T Nation

Diabetes and Large Diets


It's not often that you hear of someone with Diabetes who is a competitive body builder, and I think that I have found the reason for this, my only hope is that I can get around this and continue to do what I love...naturally.
I am 18 years old and have type 1 diabetes, I was diagnosed when i was 2 so I've lived with it my whole life. I have been lifting for about a year now and started to eat huge to gain more mass, only to run into a problem which this small article/thread will explain to you!

A little history of my diabetes.

Notice I say "my" although some of this information may pertain to the generalities of Diabetes, I am focusing on myself. Throughout the years I have kept pretty good care of my diabetes always having my AC1 in the goal range of 4-7%. An AC1, for those of you who don't know, is the measure of the average amount of Hemoglobin in your blood over a 3 month period. If an AC1 becomes out of control and is higher then that of the goal range for an extended period of time small arteries and capillaries may become hardend starting in the extremeties and working it's way through the body. My AC1 was proclaimed to be an 8.3% which I am working to bring down.
To take care of this Type 1 must inject themselves at least 3 times a day to keep the sugar level under control. The body reacts to this in a negative way and a positive way. The negative is that the area of injection along with insulin that did not get absorbed by the blood stream causes a fat build up around the site. This causes the next injection to be less useful because the fat molecules then absorb more of the insulin and it never makes it to the bloodstream.

This is avoided by different sites of injection, including: arms (triceps) legs (quads) Stomach (stomach) and last but certainly not least the glutes (ass). By doing this it has allowed me to focus my injections and disregard any bias besides poor insulin or wrongful measurements of insulin. The positive is that blood sugars are reduced, and that leads to a healthy lifestyle!!

Measurment scales

The way I have been giving Insulin is in through 2 types of insulin, a long lasting (NPH) and a short acting (Lispro~2 Hours) but we'll focus on the short acting. When eating, a ratio is followed in terms of carbs/units of insulin which is 10:1 for every 10 carbs that are injested 1 unit of Lispro is given. 30 carbs=3 units. 72 carbs= 7.2 units. When measuring blood sugar it is measured in Milimoles or mmol. and should also be between 4 and 7 when checked on a glucose meter. Another meter is followed if sugars are raised above 7. 8-10~ 1 unit of insulin, 11-13mmol 2 units etc.


Until I found this site I had been eating like a regular person, not to healthy, and not too huge, I found this site and started to find myself packing 2 lunchs, and eating double the cereal. I put on a solid 6 pounds in 2 weeks which I liked and want to keep doing.

The Problem

The Problem that I have is that when I started to eat huge I started to have massive carbs resulting in many units of insulin. This soon resulted in the insulin not being able to handle the carbs and higher blood sugars as a result (reaching 23.5mmol). I started to give about 40 Units of insulin a meal not only in carbs but in corrections as well (syringe holds 50 units). This made me angry and I stopped eating huge because I would rather lose muscle then lose my man piece though some may disagree. I soon started to increase my ratio going from 10:1 to 8:1 but nothing resulted and I found myself in a corner. I am now eating high caloric foods like pop tarts (800 cals~4 only 140 carbs=14units of Insulin) and pizza pops (~1000cals ~4 only 90g carbs = 9units of insulin.

The Solution?

So for a bulking diet, (a)do I only want high calories? Can I eat my pop tarts and pizza pops and not worry about only getting moderate carbs? (b)Do I need to have large carb intake along with high calories and more needles? If the answer is (a) do any of you have any foods that you eat that are low carbs and high calories? if the answer is (b) do you see any holes in my thinking?

are there any endocrinologists with advice? I tried to go see a dietitian at a diabetes clinic but she only told me to eat healthy fats, I think Dr Berardi hit the nail on the head by saying "a dietetics degree is a bachelor's level certification" I hope this thread doesn't die out in 2 days and you guys can give me hand on this one. Mr. TC Luoma?? you said you enjoyed endocrine articles any advice from the pros?


not an endo just a couple of observations

  1. the A1c measurement you gave while not " bad " could really be improved.

  2. While weightlifing , cardio ect surely go w/ diabetes given good control of blood glucose, im wouldnt think that the fasting, and possibly bulking involved with bodbuilding would be healthy. For pre-contest dont bodybuilders have to eat a basically zero or reduced carb diet and then wolf down some carbs right before they walk on the stage? There is no way i could personally do this and keep my numbers good. I would either take too much insulin and pass out or my numbers would be way too high. Have you ever thought about powerlifting? Or olympic lifting ? Itz da shiznit for those wanting to be quick and powerful :slightly_smiling:


BTW , i use a long/short insulin as well.

For the long i use lantus....it supposedly works 24 hrs a day but about 18 for me. So i take 2/3's of it in the morning and 1/3 @ night which starts gently working just as the morning dose is begenning to peter out. That dawn effect where the blood sugar jumps up in the morning sucks..if i dont take the lantus @ night my blood sugar will get up to 250.. I use humalog for meals which is the quickest acting available

But i am not going to use any type of a damn insulin pump thats just too much of a alteration of my life for a disease. I've noticed that its a lot easier to stay in good blood sugar ranges when i dont carry too much flab on me so its fun to work out.. My a1c is about 6% so its good :slight_smile:


I have hypoglycemia (the other end of the spectrum). I found that you have to be very careful what you read. People make statements for the normal functioning body types. You and I are not in that group.

I found I did better if I avoided all carb foods that had a high Glycemic index. There are also foods I avoid that are high on the Insulin index. (These are two different indexes.)

I currently have a high protein diet (2gms of protein per lb of lean body mass). I include fats but am very careful with carbs. I came to this by trial and error and this works for me. You may have to do a similar thing to find what works for you.


My Endocrinologist has told me about Lantus but I have not yet checked it out. Maybe I should. Initially I wanted to put mass on being fairly small (165lbs) but the more I think about it power lifting is sounding like a better idea. I know my AC1 is high and I hope to bring it down this month and get it checked, my goal is 7% then next time I'll shoot for 6% which is where you are at and is perfect! Do you have a specific diet that you follow? You numbers as stated are perfect.


Diet? nope. I just am obsessive about diabetes control.. and pay way more attention to it than i should. I do try to wait 20 minutes after i inject the humalog to eat and i eat a lot of carbs just because i am a diabetic -to keep everything normal. but i dont over do it .


I used to have a girl-friend w/ this. She could not eat candy or that kind of thing. Do hypoglycemic people use one of those glucometers to measure whats going on?


Sorry, all I can add here is...Tim Belknap. Insulin-dependent Diabetic and IFBB pro. Best of luck.


That's Intense... Never heard of that guy, but no I can say I have. Thank you for showing me it's possible.

You can never pay too much attention to diabetes. I am going to try, to give insulin 20 mins before I eat, it sounds like better control.


Hi, Just joined T-Nation and saw your post. The post seems pretty old so I'm sure some things have changed since then. I'm a Type 1 diabetic also and encourage you to look into an insulin pump to regulate your insulin/A1C rates. I workout 5-7 days a week and currently at about 10.8% bodyfat.

Bulking is probably the hardest thing for me to do but not because of blood sugar it's just that I hate eating a lot. LOL. May want to check out minimed.com. They have a new pump that has the builtin meter. I have a cozmos insulin pump now. When you're on short acting insulin (Humalog) it's much easier to regulate than the NPH/Regular mix.

Good luck!