#55 July 2018 Update on My T1DM Management

Dear Blog Followers, I am happy to reveal my new website, lowcarbdiabetesdoctor.com that also will house my blog posts. The purpose of the new website is to make it easier to find more information about using lifestyle changes including the low carb ketogenic diet and exercise for not only type 1 diabetes (T1DM), but also for many related metabolic conditions including insulin resistance, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, and many more.

Please sign up for the newsletter on the new website which is the mechanism by which I can announce new blog posts and new articles that I will be writing. I just started the new website about 6 weeks ago, so many of the articles I have planned are not written, but they will be forthcoming. Thanks for your interest and support. You can find my latest blog post here.

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#54 June 2018 Update on My T1DM Management

Dear Blog Followers, I am happy to reveal my new website that also will house my blog posts. The purpose of the new website is to make it easier to find more information about using lifestyle changes including the low carb ketogenic diet and exercise for not only type 1 diabetes (T1DM), but also for many related metabolic conditions including insulin resistance, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, and many more.

You can find my latest blog post here. Please sign up for the newsletter which is the mechanism by which I can announce new blog posts and new articles that I will be writing. I just started the new website two weeks ago, so many of the articles I have planned are not written, but they will be forthcoming. Thanks for your interest and support.

#53 May 2018 Update on My T1D Management

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, is also available on Amazon in print. I would appreciate anyone who has read and benefited from either of these books to leave a review on Amazon. The number and ratings of the reviews are used by Amazon to order the search results when people are looking for books on diabetes.

Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carb ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it by reducing average blood glucose (BG) and variations in BG as well as insulin requirements. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and endogenous hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and exogenous insulin requirements in T1DM (i.e. reduced insulin doses).

May 2018 was the third full month of taking metformin at a dose of 2000 mg/day (started that dose on Feb. 15, 2018). I am tolerating it without any side effects. As you may know metformin is the first-line medication for T2DM, but can also be useful for those with T1DM. Metformin acts on the liver to reduce glucose production by suppressing both gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. I think this may be useful for those with T1DM on a low carbohydrate diet because the reduction in dietary carbohydrate reduces insulin requirements which in turn stimulates glucagon secretion by the alpha cells in the pancreas which in turn increases glucose production by the liver. This increase in glucose production occurs primarily from increased gluconeogenesis, but also some increase in glycogenolysis is suggested in some studies. In addition, metformin stimulates muscle uptake of glucose independent of insulin. Hopefully over time, I will be able to determine if taking metformin either reduces my blood glucose (BG), insulin requirements, or both. I am estimating that I will need to take it for 6 months to be able to make a before and after comparison as far as the insulin dose comparison is concerned. There is a possibility that metformin could increase the incidence and severity of hypoglycemia while on a ketogenic diet, so caution should be exercised. A possible mechanism for this is the fact that gluconeogenesis plays a more important role in maintaining BG in those on a ketogenic diet than on a balanced macronutrient diet. If metformin reduces gluconeogenesis, then hypoglycemia could result if insulin doses are not appropriately reduced. 

Glycemic Management Results for May 2018

My May glycemic results were somewhat improved compared to previous time periods although I did not reach my desired BG goal of >70% time spent with a BG value between 61 and 110 mg/dl. I had less hypoglycemia this month, but one was symptomatic. This time I developed skin numbness while walking. I have had this particular symptom before and took two glucose tablets immediately and the symptom resolved in about 30 mins. This occurred when I was out of town. Travel usually adversely affects my glycemic control so I stay on high alert. Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for May 2018 compared to previous time periods. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 53 Mean BG Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common, yet more dangerous, consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from two studies of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects (see references at the end). The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. Clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet may also provide an alternate or additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having mild asymptomatic hypoglycemia adapts the brain to lower BG and reduces the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system by reducing sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia (see references at the end).

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in May 2018. I adjust the breakfast (blue circles), post-workout lunch (black circles), and dinner (purple circles) meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (red circles) for high BG readings as needed. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting which I correct with my lunch-time Humalog dose.

Post 53 Humalog Doses and BG graph

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they do not account for the corrections with glucose tablets for hypoglycemia or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) for hyperglycemia. Measuring my BG more frequently than 5 times per day or using an accurate CGM would result in a more accurate estimate.

Post 53 Variability BG Table

The daily insulin dose totals ranged from 23 to 33.5 IU/day in response to the BG readings and are shown in the graphs below for May 2018. You can see a fairly steady total daily insulin dose during the month with a 2 to 4 day intervals of increased insulin doses to address hyperglycemia. The basal insulin dose was more stable and ranged from 20 to 22 IU/day.

Post 53 Insulin Dose Totals and BG graph

The daily insulin dose totals for 2018 are shown in the graph below. You can see a steady reduction in insulin doses since the peak at the beginning of January 2018. The measures I have taken to reduce this variation in insulin dose have included keeping meals and exercise as constant as possible and adding metformin to suppress liver glucose production. Specifically, I try to keep all meals constant in terms of portion size, macronutrient composition and timing of my meals. In addition, I try to keep exercise constant including frequency (daily), type (the type of weightlifting exercises, mainly compound movements), intensity (gradually increasing weight over time as tolerated), and volume (repetitions). That said, keeping exercise intensity constant from day to day is quite difficult.

Post 53 Insulin Dose Totals 2018

The graph below illustrates the distribution of BG values in the ranges indicated at various times of day. This could be useful to point out problems (hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia) at different times of day.

Post 53 Percent BG values in Ranges at Times of Day

The graph below illustrates the percentage of time spent in three BG ranges for each day of the month of May. The numeric percentage is shown on top of the green bars for the % of time BG was between 61 and 110 mg/dl.

Post 53 Daily Time in Range

In June, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with 3 exercises per day. I will also continue metformin 2000 mg daily (1000 mg every twelve hours).

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life. My basic diet philosophy is to avoid processed foods especially those containing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and vegetable (seed) oils while enjoying whole foods (with just one ingredient) as close to their original state as possible. I think just knowing the guidelines in this paragraph would be a good start for those wanting to improve their diet. To treat diabetes, the additional step is to eliminate all foods with significant amounts of carbohydrate to keep the net carbohydrate total < 50 grams/day. Some may do better with < 30 grams/day, while others who exercise a lot may do well with < 100 grams/day.

My current version of ketogenic diet is as follows: 

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Lamb, Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs (one per day)
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Olives, lemon juice on fish
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – Although there is nothing bad about including butter, coconut & olive oil in a ketogenic diet, I have eliminated refined fats from my diet to improve my body composition.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened and artificially sweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice occasionally.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners: I don’t enjoy them.

My exercise regimen often results in post-exercise hyperglycemia which is a normal response to intense exercise. However due to having T1DM, my body is unable to correct this without taking exogenous rapid-acting insulin (Humalog). The exercise I choose negatively affects my glycemic control to some extent. I’m sure I could find an exercise that has less impact on glycemia, but I enjoy weightlifting and feel it has health-span and life-span extending benefits which may compensate for the temporary increase in BG during/after exercise. Hopefully my BG values and variability as well as the relatively lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet, exercise, and hopefully metformin (yet to be determined) are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.

References

Efficacy and safety of metformin for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis – here

A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults – here

Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals – here

Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals – here

Severe Hypoglycemia–Induced Lethal Cardiac Arrhythmias Are Mediated by Sympathoadrenal Activation – here

#52 Hypoglycemia in Diabetes: Mechanisms, Avoidance, and Treatment

Hypoglycemia is a very important topic for persons with diabetes to read and understand. This topic was covered in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, covers this topic for those with T2DM which is also available on Amazon in print. I would appreciate anyone who has read and benefited from either of these books to leave a review on Amazon. The number and ratings of the reviews are used by Amazon to order the search results when people are looking for books on diabetes.

Today, 5/15/2018, is my 58th birthday. You might be wondering how I am going celebrate this day. Cake? Champagne? No, this year I’m celebrating my CAC score results. What is a CAC score? It is short for coronary artery calcium score. I first learned about the usefulness of this noninvasive cardiac screening test from Dr. Jeffry Gerber, MD here soon after starting the ketogenic diet in 2012 when we were attending a medical meeting. Because I have had type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) for 20 years and have been on the ketogenic diet for six years, I thought it was about time to take a look. As you can see below my score was zero!!!

Post 52 18-04-24 Keith Runyan CACS Report

That is good news, because cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death for those with T1DM. One less thing to think about now. I honestly believe my whole food nutrient dense ketogenic diet is cardioprotective because it is improves my glycemic control, does not cause inflammation (my hsCRP was 0.8), and results in low levels of small-dense LDL, oxidized LDL, and glycated LDL which are thought to lead to coronary artery disease. Although, I have not measured these particles, the fact that my fasting triglycerides are 65 mg/dl, HDL-C is 90 mg/dl, VLDL-C is 12 mg/dl, and remnant cholesterol is 12 mg/dl are all indicators that these particles are low and my risk for cardiac disease is relatively low. The CAC score of zero, however, is the icing on the cake which I will be enjoying on my birthday and every day. As far as what I’m eating, that will remain the same: salmon, 85% lean hamburger, one egg, steamed cabbage with some tomato sauce (no sugar added), or similar non-starchy vegetables and 7 varieties of nuts and seeds. This stays pretty constant from day to day except I substitute liverwurst or beef for salmon at breakfast time and add in home-made fermented sauerkraut 3 days a week.

Now For Today’s Topic, Hypoglycemia.

Remember the following is not medical advice, but is information that you can use with your own physician’s advice. Hypoglycemia represents a significant potential problem for those with diabetes who require insulin or any of the insulin-secreting medications (reviewed below). However for those with T1DM, hypoglycemia is a more significant problem due to the complete loss of the pancreatic β-cells and their interaction with their neighboring alpha-cells as will be explained below.

What Is Hypoglycemia? Why Does It Occur?

Hypoglycemia can be defined as an abnormally low plasma glucose concentration that exposes the individual to potential harm. Since persons with diabetes use blood glucose meters that are calibrated to give results in line with plasma glucose concentrations, I will use the term blood glucose (BG) to be equivalent to plasma glucose. A single value of BG that defines hypoglycemia is actually difficult to justify. For example in persons with poorly controlled diabetes, a BG value of 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol/l) may result in typical symptoms of hypoglycemia whereas in persons with excellent glycemic control and especially those following a ketogenic diet may not experience symptoms until the BG falls below 50 mg/dl (2.8 mmol/l). More on this below, but first we should discuss why are those with T1DM and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) at risk for hypoglycemia? 

In healthy humans BG is tightly regulated by numerous hormones and organs. Without getting too deep into the details, suffice it to say that the principle hormones that regulate BG are insulin, amylin, and glucagon and the principle organs that influence BG are the liver, muscle, and fat. Briefly, the β-cells in the pancreas secrete insulin and amylin in response to current BG and amino acid levels and are modified by other hormones including glucagon. Insulin is capable of reaching a high concentration around the neighboring alpha-cells to suppress glucagon secretion which cannot occur in persons with diabetes injecting exogenous insulin. Normally, insulin, also in high concentration, reaches the liver via the portal vein to suppress liver production of glucose. Again, high levels of insulin reaching the liver are not possible by taking exogenous insulin for diabetes. Normally, the suppression of glucagon by insulin also suppresses the production of glucose in the liver. All of these mechanisms are responsible for preventing hyperglycemia both after meals and while fasting. Conversely in healthy subjects if BG falls, for example, during fasting, insulin secretion by the β-cells in inhibited and thus glucagon secretion by the alpha-cells is stimulated both of which increase glucose production primarily by the liver, but also by the kidneys. The liver and kidneys can make glucose from amino acids (from lean tissues), glycerol (from fat), acetone (a ketone made from fat), and from lactate (from muscle, red blood cells, other tissues). Thus, in healthy subjects hypoglycemia is an unusual condition. The third mechanism that corrects hypoglycemia in the unlikely event that the reduction in insulin secretion and increase in glucagon secretion are not sufficient to raise BG, is the sympathetic nervous system which secretes epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and acetylcholine while the adrenal glands secrete epinephrine. Epinephrine and norepinephrine stimulate glucose production by the liver and also result in symptoms of hypoglycemia including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and palpitations. The sympathetic nervous system also secretes acetylcholine which causes sweating and anxiety as well as stimulating glucose production. However, in those with T1DM with complete β-cell destruction the first two mechanisms (decrease in insulin and increase in glucagon) mentioned above are not functioning and recovery from hypoglycemia is dependent on either the person’s own recognition of the problem prior to symptoms via a meter or CGM reading or from the hypoglycemic symptoms caused by the activation of the sympathoadrenal axis.

Hopefully this explains why hypoglycemia almost invariably occurs in persons with T1DM and in those with T2DM who require insulin and/or medications that stimulate insulin secretion and why hypoglycemia is the greatest barrier to achieving near-normal glycemia. In addition to insulin, other medications used for diabetes can also precipitate hypoglycemia. These medications will be reviewed below.

