Algebra – Type 1 Diabetes Style

As a child and through my teenage years actually, I hated maths…all those formulas, special characters that mean something else and a range of different ways of achieving a numerical answer that quite frankly I had no use for.


Thankfully my 6 year old son likes his maths, we have this massive times table chart on the back door of the toilet and every time he sits on the loo, doesn’t matter where in the house you are, you can hear him yelling out “…FOUR TIMES TWELVE IS FORTY EIGHT…TWO TIMES EIGHT IS SIXTEEN…” on so on…cracks me up every time.

Not surprisingly, since I met my friend  – Type 1 Diabetes, my maths has significantly improved…you see there is a massive formula involved when eating food, that’s right eating food, ‘what are you on about man?‘ I hear you say, well let me ask you this;

How many carbohydrates are in that bowl of porridge you are about to eat for breakfast?? or in that fruit salad you want to eat for morning tea?? or even that cup of white coffee…

I bet most wouldn’t have any idea and why should you?

Well as a T1D, you are required to count carbohydrates in order to ‘estimate’ (and I say that loosely because your estimate may have been right yesterday but will probably be different today) how many units of insulin you need to inject or ‘dial up’ on your pump in order to keep your blood sugar in a range that wont kill you.

So the formula for determining an insulin dose looks something like this; 

Insulin Dose = Total Carbohydrates (grams) x Carbohydrate Ratio (mine is 1u : 10g – 15g of carbs depending on the time of the day) – Current Active Insulin +/- for current blood sugar readinga percentage for the amount and intensity of exercise planning to do in the next 4-6 hours)

Cycling and carb counting is a whole different world of which I would need a whole blog dedicated to the science of guesstimation

I am sure you can see how this starts to become a bit of a mission and why I got a High Distinction in Accounting at Uni!



On a positive, living with this disease does cause you to look at what you are eating and drinking in quite a lot of depth, making me choose better food choices and understanding what is actually in the foods we consume.

2 tips for the uneducated and newbies

Tip 1 – Nutrition Table

When you pick up a product off the shelf (which I hardly do now since starting Paleo lifestyle), look at the nutrition information table; under the per 100g column there is a range of numbers corresponding to different nutritional items – carbs, sugar, fat, protein etc., the numbers in this column are a percentage of the total product i.e if it has 42g of sugar per 100g then it is 42% sugar and that is not good!!

Tip 2 – Ingredients

Looking at the ingredients list will give you an understanding of what is in the product, the ingredients which make up the majority of the product are listed first, so if sugar is the first ingredient, then more than likely you are eating a yummy killer python – only good for low blood sugar 😦

Are you tuned into what is in the foods you are putting into your body?? I am and I am healthier for it…