Can't get rid of fat - how to deal with carbs? (Type1 Diabetic)

Laws of thermodynamics exist regardless if you’re diabetic or not.

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Exactly, I hesitate very much to handle insulin prior to cycling.
I mostly do not eat carbs even before riding a car. Insulin is simply top dangerous.

Do I understand correctly that you barely eat carbs? What are your preferred meals/recipes?
When I was diagnosed with T1D I changed to very low carbs back then and did quite well that way. But somehow reading into all these “fuel your workouts, eat carbs etc” made me change my approach. I feel I did not gain much additional energy (and since I do not race I never seek getting faster), but only gained weight and got frustrated

Honestly there’s no “other side”. Stark example, but look at the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. The subjects stayed physically active, while losing a ton of weight when on a large deficit.

Although it makes it a lot harder, I do find that not eating carbs leaves a lot on the table from a performance point of view

Yesterday I was on a 70 mile and we averaged about 20mph, around 40 miles before the cafe stop I had a bit of a sugar dive and had to have 2 gels, and some kendle mint cake, at the cafe I had a scone with no additional insulin, way back I had to ear some fruit as sugars were still going low, after a long lead in anniylated them in the sprint, sure it was the extra carbs :slight_smile:

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Sorry, not sure what your point is

I was referring to the fact that telling a T1 to eat less or more carbs on a ride is not as simple as just eating more or less carbs, yes eating more carbs and less fats is simple to say, if you’re not diabetic, because diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Sorry might have got the wrong end of the stick, not sure what your point was


I think if you mostly ride for enjoyment, and maybe ride more at an endurance pace, you can get by without the whole high carb fuel approach. Cyclists have been riding for decades with very little food during rides. The glucose is really needed for fast, sharp, high-power efforts. Your endurance muscles get on fine with burning fat as fuel.

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I missed that the OP specifically asked about carbs too, not just weight loss. I was just focused on the weight loss portion. You’re very much right on the carbs front that they need to be dealt with differently for a T1 diabetic.

But on the point about the OP wanting to lose belly fat, they just need to reduce overall calorie consumption.

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Your argument is too simplistic and self-fulfilling. Obviously thermo-dynamics, but what fluctuates is your metabolic rate. It’s easy to load up a food or fitness app and “estimate” a metabolic rate, but there is no way to truly know how many calories you are burning per day to ensure you are in a deficit. Rules of thumb are great, but don’t always hold true. So yes to the fact that you must be in a calorie deficit. “Not so fast” to the idea that you can be sure you are in a calorie deficit just by counting calories, so the answer isn’t as helpful as you think it is.

Ah, levemir! My lad used to use that for his overnight/basal dose but now being on a pump its just the fast acting insulin.

It’s difficult but as a lot of people have suggested, I think you could still fuel your system more effectively.

And as I say, I still find it crazy that essentially the pure sugar we need for a ride (irrespective of nutrition for good health) is low calorie relative to the carbs you get from it, in comparison to say something with more protein and fat in it. So you could keep your blood sugar in the right place during a ride (with say jelly babies) rather than a sandwich or cake but still not take up as much of your daily calorie allowance as you think - if you’re trying to run an overall deficit for weight loss.


Metabolic rate is part of the equation for calories out.

Too simplistic? Maybe. But it’s also very easy to over complicate it and try to estimate how many active calories you’ve expended in every activity you’ve done in a day and add it to your daily intake. In my experience that generally leads to over consumption.

1 single day does not matter, overall trend matters for making meaningful differences. As long as you’re tracking reasonably well over time and your weekly workout amount is relatively consistent and repeatable week to week, you will see a trend expenditure and can make adjustments to dial your intake in.

Just remembered about this - there’s the Novo Nordisk team, who all are type 1 diabetic.

They have quite a bit of informarion on their website about training with diabetes, and also seem to have a cookbook out. Not sure about info about weight loss but maybe worth a look?


I came here to add that link. I think they have more experience in pushing performance with T1 than anyone else.

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Thank you - I am following them regularly and find their approach and information unique and very valuable


Yes, I don’t eat a whole lot of carbs overall. On average, I am around 100 g per day. Some days a little more and some days a lot less. Depends on the demands of the day.

Breakfast - eggs or egg whites with chicken sausage, 1/2 bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch - I eat a lot of large salads - lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, 2-4 cherry tomatoes, olives, etc. Then I top off with a serving of protein - chicken, salmon, turkey or beef. Salt and avocado oil for seasoning. I may or may not add 1/2 cup of beans or chick peas.

