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The Keto Diet Wasn't Enough to Reverse My Type 2 Diabetes – Healthline

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There’s no one-size-fits-all diet to help you manage your blood sugar. I learned that the best diet is the one that works for you.
If you’re living with type 2 diabetes, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the ketogenic (keto) diet, which has been praised for its potential to prevent or cure various diseases, including diabetes. Multitudes of fans swear by it for good blood sugar management.
A recovering lifelong dieter, I never thought I’d be drawn to what seemed like another fad diet. But then my mother died of a heart attack caused by congestive heart failure, a complication of type 2 diabetes.
Though I’d already been living with my own type 2 diabetes for nearly a decade, her death at the relatively young age of 66 was a wake-up call that prompted my own ongoing health journey.
After hearing claims of how people had reversed their diabetes and were able to stop taking medications by following the keto diet, I decided to give it a try.
The keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet that limits your carb intake to approximately 5 percent of your overall daily calories. The rest is made up of 10 to 20 percent protein and 75 to 85 percent fat.
By severely restricting carbs, you force your body to burn fat for fuel rather than glucose, the body’s primary source of energy. The byproduct of this fat-burning process is ketones, hence the name of the diet.
It’s also what makes it appealing for those with type 2 diabetes. After all, logic dictates if one doesn’t consume much dietary glucose (carbs), one’s blood sugar ought to remain relatively low.
Many with type 2 diabetes who follow the keto diet do see their blood sugars and A1C decrease, according to a 2020 meta-analysis in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.
It’s also what happened for me. However, my A1C didn’t decrease enough to reverse my diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), type 2 diabetes can’t be cured. Even if no symptoms manifest, the disease is still present and could recur.
However, it is possible to put it into complete or partial remission. This is achieved by reaching A1C levels of nondiabetic or prediabetic ranges without the use of medication.
According to the ADA, a nondiabetic A1C is below 5.7 percent. The prediabetic range is between 5.7 percent to 6.4 percent.
Although following the keto diet helped me reduce my medication, I couldn’t stop taking it. Therefore, I can’t count myself among those able to put their diabetes into remission.
However, I did learn a lot about the nature of diabetes, including how much I can affect my own health through changes to my lifestyle.
After following the diet for nearly 2 years, I believe the reasons keto wasn’t more effective for me come down to three main factors.
Most of us logically think if we don’t eat carbs, our blood sugar will go down. Unfortunately, when it comes to diabetes, things aren’t so simple. Although my blood sugars did go down with keto, they didn’t go down significantly, and I still needed medication to stay in goal range.
At first, I thought the solution was to eat even fewer carbs — as if 20 grams per day (the average consumed on a keto diet) wasn’t low enough!
So, I experimented with fasting as well as the carnivore diet. That’s when I finally discovered what was really happening.
I had some of the highest blood sugars of my life when I was on the carnivore diet and while fasting, despite not consuming any carbs. That’s because my liver was making glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.
Though the human body is designed to make ketones for fuel when glucose is scarce, it can’t function on ketones alone. Thus, the liver makes a supply of glucose during periods of starvation (including the absence of carbs) by synthesizing it from proteins.
Increased gluconeogenesis is thought to be a primary factor in type 2 diabetes and a cause of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Insulin is a key hormone that inhibits gluconeogenesis, but insulin resistance (the body’s inability to properly utilize insulin) causes impaired insulin signaling.
It’s clear the carnivore diet was a poor choice for me, but I had hyperglycemia even while fasting — with no carbs or protein for my liver to synthesize into glucose.
In someone without diabetes, fasting stimulates the hormone glucagon, which tells the liver to release its glucose stores, a process called glycogenolysis. Their body then produces insulin to rebalance their glucose levels.
But someone with type 2 diabetes may not be able to produce enough insulin to compensate for the increased glucose, especially if insulin resistance means they need extra amounts of it. Thus, when I fasted (or ate too few carbs) my blood sugars soared.
Over time, I learned I have a carb “sweet spot.” Too many carbs make my blood sugars go up, but so do too few. For me, keto was too few.
After a bad reaction to a diabetes medication that causes slow gastric emptying, I was determined to see if I could heal my gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition I had for over 2 decades. I believe GERD was primarily responsible for the reaction.
