1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2

Selling Paleo to a Type 1 Diabetic

by (2520)
Updated about 8 hours ago
Created September 17, 2010 at 1:35 AM

It's easy to convince someone with Type 2 Diabetes that low-carb paleo is the way to go, since the Internet is flooded with material supporting this move and anecdotes of successful folks who have cured the disease, even whilst eating frankenfoods.

My Type 1 diabetic colleague, who confidently espouses the importance of her following a low-fat-low-GI-low-sugar-low-salt diet, coupled with a tonne of exercise to avoid hypoglycaemia, will not consider any possible diet except that laid out by her by-the-book doctor. I can give her the whole run-down of why grains etc are poison, but she feels that her disease makes her far too special and that those unhealthy foods are fine for her.

Is there anyone here with Type 1 who could give me a pithy anecdote of their own to explain why living on rice crackers and whole grain foods is perhaps not the smartest idea for a diabetic?

I've found a couple of resources online, but they tend to confuse Type 1 with Type 2 - can anyone point me towards some more targeted texts?

Right now, that colleague is giving "health advice" to some other colleagues who have just enrolled in Weight Watchers, now run at my school! ARGH!

F81dd30896f5b45c64dc64cf177e5333
20 · June 10, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Excellent point. I know a lot more than I did on April 22 - and I know now that I'd much rather follow the wholeness of paleo than Dr B's plan. Thank you for pointing this out!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8
5132 · May 26, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Actually, I notice quite a bit of difference between Dr. B and Paleo. Dr. B is into VLC, not necessarily whole foods. He himself drinks diet sodas, eats sugar-free jello, and is a big fan of Da Vinci's splenda-based sweeteners. His diet also is not gluten-, dairy-, nor casein-free. He has no problems with nuts, soy, seeds, etc. as long as they're low-carb. Dr. B also does not really address autoimmunity which many T1s and T2s suffer from. This isn't to say his regimen isn't effective, just that he's in the VLC camp, not in the Paleo/whole foods camp.

A2fa5bebf344217c8c13db5dca201752
0 · November 04, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Eva, Dr Bernstein and many of his patients are type 1 and do have normal BGs. Some even stop testing as much because they are so regular. Paleo has helped me a lot, but I'm not to normal BG yet.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 18, 2010 at 3:17 AM

So sorry to hear that :(

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Mel, good catch. I suspect what happened was dropping the carbs allowed her current level of functioning beta cells to be able to cope with the new and lower load on them. I have read research suggesting that most type 1s actually do produce some small amount of insulin on their own. However, tests showed she was still producing antibodies against her beta cells so the cells would continue to die off as long as she was not able to stop the autoimmune attack. If that continued, eventually even low carb would still be too much load for her pancreas. Too bad.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Oh yeah, also forgot to mention, response to stress can sometimes through bgs way off. Cortisol release can really contribute to high bg numbers, especially in type 1s. Stress levels have an irritating way of not staying constant and being hard to control for.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:24 PM

It's very simple. Less carbs mean lower need for insulin. My dog was near death from the vets' regimen of a corn and peanut hull diet plus rapid acting insulin. It was only when I switched to slow acting insulin and a fat and protein and no grain diet that he started to recover. Unfortuantely, he was still always brittle though. But that could be the result of using human insulins on a dog. It still works but is chemically different and side effects of this diff are largely unknown. It is suspected that overtime, antibodies will develop to the foreign insulin.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Those numbers are truly excellent and within the normal range. It's just that I consider the normal range as being normal for SAD eaters and not necesarily so normal for totally healthy individuals. Plus type 1s always run certain risks of highs and lows that totally healthy individuals would not run. So that is why I say type 1s can't have the control that nondiabetics can have. That is not to say that proper eating can't help type 1s tremendously and that they can't get into overall healthy bgs numbers. Also interesting what you said about formerly being 'brittle.'

