Throughout this article, we looked at the data and the principles behind how low-carb dieting affect patients with diabetes, but we never addressed what you can do about it directly. If you’d like to learn about practical strategies that may help you reverse insulin resistance and improve your blood sugar and HbA1C levels, I recommend reading these articles:
Today, make half of this GH exclusive Mediterranean Grilled Sea Bass recipe and reserve half of that for Thursday lunch. Increase your vegetable intake by serving half a bag of baby arugula leaves with this meal (save the other half for Thursday). Serve with one ear of corn and 1 cup cooked sugar snap peas topped with 2 teaspoons trans-fat-free light margarine. For dessert, have one frozen fruit juice bar (limit 80 calories for the bar).
In 1921, Rollin Turner Woodyatt reviewed the research on diet and diabetes. He reported that three water-soluble compounds, β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone (known collectively as ketone bodies), were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, at the Mayo Clinic, built on this research and coined the term ketogenic diet to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood (ketonemia) through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. Wilder hoped to obtain the benefits of fasting in a dietary therapy that could be maintained indefinitely. His trial on a few epilepsy patients in 1921 was the first use of the ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy.
In the 1960s, it was discovered that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) produce more ketone bodies per unit of energy than normal dietary fats (which are mostly long-chain triglycerides). MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system. The severe carbohydrate restrictions of the classic ketogenic diet made it difficult for parents to produce palatable meals that their children would tolerate. In 1971, Peter Huttenlocher devised a ketogenic diet where about 60% of the calories came from the MCT oil, and this allowed more protein and up to three times as much carbohydrate as the classic ketogenic diet. The oil was mixed with at least twice its volume of skimmed milk, chilled, and sipped during the meal or incorporated into food. He tested it on twelve children and adolescents with intractable seizures. Most children improved in both seizure control and alertness, results that were similar to the classic ketogenic diet. Gastrointestinal upset was a problem, which led one patient to abandon the diet, but meals were easier to prepare and better accepted by the children. The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
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.
Rami co-founded Tasteaholics with Vicky at the start of 2015 to master the art of creating extremely delicious food while researching the truth behind nutrition, dieting and overall health. You can usually find him marketing, coding or coming up with the next crazy idea because he can’t sit still for too long. His favorite book is The 4-Hour Workweek and artist is Infected Mushroom.
A study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism discouraged the Atkins diet for anyone with diabetes because the plan doesn’t limit fat, but noted the approach may be a safe way for people without the disease to lose weight effectively. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Atkins helped women lose weight better than other low-carb diets, such as the Zone diet, the Ornish diet, and the LEARN diet after 12 months.
It's important to note that the drop-out rate was substantial and reports of symptomatic hypoglycemia 1-5 episodes) were experienced by 69% of those in the study. The mean carbohydrate intake was 35 grams (+/- 15) daily. Based on self-reported results, the change in HbA1c was -1.45% (+/- 1.04, P < 0.001) with an average HbA1c of 7.2% associated with greater hypoglycemia; yet, these results are comparable to other study findings. The average blood glucose levels were 104 mg/dL (+/- 16). 2 Final lipid profiles were mixed. The results were similar for adults and children.
I, too, am finding the keto diet to be beneficial. My weight is moving down. My recent A1c was 5.7. I am consistently below 90 each morning when I check my blood. I am learning to adapt my cooking to the needs of maintaining this way of eating. I have incorporated walking because now I FEEL like it. I don’t feel deprived. I feel empowered. No medications for diabetes!
The keto diet isn’t new, and it’s been around for nearly a century. It was originally developed to treat people with epilepsy. In the 1920s, researchers found that raised levels of ketones in the blood led to fewer epileptic seizures in patients. The keto diet is still used today to treat children with epilepsy who don’t respond well to anti-epileptic drugs.
If you've been trying to eat healthy for a long time, you know how quickly you get sick of chicken breasts and broccoli. Break out of your diet rut with the Middle Eastern diet. It's based on the same principles as the Mediterranean diet but with more of an emphasis on plant-based foods and a different flavor profile. With all the tasty and healthy spices, you'll never get bored of making dinner and you'll get all the same heart-healthy benefits as its geographical cousin's diet.
