Does The Keto Diet Work For Diabetes?

The keto diet has made waves in recent years, quickly becoming a popular weight-loss diet. Healthline explains that the diet aims to minimize carbohydrate intake while maximizing protein and fat intake. The goal is to encourage the body to burn primarily fat for fuel in a process known as ketosis. This is only possible when carb intake is severely restricted, and the standard keto diet allows just 10% of total calories to come from carb sources.

This particular diet appeals to people who want to lose weight without having to restrict total calories or meticulously track food intake (via Healthline), and it's proven to be effective. One 2020 study published in Nutrition and Metabolism compared weight loss between adults on a keto diet and those on a low-fat diet. Researchers discovered that those on the keto diet were able to shed five times more body fat than their counterparts.

The downside to the keto diet is that you have to cut out large groups of foods in order to maintain a state of ketosis. EatingWell points out that off-limit foods include grains, sugar, starchy vegetables, baked goods, and juice. However, you can eat plenty of high-fat foods, such as cheese, avocados, nuts and seeds, oils, and butter. Protein sources such as fish, meat, eggs, and Greek yogurt are also permitted. Finally, low-carb vegetables can be eaten in moderation.

While the keto diet isn't appropriate for everyone, it can be adequate for those with certain health conditions, such as diabetes.

Research shows that the keto diet can be effective for diabetes

If you have diabetes, you may be wondering whether the keto diet is safe for you or if it can improve your condition. WebMD explains that the answer to this depends on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. With the latter, the keto diet can lead to healthy weight loss, which can, in turn, lower blood sugar levels and lead to a reduction in the amount of medication needed to control the condition. For those with insulin resistance, staying in a suspended state of ketosis can cause the body to require and manufacture less insulin, which can have positive effects.

Unfortunately, when it comes to type 1 diabetes, there isn't much long-term research to show the effectiveness and safety of the keto diet. However, one small study has shown that the diet lowers A1c levels (per WebMD). It's important to note that those with type 1 diabetes can also face a potentially life-threatening condition as the result of being on a strict keto diet, as per Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur due to a lack of insulin in the body that causes an unhealthy build-up of ketones.

Ultimately, those with diabetes should consult with their medical provider before embarking on any diet, including the keto diet. However, in the case of type 2 diabetes, the keto diet may result in healthy weight loss and improved glycemic control (via MedicalNewsToday).