Keto Diet for Diabetes?
I am often asked about my opinion of the keto diet. I tried a very similar diet when I was exploring what would help me with my autoimmune diseases (which is why Eat Burn Sleep was created).
So, I have first-hand knowledge of how being on an extreme diet feels initially, in terms of how my body responded, and unfortunately, what happens in the long run.
This is the reason why I investigated what is actually happening to your body when you embark on a ketogenic diet.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to explain about what the keto diet does to someone that suffers from diabetes.
What is the Keto Diet?
The role of fasting to treat diseases have been around for thousands of years.
The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy, adapted in the 1970s and it became more popular in the 1990s for weight loss.
It has really spiked in the last few years with thousands of endorsements on social media, claiming it to be the queen of diets for rapid weight loss and leveling blood sugar in diabetes.
The diet consists of high fats, moderate proteins, and low carbohydrates. The dietary macronutrients on a ketogenic diet are 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein, and 5% to 10% carbohydrates.
The reason why it was used for adequate treatment (under high supervision) for epilepsy was because when the body is forced to use fat due to fewer carbohydrates, ketones are produced.
Ketones provide the brain with an alternate energy source and this has an anti-epileptic effect on the brain, resulting in seizure control.
Is the Keto Diet Good for Treating Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and it comes from your diet.
Insulin, the hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from your diet get into your cells in order to be used for energy.
When your body doesn’t make enough insulin, glucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Diabetes will respond to the keto diet initially because it has the advantage of reducing serum glucose levels. As a result of lower blood sugar levels, less insulin is needed and the pancreas is less stimulated.
Diabetes type 2 is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and overconsumption of sugar and carbohydrates, and you can develop it at any time in your life – even childhood.
This is why the keto diet might produce results in the beginning.
However, diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease.
Your body does not make enough insulin and your immune system attacks and destroys cells that are in the pancreas that make insulin.
Ultimately, an autoimmune disease needs to be treated with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Not only an anti-inflammatory diet but a whole anti-inflammatory lifestyle (as with all autoimmune conditions related to chronic inflammation, which is why I developed the Eat Burn Sleep method).
What are the Dangers of the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is gaining such popularity because of the initial and quick weight loss. Everybody wants quick fixes!
I admit that when I tried a diet similar to keto, I lost weight and I thought that it was wonderful but then I experienced the downside.
On the keto diet, long-term health is jeopardised because such a diet presents several issues.
I will explain:
The High Fats: Allowing for 60% of macronutrients to be allocated to fat is very heavy for liver health.
The liver is responsible for over 500 functions in the body, including lipolysis (fat burning), hormone homeostasis (hormone regulation), blood production, toxins excretion, etc.
With such a high percentage of fats in the diet, the liver has to work harder to process the fats (just like alcohol or sugar).
The body needs fats in the diet but they have to be good fats and in moderate amounts.
What happens is, it puts the other functions like hormone homeostasis and lipolysis on the back burner and makes the fat processing a priority, rather than burning fat from your stores for energy. It becomes overloaded and toxic.
A toxic liver can lead to several health issues and promote chronic systemic inflammation.
This process, incidentally is what makes the keto diet popular.
Like I mentioned above, when you go into ketosis, you stop tapping into the glucose in your blood but you start going into the fat reserves in your system.
This results in a buildup of acids called ketones within the body. It is forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbs. That is the theory and it works for a short while.
The Low Carbs: I wouldn’t ever advise anyone to cut down carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates are needed for hormone function, sleep and mood.
When you release insulin (the hormone that you release when there is sugar in the blood), you want to release moderate amounts and that is why I advise good carbohydrates.
Insulin is the precursor to serotonin – the happy hormone, which is the precursor to melatonin – the sleep hormone.
If you cut down insulin production completely, your insulin release will go down, which means your serotonin will go down, which of course leads to low moods and possibly depression.
Serotonin is also a natural appetite suppressant, too.
So, without it of course, you are more likely to feel ravenously hungry as it leads to a lack of satiety, cravings and possibly binge-eating!
