A Keto Diet Successfully Treats Prediabetes In Over 50% Of Patients
A recent study from Dr. Sarah Hallberg and colleagues at Virta Health, a company that provides treatment for the reversal of type 2 diabetes, reports that their program promoting carbohydrate reduction normalizes blood sugar in over 50% of people with prediabetes.
In 2019, we promoted the impressive results from studies by Dr. Sarah Hallberg and her team at Virta, demonstrating the effectiveness of their ketogenic diet intervention for treating type 2 diabetes. Now, they have similar findings for those with prediabetes.
Their most recent intervention utilized an app-based coaching program, promoting a diet with fewer than 30 grams of total carbs, at least 1.5 grams per kilo of protein, and consumption of dietary fat to satiety.
At two years, the authors note 75% retention, which is excellent when it comes to a nutritional intervention. They compare their findings to the much lower retention displayed in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
The authors also report that 52.3% of participants achieved a normal blood sugar level at two years. On average, participants lost 12 kilos and saw significant improvements in their high-density lipoprotein , triglycerides, liver function, and fasting insulin levels.
Since this is not a randomized study, there is no control group for comparison. Therefore, we cannot claim that a ketogenic diet is more effective than other diets for prediabetes.
The Right Prediabetes Diet
What is the best, or right prediabetes diet? That may be a burning question on your mind if you have been recently diagnosed with prediabetes , or if you have known about your prediabetes for a while now.
The good news about prediabetes is that it is reversible, meaning you can prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes. The Mayo Clinic states that by following a healthier diet by eating nutritious foods and adding daily activity to your routine, you can regulate your blood sugar.
Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet
Ketone bodies produced from burning fat for fuel have been shown to have potent weight loss effects, help lower blood glucose levels and reduce peoples reliance on diabetes medication.
The diet has also shown evidence of having benefits on:
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Raising HDL cholesterol levels
- Improving mental performance
Read more about the benefits of ketogenic diets
In addition to that, there has been a lot of interest in therapeutic ketosis for other long-term conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimers disease or dementia.
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Impact On Blood Sugar Levels
A ketogenic diet may help some people with type 2 diabetes because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a low but healthy level.
The lower intake of carbohydrates in the diet can help to eliminate large spikes in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin.
Studies on ketogenic diets, including , have found that they can be helpful in controlling levels of HbA1c. This refers to the amount of glucose traveling with hemoglobin in the blood over about 3 months.
Properly Monitoring Diabetes On The Keto Diet
This cannot be stressed enough: the keto diet does not mean that you can stop monitoring your diabetes. While there are many potential benefits that can help you decrease your reliance on insulin and stabilize your blood sugar over time, there are also risks. This means that you need to take the proper precautions and monitor your blood glucose levels regularly in addition to ketone levels. Your doctor may recommend increased visits at the beginning of the keto diet to ensure that your body is responding well. Dont expect results to happen overnight. Be patient, work with your doctor, and if there are any signs that the keto diet is affecting you negatively, discontinue it immediately. Your doctor may also recommend beginning the keto diet in a controlled setting to monitor for any initial short-term side effects. If at any point you notice signs of diabetic ketoacidosis, or are not feeling well while on the diet, seek medical help immediately.
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Why Diet Matters For Prediabetes
This carefully controlled system can go awry if you continually challenge your blood glucose regulation system by eating foods high in sugar, or just too much food. A common way this can happen is if you are gaining weight. With weight gain, you are consistently eating more than your body needs.
Your body will try to keep up with demands and can be successful for a long time. As your insulin resistance increases, your pancreas can produce increasing amounts of insulin to try to keep blood sugar levels in normal ranges.
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are conditions that develop when insulin does not work properly in your body anymore. They develop gradually, often over years or decades, and are usually related to lifestyle factors such as diet.
Insulin is released in response to an increase in blood sugar. When you are healthy, the system works well.
If this continues, though, the system will eventually break down. At some point, your pancreas will be unable to produce enough insulin to keep up with demand.
This point, when insulin is no longer sufficient, is the point when your blood sugar levels begin to rise. You can get a blood test, and your doctor can diagnose you with prediabetes or diabetes based on the result.
Fat Is A Source Of Energy That Does Not Raise Your Blood Sugar
Unlike carbs or protein, fat cannot be broken down or converted into glucose efficiently. Furthermore, fat does not require insulin to get into cells to be used for energy, thereby bypassing the problem of insulin resistance. In fact, high insulin levels impair the bodyâs ability to use fat for fuel, driving it instead into fat cells for storage.