What Should Our Target BG Be To Both Avoid The Long-term Complications Of Diabetes And Avoid Hypoglycemia Which Can Be Fatal?

Achieving a degree of glycemic control that minimizes the risk of developing the long-term complications of diabetes is obviously desirable. These diabetic complications include, but are not limited to, both microvascular complications (neuropathy, retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy) and macrovascular complications (heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease) which can result in blindness, kidney failure, amputations, and cause a reduction in health-span and life-span. However, believe it or not, there is no research that reveals what level of glycemic control is necessary to avoid these complications. 

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) published on September 30, 1993 in the New England Journal of Medicine (ref 1) enrolled 711 persons with T1DM to the intensive insulin arm and 730 to the conventional arm of the study. They had two groups in each arm of the study, one without evidence of diabetic complications (the primary prevention group) and the other with evidence of diabetic complications (the secondary prevention group). The study showed that intensive insulin therapy was able to lower HbA1c from 9% to 7% by increasing doses of insulin, but no changes in diet, which significantly reduced the incidence and progression of diabetic retinopathy (by 76%), neuropathy (by 60%), and nephropathy (of albuminuria by 54%). This was the first large randomized clinical trial to demonstrate this benefit of improved glycemic control. However, this came at a price. The intensive insulin group suffered approximately three times as many episodes of severe hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia is defined as an episode of hypoglycemia that requires the assistance of another person to recover from whether that comes in the form of someone giving the person with T1DM glucose tablets, a glucagon injection, calling 911, or requiring hospitalization (e.g. due to a seizure). Another complication in the DCCT was that at five years, patients receiving intensive insulin therapy gained a mean of 4.6 kg body weight more than patients receiving conventional therapy. Importantly, on secondary analysis, the DCCT could not identify any level of HbA1c that would maximize benefits (i.e. reduce complications) while at the same time minimizing risks (i.e. reduce hypoglycemia). 

I have to interject at this point that these limitations of intensive insulin therapy without dietary intervention is where the low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is a potential game changer because glycemic control can be improved significantly with reduced insulin doses (not increased insulin doses as in the DCCT). More on this in my next blog post #53 or see ref 21. 

In summary, the DCCT showed that improving HbA1c from 9% to 7% with increased insulin doses significantly reduced the incidence and progression of long-term diabetic complications, but also results in a marked three-fold increase in severe hypoglycemia and a mean 4.6 kg body weight gain.

Unfortunately, we are still left with the question of how low should average BG or HbA1c be to both minimize the risk of long-term diabetic complications and hypoglycemia. I hope it is apparent that the lower the target BG even while on a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet, the more likely hypoglycemia is to occur due to the inherent variability created by using exogenous insulin. A definitive answer will require a long-term clinical trial that utilizes a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. Until that trial is done, I think each individual will need to determine his/her own glycemic target in consultation with their physician. This glycemic target should be as close to normal as is safely achievable. Now, we need to know what “normal” is and what “safe” is. 

What BG Value Is Normal?

This study (ref 2) of 21 healthy non-diabetic subjects wearing continuous glucose monitors (CGM) found that “the mean 24-hour interstitial glucose concentration under everyday life conditions was 89.3 ± 6.2 mg/dl (mean ± SD, where SD = standard deviation), and mean interstitial glucose concentrations at daytime and during the night were 93.0 ± 7.0 and 81.8 ± 6.3 mg/dl, respectively.”  Whereas this study (ref 3) of 74 healthy non-diabetic children, adolescents, and adults had a mean interstitial glucose of 98 ± 13.7 (mean ± SD) using a blinded CGM device for 3 to 7 days. A weighted mean of these 95 healthy persons from these two studies reveals that a normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) and coefficient of variation is 12.5% (or 12/96 = 12.5%). A mean BG of 96 mg/dl represents, in my opinion, the minimum target BG value to aim for since these healthy subjects would not be expected to develop diabetic complications. Aiming for an average BG less than 96 mg/dl would only increase the risk of hypoglycemia without providing any benefits. If this BG target of 96 mg/dl results in frequent or severe hypoglycemia, then the target average BG should be increased to whatever value is necessary to minimize hypoglycemia. You then might ask, “Does the increased BG variability lead to the development of diabetic complications?” As you may know, BG does not stay in a narrow range in those with diabetes and this BG variability is easily measured by calculating the standard deviation (SD) of your BG readings. Unfortunately, no studies have examined the question: Does BG variability lead to diabetic complications?  I think everyone with diabetes is striving to keep their BG variability as low as possible, but actually doing it is difficult. My SD before the ketogenic diet was 54 mg/dl and during the past six years on the ketogenic diet has ranged from 35 to 51 mg/dl over 1 year periods. You can see this is quite high compared to normal at 12 mg/dl.

What Incidence Of Hypoglycemia Is Considered “Safe”?

I do not have the answer to this question, but certainly the lower the better is the best bet. Regrettably, it only takes one severe hypoglycemic episode to die. The lesson here is to not let the zeal of perfection defeat the whole purpose of the pursuit. Personally, I have been striving to keep my BG between 61 and 110 mg/dl more than 70% of time and in addition spending less than 10% of time < 61 mg/dl. Although I am close to that goal every month, it has been difficult for me to actually achieve it. I am working to improve it. For those who do not take insulin for diabetes, it may be difficult to understand how variable the glycemic results of taking insulin can be. For me, this has been the most frustrating part of having T1DM. For example, one day I may wake up with a BG of 90 mg/dl and take 3 units of Humalog with breakfast and get a postprandial BG of 110 mg/dl. The very next day, I may wake up with a BG of 97 mg/dl and take 3 units of Humalog with breakfast and get a postprandial BG of 67 mg/dl having eaten the same breakfast, lunch, dinner, and done very similar exercise type, intensity, and duration. This has happened virtually every day for the past 20 years. Thus, for me anyway, each dose of insulin is a guess and the BG results are unpredictable.

Have You Noticed A Reduction In Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia Since Starting The Ketogenic Diet?

This was the first change that I became aware of after starting the ketogenic diet on Feb. 8, 2012. This started me down a path of investigation to try to understand it better. I personally have had BG values in the 30s mg/dl without symptoms. Please do not confuse this last statement as an indication that asymptomatic hypoglycemia is an acceptable or desirable condition. In fact, this is one of the reasons I decided to write this blog post on hypoglycemia. I am simply stating the fact that since starting my low carbohydrate ketogenic diet, and never before, I have had a significant reduction in the symptoms of hypoglycemia. However, I do not know how much of this reduction in symptoms is due to hypoglycemia unawareness and how much is due to the brain being able to use ketones as a fuel by following a ketogenic diet. 

Hypoglycemia Unawareness

Hypoglycemia unawareness simply means that a person with diabetes who has an abnormally low BG is unaware of it because they are not experiencing any sympathetic symptoms. 

Additionally, when hypoglycemia is even more severe (< 50–55 mg/dl, < 2.8–3.0 mmol/l), persons with diabetes may not recognize their own neuroglycopenic symptoms including cognitive impairments, behavioral changes, and psychomotor abnormalities, and, at even lower BG levels, seizure and coma. The exact mechanism for hypoglycemia unawareness is still unknown. However, it is known to occur as a result of antecedent episodes of hypoglycemia. The brain somehow adapts to these episodes of hypoglycemia and does not perceive subsequent episodes as an emergency and thus does not activate the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands which are in place to correct hypoglycemia by secreting epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and acetylcholine. This adaption is considered by experts in the field to be a double-edged sword (ref 4) because on the positive side the brain does not perceive an emergency requiring secretion of epinephrine which is thought to be the most common cause of harm from hypoglycemia, i.e. lethal cardiac arrhythmias mediated by sympathoadrenal activation (ref 5). Another study (ref 6) in rats found that 3 days of recurrent moderate hypoglycemia resulted in 62–74% less brain cell death after a subsequent episode of severe hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (BG 10-15 mg/dl) and were protected from most of the deficits in spatial learning and memory disturbances caused by severe hypoglycemia compared to the control rats. On the negative side of this double-edged sword, the lack of symptoms is thought to lead to more episodes of hypoglycemia any one of which could be severe enough to result in death from neuroglycopenia i.e. not enough glucose for the brain to survive. It is this negative side that needs special attention because we know that depending on the study cited, between 4 and 10% of those with T1DM actually die from hypoglycemia. The majority of these persons die in their sleep which is a time when perception of hypoglycemia is additionally reduced. In addition to antecedent hypoglycemia and sleep, exercise and alcohol ingestion also lead to hypoglycemia unawareness. Although we can’t avoid sleep, and shouldn’t avoid exercise, we can avoid drinking alcohol and work to minimize hypoglycemic episodes. Like many of the followers of this blog, I am a person with T1DM who is highly motivated to achieve BG values as close to normal as is safely possible. However if any of us die or are seriously harmed from hypoglycemia, we have just defeated our own goal of living a normal life-span without diabetic complications. Thus, minimizing or avoiding hypoglycemia is of paramount importance. In fact, this is what I mean by “as is safely possible.” If a person with diabetes is having frequent hypoglycemia, then steps need to be taken to reduce them. I will cover those steps below. Also, be aware that the hypoglycemia unawareness due to recurrent hypoglycemia is completely reversible by avoiding hypoglycemia for 3-4 weeks (ref 7). Resolving hypoglycemia unawareness is an important strategy for preventing future hypoglycemia. 

However, at this point you may be asking “given that I follow a ketogenic diet and lack symptoms of hypoglycemia at levels of BG that previously caused symptoms, what value of BG do I use to define hypoglycemia?” Certainly, low BG values should not be accepted as “OK”, even if they occur without symptoms. The 2018 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes (ref 8) uses < 70 mg/dl as a threshold to define “hypoglycemia alert value” (see Table 6.3 from ref 8 shown below). This hypoglycemia alert value signals the need to take a fast-acting carbohydrate (glucose tablet(s)) and to adjust the dose of glucose-lowering therapy. I use both of these recommendations on a daily basis since each and every insulin dose I take is adjusted based on my BG results in the previous several days in the context of physical activity. The difficult part of diabetes control is that these previous results can vary significantly from day to day such that each dose is in effect, a guess. Several years ago, I arbitrarily chose < 61 mg/dl (3.4 mmol/l) to define hypoglycemia for myself since I had to choose a value to calculate the frequency of and time during a 24 hour period spent with hypoglycemia to be able to report my results on this blog. However, that does not mean I feel a BG in the 60s mg/dl requires no treatment or no insulin dose adjustment.

Post 52 ADA Table 6.3 Classification of Hypoglycemia

As everyone who follows this blog knows, I am not entirely successful at keeping my BG above 60 mg/dl. However, the purpose of starting this blog was to show the actual results of a highly motivated person doing high-intensity resistance exercise and following a ketogenic diet. Despite my lack of complete success, I want everyone to know that I think hypoglycemia is serious and potentially fatal and should be avoided as much as possible.

Can Nutritional Ketosis Provide An Alternate Brain Fuel And Protect Us From Hypoglycemia?

Another topic of research that needs to be done is to measure the degree to which ketones created by the liver by following a ketogenic diet can act as a brain fuel and lead to a reduction in or lack of symptoms of hypoglycemia in those with T1DM. We know from the study done by Drenick et. al. (ref 9) that in non-diabetic obese persons who fasted for 2 months and achieved blood beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels of 8 mM when given a single dose of insulin to induce severe hypoglycemia suffered no symptoms despite BG values as low as 9 mg/dl (0.5 mmol/l). However, the applicability of this study to those with diabetes following a ketogenic diet is questionable given that the BHB levels are typically in the 0.5 to 3 mM range from nutritional ketosis. Another study (ref 10) in rats found that the cerebral metabolic rate of glucose decreased by 9% for each 1 mmol/l increase in total plasma ketone body concentration in ketotic rats induced by 3 weeks of a ketogenic diet. “The brain’s ability to switch from glucose oxidation towards ketone bodies requires a type of ‘cerebral metabolic adaptation’. This process is not well understood but is thought to be highly associated with the duration and level of ketosis. Ketones are considered to supply up to 70% of the total energy demands once maximal metabolic adaptation occurs.” Another study (ref 11) of 8 healthy male students found that mental alertness was significantly reduced by moderate hypoglycemia (40 mg/dl or 2.2 mmol/l) after an overnight fast while similar hypoglycemia did not reduce mental alertness after a 72 hour fast. BHB levels were not reported in the abstract (I did not purchase the full article). Finally in this study (ref 12), the effect of hyperketonemia on counter-regulatory hormone responses to hypoglycemia was examined in six healthy subjects. The peak adrenaline (epinephrine) response to hypoglycemia fell from 7.97 to 2.6 nmol/l during ketone infusion and the peak noradrenaline, cortisol and growth hormone responses were also significantly lower during ketone infusion at a rate of 3 mg/min/kg body weight which resulted in a 0.58 mmol/l BHB concentration which as you know is achievable with nutritional ketosis. In addition, the study found that the BG required to elicit the counter-regulatory hormone response was lower during the ketone infusion (BG was 2.5 mmol/l (45 mg/dl) during ketone infusion compared to 3.0 (54 mg/dl) mmol/l without ketones). 

