Whether it is you, a loved one or a friend of a friend, we have all come across diabetes at some point. In my situation, I come from a family where diabetes runs pretty rampant. My mother has it, grandma had it and I too was labeled as being prediabetic. It wasn’t like I wanted to be overweight and prediabetic. I tried losing weight but nothing ever lasted long. Even if I managed to lose the weight, I didn’t enjoy the journey. You get tired of eating the same 5 to 7 foods after a while. (Yes. I am even talking to the people who think they can eat the same thing everyday.)
Down on my luck and gaining back the 60lbs I recently lost, I made a desperation move to start cutting carbs. I started losing weight again and picked up a will to continue learning more about a low carb lifestyle until I came across Keto and intermittent fasting (IF). Strapped with these 2 tools, I was able to lose an additional 70lbs and maintain my total weight loss of over 130lbs. I was able to reverse my prediabetic state and lead a healthier more enjoyable life.
My success with Keto and IF has lead me to get a certification as a coach so I may help other’s going through the same struggles find what I believe to be the best dietary lifestyle for those struggling to manage their diabetes. First things first, what the heck is Keto…?
What is Keto?
Keto is short for ketogeinc. It is a dietary lifestyle where you are shifting your body’s primary fuel from sugar over to a cleaner, longer lasting fuel source called fat. The body can either use sugar or fat for fuel. When you are a sugar burner, the body is primarily using glucose or stored glucose (aka glycogen) as fuel but when you are a fat burner, the body is using ketones for fuel instead. Ketogenic comes from the fact that ketones are the byproduct from your body metabolizing fat.
In order to achieve this metabolic state of fat burning, a person must lower their carbohydrates (carbs) significantly enough that the body is forced to shift its energy source from glucose (sugar) over to ketones (fat). Your body will then begin to create energy (ketones) from the food consumed and from your stored body fat (can we say … weight loss). I will discuss below as to why this shift in energy is so great for us diabetics out there as well as people in general.
Another way of looking at it this, Keto gives us a guideline as to what to eat but that’s only half of the equation. It is equally important to know when NOT to eat. This is where Intermittent Fasting comes in.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
I think it is pretty safe to assume that we all love to eat, some more than others, but we all ultimately enjoy it. With great power (eating), comes great responsibility (not eating) also knows as Intermittent Fasting (IF). In essence, IF is when you abstain from eating any foods or drinking any fluids that would stimulate your metabolism. That basically means consuming no foods and only drinking either unsweetened water, coffee and tea. There are various types of fasting for both health and religious reason but let’s stick to a general concept for right now.
Keto provides the body with various nutrients needed for survival and IF comes along and gives our body the opportunity to actually use those consumed nutrients. When you are constantly eating, the body is in what I would call a storage mode. It is constantly consuming and storing the food and nutrients for a time it will need to use it. The body will continue to store this food (getting fat) until you flip the switch that says stop storing and start using. This is where IF comes in. You will need a period of time where the body is now taking the food provided from a recent meal or stored within the body to heal and repair itself.
This period of time usually takes between 16 to 18hrs at a min. This is what is commonly know as a fasting window. Whereas the time in which you are consuming your meals is known as a feeding window. Both are crucial if you want to maximize your improvements with diabetes and weight loss. Before we delve into why Keto and IF for diabetes, Let’s make sure we are on the same page regarding the definition of diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
As taken right Google, diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine. There are 2 types of diabetes, Type 1 and 2. Type 1 diabetics are unable to produce the hormone insulin all together. Type 2 diabetics, however, can produce insulin but the body does not’t respond to the hormone so well so the pancreas (where insulin is produced) begins working harder and harder to get the body to respond. Prediabetic are basically those individuals who are already well on their way to developing Type 2 diabetes.
In the case of Type 1 diabetics, this is most commonly something caused by genetics. A Type 2 diabetic can become a Type 1 if measures aren’t taken to improve the body’s response to insulin thus resulting in a break for your pancreas. The same could be said for prediabetics becoming Type 2’s. In any case, the common thread with all diabetics lies with the hormone insulin. This is where Keto and IF come in to address this major issue plaguing diabetics and most people although they don’t know it yet.
Diabetes and The Master Hormone Insulin…
The body is run by a series of substances known as hormones. These hormones tell you when to breathe, sleep, eat, go to the bathroom and a whole slew of other things. There is one hormone in the body that tends to reign supreme over most other hormones and that is insulin. Insulin is a hormone created by the pancreas and use for various things within the body with main function being the regulating of blood sugars.
This is an important function because with the regulating of blood sugars, also comes the key to locking and unlocking the cell. When you eat a meal that cause blood sugars to elevate, the body responds to the elevated blood sugars by releasing insulin. This in turn activates the cells to open up and remove the excess sugars from the blood. Although the body can use sugar for fuel, it views elevated blood sugars as toxic which is why it uses insulin to keep the levels in “normal range”.
In the case of a Prediabetic and Type 2 Diabetic, the pancreas is having to work harder and harder to regulate constantly elevated blood sugar. This constant elevation in blood sugars is brought on from the over consumption of processed carbs, sugars, grains and vegetable oils along with frequent eating in the form of meals and snacks. The cells begin to grow deaf to the constant signaling of insulin from the body. This in turn causes insulin resistance. Now the pancreas must flood the body with more insulin in order to get the now resistant cell willing to respond to the signal. This cycle of the cells becoming deaf to insulin and the pancreas responding by pumping out more it ultimately leads to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
This condition takes about 10 to 15 years to develop on average before you are diagnosed as a Prediabetic or Type 2 diabetic. That is a long time of overworking your pancreas before it starts to throw in the towel. In the case of a Type 1 diabetic, they are given insulin to help the body manage its blood sugars since it cannot produce the hormone on its own. This is where Keto and IF comes in as the best dietary lifestyle to help diabetics.
Keto and Intermittent Fasting Vs Diabetes…
So why is Keto and IF the best? In simple terms, they are the best tag team working together to regulate blood sugars which reduces the insulin load placed on the body. Keto takes today’s food pyramid and flips it on its head. Instead of eating foods loaded with sugars, grains, processed carbs and vegetable oils, you primarily eat fats, moderate your protein, while severely reducing your carb intake in an effort to understand your body’s carb tolerance. In terms of a macro nutrient standpoint, this means 70% of your energy would come from fat, 25% from protein and the last 5% coming from carbs except for green leafy veggies.
By following Keto, you consume foods that are least likely to elevate blood sugars. When blood sugars are not elevated, the need for insulin also reduces. Then IF comes in on the back end by ceasing the consumption of food in order for our body to begin taking the food consumed and breaking down stored body fat in order to heal, repair and strengthen itself. This results in the body having less of a need for insulin since blood sugars are not constantly being elevated.
When the pancreas is given a break and insulin levels are normalized, this not only gives the cells a break from the constant flooding of insulin, this also turns the cells off from storage mode and on to release mode. In this release mode, the body begin to get the cells (including fat) cells to release its contents in order for the body to produce energy, detox itself and a myriad of other benefits.
If constant elevated blood sugars lead to insulin resistance, then constant breaks of that signaling supports the reversal of insulin resistance or the amount of insulin needed to get the job done. This is done all while eating the real foods that support your health and weight loss while avoiding the foods, portion sizes and eating frequencies that don’t. Eat the foods that love you and they in turn will show you love back.
Keto and IF For The Win!!!
Keto and IF are the best dietary lifestyle for those facing diabetes and weight loss because it is the only lifestyle set out to help regulate our hormones, especially the master hormone insulin.
If you have any questions or comments, drop a line below. I’d love to hear from you.
Black N Keto