You’re unlikely to have missed the fact that the airwaves are awash with information, for and against, low carb high fat (LCHF) or ketogenic diets for type 2 diabetes. But what if you’re among the 1 in 10 diabetics that have type 1 diabetes (T1D) or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of the Adult (LADA)? Whilst you can find bits and pieces online if you conduct your own searches, there’s precious little about it in the mainstream media. You aren’t likely to hear much from your doctor either about using diet (and lifestyle) to lower your insulin needs. Let’s face it – you’re channelled straight into a drug-based solution.

T1D: big business

Why, you might ask? Without being too cynical, it’s probably because the global T1D market is expected to reach USD 25.52 billion by 2024. That’s no small change. Definitely worth protecting given that many type 1 diabetics reduce their insulin requirement by at least half by changing to a ketogenic diet. Well, that’s the view of one doctor – who’s in a position to know. We’ll introduce him below.

In reminding ourselves that the low carb ‘keto’ diet was the treatment for all diabetics before the discovery of insulin in 1921, we profile the experience of Dr Keith Runyan, himself a type 1 diabetic. He’s been living on a ketogenic diet since 2012. His book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes and his blog site offer a T1D roadmap with years of data on his ‘numbers’.

Dr Runyan’s keto experience

One of most dramatic changes that Dr Runyan found personally has been the lack of ‘hypos’ or other hypoglycaemic symptoms. He puts this down to the fact that ketones are a brain fuel that substitutes for glucose. In addition to this are the benefits that come from elevated levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – the most abundant ketone. Benefits include: being a G protein (molecular switches inside cells) activator; stabilising immunity; being a substrate for our mitochondria (cellular energy factories); supporting the creation of new mitochondria; reducing inflammation; fuelling the brain, and; helping to protect against many diseases.

Dr Runyan began self-exploration and he happened upon the keto diet accidentally. Whilst his doctors were satisfied with his blood sugar control, the roller coaster of high and low blood sugars wasn’t much fun. The concept of the carb/insulin ratio is based on knowing how much carbohydrate one is eating to know how much insulin to take. Results are often unpredictable, even for a doctor, like Dr Runyan, even if he weighed all his food.

His keto-adaptation process was stepwise and gradual, but over a 2-year period his insulin dose has reduced to half of what it had been previously. When you eat less carbs, you need less insulin. In effect, a diabetic suffers from a condition that can be regarded as ‘carbohydrate toxicity’. However, more importantly he has achieved normal blood sugar and HbA1c levels that have remained stable. All his data can be found on his blog, the Ketogenic Diabetic Athlete.

Is fundamental change on the way?

Dr Runyan is very definite in his assertion that there are no actual published peer-reviewed data to show that a ketogenic diet is a harmful diet for a T1D. Indeed, endocrinologist Dr Martin de Bock, presenting at last year’s American Diabetes Association (ADA) conference on children with T1D, confirmed that one can get exceptional glycaemic control on a very low carbohydrate diet (VLCD). Whilst he raised some potential concerns, he also referenced a 2018 study on adults and children with T1D, showing dramatic improvements and “remarkable glucose stability” with a VLCD.

Please share widely!

If you’re a type 1 diabetic or know someone who is, please share this information as widely as you can. Dr Runyan’s experience needs more exposure and could help thousands who’ve been told that keto diets aren’t relevant for type 1 diabetics.



Type 1, type 2, LADA – what’s the difference?

Only around 6% of diabetics have type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease. Whilst exercise is very good for type 2, it’s not so good for type 1. Exercise makes it more difficult to control blood sugar levels due to release of stress hormones (cortisol, glucagon and adrenaline). The more intense the exercise, the worse the effect can be as a type 1 can’t make insulin, so therefore can’t compensate for the release of stress hormones. The remaining 94% of diabetics have type 2 diabetes. A disease which largely affects middle-aged adults and is caused by metabolic dysregulation. It’s also a disease caused by insulin resistance, which can have a genetic component, but is most commonly created by obesity, overdependence on sugars and starchy carbs and unsupportive lifestyle choices (lack of activity, chronic stress, constant eating). Like type 1 diabetics, type 2s also suffer from carbohydrate toxicity. Globally, health care systems are reaching crisis point in terms of how so many sick people are going to be managed. The completely incorrect and inadequate, protectionist and often incorrect advice given by governments and the mainstream medical establishment being a large contributing factor. If you are born with a genetic predisposition, then conventional highly processed foods, high sugar, low healthy fats diet will create a perfect foundation for ‘diabesity’. LADA is often misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes because it’s late onset. It’s also an autoimmune disease that has a close link with gluten sensitivity. Once the body mounts a defence against gluten, through a process of protein mimicking, the new target becomes the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Dr Runyan explains that once people get down to less than a quarter of the normal complement of functioning beta cells, they’ll suffer high blood sugar and develop diabetes. With LADA the symptoms come on slowly, unlike T1D that strikes in childhood.