Watching carbohydrates is key to managing the blood glucose level (BGL). It’s critical because 1 gram of carbs digests into 1 gram of sugar so the impact on the BGL is the same. Keto diets rigidly restrict carbs and this helps keep the BGL low.
Like most things, it’s more complicated than it looks at first. Here are some things to consider:
- Typical healthy diets recommend that about half of total calories be from carbs. The keto diet is not regarded as highly nutritious and dieters are encouraged to use vitamin/mineral supplements .
- The diet’s very high fat content may sound like a chance to indulge without guilt but the kinds of fats consumed make a difference. Avocados, nuts and unprocessed foods can actually help prevent disease but pigging out on less healthy choices like processed sausage, cold cuts or meat balls is problematic.
- When the body adjusts to using ketones it often goes through temporary symptoms that can include vomiting, fatigue, dizziness and others. It’s called “keto flu.”
- Diabetics who use insulin or other BGL lowering medications are susceptible to very low blood sugars. Medications must be adjusted to account for this and professional medical advice is essential.
- Ketogenic diets are not permanent lifestyle changes and generally last between 2 weeks and 12 months. Transitioning back to a normal diet should be gradual and monitored.
The diet is not off-limits for diabetics and it can certainly help with weight loss. But it does add a layer of complexity to managing a disease that’s already complicated.