The carnivore diet is a high-fat, low to zero-carbohydrate diet that consists of eating only animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the carnivore diet can be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes to reduce their insulin dose or ultimately come off their insulin completely.
One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who followed a carnivore diet for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in their blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and body weight. Another study found that people with type 2 diabetes who followed a carnivore diet for 24 weeks could reduce their medication by an average of 50%.
The carnivore diet is thought to help with diabetes by reducing insulin resistance and inflammation. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for helping glucose enter the cells. Inflammation is a process that can damage cells and tissues, and it is thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
The carnivore diet is also thought to help with weight loss in some people, which can also improve blood sugar control. Weight loss can help to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, and it can also help to improve the body’s ability to use insulin.
What role does insulin play in T2 diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. Glucose is a type of sugar that comes from the food we eat. When we eat carbohydrate-rich food, our bodies break down the carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose then enters our bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose get out of our bloodstream and into our cells, where it can be used for energy.
In people with type 2 diabetes, their bodies do not make enough insulin or do not use insulin effectively. This is called insulin resistance. When insulin resistance occurs, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of entering the cells. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
Several factors can contribute to insulin resistance, including:
- Eating a high-carbohydrate diet
- Physical inactivity
- Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Certain medications, such as steroids
Lifestyle changes that can help to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes include:
- Losing weight
- Eating a healthy, low-carbohydrate animal-based (keto or carnivore) diet
- Exercising regularly
- Working with your doctor to adjust and reduce insulin medication as your condition improves
Managing blood sugar levels is essential for people with type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar levels can lead to many serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney disease.
But what about gluconeogenesis?
Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway that helps to produce all the glucose we need. Gluconeogenesis occurs mainly in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the cortex of the kidneys. It is an energy-intensive process requiring the input of ATP. However, it is essential for maintaining blood sugar levels, especially during times of fasting or starvation.
The brain and red blood cells are two tissues that are completely dependent on glucose for energy. They cannot use other energy sources, such as fatty acids or ketone bodies. Therefore, gluconeogenesis is essential for these tissues to function properly.In addition to the brain and red blood cells, other tissues that use glucose for energy include the heart, muscles, and kidneys. Gluconeogenesis helps to ensure that these tissues have a continuous supply of glucose when dietary carbohydrates are not present.
Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrate carbon substrates. It is a ubiquitous process, present in plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. In vertebrates, gluconeogenesis occurs mainly in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the cortex of the kidneys. It is one of two primary mechanisms – the other being the degradation of glycogen (glycogenolysis) – used by humans and many other animals to maintain blood sugar levels, avoiding low levels (hypoglycemia).
The pathway of gluconeogenesis is essentially the reverse of glycolysis, with a few key differences. First, gluconeogenesis requires energy in the form of ATP, which is generated by the citric acid cycle. Second, gluconeogenesis requires several enzymes that are not present in glycolysis. Third, gluconeogenesis is regulated by a number of hormones, including glucagon, growth hormone, and cortisol.
The major substrates for gluconeogenesis are lactate, glycerol, and glucogenic amino acids. Lactate is produced by anaerobic glycolysis in muscle cells. Glycerol is a component of triglycerides, which are stored in adipose tissue. Glucogenic amino acids are amino acids that can be converted to glucose.
Gluconeogenesis is a natural process that produces all the glucose our body needs. Humans have zero need to consume carbohydrate foods to survive. We need to eat fat and protein, or we will die. But we don’t need to consume any carbohydrates. We cannot die from carbohydrate deficiency!
Learn more about insulin resistance
By far, the best way to learn more about insulin resistance is to follow Professor Ben Bikman, an expert in insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic disease, and neurodegenerative disease.
Professor Bikman is a PhD in bioenergetics and did a postdoc in metabolic disorders, and he is an associate professor at BYU in the Department of Physiology and developmental biology. Bikman clarifies his dissenting view of type 2 diabetes, which conventional medicine considers a glucose disease, but he views it as an insulin disease.
