Type 2 Diabetes and other insulin-resistance disorders such as prediabetes have seen a surge in prevalence in recent years. Many pharmaceutical options such as insulin shots are utilized by those suffering from the disease but recently there has been much data to suggest dietary changes can also serve as potent treatment. Diets low in carbs such as the Paleo Diet or the Ketogenic Diet, have proven themselves highly-effective in the reversal of type 2 diabetes symptoms.
Whenever you eat food, your body breaks that food down as much as it can—making nutrient absorption much easier. Among other vital processes, cellular metabolism is fueled from constituents of this process; namely glucose. Whenever foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar are consumed, your blood glucose levels will become much more elevated. The effects of this can be devastating if hyperglycemia is not addressed quickly and effectively. In normally-functioning bodies, this glucose is converted through an oxidative process usually referred to simply as carbohydrate metabolism.
One of the primary functions of this process within your body is to synthesize ATP on a cellular level. ATP is used as a source of cellular energy which allows nearly every vital process in the body to take place. Nearly every organism on Earth is capable of carbohydrate metabolism, including plants and animals alike. Plants do this through photosynthesis, just as we humans do it through cellular metabolism.
High Fat Low Carb Diets
Carbohydrates are a very good source of immediate energy due to our bodies being able to metabolize them quickly. This is why many athletes will “carb-up” before a big game as well as the commonplace of carbs on the breakfast plate of many.
The ability for this quick metabolism also creates the potential for blood sugar levels to spike quite rapidly, which can be an issue for those with glucose resistance issues. Insulin is the primary hormone responsible for transporting glucose from the blood stream into individual cells for metabolism. If glucose isn’t doing it’s job properly, or there isn’t enough being produced, then glucose levels are able to build up within the blood to unhealthy and potentially-dangerous levels.
To remedy this issue, insulin shots are commonplace among those with glucose-related issues. By the administration of regular insulin shots, diabetics are able to keep their blood sugar levels within safe ranges. However, in more recent years data suggest that an adoption of low carb diet high in fats and oils (the compounds most associated with glucose production) have shown promise in reducing overall blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. This reversal of symptoms, has allowed many Type 2 diabetics to completely-stop taking medications.
Low Carb Diets & Ketosis
Many argue that these types of diets don’t provide a necessary amount of nutrition for the body, and that the lack of carbohydrates will cause energy metabolism to plummet—wrecking many vital processes in it’s wake. The body is an amazing biochemical machine, and when faced with a shortage of carbohydrates, it simply “shifts” into another types of energy metabolism. This other type of metabolism is called Ketosis.
Basically, Ketosis is a process in which our bodies are able to create glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis rather than the normal means. This process converts fats to glucose, and has been shown to provide more than twice the amount of energy by gram weight than that of carbohydrate metabolism.
Diabetes is a very devastating disease for many, and has shown sharp rises in numbers of incidence within the Unites States alone. While many patients are able to control their issues through regular insulin injections, many are now learning that dietary changes alone can help address symptoms. Of these new dietary aficionados, almost all are able to completely halt the use of diabetic medications; both oral and intravenous. While more data will certainly benefit the cause, the promise is certainly there already.