December 15, 2000
Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from California, USA:
My 19 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 two weeks ago. He takes 20 units of NPH and 3 units of Humalog at breakfast and dinner. At lunch and before bed, he takes Humalog on a sliding scale. His doctor doesn’t want to teach him how to do carbohydrate counting yet as he thinks it is too much too soon. We are getting anxious and are wondering if there is a ball park figure for young men his age and weight (160 pounds). We just want to know if we’re on the right track.
Yes, there is a way to calculate how much “fast acting” insulin to take in order to cover the amount of carbs that he is eating at each meal and/or snack and it varies from person to person. People with diabetes who take multiple daily injections (three or more per day) or use an insulin pump do these calculations.
In light of the recent diagnosis and the amount of new information there is to learn, I would agree with the doctor at this point to wait, but definitely this would be a viable alternative for a 19 year old who may require more flexibility in his meal planning. Speak with your doctor about receiving instruction from a diabetes education team once he “masters” the initial diabetes tasks.
Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:
He probably needs about 2400 calories a day, more if he is an athlete; of these about half at least are from carbs so will be about 250-300 grams per day. You will see the dietitian soon I hope and learn, but remember it’s a long haul event.