Keto Diet and Insulin Resistance

What is Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells are unable to respond normally to insulin. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, is an essential hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and supports healthy cell function. In people with insulin resistance, the cells of our muscles and liver have difficulty using glucose as fuel because they don’t produce or release enough insulin. This then causes high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. The ketogenic diet has been found to be beneficial for individuals who suffer from this condition because it reduces inflammation; helps maintain stable blood sugar levels; prevents excess fat storage; promotes satiety (feeling full) and weight loss; improves health by reducing risks associated with insulin resistance.

How is Insulin Resistance Diagnosed?

Insulin resistance is usually diagnosed by fasting insulin levels. If you are not diabetic, your blood sugar should be between 70-90 mg/dL after a 12 hour fast and less than 120 mg/DL (milligrams per deciliter). Once the diagnosis of insulin resistance has been confirmed with laboratory testing, lifestyle changes can be made to potentially change the course of the disease.


What Causes Insulin Resistance?

The underlying causes of insulin resistance include excessive body fat, inactivity, smoking, and even a lack of sleep. Even genetics, age, and ethnicity contribute to insulin resistance. If your body becomes resistant to insulin, it will produce more insulin to combat the problem. In many cases, the pancreas becomes fatigued from the increased demand for insulin. Insulin is one of the most vital hormones necessary for survival because it regulates blood sugar and cholesterol metabolism through its actions on cells all over your body. Insulin also inhibits hunger pangs while increasing energy expenditure during periods when you’ve consumed too many calories or carbs; this creates an ideal environment where dietary restriction can be achieved without experiencing feelings like lethargy or irritability. Insulin resistance is often due to many factors including genetics and increased inflammation from high carbohydrate diets; however, research shows that nutrition may play a role in reversing this condition by regulating glucose metabolism through food sources such as healthy fats (e.g., avocados). 

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet has made a name for itself as both an effective weight-loss tool and diabetes therapy. The high fat, low carbohydrate intake forces the body to produce ketones in response to elevated levels of blood glucose. These specific types of molecules are then used by cells throughout the body, including neurons that have lost their ability to use insulin effectively. Research as shown that the keto diet, along with proper exercise, has been successful in reducing the symptoms of diabetes for over 50% of adults who were previously diagnosed with type II.

This can be accomplished because ketones act as a cellular fuel that provides energy to those cells willing and able to use them; or, if they cannot be used, it allows survival without glucose. For this reason, when someone is on a ketogenic diet their blood sugar levels are not at an elevated level but rather more stable and manageable via ingestion of healthy fats and protein instead of carbohydrates. The body will then produce less insulin thanks to the lowered intake from food sources, which means there’s no need for pancreas fatigue – all while removing excess carbs that often contribute to inflammation in the endocrine system.

Reference: Nutritional Ketosis for Weight Management and Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome

 

How Does the Keto Diet Work in Relation to Insulin Resistance?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that puts the body into a state of ketosis. Ketones are produced as the body breaks down fat for energy and glucose in insulin-resistant individuals is not needed. This means there’s no need for pancreas fatigue – all while removing excess carbs that often contribute to inflammation in the endocrine system. When the body begins using ketones as fuel, insulin levels can drop more than 50% compared to a normal diet. With less insulin circulating in the bloodstream, there is also an increase of adiponectin which helps with weight loss and fat breakdown. The ketogenic diet has been shown to improve cholesterol, triglyceride levels as well as blood sugar control for patients with type-two diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Reference: Insulin Sensitivity and Glucose Tolerance Are Altered by Maintenance on a Ketogenic Diet


What are Some of the Side Effects and Risks of Following a Keto Diet?

There are many potential risks and side effects of following a ketogenic diet. These include low blood sugar, dehydration, loss of electrolytes like sodium and potassium as well as an increase in cholesterol levels. The initial emphasis on any medical treatment should be to diagnose the root cause of these health problems before putting someone on a restrictive long-term diet with unclear benefits. However, with the right ketogenic diet plan, the ketogenic diet can be a powerful tool to help manage insulin resistance. In our opinion, the ketogenic diet should be used as a short-term tool to help manage insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. The ketogenic diet should not be used as a long-term strategy for weight loss or management of type two diabetes because we have found that many people simply revert back to their old eating habits after a few months on the ketogenic diet. In summary, while there are many potential risks and side effects of following a keto diet, it can be an effective tool for managing insulin resistance in some people with pre-diabetes or diabetes who have low blood sugar or other stressors disrupting normal glucose don’t adhere to the keto diet correctly.

 


Tips for people with type II diabetes on how to follow a keto diet safely


Some tips for people with type one diabetes who are considering following a keto diet to manage their insulin resistance:

– Monitor blood sugar levels closely and adjust doses of medications accordingly.

– Ask your doctor before starting the ketogenic diet, especially if you take medication that can’t be taken without food or if you have kidney disease.

Be sure to understand what healthy fats, protein, and carbs are part of the diet and in what proportions.

– Be patient: It may take some time to reap benefits from this strategy.

– Your doctor will likely do lab tests before starting or adjusting your insulin regimen for keto if you’re a type II diabetic.

The ketogenic diet can be a healthy way to manage insulin resistance in 

Note: There isn’t enough scientific research done with the ketogenic diet as it relates to type I diabetes. You should not attempt to go on a restrictive diet without first consulting with your healthcare physician. 


Other diets that can help with insulin sensitivity issues, such as The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is another top choice for people who are insulin sensitive and looking to make long-term changes. The Paleo diet can help promote weight loss, lower blood sugars and improve your insulin sensitivity. Since the Paleo diet is a low-carbohydrate approach to eating that focuses on whole foods like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, eggs and nuts while excluding processed food with added sugar or carbs you won’t have to worry about spikes in blood sugar levels. For more information on the Paleo diet, click here.

 

 

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