Ketogenic diet anyone?

By Nick1962 Latest Reply 2012-07-09 15:57:04 -0500
Started 2012-07-08 18:50:23 -0500

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

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.

16 replies

locarbarbie 2012-07-09 11:59:56 -0500 Report

I have not checked on the links given, but it does sound like the Atkins induction phase. I did Atkins years ago, before being diagnosed type2. I lost almost 100 lbs in 1 year and never felt better. I tried to stick under 20 gms of carbs per day. After the 1st 3 weeks it was easy. From what I understand…there is a difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Atkins has gotten a bad rap but I think there are a lot of good points to it, although if I were going to do it now, I would test my bs like crazy and eat more healthful, organic items.

n2late 2012-07-09 14:15:56 -0500 Report

I agree locarbarbie Dr. Atkin was a man ahead of his time he got a bad rap for advising people to use a low carb diet .

Nick1962 2012-07-09 13:35:21 -0500 Report

That's what I'm seeing also now that I look deeper. Yes, my understanding is ketosis is just elevated keytones, and ketoacidosis is the metabolic state resulting from prolonged ketosis. I still think keytones=bad, and that's what drew me into looking into this. I did test like crazy and settled into a diet much like the Ketogenic one, but a lot more liberal, and lower protein.
You gotta share how you lost 100 pounds. I managed to make it to 90, but have hit a wall. I'd still like to dump another 20 if I can.

locarbarbie 2012-07-09 15:02:43 -0500 Report

Congrats! In my case, that was then…I stayed in the induction phase (20 carbs or less per day) for about 1 year. I remember taking one day each month for a "cheat" day, especially if I was at a standstill…it seemed to work! Sadlly, I am now going thru a hell of a time with insulin resistance and can not lose anything. However, I have tried this and that and the other diet…maybe I need to try an Atkins type again, get the weight off (if indeed I actually can lose again) and then tweak it.
When I did Atkins, looking back it was pretty awful compared to what I know now about nutrition! I swear, I would sometimes eat 6 pieces of bacon with 6 eggs for breakfast. Lunch would be a plate of deli meat and cheese with pickles and olives and maybe a deviled egg or two. A favorite dinner would be 2 baked chicken thighs, pour in some whipping cream and scrape up the browned bits to create a sorta gravy, a salad with full fat ranch dressing, cheese and a hard boiled egg (yeah, I ate a ton of eggs!), and maybe some brussels sprouts with butter. I would then have some type of snack or dessert. Maybe sugar free jello mixed with cream cheese for a fluffy cheescake, or the ubiquitous pork skins with a cucumber, cream cheese dip. Drinkss…crystal lite, iced tea with (gulp!) sweet and low, or my favorite…diet root beer with thick whipping cream added, sort of like a root beer float. Eating like this, I lost 13 pounds my first week!! It seems ludicuious, but it worked!

Nick1962 2012-07-09 15:57:04 -0500 Report

Thanks for this info! It pretty much confirms what has been suggested to me before - that I may be eating too little. My initial thought was to re-incorporate a few carbs as energy to kick the matabolism, but that was only temporary. My concern with that much protein (for me) was that it upped my liver enzymes, so I got it in my head (maybe falsely) that I need to limit it. I know what you mean by the cheat syndrome though. I usually eat more on the weekends with the justification I'll burn it off with the increased activity. Monday mornings feel like i lost a size, but that feeling went away by wednesday. With all the changes to my body over the past few years, I think I'm do for a dietary tweak. Maybe that induction phase might be the trick. Thanks again!

DeanaG 2012-07-09 10:05:25 -0500 Report

Pork rinds are a wonderful snack! ;-)

Nick1962 2012-07-09 10:13:51 -0500 Report

Lots of great protein if i didn't baloon up from all the sodium!

DeanaG 2012-07-09 13:41:53 -0500 Report

I got me a bag at the store just now. Maybe they will satisfy my craving for something crunchy and salty. I can snack on them while the rest around here eat their potato chips. ;-)

Nick1962 2012-07-09 14:44:58 -0500 Report

Had a huge local flea market here where a guy made them fresh to oreder. BBQ, salt & pepper, ranch, plain, unsalted you name it. $2.50/lb. We'd buy 5 lbs at a crack.

DeanaG 2012-07-09 08:55:46 -0500 Report

I believe I read somewhere this is the diet that Dr.Atkins based his diet off of. The base of it sounds a lot like his phase one.

Nick1962 2012-07-09 08:59:49 -0500 Report

I never paid much attention to Atkins, but now that you mention it, it does seem like phase one.

re1ndeer 2012-07-08 23:55:25 -0500 Report

Hi Nick1962, I found an article on this, going to post here :

Here is another article that is the resource, it also, has diet plans on the left side of the article :

Nick1962 2012-07-09 07:41:14 -0500 Report

Thanks for these! Don't know how I missed them. Not sure this would be a permanent diet I could live on.

re1ndeer 2012-07-09 08:53:27 -0500 Report

What I 've read these are normally for short term (6-8 weeks) but, if needed could possibly be a long term goal.

Nick1962 2012-07-09 10:04:18 -0500 Report

That's what I got out of it too - great for getting numbers down fast. When I looked at the sample menu,
it does indeed get meals under 5 carbs (although I don't think I'd be able to sit down to a meal of nothing but smoked kippers). For all the grief i got recommending pork rinds as snacks, they're recommended here.

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