Any diabetic will tell you: following a healthy diet is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. While it is contrary to what we traditionally believe to be “healthy”, the ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular among diabetics.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet involves a very high consumption of dietary fats, and very low carbohydrate consumption. Through these nutritional changes, the body reduces its use of glucose for fuel, and increasingly uses ketones (derived from fats). The diet was first used to control epileptic seizures, but there is growing body of research showing positive effects on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, inflammation1, and diabetes.
Benefits of the Keto Diet for Diabetics
When you are diabetic it is vital to discuss nutritional changes with your doctor prior to starting a new diet. If you are a diabetic considering the ketogenic diet, here are a few potential benefits to bring up with your doctor:
Weight Loss on the Ketogenic Diet
Type 2 diabetes and obesity are closely linked: 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are also overweight or obese. The CDC recommends weight loss as a means to maintaining a healthier body for those struggling with diabetes because it can positively affect blood sugar levels and reduce risks of other related health conditions3.
Because weight loss can have such a dramatic positive impact for those struggling with type 2 diabetes, most of the diets prescribed to diabetics focus on weight loss. The ketogenic diet is no exception, and often leads to substantial weight loss and improved body composition. It’s also interesting to note that the ketogenic diet may contribute to a greater preservation of muscle mass during weight loss than other diets.
Improved Blood Glucose Levels
Most doctors will recommend limiting sugars to diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. The ketogenic diet involves the strict limitation of sugar and other carbohydrates, which can reduce blood sugar spikes immediately after eating. Over time, replacing dietary carbohydrates with fats can reduce blood sugar levels.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity
Another potential benefit of the ketogenic diet is that it is thought to improve insulin sensitivity5,6. Prediabetics and diabetics are often referred to as “insulin resistant” because their muscle, fat, and liver tissues do not respond properly to insulin. When the pancreas can’t meet the body’s need for insulin, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, contributing to diabetes and other medical conditions7.
Other Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
Diabetics may also be interested in other health benefits that are commonly associated with the ketogenic diet. Those on the keto diet may see an improvement in cholesterol levels, mental performance, satiety and food cravings, blood pressure, and yeast infections9.
Many doctors recommend or prescribe the ketogenic diet to diabetic patients, and with good reason! Research shows its benefits in weight loss, blood sugar, and insulin sensitivity, all which are closely related to diabetes.
However because of the complexity and gravity of type 2 diabetes, diabetics must approach the ketogenic diet with extreme caution. It is important to consult your doctor prior to making dietary changes so that they can advise you and closely monitor your health.
I have found this diet to be the fastest way to lower my blood sugar as it helps protect against low blood sugar even with taking medication for lbs.
I am on the keto diet to treat diabetes but I just saw this article. Don’t know what to believe! Your advice would be appreciated ?
“What many diabetics aren’t aware of, is that it is the fat that is the problem when it comes to type 2 diabetes. Nearly 100 years ago, healthy volunteers were split into two groups – half were fed a fat-rich diet, and the other half on a carb-rich diet. Within just two days, the fatty diet groups’ glucose intolerance skyrocketed to amounts twice as high as those fed a carbohydrate-rich diet (9).
Insulin allows sugar in our blood to enter our cells. When insulin attaches to the insulin receptor, it activates a series of enzymatic reactions, which ends with active glucose transport (a gateway for glucose to enter the cell). If our insulin receptors are covered in fat, we end up with high blood sugar, because insulin can’t enter our cells. This is called insulin resistance. This fat is called intramyocellular lipid, or fat inside our muscle cells (10).
The mechanism by which fat (specifically saturated fat) induces insulin resistance wasn’t discovered until MRI techniques were developed to see what was actually happening inside the muscle cells as fat is infused into the blood stream.
Studies since shown that the accumulation of fat droplets, and not carbohydrate stores in the liver and muscle cells, contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. These droplets result from raising levels of saturated animal fats in the blood, like those found in chicken, beef, cheese, dairy and fish. One hit of saturated animal fat can start causing insulin resistance, inhibiting glucose uptake after just 160 minutes (11).
Even plant-based fats in excess can have the same effect, but the amount of plant-based fats consumed generally isn’t as high as what we see with individuals consuming saturated animal fat.
My blood sugar was at 226 when i was first told I had diabetes. I had suffered a stroke from having blood pressure of 220/120. I was the one to discover that i had heavy metals poisoning. After asking around I was sent to do heavy metal treatments (chelation). I did Keto to drop my blood sugar which was 100 when I checked it this mourning .
Ismo Murrso says
I was insulin dependent Type 2 diabetic on low fat diet. Now I am on a Keto diet have normal blood sugar and drug free 7 years. So I am I better of on low fat and insulin dependent or Keto and drug free?