Is a low-carb diet a must?


In addition to what Jen wrote, I should note some extraneous circumstances on my end - my dad developed some kidney disease this year. So, I do go higher protein/lower carb when my BG’s warrant it. Sometimes its necessary (especially in the mornings). But, I’m more ‘jumpy’ about high protein diet, now.


Hi Janet. I haven’t read what others have written, but I will throw in my two cents.
I have been a type 1 for almost 60 yrs. I was on a very low carb diet for 11 yrs. My alc ranged from 4.7 to 5.2. Two years ago I switched to a planted based vegan diet. Now my A1c is 5.5 which is still excellent. When eating 30 carbs a day I took about 17 units of insulin. Now that I eat about 350 carbs daily I take 23 units of insulin.

I ride my exercise bike 10 miles a day and have energy to spare.

So no, one doesn’t need to eat low carb unless you want to.


Maybe it’s not low carb or ‘counting carbs ‘ which most nutritionists say, because of the way they’re taught. Perhaps it’s not any of this , but instead the type of carbs that are eaten. Single chain saccharides. It can work. And there’s no need to count anything.


Marilyn - welcome to the forum.

I’ve never seen anyone with such a low insulin/carb ratio (or conversely such a high carb/insulin ratio)! 320÷6 = 53.3 :dizzy_face:


I seem to recall reading somewhere that big swings are more dangerous for us long term than being consistently low or consistently a little high. I thought that was interesting…


One way to think of this scourge we all have in common is as an allergy to carbs. I think that in general, we all do better if we pay attention to putting at least some limits on carbs. Of course, within reason, that could be said of most humans.

I’ve been at 35 or fewer carbs per day for almost 12 years now and that has meant, as a T2, no meds yet–diet and exercise only. As long as that works, I will stick with it. And no, I don’t miss the extra carbs at all. I have treats like stuffing for the holidays, and the occasional muchly cherished baked potato with all the fixins, but really, eating low-carb means eating all the “good stuff”!

The only way to figure out what works for you is to set aside a period of time in which you put a laser focus on eating and testing. I tested a dozen times a day or more, when I was first dx. Now—just a normal before and after meals routine. I shift to more frequent testing if I am ill or recovering from surgery, for instance.

Basically, I Like eating low carb now, so it is easy to maintain—which is the only way it can work long term, isn’t it!?

One more point—lest you believe low carb eating is some kind of Magical Thinking Cure All—I had a heart attack last August and am still doing cardio rehab. A drag, for sure, but my husband reminds me that it might have been much more severe if I hadn’t adjusted my eating all those years ago.

Best regards to all–and Happy Holidays!


Can you give an example of a typical 350 carb, plant based meal plan?

I do about 100-150 carbs per day, mostly plant based. But also do fats and proteins to limit meal BG rises with insulin action.


Hi MM,

Here is a typical meal plan for me.

Breakfast consists of 1/4 cup of cooked oat grouts, 1 banana, 1 medjool date, 1 cup blueberries, a bit of flax and chai seeds for omega 3’s. This equals 72 carbs

Lunch consists of 2 cups of spaghetti squash,
1 cup black beans, 1 medjool date, 1/2 cup kale, nutritional yeast. 1 low fat garbanzo bean chocolate chip cookie. 90 carbs

Dinner- I switch this out often. I may have dal, shepherd’s pie, lentil soup, vegetable chili, etc. Last night I had 2 cups of steamed brussel sprouts, 1 cup of black beans, nutritional yeast, 1 medjool date, 2 garbanzo bean cookies. 109 carbs I love this dinner.

Because I have no ability at this time to give 1/2 units of insulin since I switched to pens, I am taking about a 1/2 unit too much insulin at meals. This is frustrating.

I often need to eat a date, or a couple of dried apricots or figs. If I ride more than 10 miles on my exercise bike, I need fruit to maintain an above 70 glucose reading. If I exercise two times a day then of course I need more fruit to maintain a balance.

I always aim for a glucose reading of under 140 two hours after eating. It is usually quite a bit lower than that.

I have more energy than I have had in years, so this lifestyle change seems to be working for me. Also, I really like this food, but I am sure lots of folks wouldn’t.

