Can Keto Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?
Written by Molly Becker, Director of KetoBars on March 22nd 2021 | Read time: 10 min
Before we start, lets take a look at a shocking statistic:
In the US, 52% of the adult population is suffering from Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is often referred to as a chronic and progressive disease, which means it will only get worse as time goes on. Sounds pretty scary, right?
However, there is hope. We are now learning through clinical trials that Type 2 Diabetes can actually be reversed. The big question is, can KETO help to reverse it? In this article, we will look at what diabetes reversal actually means, Type 2 Diabetes treatment options, how the keto diet works for someone with Type 2 Diabetes, and more. 👇
What does it mean to 'reverse' Diabetes?
A Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis is based on elevated blood sugar. So, if your blood sugar remains normal without the use of diabetes-specific medication and you no longer meet the diagnostic criteria, then you have successfully reversed your Type 2 Diabetes.
In this situation, the term "reversed" is not the same as being cured. You can reverse your Type 2 Diabetes but, if you do not follow long term lifestyle changes, it will come back.
Type 2 Diabetes treatment options.
There are 3 main types of treatments for Type 2 Diabetes that have been demonstrated to reverse the disease. Those treatments are:
1. Bariatric Surgery: Also known simply as 'weight loss surgery'. This form of treatment has been known to reverse Type 2 Diabetes. But, the surgery is expensive, can have some major side effect, and it often loses its effectiveness after a few years.
2. Very Low Calorie Diet: Also known as 'semi-starvation diets', this can lead to rapid weight loss and diabetes reversal. However, this type of diet can only be followed for a few months.
3. Ketogenic Diet: A well formulated and nutritionally complete keto diet is the 3rd treatment option. Following this diet will set up a state of nutritional ketosis, causing the body to use fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
What is nutritional ketosis?
Nutritional ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which your body adapts to burning fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary fuel.
At the heart of nutritional ketosis are 'ketones', small molecules that are made from fat in the liver, and provide energy to fuel important organs like the brain, heart, and muscles. Ketones also play a newly discovered role to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are key underlying causes of type 2 diabetes.
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with nutritional ketosis.
Nutritional ketosis can reverse Type 2 Diabetes by reducing blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing inflammation. Being able to safely and consistently maintain nutritional ketosis will increase the chances of Type 2 Diabetes reversal.
It is important to discuss any diet changes with a medical professional, especially if you are taking medication for blood sugar or blood pressure control. Nutritional ketosis can lead to a rapid decrease in weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar, so it is important that this is being monitored by a medical professional and medications are being safely decreased if needed.
What are the benefits of nutritional ketosis?
There are many other health benefits beyond blood glucose control. Here are just a few:
1. May Improve Heart Health: Studies have shown that some people following a keto diet have experienced a significant drop in levels of total cholesterol low density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides and an increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol.
2. May Lower Blood Pressure: Cutting carbs can lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should reduce your risk of many common diseases such as stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease.
3. Therapeutic for Brain Disorders: Some parts of your brain can only use glucose, which is why our liver produces glucose from protein if you eat a low carb diet. However, most of your brain can also use ketones. The ketogenic diet has actually been used for decades to treat children with Epilepsy who do not respond to drug therapy. Very low carb and ketogenic diets are now being tested for other brain disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
4. Increased Energy & Mental Clarity: Once your body enters and adjusts to ketosis, many experience an increase in their physical energy and mental clarity. There are a few reasons why this happens:
• Ketones are a powerful energy source. Once your body enters ketosis, you will be using ketones for fuel instead of glucose.
• Fat digests slower than carbs. So, you will be receiving energy from your food for hours after you eat.
•Low-carb, high-fat diets improve blood glucose stability, meaning less sugar crashes, increasing your energy!
5. Helps with Inflammation: Inflammation is the body's natural response to heal and fight infection. Too much inflammation, however, can have some unpleasant symptoms like pain, joint stiffness, swelling, and fatigue. When in a consistent state of ketosis, your body produces ketones which have a strong anti-inflammatory response.
6. Weight loss: Ketogenic trials have demonstrated greater than 10% weight loss at 1 year.
Safety of keto with Type 2 Diabetes.
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with nutritional ketosis sounds very simple but, it can be a complex process. Whenever you make changes in your diet, it isimportant to discuss those changes with a doctor, especially if you are on medications.
People with type 2 diabetes who are taking medications for diabetes or blood pressure should not begin a ketogenic diet without adequate medical supervision.
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