Interested in trying the ketogenic diet? In the Body Reboot book, we explain how this high fat, low carb diet has many health benefits, and one of those benefits may be helping people who have diabetes and insulin resistance. Studies show that eating fewer carbs can lower insulin levels and blood sugar. Some people who go on the keto diet may need to reduce their dosage almost immediately. Of course, it’s always smart to talk to a doctor before switching up a diet, but it’s exciting learning how a low carb diet, and more specifically the keto diet, can help prevent and treat diabetes.
According to the Diabetes Care study from 1991, it’s alarming to read about and realize just how badly diabetes can affect one’s help. For people who are experiencing insulin resistance, seeking treatment is essential. The keto diet may be able to help with that, which we discuss next.
Diabetes mellitus is commonly associated with systolic/diastolic hypertension, and a wealth of epidemiological data suggest that this association is independent of age and obesity. Much evidence indicates that the link between diabetes and essential hypertension is hyperinsulinemia. Thus, when hypertensive patients, whether obese or of normal body weight, are compared with age- and weight-matched normotensive control subjects, a heightened plasma insulin response to a glucose challenge is consistently found. A state of cellular resistance to insulin action subtends the observed hyperinsulinism. With the insulin/glucose-clamp technique, in combination with tracer glucose infusion and indirect calorimetry, it has been demonstrated that the insulin resistance of essential hypertension is located in peripheral tissues (muscle), is limited to nonoxidative pathways of glucose disposal (glycogen synthesis), and correlates directly with the severity of hypertension. The reasons for the association of insulin resistance and essential hypertension can be sought in at least four general types of mechanisms: Na+ retention, sympathetic nervous system overactivity, disturbed membrane ion transport, and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Physiological maneuvers, such as calorie restriction (in the overweight patient) and regular physical exercise, can improve tissue sensitivity to insulin; evidence indicates that these maneuvers can also lower blood pressure in both normotensive and hypertensive individuals. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are also associated with an atherogenic plasma lipid profile. Elevated plasma insulin concentrations enhance very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) synthesis, leading to hypertriglyceridemia. Progressive elimination of lipid and apolipoproteins from the VLDL particle leads to an increased formation of intermediate-density and low-density lipoproteins, both of which are atherogenic. Last, insulin, independent of its effects on blood pressure and plasma lipids, is known to be atherogenic. The hormone enhances cholesterol transport into arteriolar smooth muscle cells and increases endogenous lipid synthesis by these cells. Insulin also stimulates the proliferation of arteriolar smooth muscle cells, augments collagen synthesis in the vascular wall, increases the formation of and decreases the regression of lipid plaques, and stimulates the production of various growth factors. In summary, insulin resistance appears to be a syndrome that is associated with a clustering of metabolic disorders, including non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, lipid abnormalities, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Medical News Today further discusses how much of impact diabetes has on your health, but thankfully there’s hope. The keto diet positively impacts your blood sugar levels and helps you lose weight, which are two popular ways to prevent or treat diabetes.
Impact on blood sugar levels
A ketogenic diet may help some people with type 2 diabetes because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a low but healthy level.
The lower intake of carbohydrates in the diet can help to eliminate large spikes in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin.
Studies on ketogenic diets, including research from 2018, have found that they can be helpful in controlling levels of HbA1c. This refers to the amount of glucose traveling with hemoglobin in the blood over about 3 months.
Impact on weight
The ketogenic diet helps the body burn fat. This is beneficial when a person is trying to lose weight, and it may be helpful for people whose excess weight has influenced the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Even light-to-moderate weight loss through diet and exercise might support glycemic control, overall well-being, and energy distribution throughout the day in people who have diabetes,
Research has shown that people undertaking a ketogenic diet show an improvement in blood sugar level management and that some have experienced noticeable weight loss.
Another study, this time from Nutrition and Metabolism in 2005, reveals how effective the ketogenic diet is for reducing the need for people with diabetes to take medication.
The low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) may be effective for improving glycemia and reducing medications in patients with type 2 diabetes.
From an outpatient clinic, we recruited 28 overweight participants with type 2 diabetes for a 16-week single-arm pilot diet intervention trial. We provided LCKD counseling, with an initial goal of <20 g carbohydrate/day, while reducing diabetes medication dosages at diet initiation. Participants returned every other week for measurements, counseling, and further medication adjustment. The primary outcome was hemoglobin A1c.
The LCKD improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes such that diabetes medications were discontinued or reduced in most participants. Because the LCKD can be very effective at lowering blood glucose, patients on diabetes medication who use this diet should be under close medical supervision or capable of adjusting their medication.
Nutrition and Metabolism did another study just a year later in 2006, and again, they found that the keto diet has positive effects on cardiovascular health. It reduces your risk of heart disease and can help prevent other diseases from forming.
It is speculated that high saturated fat very low carbohydrate diets (VLCARB) have adverse effects on cardiovascular risk but evidence for this in controlled studies is lacking. The objective of this study was to compare, under isocaloric conditions, the effects of a VLCARB to 2 low saturated fat high carbohydrate diets on body composition and cardiovascular risk.
Eighty three subjects, 48 +/- 8 y, total cholesterol 5.9 +/- 1.0 mmol/L, BMI 33 +/- 3 kg/m2 were randomly allocated to one of 3 isocaloric weight loss diets (6 MJ) for 8 weeks and on the same diets in energy balance for 4 weeks: Very Low Fat (VLF) (CHO:Fat:Protein; %SF = 70:10:20; 3%), High Unsaturated Fat (HUF) = (50:30:20; 6%), VLCARB (4:61:35; 20%)
Isocaloric VLCARB results in similar fat loss than diets low in saturated fat, but are more effective in improving triacylglycerols, HDL-C, fasting and post prandial glucose and insulin concentrations. VLCARB may be useful in the short-term management of subjects with insulin resistance and hypertriacylglycerolemia.
Endocrine Web further discusses how the keto diet can people struggling with diabetes to lose more weight than going on a low-fat diet. That’s excellent news if you’ve been dealing with diabetes and are looking for a way to treat your symptoms and possibly eliminate diabetes.
That's certainly the case with the ketogenic diet—a very low-carb meal plan—based on the findings of two recently published studies. Dr. Saslow and her team report that the individuals with type 2 diabetes who followed the keto diet lost significantly more weight than those on the low-fat diet espoused by the American Diabetic Association.1 These dieters also were able to get their hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) below 6.5%, suggesting that some may have reversed their type 2 diabetes.
In a second study, a Harvard-led research team evaluated the benefit of a ketogenic diet in both children and adults with type 1 diabetes despite concerns about a possible negative effect on growth and development in children following such a restricted diet. These researchers report “exceptional” glucose control with little adverse effects. However, the participants were recruited from a closed Facebook group, TypeOneGrit, for people who follow a diet and diabetes program based on the recommendations in the Diabetes Solution, a book by Richard K Bernstein, MD, who devised this program to manage his own type 1 diabetes.
Read the Body Reboot book and find out why the keto diet can treat diabetes and possibly eliminate it altogether. It’s incredible to think about all of the many benefits the keto diet has to offer. To get a free copy of this helpful book, simply cover the shipping. Visit this page to get a free copy before they’re gone!
Sources: Healthline, Medical News Today, Diabetes Care, 1991, Nutrition and Metabolism 2005, NCBI: Nutr Metab (Lond). 2006, Endocrine Web, Lennerz BS, Barton A, Bernstein RK, et al. Management of type 1 diabetes with a very low–carbohydrate diet. Pediatrics. 2018, J Med Internet Res. 2017
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Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally achieve your weight loss goals!