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Even the best strategem of diet and insulin will never compare with a healthy pancreas and islet cells producing healthy amounts of insulin naturally. The quest of the type 1 is to replicate control as close as possible, but good bgs numbers for a type 1 will not be as good as good bg numbers for a regular individual. We simply do not currently have the tech to do the job as well as healthy islet cells do the job.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56606 · September 17, 2010 at 9:52 PM

I notice the girl featured in Cordain's newsletter once went off paleo. http://michellestype1diabetes.blogspot.com/

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed
4533 · September 17, 2010 at 3:53 PM

"It's easy to convince someone with Type 2 Diabetes that low-carb paleo is the way to go" I wish! My father is a type II, and I've been trying to convince him and my mother to go paleo (or at least eliminate wheat, gluten grains and margarine) for two years now. No dice. His doctor tells him he "needs" a certain amount of "healthy whole grains," which he takes as a free ticket to eat whatever he wants to. *Sigh* So I have to watch him stab himself with his insulin pen, and dive into the bread basket, while he gets heavier and sicker. It's heart breaking.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
1288 · September 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM

There is no reason not to have normal blood sugars if you don't make insulin ???

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
1288 · September 17, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Eva I really respect you and what you say but you really have to read Dr Bernstein's book - everyone should - its just amazing - he himself is a type 1 diabetic that makes no insulin at all and he has turned his life around with this diet - his blood profile is probably better than most here - its amazing and yet so simple!

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 8:06 AM

She watches her carbs very closely, counts them carefully, but still lives on garbage like whole grains and low-fat crackers.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Intriguing, Andre! If I were better friends with this colleague I'd be buying her the book, and yet sending her links seems like a smug thing to do.... Tricky. So I'd rather know things and just find reason to casually bring them up ;)

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 7:50 AM

Yeah, I know it's not a simple process, and it's made even more complicated by what you say about exercise and hypos - you state it the way I understand it, yet she experiences the opposite! Bizarre. The bit I'm really confused about is the role of fat - is fat truly an issue for diabetics, or is it just conventional wisdom BS?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78417 · September 17, 2010 at 4:38 AM

Dr. Bernstein needs to use insulin, along with a very low carb diet to have his blood sugars stay under control. And yes, it is very interesting.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0
3202 · September 17, 2010 at 4:12 AM

I too was told I was a brittle diabetic by the best "Endos" in Los Angeles. I crawled in this bleak belief for 8 years. Then I picked up Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution, opened the page where he says "there is no such thing as a brittle diabetic. You are just eating too many carbs." I was stunned. I did his diet and in 1 day my blood glucose was normal...85...for the first time in 8 years. SOLD! It takes 1 day! SIMPLE PROCESS.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 3:45 AM

This might be a good angle. Talk about the danger of insulin and point out that the more carbs eaten, the more insulin is needed.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 3:20 AM

If she has type 1, she will not get normal blood sugars because she does not produce insulin.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Her answer to that is always that she ends up hypo really easily, and carbing/bolusing is the only way she can stay on top of this system. I don't know what to say to that, and Bernstein hasn't convinced me that she's wrong...

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d
1688 · September 17, 2010 at 2:11 AM

a short answer to your colleague is if you "carb up" you have to "shoot up". Lowering your processed carb intake, increasing your muscle mass, and aerobic capacity will LOWER her carb needs. there are a whole bunch of people on FB as well who can provide the testimonial. Your body needs fewer carbs than she might think to survive...

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
1288 · September 17, 2010 at 2:04 AM

Oh you have to give her Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's book - Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars Its a wonderful book and although he does not refer to the diet as Paleo its pretty much the same thing. It really is an amazing read

Total Views
1.3K

Recent Activity
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

Last Activity
61D AGO

Followers
0

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

8 Answers

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
5
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 3:43 AM

This one is tricky. Hypoglycemia in a type one is not caused by the same thing as hypo in a type 2. A hypo in a type 2 is often caused when the body overshoots on its insulin production. But a type one does not produce insulin. A type one has to shoot insulin via a syringe. A hypo in a type 1 is when the human does not balance insulin shots with glucose intake and the insulin is too strong and too much glucose is taken out of the blood stream. That is why type ones must carry sugar with them, in case their blood sugar starts to go too low. Even believing in paleo, if I were a type one, I would always carry sugar. In a type one, if the blood glucose goes to low, sugar is the best fastest way to save your life. Protein/fat digest too slowly. In the event of an oncoming hypo, you must ingest glucose asap or you could quickly have convulsions and die. In order to properly argue for a low sugar diet, you MUST understand these basic issues that face a type 1.

