Low-carb and Ketogenic Diets for Type 2 Diabetes: Good or Bad?

Low-carb and Ketogenic Diets for Type 2 Diabetes: Good or Bad?

You are what you eat! With a healthy diet, you can avail a healthy lifestyle. Especially with diabetes, your intake of food needs more restriction and modification. Carbohydrates are the most important nutrient in diabetes control. 

A low-carb diet works miraculously in treating and preventing diabetes. It increases blood glucose and decreases dependence on medication, promotes weight loss in obese individuals. Diabetic diets are always low carb.

Usefulness of low-carb and ketogenic diets

Before talking about why we need a low-carb diet or keto diet, firstly the big question that lies ahead of us is what is a low carb or a ketogenic diet? 

  • A low-carb diet or‌ a therapeutic carbohydrate restriction is a popular diet that limits our carbohydrate intake and shifts our focus to protein and fat-rich food options, including vegetables.
  • Not everyone requires a low carb. This diet focuses on a specialised dietary intervention that is most beneficial for people who have conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as diabetes. 
  • Meanwhile, a ketogenic diet is a more powerful version of a low-carb diet. Whereas in a low-carb diet, the intake of carbohydrates is kept under 130 grams and its contribution to calories does not exceed over 26%. A ketogenic diet, on the other hand, allows only 5% to 10% of calories to come from carbohydrates.
  • The keto diet falls under a low-carb diet but with a stricter restriction on carbs. The latter limits your carbs intake and reduces it to as low as 20 grams. Alongside these diets, you experience better and improved health, improved blood sugar levels, a healthier heart and a good metabolism rate. A low-carb diet also proves beneficial in treating  Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Seizures. You can say both diets are diabetic friendly. 

Six benefits of low-carb and keto diet on diabetes

Carbohydrate is the macronutrient that has the highest impact on blood sugars,  so in a diabetic diet limiting or consuming carbs as per their tolerance can prove beneficial in managing their diabetes. 

Here is a list of the 6 ultimate benefits you will get if you are a type 2 diabetic patient or someone who has been battling diabetes for ages. 

1. Leads to weight loss

Reduction of fat or losing weight always helps people with type 2 diabetes. Low-carb diet or keto diet helps you shed kilos rapidly. When you reduce the intake of carbohydrates, your body burns the stored fat to derive energy. This way, you mobilise the stored fat and eventually fight obesity. 

By actively restricting calories, you experience a loss of weight and eliminate the risk of other unwanted diseases resulting from diabetes. Losing weight while on diabetes also reestablishes the quality of life and your sexual drives. So this diet is helpful for a diabetic. 

2. Reduces blood sugar levels

High blood sugar is toxic. Compared to a normal working body, the level of blood sugar is much higher in a diabetic body. The more carbohydrates you consume, the more sugar increases in your bloodstream. These increased blood sugar levels remain unutilized and start damaging your organs. The ketogenic diet reduces these high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients and keeps them under control. 

3. Reduced risks of heart diseases

A low-carb diet not only aids diabetes management but can also protect diabetic people from certain cardiac conditions. How? 

A low-carb diet promotes better health of blood vessels. It prevents clotting and infections in vessels and doesn't allow a sugar build-up in the bloodstream. Carbs also help lose weight, especially from the abdominal cavity. It also boosts good HDL cholesterol. This way, it allows a smooth flow of blood throughout the body and safeguards your heart and other internal organs from damage. 

4. Lowers insulin resistance and need for medication

The more carbs you take, the more is the requirement for insulin, but the body of a diabetic person cannot produce this required insulin, which means artificially injecting it. 

When you switch to a low-carb diet instead, It lowers the body's insulin levels, which also leads to a lowering of external insulin dosage by 50%. So a low-carb or keto diet also eliminates your diabetes medication requirement and many times it helps stop the medication, too. 

5. Helps achieve lower blood pressure

Increased blood pressure or hypertension alone can lead to many other significant diseases, such as stroke, kidney failure, etc. The risk increases twofold when you have diabetes. According to a study, cutting out on carbs has proven to result in lowering blood pressure levels. Followers of the Keto diet experience appetite suppression and increased energy expenditure, and this helps fight hypertension.

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