Monday 30 July 2012

Paleo Eating & Diabetes

As a parent of a type 1 child, I am acutely aware of what foods my son puts in his body. Every food contains its own nutritional value and, as a parent and caregiver, I try to maximize Dylan's nutritional intake to ensure that he is as healthy as possible.

So a few months ago, when I heard about the Paleo diet in a CWD (Children with Diabetes) discussion group, my interest was piqued. It appeared that type 1 kids who ate predominantly paleo were reducing their insulin requirements by 50% or even more! The skeptic in me immediately doubted the validity of these claims. However, as I started researching, I found more and more scientific evidence to support this way of eating, not just for type 1's, but for everyone. Then I learned that a number of my coworkers (and some of the healthiest and fittest people I know) have been eating Paleo for years.

For those who may not have heard of Paleo before, it is a dietary plan based on the eating patterns of man during the Paleolithic Era. Basically, only foods available during that hunter/gatherer time are permitted. Commonly consumed items are fish, grass-fed meats, vegetables, fungi, nuts, seeds, and fruit. Excluded foods are grains, dairy, legumes, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Still not sure I understood completely, my next step was to read "Quantum Paleo" by Dr. Doug Willen and really get my head around what the diet actually entailed; what foods were "in," and which were "out."

After careful consideration, I've decided to try it out. Willen suggests a 21 day trial period, which is what I intend to do, starting today. During the 21 days, I will eat entirely paleo, but expose my family, including Dylan, to a variety of paleo meals and see how it goes. If I like it, I'll stick with it permanently; if Dylan likes it, I will start him on a complete paleo diet as well.


  1. I have been researching this as well. I will be following with interest. Does this line up with the protein shakes you were doing? My gut says no, but I am curious. Need to look into the book.

  2. I think this is an okay diet for an adult to try, but children need a certain amount of carbs to grow. How does your son feel about this change... it is drastic. I think it may be healthy to go in this direction, but not entirely. Of course if you eat no carbohydrate, you reduce your insulin needs 50 percent. The basal/bolus balance is supposed to be about 50/50. By eliminating carbs, you are virtually eliminating most, if not all, bolus insulin. A reduction of insulin is not the goal... you can also reduce insulin by increasing exercise. Increasing exercise, though, demands an increase in carbohydrate. Not sure why you would want to decrease your child's insulin by 50 percent anyway. Insulin is necessary for growth. If your child was not diabetic his body would give him the appropriate amount of insulin.