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Ketogenic diet, or better known as keto, is the biggest buzz in the diet and fitness world right now. And rightfully so, as it works in helping people lose weight and reach their ideal weight. But as with other diet and eating plans, it is important to know if keto diet works for you. So is it actually safe, especially for people with diabetes? Well, scientists are yet to figure out everything about this diet. But here’s what we know so far.
First off, what is Ketogenic Diet?
Ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carb eating plan. Basically, a big chunk of the diet is fat, be it unsaturated fat like avocados, nuts, and seeds, or saturated fat like butter or coconut oil. The other 20% to 30% of the diet is protein, which can be lean protein (fish, chicken breast) or fatty (bacon) form of protein. The idea is to limit the intake of carbohydrates as much as possible, even those that are typically considered as healthy such as brown rice, beans, or whole grains and other types of fruits and vegetables. For keto diet, only 50g of carbohydrates per day is allowed. To put this in perspective, a medium-sized apple is around 25g of carbs. To be sure if your keto diet is effective, you can use glucose ketone meter to monitor your ketosis level.
So will this work? The human body uses sugar (or glucose) for fuel, which it usually gets from carbohydrates. A few days of keto will cause the body to use up all the stored glucose. The body will then convert to burning fat instead. This process is called nutritional ketosis – ketones (fatty acid substance) are then used by the body for energy.
So will this work for people with diabetes?
The short answer is yes, it’s good for people with diabetes.
Again, the idea of keto diet is to limit the body of carbohydrates and sugar. Research actually shows that people with Type 2 diabetes experienced lower blood sugar levels and slimmed down through the keto diet. Another study even shows that people with Type 2 diabetes have lowered their A1C and needed less medication after doing a year of keto diet.
People who are insulin-resistant (high blood sugar level due to their body not responding properly to the hormone insulin) will benefit from keto diet, since the body will need and make less insulin.
A few studies also looked into the effect of keto diet for people with Type 1 Diabetes. One study shows that nutritional ketosis helped Type 1 diabetes patients lower their A1C level. However, experts also say further study is still needed to see the full effects of the diet for Type 1 diabetes.
So is keto safe for diabetes?
The results of studies we have today looked into the short-term effects of the diet. The experts are still unclear for the long-term effects of nutritional ketosis for people with diabetes.
Generally, people with type 2 diabetes experienced great results not just in managing their symptoms, but more importantly, reducing its accompanied health risks. Many experienced losing weight and became less dependent on their medications.
For people with type 1 diabetes, it is best to consult your doctor first before trying the keto diet, or any other forms of diet. For either types of diabetes, it is best to work closely with your doctor for the best course of treatment.
It is also a good idea to have your own glucose ketone meter at home so you can keep track of your blood.
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