Type 1 Diabetes and the Banting Diet

On this episode of The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we chat to Prof. Tim Noakes on the issue of whether or not the Banting Diet is suitable for someone who is a type 1 diabetic and find out about risks or precautions when following the Banting Diet.

Risks and Precautions for a type 1 diabetic on the Banting Diet

On this episode we look at whether or not the Banting Diet is suitable for someone who is a type 1 diabetic.

Lucy got in touch and she wanted to know if following the LCHF or Banting Diet would be beneficial for a type 1 diabetic and would there be any risks involved or any precautions that a type 1 diabetic would need to take when following the Banting diet?

Prof. Tim Noakes: Type 1 diabetics can be insulin resistant, or they can be insulin sensitive. That is the only difference. Therefore the insulin may work very well in them because their cells are insulin sensitive.

But if they are insulin resistant as well as being type 1 diabetic, they are not secreting enough insulin – they obviously need to inject more insulin. The more insulin resistant they are, the fatter they will become with injecting insulin.

We generally don’t want diabetics to inject too much insulin because it will cause obesity and other problems if you are insulin resistant. Cutting the carbohydrates is very healthy because it reduces the excess glucose production in the liver which all diabetics have, whether you’re type 1 or type 2.

Following the a LCHF of Banting diet when you’re a type 1 diabetic is very effective. All the clinical trials show that diabetics should not have more than 25 grams of carbohydrate a day if they want to regulate their glucose effectively.

There is one other really important point, that if you are injecting insulin – there is always a 10% error on the calculation. A diabetic will for example, look at their food and say it has 50 grams carbohydrate, therefore I need 4 units of insulin to inject. Now, there is a 10% error on that 4 units.

Therefore, if it is not quite correct, you can go into hypoglycaemia. You can drop your blood glucose. That is actually the biggest risk for a diabetic, acutely. To over-inject insulin. What happens is unfortunately, diabetics are told that they get hypoglycaemia or low blood glucose because they are not taking enough carbohydrate.

This is very important as a type 1 diabetic following the Banting Diet

So what happens is they then take more carbohydrate, inject more insulin, they make a bigger error and they get a bigger hypoglycaemia. What we find is that if patients can reduce their carbohydrate to 25 grams, they immediately reduce their insulin requirements and their error gets smaller.

Therefore, the probability that they will drop their blood glucose and get a horrible hypoglycaemia is much less. That is the second reason why the LCHF or Banting diet is so good for type 1 diabetes.

You reduce your insulin requirements and you reduce your risk of hypoglycemias. Which are the real acute problems for people with type 1 diabetes.

The answer then to Lucy is yes, this is the diet for type 1 diabetes. She mustn’t listen unfortunately to the advice of the diabetes associations which say that you need carbohydrate if you have type 1 diabetes. You do not.

You already have a liver which is over producing glucose, you do not need to stress it more or stress your system more by adding more glucose.

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