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Is Keto Good For Diabetes Type 2


What Is Type 2 Diabetes

How to Get Started with Keto for Type 2 Diabetics

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar and insulin levels. Often, the risk of type 2 diabetes is increased by obesity, and may additionally lead to high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels. This state of metabolic unrest can also be known as metabolic syndrome.

When someone has type 2 diabetes their risk for chronic disease skyrockets. This means a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers, and many other degenerative conditions.

At its core, the problem of type 2 diabetes is a problem with insulin function. Insulin is your blood sugar boss. It gets released by the pancreas after you eat to store excess blood sugar as either glycogen or fat.

But when blood sugar keeps spiking , your glycogen storage capacity in muscle and liver tissue quickly fills up, like an overhead compartment stuffed with luggage. As a result, insulin has only one place to shove the excess sugar when you over-consume calories or simple carbs: Into the belly of the plane as body fat.


In other words, the cells that normally hold blood sugar as glycogen stop listening to insulin. They just cant store any more of it! But fat cells still can.

This is called insulin resistance, and its at the center of type 2 diabetes. When someone is insulin resistant, blood sugar stays high, insulin levels stay high, and runaway fat storage ensues.

Deep Dive: Insulin Resistance, Inflammation, and Obesity

Where Keto Comes In

What Is A Ketogenic Diet

The typical ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates to very low amounts and allows for more fat than most other eating plans. The idea is to create a metabolic state called ketosis in which fat is used for energy rather than carbohydrates.

This type of diet plan was developed in the 1920s to treat epilepsy in children and has since been used for a variety of health conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, obesity, and diabetes among them. Additionally, athletes have been known to use this plan to boost performance and lose fat.


Sarah Currie, MS, RD, personal trainer and registered dietitian says, “There is no doubt that the ketogenic diet works for fat loss. And it is medically safe as long as its done right. In my experience, people go wrong when they don’t ease into this type of eating plan and restrict plant-based vegetables.”

Although there are several variations of the keto dietfor instance, some merely recommend eating 30 grams or fewer carbohydrates per day without specifying how much protein and fat to includethe standard ketogenic diet is more specific. It recommends limiting net carbs to between 25 and 50 grams per day.

The standard ketogenic diet advises consuming:

  • 60% to 70% of calories from fat
  • 20% to 30% from protein
  • No more than 5% to 10% from carbohydrate

For someone following an 1800-calorie diet, this would mean 140 grams of fat, 90 grams of protein, and 45 grams of carbohydrate daily.

How The Ketogenic Diet Works For Type 2 Diabetes

The ketogenic diet, commonly referred to as the keto diet, is a way of eating that focuses on consuming low-carb, high-fat foods. The goal of the keto diet is to change the way that your body stores and uses fat. Normally, your body will use glucose from carbs as energy. In the keto diet, your body is depleted of glucose and therefore is forced to extract energy from body fat or fat thats consumed. In this state of nutritional ketosis, your body relies on fatty acid substances called ketones for energy extraction. Here, well discuss how the ketogenic diet works for type 2 diabetes.


Read Also: Which Pancreatic Cells Release Insulin And Glucagon

What Is The Major Issue With Type

There is one big problem with diabetes sugar.

Type-2 diabetes occurs when your body is so full of sugar that it runs out of places to put it, so it ends up in your blood stream.

And in this age of widespread sugar addiction, its becoming a global crisis!

Insulin takes this overflowed sugar and moves it into different areas of the body the nerves, the kidneys, the eyes, and anywhere else it can. This is also when lots of this extra sugar turns into fat.


Insulin does not get rid of the problem, it just moves the problem to other areas. It will not reverse type-2 diabetes, but it will lead to weight gain.

Eventually, if you continue taking insulin for many years, your body will start to give up. You may experience nerve damage, kidney damage, heart attacks, strokes, blindness, or even amputation.

Simply put, insulin is not a cure for type-2 diabetes. It only conceals the issue by relocating extra sugar. So how can you reverse it?

As we mentioned earlier, there are multiple options to choose from. The base line is that in order to get rid of excess sugar, you must prevent more sugar from being introduced.

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You can achieve this by going on a low-carb high-fat diet like Keto or by fasting. The low-carb high-fat diet plan will stop more sugar from coming in, and fasting will help burn up that extra sugar your body is already storing.

Other Type 2 Diabetes Eating Plans

Keto Diet for Type 2 Diabetes: How to Manage Type 2 ...

One of the main obstacles to diabetes care that we discussed before is that theres a great deal of conflicting information out there about which diet is best for you. Well touch on a few here, including the principles behind them and where they may fall flat as a diabetic diet.

Of course, always work with your dietitian or diabetes health care provider to ensure that your team is on the same page about what youre planning to eat.

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Significance Of The Study

  • This review unravels the therapeutic effects of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in diabetes.

  • Introducing low carbohydrate diet therapy in diabetic management may lead to better quality of life and in reducing the health care costs of diabetes.

