Ketogenic (or keto) Diet is quite well-known for its incredible results for people on their weight-loss journeys. Turns out keto diet has multiple health benefits too, including for people with type 2 diabetes.
This high-fat, low-carb diet aims to put your body into a state where it has a different source of energy to metabolize. Dietary fats efficiently serve this purpose.
To get started with keto, replace the common energy source of your body, i.e. carbohydrates with fats, keeping your macros like the following:
- Fat – 70 to 80%
- Protein – 20%
- Carbohydrates – 5%
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels?
For individuals with diabetes, the glucose level in the blood is very high since their body fails to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Among the major reasons for high blood sugar levels is a high intake of carbohydrates.
Some common sources of carbohydrates are potatoes (including products made out of it), rice, bread, flour, etc.
How Keto Diet Works for Diabetics
The primary reason why keto diet helps manage diabetes is that it significantly lowers your everyday intake of carbohydrates.
Your body naturally produces insulin in the pancreas to transport the glucose from the bloodstream to different cells that burn it for energy production. The issue starts right with the effect of carbohydrates on your body when it fails at the production of insulin.
Since there is no dedicated resource for glucose regulation, it keeps increasing in the blood. The body starts storing excessive glucose in fat storage cells for future use.
As your carbohydrates’ intake is significantly low on this diet, the requirement for insulin is also dramatically reduced. Your body slowly becomes efficient at using glucose and, therefore, at diabetes management.
Owing to the keto diet, some recent studies have found that type 2 diabetes can be reversed when strict weight management is followed. A 2018’s study by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) considered this a strong evidence and added low-carbohydrate diets to their list of viable diabetes treatment.
How does High Fat affect People with Diabetes?
One of the reasons for people getting type 2 diabetes is a sedentary lifestyle that leads to weight gain. So, it might sound pretty illogical how a high-fat diet can help manage diabetes.
Remember that fat does not always mean bad fat. Consuming 1 gram of fat gives your body 9 calories, where carbohydrates give only 4 calories per gram. This also means that fat keeps you fuller than carbohydrates.
On the keto diet, you eat fat way more than carbohydrates and feel fuller, which further means that you tend to eat less and, thus, lose weight.
Can the Keto Diet be Dangerous for People with Diabetes?
Getting into the state of ketosis takes 2 to 3 days. You have to cut down on carbohydrates to just 5% of your daily intake, which is way tougher than you may think. It the absence of glucose, your body produces ketones from fat metabolism and them as the alternate energy source.
The toughest part of this diet is that you need to be extra cautious with your meals. This is because your kidneys lose electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium when you are in ketosis. So, every diet of yours needs to be well-formulated to make sure you are getting enough of other essential nutrients. If you’re worried that you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs to function properly, such as magnesium, you can take an online test to determine whether you need to increase your daily intake.
If you want to try keto, you may also have to make a few adjustments to your medication routine.
What do you think about the keto diet for diabetics? While it can be a viable solution to minimize your blood sugar levels, it does require approval and constant monitoring by your doctor.