Portions for low(er) carb meals

I was wondering about this (again) after traveling this week. One meal we had was just meat and veggies, and I had to eat quite a bit to feel full, and was getting hungry again an hour later. :slightly_frowning_face: Aside from my love of carbs, this is partially why I don’t eat low/moderate carb - I just can’t seem to get full (I am breastfeeding, and typically you’re hungry all the time…). My husband also is very active working 13-14hr days and has a very fast metabolism, so he has always eaten a lot and still eats quite a bit. Between the two of us a our children who seem to have similar metabolisms, I cringe just thinking about what our grocery budget would look like if we ate more meat/veggie only type meals without the carb fillers (of course, I know I could probably make those as sides for my family and just avoid them myself…).

So my questions are: what do your portions look like if you eat moderate/low carb, what do you eat to feel full (I can’t have any dairy), and any tips to affording that type of diet?

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My observations are the opposite. Fat and protein make me feel full… carbs require eating an unreasonable amount, make me feel hungry soon after, and destroy my bg

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Hmm, I suspect it has something to do with my muscle disorder (my body can’t convert most fats to energy). Dairy is pretty much the only fat I don’t have to eat tons of to feel full - it’s the type my body can actually use. So maybe I should just wait until I can eat dairy again before trying to eat less carbs…

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Can’t relate in that regard, fats are my bodies preferred fuel source. Being diabetic and not able to metabolize fats is a tremendously difficult hand to play imo

No kidding. That plus celiac (so crazy gf carbs) often makes me want to pull my hair out. I keep feeling tempted to seek out a nutritionist or dietician, but I’m pretty sure they’d be even more stumped than me!

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Yeah for low carb to work, you need to be able to eat high fat, so if you can’t metabolize fats, that’s going to be tough. Otherwise all you’re left with for calories is protein, and really high protein is not great.

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I would seek out a nutritionist/ dietician/ cde if I was you… if you really can’t proccess fats you have a much more complicated dietary situation than most of us. I can tell you with certainty that unless you become some sort of absurd athlete like Eric who runs like 10 miles / day , you won’t be able to manage diabetes eating like you do indefinitely if you’re truly T1. Sorry just shooting strait.


That’s what I thought. I can metabolize some, just not as efficiently. I think the doc said I can only use about 30% of the long chain fats I consume.

No need to be sorry - this is why I’m thinking about it a lot lately. I know my current diet is not sustainable down the road, especially since said muscle disorder also prevents me from anything remotely athletic.

I agree with @Sam, eating low-carb makes me feel much fuller (much faster, and for longer) than eating high-carb. I think talking to a dietitian would be extremely useful if you can’t eat many fats but are wanting to (eventually) lower carbs. I find multiple food allergies and diabetes hard enough, can’t imagine having something else on top of that!

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That may not be relevant to adding fats to a meal of protein for the purpose of feeling full.

How long does it take after a heavy protein / fat meal to feel satisfied and full?

How long does it likely take for that meal to actually digest?

I believe these are two different actions.

If you are choosing to eat low carb for whatever reason and are having a larger percentage of your calories come from protein but still not feeling full then add fats to your meal. Don’t worry about what the Doc may have said nor about how much of the fats may or may not ultimately be digested.

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I agree with @Jen and @Sam. But I will add that it tooks us a few weeks to settle into the low carb lifestyle. Coming off of eating a lot of carbs was really hard at first. But it can be done. And it’s an unlimited amount of vegetables, which I think can be satisfying when paired with the fat and protein aspect. When we used to eat higher carb, we would be famished for breakfast first thing. Now with a lower carb lifestyle, we will easily go until 11 AM without desperately needing to eat a meal.


How do you fare with plant fats such as avocado? I tolerate them quite well and half a small one is quite filling. An added benefit is that 75 percent of the carbs is fiber.

