I am type 1 diabetic and have been on the paleo diet for almost 6 months, it has helped regulate my blood sugar, but not as much as I thought it would. Some meals I have absolutely NO carbs and i still have to take around 5 units of insulin, I even have to take a shot for eating a hard boiled egg. It doesn't make any sense to me, or my doctor! Has anyone else experienced this? As my health insurance runs out in 1 year I am trying to find a way to take as small amount of insulin as possible. Any resources would be much appreciated!
The likely problem here is that the body creates glucose from protein and fat through a process called gluconeogenesis. Some tissues in the body do rely on glucose, so there is a baseline glucose, and therefore insulin, need.
I'm not educated enough about this to give you a good answer. I do know that seeing blood sugar spikes after eating large amounts of protein is not uncommon. My gut instinct is that it might help to increase the proportion of fat in your diet and spread out your protein intake (several small meals vs. few large) to avoid large amounts of protein at one time. Source of protein also seems to matter, and you could try testing your response to different types to see what has a greater effect on blood sugar (for example, beef vs. eggs).
While you have insurance, do you have the option of trying a continuous blood glucose monitor for a while? That would give you a better picture of how your body responds than fingersticks.
A complete lack of insulin means that glucagon will be high, it raises blood sugar by converting amino-acids into glucose. If you fasted and didn't take insulin your blood sugar would still raise, and you would loose a lot of muscle.
Insulin lowers glucagon, so as a type 1 you will always need a bit of insulin but much much less than needed on a high-carb diet or SAD.
Im a type 1 Diabetic.
Before paleo I was taking around 8 units of insulin at meals. Now I take 0-3 units.
If you have protein in your meal, yes, you will need insulin. Your body can break protein down in glucose. If you somehow had an all fat meal (zero carb, zero protein) THEN you wouldnt need any insulin.
Im surprised your doctor wouldnt know this! Maybe look for a new one..
also, keep in mind that even with no food at all, you still need a basal insulin to take care of the glucose that your body makes itself.
If I was type I diabetic I would follow this fellas plan with paleo foods http://www.diabetes-book.com/. And as stated protein produces an insulin response (about half that of carbs and with an accompanying glucagon release), so just because you are VLC does not necessarily mean you are completely able to disregard insulin. Its a hormone with more than one function.
DePaw is correct, insulin is the primary inhibitor of glucagon and glucagon raises blood glucose by stimulating gluconeogemsis, which is basically glucose entering your blood from various avenues within your body, i.e. making your own carbs (annoying, huh?). So by eating so few carbs, your body becomes starved for glucose, or at least thinks it is because there is so little insulin to suppress glucagon, which signals too little glucose. People are so different, and some T1D's do really well on low carb paleo, but it seems like your particular hormonal biochemistry does not respond well to it. I responded the same way, and I needed to reintroduce a good amount of carbohydrate into my diet, 100-150g/day from both fruits and some whole grains even, though I avoid gluten. ANOTHER THING, protein definitely impacts blood glucose (amino acids can be converted to glucose through a long pathway, but also stimulates release of glucagon), but FAT CERTAINLY DOES AS WELL and actually faster than most protein. Fatty acids are converted to glucose in 2-4 hours. I give insulin for fat as half of what I would for carbs. For example, if I eat 10g of fat, I give insulin as if for 5g of carb. This works really well for most people, some people don't do this unless the amount of fat is greater than 10g. Everyone differs is a million different ways but here are some suggestions and knowledge. In addition to being T1D myself, I am in medical school.
I'm not a doctor, but I think the one thing I'd do about it is to go more hard-core Paleo. For example: offal once or twice a week, sea veggies, bone broths, coconut oil to cook, mussels/oysters among other fish/shellfish, 30-hour-fermented goat kefir, some fermented veggies. I'd also supplement (not daily for all these) with D3, Mg, K2-Mk4, fish oil, PQQ, Q10-Ubiquinol, and C+bioflavonoids if you can't do any fruits. Maybe exercise a bit too. Apart from all that, if this doesn't help within a few months, I'm not sure much else can be done with diet/lifestyle alone...