Doing Keto? Consider Buying A Blood Glucose Meter
The amount of glucose in your blood at any given time can give you valuable insights into how your body is reacting to the food you eat. If you’re doing a keto-based diet, the data you get from a glucose meter will help you optimize your eating for maximum weight loss! The premise of a keto-based diet is simple: Keep the carbs as low as possible so that your body is forced to get glucose (energy) from fat, rather than carbs. Any sort of glycemic reaction could cause a weight-loss stall for several days. Not sure what a Keto diet is, or want to learn more about it? I talk about what a keto diet is, and the pros and cons of this approach, in this blog article. What is a glycemic reaction? In short, a glycemic reaction is what happens when you eat carbs. It’s a fancy name for an even fancier process. Effectively, when you eat carbs, your body produces a hormone called “insulin” which is responsible for delivering the glucose (the energy from your the carbs you just ate) to the muscle cells in your body. In a keto-based diet, you want to avoid the production of insulin at all costs. Not because insulin itself is bad — but because it means you’ve short-circuited the keto process by eating too many carbs, and allowing your body to get energy from carbs, rather than fat. If this happens, it can take days to “reset” your body back into ketosis. In short, if you are doing a keto-based diet and your blood-glucose levels spike, you screwed up. How to measure your blood glucose level Get yourself a blood-glucose meter!! You can buy a blood-glucose meter from any pharmacy in the $20 to $40 range. The test-strips come in packs of 100 for around $25. (around $0.25 each if you’re bad at math). Here’s a link on Amazon to a glucose meter kit that’s perfectly adequat Continue reading >>
How Do Low-carb Diets Affect Blood Glucose Levels?
Low-carb diets are all about balancing blood sugar (blood glucose) levels. Beyond weight loss, we eat low-carb diets to keep our blood sugar normal and stable. To fully understand the connection, it's helpful to first familiarize yourself with how the body processes blood sugar in a normal state and even explore how that changes when there's a problem, such as in diabetics. What Do Carbohydrates Have to Do With Blood Glucose? Carbohydrates have everything to with blood glucose. All foods with carbohydrate -- whether rice, jelly beans, or watermelon -- break down to simple sugars in our bodies turning into glucose through metabolic processes. This process is what causes our blood glucose to rise. The carbohydrate in most starchy foods (potatoes, bread) is simply a collection of long chains of glucose, which break down quickly and raise blood sugar . What Do Our Bodies Do When Blood Sugar is High? When our blood sugar goes up, our body responds by secreting insulin to stabilize it. The sugar is then taken out of the blood and converted into fat; insulin's primary function is facilitating the storage of extra sugar in the blood as fat. Diabetics are unable to balance blood sugar when the process of converting food to energy takes place. When sugar levels are high, the ability of cells in the pancreas to make insulin goes down. The pancreas overcompensates for this lack of insulin and insulin levels stay high, as does blood sugar. Over time, the pancreas is permanently damaged and other bodily functions are affected such as hardened blood vessels, among other ailments. What are the Problems with Blood Sugar Going Up? However, for many people, this metabolic process works fine. Sometimes, though, people reach a point in their lives when it goes awry (or it doesn't work well Continue reading >>
Monitoring Ketone And Blood Glucose Levels On A Low Carb Diet
By Mary T. Newport M.D. While it is not necessary to measure ketone levels, many people who make the change to a low carb, ketogenic diet and/or use ketone salts would like to have some positive proof that their ketone levels are, in fact, elevated. When transitioning from a higher carb to a low carb, ketogenic type diet, it can take several days to begin to see an increase in ketone levels and the ketone level may continue to rise for two or three weeks before it levels off. The ketone level can fluctuate somewhat throughout the day and can vary considerably from person to person. Using ketone salts, such as Prüvit KETO//OS® or KETO//OS Max, as a supplement can give you a jump start on getting into ketosis and increase ketone levels within 30 to 60 minutes of taking the product. Using coconut oil and MCT oil as part of the diet can help increase and sustain ketone levels as well. There are several ways available to measure ketone levels in urine, blood or by using a breath analyzer. When blood levels of ketones become elevated, the excess ketones will filter out of the blood into the urine. Urine ketone test strips were originally developed for diabetics to help determine if they are going into diabetic ketoacidosis when the blood sugar is elevated. There are a number of companies that sell urine test strips that change color when ketone levels are elevated – usually the deeper the color, the higher the ketone level. This will not tell you what your actual blood ketone level is but can give you a rough idea of whether you are in ketosis or not. However, one of the drawbacks to using urine test strips is that they only measure the ketone acetoacetate and not beta-hydroxybutyrate, which tends to be much more elevated than acetoacetate during ketosis. Also, Prüvit ke Continue reading >>
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The Interplay Of Exercise And Ketosis Part I
