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Keto Insulin Spike

All You Need To Know About Carbs On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

All You Need To Know About Carbs On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

When it comes to ideal carbs intake, I've discussed it in my post here: How Many Carbs per Day on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet? However, daily carbs intake is not the only aspect you should focus on. Does our body need carbs? It's a common misconception that our body, especially our brain needs carbs. In fact, the brain can either use glucose or ketones. When you restrict the intake of carbohydrates, your body will switch to using ketone bodies instead of using glucose. Not only that, ketones are a better fuel for our body and brain than glucose, even for highly active individuals. Once you get keto-adapted (3-4 weeks), you will experience improved energy levels. Although a small amount of glucose is still needed, our body can produce glucose on demand via gluconeogenesis. Dr Volek and Dr Phinney, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (2012): "Ketone bodies are an important lipid-based fuel, especially for the brain, when dietary carbohydrates are restricted." It has been estimated that about 200 grams of glucose can be generated daily just from protein (Dr Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap, 2012). Our body needs some glucose (e.g. for the thyroid health) but according to Dr Volek, it's a very small amount. As I said in my post here, there is no need for everybody to follow a very low-carb / "zero-carb" diet and you may need to adjust the level of carbs to fit your needs. Types of carbs in ketogenic diets Generally, you should avoid any sugary or starchy foods. The best measure to represent "good" and "bad" carbohydrates is their Glycemic Load (GL), which measures how much insulin will be released by your body for a given food measured in standard portions. This is different to Glycemic Index (GI), which doesn't take the serving size into account. As a result, some Continue reading >>

Insulin And Keto: What You Need To Know

Insulin And Keto: What You Need To Know

If you want to make keto really work for you, it helps to understand a little bit about how the diet does its magic and one of the big players here is the hormone insulin. Insulin does a whole lot of different things, but its best-known as the hormone that you make to metabolize carbs. Insulin gets a really bad rap in low-carb circles, to the point where it can get really oversimplified. Theres more to weight gain than insulin! For general health, insulin isnt necessarily bad , and its actually necessary for some health-related goals (for example, if you want to gain muscle, insulin is definitely your friend). But keto isnt just about general health. Keto is about a specific metabolic shift. If your goal is ketosis specifically, insulin is bad news heres what you need to know. The whole point of the ketogenic diet is that youre forcing your body to use ketone bodies for energy, instead of fat and carbohydrate. Thats what makes the diet work. Insulin suppresses ketone production . So if you want to get into ketosis and stay there, you want to minimize insulin as much as possible. Unless youre taking outside insulin, the easiest way to do this is by changing what you eat. Insulin is produced in response to different foods, so by changing your diet, you can minimize insulin production. Thats the point of a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet minimizes insulin production by restricting both carbs and protein the diet keeps carbs as low as possible and supplies just enough protein to meet your needs, but not more. To reduce insulin production, lower carbs Carbs raise insulin levels because you need insulin to metabolize carbs (use them for energy). The more carbs you eat, the more insulin you need. It works like this: when you eat something carb-heavy, the glucose (carbohydr Continue reading >>

Is Your Fasting Blood Glucose Higher On Low Carb Or Keto? Five Things To Know

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 >>

Ketogenic Diet And Insulin Resistance

Ketogenic Diet And Insulin Resistance

What is Insulin? Insulin is a fat storing blood sugar regulating master hormone that is involved in multiple body functions beyond its metabolic role. A few examples include triglyceride and fat synthesis, electrolyte balance of sodium and potassium, feeding behaviors and cognitive and emotional brain function. What is Insulin Resistance? Insulin resistance (IR), might also known as syndrome X or metabolic syndrome, is a cluster of symptoms (weight gain, cravings and increased appetite, skin tags, gum disease, low energy) and health risk factors (abnormal, not necessarily high, blood sugar, high triglycerides and cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure) all resulting from abnormal insulin function. What is important to know is that just like diabetes, with IR there may be no symptoms at all. Insulin resistance is an early-stage in Type 2 diabetes but not everyone with IR will develop diabetes. Fifty percent of those with essential hypertension are insulin resistant. (1). How Many People Are Affected by Insulin Resistance? IR is more common than you think, in the United States, an estimated 60 to 70 million individuals are affected by insulin resistance, that’s 1 out of 4 people. More than 40% of individuals older than 50 years may be at risk for insulin resistance; however, it can affect anyone at any age (2) especially overweight children and adolescents regardless of race. You can connect with this link to see a table of the prevalence of insulin resistance by country. Causes of Insulin Resistance There are several causes of insulin resistance: Genetics and family history of diabetes, pre-diabetes Ethnic origin (African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander American) Age Hormone malfuncti Continue reading >>

