I recently read a blog entry about possibly controlling a T2 (and possibly T1) diabetic using a Ketogenic diet. This was a new one on me, so I did some research. Turns out, this was a treatment long ago that has regained some popularity in controlling epileptic seizures, mainly in children. Since I’ve never had to deal with seizures, no wonder it’s never crossed my path.
“…..The ketogenic diet is a mainstream, nonpharmacologic therapy that was developed to reproduce the success and remove the limitations of the non-mainstream use of fasting to treat epilepsy. Although popular in the 1920s and 30s, it was largely abandoned in favor of new anticonvulsant drugs. Most individuals with epilepsy can successfully control their seizures with medication. However, 20–30% fail to achieve such control despite trying a number of different drugs. For this group, and for children in particular, the diet has once again found a role in epilepsy management…….”
More here http://www.theketogenicdiet.org/
Basically this is a very low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet which actually forces your body to burn fat. It’s a “fasting” diet (close to the water diet) in which you are almost forcing yourself into ketosis.
When you burn fat for energy, you will produce ketones, and as long as you can produce (or inject) insulin, you’ll get the necessary glucose into your cells. You limit your carb intake to the point where glycogen reserves get very limited, and your cells convert to using fat for energy. Now, from the abstracts I’ve read (and tried to understand) this means you are basically relying on your body to produce the glucose it needs. Apparently, in epileptics (and if someone here knows more about this please, please enlighten me), this means the brain gets the necessary glucose at the rate it wants it, preventing the triggers for seizures. It also seems that the make-up of the body’s produced glucose may be slightly different than that of glucose as a result of ingestion. The risk here is going into ketoacidosis, which is big for any diabetic. Some claim though that as long as you can keep your BG in check, this can be avoided. It’s also claimed that staying in some form of ketosis actually changes your metabolism to regularly burn fat and goes a long way in keeping numbers in check.
When this diet started in the 1920’s, some children were put on diets of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, and as little as 10–15 g of carbohydrate PER DAY! The remainder of the diet calories came from fat. It was also found that this diet was less effective in adults, but did manage to reduce seizure episodes in as much 60% of the people studied. Bear in mind this was the 1920’s and that carb availability was extremely different then.
Now, I mildly watch my ketones, but my ancient meter doesn’t have the keytone strip capability, so I get a reading every now and then at the drug store and rely on my Anion-Gap reading with my blood work. That “gap” level should be 3-11. A high “gap” can be an indicator of diabetic ketoacidosis – a potentially life threatening complication for those of us with D. In February of 2010, mine was 13. My last check last month I was down to 8. Slow progress, but out of the danger zone at least.
As I said earlier, I’ve not been able to find the Ketogenic diet and diabetes mentioned together as a source of management, and even responses to the blog I read didn’t show anyone on such a diet. They all did wish the poster luck though. I’ve always been a proponent of cutting carbs as deep as you can, but this to me sounds almost like suicide.
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