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March 14, 2004

Diagnosis and Symptoms, Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Moscow, Russia:

Is there any evidence that diet, such as eliminating fast-absorbing carbohydrates, can delay or prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes in a child at high risk (mother with type 1)? Can such a diet slow the onset if pre-diabetic symptoms, such as high sugars, but not yet requiring insulin injections, appear?

Answer:

There is no evidence that a low carbohydrate diet will avert diabetes in the child of a mother who has what is now known as type IA or autoimmune diabetes, which is indeed the most common form in Caucasian families. There might indeed be certain risks in this if it was not supervised by a nutritionist because a low carbohydrate intake might lead to over dependance on fat for energy and thus to ketosis. If it were at all possible, and I suspect it might not be in Russia, you might wish to get an antibody test to see if your child really was in the pre clinical phase of this form of diabetes. There have been many attempts to avert insulin dependance in this situation which have so far all proved ineffective. Nevertheless, attempts to do this continue and the most promising seem to involve Vaccine therapies for the prevention of type 1 diabetes mellitus. trying to change the autoimmune response from a Th1 or destructive process to a Th2 or protective one. Clinical trials of anti CD3 have already taken place and look hopeful.

DOB