Carbs, Keto, Insulin And The Alternative Hypothesis, Part Two

Carbs, Keto, Insulin And The Alternative Hypothesis, Part Two

129 Comments on Carbs, Keto, Insulin And The Alternative Hypothesis, Part Two Pardon the delay in posting and responding to comments. I was on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama for a wedding last week. I couldnt ask The Older Brother to sit in, since it was his Middle Son getting married. Anyway in my last post, I commented briefly on a video presentation of a study that, in some peoples minds, nailed the coffin-lid shut on the Carb-Insulin hypothesis. I replied that I dont believe the hypothesis is dead, but needs some revising. Based on personal experience, lots of reading and listening to podcasts, conversations with other people and so forth, Ive been slowly revising it my own head for years. So let me reach up there between my ears and pluck out some thoughts, then see if I can work them into a coherent post. More Carbohydrates => Higher Insulin => Fat Storage Thats the Carbohydrate-Insulin hypothesis in a nutshell. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin you produce, and the more insulin you produce, the fatter you become. Or to express it in reverse for those trying to lose weight: the fewer carbohydrates you eat, the less insulin you produce, and the less insulin you produce, the leaner you become. Simple is certainly appealing. But I happen to know the linear equation of more carbs = more body fat isnt true in my case. But wait didnt you finally lose weight after going low-carb?! Why, yes, I did. And it was easy. Unlike when I tried low-fat/low-calorie diets based on cereals, pasta, bread and rice, I dropped the pounds fairly quickly and wasnt hungry. Like a lot of people, I figured if low is good, lower is better. So I stayed on a very-low-carb diet for a long time. But after reading The Perfect Health Diet , I put real-food starches like potat Continue reading >>

The Top Four Sweeteners For A Low-carb Keto Diet

The Top Four Sweeteners For A Low-carb Keto Diet

Sugar is basically off limits on a ketogenic diet, but not all hope is lost — you CAN still enjoy sweetness while eating keto. All it takes is some education on the right types of sweeteners to use. Read on to find the top four sweeteners you can use for a low-carb keto diet and why we recommend them. What Defines a Keto-Friendly Sweetener? First, let’s start with what each of these top keto sweeteners have in common and how they follow our guidelines: Low Glycemic The glycemic index (GI) refers to how much a food raises blood sugar. It runs from zero to 100, zero representing no raise in blood sugar and insulin levels. The goal with the ketogenic diet is to remain in ketosis, so staying as close as possible to zero GI for sweeteners is the best choice. Sugar Free Obviously, avoiding added sugars is a necessity on keto. We’re training the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates; therefore, carb intake should be kept very low. Even fruit should be severely limited, preferably eliminated, so it makes sense that anything with added sugars are a no-go. Low Carb Another obvious guideline when you’re keto: low- or no-carb sweeteners are a must if you want to stay in ketosis. Top 4 Low-Carb Keto Diet Sweeteners Now that we’ve established some guidelines, here are our top four recommendations for sweeteners on a low-carb ketogenic diet: #1 Stevia Stevia is from the extract of the herb Stevia rebaudiana. In its pure form, stevia contains no calories, no carbs and is zero on the glycemic index. Additionally, It is typically 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, meaning you only need to use a little to get a sweet taste in foods. Benefits and Using Stevia: Besides not affecting blood sugar or contributing carbs or calories, stevia has also been shown to actu Continue reading >>

