Real Life Testimonial: Controlling Type 1 Diabetes with the Paleo diet

This is part of an ongoing series of real life success stories from people all over the world who have been impacted by the Paleo lifestyle and The Paleo Solution. Read Kyp’s story below.

Hello,

My name is Kyp and I am a type 1 diabetic born on the 5th of May 1990 and diagnosed early August 2009. I wanted to contact you in regards to how eating a low carb paleo diet has helped me with my type 1 diabetes.

I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

Late 2008-August 2009. Over the course of the past nine months I had changed from a chubby 102 kilogram teenager who plays too many video games and ate too many Big Macs to several months later becoming a muscular and active (6 gym sessions per week) 92 kilogram young man. I thought that by adhering to the nutritional recommendations I was doing everything in my power to achieve an enlightened state of health. I simultaneously continued to lean out, six months later becoming a frail and disturbingly lean 70 kilogram male who looked like he needed to be sat down, force fed and watched to ensure he did not try to regurgitate what he had just swallowed.

Type 1 diabetes and the Paleo diet

I had been losing weight at a steady pace, somewhere in the vicinity of none at all to half a kilo per week until June. Once June hit my weight began to drop at an alarming rate, anywhere from 1 to 2 and a half kilos per week. Me being me I put this down to my increased effort with my highly intensive physical labour in the mornings, eating a ‘healthy’ diet full of whole grains, milk for calcium and protein, lots of potatoes and pasta in the evenings with some red or white meat, and an increased frequency of cardio vascular exercise. I was drinking gallons of water per day which I thought was due to the amount of exercise I was doing and I had began to grow increasingly tired in the evenings. I was slowly going to bed earlier and earlier getting an extra 2 to 2 and a half hours of sleep per night. I would wake constantly (every hour on the hour) and need to urinate. I would drink a half a glass of water and go back to sleep thinking nothing more of it as I thought that water is simply good for the body and the more you can drink the better.

August 2009 rolled around and my parents had invited me to go on a week long holiday with them to Fiji. I was exhausted from exerting myself so hard with work (or so at the time I thought was the reason) and took them up on their offer. On the flight over I drunk something like four cans of Coke (it was holiday time so I was relaxing on the diet and enjoying myself) and a bottle or two of water. My parents commented on the amount of liquid I was consuming with my father even telling me it was disgusting whilst having a dirty look on his face.

I had an unquenchable thirst. If losing 30 kilograms in nine months with the majority of it coming in the past several wasn’t clue enough this certainly should have been.

Sick in Fiji

We arrived at our hotel in Fiji. I had my own room and I started going to town on the ice cream, burgers and fries whilst having pina colada or two. After a day or two, food started to taste rotten, I still could not quench my thirst and I had lost all appetite. It was at this stage my mother asked if I’d like her to book me an appointment with a doctor. I agreed and the first available time was two or three days away.

I continued to try to force food down my throat as it tasted more and more rotten. I was growing increasingly exhausted despite being on holiday and I was still unable to quench my thirst.

The last night before the doctor’s appointment rolled around and it was HORRIBLE. I would wake every couple of hours with crippling stomach cramps. Now I’ve never broken a bone or had a tattoo or anything but these things were some of the worst pain I’d ever felt. I would wake in the pitch black and end up rolling off of my bed onto the floor due to not being able to get a break. These things were killing me. I have no idea why they happened. They’d never done so before and they never have since so I never bothered asking.

Morning time came and my father came to get me to take me to the doctor. I was unable to walk at this stage from being so weak so I had one arm over his shoulder whilst I slowly hobbled out to reception so we could get a taxi.

Diagnosis

We arrived at the doctors and I had to be wheel chaired in at this stage. I sat waiting in the lobby until it was my turn to see the doctor. We discussed with them the symptoms and they then put an IV drip into my arm. Oh my god!! I don’t know if it actually works this way but I could just feel my arm being refreshed slowly upwards from the point at which it was inserted. The doctor then told me I had type 1 diabetes. At this stage I didn’t care. Just keep the damn drip in!!

They then put me into an ambulance and took me to their hospital where I had to wait some more. This place was FILTHY. Dirt everywhere, blood dripping all over the floor, no real privacy.

I got put into a room there where my parents waited with me. The nurse came and asked me to give her a urine sample (testing for ketones I suspect?) which I did. I laid back down and slept for I believe what was an hour or two which was absolutely great for me but must have been a rather nerve wracking time for my parents as I don’t believe any of us knew what diabetes actually was at this stage.

The doctor finally came through, explained to us what diabetes is and how to manage it and that there is no known cause, preventative action or cure for it. “It could be genetic or it could just be something in the wind.”

We got back to the hotel what must have been that afternoon and I had the best sleep of my life. My father came and woke me for dinner, gave me my injection and then I was out to it for another 15 or so hours. I awoke hungry, without thirst and, thanks to the medication the doctors had given me for a tongue infection I’d contracted (apparently due in part to the diabetes), able to breathe without a rotten taste in my mouth.

Recovery

Fast forward six months I was back up to a healthy and muscular 82 kilos. I had put on 10 kilo of muscle in that first six weeks after being diagnosed and things were starting to look good. I began to eat OSM bars (because they gave one third of all your recommended daily requirements of nutrients), Subway twice a day (because bread is a staple food so it must be good for you), and changing my Weetabix for rolled oats (because whole grains are healthy right?). The diabetic clinic called me a “star patient” due to my exercising six days per week and following such a healthy diet coupled in fact with my rigorous high frequency of injections and low volume of insulin.

