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Keto Diet and Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you know that constant monitoring and strict dietary restrictions can be challenging. The ketogenic diet is typically used to help reduce the amount of insulin needed to control your high blood glucose levels as much as possible.
In addition to having an increased appetite for carbohydrate-rich foods, people with diabetes tend to lose a greater percentage of body water than people who do not have diabetes. That’s why most ketogenic diet plans have a higher proportion of fat and protein than those of other diets.
Searching for evidence that such a ketogenic diet is safe and effective for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes has been ongoing for decades.
However, with new findings coming out almost every week, it seems that more research is needed to confirm if the benefits of this diet outweigh the risks.
What Causes Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disorder in which the body either can’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly. There are two types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: is currently thought to be an autoimmune disease because it occurs when the body’s immune system starts to attack and destroy beta cells.
- Type 2 diabetes: typically occurs as a consequence of obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, and other factors.
The cause of both types of diabetes is still unknown. However, many scientists believe that genetics play a role in causing these diseases by increasing the risk for the development of either type of diabetes over time.
Researchers have identified specific genes that increase a person’s risk for developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. These same genes make it easier for people with these traits to manage their glucose levels with diet or diabetes medications better than those without them do.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. In this diet, the body switches its source of energy from carbohydrates to fats and becomes “keto-adapted.” By reducing carbs, the body enters into a state of ketosis, which is when we start burning fat for fuel.
Ketogenic diets are typically used as a way to control blood sugar levels because they cause a decrease in insulin production.
While it’s true that the ketogenic diet can be beneficial for those living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, people suffering from this condition should always consult their doctor to determine if this is the right approach for them.
Types Of Ketogenic Diet
There are four different types of the keto diet. These are the following:
The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is a high-fat diet, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate intake diet. It normally has a fat content of between 70 and 75%, protein content of 20%, and a carbohydrate content of between 5 and 10%.
A standard ketogenic diet includes the following in terms of how many grams you should eat per day:
- 20–50 grams of carb intake.
- 40–60 grams of protein.
- There is no gram limitation as far as fat consumption.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): also known as the carb cycling diet, enables keto dieters to consume between 100 and 150 grams of carbohydrates one to two times each week.
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): is similar to the standard ketogenic diet in that it adheres to the same guidelines but requires you to eat carbohydrates at a specific time, for example before or after your exercise or physical activity.
The Very-Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD): this ketogenic diet works by enabling individuals to consume a diet that is rich in fat, has a reasonable amount of protein, and contains very few carbohydrates. This type of ketogenic diet is a more forgiving version of the keto diet than the standard one.
It permits between 100 and 150 grams of carbohydrates per day, in contrast to the standard keto diet’s limit of 50 grams per day or the approach used by the cyclical keto diet, which may not put you into the state of ketosis.
What Is Ketosis And How Does It Work?
One of the most common ketogenic diet plans is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and moderate protein consumption. This type of ketogenic diet aims to induce a particular metabolic state called ketosis. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it uses fat as its main source of fuel instead of carbohydrates or proteins.
This process keeps glucose levels low so that insulin isn’t required for regulating blood sugar. Ketosis is the body’s natural way to enter into this metabolic state. The process starts with carb restriction and then continues with increasing protein intake.
With this combination, your body will enter ketosis more easily and stay there longer than when you eat solely fat or protein alone.
Ketosis and Diabetes
Although ketogenic diets have been around for a while, the connection between ketosis and diabetes is a relatively new concept. The main objective of the keto diet is to lower insulin levels in the body by consuming fewer carbohydrates and more fat. When more than 50 grams of carbohydrates are restricted daily, the process is known as ketosis.
When a person enters a state of ketosis, their liver begins to produce beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which serves as the body’s energy source. However, some individuals may suffer liver stress and other side effects from the production of BHB.
Because it has been demonstrated to be successful at lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics and enabling them to better regulate the amount of insulin they need, this diet has grown in popularity.
Additionally, it has been proven to provide significant improvements to weight loss, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels. There are many health advantages to this diet, but it is not ideal for all diabetic patients.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
The most serious form of diabetic instability is diabetic ketoacidosis. People with poorly controlled diabetes and high blood sugar levels are more likely to develop this potentially fatal complication. This condition develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels, which causes acids to accumulate in the blood. Acid buildup results in a loss of body water and electrolytes, which, if left untreated, can be fatal.
Diabetic ketoacidosis has long-term negative effects on your kidneys, nerves, heart, eyes, skin, and cognitive function in addition to your overall health and wellbeing. You are also more likely to develop kidney disease later in life as a result.
What Is The Difference Between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis?
It is essential, if you suffer from diabetes, to have a solid understanding of the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Both entail the production of ketone bodies.
However, ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening condition that develops when there is an inadequate supply of insulin in the body and an excessive accumulation of ketones. The symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, disorientation, and exhaustion or weakness.
