Howdy! Emily here, an adult-onset Type 1 Diabetic managing my blood sugar through a healthy diet, good habits, and fulfilling hobbies. A couple of weeks ago, I shared a new experiment I’m trying: the keto diet layered on top of the Autoimmune Protocol plus reintroductions. You may be wondering how keto and diabetes are getting along. Well, I’ve got another couple of weeks to share with you (with good results!). So let’s take a look at how to improve diabetic blood sugar with the Keto diet!
Let’s get you up to speed on my diet: currently, my diet is the Autoimmune Protocol plus several reintroductions: cashews, almonds, wine, chocolate, seed oils & spices, and nightshades. Another way to state it is Paleo without eggs! Wow, that’s easier! I should just call myself Paleo now!
I’ve wanted to try to improve my diabetic blood sugar with the Keto diet but have been intimidated by the work involved. However, eating Keto without dairy and eggs looked downright impossible to me.
Guess what? It isn’t! My biggest takeaway from the first three weeks of this experiment is low-carb is possible with a high vegetable diet. Really the only thing I had to give up was sweet potatoes. One serving has more than half the carbs I’ve allotted for the day!
What Do I Eat?
Truthfully, my diet hasn’t changed as much as I thought it would. Sweet potatoes are no more, and I’m much more conscious of the carbs in any vegetable. But for the most part, my meals are the same.
For breakfast, I’m eating Crunchy Cinnamon Paleo Breakfast Cereal with only a few raisins, almond milk, and breakfast sausage. The total carb count is usually around 15 carbs and is my highest for the day.
Now my lunch usually consists of my go-to “snacky” lunch: hard salami, pickles, olives, fresh veggies, and pork rinds. Yes, pork rinds. They are my weakness, and the one snack I indulge in! If you know much about counting carbs, you’ll see this type of lunch is very low in carbs. Lunch is the lowest meal of the day, usually around 5-8 carbs.
Finally, dinners these days are usually grilled meat: chicken thighs, hamburgers, or bratwurst with two low-carb vegetables. Green beans, salad, Brussels sprouts, or broccoli are all fair game at dinner. Dinner usually runs 10-15 carbs.
How a Type 1 Diabetic Feels on Keto
Now that you know what I eat, what about how I feel? As you might know, energy levels are a huge positive to eating whole foods, but what about AIP layered the Ketogenic diet and Diabetes Type 1? I’ve only been at this Keto thing for 3 weeks, but the results are so encouraging!
Not only do I still have loads of energy just as I did with only AIP plus reintroductions, but my blood sugar is extremely stable and low (for a type 1 diabetic).
I can feel my body behaving differently. There are no after-meal spikes which leave me feeling cranky and lethargic. There are no sudden drops in blood sugar which used to leave me shaking and heart racing. I’ve hung out in the 80’s and felt fine! Before if my blood sugar is in the 80’s, it was on its way down, leaving me feeling miserable. Not the case anymore!
As far as the emotional side of how I feel, I don’t love Keto. Right now, I’m not sure I’ll stick to it for long. BUUUUUT…it really works. It works very very well to lower and stabilize blood sugar. So I still have some pondering, experimenting, and soul-searching to do on this topic.
Measured Results of Keto and Diabetes, Type 1
Basically, I’ve been measuring the success of the Keto diet solely on blood glucose levels. A level of 100 is normal, and for a Type 1 Diabetic, anything below 150 is fabulous (there are more specifics than this. Check out some reintroduction posts for more detail.). However, I am not only relying on blood glucose, but I am also tracking weight and insulin dosage. Check out my results below!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am not giving out medical advice. I am sharing my experience to encourage and inspire you to take control of your health.
Weekly Average Blood Glucose (ABG)
This is my primary metric. It is a straight average of the 28 blood sugar readings from a seven day period (4 per day: fasting, pre-lunch, pre-dinner, and pre-bed). This is not an A1c, but it gives a good gauge for where my blood sugar is throughout the week.
- Beginning ABG = 146
- Week 1 ABG = 116
- Week 2 ABG = 126
- Week 3 ABG = 123
My average daily blood sugar went up from week 1 to 2 and 3, largely due to my hormone cycle and an egg exposure. STILL. An average of 120’s is amazing!
Side note: Also it looks like this egg exposure might be over in 2 days. Two Days! It took almost 3 weeks for me to get over eggs in my pre-keto and pre-insulin days. It makes me wonder if high fat/low-carb helps the gut to heal faster. This is an interesting find that I don’t fully understand. I need to do some research!
As I’ve mentioned before, weight loss is not the primary goal of this experiment. However, I did put on 10 pounds in one week when I started back on insulin (yikes!). I’m still not overweight but I am curious if my weight will change.
There was no change in weight in the first three weeks of Keto. Again, I don’t know if it will change since I will likely remain on insulin, but I’m still tracking it for information’s sake.
A diabetic’s insulin dosage is proportionate to the number of carbs eaten, so I expect my dosage to decrease.
- Beginning Insulin Dose = 10 units basal and 0-1 bolus at mealtime
- Week 1 Insulin Dose = 8 units of basal and 0 bolus at any meal
- Week 2 Insulin Dose = 7 units of basal and 0 bolus at any meal
- Week 3 Insulin Dose = 7 units of basal and 0 bolus at any meal
Another small decrease in insulin dosage without a reduction in carbs. Interesting. Very interesting.
Spoiler: I actually just reduced my insulin again a few days ago to 6 units, and the results are still superb. I’ll report in the next update how that continues to go!
Type 1 Diabetes & Keto in the Future
Right now, I’m still taking this diet change one week at a time. While I’d love to be eating more chocolate, (just being honest…) the results are just so so SO good. I know I need to give the diet more time and see how my life settles around it.
Diet change is always hard at first. Who knows, maybe in a month it will be second nature and I won’t miss a thing. I’ll be sure to let you know!
So what’s the next step for you? Should you learn how to choose and begin a healthy lifestyle? Do you need help menu planning? Or would you like to get your feet wet by trying a week of healthy pre-planned meals? Whatever your choice, move forward today!
Bottom line: keto and diabetes get along great because limiting carbs will always lower blood sugar. As you can see, I am living proof that you can improve diabetic blood sugar with the Keto diet! With three weeks under my belt I’ve seen lower, more stable blood sugar; lower insulin dosage; and less severe lows. Nothing but good news here!