A large part of controlling type 1 diabetes is being able to balance the effects the food we eat and insulin we take have on our glucose levels.

It’s important to also note that a good diet will help with keeping consistent energy levels through the day and in maintaining long term health.

Carbohydrate counting

Carbohydrate counting should be an important part of any diet you choose so that you can estimate your insulin doses as accurately as possible.

Carbohydrate or ‘carb’ counting for people with type 1 diabetes involves calculating or estimating the amount of carbohydrate in each meal or snack you have and then adjusting your insulin doses in response.


To help you get to grips with this process, carbohydrate counting structured education courses or workshops are highly recommended.

Sweet treats

Sweeter foods can be enjoyed but they’ll be easier to enjoy if they don’t send your blood sugar levels shooting too high soon after.

If you want to have sweeter food from time to time, it can help to have smaller portions but take your time eating it to make the most of it.

If having sweeter foods, make sure you adjust your insulin well so that you avoid either too high or too low sugar levels.

Carbohydrate reduction

Some people with type 1 diabetes may choose to reduce their daily carbohydrate intake to help improve blood glucose levels. A lower carbohydrate diet can help prevent large spikes in post meal blood sugars and can also help to reduce large swings in sugar levels through the day.

It is very important to take precautions to prevent hypoglycemia occurring and you should speak to your doctor if you are considering significantly lowering your carbohydrate intake.

Low GI diet

Foods with a low GI (glycemic index) value are absorbed more slowly than foods with a higher GI value, therefore lower GI foods tend to be better at keeping blood glucose levels in the recommended range.

Whole grain foods have a lower GI value than white versions of starchy foods, such as rice, bread and pasta. Glycemic index ratings of foods can also be helpful in picking fruit and vegetables as some choices will have significantly lower GI values than others.

As a general rule, try not to let higher GI foods make up too much of your meal.