Insulin resistance refers to the perspective of the cell in which some cells, like muscle and fat cells, manifest insulin resistance in an isolated cell. Bikman believes that a low-carb diet can reduce insulin resistance and advises people to reduce or eliminate highly processed foods from their diet to improve insulin sensitivity.
“Type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. That is, type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance that has progressed to the point where the body is unable to keep blood glucose levels below the clinically relevant 126 mg/dL.”Ben Bikman – Why We Get Sick
In his excellent book, Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic at the Root of Most Chronic Disease and How to Fight It, Bikman outlines the many underlying causes that contribute to insulin sensitivity and how we can address them to reverse insulin sensitivity and improve our health.
This is an easy-to-read book – even for those with little medical knowledge or understanding of human biology. Professor Bikman does a fantastic job of explaining in layperson’s terms what is making more people sick today with metabolic disease than ever before and the importance of why we need to reverse it.
“Most people with insulin resistance will ultimately die from heart disease or other cardiovascular complications; others will develop Alzheimer’s disease, breast or prostate cancers, or any number of other lethal diseases.”Ben Bikman – Why We Get Sick
Chronic diseases linked to insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for helping glucose (sugar) enter the cells for energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, which can lead to several health problems.
Some of the chronic diseases that are linked to insulin resistance include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible. There are many things that you can do to improve your insulin sensitivity, including:
- Losing weight
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress
- Taking supplements such as chromium, magnesium, and berberine
How should T2 diabetics follow the carnivore diet?
For people with type 2 diabetes, the carnivore diet can be a safe and effective way to improve their blood sugar control. In a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, people with type 2 diabetes who followed the carnivore diet for 12 weeks significantly improved their blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and A1C levels.
If you are considering following the carnivore diet for type 2 diabetes, it is important to talk to your doctor first. Unfortunately, many GPs still push a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet according to the Government food pyramid, so they won’t be open to your decision.
It can help to seek a more up-to-date doctor with dietary research and encourages low-carb, keto and carnivore diets. They can help you ensure that the diet is safe for you and that you get the necessary nutrients. They can regularly test, adjust and lower your insulin medication prescription as your insulin sensitivity improves.
Here are some tips for following the carnivore diet for T2 diabetes:
- Start slowly. The carnivore diet is a significant change, so it is essential to start slowly. Start by eliminating one type of carbohydrate at a time, and give your body time to adjust.
- Eat plenty of fatty meat. Fatty meat is essential for the carnivore diet. It provides the body with energy and helps to keep you feeling full.
- Avoid processed meats. Processed meats are high in sodium and other unhealthy additives. Stick to unprocessed meats like beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and fish.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is essential for good health, and it is especially important for people following the carnivore diet. Water helps to flush out toxins and keep the body hydrated.
- Get enough electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that help to regulate the body’s fluid balance and nerve function. Electrolytes are lost through sweat, so it is essential to get enough electrolytes if you are following the carnivore diet. You can get electrolytes from meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. You can learn more about this by reading my post: Do You Need Electrolytes On A Carnivore Diet?
- Listen to your body. The carnivore diet is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. Listen to your body and make adjustments to the diet as needed. It can help to join a carnivore diet support group on Facebook, such as Zero Carb Carnivore UK, to get plenty of support and advice on your journey to better health through eating a carnivore diet.
You may also be interested in the following posts:
Which Kitchen Knives Are Good To Use On A Carnivore Diet?
What Are The Best Chopping Boards For Preparing Meat?
Do You Need Electrolytes On A Carnivore Diet?
Pork Scratchings Vs Pork Crunch on The Carnivore Diet
Also available to buy: Everything You Need to Get Started on a Carnivore Diet: Tips on the kitchen, cooking, storage, tools and equipment you need to make following this healthy way of eating easy! (Kindle eBook). Also available on Smashwords.