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SoOoOoOoOooo…..I’ve decided to quit keto.

This decision was not a fast or easy one. It took a couple months and A LOT of trial and error to figure out what was going on with my sugars. 

In the beginning keto seemed to be the answer to all most of my diabetic prayers. It stabilized my sugar, required less insulin, and didn’t require as many finger jabs. The first 6 months were amazing!

And then I got pregnant.

During pregnancy I increased my carb intake slightly because that’s what my body was craving. 

After pregnancy I went back to keto and that’s when I started noticing a very bad trend happening.

All of a sudden I needed more basal. Then I needed a more aggressive bolus ratio. Then I needed a temp basal running for 4-5hrs after I ate. And despite all that I still wasn’t “in-range”.

WTF was going on? Before I knew it I would spike into the 300 zone after eating a measly 10g carbs THAT.I.BOLUSED.FOR.. I had more than doubled my insulin needs despite eating less than 20g carbs per day.

I went down the usual list of culprits (changing my pump, doing MDI injections, changed insulin vials, and I got even more aggressive with my ratios), but nothing seemed to work. I blamed it on post partum hormones, breastfeeding hormones, and the fact that I was likely experiencing a little bit of diabetes burn out. I figured it was a phase and it would pass… but after 1.5 years nothing was getting better.

I often thought, how was I able to control my sugars better during pregnancy than I am post pregnancy? When I finally got an appointment with my endo, and not just her nurse, she said something like “oh yeah, I see this with a lot of my patients on keto“.

I was speechless, but FULL of emotion. I felt pissed that my endos nurse blew my INSANE sugars off as just “that’s life honey”. I felt stupid for not looking into my symptoms sooner. And I felt deceived by what I thought was my miracle diet. 

When I got home I sat my butt down on the computer and researched. I checked PubMed, Facebook, Reddit, Google, and polled you guys on IG to see what people were saying about carb sensitivity + Keto.

Turns out, it IS a thing.

 

Carb Sensitivity on Keto

The whole point of a keto diet is to have your body go into a state of ketosis – which is when you burn your own fat (and muscle) instead of sugar for fuel. In the beginning this diet will make you feel more alert, it will drop your insulin needs, and you will lose fat. Which all sounds great, right? The problem is that Ketosis is a state that your body goes into during times of famine. This is an incredibly stressful state for the body to be in. Especially long term.

That clear minded/alert feeling is because your body is pumping out adrenaline as a stress response. It’s not sustainable and will result in burned out adrenals causing you to feel less alert and foggy minded among other things. 

The rapid fat loss is because your body has no other fuel sources. It has to break down it’s own fat and eventually muscle tissue in order to stay alive. But because rapid fat loss sends the signal to your body that food is scarce, overtime it slows down your metabolism & thyroid, which leads to insulin resistance[3]

The initial insulin sensitivity is due to the obvious, less carb intake, but also because less body fat increases your insulin sensitivity. However, once you’ve burned out your adrenals, slowed down your metabolism and thyroid, that’s when the insulin resistance kicks in.

 

How to Fix Carb Sensitivity

The body is truly an amazing healer. In terms of healing your metabolism after keto, the protocol is simple. Eat more carbs and eat often. Focusing on foods that are nutrient dense and healing to the gut.

During this healing phase you’re going to have to give a lot more insulin than you’re used to because of how resistant the keto body is to carbs. So my advise would be to slowly increase your carbs.

What worked for me was running a temp basal increase of 50% all day long (which is think is 150% if you’re on medtronic?).

Then I slowly bumped up my carb intake per meal/snack. I went from eating 0-5g net carbs per meal to 10g to 15g to 20g.  Now I eat anywhere from 15g-30g net carbs per meal/snack. My total g of net carbs went from 20g net to around 100g net carbs daily. 

Slowly but surely my carb sensitivity was going away.