Then I found CrossFit.

CrossFit would be what I would consider to be a revolution in exercise. No more two to three hour gym sessions. No more doing cardio 5 times per week for 45 minutes to 2 hours at a time. No more arm curls. No more leg press. No more machines.

No, CrossFit was different. All these exercises I’d been told was dangerous I was being taught. They taught me how to clean. They taught me how to snatch. They taught me how to jerk. They taught me how to squat, and I mean REALLY squat. No more of this knee bending, no further than parallel stuff (as if I ever got anywhere close!). We were going RIGHT down. Hips bellow parallel, toes pointed out, arms and chest up, tight lumbar curve and pushing the knees outward whilst always being able to wiggle our toes due to having the “weight through the heels”.

CrossFit was all about being ready for the unknown and the unknowable. About increasing you work capacity and your power out put over short periods of time as well as longer periods of time. And it did this by giving you a constant variety of functional movements, teaching you the mechanics of such movements to the point you can do them consistently and then increasing the intensity to a high, unsustainable level. You had to learn not to be afraid of failure. If you fail, so what? You have nothing to prove to anybody but yourself. Just throw the weight on the bar and see what happens. See if you can’t do another rep before dropping off the pull up bar. See if you can’t run that little bit faster, or do fifty unbroken double-unders instead of five sets of ten.

CrossFit changed my perspective on a lot of things in life. Things weren’t as black and white as what I had been led to believe and this caused me to open my eyes and mind to all sides of any given story.

Enter Paleo

There was a top tier of athletes starting to emerge at the CrossFit box I was currently attending and we were getting through some work, but as is the case with all aspects of my life I always want to be the best so I started researching the top CrossFit athletes in the world and what they were eating to fuel their efforts. I found a common link amongst many of them that they were eating this thing called ‘Paleo’. “What’s a ‘Paleo’?” I wondered so I googled it. Turns out that this was the way cavemen ate in Paleolithic times. “But cavemen lived short brutish lives did they not?” Yes they did and this was due in part to the fact that you either hunt or you be hunted. You break a leg from falling off a cliff and you might as well be dead. There were no hospitals back then. There were no doctors. And there was nobody telling them they should be eating “healthy whole grains and plenty of calcium” everyday.

Our Paleolithic ancestors were strong, tall, lean and muscular. They had minimal signs, if any; of the many diseases we now face today. Why? Because there were no legumes back then. There was no dairy, and there were certainly no grains. It wasn’t until the advent of agriculture that the problems of these many diseases started to become apparent. The things we consider staples in our diet today (breads, cereals, pastas, milk, potatoes) just weren’t around until agriculture. We became too smart for our own good and as such the likes of our agricultural ancestors began to shrink in size. The density of their bones was so much less and the likes of tooth cavities became so much more frequent.

So what does this have to do with me? Well I then googled ‘Paleo Diabetes Type 1’ and came across a site and a post from a man by the name of Robb Wolf. It read, “Robb, I emailed you about a month or so ago. I just want to give you an update on my situation: I’ve lost about 15-20lbs. I’ve taken no insulin for 5 weeks and I’m type 1 Diabetic!. Because of my strict paleo diet(gluten and dairy free) my a1c is not going to be much higher than when I was taking crap load of insulin. My glucose has really stabilized in the low 100s (100-125) and I haven’t had a low at all during this time nor have I had extreme highs like when I was taking so much insulin. My blood pressure has dropped tremendously and my Internist thinks that my pancreas has jumped started again, because even when I have had a cheat meal my blood is responding in a completely different manner. We are going to do a c-peptide test again. I’ve also started to incorporate better sleeping patterns (trying to get 9-10 hours) and my fasting glucose is even better (lower) than before.”

I now had every reason to start and no reason not to. So I gave it a go. And as is always the case with myself, I threw myself straight into the deep end. Beef sausages with salad and olive oil for breakfast. Lamb chops and almonds for mid morning meal. Steak and almonds for lunch. Protein shake with banana both pre and post workout. Chicken breast with salad and olive oil for dinner.

Monday to Friday. Minimal insulin requirements, increased energy levels and sense of awareness, and several kilograms of weight loss.

Saturday morning. I finish training. Take my half a unit of insulin to account for the banana I’m about to consume. Half an hour late I’m hypoglycaemic. Take another banana. Ten minutes later still hypo. Consume another banana. Ten minutes later still hypo. One more banana. Ten minutes later my blood glucose has returned to a more level and I start to get excited with the prospect that I may have just had a remission in my supposedly incurable Type 1 diabetes.

Since then I have increased my work output dramatically, my numbers with the lifts are going up and my weight seems to be steady at a healthy, muscular and lean 83kg whilst being 6’.

Now I’m not saying that I am cured. Nor am I saying that everybody will get the same results (Robb Wolf stating that only 5% of his Type 1 Diabetic patients see a return in pancreatic function). What I am saying is that so long as I adhere to the conditions of a Paleolithic diet (Grain, Dairy and Legume free), train with a smart amount of frequency (Four to Five times per week. Anything more begins to become a bit much) and get good amounts of sleep (aiming for 8 – 9 and a half hours per night in a pitch black room) then my pancreas seems to produce insulin and prevent me from having to depend upon external sources.