These data are quite suggestive that keto-adaption at levels of blood ketones achievable with nutritional ketosis may, in fact, be providing the brain with an alternate source of fuel making hypoglycemia less symptomatic and less dangerous. Of course, formal studies of persons with T1DM following a ketogenic diet long-term need to be done to confirm this potential beneficial effect of the ketogenic diet.

How To Handle Glycemic Fluctuations During Illness

All patients with diabetes need to know how to manage BG during illness. The most common illnesses that lead to glycemic fluctuations include infections (most common are pneumonia and urinary tract infections) and gastrointestinal illnesses (some of which are caused by viruses) which often result in nausea, vomiting, reduced food and fluid intake, and diarrhea. These acute illnesses are a stress to the body which responses by secreting cortisol, growth hormone, glucagon, and epinephrine all of which increase BG. Occasionally, patients with diabetes are prescribed corticosteroid medications (e.g. prednisone, methylprednisolone) for various medical conditions. These medications are synthetic versions of the stress hormone, cortisol, and will increase BG often dramatically. Reduced food intake may modify the changes in BG as well. In the setting of illness, the goal is avoid both severe increases in hyperglycemia which can result in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and to avoid hypoglycemia from overly aggressive increases in insulin doses by trying to maintain near-normal BG. The increases in stress hormones often require increased doses of insulin to control hyperglycemia, but accepting mild hyperglycemia during a short illness is much preferred to developing hypoglycemia from overly aggressive increases in insulin doses. Therefore when treating hyperglycemia during illness, it is best to maintain your usual basal insulin dose and use rapid-acting insulin doses to treat hyperglycemia. Rapid-acting insulin typically has a duration of action of 4-5 hours, so dosing them more frequently than every 4-5 hours should be avoided. This 4-5 hour window also varies with the person, so if you have measured BG repeatedly after taking your rapid-acting insulin and know when your BG has stabilized, you could use that time period instead. Taking rapid-acting insulin more frequently that this time period, is called insulin-stacking and can result in hypoglycemia as can an excess dose of rapid-acting insulin. Keeping BG in the 100-200 mg/dl (5.6-11.1 mmol/l) range during an illness should be adequate enough to prevent DKA. Obviously, mildly elevated BG during an illness will have no impact on long-term complications of diabetes. However, overly aggressive insulin doses during an illness can and has caused death from hypoglycemia. On the flip side, a patient with insulin-requiring diabetes who is unable to eat during an illness sometimes severely reduces their insulin doses or just stops insulin altogether. Remember even while fasting (not eating at all), humans need insulin at some basal rate to prevent hyperglycemia. Add to that the stress hormones of illness, and you can see that severely reducing or stopping basal insulin is also a mistake that can result in DKA.

Finally, If you do not feel you are getting control of your BG with the above guidelines, do not hesitate to seek medical attention (calling your physician or going to the emergency room). Developing either severe hypoglycemia or DKA during an illness is life-threatening and both are preventable in the hospital setting.

Additional medications other than insulin are used to improve glycemic control in those with T1DM and T2DM. Some of these medications can increase the incidence of hypoglycemia. These medications are reviewed below.

Sulfonylureas

The first sulfonylurea was discovered in 1942. The first-generation sulfonylureas include chlorpropamide (Diabinese), tolazamide (Tolinase), and tolbutamide (Orinase). The second generation sulfonylureas include gliclazide (Diamicron), glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (also known as glibenclamide) (Micronase, Diabeta, Glynase). Glimepiride (Amaryl) is a third generation sulfonylurea. They are the most prescribed medication for T2DM, probably due to their low cost. Sulfonylureas work primarily by stimulating pancreatic β-cells to secrete insulin and by reducing hepatic clearance of insulin as well as by some other mechanisms. Consequently they are effective only when residual pancreatic β-cells are present (typically only in T2DM). This stimulation of insulin secretion, however, is independent of the BG level which can lead to hypoglycemia. In the settings of an excessive dosage of these drugs, hypoglycemia can last many hours and is prolonged in those with renal failure requiring hospitalization. Sulfonylureas over time can exhaust the β-cells leading to progressive β-cell dysfunction and worsening of insulin secretion (secondary failure). Thus, despite better glycemic control in the short term, diabetes could worsen in the long term. Because sulfonylureas increase β-cell insulin secretion in the setting of insulin resistance, the fat cells are encouraged to store fat and these drugs often cause body weight/fat gain. Finally, sulfonylureas are associated with higher rates of cardiac ischemic events and cardiac deaths compared to metformin in multiple different studies. The FDA issued a special warning on this increased risk of cardiac mortality based on the older studies of tolbutamide. The mechanism for this association is currently unknown. Sulfonylureas are effective in most patients and are low cost, but do have the side-effects of hypoglycemia and weight gain. Sulfonylureas are not used for T1DM since there are no β-cells to stimulate.

Meglitinides 

Meglitinides work by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin in response to a meal. It closes ATP-dependent potassium channels in functioning β-cells. This blockade of potassium channels depolarizes the beta cells leading to opening of calcium channels and resulting in influx of calcium. Increased intracellular calcium induces insulin secretion. This release of insulin occurs independent of the current BG level and thus can lead to hypoglycemia, although less so than with the sulfonylureas. Drugs in this class include repaglinide (Prandin) and nateglinide (Starlix). Like sulfonylureas, weight gain is another side-effect. Meglitinides are not used for T1DM since there are no β-cells to stimulate.

Pramlintide (Symlin)

Pramlintide is an analog of the peptide hormone amylin. Amylin is co-secreted with insulin from pancreatic β-cells and acts centrally to slow gastric emptying, suppress postprandial glucagon secretion, and decrease food intake. These actions complement those of insulin to regulate BG levels. Amylin is relatively deficient in patients with T2DM, depending on the severity of β-cell secretory failure, and is essentially absent in patients with T1DM. One trial showed pramlintide reduced postprandial BG, with modest reductions in overall glycemia (HbA1c ≈ 0.33%), but another randomized controlled trial was unable to detect any benefit at 6 months in patients with T1DM (ref 14). Pramlintide also induces modest weight loss through control of appetite centers in the brain. Pramlintide can cause hypoglycemia if meal-time insulin doses are not appropriately reduced. The most common side-effect of pramlintide is nausea which tends to decrease with continued use.

Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, Fortamet)

Metformin is the first-line medication for T2DM, but may also be useful for those with T1DM. From this paper (ref 13), “In the diabetic state, there is inadequate suppression of postprandial glucagon secretion (hyperglucagonemia) resulting in elevated hepatic glucose production. Importantly, exogenously administered insulin is unable both to restore normal postprandial insulin concentrations in the portal vein and to suppress glucagon secretion [by the alpha-cells] through a paracrine effect. This results in an abnormally high glucagon-to-insulin ratio that favors the release of hepatic glucose. These limits of exogenously administered insulin therapy are well documented in individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are considered to be important contributors to the postprandial hyperglycemic state characteristic of diabetes.”

So far, researchers have not discovered a way to inhibit this excess glucagon production or to block glucagon receptors. For another helpful review of glucagon in T1DM, check (ref 14). But, this is where metformin may be helpful. Metformin acts on the liver to reduce glucose production by suppressing both gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. I speculate that metformin may be especially useful for those with T1DM on a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet because the reduction in dietary carbohydrate reduces insulin requirements. This in turn might stimulate glucagon secretion by the alpha-cells in the pancreas even more than that caused by the diabetic state. This would lead to chronic overproduction of glucose by the liver and contribute to hyperglycemia. However, hyperglycemia does not suppress glucagon production without the accompanying physiologic increase in insulin secretion which does not occur in T1DM. The use of metformin for T1DM while following a ketogenic diet also needs a clinical trial that has yet to be done. Metformin also stimulates muscle uptake of glucose independent of insulin. Although uncommon in those not following a ketogenic diet, metformin might cause hypoglycemia if meal-time insulin doses are not appropriately reduced in those following a ketogenic diet. A meta-analysis (ref 15) of metformin use in those with T1DM not following a ketogenic diet found the following:

“RESULTS: In total, eight randomized controlled trials were included. Metformin was associated with a reduction in daily insulin dosage, body weight, total cholesterol level, low-density lipoprotein level, and high-density lipoprotein level but an increase in risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects compared with placebo treatment in T1DM patients. No significant difference was found between the metformin group and the placebo group in HbA1c level, FPG level, or triglycerides level. No significant difference was found between the metformin group and the placebo group in the risk of severe hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis.”

Thiazolidinediones

Thiazolidinediones are peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARg) agonists with multiple actions that lead to improved insulin sensitivity.  Drugs in this class include pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia). This class of drugs is used for T2DM where insulin resistance and carbohydrate resistance are the primary defects. Serious side-effects include fluid retention (edema) and hypertension especially when combined with exogenous insulin, upper respiratory tract infections, and headaches. Rosiglitazone was found to increase the risk of myocardial ischemia and heart failure which led Europe and the UK to remove it from the market. Pioglitazone was linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer in one study, but the strength of the data did not warrant removal of the drug from the market. I could find only one small pilot study done in new-onset T1DM which showed pioglitazone did not preserve β-cell function when compared to placebo. (ref 16). 

GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) receptor agonists

GLP-1 is an incretin peptide that is produced and secreted by intestinal enteroendocrine L-cells and certain neurons in the brainstem upon food consumption. The medications in this class have small amino acid substitutions in GLP-1 that bind to and activate the GLP-1 receptor with longer durations of action. They include albiglutide (Tanzeum), dulaglutide (Trulicity), lixisenatide (Lyxumia/Adlyxin), liraglutide (Victoza), semaglutide (Ozempic), and exenatide (Byetta/Bydureon). They are administered by subcutaneous injection. They are most commonly used in T2DM wherein they stimulate insulin secretion in a glucose-dependent fashion, but may be used for T1DM wherein they inhibit glucagon secretion and may inhibit appetite to assist with losing excess body fat. Two trials of GLP-1 receptor agonists for T1DM showed a reduction in insulin requirements without an increase in hypoglycemia (ref 14). GLP-1 receptor agonists have not been studied in those who follow a ketogenic diet.

DPP-4 (dipeptidyl peptidase 4) Inhibitors

DPP-4 is an enzyme that degrades endogenous GLP-1. By inhibiting DPP-4, DPP-4 inhibitors potentiate the activity of GLP-1 or the GLP-1 receptor agonists (see above). This class of diabetes medications include sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza), linagliptin (Tradjenta), vildagliptin (Galvus, Zomelis), saxagliptin/metformin extended release (Janumet XR, Kombiglyze XR), and vildagliptin/metformin (Eucreas). In T2DM, HbA1c decreased by 0.5 – 1.4% depending on the clinical trial and duration of therapy. The most common side-effects include nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infection, and headache. In a meta-analysis of clinical trials regarding treatment with sitagliptin and vildagliptin, there was no increased incidence of hypoglycemic events compared with the control group. Two small clinical trials of sitagliptin and vildagliptin for T1DM showed not only improvement in glucagon levels, but also a modest reduction in HbA1c (ref 14), but a larger longer trial showed no differences (ref 17).

SGLT-2 (sodium/glucose cotransporter) inhibitors

The sodium/glucose cotransporter in the renal tubule of the kidneys functions to reabsorb filtered glucose. Normally, this transporter prevents any glucose from reaching the urine. However in uncontrolled diabetes (T1DM or T2DM), so much glucose is filtered that the transporter cannot keep pace and glucose spills out into the urine (glycosuria). The medications in this class inhibit this transporter and reduces the reabsorption of filtered glucose such that glucose spills out into the urine depending on the BG level. Thus, less glucose appears in the urine when BG is normal which minimizes the potential for hypoglycemia. Because these drugs do not stimulate insulin secretion, exhaustion of β-cells does not occur. They are not effective in the setting of impaired kidney function. This class of medications include ertugliflozin (Steglatro), empagliflozin (Jardiance), canagliflozin (Invokana), and dapagliflozin (Farxiga). They are the newest class of diabetes medications used primarily for T2DM and are not commonly used for T1DM. When used off-label for T1DM, they should be used with caution not only because they could lead to hypoglycemia if insulin doses are not reduced sufficiently, but also because they can cause euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis (EDKA). The reduction in BG causes both a reduction in insulin secretion (or insulin dosage in T1DM) and an increase in glucagon secretion. Therefore, in both T1DM and T2DM the decrease in the insulin/glucagon ratio, in some instances, can signal the liver to make excessive amounts of ketones leading to diabetic ketoacidosis, but with a normal or only mildly elevated BG i.e. EDKA. Since BG alone is typically measured, the patient may be unaware of the impending problem until they become ill from EDKA. Twenty cases of EDKA were reported to the FDA and 101 cases of EDKA worldwide as of 2015, the majority of whom had a diagnosis of T2DM and were taking exogenous insulin. The FDA also identified potential triggering factors such as intercurrent illness, reduced food and fluid intake, excessively reduced insulin doses, and a history of alcohol intake. Additionally, some cases of insulin-treated T2DM may have been mislabeled and they actually had T1DM. Other side-effects include genital yeast infections, urinary tract infections, dehydration, hypotension, hyperkalemia, and kidney failure. SGLT-2 inhibitors are effective in improving glycemic control, but the above precautions and risks need to be understood.

