Whole food plant-based eating questions

Hi all,

I’ve recently noticed a bunch of Type 1’s on social media switch from low or moderate-carb to whole food plant-based diet (high-carb low-fat) with great success. I’m definitely interested in the WFPB diet, but obviously have a bunch of questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My treatment consists of Tresiba and Novolog at meals. Some of my initial questions are below.

  1. Does the diet help or hurt the Dawn Phenomenon? Based on my past experience, the more carbs I eat, the worse my DP.
  2. How many calories should I consume per day? Also, how many (percentage) of those calories should come from fat?
  3. When you initially made the switch, did anyone run into major stomach issues (bloating, abdominal pain, etc.) from the increased fiber intake?


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Hi Adam:

If you go to the top search bar on this forum and type in High Carb Plant Based and then click the search icon or hit enter, you will find a ton of information from Marylin6 who is the current resident guru on this subject as well as analysis from Terry4. I think you will find the answers to all your questions there.

I am still on low carb diet and have not had success yet introducing WFPB into my diet but keep reading about it and testing as I am always trying to expand my food options and appreciate all posts, even if they are not really helpful for me at this immediate moment.

Good luck!!!

Adam, I have been eating low fat plant based for 3 yrs. Mastering Diabetes is run by two very fit intelligent guys who have type 1 diabetes.

I joined their program so that I could learn from them how to make the switch from low carb. They have tons of information on their website. This is also their business so you have to overlook the sales angle. There is a cost to their program but I thought it was well worth it. They also offer a lot of free information.

  1. I still have DP but it is manageable.

  2. You can eat a lot of food as long as the healthy fat content isn’t more than 15%. Almost everybody loses weight eating this way. I never count calories and I never gain weight. You can eat all kinds of fruit, and vegetables including root vegetables. I also eat some rice, lentils, legumes etc.

Eating low fat greatly reduces insulin resistance. For 11 yrs I ate 30 carbs a day and now I eat 275 healthy carbs a day. I only increased my insulin by 3-5 units a day.

Exercise is greatly encouraged.

  1. I had no stomach problems at all, but my husband found that he can’t eat legumes.

I think the diet is worth a try, if you don’t mind giving up eating meat and dairy.


Hi @Adam I am also a vegan and a type 1. I have been a vegan for over 30 years and a type 1 for 16 of those years. But I am not High Carb Low Fat, I eat whatever I want, as long as it’s strictly vegan, although most of my foods aren’t high fat. I am also retired now so I am not as active as I was, but I do make sure I ride my exercise bike 10 miles every day.

  1. From what I understand, there are plenty of low carbers that have DP too. Mine was pretty strong for a while and then slowly tapered off, so it is very mild most of the time now. Although I have been going through something lately that my body can’t make up it’s mind if it wants DP or FOTF or nothing at all. That has been a little exasperating.

  2. I think calories really depends on how many calories you need or maybe want. If you are going to follow the low fat plan, Mastering Diabetes that Marilyn talks about has a video you can watch and a chart that guidelines what foods to eat. Of course you can sign up and get help along the way,

  3. I never had issues with digestion but I was already a vegetarian for over 50 years and over 30 of those a vegan. Since it is a different profile of food that you aren’t used to you might get some gas until your body gets used to different foods.

One thing is when a low carb person first tries a higher carb meal plan, from what I have picked up, is their numbers will fluctuate a lot at first more. They just aren’t used to carbs anymore.

Personally I think the way I control mine the most is by prebolusing half of my dose before I eat and the other half when I eat. The next thing that helped a lot is my Dexcom and setting my alerts to give me plenty of warning before I go out of range.

I have a A1C of 6%. I did post a bunch of my stats from Clarity. Type 1, Being Vegan and my numbers.

Thanks @Marilyn6 I hope you’re feeling better.

I do have some DP with my current diet, but am taking some steps to control it.

I really worry about the weight loss thing. Since starting Tresiba, I’ve lost around 10 pounds. I think (but not sure) it’s attributed to more stable blood sugars (e.g. less lows).

Great to hear that your fat macros are around 15%. When reading up on the Mastering Diabetes program, I hear things such as less than 20g fat per day. IMO, that would be very difficult.

I’m already on my way to giving up dairy, but not meat yet. I think I’m going to transition in phases rather than ripping off the bandaid.

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Thanks Adam. I stopped eating dairy about 4 months before going whole plant low fat. That certainly made the transition easier. I was never a big meat eater, so I didn’t miss meat. I did miss almond butter though.

I had been on the Bernstein diet for 11 yrs. I do think that woe was easier, but this is pretty easier once you make the switch. I left the Bernstein diet because my body needed something else and it was telling me with migraines and very low blood pressure when getting out of bed. Both of those ailments went away as soon as I stopped low carbing. I was also gaining weight after so many years low carbing which I lost as soon as I changed diets. I also picked up tons of energy.