  • Efficacy of carbohydrate restriction can lead to significant reduction in the units of insulin required, cessation, or reduction of the dose of antidiabetic agents.

What Happened In Type 2 Diabetes Study: Saslow

“If you follow the ketogenic diet, it’s a very efficient way of losing weight and managing your blood glucose and getting off your glucose-lowering medicine,” says Dr. Saslow, PhD, the study leader.


The study was a follow-up to earlier research in which she and her team also found that those on the ketogenic diet lowered their HbA1c while those on the conventional low-fat diet did not.4 Just as in the current study, those on the low-carb keto diet also lost more weight.

The more recent study was conducted online to ascertain if this online approach proved effective in eliciting weight loss.1 Dr. Saslow’s team randomly assigned the 12 participants to the Keto diet and lifestyle improvement group and another 13 individuals to the traditional low-fat diet known as the Plate Method,1 supported by the American Diabetes Association.

For the ketogenic eating plan, participants were instructed to reduce non-fiber-containing carbohydrates to between 20 and 50 grams a day, with no calorie restriction. The group following the plate method were told to eat their meals on a nine-inch plate, filling half of it with non-starchy vegetables , ¼ of the plate with whole grains and adding lean protein to the last quarter of the plate.1

Also Check: How Do You Know When Your Sugar Is High

What Are Beta Cells

Beta cells are located in the pancreas and they are responsible for producing insulin. In diabetics who have had their disease for a larger amount of time, its common to see that the insulin levels will increase at first, but eventually they will decrease again.


This is because the beta cells overworked themselves producing so much insulin, that they ceased to function properly. As more and more of these beta cells stop working, diabetes gets more severe.

For this reason, many people believe the teaching that diabetes is progressive and incurable. Yet if you get on a proper diet that is low in carbs, or intermittent fasting, you should be able to stop taking insulin and stop this evil cycle.

This cycle starts with an overabundance of sugar, which leads to an overabundance of insulin and fatty liver. The fatty liver then resists insulin, which causes another increase in insulin levels.

Eventually, the fat stored in the liver will be forced to move to other areas, like the pancreas. This stops beta cells from working properly, which then leads back to higher blood sugars.

Is A Ketogenic Diet Just One More Fad Or Could It Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes: Is the Keto Diet Right for You?

Figuring out a diet that fuels our bodys needs and keeps us healthy without sacrificing taste is a daunting task for anyone. Factor in diabetes and this task can suddenly seem like an insurmountable obstacle overcome only by the most health-conscious fitness guru. Some diets are clearly fads, popping up into existence seemingly overnight, selling books and recipes and often food itself, only to fade into the twilight and be overtaken the next day by yet another set of guidelines by which we are to become, optimistically, the best self we can be.


There are seemingly endless options to curate a diet to meet every notion or need. However, those living with diabetes may find that these diets dont always work to balance glycemic control and blood sugar. So what about the ketogenic diet? Is it a fad that will one day be supplanted by the next newest way to eat, or will the science behind it ensure it keeps a lifelong and loyal following? And if the latter, what role can it play in the lives of those living with diabetes?

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The Best Type 2 Diabetes Diet

So what does the best type 2 diabetes diet look like? We break foods down into three categories: green light, yellow light, and red light foods.

Green lights you can eat as much as you want, period. Yellow lights are okay, but shouldnt be daily staples. And we recommend removing red light foods from your diet and your pantry.

To learn more about this diet and how to execute it, you can check out our article on the diabetes diet, or talk to our coaches.


Contemplating The Keto Diet For Yourself

Those with type 1 diabetes should avoid a ketogenic diet, warns Joseph Galati, MD, a hepatologist at the Liver Specialists of Texas in Houston, Many patients with type 1 diabetes have some degree of renal impairment, and handling the build-up of ketones and acids in the body may cause too much stress on the kidneys. Of course, any pregnant women with diabetes, especially those requiring insulin should avoid such an extreme diet given the low glucose levels will be a constant threat.

As for individuals with type 2 diabetes, Dr. Galati says, a very low carbohydrate diet could be tolerated, albeit with extreme caution. Transitioning to a ketogenic diet will require several lifestyle changes as well as careful monitoring of both your food intake and glucose levels and adjustments to your medications. Also, you should increase your water consumption.

For those who want to follow a ketogenic-type diet, Dr. Reynolds says it is important to first talk to your doctor and to discuss your goals so you can be sure that this approach is suitable for you given your medical and health history. Ongoing monitoring is needed if you do decide to adopt this very carb approach to eating. Seeing your doctor regularly is important to make sure that your blood pressure, lipids, blood sugar, mood, and medications are within normal ranges as you lose weight. Adjustments are likely going to be necessary from time to time.

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Read Also: Which Pancreatic Cells Release Insulin And Glucagon


Is Keto Safe If You Have Diabetes

That depends on the type of diabetes you have. In general, people with type 2 who are overweight seem to get good results safely. If you have type 1 and want to try the keto diet, itâs essential that you talk to your doctor first. Youâll need to carefully monitor your health and watch for signs of ketoacidosis. For either type, itâs a good idea to work closely with your doctor, since you may need to change your medications.