I have strayed from this diet in the past and sometimes my pancreas stops creating insulin for a week, other times it has stopped for several months on end (the most recent case being the longest). My pancreas has of two days ago started to create insulin again and this time I am not going to abuse it by experimenting with different foods to the extent and volume I have in the past. One thing I have noticed with myself though is that my body HATES the sweetener ‘Malitol’ and I will be trying to stay away from this at all costs (It is a major ingredient in a lot of sugar free items along with ‘Sorbitol’)

All I can recommend for others is to just try it for thirty days, see how you look, feel and perform and go from there. It’s not a hard diet, you just don’t eat specific things. And hey, if you come to find that it works for you then that’s great, if not, then all you’ve missed out on is specific foods for thirty days.

What have you got to lose?

Kyp

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Categories: Autoimmunity (RA, Lupus, MS), Diabetes, Paleo Testimonials

paleo-transformation

Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.

Comments

  1. Squatchy says

    Big congrats, that’s awesome!
    For someone with Type 1 diabetes to regain pancreatic function is amazing, especially just with dietary changes. “It’s almost like this stuff actually works” :)

  2. says

    Awesome Kyp. I’m also a type 1 and my story is very similar to yours! I came down with diabetes at age 26, and a few years later got into Crossfit and Paleo… it changed my life and got me very healthy.
    Shoot me an email, would love to talk more about this stuff– andariegoblog@gmail.com

  3. Stacy says

    I’m blown away by your story, it’s truly inspirational! I wish more people would take control of their particular health issues like you did.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Lauren says

      Type 1 Diabetes is not a “health issue”, it is a disease. Also, everyone, this story could very well be accurate, but he will not be able to live out his life “cured” like this. Just sayin.

  4. says

    I would just caution to take care of what you have left of your pancreas. You are blessed to be in the honeymoon period, and you should preserve that at all cost…

    Unfotunately, there is no replacement for insulin therapy later on. Once you have started, it is a progression to total dependance on insulin. Whether that is 1 week down the road, or the end of your lifetime, that is up to you!

  5. Vanessa says

    Thank you for telling your story. That was very interesting. Keep up the good work, you have produced your own miracle-cure.

  6. says

    It is well proved that a low carb diet can help you control blood sugar. However, we need insulin to live but type 1’s produce very little or none and in this case your suggestions are unclear!

  7. Mark says

    I’m somewhere between a Type 1 and a Type 2. Having RA ( a nasty auto-immune disease), has not helped my pancreas. Slowly over time it has started to burn out. I’ve been controlling my diabetes with food and exercise but my RA was getting worse (due no doubt to the crap I was eating) and my fasting blood sugars were rising to 150 in the morning. Started paleo three weeks ago – fasting sugars are back to 95 and are remaining between there and 125. Feeling much more energy – RA flaring has been reduced dramatically (that could also be from the 3x increase in fish oil that I started consuming). So this health plan does work and congrats for getting your issues under control!

    Mark

  8. Sly says

    To preserve your pancreas you probably should use insulin. It is proven that this can lenghtnen pancreas lifetime.
    I am also diabetic, very similar situation to yours. Now that I know insulin is good I started using it again.It has drawbacks, for example ocassional hypos, but I’ve chosen this path.
    BTW, I’m not strictly Paleo but close.

  9. says

    I think it’s truly amazing that people can gain such control over a serious disease like type I diabetes with diet and exercise alone. It makes me wonder how much money we could save on healthcare if there was a way to make this diet sustainable for the majority of the population.

    -Kris

  10. sara says

    WOW! Very inspiring! I have a newly diagnosed 5 yr old and have been searching and searching onn just anything that will help! They say he has a “rare” case? He has 2 antibodies that are negative and only 1 that’s positive….hmm we just keep praying against it. Your story has deeply moves me! Thank you for that!!

  11. Beki says

    Hi,

    I recently got diagnosed with type 1, a couple of weeks after suffering a real emotional trauma. I’ve been following the paleo diet for about 2 months now, but am having problems as I dont need to take insulin to stay within normal range, but i’m afraid of getting ketoacidosis.
    Can a ‘diabetic’ go into ketoacidosis if their sugar levels are normal? I cant ask any of my health care team as they are so anti what I want to do, and just keep telling me I must eat more carbs than anyone else….
    its so frustrating. If I even look at gluten, my blood sugars soar.
    Does anybody have any advice about this, I really cant keep taking the insulin, it makes me feel so unwell (palpitations, burning sensation in my feet and legs, panic attacks)
    my emails is freebirdsflying@gmail.com thankyou so, so much.

      • Beki says

        Thankyou Robb, I will check that out now. I just havent found the right balance right, and probably not even the right diagnosis. I have something wrong with my adrenal glands, but the doctors here are totally disinterested. I havent even had a test done on my pancreas. Health system in the UK is not the best! I’ll let you all know how I get on. Thanks for getting the information out there, you are a god send.

    • Gayle Weed says

      Beki,
      I don’t know if you got your question answered, but Nno, I don’t believe a diabetic can go into Ketoacidosis if their blood sugars are within the normal range. It takes consistent high sugars to cause that.
      And I totally know what you mean about not wanting to ask your doctor. I’m in the same boat. He totally disagrees with me going paleo. If it isn’t “traditional” it’s wrong. They think they everything down to a science that will work for everyone and if your sugars are not well managed, then you’re doing something wrong. Well, I say, their way sure isn’t working for me, so why should I continue with it?
      Good luck to you!

  12. says

    Hello Mark.

    Just purchased your book. I have read Protein Power, and Dr Cordains literature, and I am a fan of “The Primal BluePrint” all great reads.

    As a Type 1 of 28 years I mix Paleo with Dr Bersteins “Diabetes Solution” which assists with the Diabetes side of diet. Must read for all PWD(People with Diabetes)

    I do believe this fellow above, was indeed in the honeymoon phase but his story is truely remarkable and of benifit to any and all PWD.

