High-carb low-fat plant-based way of eating

I eat a low-carb high-fat or LCHF diet to help control my blood glucose. I find it a highly successful and sustainable way of eating. I’ve been at it since 2012.

In my daily reading I do about diabetes and health, I have come across an eating tactic for diabetes that made zero sense to me yet people with type 1 diabetes claim it works very well for them. They say that the key is minimizing fat so that your body can greatly increase its insulin sensitivity and enable the insulin you do take to metabolize more carbs. This diet includes no meats.

My initial take on this whole idea was extreme skepticism, but I keep running across different cases where people are claiming that it not only helps with their blood sugar control, but they also feel healthy in a comprehensive way. My thinking now is, given the variety of human metabolisms, this high-carb low-fat or HCLF can work in some people.

I would love to see some blood sugar CGM graphs of people who advocate and use this diet so I can see hard evidence that this diet matches the glowing narrative they write.

Is there anyone out there who eats this way?

Here’s one testimonial T1D account about this way of eating.

The article includes pictures of colorful and appetizing fruit and vegetable meals.

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I gotta admit; these foods do look yummy! But I just can’t imagine a post-meal blood sugar line staying in range.

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I just found Ginger Vieira’s account of her experimentation with the HCLF diet.

I found her narrative even-handed. She feels that fanatics in either camp can put off prospects who might like to give either way of eating a trial. I find her writing easy to read.

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I would like to be vegetarian mostly but it would prolly be too high carb for me, and the low fat would make me feel even hungrier. beans/ potatoes spike me. Someone on youtube ate only fruit and had her ratio at 1:60.

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Those pictures look amazing still, those look like way too many carbs for me. I also follow a low carb intake since 2009. Plus, I eat no meat but I do eat dairy products and egg every once in a while. I’ve found this easier than counting carbs. I do follow nutrition advice as i visit a nutritionist who is very good at managing my kcal, carb intake and my exercise needs. He’s a wrestler…(curious- non-academic-fact haha) I’d love to see some graphs with high carb meals too. I know it’s possible as I’ve had pancakes at @Mila s house (Sugar Surfing) and I did almost perfect.

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I know fat leads to abundant satiety in me; I can go many hours between meals without hunger pangs. I think high carb diets lead to the whole concept of snacks.

I know of many cases where people use Sugar Surfing techniques to manage a high carb meal well, but I think that’s a different tactic. I see those people as consuming a moderate amount of carbs, maybe 100-200 grams per day. This HCLF style of eating often includes 500+ grams per day.

There must be something to their claims but I’d love to see some CGM data like time-in-range, time hypo, standard deviation, and BG average. I think there are very few people who frequent TuD who eat this way.

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I went on a vegan diet for a few months in an attempt to stabilize and lower my BG’s. It worked okay for the first two months but then my BG’s started to creep back up and since I was so hungry all the time I was kind of miserable. I don’t have a graph because I didn’t have a CGM at that time but my average BG did drop for a while and I lost ten pounds in that three months (probably because no matter how much I ate I was still in a calorie deficit).

The one thing I really miss is the mango “ice cream” that was really good. Btw, the diet I was on excluded any grains so no rice or whatnot which may have made a difference in my satiety.

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I wonder if this varies by person. I’m always really hungry on LCHF, I end up eating constantly all day long. At ~100g/day I can actually go a couple hours in between meals. And I never had that problem with hunger before I was diagnosed when I was eating a higher carb, lower fat diet.

Your experience could arise simply due to the differences between human beings. It’s not unusual, however, for people who start on a low carb, high fat way of eating to fail to eat enough fat to replace their carbs. We’ve been culturally hammered over the last 50 years or so to avoid fat due to the fallacious diet-heart hypothesis. Just check out the proportion of no fat/low fat yogurt shelf space in your grocer’s refrigerated section compared to the full-fat variety. Low fat, no fat marketing still rules in food marketing.

