The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. Keith Runyan
I think it is very clear that, when discussing diabetes, I am almost always talking about type 2. Mostly, this is because type 2 diabetes is so much more common and, to a significant degree, avoidable.
Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is less related to lifestyle choices as it is an autoimmune condition.
By and large, dietary recommendations for type 1 diabetic patients center on trying to supply carbohydrates to balance the dosage of insulin that is being used. Our guest today, Dr. Keith Runyan, himself a type 1 diabetic and the author of a groundbreaking book on the subject, challenges this long-held approach. Dr. Runyan believes that by allowing the body to adapt to using fat as its primary energy source, a healthier relationship exists in terms of keeping blood sugar in balance, as well as in overall health. Again, this idea is not generally accepted amongst mainstream healthcare providers, But for those of you who have been following the ketogenic diet story, what Dr. Runyan has discovered does indeed have significant scientific underpinning.
Dr. Runyan has practiced clinical medicine in the areas of emergency medicine, internal medicine, nephrology, and obesity medicine for 28 years. As mentioned, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998 and with conventional advice achieved the “recommended” HbA1c of 6.5-7% over the next 14 years. However, he was disturbed by frequent unpleasant and embarrassing hypoglycemic episodes. After starting regular exercise to train for triathlons in 2007, his glycemic control actually worsened while taking sports gels to prevent hypoglycemia. When he contemplated doing an Ironman distance triathlon, he sought a better method to control his diabetes.
He came across the ketogenic diet in 2012 and experienced not only an improvement in glycemic control, but also a reduction in hypoglycemia and its symptoms. He completed an Ironman distance triathlon in 2012, without hypoglycemia or the need for sugar or food due to the fat adaptation afforded by the ketogenic diet. He is now an advocate for the use of the ketogenic diet for the management of diabetes and has co-authored the book, The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes, which explains its use and benefits for type 1 diabetes. He documents his glycemic results on his blog.