The majority of people will be aware of the risks associated with high blood sugar, such as the increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
With this in mind, most people with diabetes try to keep their blood sugar levels as stable as possible. However, some with diabetes choose to follow a ketogenic diet for medical reasons.
Read on to find out more about how ketones can influence your risk of diabetes, how they're connected to both conditions, and what you should know before making a choice about how to manage your own condition— whether that's with diet or medication.
What Are Ketones?
Ketones are organic compounds that are produced when the body breaks down fat for energy. The presence of ketones in the body signifies that the person is in a state of “nutritional ketosis.”
Ketosis is a natural process that occurs when your body doesn't have enough glucose to meet its energy needs.
The body then turns to its fat stores to create glucose, leading to increased levels of blood fats – commonly known as “ketones.”
The Connection Between Ketosis and Diabetes
Ketosis is not a disease itself but a symptom of another underlying condition. Diabetes is one of these.
This connection has given rise to the theory that ketones could be used to treat diabetes. There is research that supports this theory.
For example, high ketone levels can help reduce insulin resistance and improve the body's ability to use glucose.
Improvements like this are likely to reduce the need for diabetes medication and help people lower their blood sugar levels.
However, studies also show that ketones can lower the amount of insulin produced by the body.
This is concerning because diabetes requires regular and significant insulin intake, and a drop in insulin levels could lead to serious complications.
How Does Ketosis Help People With Diabetes?
The main reason that people with diabetes choose ketogenic diets is that they help keep blood sugar levels under control.
A person can also use them to help with weight loss, improve certain health conditions, and treat epilepsy.
Dietary carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the digestive system, which is then transported around the body, entering the bloodstream and being used as energy.
People with diabetes have a condition that causes their bodies to produce too much glucose. This can lead to high blood sugar and the potential for serious health issues.
People with diabetes may be advised to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, which is designed to reduce the amount of glucose being produced by the body.
Why Would Someone With Diabetes Choose a Ketogenic Diet?
There are many reasons why someone with diabetes might choose to follow a ketogenic diet. The most common reason is reducing the amount of blood sugar, which results from carbohydrate intake.
Ketogenic diets are often higher in fat than other types of diets, which may help reduce insulin resistance and encourage weight loss.
There are other diets that can also be beneficial for diabetes, but it's important to speak with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet and treatment plan.
The Risks of a Ketogenic Diet for People With Diabetes
As with any diet, there are risks associated with following a ketogenic diet for people with diabetes. This includes a potential for increased blood sugar levels, dehydration, reduced muscle mass, and an increased risk of adverse side effects from diabetes medication.
You can reduce these risks by following a healthy version of a ketogenic diet that is tailored to meet your needs.
A healthy ketogenic diet is rich in vegetables, healthy fats, and a moderate amount of protein.
It's important to monitor how the diet is affecting your blood sugar levels and to be aware of potential symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, confusion, sweating, and palpitations.
A ketogenic diet may be an effective treatment option for some people with diabetes. However, it's important to work with a healthcare professional to create a tailored plan that is right for you.
A ketogenic diet involves major changes to your lifestyle, including what you eat, how you exercise, and your daily routine.
The benefits of following a ketogenic diet outweigh the challenges for many people. However, it's important to be aware of the risks and to have a plan in place to help you manage your diabetes.