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How the Keto Diet Can Help Reverse Diabetes


  • How the Keto Diet Can Help Reverse Diabetes

    Diabetes is a progressive and chronic disease that is often stated as “incurable” by many people. But lately, the results of several clinical studies reveal that the reversal of diabetes is possible with a low carb diet or a keto diet.

    Although there are chances of debate for the term “reversal” being right because incorporating flour and sugar in their diet might bring diabetes back. In spite of that,
    carbohydrate restriction remains the default treatment for people with diabetes. Also, a well-planned low carb diet or a keto diet must be the first lifestyle treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

    Research suggests, the keto diet is effective in controlling glycemic control in diabetics, reduces excess weight, and lowers the chances of diabetes among people that do not have it yet.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	diabetes.png Views:	25 Size:	67.4 KB ID:	279

    In this article, we will discuss what diabetes and the keto diet is and how this diet plays a role in reversing this disease.

    What is Diabetes?

    Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the glucose levels in the blood remain above the normal levels. This elevated blood glucose level can be a potential source of other health problems as the disease progresses. These problems include cardiovascular disorders, kidney problems, and peripheral nerve damage with time. It can also result in gum and teeth problems, headaches, and trouble concentrating.

    It has two types which are, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is when the body is unable to produce insulin. The person becomes insulin-dependent and has to rely on artificial insulin to stay alive. Type 2 is more common that accounts for 90% diabetic cases in the world.

    In this type of diabetes, the body is not making enough insulin or is unable to use it well. It is common among people over 40 years, who are inactive and overweight, with a positive family history of this disease, and people with a diet consisting of mainly refined carbohydrates.

    What is the Keto Diet?

    The keto diet or the ketogenic diet is basically a high-fat and low-carb diet. It was first developed in the 1920s for the treatment of epilepsy. But since then, it has gained the attention of the public and scientists as a solution to several ailments, including diabetes.

    Click to see Video: Dr. Hallberg on Ketogenic Interventions to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

    This diet is considered when a person restricts carbohydrate intake less than 50g in a day. The protein intake remains moderate, while the majority of calories are derived from fat. By eating in this way, the body is put in a natural metabolic condition known as ketosis, hence the name of this diet.

    The body contains high levels of ketones (acidic molecules) in its blood and tissue when it is in ketosis. These ketones behave as a fuel alternative for glucose and help diabetic patients who have compromised capacity to utilize glucose effectively.

    Since the keto diet plays the role of replacing carb with fats, it reduces blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces the demand for insulin, providing an altogether productive influence over insulin signaling.

    How the Keto Diet Works

    On the keto diet, the blood glycemic levels are maintained at a lower yet healthy level that forces the body for breaking down fat into an alternate fuel source called ketones. This process of burning or breaking down fat is termed as ketosis.

    Since this diet helps in burning fat, it is particularly beneficial for those who are trying to get rid of excess weight. This includes prediabetics or the people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    Understanding the “High-Fat” in the Keto Diet

    As mentioned above, many type 2 diabetics are overweight, so the keto diet, which is a high-fat diet may seem unhelpful.

    The main aim of the keto diet is to make the body burn fat for gaining energy rather than from glucose or carbohydrates. When a person is on the ketogenic diet, she/he gets most of the energy derived from fat, with only a little that comes from carbohydrates.

    This diet doesn’t promote eating saturated fats but, healthy fats which are essential for maintaining overall health. The common healthy foods that are eaten on the keto diet are:
    • Eggs
    • Avocado
    • Fish like salmon
    • Olive oil and olives
    • Cottage cheese
    • Seeds
    • Nuts including nut butter

    Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

    Many diabetic patients are already familiar with ketoacidosis, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis. But they may confuse this state with ketosis. Although, they both involve ketones, but are definitely not the same.

    Ketoacidosis is a complication of poor-managed diabetes. It occurs when the body does not have sufficient insulin, and there is an uncontrolled building up of ketones changing the pH of the blood and proving to be life-threatening. This condition is more common for people with type 1 diabetes than type 2.

    Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, consistently raised blood sugar, breath with a fruity odor, breathing difficulties, nausea, fatigue or weakness, and confusion.

    On the other hand, ketosis does not cause ketoacidosis but rather produces a less and safe level of ketone bodies than ketoacidosis. As a matter of fact, ketosis is a process that happens in the daily life of everyone, depending on the amount of consumption of carbs and protein in the diet. Also according to an RCT, ketosis is responsible for many substantial health advantages.

