Diseases like diabetes may mean dietary restrictions and constant blood level monitoring. However, these practices produce great results if followed for a long time. Following a diet that helps you stabilize sugar levels of your blood can go a long way in getting those results.
One such diet is the ketogenic diet, which has helped a number of people in research and may also help you in maintaining optimum blood sugar levels. However, it is important to know that the ADA (American Diabetes Association) does not recommend one diet over another.
Should you follow any diet at all?
Since every person has different needs and goals, diets are an important component of diabetes management. However, this does not mean that only one type of diet will work for you. You can get your doctor to chart a plan that keeps in mind your ideal blood sugar levels, dietary preferences and habits, and the target weight.
Also, the same diet may not have a universal application, which is also the case with ketogenic diet.
Is keto a solution?
Most staple food, like bread, pasta, rice, fruit, and milk, contains a large number of carbs. While they provide easily absorbed energy, they also increase the level of sugar in the bloodstream.
In a ketogenic diet, only those foods that are low in glycemic index (which have fewer carbs and don’t raise the blood sugar levels by much) are eaten. This limited intake of carbs is the basis of the keto diet.
In recent years, it has been linked in the treatment of epilepsy and many reviewers say that it is great for people with diabetes.
The following are the benefits of the ketogenic diet:
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
- Aids weight loss
- Improves glycemic control in diabetics
Mechanism of the keto diet
Keto diet aims to reduce the number of carbs in a person’s diet drastically. This restriction forces the body to metabolize fats due to the lack of carbohydrates. To use fat, the body has to break it down to ketones, thus the name ketosis. This fuel source is then used and has a positive impact on sugar levels.
In the long term, it can help type 2 diabetics as the fluctuations in sugar levels are relatively few. It also means that there won’t be as much requirement of insulin. In various studies, including one from 2018, it has been found that the keto diet can help control HbA1c levels in over 3 months. These levels are indicators of glucose present in blood along with hemoglobin.
Side Effects of Keto
Along with the benefits, there are a number of short-term side effects associated with the ketogenic diet. As said before, these are meant to be short term, but if they last for longer than anticipated, contact a medical professional. These side effects are mostly seen in the beginning.
- Lightheadedness and shakiness
- Confusion, anxiety and/or irritability
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Sweating and chills
Low-grade acidosis and constipation are also a side effect of this diet, but the latter can be remedied by the addition of laxatives. These side effects are a result of the body adapting to the ketogenic diet since it has to change its source of energy
Effects on medication
It may help reduce the need for diabetes-related medicine. This phenomenon has been seen in some people with type 2 diabetes following the keto diet. However, those taking insulin to control blood sugar levels should visit their doctor to alter the dosage in accordance with the requirement. Not doing so can lead to hypoglycemia.
Weight loss: For an overweight person, the weight loss promoted by this diet can be beneficial, but for those already underweight or close to being so, it can trigger unwanted weight shedding.
Like any other diet, before switching to a ketogenic diet, you must consult your doctor and heed their advice. As switching over to a diet can be challenging, have a dietician at hand who can guide you through the early days of diet transition. It might seem hard at the beginning but it will get easier as the time passes by.