    My insulin requirements have been cut by 50 % due to the reduction in CHO and I am doing the 30 day challenge on day 5 – and feeling Fab!!!

    Thanks for your writing, and reasearch and hopefully knew found focus on changing the views of the thousands of Profs, MD’s, and other health providers who preach the conventional ideology about food, it is long over due.

    Cheers!

    Trev

  13. Tiffany says

    Can any one tell me what does it mean when my son has a blood sugar of 141 at 10pm and then checked him at 3am and it was 400. He did not eat anything and the doctor had him on Lantus 24 hour insulin and then had problems one day so switched it to Levemir to try. He also is on Novolog for his meals. It did awesome for 2 weeks and then had problems again. I switched it back to the Lantus myself and it was better for awhile and now I am having problems again. He was 4 when he was diagnosed and he turned 8 yesterday. I get so frustrated I could cry and often find myself praying asking for help because I worry so much over his body and what the long term effect is.

    • jodi says

      Hi there,

      I had a similar problem with Lantus. I was taking 4 units in the morning but it was actually too much for me so I was going low in the night (but I wasn’t aware of it). My doctor had me wake up around 3 – 4 in the morning to test if I was low. I was surprised to find that I was low because around 9:00 in the morning I would be quite high, without eating anything the entire night! My doctor said what happens that sometimes in the night, if you go low, your liver will shoot out insulin all of the sudden! So when you get up later with a high reading, it makes no sense.

      I’ve changed my Lantus down to 2 units and I haven’t had those early morning lows turning to highs later on because of the liver. I am very sensitive to insulin, some people are more sensitive than others. For mealtimes I use a pediatric pen for half unit doses. I have an amazing doctor – I hope yours can help you sort this out! Best of luck!

    • Diana says

      Your son may be a type 1 brittle diabetic. Only 2 percent of diabetics are type 1 brittle. I am in this case your sugar levels continually go up and down for no reason at all. It’s very frustrating, hang in there!!

    • Dominik says

      Hi Tiffany,
      I recommend you get your hands on a book called The Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein. He’s a type 1 diabetic himself, so he has a first hand perspective on diabetes unlike most other doctors out there because he’s lived with it for over 64 years. The book will give you and your son the basics you’ll need to know in order to control blood sugar levels (regardless if you’re dealing with type 1 or type 2 diabetes). If you are not able to acquire a copy, I’d be happy to send you one. Just let me know. Once you have that base knowledge down, it’ll really put you at ease and you’ll feel a lot more confident in giving something like the paleo diet a try.

      I’m currently on Levemir to cover my basal needs, and Humalog via a pump for meal boluses. I usually use a combination of a regular bolus and a square wave bolus to cover the slow digesting protein in my meals. Remember, some protein slowly converts to glucose in the body, so you will need to cover that with insulin.

      This is the ratio that works for me, but you may have to experiment a little to find what works for you. I typically do 0.7 (so there’s no confusion, that’s zero point seven) units of humalog for every 10 grams of protein I consume, whether it be eggs, chicken, or beef/veal/lamb/etc.

      For me, the less carbs I eat, the better my blood sugars get. In fact, yesterday I had my first “no carb” day (actually, it was only 2g net carbs – minus fiber: carbs were comprised of a bit of fresh spinach, fresh dill, and beet greens) and I have never had better blood sugars in the entire 22 years I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes. They stayed between 71 and 114 all day, with the exception of when I did an intense workout, which temporarily raised it to 140.

      Maintaining stable blood sugars can be difficult, but it’s usually possible (unless there are other underlying conditions that have not been treated yet, so you have to take that into account). But otherwise, yes, it’s most definitely possible, but you’re going to have to try something different if you want different results.

      There’s no harm in trying SUPER low-carb/paleo for a few days to see how it’ll impact your son’s blood sugars. Have him give it a shot. The only thing he has to lose are those high blood sugar levels. I know I don’t miss mine! : )

  14. Mark says

    Hi guys,

    I’m starting Crossfit this week and have been doing some research on Paleo, but struggling to get my head around it and how it works – Amber – could I possibly contact Kyp and ask him specific questions I have? Would you be able to send me his email? I’d really appreciate it, thanks!

  15. Pete says

    Hi, this sounds amazing so well done. I am posting because my brother is a Type I diabetic of some 25+ years, but recently he has started getting bleeds in his eye at random times (i can’t remember the technical term for this) i think due to being in hypoglycaemia too much.
    I feel he is a bit of a stress head and this in my opinion is not helping one bit. His doctors are talking about injections to stop the bleeds because he is too young for surgery options. I am wary about this and don’t trust all the English NHS advice.
    I have limited knowledge on nutrition and Diabetes myself but i am going through the internet and books i have to try and find possible solutions to help him. The Paleo or at least a low carb approach does seem to make sense to me but i’d love more information and websites to read that i can trust. Has anyone got any other good nuggets of info or blogs etc that i could get my teeth into?

    Any help is much appreciated!
    Thanks

  16. melissa says

    Hi there,
    My son Max aged 10 has type one diabetes-diagnosed 8 months ago.
    He was having regular hypo’s while we tried to stablise him and found we were having to carb load to match the insulin recommended by his specialist.

    Now 99% of the time he is on a paelo diet-A difficult feat for a child.Im not entirely convinced this is the best thing for a 10 year child concidering brain development relies on glucose.

    Does anyone have any comments that could help?

