Type 1 diabetes - alimentation

Pizza and T1D

Can I eat pizza with my diabetes?

Controlling your blood sugar when you eat pizza can be a challenge for someone living with type 1 diabetes.

What is the cause?

Fat and protein have an impact on blood sugar when eaten together. Blood sugar will be harder to control because fat and protein reduce the immediate rise in blood sugar (usually 1 to 2 hours), and then contribute to a rise in blood sugar about 3 to 6 hours later. Pizza, containing a lot of fat and protein, creates this delayed effect of the rise in blood sugar.

Consumed alone, proteins have very little impact on blood sugar. You would have to consume a very large amount of protein to have an impact. For example, a 300-gram steak with a salad at a meal could have an impact on blood sugar.

When mixed with carbohydrates, protein affects blood sugar differently. As an example, when consuming a meal with 30 grams of carbohydrates, eating only 12.5 grams of protein can have a big impact on blood sugar. For example, a slice of a large pizza from Boston Pizza contains 29 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of protein. Obviously, this meal would have an impact on blood sugar levels.

Le gras et les protéines ont un impact sur la glycémie, lorsque consommé ensemble

What can I do to avoid high or low blood sugar when I eat pizza?

According to studies, there are two options: increase the insulin dose (by consulting your doctor) or inject your insulin dose over a longer period of time*.

Some studies have shown that people with diabetes increase their bolus dose when eating pizza to avoid late-onset hyperglycemia. For adolescents, it may be necessary to increase the insulin dose by 30% when they eat a high protein meal, and up to 60% of their insulin dose for a high fat meal.

In addition, it can also be interesting to extend the time of the bolus. For the insulin pump, the “Extended Bolus” or “Duo-Square Bolus” option exists for this purpose. This option allows you to give part of the insulin dose instantly, and the other part delivered slowly, divided over two hours. For people who do not use the insulin pump, it is possible to give part of the bolus as usual, and to inject the other part about 1h30 after eating.*

Finally, as with diabetes management, there is no magic solution for managing blood sugar levels when eating pizza. However, the tips mentioned above may give you a lead. Always consult your diabetes doctor before increasing or decreasing your insulin doses.

*Always consult your diabetes specialist before making any changes to your diabetes treatment.

Enjoy your meal!