Other symptoms include a lack of energy. Patients with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have it than patients with type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, ketosis, as opposed to ketoacidosis, takes place at far lower amounts of ketones and is thus safer. In addition, this process occurs naturally in our everyday lives, with the extent to which it is influenced by the amounts of carbohydrates and proteins consumed.
For several people who have diabetes, being in this condition can result in weight loss, particularly in the area where the stubborn belly fat is accumulated, and a reduction in their A1c levels.
Does Keto Work if You Have Diabetes?
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the ketogenic diet has been shown to have potential benefits. It is also important to point out that the evidence for this diet is not conclusive, meaning that there is still some research that needs to be done before Keto can be recommended for people with diabetes.
However, the ketogenic diet may help to improve glycemic control in those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This is likely due to the fact that ketones have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and can reduce glucagon levels, both of which can lead to better blood sugar control.
Additionally, research suggests that the ketogenic diet may be beneficial for weight loss in people with diabetes, as it can cause reductions in appetite and cravings often associated with this disease.
How Can Keto Diet and Diabetes Benefit Diabetics?
Each individual has a unique metabolism and different needs, so the ketogenic diet may be right for you.
To begin with, it is essential to be aware that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) does not consider the keto diet to be superior to other types of diets, and that explains why the ketogenic diet is neither a miracle cure nor a magic bullet.
On the other hand, numerous supporters of the keto diet claim that it may cure or significantly lessen the effects of diabetes and aid in the process of weight loss.
Few studies have been done on the long-term effects, and diabetics who want to try the keto diet should do so with a plan that has been approved by their doctor.
Benefits Of Keto Diet and Diabetes
- Better diabetes management.
- Fast reduction of body fat.
- Reduced A1C levels.
- Lowered blood sugar levels and better glycemic control.
- Reduced levels of triglycerides.
- Enhanced Insulin resistance.
- Possible decrease in the need for insulin use.
- Boosted levels of the heart-protective HDL cholesterol.
- Enhanced mental performance.
Potential Risks of Keto Diet and Diabetes
Shifting your body’s fuel source from carbs to fat generates a rise in ketone levels in the blood. This is referred to as “nutritional ketosis.” This, however, is not the same as ketoacidosis, which is a highly life-threatening condition.
If you have an excessive amount of ketones in your system, you may be putting yourself at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Diabetic ketoacidosis is most common in those who have type 1 diabetes and occurs when the blood glucose levels are very high. This condition may be brought on by an absence of insulin.
On the other hand, DKA is an uncommon complication of type 2 diabetes, but it can happen if ketone levels are very high. Becoming ill while following a low-carb diet like the keto diet could also raise your chance of developing diabetic ketoacidosis.
If you are following a ketogenic diet, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels many times during the day to ensure that they are staying within their limit. We also recommend purchasing a ketone test to ensure that you are not at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis and pay attention to the warning signs.
Some of the symptoms of DKA are:
- Persistently high levels of blood sugar.
- The desire to urinate all the time.
- Difficulty inhaling and exhaling.
Is Keto Diet and Diabetes Safe?
The ketogenic diet can be safe and effective for people with diabetes under the guidance of a medical professional. According to research, patients with type 1 and people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who follow a ketogenic diet may experience weight loss and a reduction in their blood sugar and glycemic levels.
If you suffer from high blood sugar levels since your body isn’t reacting effectively to the hormone insulin, a condition known as insulin resistance, you may benefit from ketosis and diabetes since your body will require and create less insulin as a result.
Take into consideration the fact that the majority of research has only investigated the short-term effects of the keto diet. It is not clear if this is a good way to deal with diabetes in the long run.
Furthermore, keep in mind that the ketogenic diet might be challenging to follow if you do decide to give it a go. For many individuals, the plan’s very reduced intake of carbohydrates represents a massive change in their lifestyle.
In addition to this, you might suffer the most common side effect of the keto diet known as the “keto-flu” which can last for a few weeks as your body adjusts to the change.
However, following a Custom Keto Diet meal plan made by experts, that you can stick to is a smart idea if you want this to be successful. This plan should include keto-friendly meals as well as snacks that you can have readily available.
Can Keto Diet Reverse Diabetes?
With the ketogenic diet, there is a hypothesis that people with type 2 and type 1 diabetes can reverse their condition. As mentioned before there is evidence that this diet may help reduce blood glucose levels and insulin requirements in diabetic patients but it is not conclusive.
Should You Try The Keto Diet If You Suffer From Diabetes?
Before beginning your keto diet journey, you should consult with your doctor first. This kind of eating may be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of diabetes and reducing the diabetes medication required for diabetic patients, and this is particularly true for obese diabetics. On the other hand, the keto diet may worsen diabetes in certain people.
You will want to proceed with caution since suddenly reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet may lead to surges in blood sugar and unwanted weight gain. Starting gradually with carbohydrates rich in protein and fiber as well as following a Custom Keto Diet plan tailored to your specific needs is your safest bet!
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