Keto food from the Caribbean: curried chicken cauliflower rice

Keto, diabetes and cholesterol: Beyond weight loss.

What if I told you diabetes could be reversed without drugs? What if I told you cholesterol could come down without drugs? Well there are living, breathing examples on the planet where this has happened. And it hasn’t happened at the expense of their general well-being and feelings of being satisfied either. Eschew all thoughts of strict, painful eating regimes where you are relegated to bowls of undressed lettuce leaves and gallons of almond milk (I happen to like lettuce and almond milk, but I like them with my steak and cheese and coffee and butter). These people are adherents to the keto (short for ketogenic) diet and not only have they have lost weight, but they’ve had some pretty awesome changes in other areas of their lives. Serious chronic illnesses have totally disappeared in some instances!

I’m part of a few low-carb online support groups. These groups comprise men and women from all over the world, mostly from North America, who are bound by their desire to change their lives by cutting carbohydrates (carbs) from their diet. We band together because this way of eating is not the norm. It challenges the conventional “balanced meal” notion that we all grew up on. Keto dieters consume fats and protein mostly. Yes, we consume fats…good fats. So keto dieters who have personally seen the benefits of this way of eating, unite to support and encourage each other in the face of criticism from onlookers. And we understand. How could the experts be wrong? Fat makes you fat, right? NO! As they say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”… (see what I did there?)  I go into more detail on the science behind the keto diet here and tackle some of the tougher questions on keto and low-carb eating that have come my way.

weight loss transformation with the keto diet
Weight Loss on the Keto Diet

More than weight loss: how keto changed their lives.

These are voluntary testimonials shared in various low-carb support group online fora. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Ginnie’s testimony:

I finished my cancer treatments last December. I was up to 191 lbs. At only 5’4, I was miserable. When I finally felt somewhat human and had kicked cancer’s ass, I began my next battle…my weight. Through the help of this group, I have lost 18 lbs (down to 174) , acid reflux and arthritis. I haven’t felt this well in a long time.  I am now 1 year cancer free. I will continue to battle the other 30 lbs to hopefully attain 140 lbs.

Bob’s testimony

I’ve been doing very low-carb or no-carb as much as possible, and one meal a day now for 6 weeks. My start weight was 165 kg (363 lbs). I’m now 140 kg (308 lbs). My blood sugars started at A1C 14 and regular meter readings were 18. They’re now 3.8 before meals and 4.5 1 hour after meal. My blood pressure was 150/90 now is 115/65. I stopped taking meds a week ago. I was on 2 meds for blood pressure and 2 more for diabetes.

Melli’s testimony

Y’all know of the significant weight loss I’ve had since starting keto at the beginning of this year. Last week at the doctor I told her about the dizziness I’d been feeling. Guess what? They took me off of atenolo blood pressure medication. I been on that since I was 16 years old!

Stephy’s testimony

I have been fighting back against type 2 diabetes this year. Doctors wanted to throw more medications at me and I was looking to start insulin. I started the keto diet. I am officially down 50.2 lbs since March 12, 2018. I’m medication free and my numbers are better now than with the medication! 

Chrissie’s testimony

My husband was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes on May 18th and put on a low-carb diet. He just got his 3 month lab results back:

He’s lost 4 pant sizes and although we don’t know the exact weight loss number, he’s lost 34 lbs in just the last month and I think he’s lost at least 50 lbs overall!

His A1C went from 10.7 to 5.2 so he is no longer considered diabetic or even pre -diabetic and can officially stop taking his Metformin. He will continue low-carb for life of course.

His HDL went from 23 to 28. Still too low but it’s improving and I expect it will continue to improve!

His triglycerides...and this is HUGE…went from 324 (omg that’s scary) to 159!!!!! So he’s only 9 over the normal range and I know it will keep dropping, hoping for double digits!!!!

His glucose blood sugar went from 358 to 87!

So when people wonder if this lifestyle is unhealthy and will kill you sooner…I say…his numbers do not lie! Diabetes would have killed him and now he is healthier at 43 than he’s ever been!

Julie’s testimony

I was a size 5X, diabetic, high cholesterol, severely depressed, no motivation and definitely no self esteem or self worth person! Now I’m a size 2X, I have no diabetes and my cholesterol is normal after sticking to a keto diet.

Laurie’s testimony

Quarterly check up today! A1C 5.7, cholesterol and triglycerides great. Doctor took me off metformin and lisinopril. My main goal for this lifestyle change has been to get off these meds. I am rejoicing!

Robert’s testimony

I just got got great news on my lab tests last Friday. 6 months ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. My blood glucose was 305 and A1C was 13.2. Now, My BG is 93 and A1C 5.3. My total cholesterol is down to 190 and triglycerides is only 93. I have always hovered around 350-510 since 2013 and I take 2 cholesterol pills nightly. I am thrilled. And to be even happier, I have lost 42 pounds with no exercise because of a spinal condition. Just good eating and support from you all. 

Leroy’s testimony

Mac and cheese, bread, and potato salad… ALL made from cauliflower! I still find it hard to believe I was able to come off my diabetic medications just by making a few carb replacements in my diet.

