Effective Diabetes Treatment

The best diabetes treatment is one which helps people with diabetes get off a blood sugar roller coaster. The roller coaster happens when blood sugars rise to absurdly high levels after a high carb meal and crash to low levels when large amounts of insulin are secreted or injected.  The image below is from a study which looks at blood sugar reactions to high carb meals.

The blood sugar roller coaster is rooted in the advice that the American Diabetes Association and its minions pass out to people with diabetes. Telling people with diabetes to eat 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates causes high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) which sticks to or glycates body cells and tissues and guarantees the development of long term complications such as peripheral nerve pain (neuropathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), a loss of eyesight (retinopathy) and other common diabetic complications. 

Worse, the large doses of insulin that have to be given to drive the high blood sugar back down can result in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) episodes which are incredibly dangerous, since hypoglycemia can cause a loss of consciousness or death if the brain runs out of glucose.

It is infuriating and disgraceful that people with diabetes are given advice from the American Diabetes Association and its minions which makes getting off the blood sugar roller almost impossible. Their advice effectively WORSENS diabetic blood sugar control. How is that helping? 

I made the props below for a presentation I gave in my town. You can see the problem clearly. The ADA tells diabetics to eat 60 carbs per meal, and 2 snacks of 20 carbs; that totals 240 grams of carbohydrate DAILY.  Compare that to the actual amount of sugar a normal human body contains.

People with diabetes have a choice. They can start a low carb, high fat diet, limit carbohydrate intake to more reasonable and healthy amounts, and effectively take down the roller coaster.  Blood sugars highs will be greatly reduced and being in ketosis is protective against hypoglycemia as well.

A ketogenic diet treats diabetes at the root cause, and is a much safer, more effective plan than injecting insulin to counteract the consumption of high carb foods. This is true for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.  A recent paper by Feinman et al lays out the science supporting the obvious choice of a low carbohydrate diet for diabetics.

Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes, limiting carb intake is the key to blood sugar control for both camps.  This is especially important for children with type 1 diabetes. The danger of the type 1 diabetes diet recommended by the ADA is compounded by the fact that the ADA tells parents that children must have carbs for growth. This directive has no basis in fact and actually makes achieving blood sugar control impossible.

Treatment Goals

Let's look at the facts. The primary goals for treating diabetes are to:

  • Lower high blood sugars and stabilize average blood sugar levels: keeping blood sugar low and at even levels throughout the day reduces the organ damage done by high blood sugar levels. Your doctor may track this with an Hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test. This test is a measure of your average blood sugars over a 3-4 month time period.
  • Reduce the need for large influxes of insulin: lowering insulin levels reduces the inflammatory damage which uncontrolled insulin causes to the coronary vascular system. This reduces the risk of the heart disease issues so commonly associated with diabetes. This can be tracked with a fasting insulin test, although doctors don't usually order this test.

Controlling diabetes and managing blood sugar levels is not an easy task. It involves serious lifestyle and psychological changes, and newly diagnosed diabetics don't always get the correct information they need to make the best decisions.

For example, identifying and switching to the most effective diabetic diet is a challenge because as mentioned, the American Diabetes Association diet is too high in carbohydrates and makes blood sugar control very difficult.   Maybe the ADA recommends a higher carb diet because they know it's impossible to control blood sugars adequately eating the ADA way, and they don't want to be responsible for deadly hypoglycemic episodes. However, their advice just condemns those with diabetes to diabetic complications from high blood sugar instead.

The solution is really so simple, it makes you wonder what's wrong with the people at the ADA. If carb intake is lowered gradually and medications or insulin doses  are reduced at the same time, the patient can get off the blood sugar roller coaster that the ADA's high-carb diet worsens.  

Implementing the solution may take some work, but it is worth it. New diabetics, who may have been dependent on processed high carb foods and fast food, will need to learn how to put together and cook a diabetic meal plan and switch to a ketogenic way of eating.  They also have to learn to use new tools such as glucometer to track their blood sugar, and learn new terms such as ketosis, ketoacidosis, gluconeogenesis, insulin resistance, dawn phenomenon and a long list of other new concepts that now impact their lives.

A Ketogenic Diet is an Effective Diabetes Treatment

After stumbling through the tasks listed above, most diabetics learn from hard experience that permanently restricting carbohydrate intake by adopting a low carb, ketogenic diet plan makes life on a diabetes treatment plan easier because:

  • Restricting dietary carb intake results in improved blood sugar control and insulin levels, and in addition, has been shown to improve the health markers for heart disease and metabolic disorders. And the effects can be maintained. This study followed a group of type 2 diabetics for almost two years, showing that improved blood sugar control with a low carb diet was possible over the long term. Here's another long term study with positive results on diabetic blood sugar control. And this more recent study shows that a very low carb, ketogenic diet is even more effective. This study provides similar results for those with type 1 diabetes.
  • It eliminates the foods which worsen diabetic blood sugar control: a ketogenic diet plan eliminates the unhealthy high carb foods which lead to blood sugar control and insulin resistance problems. Eliminating sugars and grain based foods is an especially powerful diabetes treatment step.
  • It helps to reverse the insulin resistance at the root of type 2 diabetes: A ketogenic diet is very effective for treating the health issues associated with being insulin resistant and for reversing the symptoms of a condition known as metabolic syndrome.  Lowering carb intake lowers blood sugar, which in turn, lowers the need for insulin.  As insulin levels drop, the severity of insulin resistance gets better.

For more information on using a low carb, high fat diet as a diabetes treatment plan, check out the new book I've written with Dr. Keith Runyan,  a type 1 diabetic himself. He uses a ketogenic diet to keep his HbA1c at 5.0, and he has a lot to say about why the diet is the best choice for those with diabetes.

Here's a great presentation on how Type 2 diabetes can be reversed with a low carb, high fat diet from Dr. Sarah Hallberg.

Resources for Further Reading

Done with Diabetes Treatment, back to Home

New Ketogenic Diabetes Book Now Available!

Get the new Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with Ketogenic Diet book! Co-authored with Dr. Keith Runyan, a type 1 diabetic who uses a ketogenic diet to treat his diabetes, the book contains over 200 pages of information on how to use a ketogenic diet to reduce dependence on medication and insulin, and protect yourself from low blood sugar and complications. 

Recommended Resources

Further Reading