I have T2D and IBS and my blood sugar readings were degrading. I was going to have to take a second daily dose of Metformin and the first one already played havoc with the IBS. I started a low-carb diet because my T1D husband had been inspired by a podcast by Sam Harris with scientist Gary Taubes, author Why We Get Fat, Good Calories, Bad Calories and the Case Against Sugar, and started dumping the majority of his carbs a month previous. He had cut his insulin use literally in half and lost 15 pounds. He was feeling better and visibly had more energy. I was resistant to the diet and even the idea of it. I have been on Atkins and Sugar Busters and while I did fine on Sugar Busters back in the day, Atkins was too fat-based and that was the opposite of how I had been raised to think about dieting. I knew that the Diabetic diet given to me by the Diabetic Educator had never been enough and I get carby binge cravings even though it offers plenty of carbs and calories. I also knew that it’s a cycle for me-eat more carbs, want more carbs, and never really feel satisfied. On top of that, when my stomach hurts I seek carbs, and it hurts quite often. I did Weight Watchers and the Diabetic diets because they let me “cheat” and have my carbs while dieting. To be fair, just the act of tracking my food improved my outcome on either. But I got mad at WW when they upped the points for carbs on their system and made it so I couldn’t eat cake for lunch if I wanted to. Not that I made a practice of it, but it was principle of the thing. Long story short, I was pretty doubtful that I would be very successful on Atkins or Keto. To humor my husband I began a low-carb diet that started out as Atkins 20 or Keto and has morphed to more of an Atkins 30-40 for my personal comfort while using Keto, Atkins, and Paleo recipes and ultimately cutting all gluten. That means 30-40 net carbs per day, rather than per meal and a lot of natural non-processed foods. The first week was quite terrible. But even through the Keto Flu I recognized that my IBS symptoms felt better. I started to suspect that if I felt that bad just from quitting carbs that maybe there was more to the idea of sugar addiction than I wanted to believe. I’m six weeks in now and I’m losing a steady pound a week plus my sugars have dropped radically. A pound a week might not sound like much but it’s more than I’ve lost in 10 years. I have PCOS and insulin resistance so I’ve had a fasting blood sugar that ranged from 109-113 since my early twenties. It was flying high around 160-170 before the diet, now I’m reading between 119-139. Even more than that, my IBS symptoms stabilized. I’ve been tracking all my food using the free Atkins meal tracker so I started trying to narrow the foods that caused flare ups. I’m lactose intolerant but I knew that and used lactose free products or Lactaid for the cream based dishes. I had my gall bladder removed and so have always put down my symptoms to an inability to process dairy and fats. Big surprise to find that a higher fat, higher dairy diet was making my symptoms disappear. Gluten is the only common factor so far. Celiac? Just a food sensitivity? I don’t know, but that will be the next investigation. It is an investigation that I would never have thought to start on the Diabetic diet. Like the author, I’m very fond of cake and carbs. Luckily there are low-carb, no-gluten recipes for muffins and cakes. They aren’t exactly the same and some are definitely better than others, but they are out there. Plus, there is nothing wrong with having true birthday cake once a year if that is really what you need and if you don’t have a reason to avoid it, like binge symptoms or IBS flare ups. My husband let himself have a piece of cheesecake the other day and felt physically awful for two day after, plus he had to use a lot of insulin to counter the spike. It’s a pretty good deterrent. Just a side note but I had other symptoms of inflammation as well. My ankles were swelling to golf ball size and painful, it was difficult for me to stand and walk comfortably when this happened. While they haven’t stopped completely, the discomfort has gone way down as has the swelling and frequency. What’s my point? I’m not a salesman for a particular diet. Everyone is different and some people might respond very well to Keto and/or Atkins while others may not need anything that extreme. I’m not knocking the Diabetic diet. My dad lost 150 pounds 38 years ago on a very low calorie/low carb Diabetic diet that gradually increased and he has kept the weight off all this time and kept his blood sugar steady with medication, but has not had to go to insulin even at age 84. Also, he was a smoker, a diabetic, had hemochromatosis and was over 300 pounds with an apple body shape. He has had some fall out from this-he didn’t stop the smoking until a heart attack 20 years ago and that didn’t help. But he has made it to 84 and when he walked into his doctor’s office 40 years ago I’m guessing the doctor wouldn’t have put any money on that survival rate. Unfortunately, it looks like I need the lower carb version and will continue to need it to manage my symptoms. I didn’t want it, that’s for sure. But Diabetics are locked in a death struggle with Diabetes and it won’t give up just because we are tired or want our sugar. So for me, it has to be Very Low Carb for Life. Others may find they need this too and discouraging them from trying it is not doing them any favors. Hopefully I will continue to find this sustainable. I just need to keep reminding myself that I am more fond of my feet and my vision than my birthday cake.
