One early and completely logical approach was the following: if the patient loses sugar, the sugar needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, this treatment proved to be fatal very quickly. A much more effective therapy was developed in the previous centuries: the patient was only allowed to eat meat or had drastic calorie restriction. These methods proved surprisingly successful in most cases. The problem was that in the rest of the cases the condition of the patients rapidly worsened and the doctors did not understand why.
Yet, the solution to the mystery was simple: at that time, they did not know much about the pancreas, insulin, and especially the difference between the type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Meat-only diets and fasting worked well for type 2 diabetics because the reason for the disease was insulin resistance and too much carbohydrate intake. However, in the case of type 1 diabetes, the problem was with the pancreas, which could not produce enough insulin. In these cases, the cells of the body were already starving and when they further reduced the food intake, the patient’s condition quickly worsened.
The breakthrough has arrived in the 1920s: Insulin was isolated from cows’ pancreas and was given to diabetic patients. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes showed significant improvements and the problem was resolved. At least this is how they thought.
In reality, they are two completely different diseases, and while injecting insulin can be a real solution for type 1 patients, in the type 2 case it seriously disrupts hormone levels and makes the patients prone to a variety of illnesses. Insulin resistance means the insulin levels are already too high in the body, and the cells became insensitive even to this high level. By injecting more insulin the symptoms (high blood sugar) are obviously treated, but the problem behind it only worsens. (This can be compared to trying to cure an alcoholic with whiskey.) In the long term, this can have extremely dangerous consequences, while preventing the patient’s condition from improving and restoring insulin sensitivity.
So, What Is the Solution?
We have to return to the original idea: we should lower the carbohydrate intake and practice fasting. However, it is very important to make a clear distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients. For type 2, results can be achieved by reducing the carbohydrate intake, and thus the insulin response after eating. While fasting, we can keep insulin levels low for even longer periods of time. Cells will start to listen to the signals of insulin for the first time in a long time and insulin sensitivity will start to improve naturally. Cells will also receive the necessary nutrients and blood sugars will stabilize. Patients will need less insulin and diabetic medication.
The ketogenic diet can provide hope for people with type 2 diabetes because it is designed in a way to always produce the lowest insulin response, this way gradually improving insulin sensitivity. It is highly recommended to consult with a physician who will supervise the whole process.
Changing your diet and improve your insulin sensitivity is not an easy task, but I’m here to help you.
I’m curious about your journey. Have you improved your health as a diabetic already? Tell me your story in the comments section below!
1. History of diabetes
2. Why were “starvation diets” promoted for diabetes in the pre-insulin period?
3. Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
4. The pancreas in human type 1 diabetes
5. Insulin: discovery and controversy
6. Safety of very tight blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes
7. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes
8. Effects of intermittent fasting on health markers in those with type 2 diabetes: A pilot study