It wasn’t until Dr Keith Runyan decided to tackle an IronMan triathlon that he realised the massive impact that the food you eat has on your health & body.
He discovered that your regular diet is the most important factor when it comes to developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes & obesity.
It was therefore his research on this matter that convinced this retired doctor to choose a ketogenic diet for diabetes.
The ketogenic (keto) diet, a LCHF diet (low carb high fat) is potentially able to change the way your body stores and uses energy, easing diabetes symptoms.
Why He Decided To Adopt a Ketogenic Diet For Diabetes
- Keeping consumption of carbs to a minimum is one of the most important aspects of this diet as carbohydrate is the macronutrient that is responsible for raising blood sugar the most.
- He found the next most importance factor in his diet to be eating only whole, real foods that naturally have the necessary micronutrients and enough complete proteins to support his exercise regime.
- Fat was another component that had to be included in his diet to replace & compensate for the calories not provided from the consumption of carbs.
- Protein intake did not change after starting this LCHF ketogenic diet.
- This way of eating has resulted in a significant improvement in his blood glucose control and a 1.2% reduction in HbA1c.
- Furthermore, this diet has provided him with the energy, substrates & nutrients to enable daily resistance and aerobic/endurance exercise, with minimal need for sports nutrition (sugar) or development of hypoglycemia.
- He credits his low carbohydrate ketogenic lifestyle in being able to complete The Great Floridian Triathlon in October 2012 without any sugar, food or hypoglycemia.
This Diet Keeps Him In a State Of Nutritional Ketosis
This state of nutritional ketosis is the natural result of a low carbohydrate diet that instructs the fat cells to release fat and the liver to convert some of that fat into ketones.
Ketones are small energy molecules clipped from long fatty acids to replace a portion of the glucose requirements of many key organs, particularly the brain.
The body over time becomes metabolically flexible and becomes trained at utilising glucose, fat & ketones, instead of just glucose and fat.
This is an important phenomenon for diabetes sufferers as ketones can supply the brain with fuel when blood glucose is temporarily low.
This LCHF ketogenic diet has also been found to be anti-inflammatory and improves cardiovascular risk factors in persons with metabolic syndrome.
In order to remain in a constant state of nutritional ketosis on this ketogenic diet for diabetes, he limits his daily consumption to the following;
His carbohydrate consumption is limited to about 50 grams/day, but he says others may require as little as 20 grams/day.
His protein consumption is about 1.4 grams/kg body weight/day which equates to about 105 grams of protein/day so for his 5’8″ height and 166 lb. weight.
His daily fat intake is fairly high as a percentage of calorie intake (about 75%) but the quantity of dietary fat (about 209 grams/day) is just enough to feel energetic and maintain a lean body composition.
How Difficult Is It To Maintain Such a Rigid Diet
An interesting “spinoff” of this ketogenic diet for diabetes is that feeling hungry has become hardly noticeable even with him cutting out lunch time meals.
However, you might think it is very difficult to maintain such a rigid diet, but he says it’s not.
Here’s what he eats
- Beef, grass-fed, including skeletal muscle (65% lean), heart, liver, and kidney
- Fish, mainly wild Alaskan salmon
- Pork sausage and bacon (both uncured)
- Lamb occasionally
- Chicken & Turkey occasionally
- Eggs (chicken)
- Non-starchy vegetables (about 5% carbohydrate content by weight): Cabbage (Red, Green, Napa), Kale, Collard Greens, Spinach, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Leeks, Onions, Mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, Home-made Sauerkraut from Red Cabbage, Bok-Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce (Iceberg & Romaine), Turnip Root
- Fruit – Avocado, Tomatoes, Olives, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, lemon juice on fish and salads
- Nuts & Seeds – Pepitas, Macadamia, Brazil, Pecan, Walnut, Pistachio, Cashew
- Fat – Butter, Coconut & Olive Oils often, Cheese rarely
- Tea (no sugar off course)
Food he avoids…
- Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats and anything containing gluten which is a protein present in a number of grains (all varieties of wheat including spelt, kamut, and triticale as well as barley and rye.) and can cause a number of medical problems for a significant portion of the population with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
- Starchy vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, most root vegetables (turnip root okay), peas
- Legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans
- High sugar fruits – includes most fruits except berries, see above.
- Sugar and anything containg sugar like so called “fat free” products many of which contain loads of sugar.
- Vegetable Oils (really seed oils) – Canola, Corn, Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Grape seed, Margarine & Butter substitutes, Shortening.
- All Processed Foods.
Basically the ketogenic diet gets your body converts fat, instead of sugar, into energy.
The ketogenic diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin.
Whilst many diabetes sufferers, like Dr Runyan, have had remarkable success in controlling their blood sugar with it, it is advisable to consult with your medical practioner as it does come with certain risks.
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- Dr. Keith Runyan is a retired physician who practiced Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Nephrology, and Obesity Medicine during his 28 year career.
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