Can Keto Reverse Diabetes – Type 2 diabetes is generally defined as a chronic and progressive condition resulting from insufficient production of natural insulin, which causes high blood sugar in many patients. Upon receiving an official diagnosis, most patients are told that they have to take medication for life and that there is no cure for diabetes. However, many scientists, clinicians and dieticians disagree with this prognosis, saying that diets such as the ketogenic (keto) diet have the potential to support the reversal of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease in which the level of glucose in the blood remains high. Having high blood glucose levels can cause additional health problems over time, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision impairment, peripheral nerve damage and even depression.
Can Keto Reverse Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is more common, accounting for 90 percent of all diabetes cases worldwide. In this type, the body does not produce or use insulin properly. It can happen to anyone but is more common in people over 40 years of age, in those who are overweight and inactive, in those with a family history of diabetes and in patients whose diets consist mainly of refined carbohydrates.
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The ketogenic diet, keto diet for short, is a high-fat, low-carb diet. The diet was originally developed in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. However, it has since gained the attention of scientists and the public as a possible answer to a wide range of ailments, including diabetes.
The keto diet involves restricting carbohydrates to usually less than 50 grams per day. The majority of a person’s calories on this diet should come from fat, while protein intake should remain moderate. Eating this way puts the body into a natural metabolic state called ketosis, from which the diet gets its name.
When a person is in ketosis, they have high levels of acidic molecules called ketones in their blood and tissues. In ketosis, ketones act as alternative fuels to glucose and may help diabetic patients who do not use glucose effectively.
Many diabetes patients are familiar with ketoacidosis, also called diabetic ketoacidosis, and they may confuse this condition with ketosis. Although medical experts often confuse these two terms, they are not one and the same.
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Ketosis is a natural and healthy physiological reaction to the lack of carbohydrates in the diet. This is an evolutionary adaptation that has helped humans survive times of food scarcity and starvation. There are well-documented health benefits of being in ketosis.
Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a complication of poorly managed diabetes. This results in the uncontrolled production of ketone bodies that can alter the pH of the blood, which can prove fatal. Ketoacidosis is more common in Type 1 diabetes than Type 2. It is also important to note that the keto diet cannot cause ketoacidosis – but instead puts the body in the beneficial state of ketosis.
While we know that the ketogenic diet induces ketosis and increases ketones in the blood, what do we know about its effects on blood glucose? After all, blood glucose is what all diabetes patients need to control.
However, there is more to the ketogenic diet for diabetes than that. Blood glucose is mainly derived from carbohydrates afterwards, and this relationship has been confirmed by many randomized control studies.
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One such study involving 49 diabetic patients found that low-carb diets lead to greater improvements in fasting blood glucose, in fact that most of these patients were able to stop their prescribed diabetes medication.
Lifestyle and dietary changes are commonly recommended to Type 2 diabetes patients to help manage the disease. However, not many are promised a complete return of the disease. The truth is, complete reversal of Type 2 diabetes is difficult, if not impossible. But the ketogenic diet can bring your patients closer to this goal.
According to Dr. Sarah Hallberg, an advocate of reversing diabetes with dietary intervention, low-carb diets are the only possible way to reverse this disease. Most studies examining the possibility of diabetes reversal have focused on general exercise and reducing calorie intake. However, these studies found that lifestyle changes normalized beta cell function, meaning recovery was possible.
Specifically with regard to keto diets, studies have proven that this method is more effective than moderate protein diets in lowering blood glucose, promoting weight loss and lowering HbA1c in patients with Type 2 diabetes. A growing number of clinicians now agree that low-carb diets can effectively treat this disease. The fact remains: these diets remain controversial and contradict dietary guidelines, so they are not often discussed or recommended in the clinical setting.
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Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results from many things, with the biggest risk factors being weight, lifestyle and eating habits that contribute to its onset. Since the disease usually begins with a sedentary lifestyle paired with a poor diet, it makes sense to approach treatment with lifestyle changes. An effective approach is to use the ketogenic diet, a diet that has been proven to stabilize blood glucose and promote weight loss.
Although complete reversal of diabetes is difficult and rare, it is still possible with the help of low-carbohydrate diets and improved lifestyle choices. This is a proposition supported by a growing number of medical experts and research evidence. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the diet recommended as a diabetes cure in doctors’ offices.
Do you recommend the keto diet to your diabetic patients? What other lifestyle changes do you think help reverse Type 2 diabetes? Is reversal possible? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet us @!
How often do we take the things life has to offer and fail to recognize that they are… By finding a link to a condition that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, new research questions the health benefits of ketogenic diet.
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Ketogenic diets are low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets that have been shown to reduce weight. They change the metabolism so that energy comes from fat instead of sugar.
When researchers in Switzlerland examined what happened to mice during the early stages of a ketogenic diet, they found that the animals showed a poorer ability to regulate blood sugar compared to similar mice on a high- fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
, they observed that “although animals fed the [keto diet] appear healthy in the fasting state, they show lower glucose tolerance to a greater extent than animals fed the [high-fat diet] .”
The reason for this, they found, was that the livers of keto diet-fed mice were also unresponsive to insulin. This condition, known as insulin resistance, increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
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“Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues we face,” said study author Christian Wolfrum, who is with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at ETH Zürich in Switzerland.
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body control blood sugar levels, or glucose. If blood sugar remains above normal for a long time, it becomes a condition called hyperglycemia that can lead to serious health problems. This is the sign of diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, hyperglycemia occurs because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, organs and tissues lose their ability to respond to insulin. The pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin, but eventually it is not enough and leads to hyperglycemia.
There are several ways in which insulin helps control blood glucose levels. One is by signaling the liver to reduce glucose production, and the other is by helping muscles and tissues absorb glucose and convert it into energy.
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” for no apparent reason. The liver becomes insulin resistant when it fails to reduce glucose production in response to insulin.
Cells can also become insulin resistant when they need increasing amounts of the hormone to help them use glucose.
However, the researchers found that the main reason for decreased glucose tolerance in keto diet-fed mice was due to insulin resistance in the liver “rather than impaired glucose clearance and tissue glucose uptake.”
Despite extensive research into the causes of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, they are not fully understood.
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One thing scientists do know is that fat-like substances called lipids are “clearly associated with insulin resistance.” Even here, however, many questions remain, such as, “Is the link due to circulating fats or to tissue fat accumulation?”
By dramatically reducing the intake of carbohydrates, keto diets induce a metabolic state known as ketosis. In this state, cells that normally get their energy from glucose switch to ketones.
Much research now supports the idea that keto diets have a sound “physiological and biochemical basis” and can significantly benefit cardiovascular health.
This is welcome news to many physicians, where one of the biggest challenges they face in their daily practice is the treatment of obesity.
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However, while keto diets have a proven track record in tackling obesity, some concerns remain. Much of this is probably related to a “widespread lack of knowledge about the physiological mechanisms involved.”
The new study helps plug some of this knowledge gap. This suggests that insulin resistance in the liver may develop in the early stages of keto diets. This now needs to be confirmed
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