Now for other complications. There are many kinds of insulins, fast acting insulins, slow acting insulins, and a variety of intermediate acting insulins. Type ones will often use a variety like a slow acting one for all day plus a faster acting one to shoot up around meal time when glucose load is high. How fast each individual responds to each type of insulin is unique and required experimentation, planning, and experience. How much insulin is needed at meal time depends on how much food is eaten and what type of food is eaten.

For a person who processes/responds to insulin quickly, that person damn well better have a lot of glucose entering the blood stream quickly. Or he/she could die. Or that person can try to find a slower acting insulin and then perhaps coudl eat more protein fat and less glucose. But the two must be balanced, both insulin action and glucose entering the blood stream from food. The diabetic must try to match not only intensity but also duration. It's tricky.

To make matters worse, the body doesn't always respond in the same way to the same dose of insulin. Morning insulin may act different than night insuline. And exercise can strongly inhance the activity of insulin. That is why exercising diabetics can easily risk going hypo. Cuz now the same amount of insulin is going to be stronger than it was before and the diabetic will need to be very very careful of not going hypo. Best keep some sugar around for emergencies. Also, for unknown reason, some diabetics are just 'brittle' as well, which means their bodies react particularly erratically and unpredicably to glucose intake and insulin intake. These people have special difficult balancing their blood sugars.

So. What you are probably trying to do is convince a diabetic that has figured out a succesful balance of specific insulins to specific glucose intake, to try a different type of food, which would probably mean she would have to work with a whole different insulin regimen in order to properly balance it. She could not continue to shoot the same levels of insulin if she cut her glucose intake. If she did, her current insulin intake could kill her. To change her diet to low carb, high fat/protein, she would need to find an insulin regimen that would mean a less strong insulin that would last a longer time in order to match the digestoin rates and glucose load of the new diet. This could throw off her whole system and it could take months or longer to come up with a new system that is safe for her. Doing this would mean more blood testing, higher risk of going either hypo or having too high blood sugars, and lots of experimentation. This is probably why she doesn't want to do it. I'd say over the long haul, the improved health that comes with eating healthy food is worth it. But you have to realize that simply changing diet is not a simple process for a type 1 diabetic.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
1288 · September 17, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Eva I really respect you and what you say but you really have to read Dr Bernstein's book - everyone should - its just amazing - he himself is a type 1 diabetic that makes no insulin at all and he has turned his life around with this diet - his blood profile is probably better than most here - its amazing and yet so simple!

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Intriguing, Andre! If I were better friends with this colleague I'd be buying her the book, and yet sending her links seems like a smug thing to do.... Tricky. So I'd rather know things and just find reason to casually bring them up ;)

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 7:50 AM

Yeah, I know it's not a simple process, and it's made even more complicated by what you say about exercise and hypos - you state it the way I understand it, yet she experiences the opposite! Bizarre. The bit I'm really confused about is the role of fat - is fat truly an issue for diabetics, or is it just conventional wisdom BS?

