Does the Ketogenic Diet Work for Type 2 Diabetes?
ou’ve probably seen dozens of headlines about the ketogenic diet by now, which has made its way into popular culture largely through the celebrities and supermodels who have given the long-standing fad diet a repeated stamp of approval. Is the keto diet the plan to follow if you have diabetes?
The diet is undoubtedly risky for people with type 1 diabetes, but in terms of type 2 diabetes management, several studies suggest the answer isn’t so simple. Some science shows its meal plan may be helpful, while other research, like one study published in September 2016 in Nutrients, highlights the importance of whole grains in the diets of people with diabetes — a restricted food category in the keto diet.
While the keto diet may offer many potential benefits for diabetes management, following it requires pretty serious commitment. So take a beat before you take the plunge — and consider these questions that can help you and your medical team determine if it’s right for you.
How Does the Keto Diet Work Exactly?
There’s a good reason why the keto diet is also referred to as a low-carb, high-fat diet. Following the keto diet means reducing carbohydrate intake to typically less than 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day, while increasing fat and protein intake, according to a review published in August 2013 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
To put that into perspective, a person on an average nonrestricted diet can easily eat more carbohydrates than that in one typical meal — for instance, a turkey, cheese, and veggie sandwich on whole-grain bread with a small, 1 ounce (oz) bag of classic potato chips comes in at around 51 g of carbs. The keto dietary changes drive down insulin levels, eventually leading your body into a state of ketosis, during which it is burning fat rather than carbohydrates.