    Thanks :)

  17. Anna says

    @melissa: I understand your concerns. I have the same regarding my child, wanting to move her to Paleo but not knowing the implications of lowering carbs for a 1-year-old.

    That said, it seems like common sense to me that the diet currently recommended by “authorities” is more carb-heavy than required by human beings. Bread, pasta and other processed high carb foods – even whole grain – just seem like overkill when you really think about it.

    Remember that there are carbohydrates in lower-carb foods on the Paleo diet such as fruits and vegetables. These supply glucose but not in the extremely high amounts you get in starchy processed foods, while delivering far more nutrients and fiber than empty starches/sugars. Also, protein is converted into glucose when needed, albeit more slowly than starch or sugar. And fat seems to be a great energy source. I keep all of this in mind when planning meals for my kid. Admittedly she is not diabetic so my concerns are not (yet) as great as yours.

  18. tiffany says

    My son is 9 and has had type one diabietes since he was 6 years old. He has been hospitalised after having a dka on one occasion. Although i would do anything to find a cure and end his suffering. I think that people should not go against the advice given by there diabetic team. My son was in the honeymoon period for nearly a year and i even started to believe he had been wrongly diagnoised. But unfortunatly this was not the case. He takes 14 units of levimer a day and Nova Rapid with every meal. At times i find myself at breaking point to try and control his blood sugar levels. But i would never risk replacing his insulin with a diet. People please be careful do not put your childs life at risk listen to the experts. And just keep the faith that one day there will be a real cure x

  19. Elizabeth says

    As a mother to a 6yr old type 1 diabetic who has been diagnosed for 5yrs this entire website concerns me… as a response to a few comments on this page… yes a diabetic can and will go into DKA with normal glucose levels… I know this from experience. Your brain and body NEED glucose to function properly. When your body does not have glucose to use for energy it uses fat instead, when it does this it makes an acidic by product called ketones, these ketones are the exact same in Ketoacidosis and ketosis, when the level of ketones becomes to high it throws of the pH balance of your blood, now keep in mind our bodies can only function properly within a very small range of pH so having something like ketones mess with your pH is going to do damage regardless of if its ketosis or ketoacidosis the only difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is ketosis happens when you eat fatty foods and that is what your body uses for energy, ketoacidosis is when your body uses fat stores already in your body… its dangerous either way, now I know some people choose to use ketosis for weight loss or whatever it is they think they gain from it, however because people who do this dont completely remove all forms of glucose from their diet and their body produces insulin on its own the levels of ketones do not reach that of a type 1 diabetic if you sustain from insulin with a low carb diet, yes your bg numbers will look good but are you checking your blood for ketones? you should be if you even consider any form of low carb diet. I would like very much to see a study done on this where c-peptide levels are monitored throughout the study, if it works then great but please be informed that this is probably not a wise venture to take with a child as the risks can be very great. But if you do, then do it responsibly and keep an eye on ketone levels as well as glucose levels, in the event of elevated ketones I would strongly suggest romoving your child from the diet.

  20. Andrea says

    In response to going into keto… Isn’t that when you lower your carbs too much? I thought that’s when the liver would take from your own bodies sugar supply and basically dump a huge load of sugar into the bloodstream.. in which case, you’d want to make sure there was a regular meal pattern in place including healthy (Paleo approved:)) carbs, no?

    I have a newly diagnosed 5 year old with type 1… we’re 90% Paleo and doing other therapies to compliment this (metal detox, chinese meds from someone I know and trust implicitly). His numbers within 15 days were that of a normal, non diabetic adult and the doctors had to take him off insulin because we were having too many lows… we’re consulting with a nutritionist all the way to make sure he’s getting enough carbs, but we’re making the carbs from whole foods only, not grains… (we’re cheating with one piece of spelt toast in the mornings). And to be honest… the carbs suggested by the dietician at the hospital are way out of whack with what is being suggested to us after more in depth consultation based on his age and weight and my husbands and my age/weight/height… I think every situation is unique, but if all this does is prolong a honeymoon period and you are being aware, healthy and cautious all the way… then isn’t that worth it in the longterm? We can certainly hope it’s more than an extended honeymoon too.. why not reach for the stars? As for those who keep posting that you HAVE to take insulin… I just find it hard to dream big and try harder to accomplish great things when those around you keep bringing you down. Yes, we have to be realistic and safe and smart about this… but years ago, people also thought the world was flat…

    • Jayne says

      I agree with a lot of what you have written (I came here after searching for confirmation that a Paleo diet is safe for a Type 1 after all). However, I think the people who are saying that you HAVE to take insulin are referring to the ones that are hoping to treat Type 1 based on diet and exercise alone (and NOT in honeymoon period) which is dangerous, as you would effectively be starving yourself of glucose which is needed for cell respiration; there is no way for glucose to enter your cells otherwise.
      And it’s widely considered a myth that people thought the world was flat!

