Why I Chose a Low Carb Ketogenic Diet for Diabetes Management
Carbohydrate is the macronutrient that raises blood glucose the most, so keeping consumption low is my primary goal. Of next importance is using whole foods that naturally have the necessary micronutrients and enough complete proteins to support my exercise. I had to add fat to my meals to replace calories from the omitted carbohydrates. My protein intake did not change after starting a ketogenic low carb high fat diet. This way of eating has resulted in a significant improvement in my blood glucose control and a 1.2% reduction in HbA1c. Most importantly, the diet supplies my body with the energy, substrates, and nutrients to enable daily resistance and aerobic/endurance exercise, with minimal need for sports nutrition (sugar), or development of hypoglycemia. I completed The Great Floridian Triathlon in October 2012 without any sugar, food, or hypoglycemia thanks to my low carbohydrate ketogenic lifestyle.
My diet keeps me in a state of nutritional ketosis*, the natural result of a low carbohydrate diet that instructs the fat cells to release fat and the liver to convert some of that fat into ketones. Ketones, including acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate, are small energy molecules clipped from long fatty acids to replace a portion of the glucose requirements of many key organs, particularly the brain. The body over time becomes metabolically flexible, and able to utilize glucose, fat, and ketones, instead of just glucose and fat. This is especially important for those with diabetes who may experience hypoglycemia since ketones can supply the brain with fuel when blood glucose is temporarily low. The low carbohydrate ketogenic diet has also been found to be anti-inflammatory and improves cardiovascular risk factors in persons with metabolic syndrome.