    The Keto Diet and Diabetes

    The keto diet restricts carbohydrates severely. It pushes the human body to burn fats in order to get energy. This way of obtaining energy by breaking down fat is termed ketosis, as mentioned above. Let us see how the keto diet impacts various factors.

    Effect on Blood Sugar Level:
    Till now we know, that the keto diet brings about ketosis and increases blood ketone levels. But are we aware of its impact on the level of blood glucose? As most of all, it is blood glucose that all diabetic patients are required to control.

    Since blood glucose is acquired from carbohydrates, the lower consumption of carbohydrates can reduce the higher levels of blood sugar, lowering the necessity of insulin.

    Many studies on the keto diet like one study conducted in 2018 have revealed that it plays a significant role in controlling HbA1c levels. HbA1c is referred to as the total glucose that travels with Hb in blood in a duration of 3 months.

    The keto diet effectively and almost instantly lowers the blood glycemic levels among people with diabetics. With carbohydrates restricted to less than 50g per day, there is absolutely no way that the blood glucose level can go to unhealthy levels.

    Effect on Medication:
    The keto diet helps in reducing blood glycemic levels to an extent that some type 2 diabetes patients who strictly follow this diet can discontinue their diabetes medication.

    A study that involved 49 patients of type 2 diabetes revealed that a low-carb diet led to better improvement in fasting blood glucose levels and reduction of medicine.
    However, some scientists warn about the greater risk of acquiring hypoglycemia among those who follow the keto diet along with insulin intake.

    Hypoglycemia is a state in which blood glycemic levels get lower to 70 mg/dL or below.

    It is always ideal for diabetes patients to discuss any diet variation with their doctor while they are on medication. Also, not eating sufficient carbs can be risky when they are on certain diabetes medication.

    Effect on Weight:
    The keto diet encourages the body to burn fat. This is useful when an individual wants to lose weight. Also, this might be helpful for those who have developed prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by the influence of excess weight.

    According to research people that follow the keto diet show improved blood sugar levels and also some revealed observable weight loss.

    Even little to average weight loss by exercise and diet might assist in supporting glucose control, overall health, and positive energy distribution all through the day among people with diabetes.

    The Science behind Diabetes Reversal

    According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in 2019, the most successful strategy to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes is reducing carb intake.

    Research shows the efficacy and safety of low-carb diets in treating and effectively reversing diabetes. Systemic reviews and meta-analysis of RCTs are included in this scientific evidence.

    A non-randomized controlled study of keto, low-carb diet at Virta Health Corp that involved 330 patients of type 2 diabetes, revealed that at a one-year mark, almost 97% of patients had stopped or reduced insulin intake. Moreover, 58% depicted no more diabetes diagnosis. These results were retained for up to two-year mark also.

    This scientific evidence disproves the concept that diabetes is an irreversible and progressive disease. Rather, it clearly shows that it is a curable disease through efficient lifestyle intervention.

    Can Keto Diet Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

    Yes, the keto diet can reverse type 2 diabetes. Several advocates of keto diet agree with this because this diet aids in restoring insulin sensitivity, which in turn diminishes any diabetes symptoms. It enables the diabetics to live in a healthy and normal way. And if they have enough insulin-secreting capacity, they can surprisingly come off from their insulin altogether.

    Many people disagree with it that diabetes does not get reversed since it will return soon when a person starts eating a greater quantity of refined carbs and sugar. Now, how much duration is soon? This is difficult to tell how ‘soon’ this disease can come back. Also, the time it will take to come back depends on a lot of factors.

    This is, however, true about the keto diet that it doesn’t return the body to zero and permits unhealthy eating for another couple of decades. Contrarily, any individual with a history of high carb/high sugar possesses a greater risk of getting diabetes. It is only a matter of time.

    However, defining “reversible” isn’t easy. What happens is that a ketogenic or low carb diet reduces insulin resistance and enhances metabolic flexibility. Doing this improves the overall health and lowers risk factors for cardiovascular problems. Many people with diabetes who follow the keto diet do not need further artificial insulin or other diabetes medications.

    Concerning ketogenic diets specifically, several studies have shown this form of diet to be greatly effective in reducing blood glucose levels, lowering HbA1c, and assisting weight loss in type 2 diabetics or prediabetics as compared to modest protein diets. Also, many clinicians now approve of low-carb diets as an effective treatment for this disease.

