We all know that managing type two diabetes is a lifelong commitment. In addition to medication and regular doctor's appointments, you also have to make sure you're eating the right foods.
But it doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, managing type 2 diabetes with a keto / low-carb diet may help you live a longer, healthier life. Here’s how it works.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar. Normally, your pancreas produces insulin to help your body use or store the sugar it gets from food.
But in people with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes too much insulin, or the body can’t use insulin properly because of insulin resistance. This causes sugar to build up in your bloodstream instead of being used for energy.
Type 2 diabetes is most common in adults, although it is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.
The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and family history are all thought to play a role.
Can Keto Be Good For Diabetics?
Yes, a low-carb/ keto diet is beneficial for diabetes. Let's understand the science behind it.
When a person consumes a high carbohydrate diet, their blood sugar spikes. This is problematic for diabetics as the body cannot use the accumulated glucose in the blood properly.
As a result, reducing the carbohydrate intake on a low-carb or keto diet can reduce the need for insulin by eliminating large spikes in blood sugar.
As you may know, carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. In the absence of glucose and insufficient carbohydrate intake, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis and begins metabolizing fat for energy.
Without carbs, fats break down to form ketone bodies. Until you start eating carbs again, your body uses ketone bodies instead of glucose for energy.
As carbs are restricted to 20 - 50 grams on a keto diet, blood sugar spikes are very unlikely, and the body requires less insulin over time, which improves insulin sensitivity.
In addition, the keto diet has also been shown to help reduce insulin resistance, which is another key factor in the development of diabetes.
Given these promising results, it seems that the keto diet may be a helpful tool for diabetics who are looking to improve their blood sugar control.
Keto Diet Benefits for Type 2 Diabetes
let's take a look at some of the potential benefits of the keto diet for type 2 diabetes.
May Improve Blood Sugar Control
A low-carb diet can help to improve blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of glucose that your body needs to process. When you eat a meal, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and other nutrients. Insulin is then released, which helps to move the glucose into your cells for energy.
However, if you eat too many carbs, your body can't process all of the glucose and it builds up in your blood. This can cause serious health complications for diabetics. A low-carb diet helps to minimize this problem by reducing the number of carbs you eat, which means that your body doesn't need to produce as much insulin. As a result, blood sugar levels improve over time.
May Help You Lose Weight
Weight loss is another area where the keto diet may be beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
In one study, obese adults with type 2 diabetes were placed on a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and saw significant reductions in body weight and waist circumference over 24 weeks. Participants also had improvements in blood sugar control and triglyceride levels.
May Reduce Insulin Levels
Another potential benefit of the keto diet is reduced insulin levels.
High levels of Insulin can lead to insulin resistance, which is a major driver of type 2 diabetes. With reduced carb intake, insulin needs decrease, resulting in decreased insulin levels over time.
Another possible mechanism by which the keto diet may help reduce insulin levels is by promoting weight loss. As we mentioned earlier, obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and weight loss can lead to improvements in insulin sensitivity.
Keto Foods For Diabetes
The following are the foods you can include in your keto diet while managing your blood sugar.
Low-carb vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and tomatoes are packed with nutrients and fiber but are low in carbs. They can be enjoyed cooked or raw and make a great addition to any meal or snack.
Fish and seafood: Fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve blood sugar control. Seafood like shrimp and lobster are also good sources of protein and are low in carbs.
Full-fat dairy: Unrefined dairy products are high in fat but low in carbs, making them a perfect food for the keto diet. Look for varieties that are high in protein such as greek yogurt, cheese, milk, etc.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds like almonds and chia seeds are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients. They make a good snack or can be added to meals to boost nutrient intake. Just be sure to watch portion sizes as they can be high in calories, especially when trying to lose weight.
By switching from carbohydrates to fat as your body's primary energy source, the keto diet can be highly beneficial for people with diabetes.
The downside is that it can lead to some serious health complications for diabetics if poorly planned. As a result, you should do it only after consulting a healthcare professional. PS. If you're looking for free resources around keto, don't miss out Keto 101 online webinar! Click here for more info.