α-Glucosidase inhibitors

Alpha-Glucosidase inhibitors work by blocking the action of enzymes that normally begin to break down certain carbohydrates in the upper part of the small intestine, thus delaying the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine. They are used primarily to improve post-prandial hyperglycemia in T2DM. The oral drugs in this class include acarbose (Precose), miglitol (Glyset), and voglibose (Volix). Side-effects include bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and flatulence. Usually, these side effects can be minimized by starting therapy with a small dose and slowly working up to the most effective dose. They do not cause hypoglycemia by themselves, but can slow the absorption of simple carbohydrates other than glucose used to treat hypoglycemia. Thus, pure glucose should be used to treat hypoglycemia. They may be used or either T1DM or T2DM. For those following a very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet, I would not expect these drugs to add any benefit.

Dopamine-2 agonist

Bromocriptine is a sympatholytic D2-dopamine agonist that has been approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Based on animal and human studies, timed bromocriptine administration within 2 hours of awakening is believed to augment low hypothalamic dopamine levels and inhibit excessive sympathetic tone within the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in a reduction in postprandial BG levels due to enhanced suppression of hepatic glucose production. Bromocriptine has not been shown to augment insulin secretion or enhance insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissues (muscle). Addition of bromocriptine to poorly controlled type 2 diabetic patients treated with diet alone, metformin, sulfonylureas, or thiazolidinediones produces a 0.5–0.7% decrement in HbA1c. Bromocriptine also reduces fasting and postprandial plasma free fatty acid (FFA) and triglyceride levels. In a 52 double-blind, placebo-controlled study in type 2 diabetic patients, bromocriptine reduced the composite cardiovascular end point by 40%. The mechanism of the drug’s beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease remains to be determined. Drugs in this class include bromocriptine (Parlodel) and a timed-release bromocriptine mesylate (Cycloset). Side-effects that occurred more commonly in Cycloset versus placebo were nausea (26 vs. 5%), asthenia (15 vs. 8%), constipation (11 vs. 4%), dizziness (11 vs. 6%), and rhinitis (8 vs. 5%). In general, these side effects were mild and transient. Thirteen percent of Cycloset-treated subjects withdrew because of adverse events compared with 3–5% of placebo-treated subjects (P < 0.01). There was no increase in serious adverse events in the Cycloset compared with placebo groups (2.4 vs. 4.3%, respectively). There was no difference in the incidence of hypoglycemia between the Cycloset and placebo-treated groups in any trial. The mechanism(s) via which timed bromocriptine reduces cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetic patients by 40% remains to be defined. Based on the composite cardiovascular outcome, 79 diabetic patients need to be treated for 1 year to avoid one cardiovascular event.

Steps That Should Be Taken To Improve Glycemic Control and Avoid Hypoglycemia

From the discussion reviewed above, the exact target BG that will both maximize benefit (lowest risk of long-term complications) and minimize risk (lowest risk of hypoglycemia) is NOT known. Each person with diabetes needs to discuss with their physician what their target BG value should be to first minimize the number and severity of hypoglycemic episodes. This is a safety-first approach. Once the number of hypoglycemic episodes is minimized, then one can begin to lower the target BG towards a normal average BG reading of 96 mg/dl. If the number/severity of hypoglycemic episodes increases, then the target BG should be increased to a higher value. Thus, the target BG should be titrated down toward 96 mg/dl (but not below) while minimizing the number/severity of hypoglycemic episodes.

When trying to reduce the number and severity of hypoglycemic episodes, one needs to look carefully at several variables. First and most importantly, the basal and/or bolus insulin doses need to be reduced especially when using a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. Remember that basal insulin (or the basal rate in those who use an insulin pump) covers one’s insulin needs between meals and overnight. The basal insulin dose is determined primarily by the fasting BG results. Fasting hypoglycemia, especially occurring on more than one day, will require a reduction in the basal insulin dose. The meal-time bolus insulin dose is determined primarily by the post-meal BG results. Post-meal hypoglycemia will likely require a reduction in the meal-time insulin dose (assuming similar meal and exercise). The different basal and bolus insulin preparations and methods of administering and adjusting doses are covered in detail in our books mentioned at the beginning of this blog post.

Keeping one’s meals as consistent as possible from day to day will greatly improve the consistency of the BG response to one’s meals. Thus, I for example, attempt to keep the quantity and types of food I eat at each meal consistent from day to day so that the grams of protein, carbs, fat, and fiber remain relatively constant. Similarly, I try to keep my exercise type, duration, intensity, and time of day that I exercise, consistent as well. Exercise has a very significant effect on one’s insulin sensitivity and therefore on the BG response to exogenous insulin.

Exercise and Hypoglycemia

Followers of this blog may know that my interest in the ketogenic diet had its origins when I was trying to improve my glycemic control to complete an ironman distance triathlon in 2012. I started training in swimming, cycling, and running in August 2007 and did my first sprint triathlon on Dec. 8, 2007. I progressively increased the distance each year completing my first olympic distance triathlon Nov. 9, 2008, and my first half ironman distance triathlon on Nov. 8, 2009. As the distance of training increased, I started having hypoglycemia which I did not like so much that I started using sports nutrition products (sugar essentially) preemptively to the point that I was developing hyperglycemia. On Sept. 18, 2009, I had the highest HbA1c ever at 7.9% which I felt was due to this practice of using sports nutrition products. In 2011 I was hoping to complete an ironman distance triathlon, but felt the amount of time required to complete it (around 15 hrs) would require a better approach. I was concerned about both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia occurring during the event, but hypoglycemia could have resulted in more dire consequences had I been unable to recognize the symptoms. I discovered through listening to two podcasts, IM Talk and Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb, about Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek and the ketogenic diet. I implemented it on Feb. 8, 2012. This was a game changer for me, not only for my life in general, but specifically my need for carbohydrate during exercise and the swings in BG were dramatically reduced. Rather than taking carbohydrate at the beginning of exercise, I measured my BG every hour during exercise and supplemented with carbohydrate on an as needed basis. I stopped having hypoglycemia during exercise which gave me the confidence to complete the ironman distance triathlon on Oct. 20, 2012 in 15.5 hours. This was not a competitive time, but I was just happy to have been able to do it without hypoglycemia and a BG less than 200 mg/dl for the majority of the time. From this experience, I am convinced that the lower insulin doses and fat-adaptation that result from a ketogenic diet allow for improved glycemic control during endurance exercise. The endurance exercise also contributed to improved insulin sensitivity which allowed for additional lowering of insulin doses. One problem I noticed, however, was that the long endurance training did require a day or two of rest to recover which resulted in varying insulin sensitivity from day to day. So I noticed I was adjusting insulin doses more so than what I was doing prior to starting regular exercise. After completing the ironman distance triathlon in 2012, I was so excited about the accomplishment that I continued pushing my training and signed up for another ironman event in April 2013. However, soon before the event all that training finally caught up to me and I was having both knee and foot pains from iliotibial band syndrome and plantar fasciitis. I continued exercising with a lot of swimming and short bike rides. As you might guess I also increased the distance of the swims and did two 5 kilometer swims. These swims were completed on the ketogenic diet so I was not worried so much about hypoglycemia and had none to boot. I never did another triathlon and it took almost 3 years for the plantar fasciitis to finally go away. In Dec. 2014, I started weightlifting mainly to address recurrent low back pain which I been having for years precipitated by lifting things, cycling, and chores that involved bending over. I started with powerlifting: deadlift, squat, bench press. After 3 months, I was again developing overuse injuries, now in my elbows and I had flared up a preexisting injury in my left shoulder doing the bench press. So I switched to olympic weightlifting in March 2015 and over time, my central back pain with radiculopathy consistent with a herniated disc did resolve. It took several years to figure out how much exercise I could do without overtraining and in the process figured out that exercising daily had the most stabilizing effect on my glycemic control. With a few exceptions, I found that olympic weightlifting which I would describe as high-intensity resistance exercise almost invariably increases my BG. The elevation has ranged from mild to rather extreme (an increase of about 120 mg/dl at most). I have accepted these increases as a normal consequence of the type of exercise that I enjoy. It is caused by release of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and glucagon which serve to release glucose from the liver and fatty acids from fat to supply energy to exercising muscles. This stress hormone effect definitely did not happen during my endurance training exercise since I was doing long-slow training, i.e. no sprinting. Initially, I took small doses of rapid-acting insulin to correct the BG elevations after exercise. Up to that point, I had been avoiding eating lunch for 17 years so as to avoid having to take insulin and thus avoid the chance of hypoglycemia after lunch. So I added a small protein-containing lunch (1/4 lb. hamburger patty and one egg) after my weightlifting session since I was taking insulin most days anyway in the hopes of adding some additional muscle. So far, my muscle mass seems rather stable, but if I can prevent it from declining that will be a victory. If I stop exercising which sometimes happens due to an injury or travel, I develop hyperglycemia using the same insulin doses and thus require increases in insulin doses progressively each day that I do not exercise. After two weeks of no exercise, the insulin doses stabilize at a new higher dose. Several years ago this occurred and I had to increase my total daily insulin dose from 30 IU/day to 42 IU/day. This represents a 40% increase in insulin dosage due to the reduced insulin sensitivity from the cessation of exercise.

All this is a long way of saying that I have had a lot of experience with exercising with T1DM as an endurance athlete on both a high-carb and low-carb ketogenic diet and with high-intensity resistance training on a low-carb ketogenic diet. The lessons I have learned and the reading I have done on the topic include the following:

  1. Hypoglycemia almost invariably occurred with endurance exercise when not consuming sports nutrition products (sugar) while on a high-carb diet. Longer duration exercise was more likely to result in hypoglycemia.
  2. Hyperglycemia commonly occurred with endurance exercise when consuming sports nutrition products (sugar) while on a high-carb diet.
  3. There were days when my BG was well controlled with endurance exercise when consuming sports nutrition products (sugar) while on a high-carb diet, but it seemed to be the minority of the time.
  4. If I had a CGM, I think I could have done a better job controlling my BG. I have spoken to other T1DM athletes who had a positive experience with a CGM.
  5. If I had an insulin pump, reducing the basal rate prior to exercise may have allowed for controlled BG during endurance exercise without consuming much sports nutrition products (sugar) while on a high-carb diet, but that is speculation. I have spoken to other T1DM athletes who had a positive experience with this and others for whom it did not work.
  6. I had much better glycemic control during and after endurance exercise after starting the ketogenic diet. My HbA1c was 5.6% after the ironman distance triathlon. I used very little sports nutrition products (sugar) as a result of the ketogenic diet possibly due to the improved ability to burn fat as a fuel while taking less insulin. I would use glucose tablets instead of sports nutrition products on an as needed basis were I to do it again.
  7. Post-exercise hypoglycemia can and does occur in many persons with T1DM. For me, this usually occurred after dinner (9 pm) and I learned to reduce my rapid-acting insulin doses at dinner-time to improve it. However, post-exercise hypoglycemia can and does occur in many persons with T1DM during the night while sleeping (nocturnal hypoglycemia). Making sure BG is in your target range before going to sleep and setting an alarm to check your BG or using a CGM with an alarm is a good idea until you can understand your glycemic pattern after exercise. For me, nocturnal hypoglycemia was a problem when taking NPH insulin as my basal insulin and for a period of 3 months (March – May 2008) when I didn’t realize that my BG meter was reading falsely high. On June 6, 2008, my HbA1c was 5.3% (lowest ever on a high-carb diet) with many hypoglycemic episodes. With the combination of glargine (Lantus) insulin and getting the Freestyle Freedom Lite glucose meter, my nocturnal hypoglycemia stopped.
  8. Intense exercise of any type (resistance, running, cycling, swimming, etc.) can result in hyperglycemia due to the normal stress hormone response to exercise. Normally, insulin is released to control the degree of hyperglycemia during exercise and to normalize the BG after exercise which does not occur in those with diabetes especially T1DM (ref 18).
  9. In my personal experience, high-intensity resistance exercise on a ketogenic diet usually, but not always, leads to some degree of hyperglycemia (BG > 110 mg/dl). Since this rise in BG occurs in normal athletes, I simply correct it with a dose of rapid-acting insulin after measuring the BG. A larger basal insulin dose might prevent the post-exercise hyperglycemia, but would in turn result in fasting and or nocturnal hypoglycemia which is dangerous. Could I find an exercise that would not affect my BG very much? Probably, but at some point, one should take their enjoyment of physical activity into account. I really like weightlifting.🏋️‍♀️

Here is a short article on the glycemic response to various types of exercise in those with diabetes (except for the ketogenic part) (ref 19). 