New research connects GERD with dysfunction in the gut microbiome, including in a 2019 study in the Journal of Thoracic Disease and a 2021 study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. So I gave a gut healing program a try.
By happy “accident,” not only did I succeed in healing my GERD, but my blood sugars also dramatically improved — more significantly than they had on keto!
I didn’t do the gut program for my diabetes, so I never would have believed the effect if I hadn’t experienced it for myself. But ultimately, it was healing my gut microbiome, not keto, that made the most difference for me.
It lowered my A1C enough that I could move from taking two medications down to just one — metformin, a drug that doesn’t affect insulin production. That means I sufficiently altered my insulin sensitivity such that my body makes enough of its own insulin to manage my blood sugar.
What was most surprising is that I ate more carbs on the gut diet, which allowed starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash, fiber-rich beans, whole grains like quinoa and black rice, and even some lower carb fruits like green apples — none of which are allowed on the keto diet.
This is when I finally discovered I do best on a moderately low carb diet, as long as I have a healthy gut microbiome. In fact, a higher carb allowance lets me feed my gut flora plenty of plant diversity, so I can maintain the good bacteria with prebiotics.
New research supports this for type 2 diabetes. A 2021 study in Life Sciences found that gut dysbiosis (a lack of beneficial bacteria in the gut) could be responsible for as much as 90 percent of type 2 diabetes cases. This is because regulation of metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and blood glucose levels begins in the gut.
When I was disappointed keto didn’t do more for my diabetes, my primary care doctor reminded me, as the ADA points out, there are more genetic factors involved in type 2 diabetes than even type 1 diabetes.
In fact, research shows that if one parent has type 2 diabetes, an individual has a 40 percent chance of developing the condition in their lifetime. If both parents have type 2 diabetes, that risk increases to 70 percent.
Sometimes, we can only influence so much.
This was the most important lesson keto taught me because it allowed me to finally stop blaming myself. Society constantly tells us that type 2 diabetes is a dietary disease when in fact, genetics play a huge role.
Despite knowing diabetes runs in my family, I blamed myself for years for being diabetic. Meanwhile, I watched everything I ate, while my friends and family without diabetes ate all the candy and carbs they wanted.
The self-blame didn’t make much sense, given how well I tried to take care of myself.
Type 2 diabetes is a multifactorial condition, involving both insulin resistance and deficient insulin production, research shows.
Many point to insulin resistance as the primary factor in type 2 diabetes, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. Yet research shows that even the development of insulin resistance, often blamed solely on lifestyle factors, can have a genetic component.
Moreover, because of these genetic factors, a 2016 study in Diabetes Care shows only about 40 percent of those with type 2 diabetes will be able to reverse it through diet and exercise. That leaves about 60 percent of us who can’t.
That doesn’t mean adopting a healthy lifestyle isn’t worth the effort, though. Although I can’t heal my genetics through diet and exercise, my efforts have shown I can influence my insulin resistance.
The work I’ve done to heal my gut microbiome and find the right amount of carbs that work for me has allowed me to keep my A1C below 7 percent on metformin alone. For me, this is major progress, as I was once on three diabetes medications.
Although keto wasn’t the best solution for me, I’m grateful for what it taught me about my type 2 diabetes. It started me on a journey that’s made me healthier than I’ve been in more than a decade.
Though our health may not always be 100 percent within our control, it’s taught me that there are at least a few things we can influence.
It’s also important to remember that everyone’s different. My experience with keto may not be the same as yours. There are thousands of people with type 2 diabetes who swear by the keto diet because it works for them.
My sister is one of them. She also has type 2 diabetes, but unlike me was able to put her diabetes into remission by following the keto diet.
There’s no one diabetes diet recommended by the ADA, and many types of diets can successfully help you manage your blood sugar. It just takes experimenting to see what works best for you.
Sarah Graves, PhD, lives in Ohio with her husband and son. Her work has appeared in print and online publications including USA Today, Money Crashers, Red Tricycle, and others. In addition to writing about personal development, parenting, education, personal finance, and creative entrepreneurship, she loves reading and writing sci-fi and fantasy — especially with her super amazing kid. Follow her on Twitter.
Last medically reviewed on October 29, 2021
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12 New Probiotic-Rich Products Guaranteed To Bring Harmony to Your Gut Microbiome – Well+Good

