T Nation

Type 1 Diabetics


my older brother is diabetic and trains intensely for a sport 6 days a week. does anybody have any useful advice I could impart for him to help his diet? his HbA1c level is too high.
thank you so much if any one can help


Consuming complex carbs rather than the simple sugars in many of the supplements, get an insulin pump or multiple frequent injections, check glucose (finger-stick) around 3am and then morning fasting levels as well to see if he's bottoming-out in the early morning and rebounding by the time he wakes up.


This article might be of help to your brother.

Low-carb eating for diabetes



thanks guys.
at the moment he has a pretty terrible diet - too much processed food and very carb based.
typical breakfast is toast/bagel, sugary cereal and fruity processed yoghurt. He eats very few vegetables.


1) Listen to his endocrinologist and/or sports medicine doctor.

If 1) is not competent or knowledgeable enough for your brother's specific situations:

2)Get a competent Endocrinologist or Sports Medicine doctor who knows how to work with type 1 diabetic athletes.


On another note, from what you say about your brother's diet, it seems like there is a lot of room for improvement. Here is two basic tips that would likely make a difference:

1)More vegetables.

2)Eat fairly regular and balanced meals (Protein + High Fiber Carbohydrate source + fat).


My little sis is diabetic, has been since she was 20 about 4 years ago.

We did some DIY nutrition as she was (she's in v. good shape, very fit, i might add) struggling to understand the randomness of her sugar levels. She took all her shit on time and the right amount but, over time, you become less sensitive to the insulin, and this can be affected by everything from caffeine to her period. Annoying much?

Anyway, we did some research and came up with a ZERO carb plan, it was basically paleo, WITHOUT fruit, but WITH high-fat low/no carb dairy. All in all not a horrible diet.

The next bit is the naughty bit... we binned (not literally) ALL her insulin. She didnt take during the day, she didnt even take her basic slow-acting-over-the-day-whos-name-escapes-me one to set her up. Reason for this was that the SLOW one was fucking up her intense training, her training would razz all the sugar from her blood, but the insulin would KEEP acting putting her dangerously close to a hypo. That's why we stopped that one.

All this is fine and dandy, but we found, over a period of about 7 days, ketones in her blood (the waste product of burning bodyfat) would build up to "dangerous" levels. Ketones are removed from the body by insulin... this was the thorn in the plan's side.

In the end, we had a single carb based meal every 3 days (not day, but one meal only) and she had the instant-insulin immediately before/after that meal. This kept her ketones at a safe level and everyone lived happily ever after.

Now she's married and has a child so doing zero carb is very fucking tricky for her, but she keeps it low-low year round as she found the NHS guidelines of eating predominantly carbs as the basis of your entire diet, as fucking stupid and flawed. Why eat that which fucks up my BS levels!

There you go, DIY internet nutrition for you, take what you want from it, dont blame me for anything that happens....




thank you everyone. I have always felt that a low carb diet makes more sense for a diabetic but my brother is just very resstent to eating in a "strange" way, different to everyone else which is frustrating.
i shall try to get him to at least give some thought to it and try to lose his attitude that he needs lots of carbs "for energy" the whole time.


is he on injections or does he have a pump? and my A1C came down from a 10 down to a high 6 after using more combo boluses (i have a pump) and doing pulse feasts/fasts


That's called type 2 diabetes, which is a disease caused by morbid obesity. The OP is talking about type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetics go into a coma without insulin. Some type 2 diabetics require insulin. Never change your insulin dosage without talking to a doctor.

If a diabetic doesn't use insulin their feet can fall off.

Also, there's proof that ketogenic diets can cause problems in at risk populations.


Basically. A type 1 diabetic switching to a ketogenic diet without serious adjustments to his insulin protocol will be hospitalized within a day or two, especially if they exercise intensely 6 days a week. People seem to not realize that type 1 diabetes is no joke.


Type 1 buddy (i did see the thread title :wink:)

**though your "bad advice" may be correct. I'm no doctor. We played with shit on purpose because she felt the doctors and diabetes-nurse was fucking up and over generalising. They recommended 60% of her daily cals from carbs...

...can't blame us for taking matters into our own hands.

Thats my little story anyway, it's probably awful and dangerous, but i'm not convinced.

P.S just incase you missed it, she's DEFFO type1 :))


sorry for the double post:

we did make "serious adjustments" to insulin, i detailed it all in my post. Sorry if it was too wall-o-text.


Could you explain the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes? Type 1 diabetics require insulin as far as I know. Why does your sister not require at least some insulin?

What was wrong with what the doctors wanted her to do? Is there something wrong with using medication to treat type 1 diabetes?

Either way, diabetics should never change their insulin dosage without talking to a doctor. There are other options though. If blood sugar is difficult to control, more frequent glucose testing, using more fast acting insulin instead of slow acting insulin, or getting an insulin pump, can all help prevent blood sugar peaks and troughs.


hi mate,

to your first sentence: she didnt require any (she did, once per 3 days, as explained) as she had a zero/very low carb/sugar diet. Any excess from residual or trace carbs was burnt off through her rather athletic daily routine.

to sentence two: they advocated alot of carbs, as such she was having a very hard time (huge effort) keeping her BS in the normal levels, on some days she was ok, others she'd be smashing her bloodstream with huge amounts of insulin and it'd have no effect. Bit random. You're absolutely right it requires an expert touch, but after 3 or 4 years she was happy to be free of the shackles of the needle, tasty food be damned.

to sentence three: i'm sure you're right. i've already explained why we did what we did.

to finish off mate, i'm absolutely NOT advocating this to anyone else, i just wanted to share a little story about our findings. I suppose a safe take-home message from this is that LOW carb = good for type1s (we already know its good for the fatfucking type2 insulin gobbling bastards). That's all.


huscarl, thanks for your story. i find it very interesting. my brother has noted anecdotally that in the past when for whatever reason he has been able to use less insulin he feels a lot healthier. this is one of the reasons i believe that a lowER carb diet could be very good for him.

on the note of his blood sugar around exercise, he has been told by nhs docs etc that he simply needs to consume more carbs before training but i cant see that he isnt already consuming enough, considering ALL his meals contain carbs, and he drinks lucozade throughout training.

on another note, its interesting - he has a pretty shoddy diet but is incredibly lean.