    Is Keto Diet Beneficial for Type 1 Diabetes?

    Although insulin resistance is not the cause of type 1 diabetes, however, reducing insulin requirement in it still makes sense. Since people with type 1 diabetes barely produce insulin, they are dependent on artificial insulin when they follow a regular high-carb diet.

    The keto diet reduces the insulin requirement by restricting carbs. In some people with type 1 diabetes, they have enough insulin production when they follow the keto diet. While others still require injecting insulin, but in much less quantity as compared to high-carb diets. All in all, a person can control blood glycemic levels much easily by injecting insulin when on the keto diet since blood glucose rises only lightly after meals.

    In fact, according to a study performed on children and adults with type 1 diabetes, managing this disease with a well-planned keto diet showed astonishing results for controlled blood sugar levels. This reveals an excellent control of type 1 diabetes without any increase in adverse events.

    What to Eat on the Keto Diet?

    The keto diet is excellent for diabetics, irrespective of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This diet is strict but provides ample nutrition to those who follow it rightly and is careful about meeting proper nutrient requirements.

    The concept is to keep yourself away from foods that are rich in carbohydrates as they have the potential to spike your insulin levels. Normally, the carb intake on the keto diet is 20-50g per day.

    In order to follow it, a diet plan needs to be developed in which 20% of calories are derived from protein, 10% from carbs, and 70% from fat. But there are various versions of this diet, and the proportion changes according to the type.
    Processed foods should be avoided, and natural foods should be preferred.

    Following foods belong to the keto diet:

    Meats: An important part of all diets, including the keto diet. All kinds of meats and organ meats should be eaten. There occurs no reason for avoiding it but in a moderate amount for maintaining a healthful heart. According to a study, the keto diet improves lipid profile through lowering triglycerides and increasing HDL and also decreases cardiovascular risk factors.

    Healthy fat sources: Such sources include olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, butter, lard, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Although the diet is all about mostly fats, it is recommended and important to include highly healthy fats over unhealthy fats like fried cheeses, bacon, and sausages.

    Low-carb vegetables: As a rule of thumb, non-starchy vegetables should be eaten at every meal. Just be a little cautious with starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. Leafy green vegetables and mushrooms should be preferred.

    Eggs: Eggs are one of the best sources of protein and also contain fewer carbs.

    Fish: Seafood and fish is also a great source of protein.

    Berries: They are an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and minerals and are permitted to be consumed in the keto diet but modest in quantity.

    Others: Full-fat dairy items, a small number of fruits containing less sugar.

    Ketones, which are produced by the breakdown of fat that also serves as an alternate fuel source, have shown to be beneficial in weight loss, in lowering blood glycemic levels and decreasing dependence on various diabetes medication.
    Many scientific studies, as mentioned above, support the role of the keto diet in the following benefits:
    • It helps to lower high blood pressure.
    • It improves insulin sensitivity.
    • It lowers triglyceride levels.
    • It increases ‘good’ cholesterol i.e. HDL, without increasing ‘bad’ cholesterol i.e. LDL.
    • It causes a drop in insulin.
    • It usually improves the levels of cholesterol and mental performance as well.
    • The diet is also effective in reducing cravings by helping to feel full the longer time and also decreases the preference for high sugar foods.
    Moreover, many have shown great interest in the role of therapeutic ketosis in some other long term conditions like epilepsy, cancer, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

    Side Effects:
    The keto diet can be a useful glucose management choice for many type 2 diabetics. But since keto diet calls for switching to another source of energy, this diet can be a cause of some short-time side effects which are worth knowing for everyone.
    Short-term adverse effects:
    The dietary variation can cause certain short-lived symptoms among people that resemble withdrawing from a substance, like caffeine.
    Such symptoms can be:
    • Keto-flu, a temporary set of symptoms resembling flu.
    • An observable alteration in bowel routine, like constipation.
    • Painful leg cramps
    • A decrease in energy
    • Frequent urination
    • Mental fogginess
    • Loss in salts
    • Headaches
    Most of the time, these side effects are for a brief duration.

    The keto diet may bring hope to type 2 diabetics who are struggling with controlling their diabetes symptoms. Many people not only experience less diabetic symptoms with this diet but also become less reliant on medications as well.
    Last edited by Sonia Davis; 04-05-2020, 03:28 PM.

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