Just over 1 in 10 Americans live with diabetes today. For some, it’s genetic (Type 1); for others, it’s avoidable (Type 2). It’s a condition that needs constant monitoring and lifestyle adjustments to manage effectively—or to avoid, when possible. The biggest and most important consideration for those living with diabetes, Type 1 or Type 2, is blood sugar control.
The problem with blood sugar
Those living with diabetes (or pre-diabetes) have trouble balancing blood sugar levels. The disease affects your ability to produce insulin, which is instrumental in allowing the body to absorb and process glucose (blood sugar). The result? People with diabetes need to be extremely careful about what they eat. Too much or too little sugar in the diet can have devastating effects.
Diet discipline is a cornerstone of diabetes and pre-diabetes management. To help make it simpler and easier to understand, more and more people are turning to the Keto Diet.
Keto and blood sugar
One of the best things about the Keto Diet for diabetics is that it contains virtually no sugars. Lean proteins and natural fats are void of sugars, whereas many carb-laden foods contain them. Eating fatty foods and cutting out carbs is a simple way to keep your diet on track and your blood sugar balanced.
Once in the body, carbohydrates break down into sugars, which your body burns for energy. This is a problem for diabetics, who lack the insulin production to process those sugars effectively. On Keto, however, you’re retraining your body to burn fats instead of carbs. That means less reliance on sugar for energy and, as a result, a better balance of glucose in the body, since fat is now the primary source of energy.
The benefits of Keto for diabetes
The Keto Diet checks two important boxes for individuals living with diabetes or who are pre-diabetic. First, it moderates blood sugar levels; second, it aids in weight loss. Diabetics struggling to control their weight or their blood sugar levels will find themselves killing two birds with one stone by sticking to the Keto Diet.
There are numerous studies examining the links between the Keto Diet and its positive impacts on diabetics. The results have been virtually unanimous: Keto, combined with exercise and continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels, is highly beneficial for diabetics of both types, as well as those diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
Important factors to consider: diabetic ketoacidosis
Diabetics are at a higher risk than non-diabetics for developing complications as the result of dietary imbalances. For many diabetics, the shift into Keto can be more difficult as their bodies adapt.
It’s also important to distinguish between ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis—a dire condition for diabetics. While ketosis is the primary state for converting fat into energy, an excess of ketones in a diabetic individual (usually Type 1) can result in health problems. It’s essentially a severe lack of blood sugar, which can lead to diabetic coma if glucose levels aren’t stabilized.
Always chat with a doctor
It’s always a smart idea to chat with your doctor first before attempting Keto. They’ll be able to coach you through first steps, and can provide advice for how to manage your diabetes in transition. And, there’s a good chance they’ll be familiar with the research linking Keto to positive outcomes in diabetic patients!
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