To adapt your metabolism to using fat as your main source of energy, dietary carbohydrates must be reduced to below your unique tolerance level. When you do this, your blood insulin level will come down, giving your body increased ability to burn both the fats you eat and those which you have in storage. For most people, this means switching from the standard recommended high carb, moderate protein, and low fat diet to a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. Fat adaptation does not happen overnightâit can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks for most of its benefits to occur, and possibly longer for the full benefits to occur.
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People With Diabetes Who Shouldnt Try The Keto Diet
Whats certain is this diet isn’t for you if you have kidney disease one reason being that you want to limit protein in that case, Zanini says.
Last, if you have a history of struggling with an eating disorder, work with your doctor to determine if this is the right diet for you. Despite what you may have read online, the keto diet and a personal history of binge eating disorder do not mix. In fact, Because of the severe carb limits imposed by the ketogenic diet, the risks of bingeing, compulsive overeating, and other eating disorders is much higher, says White.
Ketogenic Diet Beats Low Fat In Study Of Patients With Prediabetes And Type 2 Diabetes
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Effects On Lipids Mixed
Concerns have been raised regarding the ketogenic diet and adverse lipid profile changes, but the literature is inconsistent, and few publications have assessed the issue specifically in type 1 diabetes. Effects of ketogenic diets such as decreased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels have been reported.
Yancy et al, compared a low-carbohydrate diet to a low-fat diet in a randomized control trial of 120 overweight patients with hyperlipidemia. The low-carbohydrate diet led to greater decreases in serum triglyceride levels compared with patients on a low-fat diet and greater increases in high-density lipoprotein levels , but no significant differences were seen in low-density lipoprotein levels .
Using an online survey of a social media group for children and adults with type 1 diabetes who were following a very low carbohydrate diet, Lennerz et al found that 51 of 316 respondents reported having a diagnosis of dyslipidemia .
In a retrospective chart review of 30 patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes on a low-carbohydrate diet , ONeill reported that low-density lipoprotein levels decreased by 17%, from 155 to 130 mg/dL , and triglyceride levels decreased by 31%, from 107 to 74 mg/dL .
I Tried The Keto Diet To Manage My Diabetes This Is What Happened
Health and wellness touch everyones life differently. This is one persons story.
When Lele Jaro received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in 2006, she didnt leave the doctors office with a complete understanding of how the condition would influence the rest of her life, or fully equipped with the tools shed need to manage it.
When I found out I had type 2, I didnt really know how to feel about it. I was so young and, to put it bluntly, naïve about the whole diagnosis, she recalls. They gave me medication, some information what to eat if you have diabetes, and that was it.
Her doctor told her that shed probably been living with the condition since she was in her teens. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes creep up slowly without you really knowing the damage that its already doing to your body, she says.
I thought it was something I could eventually overcome. It wasnt until I got pregnant at 29 when I realized that type 2 diabetes is a serious, chronic disease, she says.
After working out and following her doctors diet recommendations, she managed to lose about 60 pounds by 2008.
But when it came to actually managing her diabetes, relying on weight loss simply wasnt cutting it. Though she followed her doctors advice, it became increasingly clear to Lele that shed need to take matters into her own hands and develop a means by which to manage her diabetes that didnt leave her reliant on medication.
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Ketogenic Diet Plan: What Is It And Just How Does It Function
A ketogenic diet plan eats a high amount of fat, moderate protein, and low amounts of carbohydrates.
Some people utilize this diet to lose weight, while others treat neurological conditions.
The Ketogenic Diet plan cuts out all carbs from the diet plan and uses fats instead to provide power for the body. The body then gets in a state of ketosis, which enables it to shed fat for gas instead of carbs.
Ketogenic Diet For Prediabetes
A ketogenic diet is a type of low-carbohydrate diet that is on the extreme end. The goal is to limit carbohydrates so much that the body does not have enough glucose a type of carbohydrate to fuel the brain normally. Instead, the body shifts to a metabolic state called ketosis, and produces ketone bodies to fuel the brains activities.
The theory behind a ketogenic diet for prediabetes is that when your body is in ketosis, you can be sure that you do not have excess carbohydrates in your diet. Since carbohydrates in your diet are broken down into glucose that goes into your bloodstream, being in ketosis assures that you are not inundating your bloodstream with excessive amounts of glucose due to the foods you eat.
