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Type 1 Diabetes and Bodyfat

I’m a type 1 diabetic (insulin dependant) and in as far as i can, i try to maintain a healthy diet. I eat minimal amounts of sugary foods or processed foods and try to stick to whole foods. This would seem to be appropriate anyway for someone who is interested in weight training and building a lean physique.

My problem/question however, is that im unsure if the lower abdominal ‘tyre’ of bodyfat which i’ve read is common to many type 1’s is due to the repetetive injecting of insulin and becoming desensitized to it, or because of the carbohydrate intake needed to maintain a stable blood glucose level.

I really enjoy strength training and have been doing so regularly for 3 years, i also play rugby and go to university so i have a reasonably active lifestyle, but the ‘tyre’ i cannot shift.

If it helps im a 21 year old male, im 5’6 and around 80kg
ive had several months on both stronglifts 5x5 and Wendlers 5/3/1 so i feel from a training perspective i know a few things that work for me, however nutrition wise relating to body composition and diabetes i dont know so much.

Any advice relating specifically to body composition and diabetics, carbohydrates and insulin would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys.
Harvey.

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
I’m a type 1 diabetic (insulin dependant) and in as far as i can, i try to maintain a healthy diet. I eat minimal amounts of sugary foods or processed foods and try to stick to whole foods. This would seem to be appropriate anyway for someone who is interested in weight training and building a lean physique.

My problem/question however, is that im unsure if the lower abdominal ‘tyre’ of bodyfat which i’ve read is common to many type 1’s is due to the repetetive injecting of insulin and becoming desensitized to it, or because of the carbohydrate intake needed to maintain a stable blood glucose level.

I really enjoy strength training and have been doing so regularly for 3 years, i also play rugby and go to university so i have a reasonably active lifestyle, but the ‘tyre’ i cannot shift.

If it helps im a 21 year old male, im 5’6 and around 80kg
ive had several months on both stronglifts 5x5 and Wendlers 5/3/1 so i feel from a training perspective i know a few things that work for me, however nutrition wise relating to body composition and diabetes i dont know so much.

Any advice relating specifically to body composition and diabetics, carbohydrates and insulin would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys.
Harvey.
[/quote]

Im sure there are diabetics out there who have experience of this.

I was just wondering - when you are referring to belly fat, are you referring to fat deposits in certain areas on your abdomen? That is lipohyertrophy. That is avoided by rotating site of injection of your insulin. But it wouldn’t account for generalised fat distribution.

Your hypothesis of belly fat accumulating due to becoming densensitised to insulin doesn’t make sense. If you are desensitised to insulin, it would not be effective in transporting glucose into adipose tissue to be stored as fat. It is for this reason that teenage girls are often warned against not injecting their insulin - they let their blood glucose levels go dangerously high which long terms damages their sight, kidneys and causes peripheral vascular disease. They do this because they notice when you are not injecting insulin, you are less likely to accumulate body fat.

Have you got your body fat percentage measured?

Also, I’m not sure why your diet would have to be drastically different from anyone else who is lifting. No-one who takes their training seriously is going to be eating sugar laden junk food. Most foods from lean meats, fresh vegetables, etc have low glycemic index and do not cause insulin spikes. Once you are measuring your blood glucose levels regularly, and injecting your insulins appropriately according to blood glucose levels, you are really no different to anyone else.

Hi thanks for the reply,

Well its not as if i have lumps of fat, i know what your referring to as ive been diabetic for 13 years and im always advised about site rotation. It’s just that i do have a ‘fatter’ lower abdomen just around the belly button level.

The second part is probably where i am unsure then, as my experience with insulin is that i inject a dosage relative to the amount of carbohydrates in my meal. This has been explained to me from a young age and also from a young age ive been encouraged to base all of my meals around a substantial carbohydrate quantity.

This is also probably where i seek the most advice, for example at breakfast time, i have always eaten 2 pices of wholemeal toast and a glass of milk and generally inject about 12 units of insulin to compensate for this. This generally keeps my blood glucose within the 6.0 - 10.0 ideal.

I have no interest in missing injections to lose fat as that would be at a ridiculous trade off for my general health in the future.

The last estimate of my body fat which was done with an electric device gave me 14%

I guess essentially what im asking, is that i would like to lower my body fat to around 10% and i wanted to know how and why having to inject insulin effects this.

Once again thanks,
Harvey

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
Hi thanks for the reply,

Well its not as if i have lumps of fat, i know what your referring to as ive been diabetic for 13 years and im always advised about site rotation. It’s just that i do have a ‘fatter’ lower abdomen just around the belly button level.

The second part is probably where i am unsure then, as my experience with insulin is that i inject a dosage relative to the amount of carbohydrates in my meal. This has been explained to me from a young age and also from a young age ive been encouraged to base all of my meals around a substantial carbohydrate quantity.

This is also probably where i seek the most advice, for example at breakfast time, i have always eaten 2 pices of wholemeal toast and a glass of milk and generally inject about 12 units of insulin to compensate for this. This generally keeps my blood glucose within the 6.0 - 10.0 ideal.

I have no interest in missing injections to lose fat as that would be at a ridiculous trade off for my general health in the future.

The last estimate of my body fat which was done with an electric device gave me 14%

I guess essentially what im asking, is that i would like to lower my body fat to around 10% and i wanted to know how and why having to inject insulin effects this.

Once again thanks,
Harvey

[/quote]

Once again, I hope an actual diabetic lifter can give you advice here.

But, those electrical impedance devices are notoriously inaccurate. They vary depending on your hydration level, etc. The bod pods are more accurate but difficult to access. If you want an accurate estimation, you should get a skin fold calipers body fat reading done. You can look up a poliquin biosig practitioner in your area (but be warned, they will probably try to offload a lot of supplements on you).

Also, are you tracking your overall daily calorie intake, and macro nutrient intake? I resisted it for years, but it really does work, and is simple to do with websites like fitday etc.

Also, the poliquin (I’m not one of his loyal followers) line on abomdinal fat, specifically umbilical fat around the belly button, is that it is due to excess cortisol production from generalised stress - whether that be external stressors such as lifestyle, job or if it’s from lack of sleep. To the sides of your abdomen is from eating excess carbohydrates. I suppose I’m just wondering if you have addressed all those issues, and if the diabetes is just a red herring.

I also wonder what effect intermittent fasting would have on diabetics? Just from my own experience, I have found that even after a 24 hour fast, if I take a blood glucose level using a glucometer, it’s stable around 5.5mmol.

I’ve tried tracking calories and macros, but just out of interest what are your macro nutrient ratios? im unsure whether 30/40/30 protein/carbs/fat is suitable for my 4xweekly gym and weekend rugby sessions.

It would be nice if it was in fact a ‘red herring’ as i am highly stressed at the minute writing my dissertation, we’ll see if any changes occur after ive finished that and my final year exams in 6 months.

Again thanks for the feedback Joey

Why not just eliminate carbohydrate from the diet so that you are not insulin dependent?

sorry had to edit this out, pm if needed :slight_smile: