Due to the highly restrictive nature of the keto diet, it is not safe for certain populations, including pregnant or postpartum women, children or growing teenagers, or individuals with certain diseases. If you are considering this diet, it is important that you speak with your primary care physician first and work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to make sure you are getting all of the essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.
Ben Tzeel is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holding a Masters in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ben has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 1999 and has never allowed it to hold him back from achieving his goals. He is a published fitness model and author who writes about exercise, nutrition, and diabetes.
Nuts, the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict keto diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.
Essentially, the Nordic Diet is based on 10 core concepts: eating more fruits and vegetables every day; eating more whole grains; eating more seafood; choosing high-quality meat, but less meat overall; seeking out food from wild landscapes; using organic produce whenever possible; avoiding food additives; basing more meals on seasonal produce; consuming more home-cooked food; and producing less waste.
“It came to another frustration point that medication really isn’t helping,” Lofton says. “I had tried many other things, like a weight loss program. I tried looking into bariatric surgery, and was very frustrated that all these things — like watching my food intake and my servings, 60 grams (of carbs) per meal — all of that wasn’t really making a difference.”
Advocates for the diet recommend that it be seriously considered after two medications have failed, as the chance of other drugs succeeding is only 10%. The diet can be considered earlier for some epilepsy and genetic syndromes where it has shown particular usefulness. These include Dravet syndrome, infantile spasms, myoclonic-astatic epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex.
The sad truth is that conventional ideas – eat less, run more – do not work long term. Counting calories, exercising for hours every day and trying to ignore your hunger? That’s needless suffering and it wastes your time and precious willpower. It’s weight loss for masochists. Eventually almost everyone gives up. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic. Fortunately there’s a better way.
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!
About 20% of children on the ketogenic diet achieve freedom from seizures, and many are able to reduce the use of anticonvulsant drugs or eliminate them altogether. Commonly, at around two years on the diet, or after six months of being seizure-free, the diet may be gradually discontinued over two or three months. This is done by lowering the ketogenic ratio until urinary ketosis is no longer detected, and then lifting all calorie restrictions. This timing and method of discontinuation mimics that of anticonvulsant drug therapy in children, where the child has become seizure free. When the diet is required to treat certain metabolic diseases, the duration will be longer. The total diet duration is up to the treating ketogenic diet team and parents; durations up to 12 years have been studied and found beneficial.
Lele Jaro has been on a ketogenic diet for over two years to help with her type 2 diabetes, and has successfully got off insulin. She’s been documenting her health journey on Instagram with keto-friendly food ideas, keto tips, and workout motivation. She’s lost over 80 pounds on her journey, and inspires others to try keto to improve their health. Connect with her on her YouTube channel or Facebook.
In this meta-analysis, the researchers looked at the results from a total of 20 randomized controlled trials with more than 3,000 subjects, most of whom had type 2 diabetes.  Although the authors concluded that low-carbohydrate, low-GI, Mediterranean, and high-protein diets should all be considered as a dietary strategy for diabetes management, the low-carb diet proved itself as being superior in 6 of the 8 studies.
I suffered through a year on 20 grams of carbs per day and it was the worst year of my life. Yep, I lost weight, but at my current weight of 130 lbs and eating 30 carbs per meal and remaining in a prediabetes state for 15 years, I am healthy AND happy now. None of us know the long term effects of most of what is offered to us…medications, diet drinks, processed foods, restrictive diets. The point I was trying to make was eating healthier, more natural foods will be better in the long run, I believe we all have the common sense to agree on that, even if we can’t agree on how many carbs we will eat!
When the data were examined, it was clear that people who ate a diet where fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, and ﬁsh were the basis of daily meals were healthiest. Topping the chart were residents of Crete. Even after the deprivations of World War II – and in part, perhaps, because of them – the cardiovascular health of Crete residents exceeded that of US residents. Researchers attributed the diﬀerences to diet.
A majority of the meal planning for the Mediterranean diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables. A sample days meal menu consists of: a pumpkin-gingerbread smoothie for breakfast, Macaroni with Milk (Macoroni oil-Hali) for lunch, and Trout with Wilted Greens for dinner. Your suggested snacks during the day: Mango-Pear Smoothie, cashews and raisins, low-fat ricotta cheese with peaches, hummus, and seed and nut snack bars.
Fairly recently, the diet was introduced as a weight-loss diet by an Italian professor of surgery, Dr. Gianfranco Cappello of Sapienza University in Rome. In his 2012 study, about 19,000 dieters received a high-fat liquid diet via a feeding tube inserted down the nose. The study showed an average weight loss of more than 20 pounds in participants, most of whom kept it off for at least a year. The researchers reported a few minor side effects, like fatigue.
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.
WH Verdict: Not all lectins are created equal and research into their impact on the body is ongoing. In fact, to date, there are no human studies linking the dietary lectins with a harmful immune response in healthy people. A lectin-free diet is also incredibly restrictive, with the list of foods you can’t eat reading like a typical shopping list for your average nutrition-conscious foodie, making it unsustainable and putting you at risk of nutritional deficiencies.
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.