The interplay of exercise and ketosis – Part I I embarked on a self-experiment last weekend to see if I could better understand the interplay between the different types of exercise I do and ketone production (beta-hydroxybutyrate, or B-OHB, to be specific). To be clear, nothing I do with a sample size of one “proves” anything, but sometimes self-experiments can help you formulate hypotheses and, if nothing else, understand how your body works. Consider the parable of the black sheep. If you see even a single black sheep in the field, depending on your field of training, you can draw conclusions: Three scientists were on a train and had just crossed the border into Scotland. A black sheep was grazing on a hillside. The biologist peered out of the window and said, “Look! Scottish sheep are black!” The chemist said, “No, no. Some Scottish sheep are black.” The physicist, with an irritated tone in his voice, said, “My friends, there is at least one field, containing at least one sheep, of which at least one side is black some of the time.” My point is, even a self-experiment of one can be good for something. To test the relationship between exercise and ketosis I decided to examine my blood levels of glucose, B-OHB, and lactate immediately before and after three different types of workouts on three successive days. This interplay is complex and no one knows “everything” about it, including the world’s experts (which I am not pretending to be). I’m going to try to balance a fine line in this post – I want to be rigorous enough to explore the ideas with substance but not too detailed to put you to sleep. I hope I am able to balance these forces adequately. If any of you are not familiar with the work of Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney, b Continue reading >>
Will Low-carb Diets Cause Blood Sugar Levels To Drop?
Video of the Day If you're accustomed to eating a very high-carb diet and suddenly switch to a very low-carb diet, you could experience rather dramatic drops in your blood sugar during the first few days or weeks of your transition. This low blood sugar can cause notably uncomfortable side effects and intense cravings. Carbs and Blood Sugar Your body converts consumed carbohydrates into glucose, a type of sugar. When the glucose enters your bloodstream, it leads to an increase in your blood sugar level. The pancreas produces insulin in response to spikes in blood sugar, which helps your body store the sugar for energy. This insulin release subsides when your cells absorb the sugar and your levels stabilize. In a healthy body, the surge of blood sugar and insulin is relatively moderate and keeps you evenly motoring through your day. When you eat lots of carbohydrates, your body's blood sugar remains consistently high and your system constantly pumps out insulin. This chronic elevation of blood sugar and release of insulin causes inflammation, an increase in fat storage and an inability to burn stored fat. Chronically high blood sugar levels increase your risk of disease, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. You crave carbohydrates regularly for energy, because your body isn't efficient at using stored fat for fuel. How a Low-Carb Diet Impacts Blood Sugar If you regularly consume a large amount of carbohydrates, especially refined ones like white bread and soda, you may experience a notable drop in blood sugar when you drastically reduce your carb intake. In the first week of carb reduction, your body will seek to maintain your high sugar intake. You'll crave carbohydrates and may even feel weak because your body hasn't yet become efficient at burning fat for fuel Continue reading >>
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How To Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Processed foods like cookies, cakes, and candy (and even starchy plant foods like rice, beans, and potatoes) can cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels. After one meal containing these foods, blood sugar can get so high that insulin can’t keep up. Side effects like fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, trouble concentrating, and frequent urination can result. If you consume high-carbohydrate foods every day, you increase your risk of type 2 diabetes — the medical diagnosis for having chronically high blood sugar levels that are caused by diet and lifestyle. (This is different from type 1 diabetes — a condition where the body produces little to no insulin.) Over 422 million people have diabetes worldwide, and their high blood sugar levels are destroying their bodies. To know if your blood sugar levels are chronically high, many doctors will check your A1C levels. A1C stands for glycated hemoglobin, which is formed when blood sugar attaches to hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells). A1C tests measure the percentage of your hemoglobin that has blood sugar attached to it. If blood sugar levels have been high for the past 3 months, then more hemoglobin will be glycated. Thus, A1C testing provides an accurate measurement of how high your blood sugar has been over the past two to three months. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates pre-diabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal. Earlier in this article, we explored how you can raise your blood sugar. Just eat cookies, cakes, rice, potatoes, and other high-carbohydrate foods, and you will be on the fast track toward diabetes. Following this logic, won’t eating fewer carbohydrates lower your blood sug Continue reading >>
High Blood Sugar In Ketogenic Dieters! Plus A Special Surprise (hint: Genotypes And Metabolism)!
