Ketosis and Ketogenic Diets – How To!

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The human body uses carbohydrates as the primary source of energy and uses glucose to fulfill the levels of energy needed for its everyday functioning. However, it doesn’t mean other macronutrients such as proteins and fats can’t be used to realize this energy that the body needs.

In the case of glucose (produced when carbohydrates are digested in the body) deprivation, the body will resort to consuming fat as the main energy source. This metabolic process burns fat and results in the accumulation of carbonyl group organic compounds in the body called ketones.  

Even though ketosis is a regular metabolic process within the human body, it has become popular among people in recent years due to a weight loss diet that is based on the natural feature of human metabolism.

What is Ketogenic Diet? 

More commonly known as the keto diet or low carb diet, is the one in which a person intentionally limits his or her’s consumption of carbohydrate-based foods to very minimal levels and replaces them with fat-based meals. This change in the dieting pattern directs the body in the metabolic state of ketosis. When the body is only available with fats to burn to get adequate energy, it becomes significantly efficient in burning fat. This change in the metabolic process can result in various health implications that are most beneficial in nature.  In other words, by reducing carbohydrate intake, more fat will be converted into energy.

Classifications of Ketogenic Diets

Balance chart for Ketogenic Diet

Not all individuals should partake in a Ketogenic Diet, but if you decide to, speak to your doctor first. Then if you are given the green light, determine which category of these diets would be best for you.

There are several variants of the ketogenic diet adopted by people according to the result they want from. The classifications are based on the proportion of intake of three major macronutrients.

Standard Ketogenic Diet

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) is the most prevalent version and most of the people who go with this diet follow SKD to lose weight. SKD diet plans are rich in fats, with moderate consumption of proteins and very low carbohydrate intake. The proportion usually goes as:

  • 75% fats
  • 20% proteins
  • 5% carbohydrates

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

As its name suggests, this diet has cyclic patterns where the number of carbs in the diet is increased temporarily in a periodic manner. Usually, a week is divided into five ketogenic days and two high carb days.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

In this pattern, carbs are usually consumed around workout sessions. People who are involved in bodybuilding exercises usually follow this diet.

High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

It is the same as the standard ketogenic diet, but with more portions of protein-based foods in the plan. The amount of protein intake goes to 30% in this keto diet.

Ketogenic Diets: How Healthy are They?

Ketogenic diets have several proven health benefits. We all know it is popular for its ability to bring on a significant weight loss in a person. For instance, it has proven to have better weight loss results than a low-fat diet. It is also effective because unlike calorie-restricted diets, you don’t have to exhaust yourself in counting the calories of consumed foods all the time.

A Simple Design

The weight-loss method is very simple in ketogenic diets. The body becomes efficient in burning and consuming fats which helps in reducing the weight by burning up the excessive adipose tissues. Decreased glucose levels in the blood due to decreased consumption of carbs and decreased insulin resistance also assist the weight loss process.

Beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Type 2 diabetes entails changes in metabolism where body sugar levels always remain high with declined insulin activity. A research study has found out that only adopting a ketogenic diet by type 2 diabetic patients can reduce their medication intake. Out of 21 participants in the study, 7 were succeeded in controlling their blood glucose level without the help of any diabetes prescription.

May Help with Bipolar Disorder

A preliminary study suggests that a low-carb diet may be advantageous to persons suffering from bipolar disorder, as they maintain higher sodium inside their bodies than people who do not have this illness. One of the functions of the medications used to maintain mood stabilization is to lower the individual’s sodium levels. By default, ketogenic diets also lower sodium levels.

Additional studies performed also suggest that people with epilepsy may benefit from this diet.

Possible Side Effects

Due to a radical change in the eating pattern, one might experience an upset digestive system through diarrhea, constipation, nausea or vomiting.

Ketogenic diets can also result in temporary fatigue in the transition period during which the body is setting and adjusting itself in a newly developed ketosis-influenced environment.   

In addition, ketogenic diets are very particular and consequently, deficiencies of vitamins B, C, and D, as well as calcium, magnesium and iron could result. These deficiencies may continue the cycle of the digestive issues mentioned above. Sometimes, but rarely, abnormal heart rhythms, pancreatitis, weakened bones and kidney stones may develop.

Be sure to speak to a medical professional before starting any diets!

How Do I Start?

Provided you got the proper clearance from your doctor or medical professional, you can start here. Another method would be to contact a nutritionist or other expert in dieting and begin with them.


The Link Between Tooth Decay and Diabetes Explored

More than 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Today, about one-third of the Americans suffer from this serious health condition. The findings of recent research studies point to the fact that majority of the people that suffer from diabetes have periodontal problems.

