Keto Diet For Type 2 Diabetes: Pros And Cons
Ketogenic diet is a catch-all term for any diet that pushes your body into the natural metabolic state of ketosis, which means burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Though theres no set formula for keto, generally, the diet works by cutting back on carbohydrates, to about 20 g of net carbs to start, and replacing those with mostly fat and a moderate amount of protein, according to the popular website Keto Connect. Net carbs are the total number of carbs minus the fiber and sugar alcohols, according to the Atkins website.
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When Stephanie Lofton was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015, she knew she needed to make some big changes to her diet. But after cutting her carbohydrates down to just 60 g per meal didnt help her lose weight or manage her blood sugar, she turned to a more intense diet.
Lofton, a medical biller in Marysville, Washington, says she decided to try keto in spring 2017 after seeing how some of her Facebook friends had lost weight on the diet. She was desperate to try something different because she couldnt get her blood sugar under control even with insulin and after trying several types of diets, she says.
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Im feeling fuller for longer periods of time, she says, and I dont feel like Im deprived at all. I dont miss rice, I dont miss potatoes I dont miss those things.
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How Does An Atkins Diet Work
The Atkins has a number of phases which are intended to be followed in a particular order. The diet starts at a low daily carbohydrate intake of 20 grams per day. This is the induction phase of the diet.
The following phases, involve gradually introducing foods with higher carbohydrate levels, as long as these are not hindering your progress to your target weight
The end phase of the diet, lifetime maintenance, is intended to be kept over the long term to maintain the successes achieved in the earlier phases of the diet.
The media has a tendency to caricature the diet as being one that includes next to no carbohydrate and begins and ends with fried breakfasts
This would only describe the induction stage of the diet and certainly more dietary choice is available within this first phase.
Important Points About This Meal Plan
Disclaimer: every effort has been taken to make these meal plans as accurate as possible, but there will be some variation in nutritional values. Speak to a dietitian or your diabetes healthcare team if you have questions about your individual dietary needs.
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Do Atkins Bars Spike Blood Sugar
Atkins bars contain a certain amount of carbohydrates, therefore you have to include them in your carb count. The nutritional value is lower than whole foods. Atkins bars come in different forms, either as purchase trails, meal replacement, or snack bars. Atkins bars contain approximately 2 -7g of carbs per packet. Depending on your selection, Atkins bars spike blood sugar levels. Choose low-carb Atkins bars to suit your diabetic lifestyle.
A trail bar can be used to give you a sense of satisfaction till your next meal, while a meal replacement bar is a candy that you can take instead of lunch or a meal.
The Atkins nutritionists make meals and snack bars that cater to those following a low-carb diet. They named their meal plans and products the Atkins diet.
Doctors advise type 2 diabetics to use low-carb Atkins bars more often to replace whole foods or to avoid cravings. In the long term, there will be good results in your blood sugar level and weight loss journey.
Do not rely on Atkins bars as a form of treats throughout the day as it could lead to weight gain. People with type 1 diabetes are also advised to not overeat candy bars as it could result in a sharp spike in blood sugar levels. As a type 1 diabetic avoid foods containing sorbitol such as Atkins bars.
Snack bars come in handy when you need fast hunger relief. There are specific times when a snack bar comes in handy, such as
Phases Of The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is divided into four main phases:
- Phase 1: Induction
Eat less about 20 grams of carbohydrates per day for two weeks. Kick-start the diet and weight loss by eating high protein, high-fat with leafy greens or other low carb vegetables.
- Phase 2: Balancing
Gradually add more low-carb vegetables, nuts and a small amount of fruits to your diet.
- Phase 3: Fine-tuning
Add more carbohydrates to your diet in case you dont want to lose weight.
- Phase 4: Maintenance
Eat as many carbohydrates as the body can tolerate without gaining weight.
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What Is The Atkins Diet
Cardiologist Robert Atkins created the Atkins diet in the 1960s. He believed that carbohydrates not fat were responsible for health problems and weight gain. As a result, his diet focused on eating plenty of fat, some protein and very few carbs.
The goal of the Atkins diet is to change your metabolism. You burn stored body fat, rather than carbs, for energy, says Smith. And you can do this if you follow the diet closely. But its not for everyone, and there may be health risks involved.
Risks Of The Atkins Diet
Although Atkins can help people lose weight, it has some drawbacks. The diet:
- Allows processed meats: Who doesnt love bacon? Well, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and World Health Organization, for starters. Processed meats may raise the risk of heart problems and certain cancers. But because they are low carb and high fat, many people following Atkins eat a lot of them.
- Excludes healthy foods: Many people restrict fruits and some vegetables to stay under their carb limit. These foods contain important vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber. Eliminating food groups can cause nutrient deficiencies and health problems, Smith says.
