Aim: To explore whether, and why, patients change their food and eating practices following conversion to flexible intensive insulin therapy (FIIT), a regimen which requires quick acting insulin doses to be matched to the carbohydrate content of meals/snacks consumed.
Methods: Repeat, in-depth interviews with 30 type 1 diabetes patients converted to FIIT recruited from Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) courses in the UK. Data were analysed using an inductive, thematic approach.
Results: Despite the potential of FIIT to enable greater dietary flexibility and freedom, most patients reported food and eating practices which were remarkably resistant to change. In some cases, FIIT adoption resulted in greater dietary rigidity over time. The opportunities FIIT presented for greater dietary freedom were counterbalanced by new challenges and burdens (e. g. having to simplify food choices to make carbohydrate estimation easier). Due to the emphasis FIIT places on carbohydrate counting, and patients' fears of hypos, low/no carbohydrate foodstuffs sometimes came to be seen as the healthiest or safest options.
Conclusion: Concerns that FIIT may result in more excessive or unhealthy eating appear largely unfounded; however, consideration needs to be paid to the ways in which patients' conceptualisations of, and relationship with, food may change following FIIT conversion. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.