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Allie Flinn
But with so many options, it can be difficult to figure out which gut health foods are actually worth shelling out for. To get insight into the gut-healthiness of 12 new foods and beverages, we tapped registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, the host of Well+Good’s You Versus Food series. A word to the wise before we jump in: Be careful not to use any of these products as a cure for digestive issues rather than seeing an actual doctor, and consult with an RD or MD before trying any new form of gut-boosting food or beverage. “Some products claim to have gut-healing superpowers, so be weary if you are really trying to heal a GI condition with these without doing some research and talking to your doctor,” Lockwood-Beckerman cautions.
Ready to get gut-friendly? Read the RD’s thoughts and shop the microbiome-boosting products below.

GoodBelly To Go Fast Melts — $20.00

These are basically the probiotic version of pixie sticks—only with zero sugar and plenty of gut-boosting potential. Lockwood-Beckerman says these are a smart addition for people on-the-go. “These also helpful because GoodBelly added two scientifically-backed strains that help to reduce the severity of cold symptoms, which is especially key during travel,” says Lockwood-Beckerman. “That definitely can’t hurt!”

Olipop (12 Pack) — $36.00

This better-for-you soda brand recently added a new flavor, Classic Grape, to its lineup of flavors like Vintage Cola, Orange Squeeze, and Classic Root Beer. “Olipop is made with no artificial sweeteners and contains unique roots and botanicals that give this drink a whopping nine grams of fiber per can. Those nutritionals are pretty impressive,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.

Wildwonder Sparkling Prebiotic + Probiotic Water (12 Pack) — $42.00

“With plenty of fiber and immune enhancing ingredients like turmeric, elderberry, and ginger, Wildwonder has a unique combo of both beneficial prebiotics and probiotics. It also has functional herbs and real fruit, hammering home its holistic angle,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.

Poppi Sparking Prebiotic Soda (12 Pack) — $30.00

“Touted for its prebiotic powers, Poppi has made a splash in the good-for-you beverage world. It contains the ever-popular apple cider vinegar, which does contain healthy prebiotics, but the verdict is still out for its so-called ‘healing’ properties when it comes to cholesterol or metabolism management,” Lockwood-Beckerman explains. This writer is personally a fan of the Strawberry Lemon flavor.

Chi Kitchen Napa Kimchi — $10.00

“This delicious kimchi is fermented, which means it harbors gut-supporting probiotics such as lactic acid. Chi’s kimchi is also free of preservatives and focuses on the nature of eating more cabbage and wholesome vegetables, which is something we can all stand behind,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. Chi also offers a vegan version, along with fermented sesame slaw and kimchi pickles.

SMPL Immunity Bar (12 Pack) — $24.00

“Another vehicle to get in your daily dose of probiotics, this bar gets you 1 billion CFUs per bar. Its ingredients are pretty simple—clearly stated by the product’s name, SMPL—with almonds, quinoa and flax meal being its primary make up,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “SMPL’s super berry bars are doubly functional because they contains 100 percent of your vitamin C requirements from the addition of acerola cherries.”

Lifeway Cultured Oat — $6.00

The newest addition to Lifeway’s gut-friendly offerings is dairy-free and available in a plain flavor, as well as flavors like blueberry maple oat and berries and cream oat. “Serving up both dairy-free and gluten-free oats and ten live and active vegan cultures, this alt milk is as functional as it gets. Plus, with a pretty short and simple ingredient list, it’s bound to be a household favorite,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.

Lavva Dairy-Free Yogurt — $3.00

“Cornering the market as one of the lowest sugar yogurts thanks to the use of the pili nut, this yogurt also contains both pre and probiotics,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. 50 billion strains at that. “Without any added sugar, gums, added flavors, or dairy, it’s a great gut-friendly food for those following a vegan or plant-based diet. You may want to add some fruit or flavorful spices to make it an even more scrumptious situation for your tastebuds.”

DAH! Yogurt Smoothie (6 Pack) — $65.00

“Slow-cultured yogurt is busting into the yogurt scene, and I’m here for it,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “The slower processing yogurt lends itself to a naturally more nutritious option with a higher probiotic count and lower sugar. There’s a variety of yogurts and yogurt-based smoothies to choose from depending on your dietary needs like lassi, almond, and dahi yogurt. For context, their oat, almond, and coconut blended yogurt contains 50 billion probiotics per serving and one can of prebiotic soda typically contains just 1 billion probiotics per can.”

Dalci Dark Chocolate Brownies (6 Pack) — $19.00

“This is a ‘better for you’ brownie whose mission isn’t meant to be a health booster or a healing food, but rather a treat that happens to be more natural and holistic than its traditional counterparts,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “It contains pretty wholesome ingredients—like avocado oil and almond flour—so it can be enjoyed by those looking for anti-inflammatory ingredients.” In addition to brownies, they also offer an Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Blondie, Apple Spice Blondie, and Lemon Coconut Blondie.