A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.3A study in the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet shows a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
It sounds as if you may have been following a very strict keto protocol. I’m not, and have not followed a ketogenic diet, but am interested in it. I’ve been reading up on it a bit on the blog called Mark’s Daily Apple.* I’ve been following it for several years now, even before Mark tried keto. Based on some of his blog post, both keto related and otherwise, it seems that women do better with slightly more carbs than men. He’s written several blog post specifically for women, including one called 7 Keto Tips for Women, which you may want to read. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/7-keto-tips-for-women/ Then there is this one Where I Part Ways with the Popular Keto Movement https://www.marksdailyapple.com/where-i-part-ways-with-the-popular-keto-movement/ Perhaps the problem wasn’t the keto diet in and of itself, but that you went too low carb for you. It’s worth considering. I’ve also found this site to be pretty interesting https://peterattiamd.com/ Here’s a link to his section on keto https://peterattiamd.com/category/ketosis/ He followed a ketogenic diet for a number of years, though as of 2016 was no longer ketogenic, but definitely eating lower carb than most. (That is under Articles, on the drop down menu, click on Personal.)
“Just because the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t mean that you are making zero progress toward your fitness goals and dream body,” explains Mike Roussell, PhD, co-founder of Neutein, a dietary supplement meant to improve memory and performance. “It’s easy to think you’ve hit a plateau when you don’t see additional weight loss on the scale, but that’s not always truly the case."

For me, I chose to become a CDE because I had worked as a Registered Nurse first on a medical unit, then in a Medical ICU. These are the units where most of the people with diabetes are, so I had seen every horrific complication that diabetes can cause. When I had a chance to become a Diabetes Educator…to actually help PREVENT some of those horrible complications…I jumped at the chance!
Meal planning also causes you to look at your calendar and consider everyones schedule. Grocery shopping can again become part of the family routine with everyone contributing to the meal. You’ll also notice a change in your weekly food budget. Susan pointed out that she had, “Given a presentation on the cost of buying food and cooking meals at home saved $1,200 a year versus eating out. Eating out on average costs people about $2,000 a year. Yes, there are some up front costs when buying the spices or equipment you may need but the second time you go to use them, you are saving instead of spending.”
And while the diet wasn't designed with weight loss as a primary goal, it's no secret that many of the nutritional factors that influence blood pressure also influence weight, she says. Think: processed foods, trans fats, and excess sugar. According to one DASH study, adults who who followed the diet lost more weight in a span of eight to 24 weeks than those adhering to other low-calorie diets. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with The Woman's Guide to Strength Training!)
Other down sides: There’s an initial period where your body is adjusting to its new carb-free existence, and many people experience symptoms like fatigue, brain fog and nausea for a few weeks. You also end up deficient in important micronutrients, like folate, calcium and potassium, which is why most ketogenic devotees recommend taking multivitamins. Personally, I recommend my clients follow a diet that in its ideal state provides all of the nutrients you need through real, whole foods.
Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."
