The Theory Behind Using A Keto Diet For Weight Loss
Proponents of using a keto diet for weight loss argue that eating carbs drives up insulin production, which increases hunger and causes the body to hold on to fat and suppress calorie burn. When you replace carbs with fat, you decrease the need for insulin, subdue hunger, boost calorie burn, and melt away fat.
Many people also report fat as very satiating, making them full. The same goes for protein. When you feel full, you eat fewer calories and have fewer cravings. When you are at a healthy caloric deficit, you are primed to lose unwanted pounds.
Keto Adaptation Is Rough
It takes a while to become what is known as keto adapted, which is your bodys way of saying hey, I got this, Im ready to mainly burn fat!
According to keto expert Ariel Warren, RD, CD, the exact length of the adaption period usually depends on how many carbohydrates you are used to eating. Around 2 weeks if you have eaten a relatively low-carb diet previously, 2-4 weeks for a more moderate-carb diet, and 4+ weeks for high-carbohydrate diet.
At the start of the adaption period, your body is rebooting what it has known for pretty much your entire life. Your brain is used to running on glucose and suddenly it doesnt have it. Now, it CRAVES it. Youre in glucose WITHDRAWAL.
Some describe this phenomenon as the keto flu, where you basically feel the opposite of everything promised sick, fatigued, nauseous, mental cloudiness, etc. its not very pleasant.
Oh, and I should probably also mention that low carb means low fiber pooping could be an issue. Its often recommended to add extra magnesium, potassium & sodium to your diet to help help your digestion elimination process.
However, if we look positively, it also means youre doing something right if you experience this, butwho wants to self-inflict that kind of discomfort? I did, and it was not fun. On this note
Translating Your A1c To A Blood Sugar Level
Using this easy calculator from the ADA, you can translate your most recent A1C result to an eAG or estimate average glucose level.
You can also use this translation when working to improve your A1c and achieving closer to normal blood sugar levels. If you know an A1c of 6.5 is an average blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or a range of 100 to 152 mg/dL, then you can look at your current blood sugar results on your CGM and meter and pinpoint which time of day youre frequently higher than this range.12% = 298 mg/dL or range of 240 347 11% = 269 mg/dL or range of 217 31410% = 240 mg/dL or range of 193 2829% = 212 mg/dL or range of 170 2498% = 183 mg/dL or range of 147 2177% = 154 mg/dL or range of 123 1856% = 126 mg/dL or range of 100 1525% = 97 mg/dL or range of 76 120
Normal blood sugar levels in a person without diabetes can result in an A1c as low as 4.6 or 4.7 percent and as high as 5.6 percent.
Just a decade or two ago, it was rare for a person with type 1 diabetes to achieve an A1c result below 6 percent. Thanks to new and improved insulin and better technology like continuous glucose monitors and smarter insulin pumps, more people with diabetes are able to safely achieve A1c levels in the higher 5 percent range.
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Strength May Suffer At Least For A While
This is ESPECIALLY evident during adaptation, but keto is not really ideal for high-intensity physical activity. Biochemically, this makes sense intensive bouts need energy quickly, and fat oxidation is not exactly the fastest process in the world.
There is hardly any scientific data on keto diets and strength training, but plenty of anecdotal evidence stating that it can be difficult to even maintain strength.
Personally, all of my lifts dropped 40-50 lbs. for the first 4-6 weeks after I switched to a keto diet. Weights that I used to toss around with ease became tougher to move until I was fully adapted.
Its not impossible to improve strength while on a keto diet, but it can make the process substantially more difficult.
Make A Few Changes To Your Diet
Eating a healthier diet doesnt mean you have to cut out all the things you love. Even making changes to one or two meals a day can have benefits.
For example, maybe you start eating a very green salad loaded with fresh veggies for lunch instead of that footlong sub-sandwich. Or perhaps you start limiting your soda consumption to one can per day instead of 4 cans per day.
Pick a couple of places to make changes so it isnt quite so overwhelming. Over time, you may find that you want to keep making improvements to other food choices, too. And remember, the goal doesnt have to be 100 percent perfection. The 80/20 Rule is great: choosing healthy, real food 80 percent of the time, with 20 percent left for less-than-perfect treats.