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition in which the body reacts to a perceived catastrophic drop in blood sugar. I say perceived because during an episode, the blood sugar readings may be in the normal range, but still "feel" like low blood sugar to the person having the reaction. In my experience, hypoglycemia happens to most people when first beginning a low carb, ketogenic diet. It may be especially strong in people who have already developed insulin resistance or pre-diabetes from a chronic excess of carbohydrate intake. There are different types of low blood sugar causes. Transient hypoglycemia normally happens when most people who have been eating a high carb diet drastically reduce carbohydrate intake for the first time. This type happens during the first several weeks of carb reduction because the body has not had time to create the enzymes or metabolic state to burn internal fat stores for fuel. Basically there is a gap in the amount of carbohydrate available for fuel, and the process of accessing fat stores for fuel. The lack of fuel sources results in transient low blood sugar. Reactive hypoglycemia is more of an acute reaction to a very high carb meal. For instance, when a person eats 2 or 3 glazed donuts, there is a huge spike in blood sugar and compensating insulin secretion after such a meal. The large insulin spike drives blood sugar very low several hours after the meal. How Reactive Hypoglycemia Happens Insulin, a hormone, is secreted from the pancreas in response to eating food, especially foods high in carbohydrates. Its main job is to move the sugar your body makes from the food you eat into your cells so that this excess sugar can be broken down for energy or stored. Insulin is a very powerful hormone, and it acts very quickly. The amount of insulin Continue reading >>

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keto All you need to know about the keto diet The ketogenic diet has grown to become extremely popular over the last few years. It's ideal for those of you that are looking to lose a considerable amount of weight. This diet is basically a very low carb, high fat diet. It has very many similarities to the Atkins diet whereby, when on this diet, your body mostly gets it's calories from proteins and fat and not from carbohydrates. What makes the this diet so special is that it changes how your body feels and most importantly how your body uses energy placing you into a state known as ketosis. This is actually where all the magic begins to happen. In this state your body starts to utilize substances known as ketone bodies which are produced by the breakdown of your body fats. Your body loves glucose and if it has that on hand it's going to use that first for energy. In this diet the amount of carbohydrates goes down which in turn will lead to less production of glucose. High levels of glucose production is generally what makes you fat. Without it the body will begin to start breaking down your body fat and this is when you start to get leaner. The way that the keto diet gets your body to lose weight is by keeping insulin levels low. Insulin is a fat storage hormone that is released to help shuttle energy from the food you eat into your cells. This diet is known to be one of the best ways, besides fasting of course, to drop your insulin levels lower and low insulin is what is usually associated with fat loss. However, there is a misconception out there that your insulin will only go up with carbs. Protein can also spike your insulin levels and if you eat enough fats in one sitting, especially the wrong type of fats like trans fats, then that can spike your insulin levels as Continue reading >>

The Truth About Fruit

The Truth About Fruit

Fruit is nature’s candy. Naturally sweet and juicy, it’s a dietary favorite and a pretty big staple in Western culture. Most fruit is also decidedly not keto-friendly. But why? We get that question over and over. After all, isn’t the sugar in fruit “natural?” Doesn’t it have tons of fiber? The answer those questions are yes, and it depends on the fruit, respectively. But those answers do not necessarily make for a keto-friendly food. Remember, sugar itself is completely natural. Regular old table sugar is usually derived from the juice of the sugar cane or sugar beet. It’s essentially juice that’s been clarified and dried into crystals. Perfectly natural. Still not keto. The big disconnect seems to be in the commonly held notion that fructose, what we call “fruit sugar,” is somehow better for you than regular table sugar? But is that so? There does seem to be some scientific evidence that fructose is metabolized differently. It is not readily used by most cells in the rest of the body and so it is primarily processed by the liver instead. There also seems to be no blood glucose or insulin response from fructose. All of this would seem to add up to fruit being friendly. Not so fast. The problems with fruit are two-fold. First, as any diabetic who tests regularly will tell you, they do see an increase in blood glucose after eating fruit. Increases in insulin response follow increases in blood glucose, both of which we try to keep low on keto. Second, there is scientific evidence that increased fructose consumption not only leads to weight gain, occurring primarily in visceral belly fat, but has other, very serious adverse health consequences. Let’s take them one at a time. Blood glucose increases after consuming fruit It does seem to be true that fru Continue reading >>

Dear Mark: Does Eating A Low Carb Diet Cause Insulin Resistance?

