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Type 1 Diabetes and a Slow Transition into Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM

Hi! I've had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 4 years now. I've really struggled with this disease and so I've researched anything I've come across that could be beneficial to me regarding Diabetes.

Last year I found the paleo/primal approach. It just made sense. But I was still too nervous to try it and I was unsure of how to go about it. I began eating the SAD in an attempt to be healthier and my blood glucose levels were much better but they were still unpredictable.I exercised frequently and lost almost no weight.

This year I researched paleo eating some more and I even bought "Practical Paleo" which I find very helpful. I know a lot of the things the author explains already but I don't know much about digestion and how it affects autoimmune conditions like Type 1 Diabetes.

I've been looking at some other questions on this website (PH) about Type 1 Diabetes and approaching paleo eating. Everyone seems to suggests getting your doctor involved so you can monitor your insulin and blood sugars and to also slowly transition. I plan on keeping in touch with my diabetes team via e-mail, I send them my pump data frequently which includes everything from glucose levels to basal rates.

My question is how do I go about slowly transitioning into the paleo lifestyle? Do I begin with eating paleo breakfasts for a week or two, then move on to lunch, then supper. and then eliminate snacks? Or is there a better way?

Also, I read somewhere to eat 30g of protein for at least 2 of my meals, would this be bad advice for someone with Diabetes, due to risk of kidney failure?

Thanks everyone, sorry for the long post!

27bac964edd249667d0fb749daeeb090

(263)

on April 22, 2013
at 10:49 PM

I second Sarah's post. Dr Bernstein's book is amazing. Whether you do paleo or not, going low-carb / Ketogenic is really the only way for a T1D to have normal A1Cs (i the 4's, yes, in the 4s!) and normal blood sugars. I do a ketogenic diet and thats right where I am at. We've got a bunch of T1D paleo people in this facebook group. I invite you all to join us and discuss more there-- https://www.facebook.com/groups/239697482751440/?fref=ts

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 18, 2013
at 07:28 PM

Yes, def check them out :) I think Bernstein comes across as a little closed minded (he doesn't even like insulin pumps!) but i also think hes got it right, he dosen't actually advocate paleo, but you can very easily adapt his diet to paleo by eliminating the fake sugars etc. And if you do want to drop straight into eating only 30grams of carbs a day you could start with 50-60. For me once I drop below 60 grams a day, I notice my blood sugars become more steady :) Im sorry more people haven't responded to you question on this site but you could also try tudiabetes.com :)

7203077f1d572f7ffc912fdc7ecce767

on April 18, 2013
at 05:24 PM

Thank you very much! I forget the source, but somewhere else online another T1 said that they have to bolus half as much insulin for their protein as they would for their carbs as well. And now I know after looking into Paleo more what you said about exercising as well. I've been hearing about both of those books more and more, I think it's time to check them out!

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 18, 2013
at 04:01 AM

That 10-15% is something like: 3 eggs and 1/4 cup ground beef for breakfast, two small cans brisling sardines for lunch (and then fats and vegetables)

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 18, 2013
at 03:58 AM

Paleo doesn't have to be high protein, I eat about 10-15% protein, 65-75% animal fats, and the rest of calories is carbs. High protein is something ridiculous like 35%-40%.

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3 Answers

1
81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

on April 18, 2013
at 02:40 AM

I have type 1 diabetes too :)

No, the kidney failure is only going to happen if you have bad blood sugars, which should improve a-lot if you eat low carb. But another thing to be wary of is that if you are eating low carb and adding in more protein, you may need to start bolusing for your protein aswell. I need to at half the rate I need to bolus for my carbs and I have it set on my pump so that my protein bolus will go in slowly over 1 hour and my carb bolus will go in all at once- straight away. This stops lows after a meal as protein tends to absorb slower, especially if you are eating high fat (which you will be if you are eating low carb).

I strongly suggest you read "Diabetes Solution" by Dr. Bernstein. I have been experimenting with my diet and lifestyle for the past couple of years to get better control.

The 2 things that have helped me improve my control the most are:

LOW CARB and AN INSULIN PUMP

You don't need to transition slowly, I personally found it best to do it all at once because if you are transitioning from SAD to lower carb paleo you will need to adjust your insulin and it is best if you can do this all at once, but every one is different.

