With the incidence of type 2 diabetes increasing worldwide, it is easy to overlook the concerns related to type 1 diabetes, which, though uncommon, is a far more serious disease. Its onset is sudden and with no apparent reason. The worst of all is that it affects children and teenagers far more often than it develops in adults.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is an autoimmune disease, that is to say, the body attacks its own cells. The insulin-producing cells are mistakenly killed which eventually affects the amount of insulin the bloodstream. If left unchecked, the sugar levels could damage tissues and even prove fatal.
However, the latest treatments are accompanied by diets that are no less a conundrum for most people. One such diet is the ketogenic diet that has been doing the rounds these days. But should you switch over? Read on to know more.
Ketoacidosis vs. Ketosis
Many people confuse DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis) with nutritional ketosis. If you are planning to switch over to keto, it is important you understand the difference. In the diet, you have to reduce the amount of carbs you consume to less than 50gm per day. This makes your body produce ketones from the liver fat to sustain itself.
Conversely, DKA occurs when Type 1 diabetics do not take insulin when required. This is a medical emergency that arises when the levels of sugars and ketones rise in the blood due to the absence of insulin. This disturbs the pH of your blood, making it more acidic.
It simply boils down to the absence of sugars in the presence of ketones that mark the difference between DKA and ketosis. In ketosis, ketones are produced in the bloodstream while the sugar levels are considerably low. On the other hand, in DKA, both sugar levels and ketone levels are elevated in the blood, giving rise to a pH balance difference that results in a medical emergency.
Should You Switch to Keto?
If you are a type 1 diabetic and wish to explore whether a ketogenic diet will work for you, then you will have to talk to your doctor. While there have been many positive results of this diet on people with Type 1, to avoid serious complications, talk to your healthcare professional to understand the risks and ask him/her to refer you to a registered dietician.
Type 1 Diabetes: Risks Associated with Keto
1. Blood sugar may lower too much
In a study that lasted for 2.5 years, the keto diet improved A1C levels of the 11 people in the study who were suffering from type 1 diabetes. A1C levels are a marker of blood sugar control over a long period. Some participants did experience a drastic lowering of sugar levels to below 3.9 mmol/L or 70 mg/dl.
However, it may be due to unaltered doses of insulin. The low sugar levels can lead to complications such as slurred speech, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Thus, a reduction in insulin dose is required in this diet.
2. Unintended weight loss
While shedding a few pounds can bring joy and confidence, those who are already underweight or on the edge of being so should be cautious of the keto diet as it promotes weight loss, at least in the first few months. It suppresses hunger and due to the presence of more proteins, increases the fullness after each meal. If weight loss is not a dietician recommended goal, you should reconsider switching over to keto.
The important fact to know about this diet is that it has bred results for both types of diabetes. But as our major concern in this article is type 1, we have only discussed the effects of keto diet on this particular type.
While there is a genetic factor associated with the development of type 1 diabetes, the incidence of this disease is on the rise. Stress is considered to be a precursor and even in later years, it can have negative effects on the health of the patient. Only proper management of diabetes Type 1 can prove to be lifesaving and will help in maintaining the health of body organs.