Is it harmful to use insulin to compensate for high carb meals?

A friend whose mom died of D complications told me that using insulin to compensate for high carb meals is a dangerous practice and can promote thickening of the arteries. I was under the impression that as long the insulin controls BG everything is hunky dorey so not sure what my friend is referring to. Anybody know?

I do not think high carb meal directly does that as long as well compensated for. If you have a high glycemic food, say white bread every day, you’ll have spikes in BG which overtime can thicken the arteries. Even then, if you are smart, you can give bolus 20 minutes before eating high GI foods so the insulin release peak coincides with the glucose release in the blood stream. You can study your own body to see when your body processes food and control the timing of insulin intake. Its more of a science than a rule book.

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Hi Cynthia,

Insulin is an “as needed hormone”. Having said that, there is a fine line between using insulin properly, and abusing it!! You cannot leave your blood sugars high, you must correct it when your numbers are out of range; there’s nothing you can do about that. However, if your willfully eating a lot of carbs and abusing your insulin intake is another issue. A lot of people love to give unwanted advice to what they don’t know, or assume… Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons i’m not always open with my diabetes in public…Because people can laterally be idiots…

well if a person without diabetes eats a high carb meal they also use insulin to cover the meal, i don’t see how it is any different for diabetics. It’s all insulin covering food.
If you don’t give enough insulin to cover the carbs then i can see how it can be dangerous for your health in the long run… but other then that, i don’t understand what your friend means either.

I think the problem is that, non-diabetics often see only people with complications as a result of uncontrolled sugars (and don’t understand what’s really going on, or understand other variables in someone’s lifestyle, etc.). Very rare do they see successful diabetics living well. They do not see the type 1 living in their 80’s & 90’s years of age. This is why I am an advocate diabetics needing to talk to other diabetics.

I totally agree, they only hear about the horror stories and not the success stories which brings a whole heap of misconceptions and theories from people who’ve never seen both sides of the story

What’s the connection here? How are purines related to hardening of the arteries allegedly caused by insulin use?

In normal people, insulin production rises with heightened BG, and it keeps up with need.
In Type 1s in whom all insulin is given by syringe (exogenous insulin), even when we try to time it so the peak of short acting insulin is there to enable glucose to be used for cellular purposes, it seldom “covers” high carbs taken in.
Non diabetics seldom see their BG rise with foods. Fruit causes a spectacular rise; starches cause a sustained rise.
Type 1s therefore see peaks in BG even though they have taken their insulin. It would be great if insulin “controlled” BG rises, but normally the diabetic person has to find out by trial and error what amount of grams of carbohydrates and what type of carbs insulin by syringe will be able to act on in their body and Type 1s have to decide how far up they’ll let that post-meal rise to go.
Research says that above 140mm/dL, complications ensue. So the trick is for each diabetic to learn what amount of carb grams the injected insulin will best work on to keep the BG from rising above 140.
After-meal BG rises are what we are trying to avoid. Cellular functions do not do well bathed in high BG.
Each person’s cellular functions are a bit different. Exercise helps to reduce BG, too.

Cynthia ,
Would it help , to ask your friend for clarification quote : "using insulin to compensate for high carb meals is a dangerous practice etc ".

I thought that’s WHY I take insulin!? So I can eat those pesky carbs.

I think… from what I’ve read from some people who have experienced what your friend said, (and counting my own dad in this) having continuous high carb meals, and using insulin to cover it… can eventually push some T1’s into developing insulin resistance, having to inject more and more insulin over time… causing weight gain, and other issues… as well as putting stress on other organs that have to deal with the glucose conversion process, such as the liver, the kidneys, the heart, and the eyes… The constant ups and downs of eating the high carb meal, and then using a lot of insulin to cover for it, take their toll on the body.

The same sort of effect happens in a normal person… their own body has to pump a huge amount of insulin to cover for the excess or high carbs… and if they don’t use something, like exercise, to help burn that glucose away, over time… insulin resistance can develop – though it doesn’t always lead to diabetes – particularly if this kind of event happens over, and over again, with their daily eating habits. People with thyroid ailments, PCOS, or other endocrine ailments, are more vulnerable to this…

Injecting Insulin does NOT cause “insulin resistance”. What causes insulin resistance is inactivity and weight gain as a result of over eating. Fat cells can make it difficult for glucose to enter the cells that need them. Also, don’t forget people that insulin is a fat storing hormone, be it your own insulin, or injecting… It’s doing what it supposed to do. This is why you still need to have portion control EVEN IF YOUR INJECTING INSULIN. If you think you can just eat what ever you want, and just inject X amount of insulin per carbs your wrong. Your also overlooking the fact that a percentage of carbs come from protein and fats.

A percentage of GLUCOSE comes from protein and fats (not a percentage of carbs), unless we’re talking sausage and eggs. And the excess insulin can cause that weight gain… which is what I said. This is why so many people gain weight, or have a hard time losing it, when they get started on it… And gaining weight, and being inactive (so you’re not doing anything about all that extra glucose in your system) may lead to the insulin resistance…

Correct… Combine that with some medications that also make you gain weight, is a recipe for disaster… All of us cannot (and I include myself), continue to eat poorly, and not exercise. If I know I’m gonna eat something I shouldn’t (not consistently), I make sure that be the end of the day, or next morning I do some serious walking, or get on my total gym.

By the way… I read your blog post about the cataracts, and I admire your fight and courage to get better… I am so glad you can see, now. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much my friend. That really means a lot to me…

I decided to delete part of my previous comment , yet I am adding it afterall now …to prove how important exercise is …A type 1 athlete I know consumes about 800 carbs daily , while in training . This is not unusual …and the pay-off : the athlete likely will never be prone to insulin resistance . Most of us will never be an Olympian , however start moving at a young age and continue will work for most …
I hope , I am staying focused on the discussion here and am not side tracking …
I would still like to know , what Cynthia’s friend was trying to get at …do we only know part of the story ??

My daughter’s dietician said that the reason why diabetics tend to have high cholesterol and thus thickening of the arteries is because of the high fat that is found in a lot of the “free” foods that they choose to snack on, like cheese. My daughter eats a lot of cheese and the dietician advised that we lower the amount due to this issue. I don’t think it has anything to do with the insulin/high carb meals, but that is just my take on it.

They claim this, but people who have been on a low carb, high protein/high fat diet, have had excellent lipid profiles for years, and years. Back in November, when I was diagnosed, I had a pretty high carb diet (and very high cholesterol)… Now that I consume low carbs, and a lot more protein and Omega 3 fats, my lipid profiles have gone down to their lowest levels ever, in my life, and within normal/healthy range. That excess glucose from the high amounts of carbs is what turns straight to fat – we just can’t metabolize it well, if at all (because of no insulin) without some extra help… And it’s a stressor on the body’s organs.