So is there a close link between tooth decay and diabetes? Should you be worried about diabetes if you experience tooth decay? Is it a one-way or a two-way problem?  We will look at the answers to all these questions and more in this article.

Tooth Decay and Diabetes: A Close Look

Tooth decay is common in patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. Several possible explanations are put forward by medical experts for the link between the two health conditions. Tooth decay develops due to the interaction between plaque bacteria with sugars. Since, diabetic individuals have high blood sugar levels, they are more prone to periodontal diseases.  

People with diabetes are at a high risk of developing gingivitis and other serious gum diseases. They are more susceptible to bacterial infection and reduced ability to fight off the invasion of bacteria inside the gums.

However, emerging research studies have found that tooth decay is not a one problem. In other words, not only people suffering from diabetes are prone to develop tooth decay, but those that have tooth problems can develop diabetes. Gum diseases have been found to affect the blood glucose level in the body. This contributes to the development of diabetes in individuals.  

So, it’s essential that you maintain good oral health. Poor dental hygiene will increase the blood sugar control problem causing serious health problems.

How to Maintain Good Dental Hygiene

Tooth diseases are preventable if you follow good dental practices. The gum diseases develop when the bacteria inside the teeth harden into tartar, which can only be cleaned by a dental professional. Accumulation of tartar inside the mouth can lead to gum inflammation, bleeding, swelling, and bad breath. What’s even worse is that the bacteria that are present in the tartar will break down the surrounding bone of the teeth due to which your teeth will break out and fall.

Brushing and flossing should be done regularly to avoid development of plaque inside the teeth. Make sure that you brush for at least two to three minutes two times every day. In addition, you should visit a dentist twice a year for a dental checkup and cleaning.  

To reduce the risk of tooth decay, it’s also important that you keep sugary snacks to a minimum. Also, food items that dry out your mouth should be limited. Some of the food items that you should limit include carbonated soft drinks, alcohol, sweets and candies. Limiting the intake of these food items will not only prevent tooth decay but reduce the risk of developing diabetes as well.

Raising Awareness of Diabetes and Its Complications

Diabetes EquipmentEvery November is dedicated to diabetes awareness, which brings attention to the chronic disease and the millions of Americans who are impacted by it. Diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States with 29 million people currently diagnosed with the disease and another 86 million estimated to have prediabetes, which means they are at risk of developing diabetes.

Every National Diabetes Month has a new theme, and this year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) settled on This Is Diabetes. The purpose of this year’s theme is to encourage people affected by diabetes to share their stories about what it means to live with diabetes.

“Too often, diabetes goes unnoticed in our society, but it’s a health care crisis that needs and deserves all of our attention,” Kevin L. Hagan, CEO of the ADA, said in a statement. “Through this year’s theme, This Is Diabetes, we want to bring more attention to this disease that affects our family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues and show how important it is to take urgent action to address diabetes and its devastating complications.”

The campaign is also highlighting the stories of 6 individuals affected by diabetes, including an entrepreneur trying to juggle her hectic career and manage her diabetes, a man who cares for his elderly mother with type 2 diabetes, and a woman who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 2 decades and spent 10 years looking for a physician who would help her have a healthy pregnancy.

While November is observed as National Diabetes Month in America, the disease is also recognized worldwide with World Diabetes Day, which falls on November 14 every year. This year’s theme had been Eyes on Diabetes, which focused on improving the early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of severe complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to vision impairment and blindness.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, it is estimated that 1 in 10 adults worldwide will have diabetes by 2040. Currently, half of the people with diabetes don’t know they have it, which makes them particularly susceptible to complications that arise from having untreated diabetes. In many countries, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputation.

Former Met’s first baseman Ed Kranepool has been diabetic for 40 years and had his big toe removed due to complications associated with his diabetes. Now he needs a kidney transplant. We wish him the best for a quick recovery.

How To Manage Diabetes

Diabetes Kit
Photo: Pixaby

Below are some suggestions on how you can control your diabetes. Please note, these are only suggestions and you should consult with your medical professional prior to executing any of the tasks below.

Exercise at Least 30 Minutes a Day

This can include easy exercises such as taking a brisk walk, riding a bike, doing floor exercises while watching TV, and taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, taking your dog for a walk, cleaning your home, and parking at the far end of the parking lot are all ways to incorporate exercise into your day.

Regular physical activity helps to manage diabetes and it can be as simple as running errands and briskly walking to the post office during your lunch break.

Choose Healthy Food

Blueberries and rasberries
Photo: Pxphere

Selecting nutritious foods and balancing what you eat with activity level helps keep sugar levels as close to normal as possible.

Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, one rule of thumb is to keep your consumption of produce as colorful as possible.