  21. Jo says

    Although my son gets much better blood sugar numbers and more even numbers ,he stilhas to take insulin. He has lowered hs insulin but no way could he do without it .we have to dose for his protein ,.we ave it figured out now that we must count half of the grams of protein as carbs or hs sugar will be high .so if his hamburger patty has 20 grams we dose for 10 . He eats fruits and veggies just no processed foods

  22. Victoria Cubitt says

    Hi there! wow this is absolutely incredible to come across. My name is Victoria and I am a type 1 diabetic doing crossfit and following the Paleo diet. I have seen EXACTLY the same results and can relate completely to your story. I have been taking 1 unit of insulin a day (previously I was on 63 units or more and 5 injections a day) and now that one injection to be too much, and now im thinking I don’t even need it!I have avoided all foods that effect my blood sugars but it wasn’t until going paleo that I realised that this is the ultimate diet for a type 1 diabetic! keep up the good work! cant believe how similar our story is

  23. Masha says

    Good stories. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 6 months ago. I manage it pretty good. Sometimes I get high but it’s my fault. My diatitian said I can eat anything I want but I don’t think it’s right. Just a week ago I quit eating bread and I wa able to keep my sugar under a 100. I have insulin pump and before I was getting 32 units per day. Now it’sdown to 22 units. I really want to build muscle but sometimes I get scared because i know my blood sugar can drop. It happened to me a few times. My sugar dropped to 34 and I thought I was going to die. So I get discouraged because of that. But reading articles helps me to get motivated and believe in myself

  24. Elaine says

    YES you can absolutely go into DKA with normal blood sugars. Your blood sugar is not what causes DKA, it’s the fact that insulin is not bringing the glucose to your brain/body. Regardless of what your blood sugar may be, if you’re not taking any insulin, necessary glucose is not leaving your bloodstream to properly fuel your body.

  25. says

    Hi there, my son aged 33 was diagnosed last May with Diabetis type 1 and also suffers bouts of acute pancreatitis…He hasnt quite got his head around it and uses insulin twice a day…He still thinks he can drink alcohol as no one has told him to stop. He was recently admitted into hospital with panceatitis problems and on a morphine drip for a week before he got out…It was suggested he stayed off fatty foods, which they think may have caused his prblem…He doesnt seem to be getting the support he needs from the doctors and hospitals…What is considered fatty foods for his condition, he lives on his own so its more difficult for him to grab something quick when hes hungry and just home from work.. Any suggestions

  26. Danielle says

    1. there is no miracle cure, there is very good control and management
    2. you cannot be somewhere between a type 1 and a type 2 diabetic, you are either pre-diabetic, type1 diabetic or type 2 diabetic
    3. half of this post makes no sense and sends a lot of mixed signals and dangerous messages
    4. you do not “maintain your pancreas function by eating healthy” with type 1 diabetes your pancreas will in fact die and give out at some point, your honeymoon phase can last a few years but most certainly will leave you insulin dependent,
    5. TELL THE TRUTH any type 1 diabetic ( honeymoon phase or not) can control, weight, stabilize blood glucose levels, physical fitness, mood swings, thirst, and fatigue with diet and exercise this is not a miracle diet this is simply proper nutrition not even just for a diabetic, for everyone!
    6. YOU ARE ALL IGNORANT.
    7. TYPE 1 DIABETES IS FAR DIFFERENT FROM TYPE 2 and as stated above from the only rational person on this page, it’s not a “health issue” ITS A DIESIS! blowing your nose constantly is a health issue, a yeast infection, a cold all health issues…

    just thought this post could use a little dose of reality…

    • Squatchy says

      So…if type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, and the pancreas is being damaged by the autoimmune attack and therefore not able to produce insulin properly, would it not make sense that if the autoimmune attack were stopped in time before the pancreas was too far gone and it still had function that maybe type 1 diabetes could be stopped? We’ve heard from multiple type 1 diabetic people who have been able to stop taking insulin after going on a low carb paleo diet. That’s of course not always the case, as some people probably have too much damage and will have to stay on insulin, but there are usually improvements to be seen regardless. It’s not a miracle diet or anything magic, it’s just taking out problematic foods that cause inflammation, are implicated in autoimmune diseases, and require a lot of insulin. That just makes sense.

  27. Danielle says

    and another thing! you absolutely can eat anything you want ! WITHIN REASON!!!!!!! you can save your carb servings from the day and splurge a little once in a while I had red velvet cake tonight because I skipped the mash potatoes at dinner, the toast at breakfast, and saved them for dessert, BUT NOT EVERYNIGHT AND NOT ALL DAY LONG CAN YOU EAT ” whatever you want”
    cutting carbs out completely is dangerous and if your going to exercise you need atleast 1 carb serving before hand and a small amount of protein to maintain glucose levels while working out, the carbs help keep your blood sugar enough to prevent hypoglycemia, while the protein, helps build muscle and intern burn fat! DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE!!!!

    • Squatchy says

      For some people (like those with serious autoimmune conditions) eating something like cake could throw them off for days or weeks. So no, not everyone can eat whatever they want in reason without consequences.

  28. Danielle says

    with in reason means know first of all your proportions and second of all how your own body responds to the foods you take in, it’s an art not a science. you are correct it is though for those of us with autoimmune, as a type 1 diabetic I deal with it on a daily bases but this kid is a moron giving dangerous advice. eating responsibly and within reason and knowing your body you really can eat what ever you like, WITH IN REASON, which ones again means not every day not as much as you want and not without knowing how to dose for it.

  29. says

    Hi there everyone, I’m a new visitor to this site and potentially new Paleo, with T1D for 30 years, and I’m 43. I cut out most gluten, dairy, egg, and soy last spring and have seen great improvements and weight loss since then. But the thought of going Paleo is actually scary to me, as I’ve been so long in the mindset of grains & beans are good, and I can’t stand being hypoglycemic. Once time my endo said that I should not eat a high-protein diet; not sure why she said that but perhaps because of strain on the kidneys? Anyway, I’m just looking for someone with experiences similar to mine. Have you gone Paleo and still have good lab results when you go to the endo?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Ellen, after nine-months on paleo, 30g of carb a day, using three types of insulin, my wife’s HgbA1C went from 7.0% to 4.5%. You can see the lab results here: http://diabeticdharma.com/type-1-diabetic-achieves-a-4-5-hgba1c/

      Excess protein can be a problem for failing kidneys. But high blood sugars are far, far worse for failing kidneys. There’s no comparison. The best diet isn’t so much high-protein, as high-fat, anyway.

