I have been a type 1 diabetic for over 30 years. According to what I learned during my life from doctors and dietitians, for my age/height/weight, I should take around 6 bread units of carbohydrates per meal (=6*12g= 72g).

The carbohydrates are currently forming around 50-60% of my food intake.

Right now I am looking into increasing my protein intake at the expense of carbohydrates (so that carbs remain around 40% of the daily nutrients), while remaining on the same target calorie amount per day in meals.

As far I understand, insulin regulates all of the nutrient absorption:

[Insulin] regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of, especially, glucose from the blood into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells


However, whenever I was talking to doctors, they maintained that I only needed to count insulin needed for eating carbohydrates when planning how much to inject before a meal.

So the question is whether in general less insulin per meal is necessary when consuming more proteins at the expense of carbs? Will the proteins (and fats) be able to be absorbed and used by body without (or with less than usual) insulin?

  • 1
    This article looks like it might help: medicalnewstoday.com/info/diabetes/whatisinsulin.php Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 19:29
  • @aparente001 thank you. The article is useful, but it talks about carbohydrates and glucose -- my question is more about whether non-carbohydrates are also broken down to glucose in order to be used by organism -- whether in fact, glucose is the only way of supplying most of organism with energy.
    – Gnudiff
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


It is true that insulin stimulates the uptake of glucose, amino acids (from proteins) and fatty acids into the cells (PubMed, 2011: "Insulin effects in muscle and adipose tissue").


Carbohydrates tend to be the largest factor accounting for changes in blood sugar. It’s worth noting that proteins can also affect sugar levels as well.

Fats are not specifically mentioned in this or other similar articles.

Most insulin adjustment guidelines, like this one from University of California, SF, mention only carbohydrates, so I'm not sure if you will find more reliable recommendation from random online users.

By the way, according to this article Tandofline, 2016: "Impact of Diet Composition on Blood Glucose Regulation":

Longer term intake of high protein diets in human has been shown to result in whole-body insulin resistance.

  • Thank you, this was quite informative. I will still leave the question open just in case.
    – Gnudiff
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 11:48
  • 1
    Insulin stimulates the uptake of only some amino acids, which means proteins with different amino acid composition will affect blood glucose differently. Besides that, blood glucose levels do not depend only on the percents of macronutrients but on the type of food and personal characteristics, which affect the rate of food digestion and nutrient absorption. All this can make general calculations of insulin needs highly inaccurate. The better way of adjusting insulin would be from eventual blood glucose level changes after a diet change.
    – Jan
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 15:23
  • 1
    @Gnudiff It's a good answer and your question is six months old. Accepting an answer doesn't close the question. Others are still free to answer.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 22:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.