This is important because one of the primary triggers of insulin is eating. I am not talking about taking your supplements or drinking tea or even one cup of coffee in the morning but eating five to six times a day—and let’s not forget, snacking will spike insulin even if it’s healthy food. The more frequent the eating, the more there is chronic elevation of insulin, leading to insulin resistance.
A study with an intent-to-treat prospective design was published in 1998 by a team from the Johns Hopkins Hospital and followed-up by a report published in 2001. As with most studies of the ketogenic diet, there was no control group (patients who did not receive the treatment). The study enrolled 150 children. After three months, 83% of them were still on the diet, 26% had experienced a good reduction in seizures, 31% had had an excellent reduction and 3% were seizure-free.[Note 7] At twelve months, 55% were still on the diet, 23% had a good response, 20% had an excellent response and 7% were seizure-free. Those who had discontinued the diet by this stage did so because it was ineffective, too restrictive or due to illness, and most of those who remained were benefiting from it. The percentage of those still on the diet at two, three and four years was 39%, 20% and 12% respectively. During this period the most common reason for discontinuing the diet was because the children had become seizure-free or significantly better. At four years, 16% of the original 150 children had a good reduction in seizure frequency, 14% had an excellent reduction and 13% were seizure-free, though these figures include many who were no longer on the diet. Those remaining on the diet after this duration were typically not seizure-free but had had an excellent response.
In regimented keto diets, only 10% of total calories per day (about a measly 20 grams!) come from carbs, 20% from protein, and a whopping 70% from fats. Since our bodies preferentially use carbs for energy, cutting them means we have to use something else to keep organs functioning. Our bodies then turn to the glucose stored in our muscles as glycogen for fuel.
Another trigger of insulin is large quantities of protein. This was one of the issues with the Atkins diet. The optimum amount of protein per meal is about 3 to 6 ounces. Protein is needed for repairing and providing the raw material for muscle, tendons, joint cartilage, and even bone. Protein can also be used for fuel; however, too much protein triggers insulin which can be converted to sugar and then to fat.
I am a stage four kidney disease patient. I am also a type one diabetic. I have had diabetes for 37 years. My Internist suggested the Keto diet for me, but there are so many if the foods on the Keto diet that I’m not able to eat because of my kidneys functioning at 22%. How do I reconcile this diet plan to work with my kidney disease? I’m not allowed any dairy, because of my high potassium. Is almond milk ok to drink? I’m not allowed avocados, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, greens, (beet or chard). No bacon, or pork. No melons, bananas, oranges, peaches, pears, some apples, pineapple. I can have berries of all kinds. will this still work for me?
Lots of apps and website offer keto diet challenges—basically, a blueprint for the keto diet with a fixed starting and ending point (they typically last for a week to a month, though some may be longer). Speaking of apps, plenty of keto-centric ones are right at your fingertips (a.k.a., your smartphone), like the KetoDiet app, which can help you calculate your macros and track your keto diet effectively.
You may also want to buy some Ketostix Reagent Strips so that you can check to see if you are in ketosis for the first few weeks. However, after the first 3-4 weeks on the plan, the goal is to become "keto-adapted". Once adapted, the body should be burning the ketones for fuel. The stick shouldn't register as deep purple if you are using the ketones as a fuel source. And they now have blood ketone meters available to track blood ketones at home. This is a much more accurate way to track your individual ketone levels. See my ketosis page for more information.
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.