Back in the day, diets were all about being low-fat. If a product included anything “fat” related in the ingredients list, it was commonly left on the shelf and not even given a second thought. However, times have changed, and researchers have strengthened their studies to support that high-fat diets with low-carbohydrates are the way to go! You should focus on low carbs, high protein, and healthy fatty acids like olive oil, coconut oil, and mct oil that are lower in triglycerides and LDL, and higher in HDL. The type of fats you take in can affect your cholesterol levels. Today, the ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly popular as one of the best ways to improve one’s overall health. From weight loss and increased energy to improved cognitive function and quality of sleep, keto is much more than just a diet – it’s a lifestyle, but is it good for diabetics?
Keto is a high-fat, low-carb, moderate protein intake diet that changes the way your body burns fuel for energy and measures the ketone levels in your urine. When your carb intake is extremely low and glucose – stored sugar that comes from net carbs – is not available for energy, your body enters into a fat-burning metabolic state known as ketosis different from diabetic ketoacidosis. In this state, your body uses fat as its main source for energy instead of glucose, this health benefit is why many people experience body fat loss when they make the switch to a ketogenic diet plan lifestyle! In addition to body weight loss, diabetics have found keto to be beneficial as well.
Diabetes and Keto
If you have diabetes, then you know firsthand the importance of carbohydrates as an energy source . Keeping your sugar levels in check is crucial to sustaining optimal health. So, with that in mind, it is a no brainer that keto is a great choice for diabetics because the whole point is to restrict the grams of carbs you consume that would later convert to glucose. In addition, eating foods rich in healthy fats won’t trigger the pancreas to release insulin which typically causes your blood sugar levels to spike when you eat carbs or sugars. Some of the healthy high-fat, low-carb foods and macronutrients that you should eat on your keto journey are:
- Nuts- Macadamia nut
- Dark green leafy green veggies and green vegetables- kale and zucchini
- Grass-fed butter
Did you know that according to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that more than 100 million U.S adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes? The disease continues to represent a growing health problem as it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States – yikes! The good news is that keto can help. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body has been so overwhelmed by carbs for a long period of time that it develops an insulin resistance. Your cells are essentially screaming, “please, no more sugar!” When someone transitions from a traditional carb-filled American diet to a very low-carb diet, their body won’t release all this insulin and the insulin resistance is forced to correct itself which can ultimately reverse the disease. Incredible, right!? In addition to being beneficial to lower blood sugar levels, a ketogenic lifestyle comes with many other advantages.
- Reduced Appetite
Everyone knows that hunger is the worst side effect when it comes to dieting. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why many people feel miserable and end up throwing in the towel in addition to the keto flu. However, consuming a low-carb diet naturally leads to an automatic reduction in appetite. Many studies can support that when people kick carbs to the curb and eat more healthy fats and protein, their big appetite tends to shrink. This proves itself to be beneficial for diabetics who have a difficult time fighting off cravings to keep sugar levels down.
- Visceral Fat Loss
Did you know that there are two main types of fat that make up your body? Subcutaneous fat, which is under your skin, and visceral fat, which accumulates in your abdominal cavity and tends to hang out around your organs. Excessive visceral fat is associated with inflammation and insulin resistance which we just learned is not good for those battling diabetes! A low-carb ketogenic lifestyle proves to be extremely effective at reducing this harmful belly fat and overtime it can lead to a drastically reduced risk factor of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- May Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure is an early indicator that you are on track for many diseases, such as stroke, heart disease and kidney failure. In fact, it is commonly referred to as a “silent killer” because it often has no obvious symptoms causing many people to not even realize they have it. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the combination of diabetes and high blood pressure is a lethal mix that can significantly raise your risk of a heart attack. The good news is that keto is an effective way to lower your blood pressure, which should help to reduce your risk of these scary diseases to help support a long and healthy life.
Is Keto Meal Plan Safe if You Have Diabetes?
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can follow the keto diet, but it is important to do it under the supervision of your physician and registered dietitian. Insulin injections and oral diabetic medications both work to lower your blood sugar so if you restrict your carbohydrate intake to let’s say 5% or less, your blood sugar could drop immensely, which can lead to hypoglycemia. It is important to listen to your body and your doctor when making the lifestyle change to make sure you are doing it in a safe and healthy manner.
A Final Word
So, is keto good for diabetics? The answer is: YES! Research proves that following a ketogenic lifestyle can help diabetics to control their blood sugar. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to do so under the supervision of your medical team and consider taking body-nourishing electrolytes and supplements like Adapted Nutrition’s K1000 to help you feel your best on keto. Changing the way your body uses food for fuel can be tough, but with the right support, a real health transformation is possible!