Living with Type 1 Diabetes


Type 1 Diabetes


The recommended blood glucose level (BGL) targets for an individual with type 1 diabetes:

Fasting/ Before meals 2 hours after meals
4-8 mmol/L <10 mmol/L


However, this can vary due to multiple factors such as: age, duration of the condition, type of insulin being used and whether other health conditions need to be considered. Target BGL can be achieved through a healthy diet and weight, being physically active and taking care of your mental health.

Often when someone is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes they ask questions like ‘what can I eat?’ or ‘does that mean I can’t eat sugar?’ Whether someone has diabetes or not, there is no right or wrong in terms of what is recommended. Food overall plays a huge role in our life, as well as, providing a sense of enjoyment. 

Our bodies main source of energy comes from carbohydrates which gets broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. This glucose may come from:

  •          Fruits
  •          Starchy vegetables
  •          Dairy products
  •          Grains and cereals. 

Understanding how your body responds to foods, particularly carbohydrates, is important for diabetes management. A dietitian can assist you in carbohydrate counting, which is a vital component in being able to meet your insulin to carbohydrate ratio. It’s important to remember the amount and type of carbohydrate, ensuring carbohydrates are eaten regularly throughout the day.

When BGL are too low this can lead to hypoglycaemia. You may feel sweaty, shaky, hungry or confused. During these moments a small amount of sugar is required i.e. jelly beans or lemonade followed by a piece of fruit or a sandwich to prevent further BGL from dropping low. Keeping a hypoglycaemia kit nearby is a good idea. Be mindful that fasting or following low carbohydrate or low calorie diets with type 1 diabetes can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia episodes. 

Alcohol consumption can also affect BGL and foods high in added sugar, salt, fat need to be limited due to providing little to no nutritional value. 

Exercise is another very useful way to assist the management of your BGL. Blood glucose responses can be highly variable depending on the FITT principle:

  •         Frequency
  •         Intensity
  •         Time
  •         Type of activity

This may lead to further changes to your insulin regime. 


Type 1 diabetes shouldn’t make someone feel like they can’t live a normal life.

Key tips would be:

  •          Eat a variety of nutritious foods  
  •          Foods such as, chips, lollies, chocolate and biscuits can be enjoyed sometimes
  •          Discuss with a dietitian, how to correctly count carbohydrates 
  •          Prepare a hypoglycaemia kit.