By: Victor Chapela
With more than 100 million American adults living with diabetes, the need to find an effective treatment and management program is of paramount importance. One of the major contributing factors to the development, and perpetuity of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is dietary food choices. With the bombardment of information in the news, regular exposure to ads online and in store, and the continuous stream of data pushed at us from social media, many sufferers are at a loss of how best to treat their condition, not to mention, what information is correct, what is a myth, and what can actually be relied upon as a plausible solution with an outcome of success.
The ketogenic diet shows promise in helping individuals fight diabetes, especially Type 2 Diabetes. When followed strategically and within protocol, is has seen patients be able to successfully manage and eventually eliminate their diabetes diagnosis.
At the forefront of using the ketogenic diet to manage diabetes is the need for an accurate understanding of what the ketogenic diet entails.
Here are 3 elements for managing diabetes and how the Ketogenic diet could be the key in treatment:
1. Burn Fat
The premise behind this diet is to force the body into fat-burning mode, whereby it burns fat for fuel instead of using its default carbohydrate method. This means that the individual consumes fewer carbohydrates, relying more predominantly on fat and protein to fuel the body, and in the process, the body begins to rely on its own fat stores for energy.
2. Decrease Sugar consumption
Diabetes is a disease of the sugar and energy management system within our body. Whenever we consume carbohydrates (from things such as fruit, grains and vegetables), they are automatically converted to sugar in the body, and the pancreas releases insulin in response. Insulin helps regulate the amount of sugar that goes into our blood stream determining how much is converted directly into energy, and how much is stored for later use. In a diabetic person however (Type 1 or Type 2), this system is malfunctioning and the sugar control methods are ineffective. Adopting a ketogenic diet, means that individuals consume a dramatically lower volume of carbohydrates - as low as 10% depending on the keto method one is following – and therefore are not relying predominately on the secretion of insulin to regulate energy, the mechanism of which is hindered in diabetes sufferers.
The outcome as this relates to diabetes is twofold. Firstly, the reduced use of the broken sugar regulation system gives the body time to naturally heal the insulin receptors and reverse insulin resistance, as is the case in Type 2 Diabetes sufferers. Secondly, the alteration in food selection directly helps lower weight levels, and at a lower weight the risks and factors associated with why an individual develops Type 2 Diabetes are eliminated.
3. Increase satiety with protein and healthy fats
The specific factors which contribute to weight loss (that is key in the management of diabetes) are continually being investigated, but researchers believe, in diabetics, one of the main things is the increased level of satiety offered by consuming more protein and healthy fats. When an individual is weaned off relying on carbohydrates for energy, he/she eliminates the sugar cycle. This cycle is characterized by craving carbohydrates because of their fast energy hit, leading to an energy crash and then a craving again, and hence setting off a cyclical pattern. Being stuck in this cycle causes an individual to eat more as a whole – gaining weight – consume more carbohydrates, exasperating the pancreatic system, and stacking up several Type 2 Diabetes disease contributing factors. 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.
While adopting the ketogenic diet can be difficult at first, for diabetes patients, especially those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, the evidence shows it can have a dramatically positive impact on reducing disease risk and outcome.
Before adopting a ketogenic diet, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure this diet is suitable for you and your condition.
Image: Jar of Lemons
Victor Chapela is Co-founder & CEO of Suggestic, a Silicon Valley-based company whose mission is to helpindividuals make optimal food choices for weight loss, disease prevention and health improvement byusing artificial intelligence to combine personal preferences with behavioral cues and the latest nutrition science.