Can Diabetics Benefit From a Keto Diet?

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A Ketogenic diet is basically one that is high in fats and proteins and has reduced carbohydrates. The reason for the excess amount of fats instead of carbs in the diet is to train the body to use fat as energy rather than carbs. Many have the ketogenic diet to loose weight and develop a leaner body but is it an ideal diet for diabetics? Will the diet keep their blood sugar under control? To understand this we must look at how a type one and type two diabetic responds to blood sugar.

Blood Sugar in Type 2 Diabetics

When your body becomes resistant to insulin it leads to type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type two diabetes is a result of bad life style, or too much sugar in your diet. There are a few studies that are trying to detect the chances of insulin resistance in malnourished babies, but the study is very much in its juvenile stages. In most cases, we can control type two diabetes by controlling our diet.

When we eat too much sugar, it leads to increased levels of insulin. However, if the high levels of insulin cannot control the high levels of sugar in our body, it leads to insulin resistance. Unlike Type1 diabetics, Type2 diabetics can produce insulin. However, since their body has become resistant to it, it is no longer able to control blood sugar. In severe cases, type 2 diabetics can inject themselves with insulin but since their body is resistant to it, it will not benefit them the same way as it will benefit a type one diabetic.

Is the Ketogenic Diet Beneficial for a Type 2 Diabetic?

Yes, a type two diabetic must sort out natural ways to control blood sugar because of their body’s inability to use insulin. A ketogenic diet would require them to consumer lesser amounts of carbs and hence would lead to reduced blood sugar and reduced insulin. It will help them live a more comfortable life.

You should consider the keto diet if you are an overweight diabetic because it helps you reduce weight and therefore makes your blood sugar easier to control. But just like any other diet, for a ketogenic diet to be successful you need to have proper guidance and conduct extensive research. Talk to your doctor and dietician to see if the diet is suitable for your current condition and lifestyle and make gradual changes towards it.

Blood Sugar in Type 1 Diabetics

Type one diabetics cannot produce insulin naturally, this is why they must inject it externally to keep their sugar under control. However, insulin is not the only solution to a heavy carb diet. If you are a type one diabetic, avoid administering higher doses every time you eat out or have a ‘cheat day’. This may have an adverse affect on you in the long run. Instead you can find natural methods to control you blood sugar.

Is the Ketogenic Diet Beneficial for a Type 1 Diabetic?

Yes, but with caution. You can benefit from a ketogenic diet. Since type one diabetics are likely to have low sugar episodes, you must work closely with your doctor and dietician while transitioning to the diet. The transition should always be gradual and for most type one diabetics, it would be difficult to completely transition to a ketogenic diet. You may always require a small amount of carbohydrates to regulate the sugars in your body. A dietician can help type 1 diabetics determine the minimum amount of carbs needed to protect them from low blood sugar episodes.

On the other hand, if done with care, type ones can benefit from a closely monitored ketogenic diet. Firstly, it will allow them to stay within their weight range so that their condition does not deteriorate. Secondly a ketogenic diet (or a slightly altered version of the keto diet) will reduce the chances of insulin resistance (which is highly possible for type one diabetics if they don’t take care of their health and diet).

There are many arguments about type 1 diabetics and a ketogenic diet. While some say it is not ideal for type ones, others say it should be the preferred diet and source of nutrition. Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, is a physician from New York. He has type one diabetes and is living a healthy life at the age of 84. He argues that the secret of his good health is the low levels of carbohydrates in his diet.Many call it the ‘Bernstein Diet’ and lot’s of studies are underway for his diet.

When Is it NOT Ideal to be on a Ketogenic Diet?

Despite the benefits of a ketogenic diet, it is not for everyone. Certain people will not benefit from the diet and if you are thinking of making the change it is important to know if you fit the criteria for it. Here are some factors that should stop you from adapting the Ketogenic diet:

Kidney Problems

The keto diet is a high fat and high protein diet. Since your kidneys metabolise protein, the diet would put more pressure on your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, the ketogenic diet is not suitable for you.

Age

If you already follow the keto diet from a younger age it shouldn’t be a problem when you are older. A ketogenic diet has a crucial transition stage. It changes the way your body uses carbohydrates and fats which can initially put a lot of strain on your body. You may feel fatigued at first and it may even reduce your muscles first rather than increasing it. Therefore, it is not ideal to start at an older age. If you are already dealing with muscle loose with age and feel more fatigued, it will be harder for you to maintain a ketogenic diet.

Liver Problems

Our liver helps us filter nutrients in our body. A sudden change in the diet would over work the liver as well. Though many argue that those with Fatty Liver Disease benefit from the diet, it is crucial for you to talk to your doctor if you have liver problems.

Time and Money

If you want to start this diet, you have to examine it from a practical point of view as well. Carbohydrates are cheaper and they fill us up quickly. Proteins are much more expensive and we need much higher quantities of it to fill us up. A ketogenic diet is very restrictive and therefore, can be quite expensive in the long run. Since many products have a lot of hidden carbs, you are required to do a lot of your own shopping and prepare your own meals. This can be very time consuming for someone with a very busy lifestyle.

During the transition phase a ketogenic diet has a lot of steps involved in it. You need to ask yourself if you are up for the challenge. And if you are, the next step is to talk to your doctor and thoroughly research the diet. Only then can you begin your diabetic ketogenic journey. The diet will not work if you don’t make workout and lifestyle changes as well.

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