  • After 1 week I was able to cut my temp basal down to only a 30% increase
  • After 2 weeks I didn’t need a temp basal running at all
  • After 3 weeks I got a nasty cold/virus and needed to go back to a 30% increase in temp basal for a few days. Once my cold was over I removed the temp basal and even noticed a couple lows after meals.
  • After 4 weeks I adjusted some of my ratios and was almost back to where I was pre carb sensitivity.
  • After 2 months I am finally back to my pre-keto numbers

 

 

Have you Experienced Carb Sensitivity on Keto?

I would love to know! Let me know in the comments below. And remember friends, be friendly 🙂 I know this can be a charged topic. 

 

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  1. Kacey January 8, 2020 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Same thing happened to me a few months ago which is why I stopped keto. I still eat low cab, just not to the extreme of keto. Took me a couple months to bounce back.

    • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Seems to be the trend right now. Every went keto around the same time, and now most of us seem to be running into carb sensitivity issues. SMH, can’t we catch a break? lol

      • Nyomi Sims March 13, 2021 at 10:15 am - Reply

        Would increasing muscle mass be a reliable alternative to controlling blood sugar as opposed to just not ever having any carbs? Lifting weights?

  2. Jessica M January 8, 2020 at 9:02 am - Reply

    I’ve been keto for a few months now (eating 0-20g carbs daily) and haven’t run into this, but I have a couple dia-friends who have and chose to stop keto. Maybe I haven’t been on it long enough? or maybe I’m one of the lucky ones? I’m hoping it doesn’t ahppen to me because keto is doing wonders for my bg line.

    • Katreen January 8, 2020 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      Gosh, I feel with you Jessica! I’ve just started a sugar/carb detox which is basically straight up keto and like you said, my bg line is incredibly stable. I really don’t want to get off keto now that I’m seeing the wonderful effects of it, and all the wonders that a stable bg line does for our emotional life and physical and mental energy. I’ve read about “targeted keto diet” which incorporates more carbs before and during exercise. Maybe that could be an option for us diabetics to stay keto (i.e. still getting the benefits of keto) but making sure that we still produce those carb enzymes. For the past week I’ve been reducing the basal dose down to almost nothing when I exercise, but once I’ll try the targeted keto (which they recommend you to start AFTER you’ve done standard keto for 4-6 weeks to adjust your body correctly) I might just leave the basal at more normal level and instead eat some carbs.
      Rachel- have you been experimenting with the targeted keto? It sounds like you were on the standard keto if you restricted yourself to <20g per day. I think the targeted keto allows you up to 50g per day.
      Either way, THANK YOU for this post! It's great for me to be aware of this potential consequence of carb sensitivity.

      • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 10:12 am - Reply

        I think I did targeted keto without even knowing it haha. I did strict keto for just over a month, then loosened up went to 60g daily during pregnancy and that first year postpartum. Then went back to strict keto (<20) and ate that way for about 6 months then noticed this trend happening. My body (especially my endocrine system) seems to be much happier in the 60-100g range 🙂

  3. Eva January 8, 2020 at 10:31 am - Reply

    This happened to me too. I blamed it on the higher fat and increased protein. So I allow a small amount of carbohydrates basically low-carb but not no carb on average 15 to 25 g a day with no wheat only clean carbs like beets and vegetables once in a while I will have one slice of toast with an egg. When I exercise I eat a small apple or orange to bring my blood sugar to normal. Still my blood sugars are not always perfect but in reasonable range. What a full time job!

    • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 10:19 am - Reply

      Funny that you say that, I thought the same thing in the very beginning of going LCHF. I thought it was the fat and protein slowing down my absorption. I even brought it up to my endo and she was like, no, it’s probably delayed stomach emptying. When I got pregnant and naturally increase my carbs to 60-100g daily by just listening to what my body was craving (in a healthy sense-I wasn’t like “mama needs cake” lol), I seemed to have a much easier time.

  4. Mallory January 8, 2020 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Girl. All I have to say is… S A M E

    • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 10:14 am - Reply

      saaaaaaaame 🙂

  5. Gwen Hind January 8, 2020 at 10:58 am - Reply

    OK THANK YOU.I thought I was losing my mind! My endo had no answers for me, just “you must be getting insulin resistant – here is a script for metformin”. gag. why do they never look at diet first?!?! You just saved me from metformin. thank you thank you thank you.

    • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Seriously! It’s like doctors have forgotten how to critically think. To be fair, allopathic doctors reccomend allopathic medicine. I would love to find an alternative endo <3

  6. Rick Phillips January 8, 2020 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    I have never tired keto, because I knew before the start it would never be sustainable for me. I just would never do it.

    For me it is balance. I am all balance in most things, especially what I eat. I am sorry it did not work out. I applaud people who find the right diet for themselves. In my case I do weight watchers and have lost a good deal (around 60 pounds) of weight. Like you say not all diets work for all or even most, people.

    • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 10:04 am - Reply

      Agree, balance is key. And keto is pretty extreme. I chalk it up to a good learning experience 🙂

  7. C Jenkins January 9, 2020 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Can you give some suggestions about which carbs you used to reintroduce them to your body? I feel like this is happening to me on what I would call a low carb diet. It’s so frustrating!!!! I’ve had to increase and increase basal the past couple of weeks. I’d like to try to increase my carb sensitivity again see if that helps. Just hoping for some suggestions about which carbs to start with. Thanks!

    • T1D Living January 9, 2020 at 9:54 am - Reply

      I struggled hardcore trying to think of how to introduce more carbs. I’ve been eating this way for so long I forgot how to make meals that had a carb count to them. I’ve been adding rice to a lot of meals, sweet potatoes, snacking on fruit, making fruit smoothies, and I made a homemade bread that I pair with a lot of my meals too.

      • C Jenkins January 9, 2020 at 2:05 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the suggestions!

      • C Jenkins January 22, 2020 at 3:18 pm - Reply

        Are you able to share your homemade bread recipe? Still struggling a bit to incorporate carbs without just thinking it’s down-right wrong. The labels at the store for bread products is somewhat scary!!! Thanks!

        • T1D Living February 20, 2020 at 11:29 am - Reply

          Yes 🙂 That’s a great post idea! I’ll add it to my schedule for March!

  8. Shelby May 5, 2020 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    you are so very helpful and inspirational !
    How do you balance your ketones on the keto diet ?
    a month in, i was loving life, stable sugars, weight loss and then i started feeling icky i realized i had moderate to large ketones and symptoms of DKA im able to get the ketones down with lots of water and some extra bolus but its like they come right back, is this normal? i don’t miss taking the extra 20+ units a day and carb counting like maniac. And now I’m experiencing this carb sensitivity and i feel insulin resistant as well which i didn’t even know was a thing, until now
    ( excuse me, im young and new to this )

  9. Kami July 7, 2020 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been struggling with a certain infection that was caused by sugar. I used to bake a lot of low sugar cakes and was able to eat them no prob in small amounts. Then I decided to improve my immunity by going on GAPS. But I couldn’t tolerate some stuff on GAPS and taking it out it turned it into KETO. I’ve been on it maybe for 5 years. First I got sensitive to added sugar, then to fruit, then to lactose, then to starches. Now I can’t eat even NUTS. My diet is greens that I grow in the garden + meat + eggs. I get that goddamn infection from a tiny bit of lemon juice. And there is so many reasons for this. It’s not only that my body got sensitive to sugar but also it got into a constant fight and flight due to cortisol production. Moreover, even with all avocados and greens I eat I am constantly potassium deficient. So Keto is not a healthy diet whatsoever. All keto trainers take supplements :DDD Hypokalemia and raised cortisol causes anxiety, food restrictions cause psychological anxiety – my immunity is always challenged. My question – will it ever go back to normal? I’m trying to introduce carbs slowly but I’m really really scared.

    • T1D Living July 16, 2020 at 9:05 am - Reply

      That’s wild! I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with that right now. It took me several months to get back to normal. Are you working with a doctor you like? Sounds like there are a lot of underlying hormonal imbalances at play too. A doctor who studies Holistic health would be the first doctor I would look into because they look at the whole body and not just one specific area like allopathic
      medicine tends to do.

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