Treating Hypoglycemia

One of the most frequent questions I get is whether treating hypoglycemia with glucose tablets/liquid or food for that matter will interfere with ketosis. First, I hope I made it clear above that treating hypoglycemia is essential for one’s own safety. So whether ketosis is affected or not is irrelevant. Hypoglycemia should be treated immediately with anything that is available at the moment. Ideally, every person with diabetes, particularly T1DM, should be carrying glucose tablets/liquid with them at all times. These sources of pure glucose are best for rapidly raising BG and resolving any symptoms of hypoglycemia as quickly as possible. The longer the symptoms last, in addition to being unpleasant, the more potential for more serious complications as well as overcorrection by consuming too much food or sugar. I would like to explain that sugar is sucrose which is a compound composed of one glucose and one fructose molecule. The fructose can be converted to glucose primarily in the liver, but the process is slow compared to the immediate absorption and utilization of glucose. This study (ref 20) found the mean conversion rate from fructose to glucose was 41% ± 10.5 (mean ± SD) in 3–6  hours after ingestion. Thus, sugar is not equivalent to or as good as glucose for correcting hypoglycemia in persons with T1DM (only use it if pure glucose is not available). To treat symptomatic hypoglycemia, take 2-4 glucose tablets (contains 8-16 grams glucose) and wait about 15 mins to see if symptoms are improving. If symptoms are not improving take 2-4 more tablets and seek additional help (e.g. glucagon injection) and/or medical attention. Note that the ADA (ref 8) recommends using 15-20 grams of glucose initially. However, I found this usually results in hyperglycemia. Thus, each person needs to determine their own glucose dose because their body weight and insulin sensitivity will affect the dose of glucose needed to correct hypoglycemia. Taking excessive amounts of food, sugar, or even glucose tablets can result in hyperglycemia which will need to be treated with one or more additional insulin doses. This has and likely will happen to each and every person with T1DM, but these episodes can be minimized by following the above guidelines. Finally, glucose tablets are also best for correcting mild asymptomatic hypoglycemia. I typically use 1/2 or 1 glucose tablet (2-4 grams of glucose). The tablets are scored and easy to break in half. Liquid glucose can be used as well. Finally, recheck BG with your meter to confirm that the hypoglycemia has been corrected especially before driving a car or going to sleep.

Now for the question about what happens to ketosis in those following a ketogenic diet after treating hypoglycemia with glucose tablets. Taking just a few glucose tablets is not likely to affect ketosis at all. In fact because hypoglycemia in those with T1DM is a hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia, the excess insulin itself is more likely to have already inhibited ketosis if it has been affected at all. You see, insulin inhibits the rate-limiting enzyme, HMG CoA synthase, required to make ketones. Treating hypoglycemia with glucose tablets will effectively use up the excess insulin and may restore ketone synthesis. Thus treating hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia with glucose tablets will either improve nutritional ketosis or not affect it at all.

Stay tuned for the next blog post #53 on a study (ref 21) just published in the journal Pediatrics where I was one of the participants in the study.

References

  1. The Effect of Intensive Treatment of Diabetes on the Development and Progression of Long-Term Complications in Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199309303291401
  2. Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769652/pdf/dst-01-0695.pdf
  3. Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/33/6/1297.full.pdf
  4. Hypoglycemia-Associated Autonomic Failure in Diabetes: Maladaptive, Adaptive, or Both?  http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/64/7/2322
  5. Severe Hypoglycemia–Induced Lethal Cardiac Arrhythmias Are Mediated by Sympathoadrenal Activation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3781452/
  6. Recurrent Moderate Hypoglycemia Ameliorates Brain Damage and Cognitive Dysfunction Induced by Severe Hypoglycemia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20086229
  7. Reversal of hypoglycemia unawareness, but not defective glucose counterregulation, in IDDM here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7958494
  8. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2018.  http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2017/12/08/41.Supplement_1.DC1/DC_41_S1_Combined.pdf
  9. Resistance to Symptomatic Insulin Reactions after Fasting. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC332976/
  10. Ketosis proportionately spares glucose utilization in brain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23736643
  11. Mental alertness in response to hypoglycaemia in normal man: the effect of 12 hours and 72 hours of fasting. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3315761
  12. Ketone infusion lowers hormonal responses to hypoglycaemia: evidence for acute cerebral utilization of a non-glucose fuel. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1653662
  13. Glucose Metabolism and Regulation: Beyond Insulin and Glucagon. http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/17/3/183
  14. Alpha cell function in type 1 diabetes. http://www.bjd-abcd.com/index.php/bjd/article/view/12/37
  15. Efficacy and safety of metformin for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25369141
  16. Effect of Pioglitazone on the Course of New-Onset Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890222/ 
  17. Effect of Sitagliptin on Post-Prandial Glucagon and GLP-1 Levels in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes: Investigator-Initiated, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. http://journals.aace.com/doi/abs/10.4158/EP12100.OR
  18. Differences in the metabolic and hormonal response to exercise between racing cyclists and untrained individuals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1308956/
  19. Blood Glucose Responses to Type, Intensity, Duration, and Timing of Exercise. https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=hms_fac_pubs
  20. Fructose metabolism in humans – what isotopic tracer studies tell us. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533803/pdf/1743-7075-9-89.pdf 
  21. Management of Type 1 Diabetes With a Very Low-Carbohydrate Diet. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2018/05/03/peds.2017-3349

#51 April 2018 Update on My T1D Management

 

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, is also available on Amazon in print.

Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it and just as importantly reduces insulin requirements and can reduce the frequency of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and endogenous hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and exogenous insulin requirements in T1DM (i.e. reduced insulin doses).

April 2018 was the second full month of taking metformin at a dose of 2000 mg/day. I am tolerating it without any side effects. As you may know metformin is the first-line medication for T2DM, but can also be useful for those with T1DM. Metformin acts on the liver to reduce glucose production by suppressing both gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. I think this may be useful for those with T1DM on a low carbohydrate diet because the reduction in dietary carbohydrate reduces insulin requirements which in turn stimulates glucagon secretion by the alpha cells in the pancreas which in turn increases glucose production by the liver. This increase in glucose production occurs primarily from increased gluconeogenesis, but also some increase in glycogenolysis is suggested in some studies. In addition, metformin stimulates muscle uptake of glucose independent of insulin. Hopefully over time, I will be able to determine if taking metformin either reduces my blood glucose (BG), insulin requirements, or both. I am estimating that I will need to take it for 6 months to be able to make a before and after comparison as far as the insulin dose comparison is concerned. I should mention that a meta-analysis of metformin use in those with T1DM found the following:

“RESULTS: In total, eight randomized controlled trials were included. Metformin was associated with a reduction in daily insulin dosage, body weight, total cholesterol level, low-density lipoprotein level, and high-density lipoprotein level but an increase in risk of gastrointestinal AEs compared with placebo treatment in T1DM patients. No significant difference was found between the metformin group and the placebo group in HbA1c level, FPG level, or triglycerides level. No significant difference was found between the metformin group and the placebo group in the risk of severe hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis.” (see reference below)

That said, there is a possibility that metformin could increase the incidence and severity of hypoglycemia while on a ketogenic diet, so caution should be exercised. A possible mechanism for this is the fact that gluconeogenesis plays a more important role in maintaining BG in those on a ketogenic diet than on a balanced macronutrient diet. If metformin reduces gluconeogenesis, then hypoglycemia could result if insulin doses are not appropriately reduced. 

For the past several months I have detailed my treatment plan for my presumed left shoulder rotator cuff injury. Although it seems to be slow to recover, it continues to improve. On March 9th, I strained my left vastus lateralis muscle doing a snatch. That appears to have resolved, but on April 23rd, I strained my right lower back muscle doing weighted pull-ups, no less, and had to take 2 days off resulting in a sharp increase in BG due to reduced insulin sensitivity and a subsequent increase in insulin requirements to compensate (see first graph below).

Glycemic Management Results for April 2018

My April glycemic results were somewhat improved compared to previous time periods although I did not reach my desired BG goal of >70% time spent with a BG value between 61 and 110 mg/dl. I had less hypoglycemia this month and none were symptomatic. My total daily insulin dose declined slightly during April until I took 2 days off from weightlifting as mentioned above and then I had to take increased insulin doses for the next 4 days or so. Below are the graphs of time spent exercising and the corresponding BG values to illustrate the timing of increased insulin use after a brief cessation of exercise.

Post 51 BG and exercise graph

Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for April 2018 compared to previous time periods. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 51 Means Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common, yet more dangerous, consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from two studies of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects (see references at the end). The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. Clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet may also provide an alternate/additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having mild asymptomatic hypoglycemia adapts the brain to lower BG and reduces the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system by reducing sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia (see references at the end).

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in April 2018. I adjust the breakfast (blue circles), post-workout lunch (black circles), and dinner (purple circles) meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (red circles) for high BG readings as needed. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting although they were less frequent and to a lesser extent as mentioned above. This is primarily controlled by the basal insulin (Lantus) dose taken at dinnertime but that dose is determined by the fasting BG reading and thus cannot necessarily be adjusted to optimize BG at all times of day. In those with T1DM the basal insulin dose may be enough to compensate for the increase in BG with intense exercise, but may additionally require a rapid-acting insulin dose to lower a high post-exercise BG.

Post 51 BG and Humalog Doses graph

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they do not account for the corrections with glucose tablets for hypoglycemia or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) for hyperglycemia. Measuring my BG more frequently or using an accurate CGM would result in a more accurate estimate.

Post 51 Variability Table

The daily insulin dose totals and BG readings for April 2018 are shown in the graphs below. You can see a fairly steady total daily insulin dose during the month with a 4-5 days of increased insulin doses to address hyperglycemia.

Post 51 BG and Total Insulin Doses

The daily insulin dose totals for 2018 are shown in the graph below. You can see a steady reduction in insulin doses since the peak at the beginning of January 2018. The measures I have taken to reduce this variation in insulin dose has included keeping meals and exercise constant as possible and adding metformin to suppress liver glucose production. Specifically, I try to keep all meals constant in terms of portion size, macronutrient composition and timing of my meals. In addition, I try to keep exercise constant including frequency (daily), type (the type of weightlifting exercises, mainly compound movements), intensity (gradually increasing weight over time as tolerated), and volume (repetitions). That said, keeping exercise intensity constant from day to day is quite difficult.

Post 51 BG and Total Insulin Doses in 2018

The graph below illustrates the distribution of BG values in the ranges indicated at various times of day. This could be useful to point out problems (hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia) at different times of day.

Post 51 %BG in Ranges at Different Times

The graph below illustrates the percentage of time spent in three BG ranges for each day of the month of April. The numeric percentage is shown on top of the green bars for the % of time BG was between 61 and 110 mg/dl.

Daily %Time in Ranges graph

In April, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with 3 exercises per day. I will also continue metformin 2000 mg daily (1000 mg every twelve hours).

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life. My basic diet philosophy is to avoid processed foods especially those containing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and vegetable (seed) oils while enjoying whole foods (with just one ingredient) as close to their original state as possible. I think just knowing the guidelines in this paragraph would be a good start for those wanting to improve their diet. To treat diabetes, the additional step is to eliminate all foods with significant amounts of carbohydrate to keep the net carbohydrate total < 50 grams/day. Some may do better with < 30 grams/day, while others who exercise a lot may do well with < 100 grams/day.

My current version of ketogenic diet is as follows: 

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Lamb occasionally
  • Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Olives, lemon juice on fish
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – Although there is nothing bad about including butter, coconut & olive oil in a ketogenic diet, I have eliminated refined fats from my diet to improve my body composition.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened and artificially sweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice occasionally.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners: I don’t enjoy them.

My exercise regimen often results in post-exercise hyperglycemia which is a normal response to intense exercise. However due to having T1DM, my body is unable to correct this without taking exogenous rapid-acting insulin (Humalog). The exercise I choose negatively affects my glycemic control to some extent. I’m sure I could find an exercise that has less impact on glycemia, but I enjoy weightlifting and feel it has health-span and life-span extending benefits which may compensate for the temporary increase in BG during/after exercise. Hopefully my BG values and variability as well as the relatively lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet, exercise, and hopefully metformin (yet to be determined) are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.

References

Efficacy and safety of metformin for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis – here

A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults – here

Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals – here

Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals – here

Severe Hypoglycemia–Induced Lethal Cardiac Arrhythmias Are Mediated by Sympathoadrenal Activation – here

#50 March 2018 Update on My T1D Management

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, is also available on Amazon in print.

Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it and just as importantly reduces insulin requirements and can reduce the frequency of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and endogenous hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and exogenous insulin requirements in T1DM (i.e. reduced insulin doses).