A while ago Michael and I were discussing future article topics. There are truly a plethora of avenues to go down in this area of research and there is no lack of things to research and comment on. But even though I have a couple of pretty cool MCT articles sitting around on my desk, I want an interesting topic. I want something new. Something challenging. Besides, everyone is drinking the MCT koolaid these days. It’s become passe. (Also, it upsets my stomach and I have a personal vendetta against it. So there.) What’s new? There has to be something new! Michael pointed me to one of his old articles on physiological insulin resistance as an idea. I brushed it off at first. Dismissed it as a quirk. But then I thought about it. WHY does blood glucose rise in response to a low carb diet? It truly is an interesting question. What does it say about low carb diets if they induce an almost diabetic effect on circulating glucose? Thus my research began. This short abstract confirmed that it is normal for people on low carb diets to experience a rise in blood glucose levels. Because it’s a non-open journal (shame!), there’s a one-sentence explanation given: A decrease in first-phase insulin secretion may partially contribute to the short-term LC/HFD-induced increase in postprandial plasma glucose levels. First phase insulin secretion? There’s a first phase? So… There’s more than one phase to insulin secretion? I had no idea. Call me ignorant but I had no idea until this point that there was more than one phase to insulin secretion. This article delves deeper into the signaling involved in (what I learned is called) biphasic insulin secretion. The first phase of insulin secretion lasts approximately 10 minutes, and the second phase of insulin secretion picks up afte Continue reading >>
How You Can Have High Blood Sugar Without Carbs
How You Can Have High Blood Sugar Without Carbs Can you have high blood sugar without carbs? Well, its important to look at common beliefs about high blood sugar first. High blood sugar is bad. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar. Therefore carbohydrates are bad. The theory is simple, and yet incredibly flawed. The truth is, you can have chronically high blood sugar even while religiously avoiding every starch and sugar in sight. Low-carb forums are littered with posts asking a very relevant question: Why is my blood sugar so high when Im not eating any carbs? The answer is simple, yet often overlooked. The Hormone that Raises Blood Sugar: No Carbohydrates Required If the body were an engine, glucose would be its fuel. Most people think glucose only comes from carbohydrates (sugar and starch), but protein can also be turned into glucose when there arent enough carbs around to do the job. This is called gluconeogenesis, and its performed by one of the major stress hormones cortisol. When you have high cortisol levels (from diet, lifestyle, etc.), the cortisol rapidly breaks down protein into glucose, which can raise blood sugar levels considerably. For some folks, this results in chronically high blood sugareven if they are on a low-carb diet. The trouble is, cortisol isnt just breaking down the protein you eat. Its doing something far more destructive. The body is quite a smart machine, and it has no problem taking detours to get energy if necessary. If your body isnt getting the energy it needs from your diet, it has a back-up source: its own tissue. It sounds kind of cannibalistic, eating your own lean body tissue for energy. I mean, I seriously doubt any one of you would relish cutting off a chunk of your leg for dinner. I know I wouldnt. But every time your body uses c Continue reading >>
Diabetes & Ketogenic Diet: Can You Manage Your Diabetes On A Ketogenic Diet?