Dear Mark: Does Eating A Low Carb Diet Cause Insulin Resistance?

157 Comments Despite all the success you might have had with the Primal way of life, doubts can still nag at you. Maybe it’s something you read, or something someone said to you, or a disapproving glance or offhand comment from a person you otherwise respect, but it’s pretty common when you’re doing something, like giving up grains, avoiding processed food, or eating animal fat, that challenges deeply-and-widely held beliefs about health and wellness. It doesn’t really even matter that you’re losing weight or seem to be thriving; you may still have questions. That’s healthy and smart, and it’s totally natural. A question I’ve been getting of late is the effect of reducing carb intake on insulin sensitivity. It’s often bandied about that going low carb is good for folks with insulin resistance, but it’s also said that low carb can worsen insulin resistance. Are both true and, if so, how do they all jibe together? That’s what the reader was wondering with this week’s question: Hi Mark, I’ve been Primal for a few months now and love it. Lowering my carbs and upping my animal fat helped me lose weight and gain tons of energy (not too shabby for a middle-aged guy!). However, I’m a little worried. I’ve heard that low carb diets can increase insulin resistance. Even though I’ve done well and feel great, should I be worried about insulin resistance? Do I need to increase my carb intake? I always thought low carb Primal was supposed to improve insulin function. Vince Going Primal usually does improve insulin sensitivity, both directly and in a roundabout way. It improves directly because you lose weight, you reduce your intake of inflammatory foods, you lower systemic inflammation (by getting some sun, smart exercise, omega-3s, and reducing or dea Continue reading >>

Does Long Term Ketosis Cause Insulin Resistance?

Does Long Term Ketosis Cause Insulin Resistance?

“It’s a snake.” “It’s a wall.” “It’s a rope.” “It’s a fan.” “It’s a tree.” “It’s insulin resistance.” I’ve always been fascinated by those describing a “new finding” in medicine. I am reminded of the story of 5 men who, never having seen an elephant before, were blindfolded and asked to describe what he discovered. However, each man was introduced to a different part of the elephant. Each of them had a dramatically different description of the elephant and each made a conclusion that was very different from the others. What is fascinating, is that we usually make our “blindfolded comparisons” to those things we have seen or about which we have some descriptive understanding. Observing and describing human physiology is much like examining an elephant while blindfolded for the first time. This week’s “blind-folded finding” is what has been interpreted by some as “insulin resistance” made worse by a ketogenic diet. Really? This perked my curiosity, because I’ve personally been following a low-carbohydrate/ketogenic diet for 10 years and have thousands of patients doing the same. To this day, I’ve never seen insulin resistance “get worse.” In fact, it gets better. Clinically, it seems to take about 18-24 months to improve, but, it usually gets better. THE QUESTION – I’ve had three people from around the world contact me this week and ask why, after being on a ketogenic diet and “in ketosis,” they suddenly get a notably large blood glucose spike when they cheat. By notably large, I mean that their blood sugars rise to over 200 mg/dl within 2 hours of a carbohydrate containing meal. Now, they admit to rapid glucose recovery within an hour or two, and their hemoglobin A1c levels are subjectively normal (l Continue reading >>