      As far as hypoglycemia goes, my wife has never done better. She very scared of going low, also. However, because a low carb diet requires little insulin, you are never going to go really low if you make a miscalculation. Insulin makes you low, not lack of carbs.

      And because your body is burning mainly fat for fuel (instead of glucose) when you do go low it doesn’t feel that bad. My wife has accidentally gone down to 1.7 mmol/L (36 mg/DL) and could still talk, walk and yell at me.

  30. says

    Very well written and gripping story. My wife has seen the same results from following a paleo diet — after 30 years of type-1 diabetes.

    Two things I think need to be said, here, though:

    First, a blood sugar of 100-125 is too high. Study after study shoes that such a blood sugar will make one very susceptible to various diseases. It’ll also probably burn out any remaining beta cells. Far wiser to take a small dose of basal insulin (like Levemir) and maintain a normal blood sugar.

    Secondly, the low blood sugars with intense exercises is very common even amongst type 1 diabetics who produce no insulin. Exercise seems to bypass the need for insulin. There are various theories about why this is. My wife needs to take 4g of sugar every 15 minutes of intense exercise and 30 minutes of non-intense exercise (e.g. walking or housework). She doesn’t produce any of her own insulin.

    Also, the reason the banana wasn’t helping is because it’s mainly made of fructose. Insulin works on glucose. It takes time for the body to convert fructose into glucose. Using fruit to deal with low blood sugars usually results in high blood sugars 1-2 hours later. Carrot juice or glucose tablets are far more effective in our experience.

    While Paleo is an essential program for balancing blood sugars, there are many other factors. Reading Dr. Bernstein’s book is critical for any type-1 diabetic: http://www.diabeticdharma.com/ds

    I think a wiser goal isn’t to live without insulin injections (though I’m all for that if you can), it’s to have a normal blood sugar. I don’t mean to criticize the efforts and information here. It’s excellent and far, far better than what any endo would tell you. But I did think that these other fine points need to be mentioned.

    • says

      John-
      We refrence Dr. Bernstein extensively and do address some of your concerns in other posts on Type 1. What is interesting is we see dramatically ELEVATED sugars from folks doing CF and are type 1, likely doe to thee cortisol response but no insulin to control that ping to the liver.