This adds variety and different nutrients to your diet. Be sure to choose non-starchy veggies such as spinach, broccoli, and green beans in your meals. Include fish, lean meats such as skinless chicken and turkey and use low-fat cooking methods such as roasting, poaching, and baking. Choose healthy oils for cooking such as olive, avocado, and canola oils. Eat fruit for dessert instead of high calorie sugary and fatty foods that contain little nutrition.

Check Your Blood Sugar

Your doctor or health provider will explain how often your blood sugar should be checked and how to test it. Alongside checking your blood sugar, be sure to take the medicine you are being prescribed by your doctor and know why and how to take it. Let your health provider know of any herbs or supplements you take as they could interfere with your medication and blood sugar.

Yearly Tests

Doctor talking to patient in a hospital
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Those with diabetes need to have a blood or urine test each year to check how well their kidneys are working. A dilated eye exam should also be done every year by an eye doctor.

Cholesterol needs to checked once a year as well. Total cholesterol should be less than 200mg/dL. LDL (bad cholesterol) should be less than 100mg/dL and HDL (good cholesterol) should be greater than 40mg/dL for men and greater than 50mg/dL.

A1C Blood Test

This specific blood test measures A1C, average blood sugar, which should be less than 7 percent. This test should be done two to four times a year for those with diabetes.

Foot Exam

At each health care provider’s appointment, it is important to take off your shoes and socks and learn how to check feet for cuts, breaks in the skin, or ingrown toenails. Your doctor needs to know if there are any changes in the color or shape of your feet as well as any pain or numbness.

Quit Smoking!

Smoking Inhibitor
What keeps you from quitting?

Smoking can be a death sentence to even the healthiest of us. Just one story here to make the point, but as you might imagine, the horror stories about smoking are extraordinary!

There was a bar bounce, 6’8″ tall, super healthy, but had to have his cigarettes. The consequence let him to many hospital stays in his later years of which he had to be under care 24×7. He passed at too your an age.

Those that wish to stop smoking should call the NYS SMoker’s Quitline (866-697-8487). You don’t have to stop cold turkey unless you can, but a gradual decrease in smoking should not be out of the question.

Mental Health

Photo: Pixaby

People with diabetes are at higher risk for depression, be sure to talk with your healthcare team about any questions, problems, or feelings you may have.

Antibiotics Use Linked to Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease diagnosed in young adults and children, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes. Out of 30 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the US, only about 5 percent are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 is not understood very well, what we do know is that both genes and environment are a factor. Type 1 diabetes is known to have spiked following World War II and is thought to have been the after effect of food rationing during this time. Worldwide today, type 1 diabetes is increasing by 3 percent every year.

New Research is Discovering an Association Between Diabetes and Antibiotics

In the recent years, a rise in antibiotics prescriptions has also been linked to chronic illness as well as antibiotic resistance. One study even found that antibiotics have been prescribed to children about twice as often as they should be. From acne to viral infections, it seems that antibiotics overuse is a widespread problem.  

A recent study published in the Nature Microbiology journal this week has found the first link between type 1 diabetes and antibiotics use. The study took place at the New York University Langone Medical Center and was led by Dr. Martin Blaser.

In the study, one group of mice was given low dose antibiotics similar to the dose children receive and one group of mice was given no antibiotics. Over time, the gut bacteria of the mice given antibiotics showed huge change which also affected the mice’s immune system. The mice given antibiotics also developed type 1 diabetes. These results evidently show that doctors need to think twice before prescribing antibiotics to children. “They carry not only the risk of resistance, which is a cost to the whole community, but possibly health risks to the child,” said Blaser. This preliminary study shows that the findings will no doubt influence the future of pediatrics and the way in which antibiotics are prescribed. “We’re eager to see how these findings may impact the discovery of type 1 diabetes preventative treatments in the future and continued research in the area of vaccines,” said Jessica Dunne, the director of Discovery Research at Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has called it the ‘Perfect Storm’ and in one excerpt of their abstract, they state “the provision of antibiotics, such as fucidic acid, Colistin, and Bactrim, in BB rats after weaning (8,9) lead to diabetes prevention, whereas in our own efforts using the NOD mouse, a decreased frequency of type 1 diabetes was observed with the administration of doxycycline. The specific mechanisms of how such therapies modulate disease are unclear, but it is clear that changes in the microbiota affect the development of autoimmune diabetes in both animal models.”

Heart Disease, Cancer Top Two Leading Causes of Death

Animated man with bacteria showing moving towards himThe CDC has presented a report on the 10 leading causes of death in 2016, which accounted for 74% of all deaths that occurred in the US that year, with heart disease and cancer topping the list.

