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SUMMARY: The use of a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) reduces insulin requirements in insulinopenic states such as type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). However, the use of potentially ketogenic diets in this clinical setting is contentious and the mechanisms underlying their impact on glycaemic control are poorly understood. We report a case of a patient with a late-onset classic presentation of T1DM who adopted a very low-carbohydrate diet and completely avoided insulin therapy for 18 months, followed by tight glycaemic control on minimal insulin doses. The observations suggest that adherence to an LCD in T1DM, implemented soon after diagnosis, can facilitate an improved and less variable glycaemic profile in conjunction with temporary remission in some individuals. Importantly, these changes occurred in a manner that did not lead to a significant increase in blood ketone (beta-hydroxybutyrate) concentrations. This case highlights the need for further research in the form of randomised controlled trials to assess the long-term safety and sustainability of carbohydrate-reduced diets in T1DM. LEARNING POINTS: This case highlights the potential of low-carbohydrate diets (LCDs) in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) to mediate improved diabetes control and possible remission soon after diagnosis. Could carbohydrate-reduced diets implemented early in the course of T1DM delay the decline in endogenous insulin production? Adherence to an LCD in T1DM can facilitate an improved and less variable glycaemic profile. This case suggests that LCDs in T1DM may not be associated with a concerning supraphysiological ketonaemia.

Original publication




Journal article


Endocrinol Diabetes Metab Case Rep

Publication Date