Type 1’s, how many carbs do you eat/day and what is your A1c?


A1C 6.9-7.3. Carbs in a day 90-135. This has been the staple for me for the last 11 years. Use to have 3-5 reactions in a week. Doctor and I talked to figure out the best plan for me.


That’s what I’d do! Carbs are carbs, except when they’re fiber. Some may be a bit quicker to digest than others, but they’re all just carbs to me.


I’ve been diabetic for seven years and on insulin for five. During most of this time I consumed between 120 and 150 carbs daily and had an A1c on MDI of between 5.5 and 5.9. Recently I got down to a scrawny 101 pounds and have been trying to gain weight, so I sometimes increase carbs to 180. My last two A1c’s have been 6.1 and 6.0. I also got a CGM (Freestyle Libre) in February and dose mostly from those readings, rather than taking finger stick readings to dose.

I was age 70 before I became diabetic, so I probably allow myself a wider range of BG variability than many younger people prefer. I consider my target range from 70 to 180, and now that I’m desperately trying to gain some weight, I don’t even get too excited if my BG goes a bit over 200 occasionally. At my age the chances of living long enough to worry about complications are far less than for the majority who get type 1 much younger. I have no signs of complications after seven years.

To eat that many carbs without having BG go high, I do have to spread my eating out with many meals and snacks, though. As a retiree, that’s not a problem. I’d have had a much more difficult time if I’d had to try it while I was still employed.


My A1c’s are usually around 7. Yesterday I had around 290 g of carbs. But it varies day to day. I don’t necessarily have the same amount of carbs every day. The longest I went avoiding all flour, potatoes, rice, pasta etc and complex sugar chains was 3 months. I did that in order to bring my A1c down from 11 to 7 and it worked. But, I was eating a lot of fruit, things like honey, 100% juice, vegetables, dairy, meat, nuts, beans and yes at times I still had lifesavers. But once I got my A1c results I had a plate of fried calamari and slowly went back to eating complex carbs. I like the idea of eliminating complex sugar chains, but it is very difficult to maintain with diabetes. One should most likely improvise due to certain situations, i.e. lifesavers etc.


I wouldn’t think twice about a red pepper. It is a vegetable and low carb. Carrots a little different depending how much you eat. I like to eat a low carb tortilla (10g) with some hummus (5-10g), some spinach and some sliced red pepper for a sandwich. So if you mean to add them all up like that yeah depending how much of the pepper you use or if you say stuff it with rice and meat or something, I would consider it small but still add it as 7 like you said. Or half a pepper would be 3 or 4. Not that much.


Right, carb count on veggies doesn’t stop me from eating them, but I do my best to count the carbs in them accurately. Partly because, I can eat about 5 peppers at a sitting :slight_smile: With onions, tomatoes, and a whole bunch of other stuff thrown in there as well. And before long, I’m looking at 25-30 grams of digestible carbs for a meal, and that needs to be accounted for.


Interesting. That’s seriously lowballing the carbs, but if it works for you, great! The USDA nutrition database and other databases I use (for personal carb counting as well as in my work) average out at 9 g carb for 1/2 cup most vegetables, mashed, sliced or chopped. So where they say 2 cups would be close to 40 g carb, you’re counting it as only 5 g. I wonder how that difference reflects in your insulin:carb ratio.


It does depend on the vegetables you use. Plus when I am using it on a salad or a bowl of veggies, I am not mashing down anything, so there is space, I went to a seminar by a specialist and they gave a rule of thumb measurements. a cup of non starch veggies is about 5 carbs.

Keep in mind some veggies like asparagus and green beans are very low carb, Half a can of green beans is 3 carbs, 6 spears of asparagus is 2 carbs. So a mix of veggies at 5 carbs isn’t a bad guess.

I do count beans when I add them as kidney beans etc have a lot higher carb count. I have never been the motivated measure everything type person so when i eyeball my salad and say it’s 2 or 4 cups I am close, but never exact which is why I never even try to count the handful of lettuce either. But for me a huge plate of salad being 30-40 grams of carbs makes me drop too much. So lets say 15 on the beans and only 5-10 carbs on veggies is more in the accurate range for me.

Potatoes would be higher carbs, but broccoli, cauliflower green beans, onion in non chopped mashed form aren’t high at all.

4 florets cauliflower 1.5 carbs, or 1 cup 6 carbs
6 asparagus 2 carbs, or 1 cup 3 carbs
1/2 can green beans 3 carbs, or 1 cup fresh 6 carbs
6 baby carrots 6 carbs
1/2 tomato 2.5 carbs

lettuce 1 carb for 2-3 cups ???

1 cup potatoes 28 carbs, but I always count high starch potatoes separate.
1 cup pinto beans 12 carbs I do count beans separate

So for me 5 carbs per 2 cups has worked well, and maybe that’s because of my “usual” mix of veggies.


@Marcia3 - Hope you’re well!

I can’t decide if my IR is related to high fat intake alone (70-90% of calories), or eating more than 30% calories from protein in combination with high fat.

If you’re not eating any carbs or protein (100% fat) you shouldn’t have any IR issues.