A ketogenic diet for prediabetes might include about 20 to 50 grams per day of non-fiber carbohydrates, or about 5 to 10% of total calories from carbohydrates. The rest of your calories come from fat and protein. The food choices on this diet are similar to those on other low-carb diets, but you may need to further restrict some of the moderate-carbohydrate options that might be easier to fit in on a more moderate low-carb diet. Examples include fruit and starchy vegetables .
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Is A Ketogenic Diet Good For Type 2 Diabetes
To understand whether a keto diet is good for diabetics, we need to understand what goes on in the bodies of people with diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition in which there are high blood glucose levels. In people with type 1 diabetes, the body doesnt make any insulin–the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood and requires lifelong diabetes medication. The more common form, type 2 diabetes, occurs if there are low insulin levels or the body does not use insulin properly due to changes in insulin sensitivity.
When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down and turns them into sugars which enter the blood. The higher the blood sugar levels, the more the need for insulin. Given that people with diabetes dont make enough insulin or dont use insulin properly, you can see how very low carb diets like the keto diet might be beneficial for blood sugar control.
Dont Start Keto Unsupervised
If you have type 1 diabetes and are interested in the keto diet, its extremely important to start by seeking medical guidance from a registered dietitian and medical doctor .
An RD can assist you with the specific format and outline of the diet, whereas your doctor can help adjust your insulin regimen or oral medications accordingly.
Together, their supervision and guidance will greatly reduce your risk of serious complications and help you adhere to the diet safely and sustainably.
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Truth #: Rapid Weight Loss Is A Terrible Way To Lose Weight
The faster you lose weight, the more likely you are to gain it all back and with a vengeance.
The reason for this is your metabolism.
Your metabolism is wired to gain back fat that you’ve lost.
And we all know that gaining back all your weight is incredibly depressing.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality you face when you lose weight rapidly on a Keto diet. Your chances of gaining it all back are almost 100%.
Should I Say Prediabetes Or Prediabetic
For years, the prediabetes and diabetes communities have been grappling over the issue of how to refer to individuals with prediabetes and diabetes. While some members of the public and medical communities alike often use the terms prediabetic and diabetic, many others prefer to use terms such as living with prediabetes, has prediabetes, or person with diabetes, or PWD.
Lark recognizes the entire person and the importance of managing health conditions within the context of the persons lifestyle. We hope that this distinction and our personalized coaching will allow Larks respect, expertise, and good intentions to shine through.
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Possible Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet For Type 2 Diabetes
Heres how the keto diet may help if youre managing type 2 diabetes: With a higher protein and fat intake, individuals may feel less hungry and are often able to lose weight, since protein and fat take longer to digest than carbohydrates, says the Manhattan Beach, Californiabased Lori Zanini, RD, CDCES, the author of Eat What You Love Diabetes Cookbook. It may also help keep your energy levels up.
The diet may offer additional benefits. A review published in January 2021 in BMJ suggests that a low-carbohydrate diet like keto may help bring a person with diabetes into remission, which is defined as having an A1C test result of less than 6.5 percent or fasting glucose of less than 7.0 mmol/L, with or without the use of diabetes medication. That remission is not extremely likely, and whether it is permanent is unclear long-term diet adherence is typically required for maintenance of remission.
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Some People Should Avoid The Keto Diet
Due to potentially negative overall health effects, some people with type 1 diabetes should not follow a keto diet, including:
- those with a history of chronic low blood sugar levels
- people who are underweight or have an eating disorder
- people undergoing or recovering from a medical procedure
- children or adolescents under 18 years old
- pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
- cholesterol hyper-responders
These populations have an increased risk of complications and are not advised to start a keto diet without medical clearance .
Some people with type 1 diabetes can safely follow a keto diet, though close medical supervision is crucial. Other groups of people should avoid the diet. Its important to monitor ketone levels, especially if your blood sugar levels are elevated.
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- Hemoglobin A1c : Average blood sugar over the last few months
- Fasting plasma glucose test : Fasted morning blood sugar test
- Oral glucose tolerance test: Measure of your bodies blood glucose response to carbs
What is great about FPG and OGTT is that you can do these blood tests regularly by yourself with a blood sugar meter or continuous blood glucose monitor . Keeping an eye on fasting glucose and your response to your foods is a great strategy for keeping a pulse on the state of your health. Even if youre doing this, it is still valuable to get a regular a1c test to get a snapshot of what your overall health has been the last couple of months.