March was the first full month of taking metformin at a dose of 2000 mg/day. I am tolerating it without any side effects. As you may know metformin is the first-line medication for T2DM, but can also be useful for those with T1DM. Metformin acts on the liver to reduce glucose production by suppressing both gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. I think this may be useful for those with T1DM on a low carbohydrate diet because the reduction in dietary carbohydrate reduces insulin requirements which in turn stimulates glucagon secretion by the alpha cells in the pancreas which in turn increases glucose production by the liver. This increase in glucose production occurs primarily from increased gluconeogenesis, but also some increase in glycogenolysis is suggested in some studies. In addition, metformin stimulates muscle uptake of glucose independent of insulin. Hopefully over time, I will be able to determine if taking metformin either reduces my blood glucose (BG), insulin requirements, or both. I am estimating that I will need to take it for 6 months to be able to make a before and after comparison. I should mention that a meta-analysis of metformin use in those with T1DM found the following:

“RESULTS: In total, eight randomized controlled trials were included. Metformin was associated with a reduction in daily insulin dosage, body weight, total cholesterol level, low-density lipoprotein level, and high-density lipoprotein level but an increase in risk of gastrointestinal AEs compared with placebo treatment in T1DM patients. No significant difference was found between the metformin group and the placebo group in HbA1c level, FPG level, or triglycerides level. No significant difference was found between the metformin group and the placebo group in the risk of severe hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis.” The reference is linked below. That said, there is a possibility that metformin could increase the incidence and severity of hypoglycemia while on a ketogenic diet, so caution should be exercised. A possible mechanism for this is the fact that gluconeogenesis plays a more important role in maintaining BG in those on a ketogenic diet than on a balanced macronutrient diet. If metformin reduces gluconeogenesis, then hypoglycemia could result if insulin doses are not appropriately reduced.

For the past several months I have detailed my treatment plan for my presumed left shoulder rotator cuff injury. Although it seems to be slow to recover, it continues to improve. On March 9th, I strained my left vastus lateralis muscle doing a snatch. That has set my training back. This injury could be just one of those things, or could be a sign of overtraining, not really sure which. I no longer have any of the other symptoms of overtraining since reducing the number of exercises to 2-3/day. In March, the post-exercise BG rise moderated considerably. This I believe is a combination of having the proper basal insulin dose and is related to the reduced intensity of my exercise because of the muscle injury sustained on March 9th. In March, I continued my post-exercise meal of 1/4 lb. ground beef with a small dose of insulin depending on the prior BG value. My daily protein intake is currently 1.6 grams/kg/day which may promote some additional muscle growth along with the stimulus of resistance training. According to research done by Stuart Phillips, PhD and others, as one ages a “resistance” to building muscle develops which can be overcome somewhat by resistance exercise and increasing dietary protein intake to least 0.4 grams/kg BW/meal and 1.6 grams/kg/day. This is the rationale for the post-exercise meal of 1/4 lb. 85% lean ground beef which contains 29.4 grams protein or 0.38 grams/kg BW in my case.

Glycemic Management Results for March 2018

My March glycemic results were somewhat improved compared to previous time periods although I did not reach my desired BG goal of >70% time spent with a BG value between 61 and 110 mg/dl. I had less hypoglycemia this month and none were symptomatic. My total daily insulin dose remained unusually constant in the low 30s IU/day during the month of March.

Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for March 2018 compared to previous time periods. I have changed two columns to indicate the AUC mean BG and predicted HbA1c. AUC mean BG is the mean BG by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) of BG versus time. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 50 Means Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common, yet more dangerous, consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from two studies of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects. The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. Clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet may also provide an alternate/additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having mild asymptomatic hypoglycemia adapts the brain to lower BG and reduces the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system by reducing sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in March 2018. I adjust the breakfast (blue circles), post-workout lunch (black circles), and dinner (purple circles) meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (red circles) for high BG readings as needed. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting although they were less frequent and to a lesser extent as mentioned above. This is primarily controlled by the basal insulin (Lantus) dose taken at dinnertime but that dose is determined by the fasting BG reading and thus cannot be adjusted to optimize BG at all times of day. In those with T1DM the basal insulin dose may be enough to compensate for the increase in BG with intense exercise, but may additionally require a rapid-acting insulin dose to lower a high post-exercise BG.

Post 50 BG vs Humalog doses graph.png

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they do not account for the corrections with glucose tablets for hypoglycemia or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) for hyperglycemia. Measuring my BG more frequently or using a CGM would result in a more accurate estimate.

Post 50 Variability Table

The daily insulin dose totals and BG readings for March 2018 are shown in the graphs below. You can see a fairly steady total daily insulin dose during the month with a few spikes to address hyperglycemia.

Post 50 BG vs total insulin doses graph.png

The daily insulin dose totals for 2018 are shown in the graph below. You can see a steady reduction in insulin doses since the peak at the beginning of January 2018. The measures I have taken to reduce this variation in insulin dose has included keeping meals and exercise constant and have added metformin to suppress liver glucose production. Specifically, I try to keep all meals constant in terms of portion size, macronutrient composition and timing of my meals. In addition, I try to keep exercise constant including frequency (daily), type (the type of weightlifting exercises, mainly compound movements), intensity (gradually increasing weight over time as tolerated), and volume (repetitions). That said, keeping exercise intensity constant from day to day is nearly impossible.

Post 50 Insulin Doses in 2018 graph

The graph below is a new illustration of the distribution of BG values in the ranges indicated at various times of day. This could be useful to point out problems (hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia) at different times of day.

Post 50 %BG values in different ranges graph

The graph below is also new and illustrates the percentage of time spent in three BG ranges for each day of the month of March. The numeric percentage is shown for the % of time BG was between 61 and 110 mg/dl (green bar).

Post 50 %Time BG in Range graph

In April, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with 2-3 exercises per day. I will also continue metformin 2000 mg daily which I divide up as follows: 500 mg with breakfast, 500 mg with lunch, and 1000 mg at bedtime.

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life. My basic diet philosophy is to avoid processed foods especially those containing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and vegetable (seed) oils while enjoying whole foods (with just one ingredient) as close to their original state as possible. I think just knowing the guidelines in this paragraph would be a good start for those wanting to improve their diet. To treat diabetes, the additional step is to eliminate all foods with significant amounts of carbohydrate to keep the net carbohydrate total < 50 grams/day. Some may do better with < 30 grams/day, while others who exercise a lot may do well with < 100 grams/day.

My current version of ketogenic diet is as follows:

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Lamb occasionally
  • Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Olives, lemon juice on fish
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – Although there is nothing bad about including butter, coconut & olive oil in a ketogenic diet, I have eliminated refined fats from my diet to improve my body composition.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened and artificially sweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice occasionally.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners: I don’t enjoy them.

My exercise regimen often results in post-exercise hyperglycemia which is a normal response to intense exercise. However due to having T1DM, my body is unable to correct this without taking exogenous rapid-acting insulin (Humalog). The exercise I choose negatively affects my glycemic control to some extent. I’m sure I could find an exercise that has less impact on glycemia, but I enjoy weightlifting and feel it has health-span and life-span extending benefits which may compensate for the temporary increase in BG during/after exercise. Hopefully my BG values and variability as well as the relatively lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet, exercise, and hopefully metformin (yet to be determined) are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.

References

Efficacy and safety of metformin for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis – here

A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults – here

Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals – here

Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals – here

Severe Hypoglycemia–Induced Lethal Cardiac Arrhythmias Are Mediated by Sympathoadrenal Activation – here

 

#49 February 2018 Update on My T1D Management

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, is also available on Amazon in print.

Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it and just as importantly reduces insulin requirements and can reduce the frequency of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and endogenous hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and exogenous insulin requirements in T1DM (i.e. reduced insulin doses).

In February, I was able to increase the dose of metformin to 500 mg four times daily. I am tolerating it without any side effects. As you may know metformin is the first-line medication for T2DM, but can also be useful for those with T1DM. Metformin acts on the liver to reduce glucose production by suppressing both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. This is particularly useful for those with T1DM on a low carbohydrate diet, because the reduction in dietary carbohydrate reduces the insulin requirements and the reduction in insulin elevates glucagon levels reaching the liver from the alpha cells in the pancreas. It is glucagon that stimulates both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. In addition, metformin stimulates muscle uptake of glucose independent of insulin. Hopefully over time, I will be able to determine if taking metformin either reduces my blood glucose (BG), insulin requirements, or both.

For the past several months I have detailed my treatment plan for my presumed left shoulder rotator cuff injury. Although it seems to be slow to recover, it has improved significantly. I continue doing snatch overhead, front, and back squats, snatch, clean & jerk, and deadlifts. In February, I continued once daily weightlifting workouts with two compound exercises per day and added a third exercise specifically to strengthen my shoulders. I have previously discussed the change in BG with exercise. I still experience a significant, but variable, rise in BG during weightlifting. This rise in BG requires a correction dose of rapid-acting insulin (Humalog). This past month I added a small post-workout (lunch) meal of meat (1/4 lb.) after my workouts to increase my protein intake to 1.6 grams/kg/day which may promote some additional muscle growth. According to research done by Stuart Phillips, PhD and others, as one ages a “resistance” to building muscle develops which can be overcome somewhat by resistance exercise and increasing dietary protein intake to least 0.4 grams/kg/meal and 1.6 grams/kg/day.

Glycemic Management Results for February 2018

My February glycemic results were similar to previous time periods with more spikes in BG (hyperglycemia) and hypoglycemia than I would have liked. I had more hypoglycemia this month that required steady reductions in insulin doses. My total daily insulin dose decreased from 41 to 31.5 IU/day during the month of February. I had one episode of symptomatic hypoglycemia on Feb. 16, 2018. The only symptom was sweating for which I took 8 grams of glucose (2 glucose tablets). My post-treatment BG was 83 mg/dl and it was 137 mg/dl the following morning.

Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for February 2018 compared to previous time periods. I have changed two columns to indicate the AUC mean BG and predicted HbA1c. AUC mean BG is the mean BG by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) of BG versus time. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 49 Means Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common, yet more dangerous, consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from two studies of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects. The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. Clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet may also provide an alternate/additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having mild asymptomatic hypoglycemia adapts the brain to lower BG and reduces the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system by reducing sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in February 2018. I adjust the breakfast (blue circles), post-workout lunch (black circles), and dinner (purple circles) meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (red circles) for high BG readings as needed. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting (at 2 PM) although was less frequent. This is primarily controlled by the basal insulin (Lantus) dose taken at dinnertime but that dose is determined by the fasting BG reading and thus cannot be adjusted to optimize BG at all times of day. In those with T1DM the basal insulin dose may be enough to compensate for the increase in BG with intense exercise, but may also require a rapid-acting insulin dose to lower a high post-exercise BG.

Post 49 BG and Humalog Doses Graph

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they do not account for the corrections with glucose tablets (for hypoglycemia) or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) (for hyperglycemia). Measuring my BG more frequently or using a CGM would likely result in a more accurate estimate.

Post 49 Variability Table

The daily insulin dose totals and BG readings for February 2018 are shown in the graphs below. You can see a steady decrease in total daily insulin dose during the month to address hypoglycemia.

Post 49 BG and Total Insulin Doses Graph

The daily insulin dose totals for 2018 are shown in the graph below. You can see a steady reduction in insulin doses since the peak at the beginning of January 2018. The measures I have taken to reduce this variation in insulin dose has included keeping meals and exercise constant and have added metformin to suppress liver glucose production. Specifically, I try to keep all meals constant in terms of portion size, macronutrient composition and timing of my meals. In addition, I try to keep exercise constant including frequency (daily), type (the type of weightlifting exercises, mainly compound movements), intensity (gradually increasing weight over time as tolerated), and volume (repetitions). I have tolerated a metformin dose of 500 mg four times a day since Feb. 15, 2018 which I think is high enough to understand if it will have any beneficial effects.

Post 49 Total Daily Insulin Doses in 2018 Graph

The graph below is a new illustration of the distribution of BG values in the ranges indicated at various times of day. This could be useful to point out problems (hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia) at different times of day.

Post 49 Frequency of BG in Ranges Graph

The graph below is also new and illustrates the percentage of time spent in three BG ranges for each day of the month of February. The numeric percentage is shown for the % of time BG was between 61 and 110 mg/dl.

Post 49 Daily Percent Time in BG Ranges Graph

In March, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with two compound exercises and one isolated shoulder exercise per day. I will also continue metformin 500 mg four times daily.

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life. My basic diet philosophy is to avoid processed foods especially those containing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and vegetable (seed) oils while enjoying whole foods (with just one ingredient) as close to their original state as possible. I think just knowing the guidelines in this paragraph would be a good start for those wanting to improve their diet. To treat diabetes, the additional step is to eliminate all foods with significant amounts of carbohydrate to keep the net carbohydrate total < 50 grams/day. Some may do better with < 30 grams/day, while others who exercise a lot may do well with < 100 grams/day.

