The "keto" diet is one of the most popular diets out there right now, with people from all walks of life embracing it and touting its supposed benefits.
But is it safe and effective for those with type two diabetes?
In this article we will discuss what keto is, it's supposed benefits, and whether or not it is good for those dealing with high blood sugar and diabetes.
What is the keto diet?
The "Keto" diet (short for ketosis) is a diet that places a severe restriction on the consumption of carbohydrates.
This typically means that only 5-10% of your total calories can come from carbs - which means you can only eat about 20-50g of carbs all day.
To put that in perspective, a typical bagel has about 50g of carbs.
What is "ketosis"?
The keto diet is meant to induce your body into a state of "ketosis."
This is where your body starts to produce ketones to use as fuel, rather than relying on glucose (or sugar).
These ketones are typically produced out of stored fat, which can help to support weight and fat loss.
In many studies it has also been used as a tool to help control blood sugar levels in people with type two diabetes.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
The keto diet has been used for all sorts of things, such as: improving athletic performance, weight loss, fat burning, help with reducing blood sugar levels, and even improving epilepsy.
Most important for those with type two diabetes is that the keto diet can improve blood sugar levels and lead to weight loss.
Is the keto diet safe for those with diabetes?
The keto diet is generally considered safe for those with type two diabetes. The main concern when it comes to keto and diabetes is that the diet can, in rare cases, lead to a condition called ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is a potentially life threatening condition that can lead to swelling in the brain.
Early warning signs include vomiting, intolerance to foods or liquids, and unusually high blood sugar that doesn't respond to treatment.
While this condition is very rare, it can occur and if it does, it needs to be treated immediately by a doctor or emergency medical services.
What is the difference between "keto" and a low-carb diet?
A keto diet is essentially just a very strict version of a low-carb diet.
Whereas most low-carb diets suggest eating under 100g of carbs per day, somebody on a keto diet may limit themselves to just 20g of carbs or even fewer!
In this sense, a keto diet is just a more extreme version of a low-carb diet.
And while the reduction of even more carbs from your diet may help you achieve your blood sugar goals faster, it may not be sustainable for everyone.
Limiting carbohydrate intake to just 20g a day or even fewer can be very challenging, especially if you're using any tools like meal replacement shakes.
That is why we typically advocate for our customers to begin their journey with a carb-restricted or low-carb diet, rather than diving headfirst into a keto diet.
Low-carb diets are generally more lenient, and can still deliver incredible blood sugar lowering results. They also remove most of the risk of developing ketoacidosis that can come with a keto diet.
Is keto good for type two diabetes?
The truth is that any diet which limits carb intake should help to improve blood sugar levels.
This is because carbs are digested and turned into glucose (also known as sugar).
When you eat less carbs, you have less sugar in your body, and blood sugar levels can naturally come down.
Whether you choose to go full keto or just start by cutting down on carbs, your blood sugar levels will thank you.
And if you aren't sure how to get started, one of the easiest ways to reduce carbs in your diet is by using our Low Carb Meal Replacement Shakes.
Each shake has just 2g of net carbs and is designed to replace an entire meal.
By drinking 1-2 shakes each day you can dramatically reduce the amount of carbs in your diet, without the need for challenging, expensive, and time consuming meal prep.
Any kind of carb restricted diet, including the keto diet, can be an effective way for those with type two diabetes to get blood sugar levels under control.
The most important thing is self awareness, and picking a diet that you can stick to.
It doesn't matter what diet you choose if you quit one week into it, so start slow, pick something doable, and go from there.
Remember, when it comes to diet and exercise, consistency is much more important than intensity.
And don't forget to use tools that can help along the way.
Our meal replacement shakes are a great tool to help cut carbs out of the equation by swapping out a regular meal with a shake.