Someone recently wrote me asking for information on eating a vegan diet and Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your body is not making any insulin and so you have to take insulin injections. The person writing me said that even though she could take more insulin to deal with the higher amount of carbohydrate in a vegan diet, “more and more research shows that type ones can build up an insulin resistance if too many carbohydrates are consumed.”
I have only had a question from someone with Type 1 diabetes about two previous times and do not currently know anyone with Type 1 diabetes eating a vegan diet. I do not know of any published studies on the subject, so any advice I give is fairly theoretical. I responded by saying:
“A whole foods vegan diet has been shown to be beneficial for Type 2 diabetes in three studies that have been conducted on people with Type 2. I am actually working on an article combining the results of these studies. A lot of the benefit of such a diet is due to lower caloric intake, which probably won’t help someone with Type 1. However, I could see that the higher fiber content of a whole foods vegan diet could release carbohydrates more slowly into your blood and result in lower insulin needs, even if the carbohydrates are a higher percentage of your diet.”
I also enclosed an article from a 1999 Vegetarian Dietetic Practice group newsletter that addressed Type 1 diabetes in vegetarian children.
I’m wondering if there is anyone out there who has been vegan for awhile and has Type 1 diabetes, who can help this person (and myself) know more about their experience.