Health-Ade Pop (4 Pack) — $8.00

You’re probably familiar with the Health-Ade’s probiotic-rich kombucha, but if you’re looking for something a little different, check out their probiotic sodas. “These cans are packing both the fizz and the function thanks to the prebiotics. Why not reap some gut-balancing health benefits while sipping this organic, gluten-free, and vegan bubbly?” Lockwood-Beckerman says.

AYO Almond Yogurt — $2.00

“This vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free yogurt is all about the almond. From the growth and picking of the almond to the churning and cultivating of the the yogurt, this company puts all its pride and focus into maintaining its four generation family-run almond farm,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. It’s also packed with probiotics and contains six grams of heart-healthy fiber per serving.

 

These are basically the probiotic version of pixie sticks—only with zero sugar and plenty of gut-boosting potential. Lockwood-Beckerman says these are a smart addition for people on-the-go. “These also helpful because GoodBelly added two scientifically-backed strains that help to reduce the severity of cold symptoms, which is especially key during travel,” says Lockwood-Beckerman. “That definitely can’t hurt!”
This better-for-you soda brand recently added a new flavor, Classic Grape, to its lineup of flavors like Vintage Cola, Orange Squeeze, and Classic Root Beer. “Olipop is made with no artificial sweeteners and contains unique roots and botanicals that give this drink a whopping nine grams of fiber per can. Those nutritionals are pretty impressive,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“With plenty of fiber and immune enhancing ingredients like turmeric, elderberry, and ginger, Wildwonder has a unique combo of both beneficial prebiotics and probiotics. It also has functional herbs and real fruit, hammering home its holistic angle,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“Touted for its prebiotic powers, Poppi has made a splash in the good-for-you beverage world. It contains the ever-popular apple cider vinegar, which does contain healthy prebiotics, but the verdict is still out for its so-called ‘healing’ properties when it comes to cholesterol or metabolism management,” Lockwood-Beckerman explains. This writer is personally a fan of the Strawberry Lemon flavor.
“This delicious kimchi is fermented, which means it harbors gut-supporting probiotics such as lactic acid. Chi’s kimchi is also free of preservatives and focuses on the nature of eating more cabbage and wholesome vegetables, which is something we can all stand behind,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. Chi also offers a vegan version, along with fermented sesame slaw and kimchi pickles.
“Another vehicle to get in your daily dose of probiotics, this bar gets you 1 billion CFUs per bar. Its ingredients are pretty simple—clearly stated by the product’s name, SMPL—with almonds, quinoa and flax meal being its primary make up,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “SMPL’s super berry bars are doubly functional because they contains 100 percent of your vitamin C requirements from the addition of acerola cherries.”
The newest addition to Lifeway’s gut-friendly offerings is dairy-free and available in a plain flavor, as well as flavors like blueberry maple oat and berries and cream oat. “Serving up both dairy-free and gluten-free oats and ten live and active vegan cultures, this alt milk is as functional as it gets. Plus, with a pretty short and simple ingredient list, it’s bound to be a household favorite,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“Cornering the market as one of the lowest sugar yogurts thanks to the use of the pili nut, this yogurt also contains both pre and probiotics,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. 50 billion strains at that. “Without any added sugar, gums, added flavors, or dairy, it’s a great gut-friendly food for those following a vegan or plant-based diet. You may want to add some fruit or flavorful spices to make it an even more scrumptious situation for your tastebuds.”
“Slow-cultured yogurt is busting into the yogurt scene, and I’m here for it,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “The slower processing yogurt lends itself to a naturally more nutritious option with a higher probiotic count and lower sugar. There’s a variety of yogurts and yogurt-based smoothies to choose from depending on your dietary needs like lassi, almond, and dahi yogurt. For context, their oat, almond, and coconut blended yogurt contains 50 billion probiotics per serving and one can of prebiotic soda typically contains just 1 billion probiotics per can.”
“This is a ‘better for you’ brownie whose mission isn’t meant to be a health booster or a healing food, but rather a treat that happens to be more natural and holistic than its traditional counterparts,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “It contains pretty wholesome ingredients—like avocado oil and almond flour—so it can be enjoyed by those looking for anti-inflammatory ingredients.” In addition to brownies, they also offer an Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Blondie, Apple Spice Blondie, and Lemon Coconut Blondie.
You’re probably familiar with the Health-Ade’s probiotic-rich kombucha, but if you’re looking for something a little different, check out their probiotic sodas. “These cans are packing both the fizz and the function thanks to the prebiotics. Why not reap some gut-balancing health benefits while sipping this organic, gluten-free, and vegan bubbly?” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“This vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free yogurt is all about the almond. From the growth and picking of the almond to the churning and cultivating of the the yogurt, this company puts all its pride and focus into maintaining its four generation family-run almond farm,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. It’s also packed with probiotics and contains six grams of heart-healthy fiber per serving.
 