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Glycosylated Hemoglobin Or Hemoglobin A1c
Reflects average blood sugar levels over the preceding 90-day period. Elevated levels are associated with prediabetes and diabetes. Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of a cardiac event. A diabetic person’s risk for heart attack is the same as a non-diabetic person, who has experienced one heart attack, having a second heart attack. Aggressive global preventive risk reduction efforts, such as lower LDL targets, diet, exercise and blood pressure control, are recommended.
Goal values :
- A range of 5.7-6.4 percent indicates an increased risk for development of diabetes , and lifestyle interventions may be beneficial.
- A value equal or greater than 6.5 percent is considered diabetic.
This test may be measured any time of the day without fasting.
Glycosylated hemoglobin is blood glucose attached to hemoglobin . This test is often called the “diabetic report card.” It reflects the average blood sugar for the two to three month period before the test.
To calculate the average blood glucose level from the HbA1C:
HbA1C level x 33.3 86 = average blood glucose level for the past 90 days. HbA1C can be helpful to track diabetic control over time.
Why You Should Care About Your A1c
Multiple studies have shown that high average blood sugars increase the risk of diabetes-related complications. Lowering your A1c to the recommended range will reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications significantly:
- Eye disease risk is reduced by 76%
- Kidney disease risk is reduced by 50%
- Nerve disease risk is reduced by 60%
- Any cardiovascular disease event risk is reduced by 42%
- Nonfatal heart attack, stroke, or risk of death from cardiovascular causes is reduced by 57%
Achieving an A1c in the recommended range is, therefore, one of the most important things you can do to improve your long-term health when you live with diabetes.
However, the closer you get to the recommended A1c target, the less benefit you will get from lowering your A1c further. Taking your A1c from 12% to 11% makes a big difference while lowering your A1c from 7% to 6% provides a much smaller benefit. In fact, lowering your A1c too much may not be a good idea if it means that you increase how often you experience hypoglycemia .
I will explain why time-in-range is just as important as a low A1c later in this guide.
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Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
- Including protein with your dinner
A Few Different Things Can Cause A Deficiency In Insulin
1. Sickness Stress hormones are produced in response to illness, infection, and dehydration, and stress hormones work against the action of insulin. When you are sick, your insulin doesnt work as well because its being impeded by the stress hormones.
When you are sick, you need to stay hydrated and may need as much as double your usual amount of insulin.
2. No insulin Forgetting to take insulin, especially basal insulin, will get you in trouble with ketones. Chronically missing or skipping mealtime insulin will also cause high blood sugar and lead to ketone development.
3. Spoiled insulin Insulin can spoil if it is exposed to temperature extremes or if it is too old. Know how long you can use your insulin once the pen or vial is opened, and discard it when it is at the end of its useful lifespan. Its also possible that you can become insulin deficient when your insulin is sitting in the tissues and not absorbing into the body where it can be used, so be methodical about rotating your sites.
What can cause this interruption? There are many points in the pipeline where things can go awry:
- Mal-absorption of insulin from the infusion site
- Tubing or infusion set clogs
- Leaking during a bolus improper connection between set and cannula OR a site that leaks around the cannula
- Spoiled insulin
- A leak where the cartridge connects to the tubing
- A dislodged cannula
There are 3 things you need to do
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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
Determining The Right A1c Goal For You
Just because a normal blood sugar range of 70 to 130 mg/dL is considered the healthiest doesnt necessarily mean thats the appropriate goal range for you especially if you have type 1 diabetes, or take insulin as a person with type 2 diabetes.
The reason this may not be the right goal for you is that extremely tight blood sugar management in people taking insulin can potentially lead to frequent low blood sugars which can be dangerous.
Achieving extremely tight blood sugar management, like a range of 70 to 130 mg/dL, also often requires a strict nutrition plan, more frequent than usual blood sugar monitoring, precise medication management, and most importantly, years of experience studying your own blood sugar levels.
