Ketogenic diet for diabetics is a highly controversial topic, but we will break down everything here for you! As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I have to tell you from the start I will have a biased view here. Sorry, but I feel that I need to be completely honest right up front! I will however, present all the evidence that is available currently on the subject.

Also, if you listen to Dr Bernstein talk about his childhood (he is well into his 80’s), the “original” recommended diet was only ketogenic in the sense that it was high-carb and caused keto-acidosis, which he describes as almost killing him as a teenager. He still considers the ADA recommendations as ketogenic for this reason (you only have to listen to him a short time to hear him railing against the ADA).
Earlier this month during a taping of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates, Dr. James O’Brien mentioned the Mediterranean diet. He said it was a diet that he strongly recommend for patients with heart disease. Now, being a health and fitness enthusiast and a 40-year old man with a family history of diabetes and heart disease, I am always open to ways to improve my heart health.
Ketones are frequently produced in healthy individuals–sometimes this is due to fasting (even just overnight), or as a result of eating a very low carbohydrate diet. With normal blood glucose levels, the ketone concentrations observed during ketosis are generally not harmful. The ketones are simply a byproduct of fatty acid metabolism, serving up an alternative energy source when glucose stores are low.
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.
The researchers agree that the diet itself isn’t inherently dangerous. But, cautions Weiss, “If you have any medical condition, if you take any medicine at all – there are lots of things that change how medicines work in our bodies, and nutrition is definitely one of them. If you’re making a real change in your nutrition, you really should talk to your doctor.”
A: The amount of weight you lose is entirely dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your regimen will speed up your weight loss. Cutting out things that are common “stall” causes is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by-products (wheat gluten, wheat flours, and anything with an identifiable wheat product in it).

Not to be outdone, oolong tea—a Chinese beverage—can help those who drink it shed up to a pound per week. According to a study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of six weeks. What’s more? The tea’s antioxidants are thought to remove harmful free radicals and improve bone health.


For those who want to follow a ketogenic-type diet, Dr. Reynolds says it is important to first talk to your doctor and to discuss your goals so you can be sure that this approach is suitable for you given your medical and health history. Ongoing monitoring is needed if you do decide to adopt this very carb approach to eating. Seeing your doctor regularly is important to make sure that your blood pressure, lipids, blood sugar, mood, and medications are within normal ranges as you lose weight. Adjustments are likely going to be necessary from time to time.

You should then transition to a normalized set of macros. While keto dieting can be good for short term fat loss, it’s important that it not brainwash you into thinking that certain foods or macros are “bad”. Eating a balanced diet with an understanding of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)  is the healthiest way to eat and the most sustainable way to lose weight long term.

My husband and I have lost weight after just 2 weeks on this. Not a lot, but enough to lose a belt loop. I've been menopausal for years, along with having an underactive thyroid, and losing weight has been almost impossible for me for the last few years. I'm unable to exercise much due to torn ligaments in my foot. Following this weight loss solution really helped. I'm going to get the other book with more recipes. Cutting out breads and sugar really did make a difference!


Slice a 6-inch French baguette roll (3-inch diameter) in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the halves with 1/3 cup 33% reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese and bake in toaster oven at 250 degrees for four to six minutes, until cheese is just beginning to melt. Meanwhile, slice two large red tomatoes in 1/2-inch slices. Remove baguette from toaster oven, sprinkle with a little dried basil and dried oregano if desired. Top with tomato slices. For dessert, serve one frozen strawberry milk Popsicle left over from Monday's dinner (8 ounces fat-free milk mixed with 1 tablespoon strawberry drink mix, then frozen).

After seeing thousands of patients now for years and from personal experience, I still believe it comes down to staying away from processed foods and cooking at home whenever possible. Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fiber. Also, cutting out any sugary liquid calories; staying away from sodas, juices and the infamous sweet tea! Keeping stress levels under control and incorporating exercise into your routine will also be key to breaking through challenging times when you are having trouble with continued weight loss.


Fish and seafood come next, eaten about twice a week. Poultry, eggs and dairy in the form of cheese and yogurt are eaten in moderate portions on a daily or weekly basis. For example, one review of research on Mediterranean eating suggests about four eggs a week. At the very top of the pyramid -- meaning you eat them only sparingly -- are red meat and sweets. Preferred beverages include water, as well as red wine, in moderation.

What the expert says: ‘Atkins will result in quick weight loss as the body uses all the carbohydrate stores adults tend to have. But limiting carbs will mean you could be lacking in fibre and b vitamins like niacin, thiamine and b6. Aside from cutting out a major food group, Atkins tends to result in eating a lot of food that’s high in saturated fats, which is linked to raised cholesterol and heart disease.’
Why was the DASH diet been ranked as the best diet, the healthiest diet, and the best diet for diabetes, 8 years in a row? The expert panel of physicians assembled by US New & World Reports chose DASH because it is proven to improve health, has a balance of healthy food groups, and it actually works. And now the Mediterranean diet has jumped out in front. So delicious and heart healthy. DASH has been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and is associated with lower risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney stones, reduced risk of developing diabetes, can slow the progression of kidney disease, and now is associated with reduced risk of depression.
Imagine your body is a home with a fireplace in the middle and the heat required to keep it at a comfortable\livable temp is keeping the fireplace burning at a manageable and constant pace. To do this you have two fuel-types at your disposal: Kerosene and Charcoal. (in this analogy Kerosene is carbohydrates and coal is fat). American diets are high in carbs, which is like throwing a bucket full of kerosene on that fire. Will it keep the house warm? Sure, but it burns down fast so you have to keep throwing bucket after bucket on it to keep it going, consuming tons of kerosene, and you get these huge spikes in heat. It is much harder to control the strength of the flame, and thus much harder to keep the house at a constant, comfortable temp.
Although white potatoes offer some potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes reign supreme in the nutrition department, meaning you should consider adding sweet potatoes to your diet. A large sweet potato contains around 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 25 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber, and 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. What’s more? It’s less than 200 calories.
Kefir is a yogurt-like substance, but it actually contains less sugar and more protein than conventional yogurt while remaining packed with gut-friendly probiotics that can help you lose weight by aiding digestion. In one study, kefir displayed weight loss properties similar to those of milk and other dairy-rich products. Other probiotic-rich foods include kombucha, bone broth, and fermented items such as sauerkraut and kimchi.