Dinner - post ride could be another salad with up to 1cup of rice. Sometimes dinner will be protein with palmini rice or mashed palmini with a whole bunch of cooked veggies - broccoli, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, etc. I get a lot of volume from the palmini or veggies and try to eat that first. Area under the curve is still the same but the large volume of fibrous food blunts the post parendial response.

Snacks for me could be pudding made from egg whites and chocolate protein or ice cream made from a protein shake. I also enjoy some low-carb protein bars and my sugar-free peanut butter too.


Yes, I probably am leaving some performance on the table and I’ve learned I have to live with that. I don’t like riding the ups and downs of a lot of carbs and then dosing with a lot of insulin. The mental effort to manage everything is enough as is so I chose to try to have more level BG values throughout my day.

I race cat4 here in the US and I can hang with the fast group on my weekly group ride and I’m okay with that. I have enough kick at the end of a race or the group ride to ride away from most people, so like you, I rely on sprints to win rather than huge efforts off the front.


That is exactly it: the mental effort to juggle balanced blood glucose levels is overall a more straining thing to do than constant climbing at 130% FTP.
What non Type1 do not know: Going into threshold and above makes the blood levels spike brutally after workout… and thst needs to be treated with insulin- what might lead to constant up and down rollercoasters…
going mostly lower, Z2 kind of workouts makes blood glucose more balanced and counter spikes… and most of the times does not need insulin injections post workout

IME it’s all about the loss of hormones as you approach 50+/-5. That and BMR decrease balanced against the same appetite=a net positive CICO.

The only way I’ve been able to get truly lean (even too lean) was very limited cardio which made CICO easy. A sh!t ton of strength/core work. And eating only lean meats and vegetables. No white starchy carbs. No booze. No sugar. Hungary all the time. No fun.


thanks to all of you! very valuable answers and points, which help me a lot.

Mostly I am reassured that as a Type1 Diabetic I need to choose a different path than most going through my daily nutrition and into workouts.

I knew that before naturally, but seem to have lost track of which way to take. I will probably return to my low carb, low training strain/mostly Z2 training approach.

I will add more strength/weight training into the mix to counter the age-effect approaching the magic year 50.

Thx for all the support! Highly appreciated.


I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been said. I’m 35 and I’ve had T1D for 26 years. Consistent exercise has come and gone over my life, and I’ve always had the spare tire around the belly, but it’s gotten bigger and smaller over the years.
I’ve used a pump (with fast-acting insulin) for about 23 years, but the last several years have been the most helpful as CGM’s have gotten better. My CGM has helped me get a handle on the results of having insulin on board during exercise. As has been said, I try to go into exercise with as little active insulin as I can. During exercise, I may not bolus for carbs at all or I may bolus for about half of what I actually take in. I know this may look quite different if on shots. The equally helpful discovery has been taking a bolus of insulin (usually for about the amount of what I consumed during the workout) while I am in the cooldown. If I don’t take this, blood sugar sky rockets after workout and I fight it for hours.
Another factor for me is that I have a definite Dawn Phenomenon (or Feet-on-Floor?) and I usually work out in the morning. I’m not sure if you’re in this scenario, but that automatic rise in blood sugar throws in another variable.
Also, I’m not a competitive cyclist (although I’d like to be), so top notch performance isn’t my goal. I’ve been thinking to take this lower carb, lower intensity, maintain lifting weights approach you’re talking about and see where that takes me. I’d love to finally lose the belly and get and keep the A1c down from hovering in the 6’s.
As a non-related P.S., it has shocked me in recent years to hear people taking in a day’s worth of carbs (for me) for each hour on the bike, for multiple hours. I understand it is helping performance, so I’m not negating it. I’ve even tried it and plan to try it more on intense rides/workouts. I just mean, coming from someone that has kept a close eye on carbs for many years, these numbers surprised me when I first started hearing them. As diabetics, I think we see carbs differently and immediately associate them with manually taking insulin to handle them.

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just to update this:

I have followed your advice and reduced carbs and fat as well as kcal, which all of these I probably took in too much before. On the other hand I upped protein.

I feel quite fine, had much less need for insuline (50-70% leas).
Moreover I have concentrated on Z2 on bike and rower.

I do not miss much energy or punch on the bike, although naturally I feel there is maybe less power than before. Maybe this is just in my head.

In general I feel much better and think I will try to stick to this approach.