The 100 Most Ketogenic Diet Foods

The 100 Most Ketogenic Diet Foods

Ketosis occurs when there is a lack of glucose, our insulin levels drop, and our body switches to fat for fuel. Managing our insulin response to the food we eat is critical to ensuring that we are able to burn fat. The food insulin index data indicates that our insulin response to food is best predicted, not just by carbohydrate, but also the protein and fibre content of our food. This improved understanding can help us prioritise foods with a lower insulin load that will help us improve our blood glucose control. But before we get to the list of the most ketogenic foods, let’s look at the research and the theory that enables us to identify foods that will cause the least insulin response. Food insulin index The initial research into the food insulin index was detailed in a 1997 paper An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods by Susanne Holt, Jennie Brand-Miller and Peter Petocz who tested the insulin response to thirty-eight different foods. The food insulin index score of various foods was determined by feeding 1000kJ (or 239 kcal) of various foods to non-diabetic participants and measuring their insulin response over three hours. This was then compared to the insulin response to pure glucose (which is assigned a value of 100%) to arrive at a “food insulin index” value for each food. Considering how significant this information could be for people trying to manage their insulin levels (e.g. people with diabetes, “low carbers” or “ketonians”) I was surprised that there hadn’t been much further research or discussion on the topic. I found a few references and mentions in podcasts, but no one was quite sure what to do with the information, mainly because only a small number of foods been tested. More food Continue reading >>

Video: What Eating “high-fat” Or “keto” Does To Your Blood Sugar

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 >>

Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?

Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?

A common question people have when starting keto is “will this kick me out of ketosis?” I’m going to address as many items as I can think of and explain why it will or will not kick you out of keto. This is going to be as comprehensive as possible so either use ctrl + f to find what you’re looking for or buckle up and read on. How do humans enter ketosis in the first place? Things will become much more clear if we explain how humans enter ketosis. Mainly, liver glycogen is what determines if ketones will be produced. Specifically, glycogen in the liver signals malonyl-coa to be formed by carboxylating acetyl-coa. Acetyl-coa is used in many processes and it’s the main substrate used to be turned into ketones. The wiki on regulation of ketogenesis which applies to this scenario says “When the body has no free carbohydrates available, fat must be broken down into acetyl-CoA in order to get energy. Acetyl-CoA is not being recycled through the citric acid cycle because the citric acid cycle intermediates (mainly oxaloacetate) have been depleted to feed the gluconeogenesis pathway, and the resulting accumulation of acetyl-CoA activates ketogenesis.” Basically, when there is more acetyl-CoA than oxaloacetate, the acetyl-CoA becomes acetoacetate, a ketone body. In plain English, carbs provide oxaloacetate, so if it doesn’t have carbs, it likely isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis. I’ll state the exceptions later. Why do humans enter ketosis so readily? Humans enter ketosis faster than any animal on the planet. It usually takes 24-36 hours before we enter ketosis.This is because we have huge brains and tiny bodies. Our brains need ~400 calories/day, which for most people that equates to 20% of our total energy demands. To put this in perspective, most anim Continue reading >>

The Best And Worst Low Carb Sweeteners

The Best And Worst Low Carb Sweeteners

Most people that start a keto diet plan find that they have some intense cravings for sugar in the beginning, but will dissipate after a few weeks. Even the seasoned low carber will tell you that they have cravings every once in a while, sometimes burning inside them so deep they want to give up to temptation. That’s where sweeteners come in, where you can make or bake things you usually can’t eat. Of course, you will have to watch out because most things that say “carb free” actually still contain carbs. Make sure you take the net carbs of any impacting sweetener into consideration when tracking your macros. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to try to avoid sweeteners in the beginning. They’re well known to cause cravings and some may stall your progress with over-use. Stay strict and try to only occasionally consume sweet treats when you are on a low carb diet. Types of Sweeteners In general, there are a few classifications of sweeteners. There are natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and synthetic sweeteners (or artificial sweeteners). There are a few others that aren’t exactly classified in these categories (like glycerin based sweeteners) but they are quite uncommon and rarely used, so we’ll skip going over them. For a ketogenic diet, I personally suggest sticking with erythritol and stevia (or a blend) because they are both naturally occurring, don’t cause blood sugar or insulin spikes, and sweeten just perfectly. When used in combination, they seem to cancel out the aftertaste that each has, and work like a charm. When you purchase sweeteners, make sure to take a look at the ingredients on the packaging. You normally want the pure sweetener, rather than having fillers such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or polydextrose which can cause spik Continue reading >>

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