How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
Your body uses glucose for energy and it is important to have enough extra energy to be able to wake up in the morning. So for a period of time in the early morning hours, usually between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body starts churning out stored glucose to prepare for the upcoming day.
At the same time, your body releases hormones that reduce your sensitivity to insulin. In addition, these events may be happening while your diabetes medication doses taken the day before are wearing off.
These events cause your body’s blood sugar levels to rise in the morning .
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What Is Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar . It happens when sugar stays in your bloodstream instead of being used as energy.
For people without diabetes, a healthy blood sugar level is about 70 to 140 milligrams per deciliter of blood . For people with diabetes, though, the target or healthy blood sugar range depends on a number of other factors, like their age, how long theyve had diabetes, and other health conditions they may have. To achieve good long-term glucose control, people with diabetes should focus on the time they spend in their target range, which is typically 70 to 180 mg/dL. Doctors may say you have hyperglycemia if your blood sugar is higher than 130 mg/dL after not eating or drinking for at least 8 hours or if your blood sugar is higher than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal .
For people with diabetes, blood sugar control over the long term is important. Your healthcare team will work with you to evaluate your long-term control by looking at your HbA1c and/or the amount of time your blood sugar is within your target range based on data from a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, or your blood glucose meter.
Who Should Check
Talk to your doctor about whether you should be checking your blood glucose. People who may benefit from checking blood glucose regularly include those:
- taking insulin.
- having a hard time controlling blood sugar levels.
- having low blood sugar levels.
- having low blood sugar levels without the usual warning signs.
- have ketones from high blood sugar levels.
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How Do I Check
People with diabetes check their blood sugar levels by poking their fingertips and using a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor to measure the blood glucose level at that moment. Read on to find out how to use a blood glucose meter. To find out more about CGMs, start by talking to your doctor.
Learn How To Deal With High Blood Sugar Levels
Be sure to know the steps for dealing with high blood sugar and how fast your insulin medicine will work to bring your blood sugar down. Some insulins work very fast while regular insulin takes a little longer to bring the sugar level down. Knowing how fast your insulin works will keep you from using too much too quickly.
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The Best Foods To Eat To Help Avoid Or Lower Your High Blood Sugar
While theres no such thing as a hyperglycemia diet per se, your eating choices still play an important role in regulating your blood sugar levels.
First, know you cant just cut all carbs or avoid foods with sugar to prevent blood sugar spikes. After all, healthy foods such as fruits and veggies also contain carbs and sugar. The value of carbs differs according to their complexity, and sugar in food is different from blood sugar.
- White bread, pasta, and rice
- Packaged and processed snacks, such as chips, pretzels, cookies, and candy
- Soda or juice
- Foods high in saturated fat, such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage
- Foods high in trans fats, like margarine and certain packaged baked goods
- Foods that can raise your cholesterol, like liver, red meat, and full-fat dairy
Tracking your carb intake, especially if you have diabetes, is also critical for avoiding blood sugar spikes.
How Is It Determined If The Dawn Phenomenon Or Somogyi Effect Is Causing The High Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor will likely ask you to check your blood sugar levels between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for several nights in a row. If your blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect is suspected. If the blood sugar is normal during this time period, the dawn phenomenon is more likely to be the cause.
Some additional clues that the Somogyi effect may be the cause include nightmares, restless sleep and overnight sweating as these are all signs of low blood sugar levels.
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How To Prevent It
If you work to keep your blood sugar under control — follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule — you shouldnât have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:
- Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
- Test your blood sugar regularly.
- Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
- Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
Keto Diet And Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when, in an individual with diabetes, there is an absence of insulin or the presence of illness, infection, or severe dehydration. Blood sugars skyrocket, glucose toxicity occurs, and the blood can turn acidic, hence acidosis .
What a lovely prognosis. This is NOT related to a ketogenic diet. The ketones you develop on a keto diet never reach dangerous levels, as long as you take the right amount of insulin.
You can easily measure the ketone level in your body with a urine test. You can buy ketone test kits over the counter at most drug stores and pharmacies.
Urine ketone levels
You can also get test kits that use a drop of blood instead of urine. They use a different measuring scale so please always read the packaging carefully before taking any ketone test.
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