No Carb Diet

I am wanting to start one of these, but as I diabetic I know that theres Carbs in everything. So does a No Carb diet mean I cant eat anything but protiens and Fruits/veggies? or does it mean I just cant eat more complex carbs like starches/breads. Help!

No carb means mostly protein and vegetables.  No fruit.  It's like an Atkins diet.  There's an author named Dr. Richard Bernstein who's had type 1 for over 50 years with no complications.  He recommends a super low carb diet to have good blood sugars and wrote a book about it called "Diabetes Solution".  He's doing a free webcast on November 30 and you can post questions to him.  

My daughter is on the Atkins diet for a seizure disorder. She eats about 20 net carbs a day and is in ketoses all the time. I wouldn't try it without your doctors approval but her last A1C was a 5.3. She has no crazy swings and feels good. Most of her carbs are coming from nuts and veggies but Danon makes a "carb smart" ice cream that is really good.

I am majoring in dietetics and a no carb diet is about the worst idea out there. Carbohydrates are the only fuel your brain can use. It cannot use protein and fats. Without carbs,  your body will go into ketosis. The key is managing your carbs, not cutting them out. You should have at least 100 carbs per day to keep your body functioning properly. Also, you're better off eating complex carbs compared to simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates have fiber, which your body needs. It's important to eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. If you try and cut one of those out completely, you will be depriving your body of essential nutrients.


That's not quite true.  The brain runs on glucose, not carbs.  The body can, and does, make it's own glucose in the liver.  That's what causes dawn phenomenon.  So you can eat a 20-30g carb diet and still have proper brain function.  Many people have done so for years.  

The only foods that contain essential nutrients that the body can't make itself are proteins.  So we have to eat proteins.  We can exist with few carbs, even just carbs from vegetables and dairy.  

That's cool that you're majoring in dietetics.  Are you planning to be a diabetes educator or do something else?



This is a very interesting topic because many people believe that carbs are bad, especially for type 1 diabetics! As a result people go on these no-carb diets, which deprive their bodies of the nutrients it needs to function properly. As stated in the post above, glucose is food for our brains, and the body turns carbs into glucose. I wonder how can anyone function on a carb free diet?

For type 1 diabetics portion is key.... carbs are good for you as long as you watch how much you eat. I cannot imagine having a carb free meal when my blood sugar is in the 70's...or 80's..etc. Just like with anything else in life, balance is important when it comes to meals and no one should every deprive their bodies of the necessary nutrients it needs =)


T1 since 1992 Minimed pump since 2009

The liver does make glucose, but it is not an efficient method. It uses non-carbohydrate sources, such as protein and to a small extent, triglycerides(fat). Fatty acids cannot be used to make glucose. This is directly from one of my nutrition textbooks. It says that the glycerol part of a triglyceride can be used to make glucose, but it represents only 5% of the triglyceride weight. Therefore, the other 95% of the triglyceride cannot be used to make glucose. It does say that protein is a fairly good source when carbohydrates are not available. However, carbohydrates should be available. They should make up 45%-65% of a persons total calories each day.

Other foods besides proteins contain essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. So it is still important to have a balanced diet. Like Sara said, portion control is key, not cutting it out altogether. A no carb diet is not realistic as almost everything has carbs except for meat, eggs, and cheese.

I plan on becoming a diabetes educator but I have to work as a dietitian for a certain amount of time before I can become one.

I wasn't advocating carb-free.  We're talking low carb diets of 20-30g a day.

I didn't say the liver is more efficient at making glucose than eating carbs, just that your body can physiologically do well on 30g of ingested carbs a day and the liver will make up any deficit.

And I used "essential elements" when I was actually talking about amino acids.  They are found only in proteins and our bodies can't function without.  The point I was making again is that physiologically, our bodies can run just fine with low levels of carb but need protein to function.  

I know what the American Dietetic Association advocates, but have heard from too many people, especially people with diabetes, who are healthy and happy on low carb diets.  It makes common sense.  People with diabetes are deficient in insulin; carbs require insulin to process.  The fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you take and the less over-  and under-dosing you will have.  When I personally have eaten low carb my blood sugars are much improved.  

This isn't my idea, there are many advocates of it like Dr. Richard Bernstein, an MD who had had type 1 for 60+ years and is complication free.  A more recent convert is Diane Kress, a long-time nutritionist and diabetes educator who had numerous type 2 clients who did terribly in their diabetes control with the Am. Dietetic Assoc. guidelines, but who have made substantial improvements in their diabetes and heart health with lower carb diets of primarily protein and vegetables.  

That's cool that you want to be a CDE Morgan.  I'm actually working towards a nursing degree with the same goal.  Because my first bachelors degree  was in a non-healthcare related field I considered getting an MS in Dietetics but was shocked that most of the program were statistics and upper level math classes.  I have a great friend form church who has her MS in Dietetics and she actually just won a national award for her work overseeing the dietary guidelines and implementation for the Dept. of Human Services in our state.  I told her I'd always known she was intelligent, but after seeing the classes she had to take to earn her MS, I was even more impressed!  

Take care.