  31. Brittle Type 1 says

    Be careful not to cloud your judgement about the human body because you think that a diet change can Cure Type 1 Diabetes. I only jump in on this discussion because I Truly have Empathy for what a lot of you have been going through. I also Abundantly Care About You and your future success with your health and your children’s health moving forward. I don’t know any of you but in reading some of your struggles I feel as though I truly do. A healthy diet change will obviously help the human body in many Amazing Ways as it always has. Bob Marley is a bright positive light who I have always loved and admired. He once said,”An educated man is a fool” and that’s completely understandable coming from the clarity of his vision and life experience but in this case I believe education about the body’s function is the ultimate key to life and longevity when related to (already) having Type 1 Diabetes. Does that mean I don’t struggle with my Type 1 Diabetes? Does that mean I have found the answers to better life and living and managing this disease? Other than staying super Positive and being very grateful and feeling abuntantly blessed I would have to say, Obsoletely Not. I think I have had more ambulance rides and hospital/clinic visits than most of all of my friends combined. But I am Grateful for life and living. I just wanted to clarify and educate some people on this topic that may not have the access to the information I had or are possibly new to this disease. In this clarity of enlightenment on this discussion of diet change Not Being the cure lets remember I am Only discussing Type 1 Diabetes with a dormant pancreas(one that does not function) after the fact that you have already started on a insulin plan with your doctor. Diet Success is obviously a totally different story with type 2 diabetes ONLY because a type 2 diabetics pancreas is still functioning and creating daily insulin in return creating daily glucose in the body. Once again, Don’t get me wrong. I Positively know for a fact that Diet plays an extremely important role and is vital to the success of a type 1 diabetics overall health and longevity but when I see posts on this topic in this discussion of mothers taking care of young children and making some life threatening decisions and risks with their Type 1 Diabetic children By Not Giving Them Insulin After Already Starting Them on it or reducing it by a significant amount because they reduced their carb intake and then they wonder why their children were losing massive amounts of weight and becoming sick all the time I had to jump in on the discussion. It’s Simply Because their body’s are burning fat for energy not glucose anymore because their pancreas does not create insulin any longer. If your not giving them any or enough insulin there bodies can’t create glucose so their body’s burn their fat for vital energy. Once again Unfortunately when the body burns fat versus glucose since there is none due to a lack of insulin in the body it turns into what are called keytones (which is poison) which runs through the blood stream and urine. Most Type 1 Diabetics don’t even really understand that even if you maintain the perfect recommended blood sugar numbers of between 90-120 by lets say eating a very low carb diet and working out all of the time to keep sugars low. If your still not getting enough insulin to create the amount of glucose your body needs to keep moving forward and work out you will crash so hard so quick with keytones in the body that you won’t know what hit you. If your thinking but my sugar numbers are so good why did i go D.K.A. ? Its because no matter how good your numbers are as a Type 1 Diabetic it doesn’t really matter if your not getting enough insulin in your body. Basically once you have started on insulin or as i call it a foreign insulin regimen you can’t just stop or even drastically lower the amount your body needs without severe life threatening side effects. Type 1 Diabetics are kind of like a drug addicts on insulin and your body now needs it to truly survive. You can’t just simply stop it by choice at this point if your out of the “Honeymoon Stage”. By introducing insulin into your body through injection you have completely altered the way your body was designed to function. There is no going back to regular function once you have been diagnosed Type 1 and decided to move forward with insulin injection. When I saw someone asking why they were becoming hypoglycemic (low on sugar) on a low carb diet I knew I had to take the time to educate what some people may not know but truly should try to understand why less insulin injection in a seasoned type 1 diabetic will only cause the body to burn fat Versus burning glucose as the body intended especially if you are very active and workout a lot. Always Remember the fact that Insulin Creates Glucose and if you don’t have insulin in the body or your not giving yourself enough it will lead to major weight loss because your body is now burning your fat for energy then turning into keytones which is Poison to our bodies. This is called Diabetic Ketoacidosis and it’s very important you truly understand what it is and what it truly means to be a Type 1 Diabetic and understand the adverse reactions when the body’s pancreas has completely become dormant. One more time…..A normal non diabetics pancreas creates insulin which in return creates glucose in the body. When our bodies need fuel for energy it is designed to burn the Glucose to keep us going. As a seasoned Type 1 Diabetic your body does not create insulin anymore. When there is not enough Glucose in the body 100% of the time this means your body isn’t getting enough insulin. Since the pancreas of a Type 1 Diabetic is typically dormant and does not produce insulin you must always maintain a manual level of insulin by injection in order for your body to continue to create glucose. I am a type 1 Brittle Diabetic with insulin resistance and attaching antibodies. I do wear an insulin pump as well. I unfortunatley got my disease approximately 8 years ago from taking a medicine for my thyroid and wasn’t informed at that time that I had a 1% chance to have other auto immune disfunction if I decided to take it. The other auto immune disfunction it gave me was unfortunately Brittle Type 1 Diabetes. That’s my mistake for trusting someone else’s opinion about my own health decisions ,being the doctor in this case and not doing my own detailed research prior to popping the doctor’s recommended possible deadly pharmaceuticals. There are many Good doctors out there but there’s also an Abundance of Doctors that are mainly drug pushers to their patience for profit without informing them of the true possible side effects. I will try to make this as short and enlightening as possible. :)…Please Pay Attention Again: The Number One thing to remember is that our bodies All Burn Glucose For Energy. How is glucose made in the body you may ask again. Insulin is needed in the production of Glucose which is the main functioning job of our pancreas. If you are a type 1 Diabetic or caring for a type 1 Diabetic this is life saving information that you must remember. The majority of type 1 Diabetics do not produce insulin any longer unless they are newly diagnosed within what the doctor’s call a “Honeymoon Stage”. If you are unsure if your pancreas is still producing insulin and wondering if you are possibly still in that “Honeymoon Stage”, just simply ask your doctor to give you a C-Peptide test. The results will clearly tell you if its still functioning or dormant. In my personal opinion, If it is functioning this is the best time to try all other options other than large doses of insulin to reactivate your pancreas function. I do not recommend stopping insulin by any means but if you can reduce it to the lowest possible level during this time of the “Honeymoon Stage” your chances of it bouncing back and functioning fully again are about 95% better than taking full insulin doses. If you continue to give Large doses of insulin in this time period of the “Honeymoon stage” you are guaranteeing the fact that your pancreas will soon become dormant. I only say this because this “Honeymoon Stage” only happens briefly and if you can give your pancreas the possible chance to bounce back when its obviously trying to since it’s still creating insulin some of the time. Be very cautious taking large amounts of insulin during this time since you are giving yourself insulin injections and your pancreas is working as well some of the time. I can tell you from lots of experience during this time of honeymoon there is usually a lot of scary bouts with very low hypoglycemia. This is the analogy I have always used when it comes to newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics in the “Honeymoon stage” (remember: which means the pancreas still works a little bit but only occasionally). If you had a whole bunch of sheep that just roamed free on your acreage and grazed your fields all day working for you to keep down the grass but then out of the blue you suddenly trained them to come to your front porch so you could just feed them by hand the grains you picked all day until they couldn’t eat anymore. Do you really think they would ever go back to grazing in the fields or do any work for you on keeping down the grass when you’ve retrained them feeding them by hand taking 100% of their workload away to earn their meal lol….I Highly doubt it having over 23 sheep as a kid and i Highly doubt your pancreas will do anymore work or function for you at all in the future if you continue to do large amounts of work for it in the “Honeymoon Stage”. That doesn’t mean you can stop taking it either just reduce the amount in the beginning to see if you get blessed with it bouncing back and functioning again. The pancreas is designed to create insulin. If you are always injecting insulin in the “Honeymoon Stage” your pancreas is smart and knows not to give you any insulin or do any work anymore because it detects a high level of foreign insulin within the body. It is designed to not give it to you when it detects this. It knows if it does give you insulin it will be to much for your body to handle without becoming unconscious so it is smart and shuts down. Once it shuts down for a period of time beta cells are then lost and so is lost the Doctors hope for your pancreas to ever function again. Thats when you are officially what i call a seasoned Type 1 diabetic. I truly hope my words helped to enlighten some if just even one today about the facts on Type 1 Diabetes. I truly am hopeful that one day none of us or our children will ever have to deal with this disease moving forward. Love and Light to All Of You. :)

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