Extreme diets lead to extreme behaviours
Is Sleep Affected on the Keto Diet?
Last but not least, is the impairment of sleep that occurs due to low carbohydrates and lack of melatonin. Sleep is imperative for optimum health.
During sleep, 75% of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced, which is essential for hormone repair and the turnover of bone, muscle, collagen and to burn fat.
Also during sleep, the regulation of two hormones that are linked to hunger happens. Grehlin is responsible for hunger and leptin is responsible for feeling full.
In the daytime, these neurotransmitters are increased and decreased, signalling the need to consume calories.
With little sleep, these neurotransmitters become dysregulated and there can be an increase in grehlin and a decrease in leptin, which ultimately leads to an insatiable appetite, eg. No matter what you eat, you are not feeling satisfied!
Sleep increases resistance to oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Oxidative stress increases chronic inflammation, damaging DNA, proteins and cells and leaves the body to be more susceptible to disease.
So, having diabetes, an autoimmune disease, has already opened up the inflammatory pathways to acquiring more autoimmune diseases, like hypothyroidism and coeliac disease.
You really need good sleep for optimum health!
A 2022 study on patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes shows a link between poor sleep and lower glucose tolerance. Good sleep is essential for blood sugar control in healthy subjects as well as diabetic subjects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8994826/
That is why, on my Eat Burn Sleep plan, I advise good carbs in the evening so that you sleep well and be healthier.
If you have weight to lose, you will have a better body composition with good sleep.
Starving the body of good nutrition and bingeing due to a lack of serotonin and hormone imbalances and less sleep leads to weight gain, imbalanced sugar levels, lower moods, metabolic dysregulation and making the body susceptible to more disease.
Is Keto a Healthy Choice to Treat Diabetes?
So you can already see why all of this disruption on the body would do anybody harm, let alone people with health conditions.
A well fed, healthy body with the right nutrition at the right time throughout the day, does not constantly send signals for more food, renders you to feel depressed and keep you awake at night!
The keto diet is most definitely not a good healthy choice for diabetes type 1 and type 2 sufferers despite the initial experience of maintaining glucose.
As an autoimmune disease, it is essential for diabetes sufferers to focus on lowering chronic inflammation, as well as stabilizing blood sugar levels to alleviate their symptoms and avoid further complications.
Lowering inflammation is for long-term health and not a quick fix that jeopardises health further.
Chronic inflammation plays a major factor in both diabetes type 1 and type 2 as shown in this 2019 study by Tsalamandris et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523054/
Always check in with a health professional about any diets that you want to follow. Your health is your most precious asset.
What is the Best Diet for Diabetes Sufferers?
Eat Burn Sleep – this platform for reducing inflammation holistically, offers the best solutions for diabetes sufferers because it allows for a regulation in blood sugar levels and simultaneously for chronic inflammation to be tackled.
The method is so finely calibrated but it is not extreme and so it has no negative side effects – just positive ones that continue.
The anti-inflammatory meal planning and recipes are created with a good balance of foods from all of the important food groups.
Food and all of its components and nutrition can affect the function of the gut microbiata, which is important when it comes to gut and overall health. The keto is not a balanced diet.
Thousands of people around the world are healing, are at optimum health and are in long-term remission because of the Eat Burn Sleep Method.
There’s a reason why extreme dieting and fasting like the keto diet was designed to be used under medical supervision (for epilepsy not diabetes), within a hospital.
My advice is not to try anything extreme. Extreme diets cause extreme issues, both physically and mentally. I reiterate: make sure your doctor approves the diet that you do!
Your health is your most valuable asset. Invest in it and look after it.
You may also be interested in:
Watching Videos about Chronic Inflammation and Optimum Health Education. There are plenty to choose from! Including mental wellness, motivation, skincare and beauty, conditions, health taboos, nutrition advice…..(I keep adding and uploading!). I am continually researching and sharing.
The Interview on Men’s Radio Station. It was fun!
I am wishing you good health and hope that you have a lovely day!