I completely agree that carbohydrates need to be limited, but there is a certain point where a person could be getting too few carbohydrates. Everyone is different and some diets work for some but not others. I knew you were referring to amino acids, which there are 8 that are essential and need to come from the diet, but I was just expanding on the idea that there are other essential things we need from the diet so it is important to consume a balanced diet to get those nutrients.

I try to limit the amount of carbs I eat per day, but I am not as strict as Dr. Bernstein. Almost every food we eat has some amount of carbs - just not as much as grains. So it would not be possible to have a diet that is completely carb free.

This conversation has been baffling me for some time. As people with diabetes, we seem to focus so much attention on the problems, and symptoms (horrible lows) , and technology solutions (pumps and cgm), but not on the inputs - carbs. This is true - the fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you take and the less over- and under-dosing you will have. I am T-1 and eat low/no carbs and my A1C is 5.1. I am rarely experiencing any lows because I take so little insulin to cover for the occasional carbs I do eat. When I do decide to splurge on ever so rare rice or noodles, or a sandwich I am occasionally wrong on the insulin timing and amounts and end up on the roller coaster of lows and highs… Where I am going with this is that I don’t understand why there isn’t more focus on modulating the inputs (carbs, exercise) and so much focus on medicating the outputs with pharma solutions and expensive half baked technology. Low/no carbs = low/no problems. Are we afraid to acknowledge this simple fact?

Well, the simple fact is a fact. Smaller inputs (carbs) means smaller potential for mistakes; it is a simple equation.

I don’t personally think low or no carb. I tolerate non-starch veggies, and eat them without counting or limitation.

This is not hard to figure out. And i understand parents not wanting to place such restrictions on their kids. As well as teens not wanting to live with restrictions in general in life. As adults, it is up to the person, however.

I chose to eliminate starch vegetables, rice and pasta. Eliminated as all forms of “sugar” meaning white, brown, pancake syrup, maple syrup, Karo, agave, honey, etc. Etc. Eliminated fruit juices and candy and sugared “deserts.” Eliminated legumes (but see peanut butter, below). Many of these things I didn’t consume much of to begin with (rice, fruit juice = none) so it wasn’t hard.

Heavily restricted fruits (1/2-3/4c berries once or twice, at most, per week). Same for grains (1 slice of bread, OR 1/2c nothing added old fashion oats, OR 1 piece lo-carb flat wrap, once or twice per week, at most) and legumes (peanut butter, all natural, NSA once or twice per week, at most).

Dr. Bernstein came up with the solution to the low carb question. Why does the Amer Diabetic Assoc not agree? He thinks they are afraid their doctors will be sued if a patient gets in trouble with hypoglycemia, but do not care if their bad diet cause high blood sugars and all those horrible, pathetic, unnecessary complications.
I strongly recommend his book. He is a genius.

I just want to add my voice in support of the low-carb approach. When I started his plan, I was super-strict - no sugar, bread, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables, fruit - and the amount of insulin I was using went way down. More importantly, my BGs leveled off. Of course I had lows, I think they are unavoidable, but with smaller doses of insulin, they were, and still are, not so bad.

I know this is a controversial diet. I remember a nutritionist warning my that I “couldn’t live” without fruit. Well guess what, it’s been 7 years and I’m still here. I’ve eased up a little bit over the years. Now I’ll sometimes have some strawberries or blueberries, but I watch the amounts carefully. I basically live on protein and non-starch veggies. I feel great, and the highest my A1c has been since I started Bernstein’s plan is 5.5. So I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing.

I declare that the low carb members of this discussion have one the argument. Those against low carb (30 gm per day) need to read Dr. Bernstein’s book! (just kidding)
Dr. Bernstein also figured out quite a few years ago that low cholesterol and low sat fat diets do NOT help lower your blood cholesterol or your heart attack risk; a fact that the experts are just now coming to realize. Actually the low carb diet will give you superb blood cholesterol.
Good luck and good health to all of us! Rich.

I am newly diagnosed (2/2/16). I have followed a low carb/high fat/high protein diet for 3 years (Whole9). I was in DKA for over a month before I realized I was very sick and even then thought I just had a UTI and had lost a few pounds. My urine test revealed high ketones and blood tests glucose was 374 and A1C 11.7. I initially followed the advice of my endo and nutritionist to eat carbs (Brown rice mostly). My levels were all over the place 60-400 after I would eat rice. I am in the process of testing what removing the carbs again are doing to my levels. So far, my blood sugar is averaging 130 verses 350 per day and my rapid insulin need has gone to almost nothing - @4 units/day. My long lasting insulin has remained constant at 8 units/day. I have had no lows since removing the carbs again from my diet. My energy level is great. I have also been released to begin my normal hot yoga practice again. So far so good!!! Granted it has only been 2 weeks.
My endo is not a fan of my diet but she does wonder if I am onto something because I have not had to be hospitalized and am having very little issues adapting to the insulin. She is following my progress closely and wants to understand more about the impact of a low carb diet on type1. It isn’t a mealplan for everyone but it works great for me now and has for 3 years.

I embarked on Bernstein’s plan in 1999. I stayed with it for several years without losing brain function, LOL. I haven’t had fruit since then and don’t miss it. I’ve gone off the 30 grams a day plan and suffered the consequences so I always come back to it. Proteins, nuts, healthy fats, and veggies make up my food plan. My A1c remains steady at 5.4%