You’ve probably heard of Ketogenic Diet, mainly because celebrities and supermodels have given this long-standing fad diet a stamp of approval. But if you’re wondering if this will help control your diabetes, you need to be aware of all the facts before you take the plunge.

Is an ultra-low-carb diet, the ketogenic diet, the solution to managing your diabetes? Is it safe to follow it long-term? And are there any side effects? Let us first understand what a ketogenic diet is and how it works.

A ketogenic diet is a very-low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein diet. Following a keto diet reduces carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day, lowering the body’s insulin demand. As we know, the body uses carbohydrates, broken down to glucose, as its primary energy source.

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When carbohydrate intake is limited, as in a keto diet, the body breaks down fat for energy instead. The body enters a metabolic state called ketosis and produces ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Also, with a higher protein and fat intake, individuals may feel less hungry as these nutrients take more time to digest than carbs.

Ketogenic diet and diabetes: what does the research say?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is effective for weight loss because a keto diet limits carbohydrates, which has other health benefits such as improved cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

In a study that compared two online interventions for overweight adults with type 2 diabetes, one group followed a low-carb ketogenic diet, and the other group adopted the ‘Create Your Plate’ diet based on the American Diabetes Association. The findings: After about 32 weeks, the keto group had lower A1C and triglyceride levels and lost more weight.

The benefits of a “ketogenic diet” in managing type 2 diabetes

are because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a healthy level, eliminates large spikes in blood sugar levels, and reduces the need for insulin. Before opting for a ketogenic diet, it would be best to consult a certified diabetes consultant and an endocrinologist, who may need to adjust your medication.

Furthermore, the keto diet helps burn body fat, which is beneficial for weight loss and may help those whose excess weight has triggered the development of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Along with a keto diet, light to moderate exercise and lifestyle changes can significantly improve overall well-being, support glycemic control, and efficient energy distribution throughout the day in diabetic people.

Meal plans for a keto diet:

Even though keto diets are strict, they provide enough nutrition if a person follows it closely and mindfully. Ideally, a keto diet plan includes 10% calories from carbohydrates, 20% from proteins, and 70% from fat. Healthy sources of fats include fatty meats in moderation, avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and cheese. Eggs and fish being good sources of protein. And berries as a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Meal prepping can be crucial for a ketogenic diet to be effective.

A word of caution:

When following a keto diet people with type 2 diabetes who take oral medication to lower their blood sugar may be at risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. A keto diet may also cause short-term side effects that are usually temporary, such as constipation, headaches, muscle cramps, and energy loss.

Keto diet is a very effective weight loss eating plan, and following it to control your diabetes with health professionals’ advice is recommended. It is, however, crucial for pregnant women, children, and people with a risk of heart and kidney disease or people struggling with eating disorders to consult your doctor if the diet works for you.