Keto Diet and Diabetes


Before talking about diabetes and the ketogenic diet and if it can help or not and in which case it is necessary that we start this article by talking about the health terms involved in the subject.


What is health?

It should be pointed out that the health of the body almost always means balance since in any measurable parameter for medicine such as pH, mineral concentration, or some others there are healthy parameters that are synonymous with balance or homeostasis. Homeostasis is the ability of the body to keep its processes constant. In the case of glucose, our body seeks to maintain basal concentrations such that when eating carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, pizzas, industrial pastries, etc., the level of glucose in the blood can be raised and the pancreas releases insulin to help glucose enter the cells inside and function as fuel and maintain balance.

What is Diabetes?

In this sense, diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body’s homeostasis has been affected. Talking about diabetes means referring to the poor control that our body may have in relation to glucose, therefore we say that diabetes can encompass the group of diseases that have a high concentration of glucose in the blood in common. Including the autoimmune disease where cells of our immune system attack the beta cells of the pancreas.

How many types of Diabetes are there?

In the most common forms of diabetes, we can consider type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. More strictly we can find type 1.5 diabetes, type 3 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, the latter is a short period during the woman’s pregnancy, after pregnancy, most women correct this imbalance. In this article, we will focus on type 1 and type 2 that are the most common.

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What are the characteristics of type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is more common in children or young people and has a high hereditary influence from the maternal or paternal line. In type 1 diabetes, insulin production is very low or null and when there is the consumption of carbohydrates or sugars, glucose levels increase with the probability of reaching 300, 400, or 500 mg/deciliter, the body detecting these glucose levels in the blood it tries to eliminate this excess by different means such as urine. In the long term, unless insulin is injected and glucose surpluses are not controlled, high blood glucose levels accumulate by binding to proteins generating so-called advanced glycosylation products. These products intoxicate and age the structural proteins of the body.

What are the characteristics of type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults and unlike type 1 that commonly occurs in children and young people, in type 2 diabetes the pancreas continues to function, even so, as a result of several factors such as the alteration in peripheral receptors of the insulin, inflammation, loss of muscle mass, hormonal imbalances or many other variables, the functioning of insulin is no longer correct and each time carbohydrates are consumed, these being the main fuel for the body in the modern diet, glucose levels remain high because despite the pancreas releasing insulin.

If the intake of carbohydrates is very constant, the body becomes resistant and requires more and more presence of this hormone and cannot use it properly, generating a phenomenon known as “insulin resistance”. And when there is insulin resistance, blood glucose levels progressively increase.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a polypeptide hormone made up of 51 amino acids, produced and secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin is necessary to introduce glucose into cells.

What are the most common symptoms of diabetes?

The most common symptoms are acanthosis nigricans, a medical term that refers to the darkening of the skin in the form of folds on the neck, armpits, groin, between the fingers, etc. Feeling very thirsty even with continuous hydration, frequent urination, lack of satiety from feeling hungry all the time, chronic tiredness, easily gain or loss of weight, vision difficulties, delayed healing, peripheral neuropathy, or tingling in the feet and hands that can get to pain.

What are the effects of diabetes on the body?

Both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes generate advanced glycosylation products. Advanced glycolization products are accumulations of excess glucose in the blood that adhere to structural proteins in the body and lead to a variety of alterations in the body’s systems.

What are the most common disorders of diabetes in the nervous system?

Currently, it is known that many neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or senile dementia are called type 3 diabetes due to the close union that exists in these pathologies with glycated proteins where year after year excess glucose has accumulated generating structural damage in the nervous system and in the brain. There is in all diabetics, in the long term with poor glucose control, a process called diabetic neuropathy that causes loss of sensation, damage to the nervous system, nerve connections so muscle contractions are lost, there is peripheral pain in the fingers. In this way, the nervous system begins to lose structure and harmony.

What are the most common alterations of diabetes in the visual system?

Another known organism disorder is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy appears as a result of damage to the blood vessels of the tissue located at the back of the eye (retina). Uncontrolled blood glucose is a risk factor. Early symptoms include myodesopsia, blurred vision, dark areas of vision, and difficulty perceiving colors. It can also cause blindness. Mild cases can be treated with careful diabetes management. More advanced cases may need laser treatment or surgery.

What are the most common disorders of diabetes in the cardiovascular system?

Every time there are glucose rises and as time progresses, other alterations in the cardiovascular system may manifest, for example, triglycerides rise, cholesterol increases, hypertension and the probability of heart attacks arise. The medullary point in these cases is the affection of the internal layers of the arteries as they are constantly inflamed in a silent way as excess glucose adheres and generates advanced glycation products generating rigidity, loss of elasticity, and predisposition to lack of oxygenation of the tissues. Given the lack of oxygenation and blood supply, the body’s defenses do not reach the place and infections progress, for example in the case of diabetic foot. Another situation derived from this deficiency in oxygenation and blood supply is the lack of erections in men and the demerit of sexual life. In general, the cardiovascular system is affected.

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What parameters is it advisable to monitor in cases of diabetes?

