The correct timing for taking your insulin prior to eating?

By Richknowbody Latest Reply 2011-09-24 14:32:42 -0500
Started 2011-09-20 11:24:54 -0500

Does anybody know the correct timing? My doctor says about 10 minutes prior to eating.
I know if I have the pump deliver the insulin and eat right away, towards the end of the meal, I have a few bites that are really delicious.

20 replies

MsKelly50 2011-09-24 14:32:42 -0500 Report

I take my insluin 20 to 30 minutes prior to eating any meal. I'm not on a pump, so I'm not sure if this would apply as well. Various doctors as well as family members have told me no more than 30 minutes before a meal so that your BS doesn't drop dangerously. Good luck!

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-09-23 19:26:55 -0500 Report

The correct timing depends on the type of insulin you are using. I use a rapid acting insulin (Novolog). I take it 10-15 minutes before eating. This way when my food starts to digest and enters my blood stream (takes about 20 minutes) the insulin is already acting to control my blood glucose. Look in the insert that comes in the package with your insulin. Its the best guide. Or talk to your doctor as he/she will knowm what the best will be for you.
Godspeed. :-)

Caliafiosgram62 2011-09-22 14:01:58 -0500 Report

I was told that the insulin takes about 10 to 15 minutes to begin to do it's thing so that's the timing I try to shoot for. Of course if I'm in the 60's I might wait until it gets closer - I'm leary of getting too low to soon - it probably would not happen, but…

MarkS 2011-09-21 11:39:19 -0500 Report

Hi Rich, Great question. I often wonder exactly when I should inject a bolus (I also use a pump), prior to a meal; a lot depends upon the contents of the food being consumed including carbs, fats, and protein. Of course, the type of insulin affects when you should administer the dose. Since regular insulin begins working in about 30 minutes, it makes sense to bolus 30 minutes prior to a meal (peaks anywhere from 120 to about 240 minutes after injection), whereas for rapid-acting it begins working within 15 minutes the recommendation is to dose just prior to your meal (peaks anywhere from 60 to about 120 minutes after injection). I have found, however, when I’m going to eat a high carbohydrate meal, such as breakfast (cereal with milk) I bolus about 30 minutes prior to eating. This has helped decrease my post-prandial blood sugar from greater than 200 mg/dL to about 150 mg/dL. For those few exta bites, that are all too common for most of us, take additional insulin to cover the added carbs at the time of ingestion. Good luck!

Richknowbody 2011-09-21 12:41:34 -0500 Report

Thanks Mark,
I am familiar with the extra bites comment. I usually under calculate my carbs. I have to weigh my portions to make sure I don't do this.
Thanks for the response, better to get a response from people here that are living it instead of some one that read a medical paper.

Type1Lou 2011-09-21 08:30:29 -0500 Report

It truly depends on the type of insulin you're taking and how your body reacts to it. I use NovoLog and will inject/pump it right before I eat or no more than 5 to 10 minutes before eating. When I go out to eat, I do not inject before the food is actually placed in front of me since, many times, there can be long waits between ordering and service.

dulcet 2011-09-21 00:32:43 -0500 Report

I used to do Novolog and was told to make sure to have food in front of me before I inject. I usually ate right after because my BG would drop after 30 minutes. :/

Now that I'm on Metformin and glipizide (?), I usually wait 15-30 minutes before I eat.

Just make sure you have food in front of you.

kdroberts 2011-09-20 22:02:24 -0500 Report

It depends on you, the type of insulin and what you're eating. Humalog, apidra and novolog are designed to be taken within 15 mind before or after eating but regular is 30-45 mins before eating. However, your needs may be different. Also, high fat meals slow down carb digestion so for something like pizza its not uncommon to split a dose of rapid insulin and take the last one over an hour after eating.

margokittycat 2011-09-20 21:50:06 -0500 Report

I have been told since day one to take the insulin 30 minutes before eating so it has a head start on getting in your system and blocking off spikes in your BS from Carbs and sugars. This came from my old Endo who I used for 20 years until he retired best doctor in the world and can't find another to replace him and it sucks.

Bogy 2011-09-20 18:20:14 -0500 Report

I guess it could depend on the type of insulin you take. I take Apidra and Lantus. I take Apidra 20 mins. prior to meals and Lantus 30 units prior to breakfast. One man's opinion. Pete

Harlen 2011-09-20 16:59:28 -0500 Report

I have gone up to 30 min before eatting but I would not push it past that
Best wishes

Richknowbody 2011-09-20 17:21:39 -0500 Report

Thanks Harlen, I remember one time I took my shot in the car before I got to "Soup Plantation" I ended up getting a low and pigged out, but didn't enjoy the food.

Harlen 2011-09-20 17:53:38 -0500 Report

try not to do that lol
When eatting out I do it in the lot after I know when we will be seated

re1ndeer 2011-09-20 15:43:29 -0500 Report

I am on Humalog insulin also. According to the Humalog website and their information listed in the package with the insulin (I believe all insulins come with this information) It states 15 minutes before a meal or at least 15 minutes after finishing a meal. This is only for the fast acting insulin, and not the long acting insulins. (such as lantus and Levimir)

Richknowbody 2011-09-20 17:19:45 -0500 Report

I have noticed that food makes my bg go up faster than the insulin makes it go down. I am using the Dexcom, so I can see what food is doing to me right away. I am using Humalog, and was taken off Lantus when I went on the pump.
I was taught to take the shot right before I eat when I was doing injections, but with the Dexcom, I see that is wrong.
With the Dexcom, I see if I get the timing right, I get a very nice even graph, but if I take the insulin right away, I will have my blood sugar go up past 200 and take hours to come down.

Abby888 2011-09-20 14:38:43 -0500 Report

I am on Humalog injections and I give myself insulin literally right before I eat. I make sure there are no distractions. Kind of like a bear with its food…lol

MEGriff1950 2011-09-20 11:37:04 -0500 Report

Hello Rich, I alway suggest that you follow the advice of your medical professional. If you feel the need to change his directive then discuss it with them. If you have done this and are not satisfied with your medical professional you can seek an new one who feel you can communicate with better.

Richknowbody 2011-09-20 12:20:02 -0500 Report

My doctor was giving me suggestions to find this timing. He gave me a few ideas. But he didn't really give me a firm number. I posted this because I thought others with diabetes, may suggest what they have found to work for them.
So, I guess I am following the advice of my medical professional, I am attempting to find out the timing.

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