Using the Ketogenic Diet to Fight Diabetes

Image of popular foods that are part of the ketogenic diet

Although standard treatment helps people avoid dangerous blood glucose levels, most hover at numbers that do not arrest progression of the condition and that research does not consider healthy. Vested interests provide a continuous stream of information, often contradictory, that leaves patients frustrated, suffering, and at a loss for how best to proceed.

Most diabetics already have the one tool they need: a glucometer. This instrument provides individuals the ability to listen to their own bodies for guidance, watching glucose levels rise and fall as each meal interacts with their own biology. The ketogenic diet shows promise in this effort, particularly in the setting of type 2 Diabetes. When followed strategically and within protocol, it has empowered patients to successfully manage and eventually eliminate their diabetes diagnosis.

Diabetes stems from dysfunction of the sugar and energy management system within the body. Carbohydrates (fruit, grains, and vegetables) break down into simple sugars in the body, and the pancreas releases insulin in response. Insulin regulates sugar levels in the blood stream, aiding passage into cells as fuel and triggering fat cells to absorb the rest. In a diabetic person, however, this system malfunctions and the majority of the sugar goes to the fat cells?or worse, remains in the bloodstream where it can cause damage.

Effectively using the ketogenic diet to manage diabetes starts with an accurate understanding of what eating in this manner entails. By inducing ketosis, the body?shifts into fat-burning mode, whereby fat becomes the primary fuel instead of carbohydrates. In the process, the body begins to rely on its own fat stores for energy. By adopting a ketogenic diet, individuals consume a dramatically lower volume of carbohydrates?which can be as low as 10 percent, depending on the keto method one follows?and therefore do not rely insulin secretion to move fuel into the cells.

The outcome, as this relates to diabetes, is twofold. First, the reduced use of the broken sugar-regulation system gives the body time to naturally reset, healing insulin receptors and reversing insulin resistance, as is the case for type 2 diabetes sufferers. Second, the alteration in food selection results in weight loss, which progressively removes the aggravating factors associated with type-2-diabetes dysfunction until it is eliminated.

Investigation continues into the specific factors behind this weight loss, but researchers believe the lack of sugars and starches in the diet increases the satiety offered by a meal. Craving and indulging in carbohydrate-rich food leads to an insulin spike, followed by an energy crash, which triggers another craving and so on. Being stuck in this cycle causes an individual to consume far more energy throughout the day. When an individual?s reliance on carbohydrates for energy ends, the sugar cycle stops. Breaking this cycle with more filling and sustainable fuel options encourages weight loss, proper food consumption, and in turn, allows the body to much more adequately regulate energy.

Although adopting the ketogenic diet can be difficult for diabetes patients, particularly those suffering from type 2 Diabetes, the evidence shows it can have a dramatically positive impact on reducing disease risk and outcomes. Scientists don?t know everything yet, so be sure to check with your doctor to see if this diet is suitable for you and your condition.

Victor Chapela,

Co-founder & CEO of Suggestic

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