The Keto Diet And Diabetes! Is this the Answer?
9.4% of the US population suffers from diabetes. That is 30.3 million people who are affected by a chronic disease. While 23.1 million people have been diagnosed, 7.2 million people don’t even know that they have a serious condition . 33.9% of the population (84.1 million people) have prediabetes.
With the numbers this grim, the medical community is putting a lot of efforts to fight the problem. Healthier foods, better diagnosis, and effective treatments are needed. However, preventing and fighting diabetes begins with taking abundant caution in eating habits and lifestyle. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re more susceptible to diabetes. If you are already diagnosed, medications cannot do it all. Your habits will have to change as well.
The change has to begin with your food. Eating a lot isn’t the only problem. Eating bad food is too. One diet picking up traction amongst people who are battling diabetes is the Ketogenic Diet.
I often get asked “Is the keto diet good for diabetes?”. Well, here’s what I know –
The Ketogenic Diet
There are innumerable benefits of following a ketogenic diet. Before that, you should have a comprehensive understanding of some key topics.
Diabetes Mellitus causes metabolic disorders leading to increased blood sugar levels over a period of time. If this state continues over a prolonged period of time, the patient may be at risk of strokes, chronic kidney problems, eye diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.  
There Are Three Basic Types Of Diabetes
1. Type 1: Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin in the body. This is due to the loss of beta cells.
2. Type 2: If the body isn’t receptive to insulin being produces, the patient is said to be suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. With time, the production of insulin goes down as well. Usually, Type 2 diabetes affects people who are overweight and do not exercise.
3. Gestational: Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women when blood sugar levels spike up suddenly. This type of diabetes is not very common.
Only 5% of the overall diabetes patients suffer from Type 1 diabetes. 
This leaves us with Type 2 diabetes which is the most common and deadly chronic type of diabetes.
Keto and Diabetes
The ketogenic diet began in the 1920s as a method of treating epilepsy.  So why are we talking about keto diet and diabetes together? There’s a good reason.
The ketogenic diet concentrates on reducing the carbohydrate intake into the body. The carbohydrates break into glucose which needs insulin for absorption into the blood. In the keto diet, there are very little carbohydrates to begin with. This reduces the need for insulin and also prevents hikes in blood sugar levels.
How The Keto Diet Works
The principal aim of a keto diet is to achieve a state of Ketosis.  When you eat food, carbohydrates break into glucose which fuels the body. The excess amount is stored as fat. In a keto diet, your carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced. In such cases, the body has no carbohydrates to burn.
This, in a way, tricks the body into thinking that you are starving. For energy, the body starts to burn the reserved fat stored in the body. While this is wonderful news for people trying to lose weight, it is also extremely beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.
Importance Of Consistency In Diabetics
If you’re a diabetic, consistency in your keto diet is key to keep the blood sugar levels low. If you get tempted just once and consume more carbohydrates, the body immediately comes out of ketosis.
It may take up to a week of strict adherence for the body to achieve ketosis again during which time your blood sugar levels will continue to grow.
Benefits Of Keto Diet For Diabetics
1. Reduction in HbA1c levels:
HbA1c or Hemoglobin A1c is a type of hemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout the body. HbA1c is bound to glucose which means its reduction is indicative of a decrease in blood sugar levels. Diabetes tests around the world rely on measuring the quantity of HbA1c levels.
Following a keto diet strictly reduces the HbA1c level in your body. Due to a lack of carbohydrate content in your body, little glucose is produced. This brings the level of HbA1c and blood sugar down.
2. Reducing the medication:
Because there’s very little sugar produced in the body when following a keto diet, you may be able to reduce your medication after consulting your doctor. Care must be taken not to enter a state of hypoglycemia (low sugar levels). The keto diet is very powerful and can push your sugar levels to less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) which is why consulting your doctor is essential.
3. Reduces the chances of cardiovascular complications:
Diabetes has a chain reaction throughout the body. One of the reasons it’s so dangerous is because it leads to cardiovascular complications. Following the keto diet decreases the probability of cardiovascular complications. 
Any dietary change should only be followed when it is backed up by solid case studies. While there are plenty of studies that show the co-relation of diabetes and keto diet, here is the most important one.
Duke Medical University  For a duration of 16 weeks, researchers introduced a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet(LCKD) to 28 people suffering from Type 2 diabetics.
The participants had to follow a strict regime of ketogenic diet while continuing their medications. Here are the results:
* 21 participants completed the study.
* On average, the HbA1c levels decreased by 16%.
* On average, body weight decreased by 19.2 lbs.
* On average, blood glucose levels went down by 16.6%.
* On average, triglyceride levels went down by a whopping 41.6%
* Many participants were able to reduce their medications and in some cases, stop them completely.
The researchers noted that there were improvements in the ketogenic diet diabetes patients and LCKD could indeed be very useful for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. 
Keto And Type 1 Diabetes
Most patients of diabetes suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, most studies are on the effects of the Keto diet on Type 2 diabetes. What about Type 1 diabetes?
Unfortunately, there haven’t been enough studies that have concentrated on Type 1 diabetes patients. However, a recent study noted that based on their initial findings, keto might be beneficial for Type 1 diabetes patients too. 