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500 grams ? per day? nope, I don’t think I could handle that. I changed my exercise routines lately and have required less basal insulin (a lot less) but higher bolus during the exercise itself. Using protein and some carbs to avoid hypoglycemia. As you just stated, each body responds differently and that’s why it’s so important to have a specialist in nutrition (diabetes educator, nutritionists or other team members) to help choose wisely.

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It does rule, at that. Unfortunately, for those with diabetes, the low fat, no fat versions typically have more carbohydrates; in some instances, double.

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Even with the fat I feel hungry but without is much worse. High carb would be scary for me, I’m sure I’d have much worse highs and lows.

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I totally understand. I know I can count carbs (33 years counting carbs) but still, high carb is still a complicated challenge.

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I have been eating vegan low fat high carb for eight years I have type 1 50 years I feel fantastic better than I have in 60 years
400 - 500 g of carbs a day and average total daily dose of insulin 15 to 20 units
I do find that I eat all the time but that seems to work for me
We almost fun what works best for us
Always willing to chat about food and T1 diabetes so feel free to ask as many questions as you need
Thanks for listening and support

I am doing HCLF and feel great too! Bhakti…T1 50 years!

You lost me at no meat.

This amazes me. I wonder if this phenomena holds true with a wide swath of diabetics or is simply occurs due to a spectrum of human metabolism performance.

If you occasionally slip some higher fat content into your eating routine, does that immediately degrade your insulin to high carb ratio or is this metabolic measure slow to change?

Considering your insulin to carb ratio (I:C) hinted at with possibly 500 grams of carbs being metabolized with 10 units of insulin (guessing 1/2 of 20 units total daily dose), then your I:C is an astounding 1:50. Is that true for you or any others who use LFHC as a way of eating?

I know when I adopted a LCHF way of eating there were many people who remained skeptical that this could work and didn’t want to try it for themselves. This is still true today. I guess I would have to read many more accounts of long term blood glucose success with this way of eating before I might give it a try. I am enjoying great BG control with my current LCHF way of eating and it takes very little to no willpower to sustain.

Thanks for reporting your experience. If any of you who enjoy this way of eating (LFHC), I would love to see some post-meal BG graphs traced by a CGM or even a series of fingersticks. Seeing this kind of anecdotal evidence would be persuasive to me.

I don’t eat HCLF, more like moderate carb (~100g) and moderate fat, but I have noticed a difference in my insulin dosing based on how much fat I eat. With LCHF my I:C ratio is about 1:5, but on a lower fat diet it’s about 1:15. For me it takes a couple days of eating low fat for my insulin sensitivity to improve, but only a high fat meal or two to see an increase in insulin resistance.

I find the HCLF diet intriguing because I can never get LCHF to work for me. Every time I’ve tried I feel like I’m dying. I’ve been too scared to try it though because I worry about too much fluctuation in my blood sugar.

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I’m high carb (compared with you) vegetarian - but I don’t consider fruits as high carb. I generally have very little BG increase from the items in the picture. I would have to dose much lower than predicted, on paper, for that meal.

Last night my dinner was : Pop-tarts (70g), 3/4 can on spagetti-os with vegetarian meat (45g), 2 veggie dogs on buns(60g), fruit (30g), a popsicle (15g). Total = 215 grams. I’m 2 units per 15 grams. No postpradial spike. Pre-meal BG = 60. Post-meal BG = 80. Sorry, I’m not using my sensor lately.

Note: That was my only meal of the day. I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years, so my guts are probably different than yours. I was starving and had a somewhat physically active day. My body told me I needed carbs and lots of them to keep from becoming a murderous b*tch. I don’t really believe that I would be able to survive on low carb or plant based. I would have to eat 24 hours a day, or waste away into nothing. I think I would become completely sedentary without the energy to get out of bed.

We have to get our calories somehow, and the body needs a mix of fat, protein and carbs to function at full capacity. a fat gram is 9 carbs, a plant is mostly carbs, some protein, both are 4 carbs per gram.

I too am moderate carb (~100g/day) and have noticed that with a day or two of higher saturated fat eating my insulin needs increase. A while ago I went looking for studies that would explain this and did indeed find a few. Maybe it doesn’t work this way for many but I share your personal observation.