Adam Brown, Senior Editor of diaTribe and fellow type 1 whom I much admire, wrote a fascinating article about his lo-carb/hi-carb eating experiment. Here is the link.
Adam found that by doubling his carbohydrate intake, his blood sugar average was the same as when he follows his usual low carbohydrate meal plan. He was surprised, and so was I frankly reading his post.
But this is what was different – he experienced four times as much hypoglycemia on his high carb diet, a lot more guessing regarding his blood sugars and insulin dosing, a lot more work managing his diabetes and a lot more stress.
Insulin is a dangerous drug, and doubling my carbs required 34% more every day. Large-carb meals also required two to five times more insulin in a single dose. My typical lower-carb meals needed one or two units at a time to cover vegetables, nuts, protein, and a bit of fruit – all raise glucose in small increments (+20 to +60 mg/dl) over a couple hours. By contrast, higher carb meals – even whole grains – often required five- and eight-unit boluses. Insulin has been called the second most dangerous drug (after the blood thinner warfarin), and insulin errors cause more than 97,000 hypoglycemia hospitalizations each year. I see value in taking smaller doses.
Adam’s article confirms my own long-held belief shared by many type 1s, that eating low carb makes our blood sugars easier to manage, keeps us in range more of the time and requires less insulin.
Whenever I’m off my low carb routine, times particularly when I’m traveling and can’t control my food, I feel like I’m chasing my numbers all day long. The typical American diet for me requires two to three times more insulin for each meal.
No matter how much you know about blood sugar management, you’ll find this experiment and post enlightening.
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