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Keto and Type 2 Diabetes

It is possible to become completely medication- and symptom-free with keto! However, the cause of this disease cannot be cured, so you will always need to remain conscious of it. You can read all about diabetes type 2 in this article.

Table of Contents:

What is diabetes type 2?

Let’s start with some basic information about type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is essentially nothing more and nothing less than an allergic reaction of your body to carbohydrates (sugars). This form of diabetes is not something you are born with but something you develop when your body becomes insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is always the root cause of type 2 diabetes! Read more about insulin resistance..
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body (just like in type 1) produces too little insulin. As a result, you need medication to process large amounts of carbohydrates (sugars), but even with that medication, this process is not optimal. Moreover, almost all medications have other adverse side effects.

The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2
Type 1 diabetes is congenital and is always permanent, whereas type 2 diabetes is “acquired.” Through the right dietary adjustments, type 2 diabetes can be cured, allowing you to gradually reduce (and eventually stop) medication and become completely symptom-free once again.

The Cause of Type 2 Diabetes

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In the past, diabetes was better known as sugar disease. The reason for this is logical; it’s a disease in which your body doesn’t handle sugars properly. But with type 2 diabetes, it goes even further. It’s not just that your body can’t handle sugars well; it’s actually caused by sugar itself.

You’re Allergic to Sugar
As mentioned earlier, insulin resistance is always the root cause of type 2 diabetes. Because you’ve consumed more sugar than your body can handle for an extended period, your body becomes allergic to it. An allergy is something that gradually builds up over time, with your body reacting more strongly to certain substances, in this case, sugar. So, if you continue to consume large amounts of sugar, your body will increasingly protest against it, resulting in type 2 diabetes.

The Diagnosis

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Unfortunately, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is often made only when it has already reached an advanced stage. This is because the symptoms will already be so severe that doctors find it logical to test for it. Additionally, it takes some time for people to actually seek help because they usually don’t do so for mild symptoms; most people believe these will go away on their own.

Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty losing weight or weight gain
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Recurring infections, such as urinary tract infections

As you can see, these are not symptoms that would typically prompt someone to visit the doctor quickly. These symptoms often develop gradually, making it less noticeable that something is different than usual. Moreover, these symptoms can have many other causes, which may not immediately lead you to link them to diabetes.

Often Unnecessary Medication

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Unfortunately, most doctors still prescribe medication when diagnosing type 2 diabetes. This often comes in the form of pills or, in severe cases, even insulin injections.

Medication Is Not the Solution
The problem with taking medication is that it doesn’t address the root cause; it merely treats the symptoms, which is actually the worst thing you can do for type 2 diabetes! Because essentially, it gives you a kind of “free pass” to continue consuming what makes you sick.

Even More Medication…
Furthermore, medication often comes with various adverse side effects, which means that in some cases, you end up being prescribed even more medication. Diabetes medication is necessary if you continue to consume a lot of sugars, so you can’t stop taking it.

In some cases, for various conditions, medication is the best option. I’m not of the opinion that all types of medication are inherently a bad choice. However, when it comes to type 2 diabetes, I believe it’s the worst thing you can do.

Treat It Like Any Other Allergy
What’s the right choice when dealing with an allergy? It’s quite simple! Avoid what triggers your allergic reaction. Makes sense, right?

For example, if you’re allergic to kiwis, would you continue to eat multiple kiwis every day? Of course not!
It’s the same with type 2 diabetes and carbohydrates. Since you’re allergic to large amounts of carbohydrates with this form of diabetes, avoiding them is the best remedy! If you remove the disease’s trigger, it can’t remain active.

The “Cure”

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What causes type 2 diabetes, namely insulin resistance, unfortunately, cannot be cured. However, you can ensure that, through the right dietary adjustments, you no longer need medication.

By changing your diet, you also eliminate the risk of all the adverse consequences of type 2 diabetes. Think of the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, necessary amputations due to severe inflammation, and more.

What Adjustments Do You Make in Your Diet?
The best advice you can follow is to drastically reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume because carbohydrates encompass all forms of sugars.

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Because you will be eating so many fewer carbohydrates, you will need to supplement this with the right amount of (healthy) fats and proteins. There are several ways to reduce your carbohydrates, such as a carbohydrate-restricted diet, a low-carb diet, or the well-known keto diet. Whichever form you choose, it is already a better option than continuing to take medication to be able to eat a carb-rich diet! But the best option would be to choose keto. With a ketogenic diet, you eat the fewest carbohydrates.

How long does it take to become medication-free?

There is unfortunately no standard answer to this. Every body reacts differently, and several factors come into play, such as how many carbohydrates you continue to consume.
In general, most people can already notice improvement on the first day. This is because you are no longer consuming what you are allergic to (large amounts of carbohydrates). Many people can then start to reduce their medication relatively quickly and even become medication-free within a few weeks.

Higher fasting blood sugar levels

When your body is not yet accustomed to a ketogenic diet, you may initially experience elevated sugar levels in the morning. This is quite explainable and certainly not a cause for panic. First of all, everyone has elevated blood sugar levels in the morning, even people without diabetes. In people without diabetes, this is never noticed because it is simply not measured and monitored. The reason for this is that between 03:00-08:00, your body signals your liver to release stored sugars to have enough energy to start the day. This is called ‘the Dawn effect’.
In people with type 2 diabetes, your body is still so full of stored sugars that your body releases an abundance of sugars, causing the floodgates to open (like a dam breaking). These released sugars enter your bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels.

Do Not Panic and Do Not Stop
Many diabetes nurses who are not familiar with low-carb eating are alarmed when this happens. They have learned that elevated blood sugars are a sign of too little medication, so they are likely to prescribe more medication. However, this is not really useful… Your body is cleaning up, and you disrupt this process when you take more medication. Medication absorbs (stores) the sugar in your blood, so you don’t actually get rid of it. Think of it as mopping with the tap still open; it doesn’t really work 😉.

So, the best thing to do is to give your body time to clean up all the excess stored sugars by continuing to eat delicious and healthy ketogenic (or low-carb) food. You will notice that you will feel a lot better as the day goes on. Every body is different, apart from the fact that every body works differently, each individual also has different reserves stored. So there is no fixed period before you have gone through the excess stocks and everything stabilizes. Sometimes it can take a few months. But don’t give up and keep going to use up those stocks and become healthier again.

Important Before You Start!

If you are taking medication, never make changes to your diet without consulting your diabetes nurse or treating doctor. If you do this on your own initiative, you risk experiencing a hypo or ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening!
Explain to your treating doctor/nurse that you want to follow a ketogenic diet, in which you will consume a maximum of 25-30 grams of carbohydrates per day. The healthcare provider can then monitor the exact effect on your body and what adjustments in your medication may be necessary.

Do Not Do This! In practice, it turns out that people often start without consulting their doctor. The reason for this is that people want to show the doctor the results they have already achieved, or because they find it nerve-wracking to explain to the doctor why they want to eat keto. But please do not do this without consultation. This can have serious consequences for your health.


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Skytte MJ, Samkani A, Petersen AD, Thomsen MN, Astrup A, Chabanova E, Frystyk J, Holst JJ, Thomsen HS, Madsbad S, Larsen TM, Haugaard SB, Krarup T. A carbohydrate-reduced high-protein diet improves HbA1c and liver fat content in weight stable participants with type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial. Diabetologia. 2019 Nov;62(11):2066-2078. doi: 10.1007/s00125-019-4956-4. Epub 2019 Jul 23. PMID: 31338545.

The Dawn Phenomenon – T2D 8 By Jason Fung, MD, Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.

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