In this article we will cover what a Ketogenic diet is and if you can manage your diabetes while on this diet. Ketogenic diet for diabetics is a highly controversial topic, but we will break down everything here for you! As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I have to tell you from the start I will have a biased view here. Sorry, but I feel that I need to be completely honest right up front! I will however, present all the evidence that is available currently on the subject. As a CDE, I have been taught to follow the American Diabetes Association Dietary Guidelines for Americans which is low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, with fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The Ketogenic Diet this article will be discussing is much lower in carbohydrates, in order to promote the state of nutritional ketosis, or the fat burning state for weight loss. What is a Ketogenic Diet? The Ketogenic Diet is a low carbohydrate diet, consisting initially of less than 20 carbohydrates per day. Not per meal, yes, you heard me correctly, per day. It is not for the faint of heart and yes I am writing from experience. Of course I have tried it! Hasn’t everybody in America at some point who has wanted to lose weight? Does it work you ask? Of course it does! The problem is how long can you keep it up? Your body uses the carbohydrates you eat for energy, so if we restrict how many carbohydrates we eat, the body has to get its fuel source from fat. A byproduct of this fat burning state are ketones which are produced; this is called nutritional ketosis. You can determine if you are in this fat burning state by purchasing urine ketone testing strips from your local pharmacy. The Ketogenic Diet with Diabetes Some precautions must be made clear; this diet is not appropriate for people with any Continue reading >>
Video: What Eating “high-fat” Or “keto” Does To Your Blood Sugar
What happens to your blood sugar when you eat fat? The steps you need to stabilize your blood sugar and increase your fat-burning hormones (by following a Fat Fueled, keto eating style). Up until I found keto (high-fat, low-carb living) I was in the “eat every 2-3 hours in order to control blood sugar” camp. What I didn’t know, was that the constant eating; generally of carbohydrates, was exactly what was causing my blood sugar irregularities – constant “hangry” feelings, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and more. After a couple of weeks of eating Fat Fueled, keto, I no longer struggled with hypoglycemia. It was as if my sugar lows just… disappeared. And I’m not the only one that’s experienced massive changes to blood sugar shortly after shifting to a Fat Fueled, keto life. I invited Dietitian Cassie on the show today to help explain exactly what happens to our blood sugar when we eat fat – the ins and outs of insulin resistance, actions that affect blood sugar, how to use carb-ups to heal insulin resistance and much more. Today’s keto video encourages us to use dietary fat as our ally, to rely on it to support balanced blood sugar, thriving hormones and a healthy body. For video transcription, scroll down. Highlights… What foods affect blood sugar How dietary fat affects your blood sugar If combining carbohydrates and fat is a good thing How fat cells are created How to get into fat-burning mode Signs and symptoms of insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity How cortisol (and a poor sleep) affects your blood sugar How carb cycling and carb refeeding can help bust through insulin resistance How to heal yourself from insulin resistance Resources… Watch the video: When to know it’s time to carb-up (and how to do it) Step-by-step guide on goin Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet For Type 2 Diabetes: Does It Work?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition affecting blood sugar levels that can be managed by following a healthful diet and maintaining a healthy weight. People who are obese can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by eating a balanced, nutritious diet. Following a diet that is full of vitamins and minerals and low in added sugars and unhealthful fats can help people to lose some of the extra weight. People who lose 5-10 percent of their body weight can lower their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent. For people with diabetes or people with pre-diabetes, losing the same amount of body weight can help provide a noticeable improvement in blood sugar. For some people, the ketogenic diet is an effective way to control their diabetes. It has been shown to lower blood glucose levels as well as reduce weight. Contents of this article: What is the ketogenic diet? Foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and fruit, are the body's main fuel source. The body breaks the food down and uses the resulting sugar (glucose) for energy. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, very low carbohydrate diet. It was initially developed and recommended for children with epilepsy. The diet recommends that people eat 30 grams (g) of carbohydrates or below per day. The goal is to eat 3 to 4 g of fat for every 1 g of carbohydrate and protein. Impact on blood sugar levels Because the ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates, there is not enough sugar available for the body to use as fuel, so it resorts to using fat. The process of breaking down fat is called "ketosis," and it produces a fuel source called ketones. A ketogenic diet helps some people with type 2 diabetes because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a low but healthy level. The reduced amount of carbohydrates in the diet Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet And Insulin Resistance