My current version of ketogenic diet is as follows:

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Canadian bacon (uncured pork loin)
  • Lamb occasionally
  • Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Leeks, Onions, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce (Iceberg & Romaine), and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Tomatoes, Olives, lemon juice on fish and salads
  • Root Vegetable: Raw Carrots
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • MCT oil – a few tablespoons on salads or cooked vegetables till current supply is finished.
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – Although there is nothing bad about including butter, coconut & olive oil in a ketogenic diet, I have eliminated refined fats (except a small amount of MCT oil until my current supply runs out) from my diet to improve my body composition.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened and artificially sweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice occasionally.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners, don’t want or like them.

My exercise regimen often results in post-exercise hyperglycemia which is a normal response to intense exercise. However due to having T1DM, my body is unable to correct this without taking exogenous rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) which negatively affects my glycemic control. I’m sure I could find an exercise that has less impact on glycemia, but I enjoy weightlifting and feel it has health-span and life-span extending benefits which may compensate for the temporary increase in BG during/after exercise. Hopefully my BG values and variability as well as the relatively lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet, exercise, and hopefully metformin (yet to be determined) are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.

References

Efficacy and safety of metformin for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis – here

A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults – here

Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals – here

Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals – here

Severe Hypoglycemia–Induced Lethal Cardiac Arrhythmias Are Mediated by Sympathoadrenal Activation – here

 

#48 January 2018 Update on My T1D Management

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, is also available on Amazon in print.

Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it and just as importantly reduces insulin requirements and can reduce the frequency of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and endogenous hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and exogenous insulin requirements in T1DM (i.e. reduced insulin doses).

In January, I was able to increase the dose of metformin to 500 mg three times daily. I am tolerating it without any side effects. As you may know metformin is the first-line medication for T2DM, but can also be useful for those with T1DM. Metformin acts on the liver to reduce glucose production by suppressing both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. This is particularly useful for those with T1DM on a low carbohydrate diet, because the reduction in dietary carbohydrate reduces the insulin requirements and the reduction in insulin elevates glucagon levels reaching the liver from the alpha cells in the pancreas. It is glucagon that stimulates both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. In addition, metformin stimulates muscle uptake of glucose independent of insulin. Hopefully over time, I will be able to determine if taking metformin either reduces my blood glucose (BG), insulin requirements, or both.

For the past several months I have detailed my treatment plan for my presumed left shoulder rotator cuff injury. Although it seems to be slow to recover, it has improved significantly. I continue doing snatch overhead, front, and back squats, snatch, clean & jerk, and deadlifts. In January, I continued once daily weightlifting workouts with only two exercises per day. I have previously discussed the change in BG with exercise. I still experience a significant, but variable, rise in BG during weightlifting. This rise in BG requires a correction dose of rapid-acting insulin (Humalog).

This past month I added a small post-workout (lunch) meal of meat after my workouts to increase my protein intake to 1.6 grams/kg/day which may promote some additional muscle growth. According to research done by Stuart Phillips, PhD and others, as one ages a “resistance” to building muscle develops which can be overcome somewhat by resistance exercise and increasing dietary protein intake to least 0.4 grams/kg/meal and 1.6 grams/kg/day.

Glycemic Management Results for January 2018

My January glycemic results were similar to previous time periods with more spikes in BG (hyperglycemia) and hypoglycemia than I would have liked that resulted in an elevation of all my measures of BG variability. Fortunately, I did not have any symptoms of hypoglycemia in January. I spent only 59% of the time with a BG between 61 and 110 mg/dl (my goal is >70%). My insulin doses had to be decreased steadily throughout the month especially the rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) dose to address the hypoglycemia. I had to decrease the total daily insulin dose from a peak of 70.5 to 38 IU/day by the end of the month. This oscillating pattern of insulin doses with a period of about 8 weeks continues for reasons that are not quite clear. I am beginning to think that I am creating this pattern by adjusting my doses too rapidly due to my desire to optimize by BG values. In other words, the very nature of exogenous insulin therapy does not accommodate rapid optimal BG regulation.

Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for January 2018 compared to previous time periods. I have changed two columns to indicate the AUC mean BG and predicted HbA1c. AUC mean BG is the mean BG by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) of BG versus time. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 48 Means Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common, yet more dangerous, consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from two studies of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects. The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. Clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet may also provide an alternate/additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having mild asymptomatic hypoglycemia adapts the brain to lower BG and reduces the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system by reducing sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in January 2018. I adjust the breakfast (blue circles), post-workout lunch (black circles), and dinner (purple circles) meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (red circles) for high BG readings as needed. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting. This is primarily controlled by the basal insulin (Lantus) dose taken at dinnertime but that dose is determined by the fasting BG reading and thus cannot be adjusted to optimize BG at all times of day. In those with T1DM the basal insulin dose may be enough to compensate for the increase in BG with intense exercise, but may also require a rapid-acting insulin dose to lower a high post-exercise BG.

Post 48 Humalog Doses vs BG graph

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they do not account for the corrections with glucose tablets (for hypoglycemia) or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) (for hyperglycemia). Measuring my BG more frequently or using a CGM would result in a more accurate estimate.

Post 48 Variability Table

The daily insulin dose totals and BG readings for January are shown in the graphs below. You can see a steady decrease in total daily insulin dose during the month to address hypoglycemia.

Post 48 Insulin Dose Totals and BG graph

 

The graph below is a new illustration of the distribution of BG values in the ranges indicated at various times of day. This could be useful to point out problems (hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia) at different times of day.

Post 48 BG Distribution During Day Graph

The graph below is also new and illustrates the percentage of time spent in three BG ranges for each day of the month of January. The numeric percentage is shown for the % of time BG was between 61 and 110 mg/dl.

Post 48 Daily % Time in Different Ranges

In February, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with two exercises per day. I will also continue metformin 500 mg three times daily.

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life. My basic diet philosophy is to avoid processed foods especially those containing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and vegetable (seed) oils while enjoying whole foods (with just one ingredient) as close to their original state as possible. I think just knowing the guidelines in this paragraph would be a good start for those wanting to improve their diet. To treat diabetes, the additional step is to eliminate all foods with significant amounts of carbohydrate to keep the net carbohydrate total < 50 grams/day. Some may do better with < 30 grams/day, while others who exercise a lot may do well with < 100 grams/day.

My current version of ketogenic diet is as follows:

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Canadian bacon (uncured pork loin)
  • Lamb occasionally
  • Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Leeks, Onions, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce (Iceberg & Romaine), and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Tomatoes, Olives, lemon juice on fish and salads
  • Root Vegetable: Raw Carrots
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • MCT oil – a few tablespoons on salads or cooked vegetables till current supply is finished.
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – Although there is nothing bad about including butter, coconut & olive oil in a ketogenic diet, I have eliminated refined fats (except a small amount of MCT oil until my current supply runs out) from my diet to improve my body composition.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened and artificially sweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners, don’t want or like them.

My exercise regimen negatively affects my glycemic control, but I enjoy exercising and feel it has health and lifespan-extending benefits which may compensate for the temporary increase in BG during/after exercise. Hopefully my BG values and variability as well as the relatively lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet, exercise, and hopefully metformin (yet to be determined) are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.

References

Efficacy and safety of metformin for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis – here

A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults – here

Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals – here

Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals – here

Severe Hypoglycemia–Induced Lethal Cardiac Arrhythmias Are Mediated by Sympathoadrenal Activation – here

 

#47 December 2017 Update on My T1D Management

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. My other book, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet, is also available on Amazon in print.

Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it and just as importantly reduces insulin requirements and frequency of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and endogenous hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and exogenous insulin requirements in T1DM (i.e. reduced insulin doses).

Last month I detailed my treatment plan for my presumed left rotator cuff injury. Although it seems to be slow to recover, it has improved significantly throughout the months of October, November, and December. I started back doing snatch overhead squats on October 27th and snatch and clean and jerks on November 26th, but stopped doing front squats, snatch, and clean and jerks on December 20th. So far no shoulder pain during exercise, but some soreness with certain arm movements in daily life. I interpret this as much improvement, but not as yet complete recovery. In December, I continued once daily weightlifting workouts but had to decrease from three exercises per day to two per day due to overtraining (again). I have previously discussed the change in blood glucose (BG) with exercise. I still experience a significant rise in BG during weightlifting which I felt was due to stress hormone release from intense exercise (see the black circles i.e. 2 pm BG in the graphs below). However, I am thinking that in addition to that the BG response to exercise is also related to the adequacy or inadequacy of the basal insulin dose. What I have noticed is that when the fasting BG is normal (BG 61-110 mg/dl), the BG rises during weightlifting. But when the fasting BG is low (BG < 61 mg/dl), the BG does not rise during weightlifting and when the fasting BG is high (BG > 110 mg/dl), the BG rises even more dramatically during weightlifting. Of course, there is a lot of variability and these are general observations, not rules or predictable responses. For me, there does not seem to be one basal insulin dose that will result in both a normal fasting BG and a normal post-exercise BG. Several years ago I tried splitting up the basal insulin dose to a morning and dinner-time dose to address this issue with no improvement. For safety reasons, I think it is best to adjust the basal insulin dose (Lantus) to achieve a normal fasting BG and accept and treat an elevated post-exercise BG with a correction dose of rapid-acting insulin (Humalog). I have taken a small correction dose of rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) (about 1-2 IU) to correct a high post-breakfast BG prior to exercise with success most of the time. In December I noticed my post-exercise BG was increasing more dramatically and I thought since I am regularly having to take a dose of rapid-acting insulin and would like to increase my muscle mass further, I added a post-exercise meal consisting of 1/2 lb. ground beef and 18 olives and a larger rapid-acting insulin dose which I started on December 5th.

Glycemic Management Results for December 2017 

My December glycemic results were similar to previous time periods with more hyperglycemia than I would have liked. I did have much less hypoglycemia than usual and no symptoms of hypoglycemia. However, I spent only 58% of time with a BG between 61 and 110 mg/dl (my goal is >70%). My insulin doses had to be increased steadily throughout the month to levels I haven’t seen since before starting my ketogenic diet in 2012. Perhaps that was in part related to adding an additional meal per day, but also more of that oscillatory pattern that has been going on for years now. I had to increase the total daily insulin dose from 33 to 65.5 units/day.

Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for December 2017 compared to previous time periods. I have changed two columns to indicate the AUC mean BG and predicted HbA1c. AUC mean BG is the mean BG by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) of BG versus time. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 47 Means Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common but dangerous consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from these two studies (here  and here) of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects. The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. However, be advised that clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet may also provide an alternate/additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having BG close to normal most of the time (some of which are hypoglycemic) also minimizes the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia as well due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal gland responses to hypoglycemia i.e. sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia, see here.

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in December 2017. I adjust both the morning and evening meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (green circles) for high BG readings between meals and my new post-exercise meal. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting. This is primarily controlled by the basal insulin (Lantus) dose taken at dinnertime but that dose is determined by the fasting BG reading and thus cannot be adjusted to optimize all times of day. In those with T1DM the basal insulin dose may be enough to compensate for the increase in BG with intense exercise, but may also require a rapid-acting insulin dose to lower a high post-exercise BG.

Post 47 Humalog Doses and BG graphs

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they do not account for the corrections with glucose tablets (for hypoglycemia) or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) (for hyperglycemia). Measuring my BG more frequently or using a CGM would result in a more accurate estimate.

Post 47 Variability Table

The daily insulin dose totals and BG readings for December are shown in the graphs below. You can see a steady increase in total daily insulin dose during the month to address hyperglycemia.

Post 47 Insulin Dose Totals and BG graphs

The daily insulin dose totals and 7-day moving average for 2017 are shown in the graph below. You can see an oscillatory pattern with a period of about 8 weeks except for the past two months during which the total daily insulin dose steadily increased. Again this may in part be related to the additional meal per day and an increase in body weight of 4.4 lb.

Post 47 Insulin Doses for 2017

The graph below shows all my BG measurements in 2017. I realize there are so many points that it is difficult to make much sense of it, however, I include it for completeness sake.

Post 47 BG graph for 2017

In January, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with two exercises per day. I will also restart metformin and see if I can tolerate it starting with a small dose (250 mg) and slowly increasing it over time as I have always told my patients.

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life. My basic diet philosophy is to avoid processed foods especially those containing refined carbohydrates and sugar, while enjoying whole foods (one ingredient) as close to their original state as possible. I think most know that processed foods are made in factories with many ingredients for the purpose of prolonging their shelf life and increasing their addictiveness. Therefore, they use both salt and sugar which serve both those purposes. They also use vegetable oils (seed oils) because some fat is necessary in the manufacturing process and for mouth feel. Another common feature of the ingredients of processed foods is that they are subsidized by the U.S. government and therefore the market price is artificially reduced. Then the food industry “adds value” to these ingredients by their formulation and convenience and then markets them heavily resulting in a very profitable commodity to the food industry. Dr. Robert Lustig has said that sugar is added to 80% of processed foods. Many also have discovered that the majority of these foods can be avoided by shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store in the produce, meat, and dairy sections while avoiding the bakery, deli, and most of the center isles (of course there are some exceptions). I think just knowing the guidelines in this paragraph would be a good start for those wanting to improve their diet in 2018.

