Most of us have already heard or read about ketogenic diet by now, which has made its way into popular culture thanks to supermodels and celebrities who have given a stamp of approval to the long-standing fat diet. However, the question is whether you can follow a keto plan if you are a diabetic patient.
Of course, this type of diet is risky for Type-1 diabetes patients; however, several studies have suggested the same cannot be said for Type-2 diabetes.
A keto diet will offer you a lot of benefits for managing diabetes; however, following the plan will require serious commitment. Let’s read more in the article below.
How Does A Keto Diet Work?
Table of Contents
- How Does A Keto Diet Work?
- What Are Some Different Health Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet For Diabetic Patients?
- Is A Ketogenic Diet Okay For People With Type-2 Diabetes?
- For Type-2 Diabetic Patients, What Is The Best Way To Start A Keto Diet?
- What Are The Differences Between Ketosis And Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
- Why Is It Important To Stick To A Low-Carb Count During A Keto Diet Plan?
- Is A Ketogenic Diet Safe For Every Person Who Has Type-2 Diabetes?
There is a fundamental reason an American diabetes association ketogenic diet is referred to as a high-fat and low-carb diet. Following a keto diet means that you will reduce your intake of carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day, all while increasing protein and fat intake.
For easier understanding, let’s take an example. A regular person with an average and non-restrictive regimen can consume more carbohydrates per single typical meal. For example, a sandwich consisting of ingredients like wholegrain bread, turkey, cheese, and vegetables, coupled with a bag of potato chips, consists of 51 grams of carbs.
When you switch to a ketogenic regimen, your insulin level drives down, leading to a state of ketosis; on attaining this state, your body will start burning fat rather than carbohydrates.
What Are Some Different Health Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet For Diabetic Patients?
According to experts, individuals may feel less hungry with higher fat and protein intake. This is because proteins, as compared to carbohydrates, take longer to digest. It might also help keep your energy levels high for longer. You will gain a lot of health benefits of a ketogenic diet.
This regimen also has several other potential benefits. According to a study published in 2016, a keto diet will improve the A1C test results of a diabetic patient; the A1C test shows the three-month average of ketogenic diet blood sugar levels. Additionally, the keto diet also lowers triglycerides more than a low-fat diet, which is beneficial for diabetic people who are at a higher risk for heart disease.
A ketogenic diet will prove to be thrice as much effective for weight loss, rather than a low-fat one. This is an essential benefit because losing 5-10% of your body weight can improve your blood sugar control, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Is A Ketogenic Diet Okay For People With Type-2 Diabetes?
Today, several research reports support the claim that a keto diet can be used in the meal plan of diabetic patients. On top of that, some clinics have also introduced therapeutic ketogenic programs that offer lifestyle and regimen programs through telemedicine. Additional research has also shown that Type-2 diabetic patients get off diabetes medication, lower their A1C, and lose weight more successfully.
However, a ketogenic diet does not necessarily mean good news for every person with diabetes. Some studies suggest different eating plans; for instance, there have been mentions of a Mediterranean regimen, which is rich in fruits, whole grains, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, fish, and lean meat. It can prove to be useful for diabetic people. Additionally, it has also been mentioned that following a Mediterranean diet without calorie restriction will keep diabetes at bay. This diet has often been associated with better diabetes control.
However, the keto regimen also has its fair share of risks. Experts have suggested that Type-2 diabetic patients that taking oral medication for lowering blood sugar level are more at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, especially while following a ketogenic regimen plan.
Additionally, a keto regimen could have a lot of other bad effects like headache, fever, fast heartbeat, fatigue, confusion, excessive hunger and thirst, chills, nausea, dizziness, and bad breath. The effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes is different.
For Type-2 Diabetic Patients, What Is The Best Way To Start A Keto Diet?
Before going ahead with the keto diet, you must consult a local doctor like a registered dietitian and endocrinologist. If they say that following the diet should not be a problem for you, you can start with your ketogenic diet meal plan for diabetes.