So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume fewer calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect.
The ketogenic diet has been studied in at least 14 rodent animal models of seizures. It is protective in many of these models and has a different protection profile than any known anticonvulsant. Conversely, fenofibrate, not used clinically as an antiepileptic, exhibits experimental anticonvulsant properties in adult rats comparable to the ketogenic diet. This, together with studies showing its efficacy in patients who have failed to achieve seizure control on half a dozen drugs, suggests a unique mechanism of action.
A computer program such as KetoCalculator may be used to help generate recipes. The meals often have four components: heavy whipping cream, a protein-rich food (typically meat), a fruit or vegetable and a fat such as butter, vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Only low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables are allowed, which excludes bananas, potatoes, peas and corn. Suitable fruits are divided into two groups based on the amount of carbohydrate they contain, and vegetables are similarly divided into two groups. Foods within each of these four groups may be freely substituted to allow for variation without needing to recalculate portion sizes. For example, cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green beans are all equivalent. Fresh, canned or frozen foods are equivalent, but raw and cooked vegetables differ, and processed foods are an additional complication. Parents are required to be precise when measuring food quantities on an electronic scale accurate to 1 g. The child must eat the whole meal and cannot have extra portions; any snacks must be incorporated into the meal plan. A small amount of MCT oil may be used to help with constipation or to increase ketosis.
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.
Pros: The most consistently beneficial of all diets here, study after study shows that upping your protein intake can help significantly reduce body fat and build lean muscle. For example: Guys who ran sprint intervals, did resistance training, and ate a diet of 2.4g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day (roughly 1g per lb of bodyweight) gained 1.2kg of lean muscle and lost almost 5kg of fat in just four weeks, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. If you cut calories but eat high protein, the macro can help prevent your metabolism from plummeting and help keep hunger at bay, since protein is so satiating. The study analysis also confirmed that eating a ton of protein stuff doesn’t cause you to gain weight or harm any internal systems, despite myths.
HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)
2. A strong, healthy heart. Eating Mediterranean decreases practically every heart-disease risk factor -- high blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. When 605 patients who'd had a first heart attack followed the diet for four years, they had a 50 to 70 percent lower risk of having a second heart attack, angina, or a stroke or pulmonary embolism. "There's no single aspect of the diet that keeps your heart healthy," says Dr. Stampfer; it's the synergy of all the diet's elements. Antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, and beans help prevent the atherosclerosis that can make plaque build up in arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish lower blood pressure, arrhythmia risk, and triglyceride levels. Olive oil lessens LDL ("bad") cholesterol. And wine and other spirits in moderation may lower heart-disease risk.
Starting on a ketogenic diet can influence your exercise performance in multiple ways, both positive and negative. During the first 1-2 weeks (the “adaption period,” which I will get back to later), you will most likely see a decrease in energy and athletic performance across the board while your body adjusts to the new diet. This is perfectly normal and should NOT be a cause for concern or make you abandon the diet.
In addition, on the day the diet was initiated, diabetes medications were reduced – generally, insulin doses were halved, and sulfonylurea doses were halved or discontinued. Due to the possible diuretic effects of the diet soon after initiation, diuretic medications were discontinued if of low dosage (up to 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide or 20 mg of furosemide) or halved if of higher dosage. Participants were also instructed to take a standard multivitamin and drink 6–8 glasses of water daily, and were encouraged to exercise aerobically for 30 minutes at least three times per week.
Recent studies have also shown that garlic supports blood-sugar metabolism, and helps control lipid levels in the blood. What’s more? Eating garlic can help boost your immune system, help ward off heart disease, fight inflammation, increase memory retention, and lower blood pressure, so consider adding some to your next meal. At the very least, it is preferable over salt, which can lead to water weight gain and bloating.
H. Guldbrand, B. Dizdar, B. Bunjaku, T. Lindström, M. Bachrach-Lindström, M. Fredrikson, C. J. Östgren, F. H. Nystrom, “In Type 2 Diabetes, Randomisation to Advice to Follow a Low-carbohydrate Diet Transiently Improves Glycaemic Control Compared with Advice to Follow a Low-fat Diet Producing a Similar Weight Loss,” Diabetologia (2012) 55: 2118. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-012-2567-4.
