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Type 1 Diabetes and Diet: What is Best to Eat?

Type 1 Diabetes Diet

A healthy diet is one of the three pillars of diabetes control. Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes are insulin deficient and have lots of fluctuations in their blood glucose. Choosing a low glycemic and healthy diet may minimize the troughs and peaks in blood glucose.

In addition, individuals with type 1 diabetes are at risk of hypoglycemia. Apart from insulin dose adjustment, small frequent meals are usually advised.

Lastly, type 1 diabetes usually affects children. Children have the habit of eating junk and fast foods. A list of relatively healthy fast food is given at the end of this article.

Type 1 Diabetes and Diet:

The management of T1DM requires maintaining a healthy diet. When planning a diet for type 1 diabetes, it’s important to get the most nutrients possible while also keeping an eye on how much protein, carbs, and fat you’re consuming.

A single diabetic diet does not exist, though. It entails paying attention to your eating habits and how your body will react to certain meals.

Include foods that are nourishing and rich in vitamins and minerals. Choosing lean proteins, nutrient-dense carbs, and healthy fats is ideal for general health recommendations.

To manage your prescriptions and to eat schedule if you’re having problems controlling type 1 diabetes, consult a doctor or nutritionist.

Additionally, depending on your requirements, you should talk about the right carbohydrate quantities for each meal.

When calculating the number of carbohydrates you require for your level of activity, you must also include exercise.

Whole Grains for Type 1 Diabetes:

Whole grains are rich in fiber and a good source of healthy carbohydrates. As the saying goes ‘make half of your grains whole’. Whole-grain bread, bran cereal, and brown rice are excellent sources.

Avoid eating in excess by reading labels of any meal. One serving is defined on the box. If you eat more than a serving, you might exceed your daily calorie requirements. This can lead to fluctuations in your blood glucose.

Fruits for Type 1 Diabetes:

Fruits are counted as carbs and fiber. Choose between fresh and frozen. It is critical to comprehend how many carbs different fruits contain. You can better control your insulin and blood sugar levels by doing this.

Fruit servings with 15 grams of carbs per serving include:

  • One fresh fruit, small
  • 1/2 cup of fruit in cans
  • Dried fruit, 1/4 cup
  • Fruit juice, 1/2 cup
  • Grapes weighing 3 ounces
  • 1 cup of berries or melons

Remember that you do not need to restrict yourself to only 15 grams per meal or snack. However, it’s crucial to understand how many carbohydrates are in various meals based on your insulin requirements and overall blood sugar management strategy.

Proteins and Fat for Type 1 Diabetes:

Healthy fats are essential for optimum brain and heart health, while proteins are crucial for maintaining muscle and healing wounds.

Along with meat, legumes and eggs also provide protein. Avocados, nuts, and seeds are a few examples of good fats.

Even though proteins and fats won’t directly cause your blood sugar to rise, doctors advise against consuming large amounts of processed or fatty meats because they are higher in salt and saturated fat.

Although consuming too many of these items can have negative health implications, including heart disease, they do not directly affect blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates for Type 1 Diabetes:

Carbohydrates come in three different forms: starches, sugars, and fiber.

Beans, grains, fruits, vegetables with a lot of starch, pasta, and bread are some examples. Complex carbohydrates are converted to simple sugar in our digestive tract before being absorbed into circulation. This may cause a spike in your blood glucose.

If you have type 1 diabetes, it is critical to control your consumption of carbohydrates. Certain carbs will affect blood sugar more quickly than others.

If your blood sugar levels are low, it is best to pick a quick-acting carb that will be rapidly consumed and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Usually, starting with 15 grams of carbohydrates is plenty. Then, if your result is still low, monitor your blood sugar and consume another 15 grams.

Several examples of quick-acting carbohydrates with 15 grams of carbohydrates are:

  • Four to six crackers
  • Fruit juice, 1/2 cup
  • Honey, 1 tbsp
  • 1 fresh fruit, tiny (4 ounces)
  • Raisins, 2 tbsp

Vegetables for Type 1 Diabetes:

In several prominent veggies, including potatoes, maize, and peas, starch—a kind of sugar—occurs naturally.

Starchy vegetables should be consumed in moderation and taken into account when calculating your daily consumption because they have a greater content of carbohydrates than other vegetables.

Non-starchy veggies are high in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, and they have a less significant effect on blood sugar levels.

These vegetables do not significantly affect your blood sugar when consumed in amounts of up to three cups each meal.

Anything less than three cups would be regarded as “free” and more than three cups as around 15 grams of carbohydrates.

These consist of:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Peppers
  • Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Cucumber
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes

How to Prepare a Meal for T1DM?

There is no standardized diabetic diet. You may construct meal plans and long-term diets with the assistance of a nutritionist or dietitian.

When you have limited time and money, it is simple to turn to fast food and other processed items. These foods, however, are low in nutrition and rich in salt, sugar, and fat.

Planning meals and doing frequent food shopping can reduce the need for “emergency eating.

Additionally, unneeded sugar, carbs, salt, and fat that might raise blood sugar levels can be lowered by keeping a well-stocked kitchen with healthful foods.

Consistency is essential in any diabetic diet. To keep blood sugar levels stable you should never miss a meal and consider reading food labels and attempting to eat at around the same time every day.

Why Do You Need to Exercise?

Well for starters, exercise is important to keep a balance between your calorie intake and output. If you want to lose weight then keeping your physical activity up is an important aspect.

Regardless of the kind of diabetes you have, frequent physical exercise is crucial for general health and fitness. [Ref]

Checking blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise is crucial to understanding how various forms of exercise will impact you.

What is The Right Time To Eat?

Just as crucial as knowing what to eat is knowing when to eat.

Your blood sugar can be tracked and kept from spiking if you eat smaller meals more often throughout the day.

To support your carbohydrate consumption and prevent blood sugar highs and lows, you can determine your precise insulin requirements with the assistance of your doctor and a qualified dietitian or certified diabetes educator.

Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other items travel well and are useful to have on hand.

Fast Food for Type 1 Diabetes:

For children who are fond of eating fast food, here is a list of relatively healthy fast food items:

  • Dunkin Donut’s Hash browns:
  • Dunkin Donut’s Beyond Sausage:
  • Burger King’s Impossible Whopper Sandwich:
  • Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad:
  • Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito:
  • Panera’s Tomato soup and Tuna Salad Sandwich
  • Steak Soft Tacos by Chipotle
  • Starbucks’ Protein box
  • Chipotle Burrito Bowl:
  • Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich:
  • Burger King’s Bacon Cheese Burger:
  • Chick-fil-A’s Cool Chicken Wrap:
  • Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita:
  • Panera’s Bacon Turkey sandwich:
  • KFC’s Sandwich:
  • Subway’s Jack Melt:
  • Dunkin’s Veggie Egg Omelet:
  • Arby’s Sandwich:


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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