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I would push back against the consensus that you can’t eat the way you do forever and still maintain pretty tight control. Can you have an A1C of 4.9? well, no, probably not. But there are plenty of people with an A1C in the 5.6 to 5.8 range who eat basically a normal high carb diet. Heck, our son who basically has zero beta cells left (so tougher to maintain control) had a 6.5 A1C when we were absolutely lax and not attentive to his diabetes like we normally are – that represents a huge increase in his average BG. And he’s a toddler. It’s possible you won’t be able to achieve as perfectly flat a line as with HFLC, but remember that normies don’t achieve that either.

Before you look into reducing your carb intake I’d try a little more systematically to make your diet work for you. In my experience, bolusing for fat and protein also takes skill and practice and you can either invest all that time into a diet you don’t like, or you can spend that energy making your current diet work better for you. Small tweaks can also lead to big changes – for instance, bagels (74 g of carbs!) are a weirdly easy food for us to bolus for in the morning, whereas a slice of toast is not. Foods that are fine for lunch cause prolonged highs overnight. Even different types of English muffins affect him differently So don’t rule out whole categories if one particular food gives you trouble.

I mean, don’t eat junk. Your carbs should not be cheetos and white bread. But so far it seems to me your control has been pretty good so I wouldn’t preemptively decide you simply cannot eat carbs and maintain decent control.


My sentiments exactly. Instead of fearing foods, I personally plan on helping Liam figure out strategies to cope with each food so that no circumstance makes him feel “out of place.”


Thank you all for the input, particularly @TiaG and @ClaudnDaye for that alternative perspective.

In response to @Thomas and @CatLady, it’s not that I can’t eat the fats or even just a fullness issue (but I don’t feel full unless I eat very large portions if it’s just fat/protein and only a few carbs), it’s that they don’t work as well as in someone without this disorder, so I get hungry fairly quickly after eating as my body didn’t get enough fuel from it - does that make sense?

While I do plan to keep more moderate/higher carb (if I had to name a goal it’s ~150-200/day, right now I am at just above 200), I am trying to make healthier choices overall. I’ve become pretty lax where my diet is concerned, especially with afrezza to rescue me from more “unwise” choices. So wanting to eat more meat/veggies and less carbs is also just a personal choice rather than just a choice in diabetes management.

Not really. Nobody digests protein and fats quickly. My point being that when people report that they feel “full” after eating a meal of protein and fat, it can not possibly be after having digested and derived the nutritional benefit of that meal as that digestive process has not happened yet. It takes hours yet people would typically have that “full” feeling much much sooner.

At the end of the day whatever it is that works for you is what to go with.

I agree. I think for me I’m not getting hungry in the traditional sense; my body is craving quick energy (carbs), so I get hunger signals even if I’ve just eaten what should make me feel full. I do actually experience this if I eat a good amount of simple carbs, too - but that’s more a craving for more simple carbs/sugar. I’ve got to find the balance between carbs and fat/protein so I can feel full…it’s hard to do with also trying to count carbs for insulin dosage, etc, but maybe I just need to use Afrezza and also split my Novolog dose (estimate 45 mins ahead, then the rest after eating til full) until I figure it out.

I may be wrong in my thinking, but regardless, feeling hungry for whatever reason only an hour after a meal is hard, especially when you’re trying to keep blood sugar down by not eating every hour (I eat almost every 2-3 hours as it is).

Feeling “full” may also just be referring to the physical manifestation of a lot of food in the stomach “filling up” the area…not food related per say where carbs/calories/fat/protein are concerned…more of a bloated…I ate too much type of “full” I can get plenty “full” off of ribs, wings or steak among thousands of other foods, due to sheer volume.

By “feel full” do you mean stuffed or simply satisfied? I’m not persuaded that feeling stuffed is the goal, or even healthy. The Japanese have the concept of stopping eating when you’re 80% full (though how you know what 80% feels like if you haven’t reached 100%, I’ve never quite figured out). And the French (generalizing) think feeling stuffed is grotesque; you eat moderate portions, never seconds, and always leave the table feeling you could eat just a little more.

And I’ll just throw this out there, for what it’s worth. You’re breastfeeding. Are you staying sufficiently hydrated? The brain reads the signals for hunger and thirst as the same thing. Which is why many people eat when all they really need is a glass of water.

EDIT: That last line should really read: Which is why many people feel hungry when really they are thirsty.