Health Care

Keto Diet May Help Control Type 2 Diabetes

News Picture: Keto Diet May Help Control Type 2 DiabetesBy Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The keto diet has plenty of weight-loss devotees who swear by the high fat, low-carb plan. Now, new research from India suggests it may benefit people with type 2 diabetes.

The study team found that people following a ketogenic diet for three months saw significant improvement in their blood sugar control.

“A five to 10% carbohydrate diet over three months led to a remarkable reduction in hemoglobin A1c levels,” said study author Dr. Angati Kanchana Lakshmi Prasana. Kanchana is a consultant biochemist at CARE Hospitals in Visakhpatnam, India.

Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test that estimates average blood sugar control over the past two to three months. In general, people with diabetes are advised to have an A1c level of 7% or lower.

It’s still up for debate whether it’s this specific diet that causes improvement, eating fewer carbohydrates or simply the fact that people lose weight on the diet.

Dr. Genevieve Lama is an endocrinologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley in New York. She said that when people lose weight, their blood sugar levels go down. And it doesn’t take a huge weight loss to make a difference. She said losing just 5% of your weight has an impact on blood sugar levels.

Plus, a low-carbohydrate diet is known to reduce blood sugar levels, she said.

During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. The hormone insulin allows the body’s cells to use this sugar for fuel.

In type 2 diabetes, however, the cells aren’t as sensitive to insulin. That means more insulin is needed to do the same job. But sometimes the body can’t keep up. If that happens, blood sugar levels rise.

Certain foods — such as processed simple carbohydrates like white bread, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages — quickly raise blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association. That’s why a diet that limits these foods can help manage blood sugar levels.

The ketogenic (keto) diet was originally designed as a treatment for people with the seizure disorder epilepsy. It typically allows 50 grams of carbohydrate or less a day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

On a keto diet, people often don’t have grains, breads or cereals. Often, even fruits and vegetables are restricted. The diet requires a big change in lifestyle.

The latest study recruited 130 people with type 2 diabetes to follow a ketogenic diet for 12 weeks. There was no control group for comparison.

Study volunteers were between 35 and 60 years old. About one-third were female.

Average weight loss was between 15 and 22 pounds. Before the diet, the study volunteers were slightly overweight. Afterwards, they fell in the normal weight category, on average.

The diet was very limited, with a maximum of 20 grams of carbohydrates a day, Kanchana said. (For reference, one slice of bread is 15 grams and a cup of broccoli has 6 grams of carbs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.)

Typically, the Indian diet is carb-laden, with around 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrate daily, Kanchana said. In some areas of India, people consume a lot of wheat products. In others, the diet contains more rice products.

The study diet contained fats like coconut oil and butter, animal products like chicken, eggs, lamb and pork, dairy products, green leafy vegetables and other green vegetables. The diet avoided root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, Kanchana said.

Daily calorie counts were about 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day.


Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication
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