It is advised to start slowly and cut down the carbs gradually. The dramatic reduction could lead to low blood sugar, especially if you are on insulin or other oral diabetes medications. If your blood sugar level falls severely, even emergency medication glucagon would not be enough to bring them back to normal. You also need to know how many grams of sugar can you have on a ketogenic diet.
You would also want to test your ketone and blood sugar levels regularly to prevent serious side effects like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Some early symptoms of DKA include vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, frequent urination, and high ketone and blood levels.
What Are The Differences Between Ketosis And Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
You must take all nutrients like fiber, minerals, vitamins, etc., and maintain a balance between them. These also include proper amounts of keto-friendly and healthy fats ketogenic diet as well as calories. As you must already know, healthy fats contain Omega-3s and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which help in reducing inflammation and improving cholesterol levels. You can look into fatty fishes like salmon for Omega-3s and peanut butter, sunflower seeds, avocado, and almonds for monounsaturated fats.
If you are not sure of what to include in your diet chart, you can always reach out to a dietitian. Following a keto diet often sounds simple, and people mostly focus on what not to eat. However, they do not pay attention to the nutritious food that they should include in their diet like lean proteins, healthy monounsaturated fats, non-starchy vegetables, etc.
Why Is It Important To Stick To A Low-Carb Count During A Keto Diet Plan?
Of course, it is not easy to consume just 20- to 60 grams of carbohydrates each day, which is the allowed amount of carbs allowed in a ketogenic regimen. Apart from changing the food they eat, people also need to transform their entire lifestyle to follow this strict guideline.
Food items that are a part of your typical lifestyle like burgers, pasta, noodles, etc. will not fit into this food plan. Additionally, food items that are considered a part of a balanced diet like whole-grain bread and sweet potatoes will also have to be limited.
Yes, these changes will be difficult to implement, even for people who already have been making changes to their diets. For help, you can keep track of what you can eat. For this purpose, you can do it traditionally with a paper food diary or use different apps on your smartphone.
However, you are not allowed to take off on your diet. You need to stick by your gluten-free dairy-free ketogenic diet if you want to reap its benefits; or else, it would only mean that you are eating a high-protein and high-fat diet.
Is A Ketogenic Diet Safe For Every Person Who Has Type-2 Diabetes?
The answer is no, particularly if you have kidney disease, which will limit your protein intake in any case. You need to be wary of a keto dieting if you are a Type-1 diabetic patient. Ketones, which are produced by your body during the state of ketosis, also add to the risk factor for DKA; DKA is more associated with Type-1 diabetic patients. You also need to be diligent about monitoring other potential symptoms of diabetes Type-1 and Type-2.
Also, people with a history of heart disease need to be cautious of a keto diet. During the initial stages of the regimen, the cholesterol levels tend to spike, which can possibly increase the risk of a heart attack. Additionally, yo-yo dieting, which tends to happen easily during restrictive keto dieting, can put a significant amount of strain on the heart, thereby increasing the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
From the above, it is established that Type-1 diabetic patients should avoid a keto diet at all costs since it can cause a lot of problems for the body. On the other hand, Type-2 diabetic patients can opt for a keto dieting; however, the same needs to be done with utmost caution and needs to be referred to a doctor first. Ketogenic diet and diabetes Type-2 can go hand-in-hand if done carefully.
Some popular foods for a keto regimen include eggs, seeds, nuts, avocado, olive oil, non-starchy vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, protein powder for the ketogenic diet, etc. You can use a ketogenic diet calculator for help. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
Author’s bio: Adam Reeve is a tech entrepreneur and investor who decided to take his health seriously after a panic attack in 2016. He started running marathons and researching ways to increase stamina and endurance. He’s been on a keto diet since 2018. Adam writes the articles for his own nutritional blog Keto Supplement Reviewed.