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The ketogenic (keto) diet is a special type of diet that comprises high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. In your everyday diet, you consume a consume a totally different ratio of these nutrients, i.e. high carbs, moderate protein, and low fats.
The primary reason why the keto diet is suggested is ‘weight loss’. It might seem a little odd that the keto diet can be a great option for people with type 2 diabetes. This diet can potentially transform the way your body produces energy, i.e. using glucose, eventually easing the symptoms of diabetes.
How Keto Diet Works
Once you start the ketogenic diet, your body takes 48 to 72 hours to get into the stage of ketosis. When on keto, the primary energy source for your body changes from glucose to ketones, produced by fat mobilization.
Although the ketogenic diet was created way back in 1924 to treat epilepsy, the effects of this specific eating pattern on people with type 2 diabetes are also being studied.
The ketogenic diet significantly reduces the need for insulin, as your body has only a little amount of carbohydrates to metabolize. This also means improved blood sugar levels. However, the keto diet comes with some risks; make sure to discuss it with your doctor beforehand.
Potential Side Effects of the Ketogenic Diet for Type 2 Diabetes
Once your body makes it to ketosis, the primary energy source of your body changes to ketones available in the blood. This stage of ‘dietary ketosis’ is different from ‘ketoacidosis’ that is quite dangerous.
With too many ketones available in your bloodstream, you could be at risk of developing ‘diabetic ketoacidosis’, also called DKA.
While DKA is prevalent in cases of type 1 diabetes when the body lacks insulin, and blood sugar levels are too high, it is possible in type 2 diabetes with a high level of ketones in the bloodstream.
When on the keto diet, monitor your blood sugar levels several times throughout a day to make sure they are within the right range. At the same time, do test your ketone levels to ensure that you are not at risk for developing DKA.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), get your ketones tested when your blood sugar levels are over 240 mg/dL. In the meantime, take urine strips to test at home, as DKA can cause a medical emergency.
In case you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of DKA, schedule an immediate appointment with your doctor. Its complications can lead to a diabetic coma.
Here is a list of early warning signs of DKA:
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth
- Breathing difficulties
- Consistent high blood sugar levels
- Fruity odor in your breath
The ketogenic diet is best for people with type 2 diabetes, typically those who find it difficult to control their symptoms. Not only does it make them feel better with diabetic symptoms but it also makes them less dependent on medications.