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Is Keto Diet Good for Diabetics
Updated on January 31, 2024
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Diet / Weight Loss
Meal Replacements
Is Keto Diet Good for Diabetics

Improving your diet is one of the several things you can do to restore and maintain good health if you have type 2 diabetes. Among the popular dietary changes for managing diabetes is the Keto diet.

In this article, we'll explore whether the Keto diet is good for diabetics, how it works, and its potential risks.

Is Keto Diet Good for Diabetics 2

What is the Keto Diet?

The Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps your body switch from using glucose (from carbohydrates) to ketone bodies as an energy source.

By significantly reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, your body becomes more efficient at using fat stores for energy.

It can lead to weight loss and improved health markers, such as better blood sugar or blood glucose control and reduced inflammation.

Summary

The Keto diet is a low-carb diet that helps your body enter the ketosis metabolic state. Ketosis happens when your body turns to fat stores for energy.

Entering Ketosis: How to Switch to a Keto Diet

Transitioning from carbs to fat for energy can be challenging when starting the keto diet. To enter ketosis, you should limit your daily carb intake to 20 to 50 grams and increase both fat and protein consumption.

Typically, it takes healthy people—those who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant—two to four days to reach ketosis.1

For example, if you’re following a 2,000 daily caloric limit when doing a Keto diet, your macronutrient breakdown might be:

  • 165 grams of fat
  • 40 grams of carbs
  • 75 grams of protein

Summary

To enter a ketosis state, limit your carb intake to 20 to 50 grams daily and increase your fat and protein consumption.

How Does the Keto Diet Affect Type 2 Diabetes?

The Keto diet is often beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes because it can lower blood sugar levels. While each person’s response to changes in macronutrients may vary, many find the Keto diet a powerful tool for managing their condition.

However, switching to a Ketogenic diet for type 2 diabetics has some risks. It may cause dangerously low blood glucose levels or a condition called hypoglycemia.

It’s crucial to monitor your blood sugar and ketone levels consistently. By doing so, you can adjust your diet according to how your blood sugar levels fluctuate.

Summary

The Keto diet helps people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels. However, it may cause your blood sugar level to drop too low (hypoglycemia).

Benefits of the Keto Diet for Diabetics

The Keto diet focuses on low-carb intake, which helps the body maintain low but healthy blood glucose levels. 

By reducing carbs, the diet can help control blood sugar and possibly prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

The other benefits of the Keto diet for people with diabetes include improvements in blood sugar control clinical markers and overall metabolic health:2

  • Weight loss
  • Lower A1C levels
  • Improved glycemic control 
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Improve insulin sensitivity or resistance
  • Potentially lessen the need for insulin
  • Raises heart-healthy HDL (or “good”) cholesterol levels

Summary

By reducing your carb intake, the Keto diet helps regulate blood glucose. It helps improve clinical markers of blood sugar control and overall metabolic health.

What Foods Can You Eat in a Keto Diet

The Keto diet focuses on low-carb, high-fat options that keep your body in ketosis. Here are a variety of foods you can enjoy while following the diet.

Fats

Fats are often associated with negative health outcomes. But there are healthier fat sources that can be included in a diet. The Ketogenic diet encourages you to choose healthier fat sources.

The Keto diet recommends consuming naturally occurring and minimally processed fats, such as

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans

The diet also suggests saturated fat sources, like butter, lard, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. 

Protein

It's essential to consume protein on a keto diet, but be mindful not to overdo it. Excess protein can disrupt ketosis. Opt for high-fat and low-carb protein sources, such as:

  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Bacon

Fruits and Vegetables

While fruits and veggies are generally healthy, those on a keto diet must be selective. Focus on low-carb fruits such as berries in small servings.

You may also have moderate quantities of low-carb vegetables like:

  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Peppers

Summary

Naturally occurring and minimally processed fats, high-fat and low-carb protein sources, and low-carb fruits and veggies are the best foods to eat in a Keto diet.

Cholesterol Concerns and the Keto Diet

One of the biggest concerns with the keto diet is its potential impact on cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol causes severe health problems, including hardening of the arteries and restricted blood flow, increasing someone’s risk of stroke and heart attack.3

The keto diet's high-fat consumption, including saturated fats, raises concerns about increased bad cholesterol levels, especially for people with diabetes.

Remember that there are two types of cholesterol – HDL (good) and LDL (bad). The Keto diet can affect both types.

If you're managing diabetes with a keto diet, you must be aware of your cholesterol levels and monitor them regularly to prevent additional health complications.

Summary

It's important to check your cholesterol levels regularly on a Keto diet. This can help prevent additional health complications since the diet focuses on high-fat and high-protein intake.

Is the Keto Diet Different from a Diabetes Diet?

Yes, the Keto diet is different from a diabetes diet. These two are different blood sugar management options.

While both diets recommend reducing carbs, a diabetes diet incorporates healthy carbohydrates, focusing on plenty of vegetables, proteins, and a moderate amount of fruit. In contrast, a keto diet emphasizes higher fat intake and lowered carbohydrate consumption.

Diabetic dieters are encouraged to limit carbs from processed grains, junk food, and sugary foods but still include whole grains. Unlike the Keto diet, they're advised not to over-consume fats and oils.

Before starting the Keto diet journey, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that the dietary plan provides a safe and effective approach to managing your condition.

Summary

A Keto diet is different from a diabetes diet. They have different dietary approaches to treating diabetes. But both diets can help regulate your blood sugar levels.

Risks Associated with the Keto Diet

As with any restrictive diet, the Keto diet has potential risks ranging from mild to serious.

Increased saturated fat intake

The most serious risk is the higher consumption of saturated fats. Health experts recommend limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 7% of your daily calories when on a Keto diet to avoid risks of heart disease.4

Nutrient deficiencies

A limited variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains may lead to deficiencies in essential micronutrients, particularly selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B and C.

Liver problems

High-fat intake puts pressure on the liver, as it needs to metabolize much fat. If you have existing liver issues, the Keto diet may exacerbate them.

Kidney problems

Excessive protein consumption can strain the kidneys. Aim for 46 to 56 grams of protein daily on a Keto diet.

Constipation

A lack of high-fiber foods in the diet can result in constipation.

Fuzzy thinking and mood swings

The brain uses sugar from healthy carbs for cognitive functions like thinking, memory, and learning. Without carbs, you may experience confusion, mood swings, fuzzy thinking, and irritability.4,5

Summary

The risks of the Keto diet can range from mild to severe. It can potentially affect your liver and kidney. It can also cause symptoms like constipation and mood swings.

Updated on January 31, 2024
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5 sources cited
Updated on January 31, 2024
  1. Ketosis.” Cleveland Clinic.
  2. Diabetes and the Ketogenic Diet.” EndocrineWeb.
  3. High cholesterol.” Mayo Clinic.
  4. Should you try the keto diet?” Harvard Health Publishing.
  5. Sugar and the Brain.” Harvard Medical School.
Kelly Brown
Kelly Brown
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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