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0
3202 · September 17, 2010 at 4:12 AM

I too was told I was a brittle diabetic by the best "Endos" in Los Angeles. I crawled in this bleak belief for 8 years. Then I picked up Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution, opened the page where he says "there is no such thing as a brittle diabetic. You are just eating too many carbs." I was stunned. I did his diet and in 1 day my blood glucose was normal...85...for the first time in 8 years. SOLD! It takes 1 day! SIMPLE PROCESS.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
5
1288 · September 17, 2010 at 2:07 AM

Oh you have to give her Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's book - Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars Its a wonderful book and although he does not refer to the diet as Paleo its pretty much the same thing. It really is an amazing read

A2fa5bebf344217c8c13db5dca201752
0 · November 04, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Eva, Dr Bernstein and many of his patients are type 1 and do have normal BGs. Some even stop testing as much because they are so regular. Paleo has helped me a lot, but I'm not to normal BG yet.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Even the best strategem of diet and insulin will never compare with a healthy pancreas and islet cells producing healthy amounts of insulin naturally. The quest of the type 1 is to replicate control as close as possible, but good bgs numbers for a type 1 will not be as good as good bg numbers for a regular individual. We simply do not currently have the tech to do the job as well as healthy islet cells do the job.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
1288 · September 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM

There is no reason not to have normal blood sugars if you don't make insulin ???

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78417 · September 17, 2010 at 4:38 AM

Dr. Bernstein needs to use insulin, along with a very low carb diet to have his blood sugars stay under control. And yes, it is very interesting.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 3:20 AM

If she has type 1, she will not get normal blood sugars because she does not produce insulin.

Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1
3
855 · September 17, 2010 at 9:49 PM

I've been type 1 for awhile, but I could never really get my sugars under control. I always wound up over 200 every day, and was constantly fighting high blood sugars, even though I took such care with carb counting! I've been primal for 2 full days, but my sugars are already staying between 85 and 135 -- literally non-diabetic. My insulin usage has been cut in half. I'm down 2.8 pounds. I went partly primal several weeks ago, and in that time I've eliminated my morning dose of Metformin -- I hope to be off my evening dose eventually as well.

I only worry about lows because my basal needs are changing along with my diet. Because I no longer take excessive amounts of insulin at meals, I no longer have to worry about having misjudged my carbs and crash horribly later.

And if she ends up hypo easily its because her basal usage is too high.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Mel, good catch. I suspect what happened was dropping the carbs allowed her current level of functioning beta cells to be able to cope with the new and lower load on them. I have read research suggesting that most type 1s actually do produce some small amount of insulin on their own. However, tests showed she was still producing antibodies against her beta cells so the cells would continue to die off as long as she was not able to stop the autoimmune attack. If that continued, eventually even low carb would still be too much load for her pancreas. Too bad.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Oh yeah, also forgot to mention, response to stress can sometimes through bgs way off. Cortisol release can really contribute to high bg numbers, especially in type 1s. Stress levels have an irritating way of not staying constant and being hard to control for.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Those numbers are truly excellent and within the normal range. It's just that I consider the normal range as being normal for SAD eaters and not necesarily so normal for totally healthy individuals. Plus type 1s always run certain risks of highs and lows that totally healthy individuals would not run. So that is why I say type 1s can't have the control that nondiabetics can have. That is not to say that proper eating can't help type 1s tremendously and that they can't get into overall healthy bgs numbers. Also interesting what you said about formerly being 'brittle.'

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56606 · September 17, 2010 at 9:52 PM

I notice the girl featured in Cordain's newsletter once went off paleo. http://michellestype1diabetes.blogspot.com/

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0
3
3202 · September 17, 2010 at 3:23 AM

I am Type 3, meaning I burned out my betas as a type 2 from chronically high blood glucose. I shoot like any Type 1 only straighter and from the hip...into the hip. The answer is that High Insulin is more dangerous than high blood sugar. The more carbs you eat the more insulin you have to shoot. The down side of high blood sugars are diabetic complications. The down side of high insulin is cancer, endothelial disrution and blockage ie. heart disease, auto immune disease, excelerated ageing and all the horrible consequences that come too soon to diabetics who shoot too much insulin or produce it. INSULIN IS A GROWTH FACTOR. And lastly, Doc Bernstein's Rule #1 "The Law of Small Numbers"...the smaller the number the smaller the mistake...the bigger the number the bigger the mistake. Big carbs means Big insulin means Big mistakes means Big cell overgrowth means Big health problems means Big money for Big Pharma.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 8:06 AM

She watches her carbs very closely, counts them carefully, but still lives on garbage like whole grains and low-fat crackers.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 3:45 AM

This might be a good angle. Talk about the danger of insulin and point out that the more carbs eaten, the more insulin is needed.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d
2
1688 · September 17, 2010 at 2:10 AM

Dr Bernstein has been Type 1 for over 60 years. Head on over to Youtube to check out what he has to say. He has a practice -STILL- in norther California, and has a monthly teleseminar.