Dick’s testimony

I had a physical today and just got my results back. A1C is down to 5.2. When it was 7.2 I refused to take diabetic medication, went low-carb instead. Success! Total cholesterol is now down to 181 from 240. Success! Low-carb does work, Folks. The Doc told me she would see me again in a year. So life is good. HAPPY.

Elizabeth’s testimony

I started low-carbing three months ago. I have diabetes and my blood sugar was out of control. I went to my doctor this morning. My blood sugar was so good that he took me off insulin. I am so excited!

My Own Testimony

I speak about the changes in my life since going keto here. I’ve lost weight, my moods have stabilized, my acne is gone, I haven’t had asthma or the ‘flu in the year since I’ve been keto, acid reflux is gone, sleep is better and my energy is up. My now 15 year old son has lost weight and is literally tall and skinny, with self-esteem replacing the pounds he’s shed. My husband, who looked on skeptically as we added fats to our diet and cut carbs, finally hopped on the band-wagon and he can’t stop marveling at how his own sinusitis has disappeared, how his joints no longer ache and how his runs are so much stronger and faster since removing carbs from his diet.

Keto and non-communicable Diseases: The Truth

Figures show that in CARICOM, 10-25% of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. 20-50% suffer from high blood pressure. 50% of people in Jamaica don’t even know if they are diabetic. And a whopping 80% of people in Jamaica don’t know they have high cholesterol. Get more scary facts about non-communicable diseases rates of incidence here.

Here’s the truth: people with type 2 diabetes are suffering needlessly. This is a disease that can be reversed! Instead, people living with T2D are pumped full of meds, their diabetes worsens and they get fatter. Ask anyone who has been on insulin long term how much weight they’ve gained since starting insulin. Ask them why their dosage keeps increasing. Doctors simply tell their patients on insulin who keep gaining weight to increase their exercise. Unnecessary suffering! The meds are geared towards lowering blood sugars which are merely a symptom of the actual disease diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs because of insulin resistance which I explained here. So increasing doses of the meds will keep blood sugars in check while the actual disease worsens, leading to issues with kidneys, hearts, eyesight, nerve damage and various forms of dementia. There is a better way. Dr. Jason Fung is worth checking out. His short video in that link breaks down the hope for reversal that exists and the way to do it by cutting carbs. Type 2 diabetes is a DIETARY disease. Other conditions like arthritis, cancer, dementia and high blood pressure also have dietary issues at their root. Why would you want to pump your body full of chemicals to correct something that has at the root of it an inappropriate diet? Think about it.

Here’s another good source to check out about diabetes and the traditional “balanced” diet. It references studies that counter our traditional understanding of our need for carbs (not true!). Have a look and weigh the evidence for yourself.

A typical Keto Meal: fish filet, shrimp in garlic & butter, cauliflower rice, garden salald.
A typical Keto Meal: fish filet, shrimp in garlic & butter, cauliflower rice, garden salad.

Cholesterol is another issue that is pulled out as a weapon against the keto diet. “Eating all that fat will increase my cholesterol!”. First understand your cholesterol numbers. Too many people are being treated for so-called high cholesterol unnecessarily. Did you know that most of the cholesterol in your body does NOT come from the food you eat? Did you know that there really is no sound evidence that low-fat diets result in better cholesterol readings? This is an interesting review that challenges our traditional understanding of cholesterol and what it all means and what will harm you and how. Not all fats are created equal. On keto we eat the good fats!

Go Keto with the bun-less burger with all the fixings
Go Keto with the bun-less burger with all the fixings

Keto and chronic diseases: science & testimonies

Look, you owe it to yourself to challenge your traditional understanding in the face of so much anecdotal evidence. In Jamaica the government is seeking to reduce the consumption of added sugars, especially in beverages. Bravo! That’s a great first step. But we need to look at how much starch -carbs- we consume! Even our grandparents who didn’t eat as much refined carbs like rice and pasta as we do today (refined carbs are really sugar…they break down quickly to glucose) suffered from diabetes. Think about it.

Your next move…

As you start your own re-learning process, consider the anecdotal evidence I shared. What do you have to lose? What will a 21 day experiment on keto do to harm you? Subscribe to my blog and get 8 easy keto recipes that helped me transition to a keto way of life. I’ve been at it for over a year now, so let no one tell you that it ain’t sustainable!

Join our Facebook group Caribbean Keto Tribe where we share and talk about all things keto from the Caribbean perspective. Good food, straight talk, questions and celebrations are what you’ll find here.

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Weight loss transformation on the keto diet
Keto causes weight loss and so much more

 

Disclaimer:

I am not a medical doctor nor am I a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. The information on this website is written and produced for informational purposes only. This website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program. 

4 thoughts on “Keto, diabetes and cholesterol: Beyond weight loss.”

  1. I have been on the keto diet for about a month, i have been a diabetic for more than 15 years. I have high blood pressure taking 2 meds plus i have been overweight for many years. Since starting the keto diet am off blood pressure medication, lost about 20 pounds never felt better in many years. No more joint pain, no bloating, no acid reflux etc. I was about to be placed on insulin for my diabetes, however am now almost off all diabetic medication , thats from seven tablets per day for diabetes to one tablet once or twice a week! Great to find other people in Jamaica who are on this journey.

    1. You have absolutely nothing to lose except unwanted weight! With a simple decision made and little planning you can absolutely do it and win. Try it!

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