Sorry just too add, if you want to lose weight your diet is what matters. Exercise does not help with weight loss, it makes you more hungry and you will end up either eating more in the long run or moving less to make up for the loss of calories. If you eat very low carb (below 30grams a day) you will find it easier to lose weight because you will need to inject less insulin (another good book to read is "Why we get fat", by Gary Taubes) it's not written for type1's but alot of the info in the book is relatable :) It changed the way I think about wweight loss with type 1 any how :) Hope this is helpful

7203077f1d572f7ffc912fdc7ecce767

on April 18, 2013
at 05:24 PM

Thank you very much! I forget the source, but somewhere else online another T1 said that they have to bolus half as much insulin for their protein as they would for their carbs as well. And now I know after looking into Paleo more what you said about exercising as well. I've been hearing about both of those books more and more, I think it's time to check them out!

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 18, 2013
at 07:28 PM

Yes, def check them out :) I think Bernstein comes across as a little closed minded (he doesn't even like insulin pumps!) but i also think hes got it right, he dosen't actually advocate paleo, but you can very easily adapt his diet to paleo by eliminating the fake sugars etc. And if you do want to drop straight into eating only 30grams of carbs a day you could start with 50-60. For me once I drop below 60 grams a day, I notice my blood sugars become more steady :) Im sorry more people haven't responded to you question on this site but you could also try tudiabetes.com :)

27bac964edd249667d0fb749daeeb090

(263)

on April 22, 2013
at 10:49 PM

I second Sarah's post. Dr Bernstein's book is amazing. Whether you do paleo or not, going low-carb / Ketogenic is really the only way for a T1D to have normal A1Cs (i the 4's, yes, in the 4s!) and normal blood sugars. I do a ketogenic diet and thats right where I am at. We've got a bunch of T1D paleo people in this facebook group. I invite you all to join us and discuss more there-- https://www.facebook.com/groups/239697482751440/?fref=ts

0
12403e0264d6f9888305dc9a8be87913

on July 23, 2013
at 01:10 PM

Hey!

I made this switch as well with absolutely amazing results. Don't be scared of it. Just TEST, TEST, TEST. Treat everything you do as an experiment with yourself. You are the expert and you get to make decisions.

I have a blog where I talk a lot about different recipes I use and other things I do that have helped virtually eliminate what was type 1 diabetes from my life. Check it out!

I want to hear more, comment about your experience. I'd love to talk to other people who try this!

http://type1nomore.blogspot.com/

0
C966380b161fff6eee9a1eeddd76326e

on June 14, 2013
at 11:22 AM

I'm surprised more people haven't replied to this, and though the post is a couple of months old I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone in this. I'm a T1d and have been slowly changing over to paleo for around 5 months.

The way I did it was to aim at a primal diet initially, which includes dairy. It definitely made the transition easier to eat cheese and eggs when I was hungry. But now I'm attempting to drop dairy, too since it doesn't suit my skin.

On the primal diet my HbA1c has already dropped from 7 to 6.1.

Whether you tackle it cold turkey or slow and steady depends upon your own resolve, eating <50 carb a day is hard if you are used to conventional methods of eating. My advice would be to aim for 100, then 50, then lower when you are more confident. The weight will drop off more easily once you get <50, and at <100 you shouldn't put any more on. Don't make life hard for yourself, it's already hard enough as T1d.

Don't be scared, and be careful not to over inject (it takes time to find a new level for insulin). Your sugars may be high for a day or two while you adjust to new meal routines, but don't worry about that, it's better in my view to have slightly elevated sugars while you adjust than to be stuffing junk down your neck to stabilise a hypo.

If all diabetics just dropped wheat, sugars, and processed food I guarantee they would feel so much better without the enormous swings in blood glucose these foods cause.

As Sarah says you may have blood highs from too much protein, and I encountered a strange situation where my blood glucose simply wouldn't come down. The remedy believe it or not was to eat a few more carbs and then everything went back to normal. Weird.

I fall off the wagon every now and again, too. I'm only human, so don't feel too bad if that happens. (:

Good luck!

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