The ketogenic diet: Is it a natural remedy for type 2 diabetes?

Publish DateMar 02, 2021

I have nothing against the numerous other diets—such as Atkins—that keep popping up on my google feed every time I hit my keyboard to type ‘healthy diet.’ 

Yeah, been there, done that, and I continue to do so. 

‘Ketogenic diet’ - the buzzword of the diet industry has sparked many interests and claims regarding its numerous health

Recent studies on short-term impact suggest that people with type 2 diabetes can reduce weight and lower their sugar level with a ketogenic diet; the long-term implications of such low-carb, high-fat needs further rigorous investigation. 

This blog explains the ketogenic diet and how research suggests the positive implications it has on type 2 diabetes.

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that limits carb (carbohydrate) intake to less than 10 percent, protein intake to 20 percent, and the rest is fat.  

This is a natural and clean diet comprising primarily fats such as avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, high-quality dairy products, nuts and seeds; protein such as grass-fed meat, seafood, and poultry; and high-fiber non-starchy vegetables.    

Junk food such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cake, and candy are a strict no-no, along with high carb foods such as grains, rice, potatoes, pastries, bread, pasta, and most fruits. 

So how does the ketogenic diet help with type 2 diabetes?

Usually, each time we intake carbohydrates, the digestive system converts them into sugar and releases them into the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases more insulin to balance the sugar level.  

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to control glucose levels in our bloodstream. Plus, it helps with glucose storage in our liver, fat, and muscles and, overall, regulates the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Without adequate insulin levels, our body gets prone to diabetes because of abnormal blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar levels are at a tremendous high, the cells in our liver, fat, and muscles stop responding to the insulin produced by the pancreas and become unable to store glucose from the blood. The pancreas then releases more insulin resulting in higher blood sugar levels. This condition is called insulin resistance.

The more carbohydrates one consumes, the more insulin is generated. 

The absence of carbohydrates in the ketogenic diet along with high fat brings on ketosis, a natural metabolic state, and produces ketones, also known as ‘ketone bodies.’ Ketones are energy molecules formed during ketosis when the body breaks fats into these smaller molecules for energy. 

As the body runs on ketones, the body produces less insulin. The cell’s response to insulin improves gradually, thus dealing with insulin resistance--the root cause for type 2 diabetes.

Validating the long-term impact of a ketogenic diet would require further scientific studies conducted after a long period of time. Hence, it is advised to consult your doctor before you embark on this journey for diabetes management. 

Author: Somrita Ganchoudhuri


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