If you’re on a quest to jumpstart weight loss, why not kick your metabolism into overdrive by sneaking spicy foods into your diet. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper that gives it its spiciness, revs up your metabolism in a way that’s conducive to weight loss. In fact, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who supplemented their diet with capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories during their next meal.
There’s a large spectrum of where people can fall on a vegetarian diet: For example, vegans consume no animal products, whereas ovo-lacto vegetarians eat both dairy and eggs. The eating style may help with weight loss, suggests a review published in August 2017 in Nutrients, but some vegans and vegetarians may become deficient in specific nutrients, such as calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, according to an article published in December 2017 in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. (23,24)
Roussell explains that when we get too hungry, our bodies secrete a hormone called, ghrelin, which controls our hunger and appetite. If too much ghrelin is released, we get hangry and will grab pretty much anything. Before bed, however, Roussell says going to sleep a bit hungry can actually be beneficial. “Going to be hungry may actually help you sleep better as ghrelin makes your body more responsive to compounds in your brain that aid in sleep.”
Note: Because you'll be excluding some major food groups on the keto diet (grains, many fruits) you should definitely think about taking a multivitamin—especially one that contains folic acid, which helps your body make new cells and is often found in enriched breads, cereals, and other grain products, says Julie Upton, R.D., cofounder of nutrition website Appetite for Health.
High blood sugar levels coupled with high blood ketones, on the other hand, will mean that you have a pathologically low level of insulin – something non-diabetics do not suffer from. This can lead to ketoacidosis – a potentially life-threatening condition. If this happens, you’ll need to inject more insulin; if you’re at all unsure of what to do, contact a medical professional. Coveting really high blood ketones for weight control is not worth the risk for type 1 diabetics.
I can tell how passionate you are about this subject. As you can see on one of my reply’s above, CDE’s do not recommend the same number of carbs for every person we see; we use an individualized approach. It varies depending on the person’s height, bone structure/muscle mass, amount of weight they may need to lose (or gain) and the amount of exercise they may or may not do per day/week.
Mike, that’s exactly right! With T2, we no longer have the option of eating carbs, sugar and all the good stuff. Why can’t dieticians and the ADA recognize that and quit trying to shove all those carbs down our throats? I don’t get it… I seriously don’t. And I think the author of this article would do an about face is she actually had diabetes. It’s amazing the amount of people who claim to be experts that seriously don’t get it!! It I had Celiac Disease, I couldn’t eat gluten… at all. Why is the same not recognized for diabetics? Our meters show us when we are eating too many carbs. Its VERY clear as the number goes very high. What do the professionals not get about that? It’s been the most amazing thing about this whole process for me and I just can’t believe how biased people are against a very low carb diet for managing diabetes. You think that because people can’t maintain that kind of diet for long term makes it OK to go ahead and be against it? Did it ever occur to any of the professionals that by recommending a low carb diet it might actually encourage people to maintain it? Instead, you are giving them excuses and reasons to eat way too many carbs!! Last August 2016 I was diagnosed with T2, with an A1C of 12.7. My last blood test showed an A1C of 6.2 (July 2017) and I had reduced some of the meds I was originally on. I am still working on lowering my numbers. The whole process has been a slow progression to keto and I had to stumble on the whole thing myself through my own research. I tried vegan at first and quickly realized that I was eating too many carbs. Then I went low carb but knew I could do better. When I tried the Keto diet, my numbers went much lower. You get over the sweet addictions. You get over the bread addictions and you find suitable substitutions. You do what you have to do. But by not recommending an ultra low carb diet simply because you don’t think people can do it is ridiculous! It is basically telling people that they can’t possibly manage their own lives… they can’t possibly make their own, good choices. And then, because you are the authority, you are giving them reasons to not even try. You defeat them before they even begin. It just amazes me!
When foods are processed, their potassium levels actually decrease. So, choosing whole or minimally processed foods can improve blood pressure regulation from both a sodium and a potassium perspective. In addition, you’ll usually decrease your intake of saturated fat, added sugars, and overall calories—all of which can help you lose weight, and keep it off for good.
