By Chef K.T. Murphy
The Ketogenic diet refers to any number of specific diets that limit carbohydrates. The goal of the Ketogenic diet is to lose weight, but in limiting carbs, could it also be good for people with Type 2 diabetes? This article will discuss the Ketogenic diet and how it relates to the goals and needs of Type 2 diabetics.
The Keto Diet And Carbs
Your body’s main source of energy is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are chains of sugars that your body breaks down in order to consume the sugar for energy. Your body can also get energy from breaking down fats and proteins. Fat is made by the body to store sugars that you consumed but that your body didn’t use. Protein and fat that you take in through your diet, however, can’t be efficiently stored. The primary use of protein is for building muscle, but in the absence of carbs it can be broken down for energy. Some dietary fats, like those that come from nuts, seeds, and healthy oils, also play an important role while animal fats that come from meat and dairy products do not. Any protein that the body doesn’t use within a fairly limited time span is passed out of the body as waste, while excess animal fats are often left behind in the body. As mentioned in the introduction, the Ketogenic diet is any a group term for a number of specific diets that limit carbohydrates and increase intake of protein and dietary fats. This requires the body to burn fat and proteins for energy. The key objective of the Ketogenic diet is for people to lose weight, but it also has some appeal for people with Type 2 diabetes because it limits carbs.
Type 2 Diabetes And Carbs
When your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars, those sugars are carried in the blood to the various places where they are either used for energy or stored as fat. A key chemical in this process is insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t create enough insulin or your body doesn’t respond to insulin like it should. This is partially caused by, and in turn can cause, high blood sugar.
When you have Type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar is controlled with insulin and other medications, but also by limiting carbohydrates. It is also recommended that people with Type 2 diabetes manage their disease by losing weight. Losing weight and limiting carbs sounds a lot like the Keto diet, doesn’t it?
The Keto Diet And Type 2
The Keto diet does cause weight loss and stable blood sugar readings on the short term. After all, your body is burning fat in the absence of carbohydrates. Burning fat means weight loss and no carbohydrates means low blood sugar. In this way, the Keto diet can be a great tool that you can employ on a temporary basis to begin losing weight if your weight makes it difficult for you to do things like exercise.
Unfortunately, the Keto diet on the long-term is less beneficial. High volumes of dietary fat can cause damage to the pancreas, leading to even greater problems with Type 2 diabetes in the future. Severely low intake of carbohydrates overtime can also cause your body to secrete less insulin which leave the blood sugar that does gradually accumulate with no way out, leading to blood sugar levels rising down the road. The unhealthy storage of dietary fats in the body can also lead to increased risk for things like heart attack and stroke.
In the short term, the Keto diet can be a good way to start weight loss as you begin looking at diet and exercise to lower your weight and manage your diabetes. The diet can be dangerous on the longer term, however, especially for people with Type 2 diabetes.
Keep in touch with your health care provider to be sure that you are doing what is best to lose weight and manage your symptoms.