- Has side effects: Eating a very low-carb diet like Atkins can cause electrolyte imbalances, constipation, dangerously low blood sugar and kidney problems.
- Promotes processed foods: The Atkins diet sells and promotes bars, shakes and ready-made meals that help people stick with the plan. But many of these items contain artificial sweeteners, processed ingredients, high-saturated fat and sodium that wont do your health any favors. A long list of ingredients isnt a good sign, Smith says.
- Has questionable long-term benefits: We dont have evidence that this diet is good for you over the long term, Smith says. All of the studies have looked at how it affects your health for less than a year or two.
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Carbs: Quantity Vs Quality
While researchers assessed the carbohydrate quantity of the subjects’ diets, the quality of the food was not taken into account. Crean says that consuming carbohydrates from highly processed sources as opposed to whole grain and vegetable sources is a key factor for a healthy diet.
A meta-analysis published in The Lancet in 2018 found that low carbohydrate diets were associated with increased mortality, with minimal risk observed at 50% to 55% carbohydrate intake. Low-carbohydrate diets that were rich in animal protein and fat were associated with higher mortality.
However, the diets that focused on plant-based proteins and fat were associated with lower mortality. The findings highlighted that the quality of the food, and not just the carbohydrate content, should be considered when focusing on mortality risk.
A Balanced Diet Vs A Low
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a well-balanced diet for people with diabetes and advises consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, opting for less fat and salt, and choosing healthy complex carbohydrates over refined carbs. The Academy’s recommendations are in alignment with USDA dietary guidelines for a healthy diet.
If your doctor recommends a balanced diet over a low-carb diet, be sure to opt for complex carbs such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to maintain consistency with your daily carbohydrate intake.
If you’re overweight or obese, a healthy, balanced diet combined with regular exercise can help you lose weight.
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How Do Carbs Affect Diabetes
A low-carb diet may be one of the most effective diabetes management strategies, especially for people who might be able to avoid medication.
Carbs elevate blood glucose more than any other food. For people with insulin resistance, blood glucose may remain elevated for hours after eating carbs.
For those with type 1 diabetes who do not produce enough insulin, carbs can also cause blood glucose spikes, so a low-carb diet may help people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Carbs can also affect a persons health in other ways. Carb-rich foods tend to be high in calories but low in some important nutrients, such as protein. Eating too many of these empty calories can lead to weight gain.
shows that people who eat carb-rich foods may also feel more hunger between meals, causing them to overeat.
A low-carb diet may also:
- give a person more energy
- lower average blood glucose, or HbA1c levels
- reduce food cravings, especially for sugar
- lower the risk of hypoglycemia
- aid weight loss efforts
Without proper planning, a low-carb diet can make it more difficult to get specific nutrients.
People on a low-carb diet may also eat large amounts of protein, which may accelerate kidney damage if they already have kidney disease.
Other risks include:
- low-fiber intake
- clogged arteries
These risks may be due to eating too many processed protein sources, such as cold cuts and red meat. Limiting fruit and whole-grains can also be problematic if a person is not getting enough fiber.
What’s The Deal With Low
Low-carb diets are often trending, and if you have diabetes, it might be tempting to try it out. But be aware: It’s difficult to study low-carb diets because there is no consensus on how many carbs a low-carb diet contains. In general, it’s less than 45 percent of calories from carbs, but could be as low as 10 percent, like in the ketogenic diet.
If you’re eating for diabetes, you also have to consider what’s being studied-the effect of a low-carb diet on blood sugar control? Insulin sensitivity? Weight loss? A1C? Cholesterol levels?
In the short term, low-carb diets lead to weight loss and improved blood sugar control. However, one study found that after one year, there was no difference in weight lost or A1C levels between those who ate a low-carb diet and those who ate a low-fat diet.
Here’s something else to think about: When people eat low-carb diets, they tend to eat more fat and protein. Choosing saturated fats like red meat and dairy can raise cholesterol levels. So while you might improve your blood sugars eating low-carb, you could worsen your heart health in the process.
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Include Minimally Processed Fat
Fat is the macronutrient that has the least effect on blood sugar, adds richness and flavor to meals, and provides the majority of your energy needs on a low-carb diabetes diet. Remember to focus mostly on minimally processed fat sources as often as possible.
What To Know About Low Carb Diets And Managing Your Diabetes
You shouldnt cut carbohydrates out completely. Here, a registered dietitian offers tips and a well-balanced recipe to try.
When you think of carbohydrates, you probably think of bread, pasta and potatoes. But carbs are also in grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, milk, yogurt and fruit. Theyre one of the three main energy sources in our food and they provide the bodys preferred fuel source for the brain, nervous system, and exercising muscle: glucose.
