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Type I diabetes and ketones

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  • Type I diabetes and ketones

    Basic stats: Female Type I Diabetic, diagnosed age 5 (1985), CW - 174, height 5' 2"

    My whole life I've been told that eliminating ketones was a sign of poor blood-sugar control and potential kidney damage. I'm willing to accept that this may not be true. However, I want good blood-sugar levels and I want to use ketosis as a weight loss tool. I'm not sure how to make the goals compatible.

    Here's the cycle: I take in fewer carbs (about 50g/day), I have better BSL (147 average), I produce fewer ketones (?), I burn less fat (?).

    I'm buying a blood-ketone meter through my FSA to begin testing my ketones, but until it arrives, what should I be doing to make my body work more in line with normal people's bodies?

    I've read some of the articles here, but since my body is defective...not all of the info can be applied without some adaptation.


  • #2
    There's a condition called ketoacidosis, that diabetics and alcoholics, can get into chracterized by the uncontrolled production of ketones, and a dangerously low (acidic) blood pH:

    Diabetic ketoacidosis - PubMed Health

    Ketosis is not the same thing. People pass naturally into this state if they cannot, for example, obtain food for a day or two, as must sometimes have happened in many human socities in the past. You'd probably also be in this state if your immediate environment hadn't many sources of glucose (as sugar or polysaccharides) in it also. Apparently, breast-feeding babies spend a fair amount of time in ketosis (even though breast-milk is fairly high in sugar).

    It seems the two situations are sometimes confused even by people who should know better. I suppose no competent physician would regard a condition that is physiologically normal for a breast-feeding baby as pathological. But one (vegan) doctor that some teaching hospital has been lax enough to grant medical qualifactions to, quoted by Mark yesterday, is apparantly ill-informed enough to do so.

    As regards diabetics -- as I understand it, before the discovery of insulin they were treated with very low carb diets, because that was the only possible treatment for them.

    As for the desirability of ketogenic diets -- I guess that's a bit up in the air. There are specific therapeutic uses for ketogenic diets; and some reserchers seem to think that we must have spent a good deal of our evolutionary past in this state and may run better in it. And certainly chronically elevated levels of insulin are likely harmful, and, as you point out, lead to weight gain.

    In your position I'd suggest you need to work with a doctor, because you don't want to be in state where you're badly out of whack with the insulin you're taking.
    Last edited by Lewis; 07-15-2012, 11:20 PM. Reason: spelling


    • #3
      That was really helpful. Thank you!

      My doctor is in the loop on my dietary changes, but she's difficult to contact between appointments. I would never give her up, though.