The National Vital Statistics Report was compiled using information from all death certificates filed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2014. According to the findings, the 10 leading causes of death, in rank order, were: diseases of the heart; malignant neoplasms (cancer); chronic lower respiratory diseases; accidents; cerebrovascular diseases (stroke); Alzheimer’s disease; diabetes; influenza and pneumonia; nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis (kidney disease); and suicide.

“Cause-of-death ranking is a popular method of presenting mortality statistics and is a useful tool for illustrating the relative burden of cause-specific mortality, but it must be used cautiously with a clear understanding of the limitations underlying the method,” the researchers wrote in the report.

Of the 10 leading causes, 8 saw significant increases in the number of deaths, led by Alzheimer’s disease, which increased by 10.4% from 2013 to 2014. The other causes that saw large increases in the number of deaths from year to year were: unintentional injuries (4.2% increase); suicide (3.9%); cerebrovascular diseases (3.2%); nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis (2.2%); malignant neoplasms (1.2%); diabetes (1.2%); and diseases of the heart (0.5%). Meanwhile, the number of deaths caused by chronic lower respiratory disease and influenza and pneumonia decreased by 1.4% and 3.1%, respectively.

Diagram of the Human HeartHeart disease and cancer were the top two causes of death and accounted for 45.9% of all deaths in 2014. They were the two leading causes of death for both men and women. However, men and women diverged in the ranking of other causes of death. Unintentional injuries were the third-leading cause of death for males, while chronic lower respiratory disease ranked third for women.

In addition, while suicide ranked seventh and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis ranked tenth for men, neither was among the 10 leading causes of death for women. In addition, kidney disease ranked ninth and septicemia ranked tenth for women, but neither were among the top 10 for men.

Stem Cells Therapy the Future of Diabetes Treatment?

Stem cell therapy may be able to help treat Type 2 diabetes. Irv Weissman is currently leading a laboratory called the Weissman Laboratories at Stanford School of Medicine’s Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine program. Weissman spent study years researching the use of stem cells, where one third of women who received cancer free stem cells were still alive, without any disease versus 7% of women who were alive, but never received cancer free cells.

Weissman is now at Stanford University to start conducting human trials using stem cells and will start a pure stem cell transplant center. Juvenile diabetes as well as other juvenile illnesses such as “bubble boy” disease will be one of the disease that will be trialled. The process will involved taking purified blood stem cells will be from a related donor of an unaffected disease to be given to a patient with a disease. Before the clinical trials began, all animal models used during stem cells studies showed success as well as much promise for regenerative medicine.

A study published in the journal Stem Cell Reports showed that transplanting pancreatic stem cells from human cells into mice with Type 2 diabetes symptoms showed improvement. Another study was done using animals with type 1 diabetes. Blood was taken from stem cells from a donor without diabetes. Insulin producing cells in a healthy pancreas were transplanted into a diabetic animal model and showed improvement. Currently, this same technique will be used in human trials at Stanford. Different techniques will be used as well as the use of embryonic stem cells taken from a diabetes affected donor to be reprogrammed and transplanted back into the same donor. This technique will not only create a huge leap in the treatment of diabetes and other immunocompromised diseases but also become a platform in the way we treat these diseases. Many labs around the US and the world are currently also working to get every tissue specific stem cell and start trials using other diseases. If successful, stem cell therapy can soon even replace harmful chemotherapy.

Progress Made in Diabetes, But Dangers Still Exist for Seniors

Old WomanDiabetes has been an increasing issue in the United States. While there are already close to 30 million Americans with diabetes, there are far more who have what is being called prediabetes.

As of 2012, 86 million Americans aged 20 years and older had prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prediabetes is a condition where an individual has a blood sugar level that is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, prediabetes often turns into full-blown diabetes within a decade.

However, despite the dire picture the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in the US paints, the CDC also had some good news. The number of new cases of diabetes is actually decreasing. In 2009, the CDC reported 1.7 million new cases of diabetes, but in 2014, there were only 1.4 million new cases.

Overall, while progress is being made, diabetes remains an epidemic and there is a long way to go in the US before success can be claimed.

Among senior citizens, the prevalence of diabetes is higher than the general population, and a new study from January 2015 found that older diabetics are being overtreated for their disease.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that nearly two-thirds of patients with diabetes aged 65 years and older received aggressive treatment for their disease regardless of their health status and blood sugar levels. This sort of aggressive treatment in seniors could result in hypoglycemia, which leads to confusion, coma, and even death.

“We treat diabetes to prevent complications of the disease by lowering blood sugar levels, but the problem with aggressively lowering blood sugars — to a hemoglobin A1c below 7% — in older people is that it is uncertain whether this approach will result in a benefit, and it could, in fact, cause greater harm,” lead author Kasia Lipska, MD, MHS, assistant professor of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said in a statement. “Our study suggests that we have a one-size-fits-all approach despite questionable benefits and known risks.”