Should Diabetics Try the Keto Diet?

Chances are, you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet. On the surface, it sounds like it could work. Diabetics may be especially tempted by the keto diet’s effect on insulin levels.

However, just like many other diets, the keto diet has both benefits and risks. Let’s explore some of these so you can make an informed decision about your eating habits. 

What is the ketogenic diet?

In short, the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Dieters typically reduce their carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day while eating more fat and protein. 

The goal is to reduce the body’s glucose levels. Glucose is your body’s main source of energy and decreasing glucose forces the body to produce less insulin and switch to using fat as its main energy. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, a substance your body can substitute glucose with. Your body is now in a state of ketosis.

What are the benefits of a ketogenic diet?

Research has suggested many possible benefits of the keto diet, including:

  • Weight loss
  • The ability to feel full while on this diet
  • A focus on fat loss rather than lean muscle loss
  • Possibly being an effective treatment for epilepsy

Since the keto diet decreases insulin production, it may also benefit those with type 2 diabetes.

What are the risks of a ketogenic diet?

However, there may be pitfalls to the keto diet, including the following:

  • Fatigue, irritability, and brain fog
  • Difficulty in adhering to the diet
  • Increased risk of developing kidney stones, osteoporosis, and gout
  • Increased risk of malnutrition

Ketoacidosis

If your ketone levels are too high, you can enter a dangerous state called ketoacidosis. This is considered a life-threatening emergency.

More Research Needed

Unfortunately, there are many questions about the keto diet that science simply has not answered. Long-term effects of the diet are still relatively unknown. It may be wise to err on the side of caution and try conventional healthy eating habits first before starting such an extreme diet. 

What are scientifically-proven ways to treat diabetes?

On the other hand, there are numerous ways to treat diabetes that have been thoroughly researched to be effective. They tend to be simple as well.

  • Know your diabetes ABCs. This is a simple acronym to remember three things you should pay attention to A1C (a blood test), blood pressure, and cholesterol.
  • Take any prescribed medication, such as INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) for type 2 diabetes.
  • Find ways to manage stress, which can raise blood sugar levels.
  • Eat a well-rounded diet that consists of vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.

 Finally, always speak with your doctor first before altering the way you eat. Everyone is different, and dieting may have a serious effect on you.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.