Unfortunately, patients with diabetes have difficulty converting that glucose into energy.
The body needs the hormone insulin to convert glucose into energy, but for patients with diabetes, they either dont make enough insulin or the insulin they make doesnt work properly, says nutritionist Joyce Patterson, M.P.H., R.D.N., B.C.-A.D.M.
When glucose cant be used, it stays in the blood and results in high blood sugar. The worst offenders for these spikes are added sugars and refined grains, like white rice, and sugary beverages such as soda and juice.Patients with diabetes take medications to help increase their insulin levels or make insulin function properly so their bodies can get the energy it needs.
So if fat and protein are energy sources for the body too, why not just eliminate carbs from your diet? Well, theres a lot of reasons, actually.
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Why Are Scientists Excited About The Additional Benefits Of Low
A 2020 Danish study carried out by scientists from Aarhus University, the University of Copenhagen and Bispebjerg Hospital, examined whether a low-carb diet would improve the insulin response in patients with type 2 diabetes.
We examined 28 type 2 diabetic patients in a 12 week cross-over study, says Dr Thure Krarup, from the Department of Endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital. During six weeks of the study, patients were randomly assigned to a low-moderate carb diet or a low-fat diet, and then switched for the second half of the study.
The hypothesis was that during the low-carb diet phase less insulin would be required in the bloodstream after the low-carb meals, giving the body a chance to recover while the liver and pancreas shed the fat that was impairing normal functioning. “We hypothesised this combination would improve glucose control in type 2 diabetics and reduce the fat content in the liver reducing the risk of non-alcoholic liver disease. This was shown to be correct.
Dr Krarup is keen to point out that the focus of the study was to separate the benefits of carb reduction from weight loss. It was important to keep the weight constant, so our study is not a weight loss study, he says. “Previous studies have provided contradictory conclusions, and weight loss has complicated interpretations in a number of these studies, before adding they are currently looking into whether the study will have long-term benefits to the participants.
How Does It Work
The Atkins diet doesnt limit the amount of fat you can eat. And you wont have to count calories or measure portion sizes.
But you will have to count carbs. Carefully. The Atkins diet severely restricts carbs, especially in the early stages. It uses a tracking method called net carbs, which is the total number of carbs minus its fiber content in grams.
Normally, your body uses carbohydrates as fuel, explains Smith. When you dont eat carbohydrates, your body turns to stored body fat, which the liver breaks down. This process creates ketones, which the body can then use for energy.
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Start With Adequate Protein
Protein is important for maintaining muscle, preventing bone loss, and helping to control appetite, among its many other functions.30
Make sure to include a good protein source at each meal. Aim for about 4-7 ounces of meat, poultry, fish, or tofu or 4-6 eggs.
Learn more including how to calculate your personal protein needs in our complete protein guide.
Whats The Optimal Carb Intake For People With Diabetes
The ideal carb intake for people living with diabetes is a somewhat controversial topic, even among those who support carb restriction.
Many studies found dramatic improvements in blood sugar levels, body weight, and other markers when carbs were restricted to 20 grams per day (
The optimal amount of carbs may also vary by individual, since everyone has a unique response to carbs.
According to the American Diabetes Association , theres no one-size-fits-all diet that works for everyone with diabetes. Personalized meal plans, which take into account your dietary preferences and metabolic goals, are best .
The ADA also recommends that individuals work with their healthcare team to determine the carb intake thats right for them.
To figure out your ideal amount of carbs, you may want to measure your blood glucose with a meter before a meal and again 1 to 2 hours after eating.
As long as your blood sugar remains below 140 mg/dL , the point at which damage to nerves can occur, you can consume 6 grams, 10 grams, or 25 grams of carbs per meal on a low carb diet.
It all depends on your personal tolerance. Just remember that the general rule is the less carbs you eat, the less your blood sugar will rise.
And, rather than eliminating all carbs, a healthy low carb diet should actually include nutrient-dense, high fiber carb sources, like vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds.
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How The Review Was Done
This is a review of ten randomized controlled trials conducted from 2008 to 2014, including a total of 1,376 participants. All the studies were combined in a meta-analysis.
- All participants had type 2 diabetes. Average age of participants was 58 and average body mass index was > 26 .
- Study participants followed diets in which carbohydrates made up less than 45% of total calories. The average target percentage was 25% carbohydrates.
- Participants reported their diet intake using food diaries and were instructed to replace carbohydrates with protein, fats or both.
- Researchers measured participants carbohydrate intake, as well as blood sugar levels, weight or BMI, cholesterol levels and self-rated quality of life at least three months after starting the diet.
- Results were compared to control groups who followed the standard diet of 45-60% carbohydrates.