The ketogenic diet, often referred to as the keto diet, has gained significant popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits. Originally developed as a therapeutic approach for epilepsy, the keto diet has also shown promise in managing other health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. We will explore the ketogenic diet in the context of diabetes, its effects on blood sugar control, and its potential benefits and considerations for individuals with diabetes.
Understanding the Keto Diet:
The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that aims to shift the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Normally, our bodies primarily rely on glucose (derived from carbohydrates) as a fuel source. However, in ketosis, the body starts utilizing fat as its primary source of energy, producing ketones as a byproduct. Achieving ketosis requires severely limiting carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption.
Benefits of the Keto Diet for Diabetes
There are a number of potential benefits of the keto diet for people with diabetes. These include:
- Improved blood sugar control: One of the primary challenges for individuals with diabetes is maintaining stable blood sugar levels. By minimizing carbohydrate intake, the keto diet helps control blood sugar levels and reduces the need for insulin or other diabetes medications. When carbohydrates are restricted, blood sugar spikes are minimized, which can lead to more stable glucose levels throughout the day.
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: A low-carbohydrate diet, such as the keto diet, has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, enabling the body to use insulin more effectively. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
- Weight loss: The keto diet is a very effective way to lose weight. This is because it helps to reduce your appetite and boost your metabolism.
- Other benefits: The keto diet may also have other benefits for people with diabetes, such as reducing inflammation and improving sleep.
Considerations and Precautions:
While the keto diet may offer benefits for individuals with diabetes, it is important to consider the following risks:
- Low blood sugar: If you are not careful, the keto diet can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is because your body is not used to burning fat for energy.
- Keto flu: The keto flu is a set of symptoms that can occur when you first start the keto diet. These symptoms include fatigue, headache,muscles cramp, constipation, diarrhea, irritability, brain fog and nausea.
- Kidney stones: The keto diet can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. This is because the diet can cause your body to produce more acids.
- Non fatty liver: While it is not conclusive,some studiesindicate that there can be higher risk of non fatty liver induced by keto diet.
- Cardiac risk: As per American Heart Association,certaincomposition of keto diet can be detrimental to heart health. High use of trans fats is associated with higher cardiovascular mortality and risk of coronary heart disease.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: The strict limitations on carbohydrate-rich foods in the keto diet may increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies. Careful meal planning and supplementation may be necessary to ensure an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Sustainability: The keto diet requires a significant lifestyle change, and some individuals may find it challenging to adhere to the strict carbohydrate restrictions over the long term. It is crucial to find an eating pattern that can be maintained sustainably.
Individual Variations: Every person with diabetes is unique, and the effects of the keto diet may vary. It is essential to work closely with a healthcare team like Oxyjon who can tailor the diet to individual needs and provide ongoing support.
There are some groups of people who should not follow a keto diet, including people:
- who are pregnant or lactating
- with a history of or current diagnosis of an eating disorder
- with kidney disease
- taking certain medications, such as SGLT-2 inhibitors
- with pancreatitis
- with liver failure
- with disorders of fat metabolism
Can I follow a Keto diet if I have undergone a gallbladder removal surgery?
Yes, you can! The main function of gallbladder is to store the bile and assist with fat digestion. The gallbladder doesn’t produce bile. The liver produces it, and the gallbladder just stores it. After gallbladder removal, there’s no stored bile in your body. Without gall bladder, there is no immediate bile available for high fat food like keto diet. So, the liver has to work harder to produce more bile, when you eat high fat food items. A good keto diet is higher in healthy fats that do not require high quantity of bile. Long-chain fatty acids (such as animal fats, olive oil, and macadamia nut oil) require bile, but medium-chained triglycerides (MCTs) do not. MCTs are extracted from palm kernel oil and coconut oil. It is easily absorbed, without needing gallbladder assistance. This is one reason why MCT oil is popular in the keto community—it’s easily digested. The keto diet shows promise as a potential approach for managing diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. By reducing carbohydrate intake and promoting ketosis, it can help control blood sugar levels, enhance insulin sensitivity, and facilitate weight loss. However, it is crucial to approach the keto diet with caution, considering individual needs, potential nutrient deficiencies, and long-term sustainability. It is critical to follow a keto diet only under medical supervision of experts like Oxyjon. This will ensure that key parameters like blood sugar levels, ketones and others are regularly monitored.