My A1c was lower low carbing 4.5-5.1 Now it is 5.2 to my last reading of 5.8. The 5.8 was when I was ill.

Obviously my body is now trying to get my attention again. I have to figure out what it is trying to tell me.

Getting to 15% fat really isn’t that difficult once you cut out using oil of any kind. We cook and brown with water or broth. It does make eating out difficult though. The grams of fat depend on your total calories.

I am using the same insulins you are. I didn’t notice a weight change when switching to Tresiba

Insulin is an anabolic steroid. It has the ability to create both fat and muscle. To simplify things you have two ways of creating weight. Eating carbohydrate will promote fat storage and eating protein for muscle creation. Exercise plus protein will gain more weight but with muscle which will also remove insulin resistance. Eating carbohydrate will add fat which will create insulin resistance. Also eating protein food will mean less insulin and less rollercoasting of bloodsugars. Eating carbohydrate means more insulin and room for error. Diabetes is very deceptive and I see it all the time in comments from people who have not really had the disease long. I have had this my entire life and at (say) 25 I thought I too could eat what I wanted. Sadly when the complications come they come fast and seemingly all at once. I would be very careful whom you take advice from.

Many of my low carb meals are just vegetables and fried halloumi cheese. Oh and eggs.

Edward, I have been a type 1 for 60 yrs and weigh 106. I lost 10 lbs after switching to a low fat plant based diet after following the Bernstein diet for 11 yrs.

I have no neuropathy or retinopathy. I eat 275 organic plant based carbs a day. My blood protein levels are higher than when I was low carbing.

A plant based low fat diet greatly reduces insulin resistance. You might want to learn about this way of eating because it is very interesting and very healthy even for diabetics.


@Edward2 I do eat what I want and I posted my numbers under Type 1, Vegan and my numbers. The link is above on line 4.

Because you choose to low carb to control your Bg’s, doesn’t mean other people want to or have to. As long as they have good control people have the ability to eat other ways or low carb if they choose too. Gaining weight is because of eating too much, carbs, fat or protein. And eating carbs in itself is not what causes insulin resistance.

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What do you consider good control? Dr Bernstein considers a bg of 82 good control, I can not imagine a type2 can achieve that eating 275 g of carbs a day without using a lot of insulin which is unhealthy.

I consider 82 great control also. You have to understand how this diet works. I eat about 275 carbs a day. I take 25 units of insulin daily and less when exercising.

The way I eat is very low fat which drops insulin resistance. I normally run an A1c of 5.4
When I followed Bernstein my A1c was 4.6 to 5.2 over 11 yrs. I admit it runs a bit higher now, but I feel much better eating a plant based low fat diet.

I weigh 106 lbs.

I have been a type 1 for 60 yrs and have no neuropathies or retinopathy. My kidneys are fine.

My results are pretty hard to argue with.

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Many type 2 diabetics when eating plant based/low fat are able to lose a lot of weight and are able to drop their cholesterol and BP meds. If on insulin, they are able to take less. When on other meds, they often can stop taking them as long as they stay low fat plant based. And yes many eat at least 275 carbs a day.

Don’t confuse healthy carbs with unhealthy ones.

I couldn’t eat bread, desserts etc when following Bernstein and I can’t when following low fat plant based.

5.4 is still very good! Please explain specifically how you feel better?
Why can’t you eat bread now?

I started eating low fat plant based 3 yrs ago after 11 yrs of following Dr, Bernstein’s woe.

The last maybe 3 yrs of eating low carb eating I started passing out when getting out of bed because my blood pressure would drop. My cardiologist told me after testing that I had orthostatic hypotension. It was dangerous because when I fainted would hit my head.

Around that time period I would also get migraines with auras and I had never had migraines in the past.

For the past 3 yrs, since I gave up low carbing, my blood pressure doesn’t drop upon standing and I don’t get migraines. Could be coincidence I don’t know.

Recently on a treadmill my blood pressure dropped
dramatically and about 10 days later I did get a migraine but that is because of a new electrolyte problem which has nothing to do with diabetes or diet.

When low carbing I could make breads made with nut butters, and now I will occasionally eat a very low fat bread of some sort, but I can’t go to the bakery and pick up a nice loaf of french bread. Those kinds of carbs would raise my glucose levels dramatically.

If I eat more than 10% to 15% fat, my insulin resistance will rise. I don’t use any kind of oil. I do eat some seeds, a tablespoon of walnuts, and a little avocado. I also take fish oil capsules which aren’t vegan, but I am not perfect.

What kind of carbs do you eat? Are you familiar with Ron Rosedale?
Are you familiar with MTOR? Are you concerned that eating high carbs and low fat will take you out of cellular repair mode and put you into growth mode which could promote cancer?

I do believe that eating mostly plants is the healthiest way to go.
Are you familiar with the Whal’s protocol? Were you eating a good amount of plant based food when you followed Bernstein?

How much insulin do you consider “a lot of insulin” and what are the negative effects of using that much insulin?