The past few years, you may have heard of the Keto diet. It’s may seem to be a diet buzzword, but it’s more of a movement. The benefits are impressive, especially for those living with diabetes
At a basic level, the ketogenic diet is a meal plan that drives your body into the state of ketosis. In this state, your body uses fat as a primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates, according to Stacey Mattinson, RDN.
The keto diet is centered around being a high-fat, low carbohydrate. In eating all the fat you want, you won’t feel the pains of hunger and you can lower your blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes.
How Keto Works for Diabetics:
By depleting your body of carbohydrates, you force it to switch it’s primary source of energy to fats. When you eat carbohydrates your body turns the carbohydrates you consume into glucose, or blood sugar, which is then used for energy. (1)
On the ketogenic diet, you restrict carbohydrates intake so the body begins to break down fat in the liver. This process produces ketones, which are a by-product of metabolism, and these become the fuel your body needs in the absence of glucose. (2)
What is Ketosis
When your body switches from using glucose for energy to using ketones for energy, it has entered the state of ketosis. This is done by limiting your carbohydrate intake to 5-10% of your total calories. This is a big deal for many, as the average North American diet could be between 40-50% carbohydrates.
Benefits Keto for Diabetics
Research has shown that the ketogenic diet had positive effects on helping control type 2 diabetes; as part of epilepsy treatment; and for weight loss. (3)
For type 2 diabetes Mattinson says “there has been promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C - a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar over two to three months - something that may help you reduce medication use.”
Risks Keto for Diabetics
One consideration is that people with Type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. And because Keto is a very high-fat diet, it is essential that people with type 2 diabetes consult their doctors before trying Keto. Saturated fat my drive up the LDL, or ‘bad’, cholesterol levels and potentially increase the likelihood of heart problems.
Consult your doctor well before beginning a diet like this, but have a look at other research that supports the benefits of this diet for diabetics.
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