How the Ketogenic Diet Works for Type 2 Diabetes

Special diets for type 2 diabetes often focus on weight loss, so it might seem crazy that a high-fat diet is an option. But the ketogenic (keto) diet, high in fat and low in carbs, can potentially change the way your body stores and uses energy, easing diabetes symptoms.

With the keto diet, your body converts fat, instead of sugar, into energy. The diet was created in 1924 as a treatment for epilepsy, but the effects of this eating pattern are also being studied for type 2 diabetes. The ketogenic diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin. However, the diet does come with risks, so make sure to discuss it with your doctor before making drastic dietary changes.

Understanding “high-fat” in the ketogenic diet

Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, so a high-fat diet can seem unhelpful. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to have the body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates or glucose. A person on the keto diet gets most of their energy from fat, with very little of the diet coming from carbohydrates.

The ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you should load up on saturated fats, though. Heart-healthy fats are the key to sustaining overall health. Some healthy foods that are commonly eaten in the ketogenic diet include:

  • eggs
  • fish such as salmon
  • cottage cheese
  • avocado
  • olives and olive oil
  • nuts and nut butters
  • seeds
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