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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Is Keto Diet Good for Diabetics?


If you have type 2 diabetes, you might have heard about the keto diet as a possible way to manage your condition. But what is the keto diet and how does it affect your blood sugar levels? Here are some facts and tips to help you decide if this diet is right for you.


What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, very-low-carbohydrate diet that aims to put your body into a state of ketosis. This means that your body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. The diet was originally created as a treatment for epilepsy, but some studies have shown that it can also help people with type 2 diabetes.


How does the keto diet work for type 2 diabetes?

Many people with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar levels because their bodies do not use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) enter the cells for energy. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which raises your blood sugar levels. If you eat too many carbohydrates or do not have enough insulin, your blood sugar can spike and cause problems.


The keto diet limits the amount of carbohydrates you eat, which reduces the amount of glucose in your blood. This forces your body to use fat as an alternative source of energy, which lowers your blood sugar levels. Some studies have found that the keto diet can improve blood sugar control, reduce the need for insulin, and promote weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.


What are the benefits and risks of the keto diet for type 2 diabetes?

The keto diet may have some benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, such as:

  • Lowering blood sugar levels and preventing large fluctuations.

  • Reducing the risk of complications such as heart disease and kidney damage.

  • Improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

  • Enhancing insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation.

  • Supporting weight loss and appetite control.

However, the keto diet also has some risks and challenges, such as:

  • Causing side effects such as nausea, headache, fatigue, constipation, and bad breath.

  • Increasing the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if you take insulin or other medications that lower blood sugar.

  • Leading to nutrient deficiencies if you do not eat a balanced and varied diet.

  • Being difficult to follow and sustain in the long term.

  • Lacking long-term research on its safety and effectiveness for type 2 diabetes.


How to start and follow the keto diet for type 2 diabetes?

If you are interested in trying the keto diet for type 2 diabetes, you should talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if this diet is suitable for you, adjust your medications if needed, and monitor your blood sugar levels closely. You may also benefit from working with a registered dietitian who can help you plan your meals and snacks, ensure adequate nutrition, and avoid potential pitfalls.

The keto diet typically restricts carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day, which is equivalent to about two slices of bread or one medium banana. You will need to avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as:

  • Grains (bread, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.)

  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas, etc.)

  • Fruits (except berries in small amounts)

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.)

  • Sugary foods (cakes, cookies, candy, soda, etc.)

  • Milk and yogurt (except cheese and cream in small amounts)

Instead, you will need to eat foods that are high in fat and moderate in protein, such as:

  • Eggs

  • Fish (such as salmon)

  • Meat (such as chicken)

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Avocado

  • Olives and olive oil

  • Cheese and cream

  • Non-starchy vegetables (such as spinach)

You may also use some low-carb substitutes for common foods, such as:

  • Cauliflower rice

  • Zucchini noodles

  • Almond flour bread

  • Coconut flour pancakes

  • Sugar-free sweeteners


Conclusion

The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, very-low-carbohydrate diet that may help some people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar levels and improve their health. However, this diet is not for everyone and has some risks and challenges. You should consult your doctor before starting this diet and follow their advice on how to do it safely and effectively.


Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist


Kify Hospital

Danavaipeta

Rajahmundry

Phone : 85000 23456

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