Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is when the body is no longer able to produce enough of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin. Type 1 diabetes is treated with injections of the insulin that the body lacks.
The more carbohydrates you eat the greater doses of insulin are needed. This usually makes the blood sugar more difficult to regulate, with higher average blood sugar levels. Many people experience a reduced amount of carbs in the diet which makes it easier to keep blood sugar stable and at normal levels.
Overweight diabetics (both type 1 and type 2) will as a rule lose weight on a low-carbohydrate diet.
But what happens to blood lipids when you eat fewer carbohydrates, and a higher proportion of fat? The fact is that recent studies (contrary to what was previously believed) show clearly improved cholesterol numbers.
Blood pressure also often improves on a low-carbohydrate diet, which is partly, but probably not completely, explained by the weight loss. I have heard of many people who have had to reduce or stop using blood pressure medications, when their blood pressure had dropped too low. A common symptom is then dizziness and a feeling of weakness.
Insulin for people with type 1 diabetes
As a starting point, a reduction of 50% in insulin may be appropriate when on a strict LCHF diet. However, this varies with the individual and it’s not possible to predict how large a reduction is needed. There’s only one reliable way: check your blood sugar as often as possible when changing your diet and adjust doses accordingly.
If you feel unsure, make a gradual transition with a reduction in carbs in your diet over a few days.
After you make the proper adjustments the blood sugar results will usually be significantly more stable, with a decreased risk of hypoglycemia, in addition to other potential benefits on weight and health from lower insulin doses.
To be able to manage entirely without insulin injections in the long run will, in principle, not be possible regardless of how few carbohydrates you eat. However, some people may in the best case maintain well-regulated blood sugar with only basal insulin when on a strict LCHF diet. Mealtime insulin will then be something that’s only used if one makes an exception and eats more carbohydrates.
If blood sugar drops too low
Immediately eat something carbohydrate-rich, such as a fruit or a sandwich. A glass of juice or glucose tablets may also work well. They raise blood sugar. If your blood sugar drops too low you should strongly consider reducing your medication. If you need help doing this contact your doctor.