Type 1 diabetes

Clinical picture

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes high blood sugar levels. In healthy people, the hormone insulin produced in the pancreas regulates blood sugar, keeping it at a normal level. In diabetes type 1 patients, the immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, meaning that the pancreas no longer produces its own insulin. It instead has to be supplied to the body via injection. The insulin dose administered is dependent on the amount of carbohydrates absorbed by the food and the glucose continuously released by the liver. Therefore, the best way for affected individuals to control their blood sugar level is to do it themselves.


It is important for diabetic patients to balance their food intake, physical activity and insulin dose. This makes it essential for them to know what they are eating, especially the carbohydrate content. There is an additional challenge for carers of children and infants: the amount of food calculated in advance is not always consumed in full, meaning that it will not correspond to the drug dose administered. This could lead to hypoglycaemia, which should be alleviated as soon as possible with sugary drinks and glucose.

Calculation of insulin

In day-to-day life, we use bread units (BU) or carbohydrate units (CHU) to calculate the right insulin dose.

1 BU = 12 g of carbohydrates
1 CHU = 10 g of carbohydrates

Depending on the patient’s medication plan, actual and target blood glucose value, physical condition and other factors such as age and weight, a mathematical formula (bolus calculator) is used to calculate the dose of insulin that they require . Due to the complexity of this formula, the different treatment strategies available and the uniqueness of the patient, no general formula is shown here or provided on

Please discuss this individual formula with your child’s physician and nutritional counsellor.

Tips on how to ensure your child receives the right nutrition

Food is the most natural thing in the world and should be fun despite the increased attention your child receives and the medication they are taking. Natural, collaborative behaviour helps to reduce resistance.

Try to keep meal times as constant as possible.
Help the child to see the insulin pen in a fun way (e.g. as a "magic wand", "rocket", etc.).
For standard quantities, try to find suitable bulk receptacles (e.g. 100 grams of pasta is the same as a large ladle, a coffee cup, etc.).
Your child will even find sweets without sugar delicious when the whole family eats them.
Rules and rituals can help to increase acceptance.
Praise positive behaviour.