The correct diet for type 1 diabetes

Life tips with Diabetes, Lifestyle, Food & Drinks.

The correct diet for type 1 diabetes

Unfortunately, this disease is chronic – it cannot be cured, but it is quite possible to minimize the consequences of the disease. The main thing is to follow the advice of doctors and pay special attention to the foods in your daily diet. The essence of diabetes mellitus is metabolic disorders that do not allow you to get enough energy from food, which is necessary to maintain vital body functions. The correct diet in type 1 diabetes mellitus is an indispensable condition for maintaining the quality of life and increasing its duration.

Feature of type 1 diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disease. Its peculiarity is the inability of the pancreas to provide the body with a sufficient amount of insulin necessary for the transport of carbohydrates obtained from food through organs and cells. There are two types of disease:

  • Type 1 is insulin-dependent. The pancreas produces almost no insulin and the patient is forced to constantly inject this hormone, i.e. he becomes insulin dependent; 
  • Type 2 – non-insulin dependent. The most common disease characterized by a lack of insulin. Maintaining health requires a diet. 

Thus, type 1 diabetes requires closer attention, constant injections of insulin and blood sugar control. Patients throughout their lives must keep track of carbohydrates from food.

In Russia, there are about 280 thousand patients with type 1 diabetes: among them 16 thousand children and 8.5 thousand adolescents.

Do not assume that lowering your sugar intake will help relieve your symptoms. It is important to limit the intake of carbohydrates, which, when broken down, are used for glucose synthesis. Not only sweet foods are excluded from the daily diet, but also fruits, pastries, rice, preservation, spicy dishes. The basis of the menu should be protein foods and vegetables.

Unit of bread is a measure of carbohydrate intake

As mentioned above, people with type 1 diabetes must control the amount of carbohydrates they eat. For this, a “unit of bread” or 1 XE was invented, which is equal to 12 grams of carbohydrates. It is this amount of carbohydrates that is contained in rye bread weighing 30 grams (half a bread slice). Medical nutritionists have developed special tables, with the help of which patients can easily draw up the correct menu in accordance with the necessary restrictions. Usually the daily allowance for such people is no more than 17-29 “bread units”. But, at one meal it is recommended to consume no more than 7 XE.

What should be included in the menu for diabetes

When we talk about type 1 diabetes, we mean a low-carb diet. At the same time, products containing carbohydrates less than 5 grams per 100 grams of their own weight can be considered carbohydrate -free and not taken into account in the calculation of the “bread unit”. This includes vegetables that you can eat without restriction: cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkin, peppers, and mushrooms. Only protein foods, evenly distributed in breakfast, lunch and dinner, can fully satisfy the feeling of hunger. In order not to waste time on counting carbohydrates every day, you need to make a menu for every day with cooking recipes. To do this, it is better to use the table where you can find the carbohydrate content in 100 grams of the product, and then divide this number by 12, getting the number of “bread units”.


With type 1 diabetes, it is important to consider not only the amount of carbohydrates consumed, but also to observe the diet. It is made up depending on the type of insulin introduced into the body. Insulin is divided into:

  • Ultra-short;
  • Short;
  • Medium action;
  • A long.

The first two types are fast-acting. They need to be introduced immediately before meals, taking into account the carbohydrates consumed with food. The third and fourth types maintain glucose concentration up to 16 hours. They are injected no more than 1-2 times a day. When medium-acting insulin is prescribed, the diet will be five times a day: breakfast, lunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. If the doctor recommends injections with medium and short-acting insulin, the diet is based on a six meals a day. Additionally, a second dinner is added. But, in all cases, one-time consumption of carbohydrates should not exceed 7 XE.

The largest amount of “bread units” contains sugar (8 XE), bee honey (7 XE), rice, semolina and buckwheat (6-7 XE each), as well as wheat flour (5.5 XE).

Feeling of hunger with diabetes

If the insulin injected into the body completely breaks down the carbohydrates received from food, the body does not experience an energy deficit. When this does not happen, sugar builds up in the blood. Poisoning the body, it negatively affects metabolic processes and inhibits vital functions. At the same time, the patient feels severe hunger and thirst, but having taken food, the diabetic will not experience relief, since the blood sugar will not decrease. Therefore, if after dinner there is a feeling of hunger, it is necessary to measure the glucose level. The norm is 7.8 mmol / l. This analysis is done only two hours after dinner. The test results will help determine if the body needs additional carbohydrates or a serving of insulin is needed. Thus, the correct diet in type 1 diabetes mellitus is the key to well-being throughout the day.

Why you must follow a diet

Glucose metabolism is very important for the normal functioning of all human organs and systems. When such processes fail, the following conditions occur:

  • Hyperglycemia. This disorder is triggered by a lack of insulin to transport carbohydrates. Fats and proteins begin to be broken down to form ketone bodies. The liver cannot completely neutralize them, and they end up in the kidneys. Laboratory analysis is able to determine this condition with an increased concentration of acetone in the urine. Symptoms of hyperglycemia manifest as thirst that cannot be quenched, sharp eyes, weakness, deterioration of visual acuity, arrhythmias, dry skin, nausea, drowsiness and dizziness. The glycemic index is very high; 
  • Hypoglycemia. Reasons: insulin overdose, increased physical activity, dehydration, starvation, violation of heat exchange processes. Also, this phenomenon is diagnosed by the presence of acetone in the blood. Symptoms: weakness, chills, pale skin, dizziness. When the sugar level drops to 4 mmol / l or less, you immediately need to eat something sweet, containing fast carbohydrates, for example, a sugar cube. Hypoglycemia often requires hospitalization for the patient. 

In the human body, irreversible changes begin when the blood sugar level drops to 2.3 mmol / l and increases to 7.6 mmol.

Menu design principles

The correct diet for type 1 diabetes should be based on the following principles:

  1. You need to eat at least 5 times a day. It is recommended to have dinner no later than 20-00 o’clock,
  2. Avoid skipping meals
  3. Mainly use dietary meals containing many vitamins and beneficial trace elements,
  4. Strictly follow the recommendations of doctors on catering. Constantly count the “bread units” using special tables,
  5. Correct the composition of food in terms of blood glucose levels,
  6. Maintain a blood sugar level of about 5-6 mmol / L (as of the morning hours),
  7. Carefully monitor your well-being, at the first symptoms of glycemia, increase the sugar level by taking a glucose tablet,
  8. Completely exclude muffins, drinks with sugar, industrial juices and other sweet foods from the diet.

Before each meal, you need to calculate the number of “bread units” depending on the volume of insulin, which is injected before the meal. The diabetic’s menu should consist of such products as low-fat cottage cheese and cheese, cereals, dairy drinks, eggs, meat, seafood, vegetable oil, vegetables, sugar-free compote, whole-grain bread with a high fiber content.

Features of the children’s menu for type 1 diabetes mellitus

Today type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in children 12-16 years old. In this case, the child’s menu will have to be significantly changed. You will need to exclude many sweets from it: jams, sweets, cakes, buns, cookies. Optimally, if the diet of such children will consist of 60% of carbohydrates from the daily requirement. With diabetes, you will have to make a daily menu that includes vegetables, lean meat, fish. From fruits, apples, raspberries, strawberries, peaches will be useful. Use sugar substitutes for dessert. Before switching to low-carb foods, you need to normalize your glycemic levels and avoid physical overload. It is possible to engage in physical education and sports for diabetic children, but only after they fully adapt to the new menu. Particular attention should be paid to feeding infants when drawing up the correct diet for type 1 diabetes. Parents should know that it is better to breastfeed them in the first year of life. In its absence, mixtures with a l

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