In Asia, the normal diet includes rice and noodles as the main energy source, making their elimination difficult. Therefore, the MCT-oil form of the diet, which allows more carbohydrate, has proved useful. In India, religious beliefs commonly affect the diet: some patients are vegetarians, will not eat root vegetables or avoid beef. The Indian ketogenic diet is started without a fast due to cultural opposition towards fasting in children. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate nature of the normal Indian and Asian diet means that their ketogenic diets typically have a lower ketogenic ratio (1:1) than in America and Europe. However, they appear to be just as effective.[53]
Cyclical keto diet: The Bulletproof Diet falls into this category. You eat high fat, low carb (less than 50 grams of net carbs a day) five to six days of the week. On day seven, you up your carb intake to roughly 150 grams, during what’s called a carb refeed day. Carb cycling this way helps you avoid the negative effects some people experience when they restrict carbs long term, like thyroid issues, fatigue and dry eyes.[9][10]  Learn more here about how carb cycling works.
The more doctors test it, the more they find that eating Mediterranean is the absolute best way to lose weight. Based on the cooking and eating styles of Italy, France, Greece, Spain, and other Mediterranean countries, the plan features olive oil, fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish and poultry, whole grains and, yes, wine! It's high in heart-healthy fats and, unlike other diets, doesn't forbid any food group. "It's hard to stay on extreme diets," says Harvard nutrition expert Walter Willett, MD, PhD, whose book Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy popularized the approach in the United States. "This diet has lots of variety and wonderful flavors so people stick with it."
I am in the uk and a diagnosed t2d. I am also a nurse, although I am in end of life care. Up until my diagnosis I am ashamed to say the I believed in exactly th.e same things as the writer of this article. Our health service actively promotes a carb rich diet for t2d. Not an excessive amount of calories, but a “healthy” amount of whole grains, fruit, whole rice etc. It was not until I did some actual research and looked at the science that I came to see that what I had been taught and what I really did believe to be the best advice was quite simply wrong.
The problem is: it flies in the face of the way we have been taught. Our society (as an American), and our medical community, have preached for years that FAT is bad, and you should limit it. However, recent FACTS beg to differ. So many people rail against the keto diet because they just feel that it can’t be good…after all, you eat so much fat on it, it can’t be good for you! Facts are facts…they don’t care about your feelings. Fat is not the enemy. Sugar is.

Frederick F. Samaha, M.D., Nayyar Iqbal, M.D., Prakash Seshadri, M.D., Kathryn L. Chicano, C.R.N.P., Denise A. Daily, R.D., Joyce McGrory, C.R.N.P., Terrence Williams, B.S., Monica Williams, B.S., Edward J. Gracely, Ph.D., and Linda Stern, M.D., “A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity,” N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2074-2081. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022637.


It appears that a ketogenic diet is generally safe when implemented correctly. One must be careful to obtain all the necessary nutrients by eating a variety of foods, such as non-starchy vegetables, seeds, and nuts, and also consume adequate protein and essential fatty acids. Provided that the need for vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids is met, there is no reason to suspect that the ketogenic diet is unsafe.
A systematic review in 2018 looked at sixteen studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[23]
The ADA has recommended since 2013 we use our best clinical judgement in recommending a low carbohydrate diet for people with diabetes, recognizing it needs to be individualized. 60-75 grams is the carbohydrate amount I would give to a very tall, large boned man or perhaps an active teen or young adult. I would never recommend that many carbohydrates for an average size man who was trying to lose weight; he would get 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-30 grams for snacks. A women trying to lose weight would get 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15 grams for snacks.
The 2019 rankings include 41 of today’s most popular diets. New to the list this year is the Nordic Diet, a plant-heavy eating plan that incorporates Scandinavian traditions and ranked 9th best overall. Here’s how the rest of the rankings shook out this year, and what experts have to say about the good, the bad, and the trendy. (Here’s a hint: They’re still not crazy about keto.)
Some of the concerns are around micronutrients — supplementation of electrolytes, vitamins, and fiber is often required on low-carb diets, Zeratsky says. And sometimes, these diets can actually lower the blood sugar of a person with diabetes to the point where it’s too low, which is also dangerous. (Low-carb diets are not recommended for those people with type 1 diabetes or anyone on insulin due to that risk, experts note.)