It’s easy to get keto and paleo confused since many of the same foods are encouraged in both diets. The keto diet is specifically crafted as a very low carbohydrate diet to get the body into a state of ketosis. The paleo diet focuses on bringing eating back to the basics and eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors with less emphasis on where the calories are coming from: carbs, fat or protein. The paleo diet includes lean meats, seafood, seasonal veggies, some nuts and fruit and eliminates grains, dairy, processed foods, and certain oils. 
Cons: Eating this way perpetuates the outdated idea that dietary fat is the enemy of body fat. And it isn’t necessarily better than other diets: One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared high-protein, normal protein, high-fat, and low-fat diets, and found no significant difference in fat loss among the groups at six months or two years (though all did result in some fat loss). What’s more, while the low-fat group was supposed to keep its intake of the macro at 20%, actual intake was closer to 26-28%, suggesting that sticking to a strict low-fat diet is rather difficult and potentially unrealistic for most.
We all have different meanings for “quality of life” for me it means feeling good, with energy, no bloating, no heartburn, on my weight, normal glucose levels… for you it means having “white stuff” to eat, enjoy it while you eat it and then feeling bad about it, ’cause if you’re a diabetes educator you know (or at least you should) the harm it does to your body! I’m glad no one believed this biased article! It means everyone out there know what is real and what is not…
The truth is though, her reaction is part of the problem. “I can’t believe your numbers improved so drastically without taking the medication.” THAT is the main problem with our medical community. They have been taught, and most have bought into the lie, that everything is better with medication. Medication is the go to. That is why we have so many health issues in this country. Let’s eat a crappy diet because our government/medical community recommends it…and then when that diet leads to medical complications…let’s throw drugs/medication at it. Many, if not the majority, of the medical issues we have could be done away with if we actually ate as we should. But no…we want cake.
When it comes to condiments, mustard is about as healthy and low cal as it gets, and the pungent yellow stuff that contains about 5 calories per teaspoon has also been found to stimulate weight loss. Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that eating just one teaspoon of mustard can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after it’s been consumed. Researchers attribute this to capsaicin and allyl isothiocyanates, phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor. So instead of reaching for the sickeningly sweet ketchup, make sure you have mustard on hand at your next BBQ.

Yancy WS Jr, Westman EC, McDuffie JR, Grambow SC, Jeffreys AS, Bolton J, Chalecki A, Oddone EZ, “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet vs orlistat plus a lowfat diet for weight loss,” Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):136-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20101008?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2.
For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
DASH=Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This originally began as a diet to address hypertension (high blood pressure). However, the diet was retooled to also address weight loss. All in all, the plan is pretty sensible to me. It does not have the absolutism of Atkins and is more flexible, even though it is from a similar perspective--high protein and low carbohydrates. This approach, in juxtaposition with the standard medical establishment view that accepts the following (page 5): "It was ...more
If Doctor’s recommend Keto to their patients that less drugs and no kick back from pharmaceutical companies, they need to keep people medicated because pharmaceuticals run this entire country. I followed a strict diabetic diet when my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 NEVER could keep his blood sugars under control still would be 220 after a meal.. Keto has brought that down to 95-98 AFTER a meal.
“Intermittent fasting can be really challenging if you have an ever-changing schedule,” adds Hultin. “If you're traveling and crossing time zones, it could be very difficult to follow. It might be best for people with more stability in their lives.” Intermittent fasting isn’t safe for people with type 2 diabetes, children, pregnant or lactating women, or anyone with a history of an eating disorder.
Bueno NB, de Melo ISV, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T; “Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” (2013) British Journal of Nutrition 110(7): 1178-1187. Accessed 4/23/2018 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/6FD9F975BAFF1D46F84C8BA9CE860783/S0007114513000548a.pdf/verylowcarbohydrate_ketogenic_diet_v_lowfat_diet_for_longterm_weight_loss_a_metaanalysis_of_randomised_controlled_trials.pdf

And what benefit you will have with “moderate” diets that let you eat bread and others carbohydrates but high insulin ? remember that it is critical to not only look after glucose levels on blood, it is very very important to reduce your intake of insulin to avoid a lot of diseases including metabolic syndrome for high insulin and insulin resistance.
Reduced hunger. Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger on a keto diet. This may be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores. Many people feel great when they eat just once or twice a day, and may automatically end up doing a form of intermittent fasting. This saves time and money, while also speeding up weight loss.
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