NOTE: Gestational diabetes patients should not follow the keto diet. A pregnant woman’s diet must consider the child’s requirements as well. Therefore, a keto diet is not recommended for patients of Gestational diabetes.
When you first go keto, you might experience a few side effects. Most are temporary and will go away on their own. Going keto includes drastic changes to your eating habits. Your body will take some time to adjust to these changes.
However, it is completely normal and there is nothing to worry about. Some common side effects are listed below.
* Considerable changes in bowel movement. You will mostly experience constipation.
* Leg cramps.
* Frequent Urination.
How To Go Keto
Going keto is a significant commitment. While the benefits are immense, it takes a lot of discipline and dedication to continue the diet for a long time. If you do commit to the keto diet, listed below is the way to do it.
If you are a patient of diabetes, your consumption has to be monitored closely. The composition of foods is as follows:
The best way to stick to the composition is to use a macronutrient calculator online.
The number of types of food you are allowed to eat will go down. Here’s a list of all the permissible foods:
>Eggs: Only whole eggs and yolks.
>Meats: All meats are allowed. Fish is preferred.
>Vegetables: An easy way to remember the permissible vegetables is to understand that no vegetable that grows below the ground is allowed. The ones that grow above the ground are permissible.
>Dairy: Cream, sour cream, high-fat cheese, yogurt, and full-fat butter.
>Nuts and seeds: Avocados, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are permissible. All nuts are permissible too. However, high-fat seeds like almonds and macadam are preferred.
The goal behind the list above is to ensure that you eat as little carbohydrates as possible. An increase in the carbohydrate consumption will spike your blood sugar levels and prevent you from achieving ketosis.
Achieving Ketosis And Maintaining It
Within a week of going keto, your body will start producing ketones. Ketones are made of fat and release energy when glucose can’t be created. If you adhere to the diet strictly, your glucose levels must have shot down drastically by now. If the sugar levels haven’t come down, you are consuming more carbohydrates than the allowed limit. If your sugar levels have come down, you need to make sure that they stay there.
In either case, you should get your ketone levels checked from time to time. This will also allow you to fine-tune your diet.
There are 3 common tests to find your ketone levels:
1. Urine test.
2. Breath test.
3. Blood test.
Getting a blood test done will produce the most accurate results.
A very good blood tester that I use regularly is this one. It’s the best one I’ve found so far for accuracy.
For more information and to buy The Keto Mojo Glucose Tester, click here.
Best Keto Foods For Diabetics
While following a simple keto diet will benefit you immensely, there are a few foods that will help you more. Not only are these foods keto-compatible, but they also fight diabetes naturally.
1. Green, leafy vegetables:
Vegetables like collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, arugula, and kale have a high chlorophyll content. In addition, they are also rich in sulforaphane and isothiocyanate which boost your immune system. While all green vegetables are healthy,
Kale gets a special mention here. It has both sulforaphane and isothiocyanate in high quantities.
2 Cruciferous Vegetables:
Brussels and Broccoli are prime examples. One of the most dangerous effects of diabetes is cardiovascular complications. Cruciferous vegetables have quercetin which is very good for your heart and the nervous system. While they don’t directly fight diabetes, cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Other foods like turmeric, plant-based herbs, berries, and alliums are all recommended for diabetics. Try to include them in your diet as much as possible.
If you are looking for more valuable details on the Keto Diet and want some excellent recipes that you can get started with, then be sure to take a look at the Ketosis Cookbook.
As mentioned above, the keto flu is a common side effect of following a keto diet. Most people stop the diet regime here. A few days after going keto, you might experience nausea, fatigue, giddiness, and irritability.
These are normal and temporary. Stopping or drastically reducing carbohydrates produces symptoms associated with addiction withdrawal. A study showed that we are addicted to carbohydrates like we are to crack cocaine! Therefore, there are bound to be a few symptoms and you have no reason to panic or worry.
You can visit your doctor although it is completely unnecessary. Within two or three days, the symptoms will stop and you will be fine.
*A keto-diet fights diabetes by reducing the amount of glucose produced in your body. This means dependence on insulin will come down, leading to lower blood sugar levels.
*There are two types of keto-diet. Plant-based and meat-based. While there’s nothing wrong in following a meat-based keto diet, a plant-based diet is marginally more effective.
* The key in a keto-diet is consistency. Giving up on the diet even for a day will result in a spike in your blood sugar levels.
* To achieve a state of ketosis, you have to bring your carbohydrate consumption very low and maintain it there.
1. Before going keto, consult your doctor. You may have underlying issues that may not allow you to go keto. A doctor will inform you of these if there are any.
2. Keto diet does not cure diabetes. It is a complementary force that works in tandem with your medications and helps you fight diabetes better.
3. Women who have Gestational diabetes should NOT adopt a keto diet. It can lead to various complications.
Diabetes is a serious disease. Do not neglect it. Even a slight rise in sugar levels have to be addressed by a doctor. It can lead to major health problems and even death. Following a keto diet diligently and consistently will help you fight diabetes better. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/index.html