With more people with diabetes and pre-diabetes looking for strategies to help control blood sugar, new study suggests that ketone monoester drinks–a new food supplement–may help to it.
“There is mounting evidence that a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is very effective in controlling blood sugar and even reversing Type 2 diabetes,” said study lead author Jonathan Little, Associate Professor at University of British Columbia in Canada.
“We wanted to know what would happen if artificial ketones were given to those with obesity and at risk for Type 2 diabetes but who haven’t been dieting,” Little added.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease whereby the body is unable to control the level of sugar in the blood because defects in the functioning of a hormone called insulin.
“It’s a disease that’s becoming alarmingly common in Canada and approaching what many would consider epidemic levels,” Little said.
“While Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with medications or injectable insulin, many people are looking to options that don’t require taking pills every day or that are less invasive,” he added.
According to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Ketone supplements are proving fertile ground for research into Type 2 diabetes because ketones are the natural fuel source of the body when it’s in ketosis–the metabolic byproduct of consuming a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet.
To test the idea, the research team asked 15 people to consume a ketone drink after fasting overnight.
After 30 minutes, they were then asked to drink a fluid containing 75 grams of sugar while blood samples were taken.
“It turns out that the ketone drink seemed to launch participants into a sort of pseudo-ketogenic state where they were better able to control their blood sugar levels with no changes to their insulin,” Little explained.
“It demonstrates that these supplements may have real potential as a valuable tool for those with Type 2 diabetes,” he said.
“There are a number of problems that we still have to work out, including the fact that we still don’t know what the long-term effects of consuming ketones are,” he added.
“But for those that aren’t able to follow a strict and challenging ketogenic diet or for those that are looking for a new way to control blood sugars, this may be another strategy in helping to manage Type 2 diabetes,” Little concluded.