written by Nina Shantel, blog: RealDietHelp.com, published June 28, 2022
To lose weight as a Type-1 diabetic, there are two strategies that you will want to implement for quick and permanent weight loss, which, also, will improve your overall health.
Strategy 1 – Reduce insulin
Reducing insulin is essential for weight loss because insulin pushes fat into cells, the more insulin we produce or take in the form of a pill or liquid injection, the fatter we become. Reducing insulin is accomplished by eating certain foods (and these may surprise you), limiting particular foods, and avoiding specific foods. You can reduce insulin with diet.
Keep reading or scroll down to watch the YouTube video at the end of this post
I was watching a YouTube TED talk with a woman who explained that she manages her blood sugar and reduced her insulin needs by running marathons and eating a high fat, low carbohydrate, moderate protein, animal flesh-based ketogenic diet.
I had no intention of running marathons, but I wanted to take less medication. What I really wanted to know was how much insulin she was taking. She revealed that she administers 30 units of insulin a day. I was shocked! She was eating no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (which is hardly anything) and has to take that much insulin! Currently, I can eat over 300 grams of carbohydrates and inject less than 30 grams of insulin, so her diet didn’t seem very effective to me.
At that time, I was eating a low oil, vegan ketogenic diet, but I was experiencing new complications, such as brain fog, limited circulation, and debilitating pain and swelling in my fingers and toes. I didn’t have these symptoms when I was eating a dairy-free standard American Diet, or when I was eating a vegan diet, so I figured the painful symptoms were caused by the excess fat from the excessive consumption of nuts, seeds, and coconut I was eating on a daily basis; this prompted my search for better diet options, suited for Type-1 diabetics.
I came across an interview with two fit-looking men who lifted weights, exercised a lot, and are both Type-1 diabetics, which resonated with me. They co-wrote a book titled “Mastering Diabetes.” They explained that they were both eating low carb, ketogenic diets and found their insulin resistance progressing and their blood sugars rising even though they weren’t eating more carbs. My blood sugars were rising, and my insulin resistance was getting worse as I continued eating a ketogenic diet too. I had to keep lowering my carb intake because my blood sugars kept going up.
These two men explained, one is a doctor, that fat, not carbs, cause insulin resistance.
If total fat intake exceeds 10% of one’s daily intake, the fat you eat goes into the cells first, which makes it harder for glucose to enter the cells. The more fat you eat, more insulin is needed.
Once you cut down the fat, you can increase fruits and starchy vegetables.
I was very worried about high blood sugars and weight gain if I dove right into adding a lot more carbs, so the first thing I did was lower my fats: no oils, no animal products, which contain saturated and trans fats; no coconut, limited guacamole and chocolate, and no more than an ounce of nuts and seeds a day.
I added more beans right off the bat since beans have a glucose lowering effect, gradually increased fruits, then potatoes, and lastly, added whole grains like quinoa and oat groats to my daily diet.
I can eat 300 grams from fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes now with less than 30 units of insulin a day. Remember that TED talk? She was eating under 50 grams of carbs a day with her high fat ketogenic diet and was injecting more insulin than I do. I can eat 10 times as many carbohydrates on my low-fat diet and administer less insulin than her.
I’d rather eat carbs than fat. In addition to losing the excess weight, my brain fog went away after switching from a ketogenic diet to a low-carb, plant-based diet. I no longer have pain in my fingers and toes. My circulation has improved, and my total cholesterol went from a high of 201 to a healthy 148.
Carbohydrates can be problematic if the carbs are in the form of sugar, such as sucrose, which is commonly referred to as table sugar. Other processed foods to avoid are flour, pasta, bread, soda, chips and/or French fries. Once you limit processed foods, lower fat intake, and add exercise, you can eat fruit, whole grains, corn, potatoes, beans, peas, and lentils. The combination of a low-fat, plant-based diet and exercise will increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin needs.
A low-fat diet is one where you limit total fats to 10% of your daily calories. If you eat 2000 calories a day, which is actually too high for most people, 200 calories of fat is your limit. 2000 calories x 10% = 200 calories.
In order to really understand how much fat is in the foods you eat, and how much are in the foods you eat regularly, you’ll want to keep a food diary for a few weeks and plug in the foods and amount of foods (ex: 1 banana, ½ cup rice, 1 ounce of walnuts) into an app. An easy app, that’s free is http://www.cronometer.com
Strategy 2 – Exercise
Certain exercises lower blood sugars more than others and burn more calories. How often you exercise and how long you exercise will make a difference in how much insulin you must administer, so exercise can have a double weight loss effect, if consistent and strategic.
Exercise can lower blood sugar, requiring less insulin, but it depends on duration and intensity. You want your heart rate elevated high enough so that your muscles will uptake circulating blood sugars, but not so high that too much cortisol is released, which will increase blood sugar levels.
What you want to aim for is 30-60 minutes of low-impact cardio after a meal or when your blood sugar is high, that’s challenging enough to make you sweat and feel energized. If your blood sugar is high, you may not feel well and exercise may be the last thing you want to do, so planning your workout schedule is a better idea.
In addition to cardiovascular exercise, like brisk walks, swimming, dancing, and cycling, as examples, you also want to include 30-60 minutes of strength training, with any combination of weights, resistance bands, and bodyweight training, like squats and push-ups, three times a week with minimal breaks to keep your heart rate up.
I typically recommend eating a snack like a banana, or a small meal, ranging from 300-500 calories, to fuel a workout. This pre-workout meal should be low in fat and fiber and contain no dairy products to prevent stomach cramps.
By doing at least 30 minutes of cardio daily and adding resistance training three times a week, will burn more calories, not just during your workout, but after, which should reduce your insulin needs and reduce your bodyfat, as long as a low-fat, plant-based vegan diet plan is also followed.
If this post is located on any other website other than mine, which is RealDietHelp.com, it’s been unauthorized, plagiarized (copied without my permission). The other social media sites where my articles and videos are approved to be published are on my YouTube channel (Nina’s Nutrition & Exercise Videos), my Fit Girl Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheHighFiveDiet/ and my Twitter account https://twitter.com/medairyfree