The keto diet has some side effects that are worth knowing about, too:

Hypoglycemia: Though the diet can lower A1c levels, that may mean youâre at a higher risk of blood sugar that dips too low, especially if youâre also taking medicine for your diabetes. Let your doctor or diabetes educator know if you try the keto diet. They can advise you about checking your blood sugar, taking your medicines, and what to do when your blood sugar drops too low.

Lack of nutrients: Since many foods are off-limits, including some fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, you could miss out on the important nutrients youâd get from them. Work with a nutritionist familiar with nutritional ketosis to make sure your body gets what it needs.

Liver and kidney problems: These organs help your body process fat and protein. Some experts worry that the keto diet could overwork them. Others say that if your organs are healthy, youâre probably fine.


Constipation: Since youâre not eating foods like whole grains and beans, you could miss key sources of fiber.

Use Of Ketogenic Diet In Diabetes Type Ii

Can a keto diet reverse type 2 diabetes?

Taken together, these findings on animal and human models lead to the conclusion that the therapeutic ketosis approach should be considered as a valid metabolic alternative in the treatment of patients affected by diabetes type I and II. In addition, KDs at different ratios should be taken into serious consideration as a possible standard therapy in the future treatment panorama of diabetes.

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Here Are Three Specific Ways That Keto Improves Diabetes:

#1: Weight loss

Standard diabetes protocols attempt to stimulate weight loss through calorie reduction. Unfortunately, long-term calorie restriction leads to a sustained metabolic slowdown, and the weight comes back when normal portions are resumed.

Keto, however, has been shown to help with weight loss and weight maintenance in obese and diabetic populations. In one study sponsored by Virta Health, type 2 diabetics lost an average of 30.4 pounds after one year of supervised Keto dieting.


Why does Keto get these results? One big reason: By reducing hunger hormones like ghrelin and neuropeptide Y. The result is less hunger, less overeating, less weight gain.

#2: Blood sugar control

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is the primary clinical feature of type 2 diabetes. Its diagnosed by measuring fasting blood glucose or average blood glucose .

What raises blood sugar? Carbs! Diets high in simple carbs like sugars, refined flours and grains, high-sugar fruits, and dairy have been shown to worsen hyperglycemia in diabetics.

Keto is the opposite of a high-carb diet. By keeping carbs low, the Keto diet removes the dietary driver of diabetic hyperglycemia.

#3: Insulin function

Those with late-stage type 2 diabetes often need insulin injections to manage their blood sugar levels. But since insulin itself isnt the problem, but rather the bodys healthy management OF insulin, this is more of a bandaid than a cure.

Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet

Ketone bodies produced from burning fat for fuel have been shown to have potent weight loss effects, help lower blood glucose levels and reduce peoples reliance on diabetes medication.

The diet has also shown evidence of having benefits on:

  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Raising HDL cholesterol levels
  • Improving mental performance

Read more about the benefits of ketogenic diets

In addition to that, there has been a lot of interest in therapeutic ketosis for other long-term conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimers disease or dementia.

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Pros Cons And Best Practices

Ask a wide range of expertsdoctors, dietitians, and nurseshow they feel about the ketogenic diet for diabetes and you’ll probably hear a wide range of answers. Some answers might be based on personal experience, others on scientific evidence about its efficacy, long-term benefits vs. risks, and so on.

Ask people with diabetes who’ve tried the ketogenic diet about their experience and you’ll also hear a wide range of answers. This is because a dietary approach that works for one may not work for someone else.

Ketogenic diets can serve a purpose, but their rigidity and restrictiveness may make them hard to follow and can result in other health issues if not followed properly.

Keto Diet For Type 2 Diabetes: Pros And Cons

How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes with Keto diet

Ketogenic diet is a catch-all term for any diet that pushes your body into the natural metabolic state of ketosis, which means burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Though theres no set formula for keto, generally, the diet works by cutting back on carbohydrates, to about 20 g of net carbs to start, and replacing those with mostly fat and a moderate amount of protein, according to the popular website Keto Connect. Net carbs are the total number of carbs minus the fiber and sugar alcohols, according to the Atkins website.

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When Stephanie Lofton was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015, she knew she needed to make some big changes to her diet. But after cutting her carbohydrates down to just 60 g per meal didnt help her lose weight or manage her blood sugar, she turned to a more intense diet.

Lofton, a medical biller in Marysville, Washington, says she decided to try keto in spring 2017 after seeing how some of her Facebook friends had lost weight on the diet. She was desperate to try something different because she couldnt get her blood sugar under control even with insulin and after trying several types of diets, she says.

RELATED: Does the Ketogenic Diet Work for Type 2 Diabetes?

Im feeling fuller for longer periods of time, she says, and I dont feel like Im deprived at all. I dont miss rice, I dont miss potatoes I dont miss those things.

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