The ketogenic diet seems to be all the rage at present. This sure does not come as a shock. Given its massive effectivity at healthy weight loss plus its numerous health benefits, more and more people are understandably switching to this new lifestyle. One question lingers, however: Can a ketogenic diet be safe for diabetics? Here are some facts about this diet which will include a discussion on the link between keto diet and diabetes.
What keto diet is
Before delving into the possible connection between keto diet and diabetes, it is essential to understand what a keto diet is. A ketogenic diet is basically a high fat, low carb diet. This means one increases his/her fat intake while dramatically reducing his/her carb count. When there is a drastic reduction of carbohydrates, the body is forced to burn through glucose and then use fat as an alternative source of energy. This process is called ketosis which then produces ketones that provide myriad health benefits to the human body.
How to do it
Ever since keto became a mainstream alternative lifestyle, there have been so much literature about how to get into ketosis faster but still in a healthy manner. There are four, however, that have become the norm when it comes to ketogenic diet.
- Regular. This is the standard way of going about a keto lifestyle. Here, you follow a 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates ratio throughout all your daily meals. This should be done in conjunction with adequate hydration and physical activity.
- High Pro. As the name suggests, there is a higher protein count in this type of ketogenic diet. The ratio now becomes 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Again, proper hydration and physical activity can maximize results.
- Cyclical. This is more advanced and typically employed by professional athletes or fitness enthusiasts. Here, you follow either the regular or high pro ratio for five straight days. Then, on the two remaining days, you load up on carbohydrates. On these two days, heavy workout is usually scheduled hence the increase in carbs for more energy.
- As needed. Since this is not a well-programmed diet, only those with extensive experience at keeping track of calories, fats, sugar, ketones, protein should employ this type of ketogenic diet. Here, you follow either the regular or high pro ratio on the usual days. If you have to do strenuous activities, then you can increase your carbohydrate intake.
Benefits of a ketogenic diet
There are many benefits of a ketogenic diet that are backed by research. Among them are the following:
- Effective at weight loss
- Gives a feeling of satiation so fewer cravings and better mood
- Helps treat or even prevent symptoms of:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Brain injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lowers cholesterol
- Regulates blood sugar
- Improves insulin sensitivity
Keto diet and diabetes
It is the last two in the long list of benefits above that shows a potential link between keto diet and diabetes. Many people ask if this type of diet is safe for diabetics. There a lot of research that would seem to point that not only is a ketogenic safe for diabetics, it also has added benefits especially for those with type 2 diabetes.
Regulating blood sugar level
The first thing that could prove to be beneficial for diabetics is the fact that a ketogenic diet is essentially a low carbohydrate diet. This means the body burns through all the glucose to get to the fat and makes the latter its source of energy rather than sugar. What could be the result where keto diet and diabetes are concerned? Well, people with type 2 diabetes who live a keto lifestyle can now regulate blood sugar spikes due to a reduction of carbohydrate intake.
A ketogenic diet is also helpful at improving insulin sensitivity which could be a plus for those taking medication for diabetes. One has to remember that insulin’s main purpose is to regulate metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. However, for people with type 2 diabetes, there is an imbalance between levels of glucose and insulin. The result is insulin resistance, a condition in which cells no longer responds to insulin potentially leading to hyperglycemia. Here is where yet another link between keto diet and diabetes can be seen. In a recent study involving patients with type 2 diabetes, a 75% improvement in insulin sensitivity was recorded after the intervention.
Here are some essential takeaways when talking about keto diet and diabetes:
- While yes, a keto diet offers added benefits for diabetics, the main thing is to do it right. You might have to consult a doctor or a nutritionist with extensive keto understanding and experience to help you create a keto program that will prioritize not only effectivity but your safety as well.
- Another thing is that you have to keep track of your sugar levels. Remember, this is a low carbohydrate diet so if you do not do it right, you might breach the lower limits of healthy glucose levels which can potentially lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by very low glucose level. At its worst, it can result to confusion, blurred vision, fainting, loss of consciousness, and seizures. To prevent these from happening, you have to learn to keep track of your blood sugar level and come up with a keto program that will help you achieve better blood sugar level management.
- A healthy keto lifestyle will not be complete without physical activity. Regular exercise can is yet another factor that can improve the effects of a ketogenic diet among diabetics.
There is a clear link between keto diet and diabetes. The keto lifestyle can provide many benefits for people living with diabetes. However, for it to be safe, you have to do it right. Consult your doctor or nutritionist with extensive expertise in the keto lifestyle to come up with the best program that will suit both your health and dietary considerations.