Type 1 Diabetes Makeover – From Rollercoaster to Full Control

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published October 10, 2017

Affaf was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in August 2015 at age 16.

The first year and a half living with type 1 diabetes was confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming. Despite following the guidelines her physician recommended (minimize carbohydrate intake, monitor blood glucose readings throughout the day), Affaf felt like her blood glucose was completely out of her control.

She was on the “the blood glucose roller coaster” and experienced both extreme highs and extreme lows on a daily basis, a phenomenon that is very common for those living with type 1 diabetes.

Affaf was living in fear, at the complete mercy of type 1 diabetes. She was afraid to leave her house if her blood glucose was below 200 mg/dL, and would try to go to bed at a level of 300 mg/dL  just to feel safe (but even then would sometimes wake up in a cold sweat with a low of 30 mg/dL or 40 mg/dL).

She attempted to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, but felt so restricted and low-energy that every few days she would end up binging on processed foods. It became a dangerous, unhealthy cycle.

In February 2017, she found Mastering Diabetes co-founder Robby on Instagram and started doing private coaching with him.

Overnight, she went from eating a meat-heavy, low-carbohydrate diet to a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet.

Affaf increased her carbohydrate intake 10-fold within a matter of weeks, and was surprised (and thrilled) that her blood glucose control was better than ever.

What exactly do her meals look like? Affaf prefers to eat very simply, calling herself a “lazy cook.” However, cooking simply may be one of the keys to her success. 

Simple meals of simple whole food ingredients are some of the healthiest options, AND it makes her new lifestyle 100% sustainable.

Many of her meals consist simply of fruits. She also enjoys potatoes, beans, and whole grains, along with some vegetables. 

Today, she feels better than ever. Her blood glucose is predictable and easy to handle. She exercises frequently, and is finally able to go to the gym and run with the confidence to keep her blood glucose in range.

She has more energy than ever – even more than the days when she drank 4 cups of coffee per day.

By eating this way, Affaf has been able to reduce her A1c by 6.0% and increase her 24-hour insulin sensitivity from a 2:1 carbohydrate:insulin ratio to a 12:1 ratio.

Look at the table below to get a full breakdown of how her basal and bolus insulin needs have changed, along with her hemoglobin A1c:

Biomarker

February 2017

October 2017

Basal Insulin (U/day)

22

10

Breakfast Bolus (U/day)

10

3-4

Lunch Bolus (U/day)

10

3-4

Dinner Bolus (U/day)

10

3-4

Hemoglobin A1c (%)

14.0

8.0

24-Hour Carbohydrate:Insulin Ratio (g/U)

2:1

12:1

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.