History Tidbit: Frederick M. Allen, MD (16 March 1879 to 11 January 1964) Dietary Treatment for Diabetes Mellitus before Insulin.
Submitted by Alan D. Rogol, MD, Ph.D
Before the discovery of insulin in 1922 T1DM was often a rapidly fatal condition. Allen realized that it was a global disorder of metabolism rather than just a problem with glucose. His laboratory studies in diabetic animals led to a text Studies Concerning Glycosuria & Diabetes (Harvard U Press, 1913) that expanded his thesis that T1DM was not associated with complete β-cell failure and that effective management was to optimize the metabolic state. His dietary prescription was characterized by severe caloric restriction with carbohydrate most severely decreased. That led to very emaciated patients who did survive longer, but at great physical and emotional distress and a second encyclopedic publication, Total Dietary Regulation in the Treatment of Diabetes (Rockefeller Univ. 1917)