The most important way to manage diabetes is through proper nutrition; however, if you want to reverse this disease and reduce or even eliminate diabetes medications, then it could be advisable to avoid the American Diabetes Association dietary guidelines, and turn away from commonly prescribed diets that have made diabetes much, much worse.
A growing body of scientific data is pointing towards a diet that has the potential to reverse Type 2 Diabetes, and even reduce drug dependence for Type 1 Diabetes: The Ketogenic Diet.
More than just a diet, using fat to fuel the body instead of carbohydrates has scientifically proven to improve biomarkers of age, optimise weight loss and reverse many chronic diseases, including some cancers.
Not only does the ketogenic diet offer a potential cure for diabesity (diabetes + obesity), the positive side-effects of this lifestyle choice are numerous.
Big claims? Indeed, however, new long-term research into this way of eating is shattering old-school paradigms on nutrition and is changing the way we view and approach our modern diet.
The ketogenic diet has been around since the beginning of time and is an important part of our evolution, without the ability to burn fat instead of glucose as fuel, many people would have starved to death. Ketosis refers to the fuel source your body survives on.
The standard western supermarket diet is high in carbohydrates and as your body absorbs these carbohydrates they are converted into glucose (sugar), these glucose molecules are then transported into cells by insulin to fuel each cell in your body.
When we reduce our carbohydrate intake to a minimum (usually 5 to 10% of daily caloric intake) there is no longer enough glucose to fuel the body, so the body very cleverly goes looking for a second fuel source.
It turns to stored fat cells and/or dietary fat, and the liver converts this fat into ketones. Ketones then become the primary fuel for each cell in your body.
This is called fat-adaptation, and the clinical term for this is to say you are in a ketogenic state, or your body is in nutritional ketosis. And the side-effects can be extremely positive.
What Is Nutritional Ketosis?
The term nutritional ketosis was coined by Dr. Stephen D. Phinney some thirty years ago to clarify confusion, particularly amongst physicians, between ketosis induced by carbohydrate restriction and ketosis caused by the absence of insulin in Type 1 diabetics, which leads to ketoacidosis.
Ketones in extremely high levels can be a toxic byproduct of fat metabolism; however, in very low doses they are also a useful substrate for healthy fat metabolism and weight loss.
There is no more risk of ketoacidosis in healthy individuals by inducing nutritional ketosis, as there is inducing diabetic coma in healthy individuals. A healthy body will keep these levels in a healthy range.
Some argue this is humans’ natural state; babies are born in ketosis and breast milk is ketogenic. Paleolithic man did not have access to grains and sugars like we do today and their natural diet would have been low in carb (carbohydrates) and higher fat.
It is our modern diet of high grains and sugars that have led to higher glucose levels and insulin. When carbohydrate intake is restricted, the need for insulin reduces and it is much easier to manage blood sugar levels.
Nutritional Ketosis For Diabetes?
The ketogenic way of eating also provides enormous levels of satiety (fullness after a meal), as the body becomes deeply nourished when we eat this way and therefore our brain isn’t constantly looking for nourishment. High carb diets make you hungry.
Another benefit is that obtaining a ketogenic state optimises brain function. In fact, this diet has proven to reduce symptoms of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, brain cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis.
It has long been used to treat childhood epilepsy; ketosis has been clinically proven to significantly reduce seizures.
The Paradigm Shift Away From Low Fat Diets
It is obvious to see that the low-fat/high-carb diet has truly been one of the biggest dietary blunders in history; it has led to unprecedented rates of obesity, heart disease and chronic illness. Simply put — we were wrong!
Fat doesn’t make you fat or unhealthy — carbohydrate (sugar) does.
For most of us, the suggestion that high-fat diets may actually be healthy seems totally contradictory to everything we’ve been told about nutrition, as experts have endorsed low-fat/high-carb for over 60 years.
But it’s time every health professional took the time to research thoroughly the evidence that has been brought to light. It takes a brave clinician indeed to change their opinion and admit we all had it very wrong, but we must.
There Is Hope
Sweden has become the first country to officially reject the low-fat/high-carb diet and has publicly announced new dietary guidelines to support low-carb/high-fat nutrition advice.
The Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment provided a two-year study analysing 16,000 nutrition studies published through May 2013. So there is hope that other countries may eventually change.
The first to lead will be countries that allow science to prevail over politics. However, it is a known fact that currently politics wins over science!
The Cholesterol Myth
The leading question is “what about cholesterol, won’t this cause heart disease and cause heart attacks?” While this is still a mainstream attitude by most health professionals, the answer is no, dietary cholesterol has no impact on the body’s cholesterol levels.
So next time your doctor suggests you lower your butter intake, ask them if they, in fact, mean you should lower your sugar intake.
The cholesterol myth is that dietary fat causes heart disease; however, this is a hypothesis that to this day has never been scientifically validated!
Ketosis For Weight Loss
Without being aware, most people today have become carb sensitive. Our blood sugar levels are on a constant rollercoaster resulting in highs and lows in energy; if you are a mid-afternoon napper or snacker, you will know what I mean.
But high blood sugar also contributes to many chronic degenerative diseases, including heart disease. Other symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance are:
You can read the FULL version of this article in our quarterly eZine, ‘Holistic Living Magazine,’ look for Edition 2 on this archive page. There’s many more articles about diabetes waiting for you too!
Deborah Murtagh – Wholefood Expert