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How Fitness Might Help You Live Longer – Southlake Style

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January 18, 2022
11:29 PM
Exercise is more important than weight loss for improving the prospects of a longer life, according to “The New York Times.” 
In their most recent episode, “Strength Changes Everything” podcast co-hosts Brian Cygan and Amy Hudson discuss the research findings found in Gretchen Reynolds’ article, “Why Exercise Is More Important For A Longer Life.” 
Gretchen says research shows that exercising matters more statistically than losing weight for a person’s longevity. Losing weight is hard, that’s why it has to be combined with nutritional changes and exercise that maximizes muscle health. The research looked at overweight and obese individuals with health problems and found that people who exercise saw great results, regardless of whether or not they lost weight. 
Brian emphasizes that a higher level of fitness is more important to longevity than weight loss. Cutting calories without strength training is one of the worst ways to lose weight. Activity alone has its limitations related to weight loss and increasing longevity. Meanwhile, intentional exercise with the goal to improve muscle quality is one of the best predictors of mortality. Exercise and muscle mass alone doesn’t increase your longevity, but they are correlated to the physiological effects that do such as blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance. 
Being fit at any weight is far more important than the numbers on the scale. Learn more by listening to the “Strength Changes Everything” podcast episode No. 56.  
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Hurricanes hold first offseason workout with new staff – 247Sports

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The Mario Cristobal-led Miami Hurricanes went back to work on Tuesday.
After the team reported on Monday, they participated in their first day of the offseason strength and conditioning practices engineered by Aaron Feld, who arrives with Cristobal from Oregon.
“Aaron is more than just a difference maker as a strength and conditioning coach,” Cristobal said. “He is a game-changer in terms of fostering team culture, instilling discipline and building the DNA of a championship football program.”
The team was broken down into groups with each group going for about 90 minutes with the focus being on “the little details” according to a source.
The strength and conditioning program will continue five times a week over the next two months.
Feld is the Hurricanes’ head strength and conditioning coach after serving in a corresponding role at Oregon the previous four years.
“You don’t move across the country for just any school or just any coach,” Feld said. “That’s the biggest thing. If the ‘U’ wasn’t what the ‘U’ is and if coach Cristobal isn’t who he is, this wouldn’t be happening. I know it’s a place where we can build a perennial contender. You go from good to great, great to elite, and elite to unbreakable–-that’s the culture we’ve developed over the last four years. We had the same ideas coming in, but we’ve watched it evolve into a process that has not only proven effective, but reproducible.”
Feld is joined on the Miami staff from Oregon by Jeff Eaton, an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator.
“Jeff Eaton is my right hand,” Feld said. “Before he’s a great strength coach, he is a phenomenal human being. He is one of the top-level, highest moral fiber, highest DNA quality of a human being I’ve ever been around. That’s before you even consider the fact that he’s one of the best strength coaches I’ve ever worked with. He looks the part, he walks the walk, he talks the talk, and he’s everything you’d want in one of your assistants.”
Tuesday also marked the first day of the spring semester. Early enrollees have until Jan. 26 to register for classes.
“Excitement is an understatement,” Eaton said. “I get goosebumps when I think about it. I know the caliber of man that coach Cristobal is and I know the caliber of man coach Feld is and I’m just so happy to be a part of it. To be considered in that regard, to be alongside these guys, it’s a tremendous feeling and I’m super humbled and super grateful that they would bring me along so we can continue to build this up.”
The start date for spring practices have not been announced, but are expected to begin in March with the annual spring game in April.
Miami is coming off a 7-5 season. It is slated to open its 2022 campaign on Sept. 3 against Bethune-Cookman with a full schedule expected to be released later this month.
“Every single year is a new team and every single year is a new challenge,” Feld said. “You don’t go hoping to build something in five years. It starts right now.”
Christopher Stock has covered the Miami Hurricanes since 2003 and can be reached by e-mail at stock@insidetheu.com and on Twitter @InsideTheU.
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