Commonly referred to as a keto diet, a ketogenic diet is one of the most popular for helping people lose weight. However, is it safe for people living with diabetes? Experts are still conducting studies on how the diet affects patients.
This article will look at what studies have shown so far. But first…
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb eating plan. Your diet mostly consists of unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, and avocado or saturated fats such as coconut oil and butter. About 30% of the diet is protein, which can be fatty like bacon or lean like chicken breast.
You are supposed to eat a limited amount of carbs, even those considered healthy such as whole grains, beans, milk, and a wide range of vegetables and fruits. When you are on a keto diet, you should eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily.
So how does a keto diet help you lose weight? Usually, your body gets its fuel from glucose or sugar, which it gets from carbohydrates. Once you are on the keto diet, your body will run out of the glucose stored in the carbs. It starts burning fat for energy instead. This process is called nutritional ketosis. Ketosis is where the fatty acid substance, also referred to as the body, utilizes ketones for energy.
Does The Keto Diet Work For People With Diabetes?
Studies have shown that patients with type 2 diabetes can lose weight and lower their blood sugar levels with a ketogenic diet. One study showed people with diabetes losing weight and needing less medication once they followed the keto diet for a year.
If you have insulin-resistant diabetes, you have high blood sugar levels because your body is not responding as it should to insulin. You could benefit from nutritional ketosis because your body will need less insulin.
There have been few studies on how a keto diet affects patients with type 1 diabetes. One study, however, showed that it helped patients lower their A1c levels, but there is a need for more research in this area to have a full view of how the diet affects patients with diabetes.
It is important to remember that most of these studies focus on the short-term effects of a keto diet, and its long-term effects are unclear when managing diabetes. If you try the diet, remember that it might be hard to keep. Consuming low amounts of carbs can cause significant changes in many people.
Some people feel very weak before their bodies adapt. If you want to follow one religiously, devise a meal plan and include keto-friendly snacks when you feel hungry.
Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe For People With Type 2 Diabetes?
Patients who are overweight seem to have great results with the keto diet. Working closely with a doctor when you start a keto diet is essential since you might need to change your medications.
A ketogenic diet is associated with some side effects worth knowing about. These side effects may include:
- Hypoglycemia: The keto diet can lower the A1c levels but puts you at a high risk of low blood sugar levels, especially if you are on any diabetes medication. Let your diabetes educator or doctor know once you start your keto diet. They will advise you on how often you should check your blood sugar levels and the type of medicines you should take.
- Risk of heart disease: The keto diet involves eating a lot of fat. When you overeat saturated fats, your cholesterol levels are likely to rise, especially the LDL linked to heart disease. Ensure you opt for healthier fats such as nuts, avocadoes, and canola oils to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Lack of nutrients: The diets are significantly limiting, where some vegetables, fruits, and dairy products are off-limits. This means you might be missing out on essential nutrients.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, talk to your healthcare provider before trying any diet. They will give you the go-ahead on whether the diet suits you and advise if you need to change your medication.