Diabetes Mellitus is the impairment of your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, which results in excessive glucose circulating in the bloodstream.
It eventually results in various disorders such as the disorder of the nervous system, circulatory, and immune systems.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce sufficient insulin levels, the hormone primarily responsible for managing blood glucose levels. There is adequate evidence that low-carb diets can benefit people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
A ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and deficient carbohydrate diet. But is it suitable for people with diabetes?
First, let us learn about the ketogenic diet and how it impacts blood glucose levels.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
A keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that is effective for regulating blood sugar levels as it reduces carbohydrate intake to burn fat for energy. The ketogenic diet benefits people who want to lose body fat without following low-calorie starvation diets.
Fitness enthusiasts no longer follow intermittent fasting or diet plans limiting their food intake. But how does a keto diet work, and why is it suitable for diabetes?
Mechanism Of Ketosis
When you have a low carbohydrate intake, the body starts to burn fat for fuel. The fat-burning process puts your body into a different metabolic state called ketosis.
In ketosis, your liver starts to burn fat molecules into small energy packets called ketones. These energy packets provide your body with the energy to perform vital functions. The keto diet also helps lower insulin levels in the body.
Keto For Diabetes
Whether you want to reduce overall body fat or manage your blood glucose levels, a keto diet is what you need. People have different dietary needs according to their activity levels and energy expenditure.
While personalized diet plans work best for individuals, some people with diabetes can highly benefit from the ketogenic diet, and here’s why.
Foods with high carbohydrate levels, such as bread, pasta, milk, fruit, and rice, are good energy sources.
When your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, insulin, a hormone, helps regulate blood glucose levels. It is responsible for the movement of sugar into the cells.
However, in diabetes, the insulin is absent or does not work efficiently. This results in the impairment of the cell’s ability to use carbohydrates, disrupting ideal blood glucose levels.
When the body does not utilize carbohydrates, there is a high level of sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Eating high-carb meals for diabetes can cause a spike in blood glucose. Therefore a low carbohydrate diet is essential for people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
The keto diet’s primary focus is to reduce carbohydrate intake. Research suggests that a keto diet may help reduce the risk of diabetes. It can also improve glycemic control in people with diabetes.
Impact Of Keto Diet On Blood Sugar Levels
Severely restricting carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet forces the body to burn fat molecules for energy production. This process of ketosis helps people with type 2 diabetes because it allows their bodies to maintain ideal glucose levels to stay healthy.
Moreover, the lower carbohydrate consumption helps eliminate the spike in blood glucose levels. This reduces the need for more insulin.
According to studies, a keto diet can also help control the HbA1c levels. This is the amount of glucose that travels with hemoglobin in the blood for three months.
Benefits Of A Keto Diet For Diabetes
Here are the many benefits of keto for diabetes:
- Improves glycemic control
- Low HbA1c levels
- Lower triglycerides in the body
- Reduces the need for insulin
- Improves heart health
- Helps lose weight
- Improves cognitive function
- Improves cholesterol levels
Can The Keto Diet Reverse Diabetes?
According to a meta-analysis of multiple studies, a keto diet can normalize A1C levels for people who take their diabetes medications for six months.
People who discontinued medications did not see this effect. Therefore the keto diet is only effective for normalizing A1C levels if you continue to take your medications.
Moreover, you have to stick to the diet for 12 months. So it’s difficult to assume if the effect lasts in people who do not stick to the diet after a certain period.
As for reversal, it’s hard to say with certainty if diabetes reversal is possible through ketosis. Future research will help us understand this phenomenon better.
The keto diet helps control blood glucose levels and initiates weight loss in people with diabetes. But studies suggest that these effects only last when you stick to the diet for a long time. The long-term effects of ketogenesis aren’t always healthy for many individuals.
But significant dietary changes are essential to managing diabetes. Therefore a moderate reduction in carbohydrate intake is beneficial for diabetes.
Moreover, a moderate carbohydrate intake is more sustainable in the long run. But before you stick to restrictive diets, you must consult your healthcare professional to devise a personalized diet plan.