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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
When you eat carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks them down into glucose. These glucose molecules are located in your bloodstream until insulin signalling allows them to enter your cells and be used for energy. Think of cells like a building and insulin-like a key. Insulin binds to insulin receptors much like a key inserted into a lock and opens the cellular door so that glucose can enter. When your body is constantly flooded with glucose, it subsequently produces large amounts of insulin. Unfortunately, over time, insulin receptors get desensitized to the insulin signalling, much like a keyhole can lose shape after too much wear-and-tare. When this happens, your body has a difficult time clearing out glucose and may be left in the bloodstream for longer than normal amounts of time. Whenever you measure your blood glucose levels, this is what you are measuring. High levels of glucose in the bloodstream indicate either you’ve just consumed a very sugary meal, or insulin signalling may be impaired.
How can the ketogenic diet help manage type 2 diabetes?
The ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate diet. By definition, this means that very little glucose is being consumed. Lower glucose levels lead to lessened insulin release. With insulin receptors no longer being berated by the constant release of insulin, they become more sensitive. This process reduces insulin resistance and promotes healthy blood glucose levels. Additionally, the ketogenic diet may help reduce body fat, which is positively correlated with type 2 diabetes.