Are Keto Diets Harmful for People with Diabetes?

Released: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The ketogenic diets so trendy these days may be dangerous for those diagnosed with diabetes.  A recent study suggests that it can increase the risk of iatrogenic hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:  Iatrogenic hypoglycemia is an important cause of recurring health issues and may even result in death for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  While ketogenic diets might be helpful for individuals with high blood sugar, the diets may also increase the risk for dangerous hypoglyemic bouts.  

Iatrogenic hypoglycemia typically occurs in humans when diabetic patients self-administer too much insulin, producing an excessive drop in blood glucose.

recent study conducted at Pennington Biomedical showed that mice fed a ketogenic diet produced less glucagon, a hormone that raises the concentration of sugar and fatty acids in the blood.  This reduction in glucagon caused mice on the ketogenic diet to be more susceptible to hypoglycemia following insulin administration.  

The more bouts of low blood sugar a person with diabetes experiences, the fewer the warning signs, such as rapid heartbeat, shakiness and anxiety, their bodies give them.  As hypoglycemia worsens, it can cause confusion, seizures and even death.

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