Hi there! I’m Emily, and I am an adult-onset Type 1 Diabetic. I am bucking the reins when it comes to traditional diabetes management: insulin-free for 19 months, changing my diet, and now I have another layer to share with you: the keto diet. Since adding insulin back to my management routine in December 2018, I have suspected there is a better, more stable way to manage my blood sugar. The keto diet keeps popping up so today I’d like to show you my experiment keto and diabetes.
Inside: Snag a free food journal printable to make your next health change a success!
What is My New Diet?
That’s a mouthful! Let me unwrap it for you:
- Grain-free – This means no wheat, rye, oats, corn, all grains, and pseudo-grains are off-limits.
- Dairy-free – Any animal-based dairy is not a part of my diet. While dairy is embraced in Keto, I’ve found repeatedly that my gut cannot take dairy of any kind.
- Egg-free – Another cornerstone to Keto (or so it would seem), but again, my gut cannot tolerate any eggs.
- Low-carb – Restricting carbohydrates is where the magic of keto happens and where blood sugar is happily low! Beautiful things happen to your body when the carbohydrate count is limited. There are various levels of acceptable carbs, but since my diet is heavy in vegetables, my goal is 35-45 grams of carbohydrates per day.
- High-fat – If carbs are reduced then fat must increase as it is the fuel the body runs on. Fat has zero carbs so this will not affect my blood sugar, and who doesn’t love fat? Bring it on!
Why Change My Diet Again?
I know…Keto AND diabetes? You think I’m crazy, right? Why in the world would I try another diet (or rather, add another layer of complexity to my current diet)?
- There is better health for me.
- Diabetes can be managed better than mainstream medicine would teach.
- If better health is within my power, I’d be remiss if I didn’t try.
As with everything I talk about on this blog, it is an experiment. If it doesn’t work, I’ll change it. If it’s unsustainable, I’ll move on to something else.
Also, I’m not a medical professional giving out medical advice. Read our disclosure for more information.
My encouragement to you would be to try something and let your body be the guide, not what any blogger (like me!), expert, or even doctor suggests. Try something! See if it helps your health then move on from there.
Before we move on to the results, gathering data on a diet change is imperative to making informed decisions about how to proceed. For me, a food journal is key. A food journal allows you to track what you eat along with major metrics for judging the success of the change: blood sugar, insulin dosage, emotional change, etc.
If you’d like a printable copy of the food journal I use (I use the one for diabetics, but there’s also a generic one that I’ll send you!), sign up for weekly emails from Flawed yet Functional below and get a free food journal as a welcome gift!
What are the Results of Keto and Diabetes (Type 1)?
This change to my diet is rather new, so I only have 1 week of results to share with you. The results are SO encouraging though!
Here are the metrics I’ll be using to judge the success of the diet change, how I calculate them, and the results.
Weekly Average Blood Glucose (ABG)
ABG is 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).
- Beginning ABG = 146
- Week 1 ABG = 116
A decrease of 30 average blood glucose points, that’s amazing! My blood sugar not only decreased but was more stable. Several times during the week I’d hang out in the 80’s or 90’s without continuing to drop and feeling great the whole time.
While weight loss is not a primary goal of this experiment, I did put on 10 pounds in one week when I started back on insulin (yikes!). While I’m not overweight, I am curious if my weight will change.
There was no change in weight in the first week. 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. Like weight loss/gain, I will track the change in it for information purposes.
- 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
A decrease of 2 units of basal (long-acting) insulin and completely stopping all bolus (fast-acting) insulin. Woot! Huge victory!
Please don’t ever read this as I think insulin is bad or unnecessary. To the contrary, insulin is necessary for life. However, I want to live my life as close to medicine-free as possible, and there are huge financial benefits in reducing my insulin need. Not using bolus insulin will save me over $1,000 per year!
Are you encouraged and amazed? I am! I suspected keto and diabetes would be a good combination, and my hunch is proving correct. Do you want to do what I am doing? The key for me is tracking, so if you want to have a nice printable to help you do just that, sign up for the weekly Flawed yet Functional newsletter and receive a printable food journal as a free gift!
Want more tips for diet change? Check out these posts!
- Family and Diet Change
- Signs of Health
- Diet Change Around the Holidays
- Baby Steps to Eating Healthier Food