Dietary treatment of diabetes mellitus in the pre-insulin era (1914-1922)

Perspect Biol Med. Winter 2006;49(1):77-83. doi: 10.1353/pbm.2006.0017.


Before the discovery of insulin, one of the most common dietary treatments of diabetes mellitus was a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. A review of Frederick M. Allen's case histories shows that a 70% fat, 8% carbohydrate diet could eliminate glycosuria among hospitalized patients. A reconsideration of the role of the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for the treatment of diabetes mellitus is in order.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / history*
  • Diet, Diabetic / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / history
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / history
  • Insulin / therapeutic use


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin