74. Type 1 Diabetes and A Ketogenic Diet

Today I share with you an amazing story of Diana, who after months of feeling unwell, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She tried following the standard diabetic guidelines given to her but found they were simply not working for her. Fortunately for her, her partner and a friend mentioned LCHF, and her life then improved and changed when she started following it. Read below her (slightly edited/shortened) email.

https://www.dietdoctor.com/i-am-still-amazed-at-the-keto-diet
The Email

Hello Andreas,

My name is Diana, 29 years old. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 2014. I would like to share my story in order to give hope to those who need it.
I considered that I’ve always been eating healthy food. More than this, I was always doing physical activities as a hobby. As a family habit, we were not eating after 6 pm. I was very concerned about my general health and checking myself every year or even twice a year. My family has a very good health history: no cancer, no diabetes, etc. None of them were overweight, and I wasn’t either. Everything was perfect until three years ago.

Everything started in March 2014, I was constantly tired and everyday was getting worse. Of course, I blamed my overcharged program. In May 2014 I went for my annual check up and they found it: diabetes…Type 1. I was devastated. I did not even know what diabetes was! And Type 1?! It was not possible.

I was in denial until the second results came, and to be honest, long after that, although I was following the doctor’s indications. So, the doctors told me that if I am lucky and I keep a good diet I may have another two years, maximum, until the inevitable came: I will be insulin dependent. A shot for every single bite that I take! Wow! When I say diet, we all know the classical plate: quarter meat, quarter carbs, half vegetables, no fats, no dessert and no more than two fruits per day. Anyway, in August 2014 (after couple of months, not two years) I had to start on insulin. And the real nightmare started.

 That was the moment when I realized that it is not a lie, I am type 1 diabetic. Until that year I was this young woman, strong, with ambitions, with a nice career, with dreams… A fighter! I started to look for answers: why me? Why at this age? What is the cause of diabetes type 1? How can it be treated? Of course I found no answer. And the more I was looking for one, the more I was getting myself into a huge depression. By 2015 my life had no purpose anymore. Worst thing was that I felt alone.

The climax was in March 2015 when I was diagnosed with ‘burnout’. I was driving myself to exhaustion at university, by doing sports, by doing my own research about diabetes type 1. Therefore, I started to see a psychologist. Little by little I started to give up all these questions and to try to focus more on how to deal with and integrate it in my life. My aim was to stay in the good area and to not have any complications. But it was not easy. My blood sugar was so unpredictable: eating twice the same thing, the insulin amount was always different. I started to be frustrated. I was saying to myself: I am an engineer, working on research. Why can’t I caculate the correct doses?

I tried different ways: to eat exactly by the book (as the nutritionist said to), to do one hour of intensive sports per day. I tried different shakes. None of them gave me a better result. I was always tired after eating. My energy level was generally low. The cravings were so bad. I always loved desserts, but never had more than one per week, before I started the insulin. Simply because I did not feel like eating them. After trying so hard for one year and no results, I began to have two deserts per day. Doing sports, I managed to keep my weight stable. I became obsessed with sweets and food. I was eating and not taking any pleasure or feeling the taste anymore. 

Meanwhile, I was in the last six months of my PhD thesis and everything started to be a pain. No focus, no energy. I started to really worry if I could finish or not. In the first days of July 2016, my partner, who is a MMA fan, told me about this keto diet and how the MMA fighters are performing extremely well burning fats instead of carbs. A few days later, a good friend who lives in Switzerland also told me about this diet LCHF. She had been doing it for one month and she had amazing results on energy level and weight loss. She gave me your Dietdoctor website to start with.
I was shocked and scared. Shocked that a method completely opposite of what my doctors were saying could give such results. Scared because I couldn’t imagine that I could eat without insulin and still have good numbers. But looking at your website I found loads of answers to my questions and everything made sense to me.

 I was absorbing all this new information like a dry sponge. By the end of the day I knew everything about this diet, digestion, glucose, ketones, insulin, food, fasting etc. Starting it, I started to feel alive again. My energy level increased drastically… I then decided to give it a try and had my first dinner without insulin! And my blood sugar was stable for the next two hours! Incredibly stable, like never in two years. I also decreased the 24-h insulin (slow release) by a third in order to not have a hypo event during the night. In the morning, my blood sugar was still a bit too low. The next day I decreased it to half the original dose. And I still keep it at this level since then. But the most important thing is that since that dinner, I am free again. I am eating without taking any shots. I can eat whenever I want and if I want. I do not have a specific hour to eat, don’t have to worry about calculating the insulin units incorrectly, or about the blood sugar afterwards.

Apart from this amazing result which was instant, the changes appeared in the next 24 hours. I started to feel alive again. My energy level increased drastically, as did my mental clarity and work efficiency. I sleep better, and wake up easier. I do not sweat during the night anymore. In the next two weeks I  progressed more on my thesis than in the previous six months. I lost a few kilos, even tho I did not really need to. And everyday my blood sugar is the same. My sport performances decreased a bit in the first month, but this was the only side effect. No cravings anymore! No headaches or cramps!

Once I started this new lifestyle, I switched instantaneously from a minimum of four injections of insulin per day, to one injection (slow release action) and I intend to keep it that way. Today, after six months, I am still amazed at the keto diet. I am used to it now and I have very good blood-sugar control. I am still not taking any rapid-action insulin and the slow release insulin level is still very low. Some days, due to family dinners or traveling I am obliged to go on high carbs again and those are the only days where I use rapid release insulin. My doctor is so amazed, he asked me to check again, to be sure that the tests were correct 

Thank you again for your work. Your website is my biggest support in my new lifestyle, from information to encouragement on rainy days and recipes.
Good luck,

Diana

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