Weight Gain using Commercial or Homemade Shakes

If you consider the components of digestion - mechanical / physical digestion, chemical digestion, absorption - a liquid carb source will get digested faster because there is less need for physical breakdown of the food in the stomach.

Carbs get absorbed by the villi in the small intestine. So the faster it gets to the small intestine, the faster it will get absorbed. So liquids are faster than solids.

And for that reason - if everything else is the same - you might want to do a little bit of a longer pre-bolus for a liquid than a solid, because the sugar will hit your bloodstream a little faster.

But for the amount of insulin, your body does not care how the glucose got there. Once it is broken down into glucose, it is all the same - C6H12O6.

So it will get there faster, but will be the same as far as what the glucose is.

I know some people do different things for fat content or whatever. But if you were to compare it to the same exact thing but solid, the only difference would be that a liquid would hit your bloodstream a little faster than a solid.

Also, if your stomach is empty, it will also be faster than if you had a full stomach.


Are there any relatively low Carb protein shakes? Most of the ones I’ve seen are around 30 g.

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You can make your own, my son does every day. Plenty of low carb protein powders on the market. Just be mindful of what else you throw in the blender.


I mix milk and a protein powder which uses whey protein. And then I add Ovaltine for carbs.

By the time I add milk and Ovaltine, I get to about 40-50 grams.

But the powder by itself is only 9 grams of carbs for every 15 grams of protein. Like if you were to mix it with water, it would not be too many carbs.

Not sure if 9 grams counts as low carb.


my parents used to feed me Ensure to gain weight as a kid, although i don’t think it was very successful; i was 4’6" and 46 lbs at 12 and I only became a normal size in adulthood.
I would say these calorie shakes only work if you find them appetizing enough to drink them in any quantity and I did not…


Samson has the same thing – eating frequently means fewer spikes. We’ve also found that he can produce low level ketones after say 6 or 7 hours of not eating, which maybe makes him insulin resistant. To clarify, he’s not going into DKA, just developing a fasting state ketosis, and I think that affects his insulin usage.


We make fruit smoothies a few times a week with frozen fruit and usually just water (and the magic oil that @Eric recommends!). They are only about 20g carb each for 12-16oz. You could add protein powder to it and stay relatively low carb? Unless my definitions are completely off. (I truly don’t know what is considered low carb…)


Somewhere in the range of 9-10 g CHO would be great. Often I have to wake up and take a “snack” without a bolus in the night to keep from going low (I drift down all night), and right now I use a Belvita cracker which is 10 g CHO (sometimes with peanut butter). But it doesn’t have a lot of calories. So I’m looking for something to add calories but that depending on when I took it, I either wouldn’t have to bolus, or if I did bolus and made a mistake wouldn’t send me sky high. I’m looking mostly for calories and protein (I’ve lost a lot of weight, and due to being sedentary from a long rheumatoid arthritis flare in my hips, also have lost muscle). All of the drugs I can take for RA take forever to have an effect (like 6 months before you know if it’s going to work). And I can’t take steroids due to T1. I’m really getting discouraged.


Any other tips for gaining weight and regaining muscle would be welcomed!

So many questions!
Please explain this to me. If sugar in liquids will reach the blood stream faster, and you would want the insulin available sooner to cover it, then why wouldn’t you want the insulin there sooner and therefore less of a pre-bolus?


If this message belongs somewhere else, feel free to move it!


Maybe both you and Eric are saying the same thing.

Here it is in different words: It takes time for the insulin to move into the blood and become active. To limit the spike from fast carbs, take the insulin a longer time before ingesting the carbs, so that the insulin has a bigger head start and has time to build up in the bloodstream before the carbs arrive.


as you get older you need more protein to maintain muscle mass, apparently


The longer the pre-bolus, the more time the insulin has to get started.

Pre-bolus refers to how long you take the insulin before eating.

Imagine two comparisons:

  • If you pre-bolus only 10 minutes, the insulin has barely had time to start working. Then you eat, and your BG spikes because not much of the insulin has started working yet.

  • If you pre-bolus 30 minutes, the insulin has had a lot of time to start working. By the time you eat, your BG is already dropping, so you do not spike.

And @bkh explained it well.

On the weight gain and protein stuff, I will pick that up in a different post in a bit…


The thread was split, so this ended up being here…

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Fasting periods and low level (nutritional) ketosis equals insulin resistance? I thought fasting produced the opposite—insulin sensitivity?

I’ve never heard this before, but I will be looking into it. One thing the doctors always ask when I’m in DKA is if I’m eating? It always ■■■■■■ me off because I feel like the response is always “what is it that you’ve done wrong” but I suppose it’s essentially me doing or not doing something at the core of the reason. Anyhow, I digress…


“But for the amount of insulin, your body does not care how the glucose got there. Once it is broken down into glucose, it is all the same - C6H12O6.”

-With this in mind, why does it seem as though certain carbs (like HFCS…) seem to cause BG spikes that require much more insulin (sometimes seems like 3-5x) per carbohydrate? I know this may not be true for others, but definitely has happened a few times to where I avoid them like the plague (Or the Covid, for a 21st century translation)

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I’ve always found a few eggs per day to be good for muscle development. My total protein isn’t that high, but I’ve found that having a little bit every few hours helps with strength and blood sugar stability. (total is approximately .8g per body weight in lbs/day). Most other proteins work well too, I’ve heard some negativity surrounding soy but haven’t really tried it. I’ve also read that insulin can help with protein absorption although my carb intake is fairly moderate as well.


Imagine every single carb you ate took exactly 4 hours to be digested. And your insulin always took exactly 4 hours to be completely used. Also imagine your IC ratio was perfect.

BG would be pretty easy, right? You’d just enter the carbs and the insulin dose would be easy to calculate. Everything would work perfectly.

But the problem is that not all carbs get absorbed at the same speed. If your insulin takes 4 hours for it to be completely used, and your carbs come in quicker than 4 hours, it just does not line up.

So the trouble you see with faster carbs is just because your insulin dose is not matched up with the timing.

If you want to eat faster carbs, the tricks are to take your insulin sooner, and to take more than you need for the carbs.

Why? Because if you take more insulin, you will get more insulin sooner, and it will help prevent the spike. (But you will probably need to eat a few more carbs later, to cover the remainder of the “more insulin than necessary”.)

The reason I don’t spike for dinner is because I don’t match my insulin for what’s on the plate. I take more than I need for what’s on the plate. And then an hour later, I have a snack or dessert.

The same idea works for faster carbs.


This is also the FUD Thanksgiving strategy! :smiley_cat:


This is our practice also. Works great!