When I can get some 1/2 unit pens, I will be taking about 21 1/2 units of insulin and eating about 300 carbs


Jim, I come up with a carb/insulin ratio of 15.22.


There are 1/2 unit pens available.

For Humalog there are two different types of 1/2 unit pens - both a disposable type and a refillable (cartridge) type. And NovoLog has a 1/2 unit disposable pen.

Are you in the U.S.? If so, and if you are interested, I can provide the NDC #'s for the prescription so you can request them from your doctor.



I calculated the insulin used as
Extra carbs (320) ÷ extra insulin (6 units).

The remainder of your insulin is simply basal required

Of course much (most?) of your additional 320 carbs could be in the form of fibrous carbs, which are essentially not digested hence aren’t really needed to be accounted for.


This is interesting and new to me. Just searched for recipes, and will give it a try.
I use garbanzo beans, but haven’t tried them in cookies!


I made a chocolate cake once which used a tin of beans instead of flour. Turned out fine. I forget which beans it was, though.


Thanks for this info Eddie. Yes, I am in the US. I would love to have the number for the prescription for the Novolog pen. The ability to use 1/2 units will make my life easier.


My dogs made me realize that everybody has their own challenges. I have 3 dogs, all under 15 pounds. The largest one eats everything and is pure muscle, the middle one loves carbs, especially pasta and potatoes, and is way too skinny, and the little one only eats meat, walks at least 7 miles a week, and was still told by the vet that she “could stand to lose a few”. With their varying diets, the only complaint the vet had was the little one was too fat and the middle one was too skinny. But, when we tried them on dog food, none of them ate anything, and you could feel every bone in the middle ones body. We had to give up because carb boy literally starved himself when the food was not up to his standards (I am aware that they are more spoiled than most children). Even big boy lost muscle definition because he refused to eat the processed stuff. This is all to say: everyone is different and if restricting your eating actually leads to poorer mental or physical health, than you should keep searching for the diet that works for you.


All carbs are not created equal, and the glycemic index will tell you which are most likely to spike your BGs quickly and which are not. There are numerous books and online resources on the subject. For 16 years after my type 2 diagnosis I was able to maintain hba1cs in the low 5s while eating 200 grams of carbs a day. Typically those carbs would be from spaghetti squash or rye bread or barley or green beans and not rice, pasta, potatoes or bread made from wheat (wheat being the curse of diabetics and the worst driver of high blood sugars). Also I made a point of going for a walk immediately after each meal so the rush of blood sugars got converted to energy rather than high numbers.


Here are the NDC’s for just the rapid insulin pens and cartridges (not basal). FUD has a pretty big list of NDC’s.

I like the KwikPen Junior the most because it is the smallest pen and it also has 1/2 unit doses. Not all of these listed are 1/2 unit.

Item: Description: Quantity/Amount: NDC Number:
Rapid Insulin Pens
NovoPen Echo Refillable NovoLog pen with last dose record, 1/2 unit dosing Pen 169185459
NovoPen Echo Cartridges NovoLog cartridges for non-disposable EchoPen 3ml cartridges 0169-3303-12
Humalog KwikPen Disposable pen with Humalog (whole units only) 3ml Pen 0002-8799-01
Humalog KwikPen Junior Disposable 1/2 unit pen with Humalog 3ml Pen 0002-7714-01
NovoLog FlexPen Disposable pen with NovoLog (whole units only) 3ml Pen 0169-6339-10
Humalog Luxura HD Pen Refillable Humalog pen with 1/2 unit dosing Pen 0002-9673-01
Humalog Pen Cartridges Humalog cartridges for non-disposable pen 3ml Cartridge (for Luxura Pen) 0002-7516-59

If anyone is interested in getting other NDC’s for diabetes stuff, there is a good list on FUD.


Thanks so much!


You are welcome!

I want to add this. The one I gave above for the EchoPen is for the pen only. You also need the cartridges.

This is the NDC for the cartridges:


There are also Humalog cartridges listed there but no pen. If you get the cartridges, and don’t plan on using a syringe, you’d also need one of the non-disposable Humalog pens.