My current version of ketogenic diet is as follows:

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Canadian bacon (uncured pork loin)
  • Lamb occasionally
  • Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Leeks, Onions, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce (Iceberg & Romaine), and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Tomatoes, Olives, lemon juice on fish and salads
  • Root Vegetable: Raw Carrots
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • MCT oil – a few tablespoons on salads or cooked vegetables
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – Although there is nothing bad about including butter, coconut & olive oil in a ketogenic diet, I have eliminated refined fats except a small amount of MCT oil from my diet to improve my body composition.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened and artificially sweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners, don’t want or like them.

My exercise regimen negatively affects glycemic control, but I enjoy exercising and feel it has health and lifespan-extending benefits which may compensate for the temporary increase in BG during/after exercise. Hopefully my BG values and variability as well as the relatively lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet and exercise are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.

#46 November 2017 Update on My T1D Management

This is a monthly update on my glycemic management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) using Humalog and Lantus insulin injections with resistance exercise and a ketogenic whole-food diet as described in my book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes also available on Amazon in print. Although glycemic management in T1DM will always be challenging, the low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet definitely improves it and just as importantly reduces insulin requirements and frequency of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Many of the diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more) associated with T2DM and “double diabetes” as part of T1DM are due to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The low carbohydrate ketogenic whole-food diet directly improves both insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia in T2DM and in T1DM via reduced insulin doses.

Last month I detailed my treatment plan for my presumed left rotator cuff injury. Although it seems to be slow to recover, it has improved significantly throughout the months of October and November. I started back doing snatch overhead squats on October 27th and snatch and clean and jerks on November 26th. So far no shoulder pain during exercise, but some soreness with certain arm movements in daily life. I interpret this as much improvement, but not as yet complete recovery. In November, I continued once daily weightlifting workouts with three exercises per day lasting about 2 hours including warmup, rest between lifts, and cool down. I have previously discussed the change in blood glucose (BG) with exercise. I have and still experience a significant rise in BG during weightlifting which I felt was due to stress hormone release from intense exercise. However, I am thinking that more likely the BG response to exercise is primarily related to the adequacy or inadequacy of the basal insulin dose. What I have noticed is that when the fasting BG is normal (BG 61-110 mg/dl), the BG rises during weightlifting. But when the fasting BG is low (BG < 61 mg/dl), the BG does not rise during weightlifting and when the fasting BG is high (BG > 110 mg/dl), the BG rises even more dramatically during weightlifting. Of course, there is a lot of variability and these are general observations, not rules or predictable responses. For me, there does not seem to be one basal insulin dose that will result in both a normal fasting BG and a normal post-exercise BG. Several years ago I tried splitting up the basal insulin dose to a morning and dinner-time dose to address this issue with no improvement. For safety reasons, I think it is best to adjust the basal insulin dose (Lantus) to achieve a normal fasting BG and accept and treat an elevated post-exercise BG with a correction dose of rapid-acting insulin (Humalog). I have taken a small correction dose of rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) (about 1-2 IU) to correct a high post-breakfast BG prior to exercise with success most of the time. Once this month, I took glucose during exercise because I was not feeling well (dizzy after lifts) without first checking my BG. That was a mistake: my BG was over 200 mg/dl post-exercise and it took all day to correct. Also, on November 6th I had a symptomatic hypoglycemic episode. This one occurred a couple hours after dinner. My pre-meal BG was 45 mg/dl so I did not take any rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) and took one less IU of basal insulin (Lantus), 29 IU instead of 30 IU, because I have had hypoglycemia in the past just from the basal insulin dose post-exercise (improved insulin sensitivity). The symptoms of this month’s hypoglycemic episode were sweating and a feeling of impending doom. This latter symptom led to my over-treating it with glucose tablets. I took 5 or 6 instead of 2 or 3 for this symptomatic episode. My bedtime post-treatment BG was 83 mg/dl, but I suspected it would be high the following morning. Sure enough, it was 211 mg/dl in the morning and elevated most the next day requiring 4 extra Humalog correction doses. I’m not sure what I could have done differently other than increase the carbohydrate content of the dinner meal. Taking fewer glucose tablets would have helped, but only those who have experienced hypoglycemia can understand the desire to correct the BG ASAP when there is a fear of impending doom.

Glycemic Management Results for November 2017 

My November glycemic results were similar to previous time periods with more hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia than I would have liked. I only spent 51% of time with a BG between 61 and 110 mg/dl (my goal is >70%). My insulin doses varied up and down in response to high or low BG in the range of 29 to 50 units/day with a slight downward trend during the month.

Below are my mean BG values, mean insulin doses, and BG frequency distribution for November 2017 compared to previous time periods. I have changed two columns to indicate the AUC mean BG and predicted HbA1c. AUC mean BG is the mean BG by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) of BG versus time. The predicted HbA1c uses the formula: AUC mean BG plus 88.55 divided 33.298. This formula is the least squares fit using my own personal mean BG versus measured HbA1c over many years. My particular HbA1c values are higher than many other individuals with the same mean BG. This is referred to as being a “high glycator.”

Post 46 Means Table

As discussed previously, exogenous insulin cannot mimic normal insulin secretion, so persons with T1DM should not expect to have truly normal BG values at all times. They just need to be low enough to prevent long-term complications and not so low as to cause unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms or less common but dangerous consequences including brain damage, seizure, injury, coma, or death. I have set my target BG range at 61-110 mg/dl because values in this range are not likely to lead to harm or complications of T1DM. Your target BG range should be determined with your physician because one size does not fit all. Normal BG is 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± standard deviation (SD)) and coefficient of variation is 13% which is the weighted mean from these two studies (here  and here ) of continuous glucose monitoring in healthy subjects. The standard deviation and coefficient of variation are measures of BG variability which I believe are important in T1DM. However, be advised that clinical outcomes in T1DM (i.e. microvascular and macrovascular complications) have only been documented to correlate with measures of mean BG, particularly HbA1c. This does not mean that BG variability is not important, but it just has not been documented to correlate with outcomes and complications of T1DM. Achieving a normal standard deviation or coefficient of variation in T1DM would be difficult, if not impossible, with current exogenous insulin therapy (injected or pumped). Monitoring the standard deviation and/or coefficient of variation and finding ways to improve them to the best of one’s ability is desirable in my opinion. Following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is one such method of reducing BG variability, mean BG, insulin doses, and hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet and MCT oil used on salads or vegetables at dinnertime may also provide an alternate/additional brain fuel in the form of ketones to protect the brain when BG does go low. The alternative energy that ketones supply to the brain may prevent or blunt the sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia which in turn reduces or eliminates the symptoms of and harm from hypoglycemia. This hypothesis needs to be tested before it can be stated as fact. Having BG close to normal most of the time (some of which are hypoglycemic) also minimizes the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia and potentially the harm from hypoglycemia as well due to lack of activation of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal gland responses to hypoglycemia i.e. sympathoadrenal-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia, see here.

Below are my BG readings along with the Humalog (rapid-acting insulin) doses in November 2017. I adjust both the morning and evening meal-time doses based on the pre-meal BG reading and take extra correction Humalog doses (green circles) for high BG readings between meals. I continued my previous pattern of high BG readings after weightlifting. This is primarily controlled by the basal insulin (Lantus) dose taken at dinnertime but that dose is determined by the fasting BG reading and thus cannot be adjusted to optimize all times of day. In those with T1DM the basal insulin dose may be enough to compensate for the increase in BG with intense exercise, but may also require a rapid-acting insulin dose to lower a high post-exercise BG.

Post 46 Blood Glucose and Humalog Doses

The table below shows the BG variability results for current and previous time periods. The percentiles (10th, 25th, 75th, 90th) on the right show the spread of the BG readings about the median. The interquartile range, the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles, is a measure of BG variability. In the middle of the table are the %Time in three BG ranges: %Time BG < 61 mg/dl (hypo) and the mean BG during that time, then %Time BG 61-110 mg/dl (target) and the mean BG during that time, and %Time BG > 110 mg/dl (hyper) and the mean BG during that time. Both the %Time with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are probably overestimates because they not account for the corrections with glucose tablets (for hypoglycemia) or rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) (for hyperglycemia). Measuring my BG more frequently or using a CGM would result in a more accurate estimate. In November, the BG standard deviation and coefficient of variation and %Time with hypoglycemia were higher than usual.

Post 46 Variability Table

The daily insulin dose totals and BG readings for November are shown in the graphs below. You can see a slight downward trend in total daily insulin dose with several spikes (for hyperglycemia) during the month.

Post 46 Blood Glucose and Insulin Dose Totals

The daily insulin dose totals and 7-day moving average for 2017 are shown in the graph below. You can see an oscillatory pattern with a period of about 8 weeks. In October and November there was some stabilization of insulin doses. I think it is too early to say that I have solved the problem of oscillating insulin doses, but I did change the procedure of drawing insulin from the vial into the syringe by not injecting air into the vial with a reused needle and I have been adjusting my basal insulin (Lantus) dose less frequently and to a smaller degree.

Post 46 2017 Insulin Doses

In December, I will continue olympic weightlifting every day with three exercises per day one of which will be either snatch or clean and jerk (alternating days) as long as I don’t have any shoulder problems.

My Thoughts About Management of Type 1 Diabetes With A Ketogenic Diet

My goal of glycemic management in T1DM with a ketogenic diet is to keep BG as close to normal i.e. 96 ± 12 mg/dl (mean ± SD) as is safely possible (i.e. avoiding hypoglycemia) to avoid diabetic complications, a reduction in lifespan, and unpleasant symptoms of as well as injury and death from hypoglycemia. For me, a well-formulated whole-food nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, daily exercise, frequent BG measurements, and lower insulin-analog doses (Humalog/Lantus) have improved my glycemic control, hypoglycemic reactions, and quality of life.  For the past two months, I have stopped using berries to correct asymptomatic hypoglycemia because the response is too unpredictable compared to glucose tablets. I also found I was intolerant of spinach (diarrhea), bell peppers, and eggplant (diarrhea, nausea).

My current diet looks like this.

What I Cook & Eat

  • Beef, grass-fed, including meat (85% lean), heart, liver, and kidney (liverwurst)
  • Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
  • Canadian bacon (uncured pork loin)
  • Lamb occasionally
  • Chicken & Turkey occasionally
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight) including Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Leeks, Onions, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce (Iceberg & Romaine), and some others.
  • Fruit – Avocado, Tomatoes, Olives, lemon juice on fish and salads
  • Root Vegetable: Raw Carrots
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew.
  • MCT oil – a few tablespoons on salads or cooked vegetables
  • Note: I developed an intolerance to milk prior to my diagnosis of T1D. I did try heavy whipping cream after starting my KLCHF diet, but am also intolerant of it. I do tolerate butter, but wanted to decrease my fat intake, so eliminated all dairy including cheese and yogurt.

What I Drink

Water (filtered by reverse osmosis), Unsweetened Tea & Coffee

What I Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats (there are many more) or anything made from them, which is too numerous to list here. Gluten is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) which can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In my case, I avoid them due to their carbohydrate content.
  • Starchy and most root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
  • High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
  • Sugar and the fifty other names used to disguise sugar.
  • Vegetable Oils – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
  • All Processed Food-like Substances i.e., most of what is in the grocery store.
  • I avoid restaurants except when traveling, and then order fish or steak with plain steamed non-starchy vegetables (no gravy or sauces that typically contain sugar, cornstarch, or flour) or salad.
  • Refined, but healthy, fats – I have eliminated refined fats except MCT oil from my diet including butter, coconut & olive oils to improve body composition and remain in the 77kg olympic weightlifting weight class.

What I Don’t Drink

  • Colas (both sweetened, artificially sweetened, and unsweetened).
  • Fruit Juice except small amounts of lemon juice.
  • Alcohol (can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes).
  • No artificial sweeteners, don’t need or like them.

When my entire diet is analyzed, 26% of my fat intake is from polyunsaturates (mainly from nuts and seeds), 56% is from monounsaturates, and 18% is from saturated fats. When my diet is broken down by macronutrients, I consume 170 grams of fat (or 68% of my total daily calories), 70 grams of carbohydrate, 30 grams of which is dietary fiber (or 12% of my total daily calories), and 110 grams of protein (or 20% of my total daily calories). In calories, it totals to 2,250 kcal/day.

My exercise regimen makes glycemic management more challenging, but I enjoy exercise and feel it has other health and lifespan-extending benefits. Hopefully, my BG values and variability as well as my lower insulin doses that result from my ketogenic diet and exercise are close enough to optimal to avoid any reduction in lifespan, diabetic complications, and harm from hypoglycemia, but only time will tell.