One of the most important ingredients is abundant physical activity. The base of the Mediterranean diet is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Next, add in fish and seafood at least twice a week, followed by some poultry, eggs, and dairy, especially fermented dairy like yogurt and cheese. The very top of the pyramid is reserved for a small amount of red meat and sugary treats (in small portions and for special occasions).
A: You’ll find a detailed menu earlier in this article (also, recipes from Everyday Health!), but generally, you’ll want to make plants and whole grains the stars of your plate. If you look at a Mediterranean diet food pyramid, sweets are up top (indicating they should make up only a small part of your diet), followed by meat and dairy, and then fish. Last are fruit, veggies, and whole grains (suggesting they can be eaten liberally). Also, enjoying food with friends and family is a tenet of the eating approach, so make your meals a social affair!
A short-lived increase in seizure frequency may occur during illness or if ketone levels fluctuate. The diet may be modified if seizure frequency remains high, or the child is losing weight. Loss of seizure-control may come from unexpected sources. Even "sugar-free" food can contain carbohydrates such as maltodextrin, sorbitol, starch and fructose. The sorbitol content of suntan lotion and other skincare products may be high enough for some to be absorbed through the skin and thus negate ketosis.
Since avocados are packed with nutrients and healthy fats that can stimulate weight loss, it’s no surprise that avocado oil acts in a similar fashion. When Penn State University researchers compared those who consumed avocado oil with those who consumed a flax-safflower oil blend, they found that those who used just three tablespoons of avocado oil daily lost nearly two percent of their belly fat in just one month.
AND i’m losing weight! I’m losing about 1 lb per week and actually have the energy again to workout regularly. If you have diabetes, you know how fatiguing of a disease it can be. I feel less sluggish, more “awake”, just better in general, while restricting my carb intake. Yeah, I miss some fruits, but I sure as heck don’t miss what I felt like after eating them. Besides, berries are allowed on keto 🙂
In the mid-1990s, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, whose son's severe epilepsy was effectively controlled by the diet, created the Charlie Foundation to promote it. Publicity included an appearance on NBC's Dateline programme and ...First Do No Harm (1997), a made-for-television film starring Meryl Streep. The foundation sponsored a multicentre research study, the results of which—announced in 1996—marked the beginning of renewed scientific interest in the diet.
“When we measured fasting plasma levels, we found low insulin and low glucose, which is good — not suggestive of diabetes,” he says. “However, when we challenged the animals with glucose — giving them a relatively large amount of glucose, as they would get by ingesting a meal — we found that their plasma glucose levels went higher than mice on normal chow and stayed high longer.”
I am a big fan of the ketogenic diet and many of my patients have had huge success on it. Having said that, it’s not necessarily for everyone. This should be looked at as a long-term strategy, not a short one. Some people simply find the dietary restrictions too difficult to commit to. Since yo-yo dieting is bad for everyone, and can be downright dangerous for diabetics, you should only begin the ketogenic diet if you feel you can stick to it.
The keto lifestyle sounds daunting, but it really is not. One thing many fail to mention is the hormonal shifts that occur that regulate your appetite. Give this a little time, and you will be astounded at how easy it becomes to pass on the stuff you found addictive previously. There are many factors that influence one’s success or failure, and the key is to get the information and support you need, and to stick with it long enough to see the benefits. I fine this way of eating completely sustainable, and I’m in for life.
^ Freeman JM, Vining EP, Pillas DJ, Pyzik PL, Casey JC, Kelly LM. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet—1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998 Dec;102(6):1358–63. doi:10.1542/peds.102.6.1358. PMID 9832569. https://web.archive.org/web/20040629224858/http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1998/DECEMBER/981207.HTM Lay summary]—JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Updated 7 December 1998. Cited 6 March 2008.
WOW. I guess I must be a very special, highly motivated patient then. I, of course, would never have said that about myself. My high motivation is trying to get over the hatred of food that being Diabetic gave me. I don’t feel that way anymore, and am finally happy cooking, again. (My doctor DID tell me exactly that, BTW. Even to the extent of telling me to not include the tsp of agave that I was having in my coffee once a day because sugar is sugar.)
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).
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.