In medical terms, you can measure the level of glucose in the blood, glucose in the urine, peptide “c”, and some others. The parameter that is most suggested to monitor is glycosylated hemoglobin as it offers a long evaluation period, from 2 to 3 months, allowing better control over chronic complications derived from the same condition. In a simple way, we understand glycosylated hemoglobin as the amount of glucose adhered to hemoglobin and it is expressed as a percentage.

How can we control or correct diabetes?

Even when diabetes is a medically considered incurable condition, science is beginning to evaluate options that support the body to regain its natural balance and one of them is the implementation of low-carbohydrate diets.

What is the effect of carbohydrates on diabetics?

Eating with diabetes is essential, consuming many carbohydrates will generate high concentrations of sugar in the body generating this abnormal insulin response and increased blood glucose. The most logical thing would be to reduce carbohydrate consumption but generally, we do not know what foods to consume and taking care of this point recently the so-called ketogenic diet has taken force.

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a special way of eating that is high in fat and protein and very low in carbohydrates. On the ketogenic diet, the body begins to take energy from fat and protein as its main fuel. The name of this diet comes from the word ketone, a chemical compound produced during the metabolism of fats, ketones are now the main fuel of the body by lowering the availability of glucose. If the low glucose becomes permanent, the metabolism changes and begins to use fats as an energy source, releasing ketones into the blood to also be used by the body’s tissues and maintain all cellular functions. A good analogy to understand this principle would be to observe the behavior of a car, a car that runs on fuel that we can call glucose, now we adapt it to work like a hybrid vehicle, that is, fuel plus electrical energy which we will call ketones. Better use of the energy of both and reduces the emission of harmful components.

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Is keto diet good for diabetics ?

How does the ketogenic diet work for type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes, as we have seen, is the result of, among many factors, poor eating habits generating obesity, high blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance. The ketogenic diet is said to help you lose excess body weight by taking in excess body fat for fuel, decreasing your risk of metabolic syndrome, cancer, and many other imbalances. Helps reduce the need for medications.

How does the ketogenic diet work for type 1 diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes the drug is insulin-based, the ketogenic diet can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, hypoglycemia is when the blood sugar drops more than 70 mg / deciliter and weakness, anxiety, dizziness, confusion begin to be experienced among other symptoms. In cases like these, it is suggested that before starting the ketogenic diet the case be reviewed with the doctor, especially to assess possible adjustments in the administration of insulin. More scientific studies are needed to tell us the relationship of the ketogenic diet with type 1 diabetes.

Is there scientific evidence on the application of the ketogenic diet in diabetes?

A 2018 study conducted in the United States concluded that the ketogenic diet is an effective alternative as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and especially useful when medications are not available. Another study published in 2019 by the journal Nutrients highlighted that although the application of the ketogenic diet in patients with type 1 diabetes remains controversial, its application in patients with type 2 has proven to be very effective in controlling blood sugar. blood and also helps reduce body weight. In 2017, a study was conducted in India where it was stated that the ketogenic diet can be used in any age group to help control blood sugar levels effectively for patients with type 2 diabetes. Another study showed that low-carbohydrate diets are capable of improving insulin sensitivity by up to 75%, enough to not depend on the drug in case of type 2 diabetes. In 2005 the journal Nutrition and Metabolism published the results of a study where 28 obese people with type 2 diabetes followed the ketogenic diet for 16 weeks, the result confirmed that glycosylated hemoglobin decreased by 16%, hypoglycemic drugs were no longer necessary in 7 patients while another 10 had a dose reduction by lowering about 6.6% of body weight.

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What benefits can a person with diabetes expect from following a ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet helps control blood sugar levels, benefits digestion regularity, decreases cravings for sweets and carbohydrates and helps lower body fat by burning excess pounds of body weight. Maintains a state of satiety.

Why is the ketogenic diet believed to be dangerous for diabetics?

When starting the ketogenic diet, a series of compensatory mechanisms occur that can cause some slight side effects such as weakness, confusion, headache, flu-like symptoms, among others. This is part of the body’s adaptation process to changing habits, but it is mild and temporary.

Another reason why some people consider this diet not suitable for diabetics is that if there is no glucose monitoring and control for a correct dose of medicine, hypoglycemia can occur, as we mentioned earlier in cases of type 1 diabetes. That is why before starting the ketogenic diet it is important to go for a medical check-up to take advantage of its benefits without risk to health.

Another very common fear is the fact of including fats in the diet, for many years we have heard that fats are bad for health and perhaps a diet high in fat is too controversial and difficult to accept. If we choose healthy fats such as those found in avocado, olive oil, nuts, there is no reason to fear, another point to consider is that the carbohydrates ingested in this diet are minimal and the body will focus on burning more fat Quick.

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Fedorovich, S. V., Voronina, P. P. y Waseem, T. V. (2018). Ketogenic diet versus ketoacidosis: what determines the influence of ketone bodies on neurons? Neural regeneration research.

Kalra, S., Mukherjee, J. J., Venkataraman, S., Bantwal, G., Shaikh, S., Saboo, B., … Ramachandran, A. (2013). Hypoglycemia: The neglected complication. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism.

Krebs, J. D., Parry Strong, A., Cresswell, P., Reynolds, A. N., Hanna, A. y Haeusler, S. (2016). A randomised trial of the feasibility of a low carbohydrate diet vs standard carbohydrate counting in adults with type 1 diabetes taking body weight into account. Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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