We recently touched on how you can use the ketogenic diet to control symptoms of diabetes such as elevated glucose and triglycerides. In this article, we examine research showing the impact that the ketogenic diet has on levels of the hormone insulin, a key regulator of blood sugar in the body. What is Insulin’s Role in the Body? Before we look at the research, we need to know our main players. Insulin is a protein-based hormone produced by beta-cells located in the pancreas. The pancreas, which is located under the stomach, also produces enzymes that aid with digestion. Insulin’s primary purpose is to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, into a molecule called glucose. This compound can be used by cells to produce energy through a process called cellular respiration. Insulin allows cells in the body absorb glucose, ultimately lowering levels of glucose in the blood stream. After a meal is consumed, blood glucose levels increase and the pancreas responds by releasing insulin into the blood. Insulin assists fat, liver, and muscle cells absorb glucose from the blood, resulting in lower levels of blood glucose. Insulin stimulates liver and muscle tissues to store excess glucose as a molecule called glycogen and also reduces glucose production by the liver. When blood sugar is low, the hormone glucagon (produced by alpha-cells in the pancreas) stimulate cells to break down glycogen into glucose that is subsequently released into the blood stream. In healthy people who do not have type II diabetes, these functions allow levels of blood glucose and insulin to stay in a normal range. What Is Insulin Resistance and Why Is It a Problem? Unfortunately, for many Americans and other peopl Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet And Type 1 Diabetes
What is type 1 diabetes? How is it different than type 2? Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body becomes resistant to insulin, forcing the pancreas to produce ever more insulin, and leading to a downward spiral of metabolic illness. It’s also called “Adult Onset Diabetes”, because the vast majority of people who develop it do so in adulthood, after years of eating a high-carb diet. Type 1 diabetes, also known as “Juvenile Diabetes”, is a disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. Only the pancreas can produce insulin, and insulin is the hormone primarily responsible for shuttling molecules out of the blood and into cells for energy or storage. That means, if the pancreas isn’t producing insulin, a person will starve to death from the inside. Their cells, literally, cannot get any food. They can eat and eat and eat, but there’s no mechanism to transport that food energy into the cells. That’s why they need regular insulin shots. On a regular-carb diet, those insulin shots might be several times per day. On a high-carb diet, those shots will be even more frequent. Type 1 diabetics must keep injecting themselves with insulin in order to deal with all the glucose in their blood stream. They have to keep insulin levels high, if they eat high carbs, because they have a high level of glucose to deal with. Being ketogenic means insulin levels don’t have to be high, because there isn’t a high level of glucose that needs to be shuttled around. And, because there isn’t a big requirement for insulin, the type 1 diabetic can reduce the amount of insulin needed on a daily basis (many reduce this requirement by 80%). The important thing to remember is that someone suffering from type 1 dia Continue reading >>
How To Easily Track Your Glucose Ketone Index (gki) On Your Ketogenic Diet
Tracking ketone levels is a large part of success on the ketogenic diet. It helps you know how far you are into ketosis and where we might need to make changes. But did you know that there’s an even better way to step it up a notch? The glucose ketone index is a simple calculation that allows you to find out how ketosis works best for you individually. Without it, you could be in full, high-level ketosis yet still not getting the full benefits. In this post, we’ll be looking at how to easily track your glucose ketone index for different aspects of health along with your ketogenic diet. Basics of the Glucose Ketone Index Here’s what you need to know about the glucose ketone index (GKI): Researchers have used the index in studies on the ketogenic diet, fasting, and more. Additionally, it has been used for tracking changes and progress regarding weight loss, athletic performance, management of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, and even cancer treatment. Now that we’ve covered the basics of what the GKI does, let’s talk about how you can use tracking it to your advantage. Tracking Your Glucose Ketone Index What’s so special about the glucose ketone index is that it lets you track both glucose and ketones at the same time, taking into account how they work together. It’s a way to know your optimal state for addressing all sorts of health conditions. Tracking this number benefits you over simply measuring ketone levels. That’s because even if you’re deeply in ketosis, you could still have high blood glucose levels that throw things off and affect your health. Essentially, it gives you a more full picture of your metabolic health. The numbers you can expect to target depend on your intentions for being in ketosis. Is your goal weight loss, better overa Continue reading >>
Is Your Fasting Blood Glucose Higher On Low Carb Or Keto? Five Things To Know
This past spring, after 18 months of great success on the keto diet, I tested my fasting blood sugar on my home glucose monitor for the first time in many months. The result shocked me. I had purchased the device, which also tests ketones, when I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in the fall of 2015. As I embarked on low-carb keto eating, I tested my blood regularly. Soon my fasting blood sugar was once again in the healthy range. I was in optimal ketosis day after day. Not only that, I lost 10 lbs (5 kg) and felt fantastic — full of energy with no hunger or cravings. Before long I could predict the meter’s results based on what I was eating or doing. I put the meter away and got on with my happy, healthy keto life. When my doctor ordered some lab tests this spring, I brought the meter out again. While I had no health complaints, excellent blood pressure and stable weight, she wanted to see how my cholesterol, lipids, HbA1c, and fasting glucose were doing on my keto diet — and I was curious, too. To check the accuracy of my meter against the lab results, on the morning of the test I sat in my car outside the clinic at 7:30 am, and pricked my finger. I was expecting to see a lovely fasting blood glucose (FBG) of 4.7 or 4.8 mmol/l (85 mg/dl). It was 5.8! (103 mg/dl). What? I bailed on the tests and drove home — I didn’t want my doctor warning me I was pre-diabetic again when I had no explanation for that higher result. The next morning I tested again: 5.9! (104). Huh??? For the next two weeks I tested every morning. No matter what I did, my FBG would be in 5.7 to 6.0 (102 to 106 mg/dl), the pre-diabetic range again. One morning after a restless sleep it was even 6.2 mmol/l (113 mg/dl). But my ketones were still reading an optimal 1.5-2.5 mmol/l. I was still burnin Continue reading >>
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