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Ketogenic Diet for Type 2 Diabetes: A Comprehensive Guide

Jolie Wiener
By: Jolie Wiener
June 11, 2020

Managing diabetes can be a challenging task. With type 2 diabetes, the body generally has high levels of blood sugar and a relative lack of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

Many doctors will recommend weight loss for overweight diabetes patients to ease their symptoms. In recent years, the keto diet has become a popular method for many people suffering from type 2 diabetes due to its focus on healthy fats and proteins over carbs.

In this article, we’ll discuss how the ketogenic diet works, and whether you should try it as part of your weight loss plan for type 2 diabetes.

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a meal plan that is low in carbs and high in fats. The Ketogenic diet is based on a reduced intake of carbohydrates and focuses meal plans on the ingestion of protein and fat.  

So, what’s the science behind this keto diet you keep hearing about? While the keto diet has taken social media by storm, there is scientific evidence that suggests it can change the way the body breaks down food resulting in substantial weight loss. 

By reducing carb intake to less than 50g of carbs per day, the body is forced to break down protein and fat for its energy. This process is known as ketosis, and it begins just a few days into the diet.

Can the Keto Diet Help With Type 2 Diabetes?

So, why is it recommended to try a ketogenic diet for type 2 diabetes? Initially, many people are confused by the notion that a high-fat diet could help with weight loss. However, because the body is forced to burn body fat, creating a fuel source known as ketones, weight loss is almost inevitable. 

This makes the diet a good option for patients hoping to reverse prediabetes. While reversing type 2 diabetes is impossible, the diet is also useful for patients trying to manage their type 2 diabetes.

The ketogenic diet can be wonderful for those with high insulin and high blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients on the diet may see an improvement in blood sugar levels because they have restricted their carbohydrate intake. Carbs are dangerous for patients with diabetes as they are turned into sugars by the body. 

In general, the proven health benefits of the Keto diet are useful for diabetic patients:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Lower demand for insulin
  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Higher HDL cholesterol levels
  • Improved mental performance

How to Follow the Keto Diet Safely

Following the keto diet plan involves a lot of careful planning and research. A high-fat diet could easily involve lots of extremely unhealthy fatty foods. To follow the diet properly, you will need to include a range of healthy fats.

 

Monounsaturated fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are all recommended keto diet foods. Avoid trans fats whenever possible, as these foods can increase your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.

The Risks of the Ketogenic Diet for Diabetic Patients

It’s important you seek advice from a medical professional before making the leap to the keto diet. While there is plenty of evidence that suggests there are benefits to using the ketogenic diet for patients with diabetes, in some cases, it may not be a wise choice.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is the technical term for low blood sugar. While most diabetics are more concerned about spikes in their blood sugar, low blood sugar is also a risk. If you’re already taking medication to regulate your blood sugar levels, you may be placing yourself at risk by starting the keto diet without first consulting with your doctor.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a risk of the keto diet when the patient eats too many saturated fats. If you need help making healthy choices about what to eat while on the diet, seek medical advice.

Lack of Nutrients

The keto diet is fairly restrictive. If you aren’t careful about your nutritional intake, you may find you are lacking a range of crucial nutrients that are found in fruits, vegetables, dairy products. It’s often recommended you use vitamins to supplement your vitamin intake.

Digestive Issues

The keto diet puts you at risk for a range of digestive issues. A relative lack of fiber the diet can result in constipation, and sudden weight loss can result in gallstones.

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