Because the ketogenic diet alters the body's metabolism, it is a first-line therapy in children with certain congenital metabolic diseases such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) deficiency and glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome,[34] which prevent the body from using carbohydrates as fuel, leading to a dependency on ketone bodies. The ketogenic diet is beneficial in treating the seizures and some other symptoms in these diseases and is an absolute indication.[35] On the other hand, it is absolutely contraindicated in the treatment of other diseases such as pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, porphyria and other rare genetic disorders of fat metabolism.[9] A person with a disorder of fatty acid oxidation is unable to metabolise fatty acids, which replace carbohydrates as the major energy source on the diet. On the ketogenic diet, their body would consume its own protein stores for fuel, leading to ketoacidosis, and eventually coma and death.[36]
I think what bothered me most about the article was the way in which the writer has put her own fears about living without cake onto the shoulders of any diabetic she might treat. In the same way an epileptic might choose a life without cake in order to remain seizure free I choose a life without cake to remain “undiabetic”. I must admit that when I was researching this diet I did worry that I would not have the stamina, but the thought of going blind is a useful motivator.
On day 1, lunch is 3 cups of spinach topped with 3 ounces of salmon or sardines; the greens are loaded with vitamins A and K, plus iron, while the fish supplies protein and omega-3 fats. Include some chopped veggies on your salad, like tomato, broccoli and bell pepper for fiber and vitamin C to help you absorb the iron. Have a salad again on day 5, but use romaine lettuce this time, and substitute cannellini beans for your protein and choose cucumber, carrots and asparagus tips as veggies. Opt for olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar for your dressing.
Recently, four studies have re-examined the effect of carbohydrate restriction on type 2 diabetes. One outpatient study enrolled 54 participants with type 2 diabetes (out of 132 total participants) and found that hemoglobin A1c improved to a greater degree over one year with a low-carbohydrate diet compared with a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet [5,6]. Another study enrolled 8 men with type 2 diabetes in a 5-week crossover outpatient feeding study that tested similar diets [7]. The participants had greater improvement in glycohemoglobin while on the low-carbohydrate diet than when on a eucaloric low-fat diet. The third study was an inpatient feeding study in 10 participants with type 2 diabetes [8]. After only 14 days, hemoglobin A1c improved from 7.3% to 6.8%. In the fourth study, 16 participants with type 2 diabetes who followed a 20% carbohydrate diet had improvement of hemoglobin A1c from 8.0% to 6.6% over 24 weeks [9]. Only these latter three studies targeted glycemic control as a goal, and two of these were intensely-monitored efficacy studies in which all food was provided to participants for the duration of the study [7,8]. Three of the studies [6,8,9] mentioned that diabetic medications were adjusted but only one of them provided detailed information regarding these adjustments [9]. This information is critical for patients on medication for diabetes who initiate a low-carbohydrate diet because of the potential for adverse effects resulting from hypoglycemia.
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When compared to the calorie-restrict diet, the subjects who underwent the ketogenic diet experienced a reduction three times greater in hemoglobin A1C (1.5% vs. 0.5%). [9] In addition to observing greater improvements in diabetes-related markers, researchers observed a greater reduction in medication usage in subjects that underwent the ketogenic diet treatment. Thus, due to their overall findings, the researchers stated that “Lifestyle modification using low carbohydrate interventions is effective for improving and reversing type 2 diabetes.” [9]
Elena Paravantes, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Writer and consultant specializing in the Greek Mediterranean Diet and Cuisine. She has been active as a clinician, consultant and lecturer for 20 years, both in the U.S. and Greece. An expert on the Greek Mediterranean Diet, her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Prevention, NPR, and Shape. Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, and the American College of Greece.

Congratulations to you!! Keep up the good work. And, I have to say again, choosing the keto way of life as a type one diabetic is a lot easier than one would think, right?!. It is so rewarding, as you point out, and actually quite easy (lose the carb cravings and enjoy eating everything that you can!). I honestly feel more FREEDOM eating this way than I did eating the other way for 20 years and I love the normal sugars and better energy. Also the decrease in inflammation is awesome.
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.
Klein S, Sheard NF, Pi-Sunyer S, Daly A, Wylie-Rosett J, Kulkarni K, Clark NG. Weight management through lifestyle modification for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: rationale and strategies. A statement of the American Diabetes Association, the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:257–263. [PubMed]
In the short term, you may lose a modest amount of weight over a year span and are likely to keep it off it you continue to eat following the diet. (6) If eating in the Mediterranean style prompts you to consume more fruits and vegetables, you’ll not only feel better physically, but your mental health will get a lift, too. Research shows that people who eat more raw fruits and veggies (particularly dark leafy greens like spinach, fresh berries, and cucumber) have fewer symptoms of depression, a better mood, and more life satisfaction. (36)

In fact, patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have been shown to improve after eating very low carbohydrate diets.31, 32 Another study found increased carb-intake worsened GERD, while a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet reduced symptoms.33 And two studies have linked esophageal diseases, including Barrett’s esophagus (BE)34 and GERD,35 to sugar and carbohydrate intake.

At the first visit, participants were instructed how to follow the LCKD as individuals or in small groups, with an initial goal of ≤20 g carbohydrate per day. Participants were taught the specific types and amounts of foods they could eat, as well as foods to avoid. Initially, participants were allowed unlimited amounts of meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs; 2 cups of salad vegetables per day; 1 cup of low-carbohydrate vegetables per day; 4 ounces of hard cheese; and limited amounts of cream, avocado, olives, and lemon juice. Fats and oils were not restricted except that intake of trans fats was to be minimized. Participants were provided a 3-page handout and a handbook [11] detailing these recommendations. Participants prepared or bought all of their own meals and snacks following these guidelines.


The ketogenic diet is indicated as an adjunctive (additional) treatment in children and young people with drug-resistant epilepsy.[25][26] It is approved by national clinical guidelines in Scotland,[26] England and Wales[25] and reimbursed by nearly all US insurance companies.[27] Children with a focal lesion (a single point of brain abnormality causing the epilepsy) who would make suitable candidates for surgery are more likely to become seizure-free with surgery than with the ketogenic diet.[9][28] About a third of epilepsy centres that offer the ketogenic diet also offer a dietary therapy to adults. Some clinicians consider the two less restrictive dietary variants—the low glycaemic index treatment and the modified Atkins diet—to be more appropriate for adolescents and adults.[9] A liquid form of the ketogenic diet is particularly easy to prepare for, and well tolerated by, infants on formula and children who are tube-fed.[5][29]

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.
Use fat as a lever.  We’ve been taught to fear fat, but don’t! Both keto and low carb are high fat diets. Fat is our source of energy as well as satiety. The key to understand, though, is that fat is a lever on a low carb or keto diet. Carbs and protein stay constant, and fat is the one you increase or decrease (push the lever up or down) to gain or lose weight, respectively. So if your goal is weight loss, eat enough fat to be satisfied, but there’s no need to “get your fats in” once you’re satisfied.
Because people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, there’s a specific concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and further increase the odds of heart problems. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. They may recommend a different weight-loss diet for you, like a reduced-calorie diet, to manage diabetes. Those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor before using this as part of their treatment plan.
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