The ketogenic diet or keto diet is the one in which the diet planned is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. It is in trend these days but before anyone starts following, it is important to understand both pros and cons of such diet plans.
The ketogenic diet works on the principle in which carbohydrate is restricted and fat are in high amounts, therefore, energy is derived from ketone bodies which are a result of fat metabolism instead of glucose which is a by product of carbohydrate metabolism.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or sometimes both. The ketogenic diet as discussed earlier uses fat as a source of energy instead of carbohydrate, therefore in some cases, it helps in diabetes as well. But it is important to measure all the parameters before starting any form of diet plan. Carbohydrate counting is important in case of diabetes but at the same time protein, fat and micronutrients are also to be considered as diabetes itself can lead to other health problems if left uncontrolled.
It is important to always consult a professional or a doctor to understand the diet plan, having high fat does not mean including any type of fat but it is important to include a good type of fat so that it is not causing more harm than good.
Keto diet helps in weight loss in some cases but high amounts of ketone bodies can lead to ketoacidosis which can be fatal in nature because of lack of insulin. Therefore it is really important to take proper measures while following the keto diet.
A question arises in mind that is keto safe for diabetes? Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, thus a high-fat diet can seem unhelpful. And in type 1 diabetes there is more risk of DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis, therefore ketone diet can cause more harm than good. It is therefore important to keep in mind certain side effects of the keto diet:
- Hypoglycemia- It helps in reducing HbA1c levels but it can also lead to hypoglycemia which can be fatal. Therefore keeping blood sugar level in check is very important if you are going for a keto diet.
- Heart disease- There is a risk of heart disease as an underlying cause of having diabetes. Including more fat in a diet can increase the risk of developing heart disease as cholesterol levels are hampered with the consumption of saturated fats like butter, bacon, ham, etc therefore if you are going for a keto diet you must choose healthier options like nuts, avocado, lean meat, etc. It is also important to monitor blood pressure in such cases.
- Nutrient deficiency- Due to the cut down of carbohydrate sources including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc nutrient deficiency can also be seen.
- Liver and Kidney related problems- As the liver is used for fat metabolism and the kidney for protein synthesis, hence a burden to these organs can lead to disorders related to these organs.
- Digestion related issues- As keto diet lacks in fiber due to cut down on whole grains, it can cause digestion issues like constipation, gas formation, acidity, etc.
The take-home message would be to always keep in the loop with your doctor as well as a nutritionist before starting with keto diet if you have diabetes so that it acts as a boon for you and should not cause any harm.