panagiotis
    Hello, I just got my lab-test results today.I`m 35 years old, type 1 diabetic.I`ve been on a LCHF fiet for 3 months.My results are :
    A1C :6.2
    Total Cholesterol :304
    LDL : 223
    HDL :65
    Triglycerides :76
    C-Reactive Protein :1.683 .
    Should I be worried?
    Thanks.
    Reply: #21
  21. Zepp
    304/65=4,6

    It should be under 6, better if its 5 or less, very good if its 4 or less!

    You still have high A1c.. I think it gonna drop more in some moths.

    I think the limit is 5,7 for non diabetic?

    Triglycerids are very low!

    CRP seems to be a strange value?

    "Normal concentration in healthy human serum is usually lower than 10 mg/L, slightly increasing with aging. Higher levels are found in late pregnant women, mild inflammation and viral infections (10–40 mg/L), active inflammation, bacterial infection (40–200 mg/L), severe bacterial infections and burns (>200 mg/L)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-reactive_protein

  22. Panagiotis
    Thanks Zepp for replying,
    Yes I haven`t managed to lower my A1C more than this because for some reason-even if I count the carbs,the protein and the fats(everything)and I inject the correct (I test 2 hours after the meal) amount of humalog,- 3 or 4 hours afte rthe meal ,I get an unexpected increase in blood sugar which is persistant ,and I have to inject a lot of humag to get it down.
    For examble, I inject 3 units of humalog for the whole meal and after 3 hours I get a 120 which after an hour gets 145 and if i let it I can go more than 180.During those hours I may need to inject more than 10 units of humalog to keep it under control.I cannot explain this but I`ve studied it`s behavior and I do not let it raise for than 140 anymore.So I think the A1C is going to go lower next time
    (more on this ``behavior`` of the blood glucose level on a seperate post,with more details. P.S. I do not exercise this period-only occasionaly- I don`t know if that is the reason for these inceases of the BG).
    As for the CRP value, it`s 1,68 (below 2).I hope I made it more clear now.Sorry fpo rthe weird writting.
    Thank you again.
    Reply: #23
  23. Zepp
    Some say that one should cut out the carbs and the moste of meal insulin and rise the long acting.

    Dr Bernstein is the expert on low carb and T1.. he one him self.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdxPfxIbKqo

    http://www.diabetes-book.com/

    And I know many that have to strugle a long time, befor they get it right.. its about changing metabolism and relearning.

  24. T1D 34 years
    I have started the low carb diet about 10 days ago and have lost about 12 pounds. I have always had good A1c levels. I have been on an insulin pump for over 5 years now and it is a great tool if you understand how and when to use it properly. The thing that I wanted to point out is that I have gone from using over 100 units of Humalog to about 1/3 of that while on the diet.

    I was diagnosed in January of 1981 and honeymooned for about six months. When I was diagnosed carbohydrate consumption was very limited, not necessarily to the extreme that I am currently eating of less than 20 grams per day. It was probably more along the lines of 40 to 50 grams per day.

    If you believe that you have Type one diabetes and do not need insulin because of an extremist diet good for you. Please do not try to mislead people that there is a cure for T1D because there is not at this point in time. You are one of many people in the world that has T1D and it is dangerous for people to think that they can not take insulin when having T1D. Not taking insulin properly as prescribed by a doctor can lead to death...If you think that you have found a solution through diet and exercise then put it to a clinical trial and look at the results, otherwise please keep your non professional opinions to yourself!

  25. Angie
    Lynn!!!! Omg you are my ray of hope. You're the first person who is thinking like me. If are at all open to communicating with me I would greatly appreciate it. My 13 year old son was just diagnosed with Type 1 and I know that it is very much curable but I feel powerless right now as I know they are not going to allow me to go that route without accusing me of child neglect. It is only day 3 of his diagnosis so I am trying to think hard and fast about how I am going to accomplish this task. If you can reach out to me I would really like to know how things have been going. Anjiescott@gmail.com
  26. Caroline
    Hello Lynn,
    I am a nutritionist helping diabetics to normal levels, much in line with what you say, and more. Would like to know your results, as this post is from 18 months back?
    Kind rgds,
    Caroline
  27. Shaun
    Hi.
    Type one diabetes is a nightmare. Currently I'm on 2 x 10U lantus and 3-5 x 4-8U Novorapid (novolog). After 28 years of highs and lows, many doctors etc. etc. the best A1c has been 8.1.
    My endocrinologist has failed to get me a insulin pump which I've been dreading, due to failing the test. (Insurance company requires a result of -235mml per liter). My blood sugar rises too high by the time I've travelled to the clinic!

    So now I'm taking matters into my own hands and going carb free. It's day two and I feel great already!!!! The gallbladder trouble disappeared over night too.
    My new philosophy is that humans RAN around on this planet for millions of years eating raw food so what makes us think we can do different in a couple of generations. So I plan too eat nothing but raw organic low carb food!!!

    Lynn. If your pancreas is not producing any insulin and you are keeping your blood glucose under control then all I can say is that you are living proof that insulin treatment is not the answer as I have read several times before.

    Shaun

  28. Zayed
    Its low carb high fat moderate protein

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