How the Ketogenic Diet Help People With Type 2 Diabetes


What exactly is the ketogenic diet?

Weight loss is a common goal of type 2 diabetes diets, so it may seem strange that a high-fat diet is an option. The ketogenic (keto) diet, which is high in fat and low in carbs, has the potential to alter how your body stores and uses energy, potentially alleviating diabetes symptoms.

Your body converts fat into energy instead of sugar when you follow the keto diet. The diet was developed in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy, but its effects on type 2 diabetes are also being investigated.

The ketogenic diet has been shown to improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also lowering insulin requirements. The diet, however, is not without its drawbacks. Before making any major dietary changes, consult with your doctor.

The ketogenic diet's concept of "high-fat"

Because many people with type 2 diabetes are obese, a high-fat diet may appear to be counterproductive.

The ketogenic diet aims to force the body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates or glucose for energy. The keto diet relies heavily on fat for energy, with carbohydrates accounting for only a small part of the diet.

However, following the ketogenic diet does not imply that you consume a lot of saturated fats. The key to maintaining overall health is to consume heart-healthy fats. The ketogenic diet includes a variety of healthy foods, such as:

  1. eggs
  2. fish such as salmon
  3. cottage cheese
  4. avocado
  5. olives plus olive oil
  6. nuts and nut kinds of butter

Blood sugar effects

The ketogenic diet can help you lower your blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes should limit their carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates convert to sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes if consumed in large amounts.

Carbohydrate counts, on the other hand, should be determined by your doctor on an individual basis.

Eating too many carbs can be dangerous if you already have a high blood glucose level. Some people experience lower blood sugar after shifting their focus to fat.

Diabetes and the Atkins diet

The Atkins diet, which is often associated with the keto diet, is one of the most well-known low-carb, high-protein diets. But there are some significant differences between the two diets.

The Atkins diet was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Robert C. Atkins. It's frequently promoted as a way to lose weight while also managing a variety of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes.

While reducing carbs is a good idea, it's unclear whether this diet will help diabetes on its own. Weight loss, whether it comes from the Atkins diet or another program, is beneficial for diabetes and high blood sugar levels.

Unlike the ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet does not require you to consume more fat. Still, limiting carbohydrates and eating more animal protein may help you increase your fat intake.

The disadvantages could be similar.

Aside from a high saturated fat intake, restricting carbs too much can result in low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. This is especially true if you don't change your insulin dosage while taking medications that raise insulin levels in the body.

Hazards that could occur

The increase in ketones in the blood is caused by switching your body's primary energy source from carbohydrates to fat. This is not to be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition.

You could develop diabetic ketoacidosis if you have too many ketones (DKA). When blood glucose levels are too high, DKA develops, which can be caused by a lack of insulin.

DKA is a rare complication of type 2 diabetes that occurs when ketones are too high. Being sick while on a low-carb diet can also put you at risk for DKA.

Cutting carbs on the Atkins diet may help you lose weight and manage your diabetes symptoms. There aren't enough studies, however, to suggest that Atkins and diabetes control are linked.

If you're following a ketogenic diet, make sure to check your blood sugar levels throughout the day to ensure they're within the recommended range. Consider testing your ketone levels to ensure you aren't at risk of DKA.

If your blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dL, the American Diabetes Association recommends testing for ketones. Urine strips can be used to test at home.

DKA is a life-threatening condition. Consult your doctor right away if you're experiencing DKA symptoms. Diabetic coma can be caused by complications.

The following are some of the warning signs of DKA:

  1. blood sugar levels that are consistently high
  2. the mouth that is dry
  3. Urination is frequent.
  4. nausea
  5. breath that smells like fruit
  6. difficulties in breathing

Keeping an eye on your diabetes

The ketogenic diet appears to be simple. A high-fat diet, unlike a typical low-calorie diet, necessitates careful monitoring. You could even begin the diet in a hospital.

To ensure that the diet isn't having any negative effects, your doctor should monitor both blood glucose and ketone levels. You may need to see your doctor once or twice a month after your body adjusts to the diet for testing and medication adjustments.

Even if your symptoms improve, you should continue to monitor your blood glucose levels on a regular basis. The frequency of testing for type 2 diabetes varies. Consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate testing schedule for your situation.

Diabetes, research, and the ketogenic diet

Researchers in 2008 conducted a 24-week study to see how a low-carbohydrate diet affected people with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

When compared to those who followed a low-glycemic diet, participants who followed the ketogenic diet saw greater improvements in glycemic control and medication reduction at the end of the study.

According to a 2013 review, a ketogenic diet can lead to more significant improvements in blood sugar control, A1c, weight loss, and no longer requiring insulin than other diets.

A 2017 study found that over the course of 32 weeks, the ketogenic diet outperformed a conventional, low-fat diabetes diet in terms of weight loss and A1c.

Other diets that are beneficial

There is research that suggests the ketogenic diet is beneficial for diabetes management, while other research suggests that dietary treatments such as a plant-based diet are harmful.

People with diabetes who followed a plant-based diet saw significant improvements in blood sugars and A1c, cardiovascular disease risk factors, gut bacteria that control insulin sensitivity, and inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, according to a 2017 study.

The Viewpoint

People with type 2 diabetes who are having trouble controlling their symptoms may find hope in the ketogenic diet. Many people report that having fewer diabetic symptoms makes them feel better and that they are less reliant on medications.

Despite this, not everyone succeeds in this diet. Some people may find the restrictions to be too difficult to adhere to in the long run.

Yo-yo dieting can be dangerous for diabetes, so only begin the ketogenic diet if you're certain you'll be able to stick to it. A plant-based diet might be better for you in the short and long run.

Your doctor and dietician can assist you in determining the best diet for managing your condition.

While you may be tempted to self-treat with dietary changes for a more "natural" approach, talk to your doctor about the keto diet first. The diet could mess with your blood sugar levels, causing more problems, especially if you're on diabetes medication.

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