A 2012 study also showed that people on a low-carb diet burned 300 more calories a day – while resting! According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity”. Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising. A later, even larger and more carefully conducted study confirmed the effect, with different groups of people on low-carb diets burning an average of between 200 and almost 500 extra calories per day.
I have been on a low carb diet for over 2 years. I was diagnosed a diabetic with a blood glucose over 400 mg/dl and an A1C of 12. I tried my doctors recommendations for about a year and took all the medications they told me to take. not much changed. they wanted to put me on insulin after a year. I told my doctor that I thought I could control my condition with diet and he said, “you are to far gone for that”.
The low-carb diet induces ''nutritional ketosis," Dr. Saslow tells EndocrineWeb, which is not the same as ketoacidosis. Ketones are a chemical your body produces when you burn stored fat; if you are on a low-carb diet you may be ''in ketosis.'' Ketoacidosis is different; it is a life-threatening condition in which levels of ketones and blood sugar are dangerously high, which may occur in people who have poorly controlled diabetes.
In my food shopping we save about $40 a week even though we eat seafood twice a week. A fillet of salmon or swordfish that feeds two is about the same price of the cut of steak that I would grill for myself. Preparing snacks on Sunday night also means no more trips to the office vending machine for that late-day snack. “I joked around with a couple of colleagues last week in my presentation,” Susan mentioned. “I said, ‘You know, we’re paying for diabetes, we’re paying for high blood pressure. Why not invest your money and diet in food sources that are good for you body?'”

The improvement in glycemic control occurred while medications for diabetes were discontinued or reduced in most participants (Table ​(Table5).5). During the study, hypertension and hyperlipidemia medication doses were not increased from baseline nor were new agents added, except in 3 individuals. No serious adverse effects related to the diet occurred. One participant had a hypoglycemic episode requiring assistance from emergency services after he skipped a meal but the episode was aborted without need for transportation to the emergency room or hospitalization.


Our science-backed SmartPoints® system guides you to eat more fruits, veggies, and lean protein, while keeping track of foods with added sugar and unhealthy fats. Making smart decisions just got simpler, so you can live your best life. We meet you where you are— this plan works for men, brides, new moms, really anybody looking for inspiration to create healthier habits.

A systematic review in 2018 looked at sixteen studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[23]
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids.[56] Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.[55]
DASH stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." The diet was developed out of a study by the National Institutes of Health after researchers noticed that vegetarians tended to have lower rates of high blood pressure. Understanding that sodium intake affected blood pressure, researchers also believed that these levels may also be impacted by other nutrients in plant-based diets.
Unlike the keto diet, the Atkins diet doesn’t necessarily advocate increased fat consumption. Still, you might increase your fat intake by limiting carbohydrates and eating more animal protein. The potential drawbacks are similar. Aside from a high saturated fat intake, there is the possibility of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, from restricting carbs too much. This is especially true if you take medications that increase insulin levels in the body and don’t change your dosage. Cutting carbs on the Atkins diet can potentially aid weight loss and help you control diabetes symptoms, but there aren’t enough studies to suggest that Atkins and diabetes control go hand-in-hand.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
Many CDEs actually have diabetes…it’s what draws them to choose this career…to help others with diabetes, to share their knowledge. Most already wear an insulin pump and continuous glucose sensors (CGMs) also. When I first became certified on each new pump and CGM, I would wear them (and check my BG 4-6 times per day) for 2-3 weeks, not only to learn the technology really well, but to gain a sense of how my patients must feel having to wear them 24 hours per day. Since, I’ve started a 6 month old baby on a insulin pump and CGM all the way up to a 89 year old…there are no boundaries for people with diabetes!
Alison Moodie is a health reporter based in Los Angeles. She has written for numerous outlets including Newsweek, Agence France-Presse, The Daily Mail and HuffPost. For years she covered sustainable business for The Guardian. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she majored in TV news. When she's not working she's doting on her two kids and whipping up Bulletproof-inspired dishes in her kitchen.
×