My carb intake is still incidental (< 20 grams or 5% of total calories)



I think it’s the quality of the carbs we eat and not necessarily the amount of carbs we eat. I have been eating between 60 and 100 carbs a day now as a Type 2 and haven’t had to use my mealtime insulin for two weeks. This all happened since I switched my carbs from bad carbs to carbs from fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Banana’s have something in them that drastically slows down the absorption of the sugars they have, the same thing happens with beets, even though beets are loaded with beet sugar. Apples with the skins on them and also potatoes with the skins on them reduce the amount of sugar that hits your system all at once. I can eat 2 banana’s (almost 60 grams of carbs) and 1 apple for breakfast and my blood sugar will not go higher than 140, and sometimes just to 125, and then back to normal within 2 hours.

I call these healthy carbs. 2 veggie burgers at 16 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of carbs for a 100 percent whole grain hamburger bun that I cut the edges off in order to eliminate even more carbs last night only spiked my blood sugar to 120. I also ate 2 celery sticks with low fat cream cheese and half an apple. I call all of these good carbs. That is where I take issue with the low carb diet. There are so many vitamins and nutrients that we get from banana’s, apples, and many veggies that contain carbs. I don’t see the benefit in cutting all of these good foods out of our diets. I am a type 2, diagnosed with an A1C of 7.0 and the most horrid diet you can imagine. Just cutting all sugar, sugar drinks, candies, and eating 1 meal a day using mealtime insulin brought my A1C down to 5.6. Now on the healthy carb diet, but still under 100 carbs a day, my A1C is down to 5.4 and I do not need to use insulin anymore. Granted it has only been two weeks, and I do go through periods where my insulin sensitivity lowers and then goes back to where I need insulin again.

I feel like even if you have to take extra insulin to cover carbs, if they are good carbs, loaded with vitamins and nutrients, then it is worth it for the added health benefits. We’re not in competition with one another on this forum. We all have to walk the path that we need to in order to control this disease. What works for some will not always work for others. I have even read case reports of people getting diabetes complications, even with lower A1C’s. This seems to suggest that, in some people, complications can happen despite having good BG control. There are other unknown factors that can cause complications. Maybe having other medical conditions, or even genetics. There are also members on this forum who had A1C’s higher than 7.0 for decades before they received their insulin pumps and do not have any, or very mild complications. Perhaps these patients have good genetics that are protecting them from developing complications; even in the presence of less than optimal BG control. Who knows? Fighting over a number isn’t going to solve anything.


What ever works for you. Everyone is different, just remember that next time someone like your doctor is telling you what is good or bad for you :slight_smile:


That sucks. It seems to me like insurance should cover them for those with lower A1c’s if for no other reason than to protect them from lows


What is Bernstein?


Most insurance companies use medically necessary as the criteria for approving things not on their formulary. I think @Jen’s insurance criteria is a little strange since with all of the formularies I read through recently the criteria for CGM would include things like severe nocturnal lows or A1C is not at goal. Remember severe lows are anything below 55. Who among us hasn’t had a so called severe low while sleeping?

I think most approvals depend on how cooperative your Dr. is with describing the issues in their prior auths. and how good you are at documenting “severe” lows etc. Although I also think that if you are paying for medical care via insurance then you should get what works best for you and is the most technologically advanced, period.


Not what, but who. He is a well-known engineer turned doctor who has had type 1 since the 1940s, and was the first person to test his blood sugar with a meter he purchased in 1969. He advocates avoiding carbs almost entirely and instead eating mainly protein and using Regular insulin. He targets “normal blood sugars” and a1cs in the 4s. You can find lots of his stuff on YouTube. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think a lot of it makes more sense than what a lot of other people say and at least for me doing what he says equals results. It’s hard to stay on that regimen though, especially during the holiday time, and I’ve been gobbling down massive amounts of carbs and chasing them with industrial doses of insulin for the past month or two. Maybe come new year I’ll get back on his program!


Hi Jim - I will be intested to see if you can maintain your weight. I had to increase my carbs a few years back as I had lost too much weight. Once I did that I bounced back to a healthy weight. Good luck and I enjoy your posts.


I followed Bernstein for about 11 yrs. 30 carbs a day. My LDL climbed to about 200 if I remember correctly. After several years of low carbing I needed two heart stents. I have no idea if low carbing is what caused my need for stents. One of my grandfathers died from a heart attack, although my parents both lived until they were 89. I continued to follow Bernstein for several more years. A1c 4.7 to 5.2 About 18 units of insulin.

About a year and 1/2 ago I switched to a vegan plant based diet which is very low fat. Absolutely no oil of any kind. I am following the advice found on the Mastering Diabetes website which is run by two very bright type 1’s.

Now I eat 300+ carbs mostly from fruit, vegetables of all kinds, beans, lentils and rice etc. I take 23 units of insulin and have been a type 1 for 60 yrs. I also exercise quite a bit. My A1c is now 5.5.

Although I find eating out quite difficult, I like this WOE. I feel healthy and I would rather not eat animals. So for me, it is a winner on several counts.


I lost 10+ lbs eating a vegan low fat diet. I am now at a perfect weight for my size.


Hi @Marilyn6, do you use a Dexcom or freestyle libre? I’ve been curious about the high carb plant based diet, and I’d love to see what a cgm report looks like for someone who is doing it successfully. I’m interested in seeing the patterns one might expect on this diet.

Would you be willing to post a 30 day summary report? Thanks :slight_smile:


I’m very interested in knowing about BG ranges for plant based too. I’ve had great results with Bernstein/Keto but don’t really like meat and would love to eat plant based. Do you have to work harder to maintain good glucose range, make a lot of insulin adjustments? Also can you eat peanut butter or almond butter? I just tried plant based yesterday and today and my BG has been all over the place. Discouraged so far.