The teleseminar starts with a topic of the month (5-10 minutes) then the rest of the hour is devoted to listener submitted questions.

He is THE best testimonial for Type 1s and his patients are a close second.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01
2520 · September 17, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Her answer to that is always that she ends up hypo really easily, and carbing/bolusing is the only way she can stay on top of this system. I don't know what to say to that, and Bernstein hasn't convinced me that she's wrong...

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d
1688 · September 17, 2010 at 2:11 AM

a short answer to your colleague is if you "carb up" you have to "shoot up". Lowering your processed carb intake, increasing your muscle mass, and aerobic capacity will LOWER her carb needs. there are a whole bunch of people on FB as well who can provide the testimonial. Your body needs fewer carbs than she might think to survive...

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5
1
2319 · September 19, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Many T1's acquire additional autoimmune disorders over time. One of the most prevalent is celiac and another is autoimmune thyroid disease. Eliminating grains and other inflammatory substances may help prevent that.

link text

F81dd30896f5b45c64dc64cf177e5333
0
20 · April 22, 2011 at 1:35 AM

I know this thread is on the outs, but here are some more thoughts to consider.

I've been type 1 for 15 years, on a pump for 13. During my undergraduate career I managed to gain quite a bit of weight. I was using 60-70 units of insulin per day. I found sparkpeople and as I started losing weight (still on SAD) I made it down to 30-40 units per day.

Since going primal/paleo, I use about 20 per day. I feel better and my blood sugars are under MUCH better control.

I also HIGHLY recommend Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution - his main point is with small inputs (aka low amounts of carbs and insulin), there is less room for error. It's so true. His diet is practically paleo. I learned quite a bit from this book even though I've been diabetic so long. (Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner is also good, but SAD.)

Hope this helps someone out there!

F81dd30896f5b45c64dc64cf177e5333
20 · June 10, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Excellent point. I know a lot more than I did on April 22 - and I know now that I'd much rather follow the wholeness of paleo than Dr B's plan. Thank you for pointing this out!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8
5132 · May 26, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Actually, I notice quite a bit of difference between Dr. B and Paleo. Dr. B is into VLC, not necessarily whole foods. He himself drinks diet sodas, eats sugar-free jello, and is a big fan of Da Vinci's splenda-based sweeteners. His diet also is not gluten-, dairy-, nor casein-free. He has no problems with nuts, soy, seeds, etc. as long as they're low-carb. Dr. B also does not really address autoimmunity which many T1s and T2s suffer from. This isn't to say his regimen isn't effective, just that he's in the VLC camp, not in the Paleo/whole foods camp.

E359651ec162810a18aca705f7c3f210
0
80 · September 17, 2010 at 11:25 AM

I have a client with Type 1 and he used to require 13 units of Insulin before each meal. After converting to Paleo he is now down to between 3-5 units prior to each meal. It just works!!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
20787 · September 17, 2010 at 10:24 PM

It's very simple. Less carbs mean lower need for insulin. My dog was near death from the vets' regimen of a corn and peanut hull diet plus rapid acting insulin. It was only when I switched to slow acting insulin and a fat and protein and no grain diet that he started to recover. Unfortuantely, he was still always brittle though. But that could be the result of using human insulins on a dog. It still works but is chemically different and side effects of this diff are largely unknown. It is suspected that overtime, antibodies will develop to the foreign insulin.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account

Get Free Paleo Recipes