Benefits of Keto Diet in Diabetes & Other Health Problems
"Keto diet is just like marriage if you cheat it won't work" this is a very famous phrase that is associated with ketogenic diet. Keto diet or ketogenic diet is described as a low carbohydrate, rich in fat diet that offers several health benefits. Studies have proven that following a typical type of keto diet is very useful in losing weight, controlling diabetes type 2, managing cancer, epilepsy and even Alzheimer's. The basics of keto diet involves very low carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. The cut off of carbohydrates puts the body in a metabolic state which is called ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body uses the consumed fat as an energy source instead of carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting can also be very beneficial in activating the metabolic ketosis in the body. In this article the main focus will be about the keto diet and how it is beneficial in diabetes.
A healthy diet is very important to keep the healthy body functioning intact. According to a very old saying 'we are what we eat' and to understand this is very important in today's pandemic of obesity leading the majority of people towards diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which excess glucose levels in blood are present. This condition takes place in two ways: one is when cells become resistant to uptake of insulin and another is when the beta cells in pancreas are destroyed by the autoimmune process.
In type one and two diabetes, nutrition is the key to deal with the high levels of glucose and also with the associated obesity in type 2 DM. In the last two decades the keto diet or ketogenic diet has received very much popularity in management of diabetes. Lowering the intake of carbohydrates helps in lowering the blood glucose levels as 100% of carbohydrates we intake are converted into glucose by our body and hence affects our body's glucose levels very much. According to the international diabetes federation diabetes affects around 425 million people worldwide and this count is expected to reach 630 million by the year 2045. Also the most commonly affected group is believed to be aging between 20-79 years.
Specifics about Keto Diet or Ketogenic Diet
In today's world various diets with low carbohydrate content have been introduced like the Atkins diet, the zone diet, paleo diet and the south beach diet. The term low carb diet means a combination of heterogeneous nutritional regimens like intake of different percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The keto diet is having four types. These types are explained as follows:
1. Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
The standard keto diet involves very low intake of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. The amount of fat, carbohydrates and protein varies person to person as per the requirement of the body. Keto diet should include intake of non starchy vegetables (green leafy vegetables) because they are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and have very low amounts of carbohydrates. This type of keto diet is very essential and effective in obese and diabetic patients. It also improves heart health.
2. Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)
The targeted keto diet is almost similar to the standard ketogenic diet. The difference lies when the carbohydrates are consumed around the times of workout. It is a kind of compromise between standard and cyclic keto diet that allows you to consume some extra carbohydrates on the day exercise.
3. Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)
Cyclical keto diet can be understood as the type of keto diet that allows you to reload the carbs on specific days. Like five days of keto diet and two days of high carbohydrate diet. The carbohydrate amount will be a bit higher than usually allowed in the keto diet.
4. High Protein Keto Diet (HPKD)
This diet, as the name specifies involves the intake of high amounts of protein in the diet. Like around 60% of fat, 35% of proteins and only 5% of carbohydrates. This diet is very much effective in weight loss.
Ketosis and Ketogenic Diet
The physiology behind the working of ketogenic diet is understood only after discussing the process of ketosis in the body. As mentioned earlier ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by the elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine, it is generally the normal response to the low levels of glucose in the body. This condition appears when there is low intake of carbohydrates or during fasting. The process starts when there is availability of less than 50g of carbohydrates per day to the body. This results in low insulin levels and hence the body enters a catabolic state. Glycogen storage is depleted and thus forces the body to go under metabolic changes. Two metabolic processes that come into action as a result of low carbohydrate diet are:
Gluconeogenesis is the endogenous process that works by producing glucose in the body. When the glucose availability drops the gluconeogenesis is not able to keep up the needs of the body and hence ketosis starts as the alternate source of energy and the glucose is replaced by ketone bodies as the main source of energy for the body and brain. Some basic ketone bodies accumulate in the body as the ketogenic diet is continued like beta hydroxybutyrate. This is understood as nutritional ketosis. This metabolism of ketosis works till there is a lack of carbohydrates. The energy synthesized by the body can be utilized by the various groups of muscles, tissues and kidneys. These Ketone bodies cause no harm to the body as produced in small concentrations and also are capable of blood brain barrier and thus providing energy to the brain also.
Benefits of Keto Diet in Diabetes and Other Conditions
Keto Diet and Diabetes Type 1
In DM- type 1 the glucose levels are high due to the lack of insulin. The lack of insulin is due to destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. In this type of diabetes the insulin is administered before meals so that the glucose can be taken up by the administered insulin and is delivered to the cells as the source of energy. But when we set the patient on keto diet we basically reduce the main source of glucose that are carbohydrates. Once the amount of carbohydrates intake is reduced the body won't have access levels of glucose and the error occurs due to low or high doses of insulin will be reduced. Such errors generally result in hypo or hyperglycemia.
Keto Diet and Diabetes Type 2
In diabetes type 2 keto diet works very efficiently in reducing the weight as well as the glucose levels in the body. The glucose is not taken up by the cells because of the resistance of cells to insulin and hence the levels of glucose keeps on increasing in the body. When we keep a patient on keto diet or ketogenic diet the direct cut off from the source of glucose is similarly done here by reducing the amounts of carbohydrates in the diet. In the same way it works for obesity, a low carb diet results in utilization of energy sources present inside the body and also reduces accumulation of fats.
Keto Diet in Other Conditions
- Keto diet is very beneficial for even heart patients as high levels of carbohydrates in the body causes big alterations in patients lipid profile like high VLDL, LDL, Triglycerides etc. and thus clogged the arteries. Through keto diet the weight is reduced, good HDL (high density lipoprotein) levels are maintained, triglycerides levels are reduced and blood pressure is at normal limits.
- It is also beneficial in improving neural functioning. It is recommended in patients with autism, schizophrenia, mood disorders. In these cases it works by eliminating the toxins from the body. Also in patients of Alzheimer's, ALS and epilepsy keto diet has given many positive results.
- It improves the gut health and also prevents the body from cancer producing triggers.
Keto diet is having very impressive results, if you choose wisely. You will feel like life is beginning after you go keto.
When opting for the keto diet you must understand one thing that patience and persistence are an absolute must as you pursue ketosis. All you have to do is believe in yourself and be more courageous if you love your body and your health.