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Is Keto Diet Safe For Type 1 Diabetes Patients?

With the doctor’s guidance, the keto diet can be comparatively good for certain people with type 1 diabetes who do do not suffer from low blood sugar levels and are not underweight. 

For a safer alternative, it would help if a low-carb diet is gently introduced to type 1 diabetes patients to observe if their bodies respond negatively to the meal plan. A registered dietician and clinician could help formulate a personalized way of adopting the keto diet, provided that the insulin dosage is corrected and monitored regularly.

Nutritional ketosis vs. diabetic ketoacidosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state with low carbohydrate intake and the ketones are produced from the fat in the liver. The body’s energy is then not derived from carbs in this scenario, but rather from the ketones in the blood. When the body carries out this function, it is referred to as nutritional ketosis and is considered a healthy way to process ketones, according to Healthline.

On the contrary, diabetic ketoacidosis refers to a dangerous state of when the body is lacking insulin to transport blood sugar to the cells, consequently raising blood sugar levels and producing excess ketones leading to serious health complications.

However, this does not always have to be the case. With the right insulin dosage adjusted to the body’s needs, ketosis can lower blood sugar levels appropriately and help maintain its balance to a large extent in people with type 1 diabetes. Short-acting insulin is used by people with type 1 diabetes in different doses depending on the individual’s blood sugar level.

Once blood sugar levels come down, the amount of insulin taken can be correspondingly reduced. But this must be done with caution since blood sugar levels can drop drastically in some people, leading to slurred speech and consciousness, according to one study.

Foods in a keto diet People with type 1 diabetes have to consult a registered doctor and dietitian to understand if their body is up to processing the keto diet without adverse consequences. Twitter

Keto diet can control type 1 diabetes but with side effects

In this observational study conducted by University of Western Australia that was published by PubMed in May 2018, 7 men and 4 women with type 1 diabetes were monitored for glycaemic variability over 7 days and were also tested for their fasting blood sugar  levels.

After being told to follow the ketogenic diet for two and a half years or more, they were tested for hemoglobin A1c, a parameter used to indicate if diabetes is under control, and they showed positive results with not much glycaemic variability.  

On the downside, there was an indication of many episodes of blood sugar levels dropping. Dyslipidemia, a condition with increased risk of coronary heart disease because the arteries get clogged due to disrupted levels of cholesterol, is also another side effect that was observed during the study. 

Weight loss

Appetite is reduced as a result of consuming more proteins, giving a feeling of being full after meals, especially since the ratio of hunger hormones is shaken up.

High-calorie foods are replaced with low-calorie foods, eliminating further risk of hunger pangs. This is beneficial to some people who intend to lose weight while dealing with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as what studies have proven. Caution is advised here as well because not everyone with diabetes is keen on weight loss and might just be planning to maintain it.

Ketone Testing

For people with high blood sugar levels, ketone testing is something they are already familiar with. The ketone levels should be checked if blood sugar exceeds 300 mg/dl with the help of blood ketone meters, urine strips and breath analysers. As safety precaution, ketone levels should also be measured if there is a feeling of uneasiness, confusion and brain fog.  

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