Type 2 diabetes is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and its ultimate cause has not been fully understood. Ketogenic diets, which are low in carbohydrate and high in fat, are known to lead to weight loss and have been considered to be healthy. These findings raise new questions about ketogenic diets and whether or not they are actually healthy.
First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (approximately 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.[47]
As with any diet, physical activity is essential in establishing your a healthy lifestyle. Even light exercise, such as walking or yoga, is enough to get your heart rate up and benefit your overall well-being. We recommend finding a routine you're likely to stick to, like a nightly stroll with your family after dinner or a spin class with your best friend.
It is completely wrong to discuss “average lifespan”. The average lifespans of pre-industrial peoples is heavily reduced by infant and early childhood mortality, which has nothing to do with lack of fresh fruit. Once you remove this bias in the numbers, pre-industrials can have lifespans almost as long as ours. And usually without many of the degenerative diseases that bother our middle and old ages.
It’s only dangerous to not get enough carbs at each meal if one is taking too much meds or insulin for the amount of carbs they are eating! Restricting carbohydrates doesn’t lead to hypoglycemia unawareness, but having lots of lows and lots of highs will (and decreasing insulin and carbs leads to way fewer highs and fewer lows, or at least it can). On the other hand, being in ketosis does make low blood sugars less negative as an experience. I still feel my lows just fine, but they are less of an emergency because my brain still works (feeding on ketones) and by body doesn’t freak out and release tons of adrenaline that then makes me want to eat a house. Mind you, I still wake up and know immediately if I’m low, I know from experience and how it feels in my head and body but without the crazy shakes. This is not unawareness but it is less reactive.
What the expert says: ‘There have been a number of cases where GPs have said, “You’ve got IBS, go on the low-FODMAP diet”,’ says Dr Megan Rossi (@theguthealthdoctor). ‘The only support they give you is a printout with a limited explanation of the diet from the internet. I’ve had clients come into my practice who’ve been given a list of 10 “friendly” foods to survive on, which is nutritionally dangerous.’
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
On keto, I’ve adjusted my basal rates and I barely need to bolus at all. My blood glucose numbers have definitely improved and what I find really extraordinary is that I’m needing about 60% less total daily insulin, than I did before starting keto. What’s even more fascinating to me is seeing a steady straight line across my pump for 6, 12, and even 24 hours – no crazy spikes or dips in my blood sugar.

The Mediterranean Diet was identified in the 1960s as research continued to show populations from Mediterranean regions, particularly Southern Italy, the isle of Crete, and Greece, were considerably healthier, with less incidence of disease and longer lifespans than seen in other regions. Studies indicated that the way these populations ate seemed to be the common denominator and through research, the Mediterranean diet was formally born.

It also may help stave off chronic diseases, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as act protectively against certain cancers. (34) The diet is also a boon to mental health, as it’s associated with reduced odds of depression. (34) There’s even some data to suggest it can be supportive in relieving symptoms of arthritis, according to a paper published in April 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. (35)


Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in children increases the risk of slowed or stunted growth, bone fractures and kidney stones.[3] The diet reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, which is important for childhood growth. Like many anticonvulsant drugs, the ketogenic diet has an adverse effect on bone health. Many factors may be involved such as acidosis and suppressed growth hormone.[37] About 1 in 20 children on the ketogenic diet will develop kidney stones (compared with one in several thousand for the general population). A class of anticonvulsants known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (topiramate, zonisamide) are known to increase the risk of kidney stones, but the combination of these anticonvulsants and the ketogenic diet does not appear to elevate the risk above that of the diet alone.[38] The stones are treatable and do not justify discontinuation of the diet.[38] Johns Hopkins Hospital now gives oral potassium citrate supplements to all ketogenic diet patients, resulting in a sevenfold decrease in the incidence of kidney stones.[39] However, this empiric usage has not been tested in a prospective controlled trial.[9] Kidney stone formation (nephrolithiasis) is associated with the diet for four reasons:[38]
There are theoretically no restrictions on where the ketogenic diet might be used, and it can cost less than modern anticonvulsants. However, fasting and dietary changes are affected by religious and cultural issues. A culture where food is often prepared by grandparents or hired help means more people must be educated about the diet. When families dine together, sharing the same meal, it can be difficult to separate the child's meal. In many countries, food labelling is not mandatory so calculating the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate is difficult. In some countries, it may be hard to find sugar-free forms of medicines and supplements, to purchase an accurate electronic scale, or to afford MCT oils.[53]
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).
In a second study,2 a Harvard-led research team evaluated the benefit of a ketogenic diet in both children and adults with type 1 diabetes despite concerns about a possible negative effect on growth and development in children following such a restricted diet. These researchers report "exceptional" glucose control with little adverse effects. However, the participants were recruited from a closed Facebook group, TypeOneGrit, for people who follow a diet and diabetes program based on the recommendations in the Diabetes Solution,3 a book by Richard K Bernstein, MD, who devised this program to manage his own type 1 diabetes.

“There are many diet plans on the market today that promote good health,” says Emily Kyle, RDN, who is in private practice in Rochester, New York. “The key is finding one that does not cause you stress or agony.” Ask yourself questions such as: Would the diet guidelines make you happy? Anxious? Stressed? Are you able to follow them long term? “Factors such as enjoyment, flexibility, and longevity should be strongly considered,” adds Kyle.
As CDE’s, we individualize our recommendations for each of our patients. One person’s diet may not be appropriate for another person. For example, a six foot 6 inch tall man weighing 220 lbs of mainly muscle, who exercises 2 hours per day at the gym cannot have the same number of carbs per meal as a petite 5 foot 1 inch 75 year old lady who does not exercise.
Whole grains: They contain more vitamins, minerals, and protein than white-flour products and have a stabilizing influence on blood-sugar levels. Experiment with nutrient-dense, nutty-tasting exotic whole grains such as barley, amaranth, quinoa, and faro. But watch your intake: One cup of cereal equals two servings, as do two slices of pumpernickel bread.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child's age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more calories than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.[36]
Nonetheless, Fung told Live Science that she thinks the study clearly demonstrates the potential for a ketogenic diet to have a detrimental effect in humans. And, until researchers better understand the risks of those detrimental effects, she suggested that people consider other ways of accomplishing their health goals, such as trying a less-restrictive diet.
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I’m sorry…no we don’t. Sure, more studies will happen, and more information is always good. But, we KNOW that keto works. You can argue that all you want…but in truth, facts don’t care about your feelings. There are plenty of studies, both in groups and in individuals, that prove beyond any reasonable doubt that going on a proper keto diet WILL improve your life as a diabetic, and will often allow the person to reverse diabetes completely (type 2, obviously). Not to mention the weight loss and the myriad of other health benefits it provides.

Interested in following a more historical approach to eating? The Primal Blueprint is similar to the Paleo diet, which has roots in how our long-ago ancestors supposedly ate. This plan ditches grain, sugars, and processed foods while focusing on clean eating with plenty of protein (both animal- and plant-based), lots of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The Primal Blueprint acknowledges other health factors too, advocating for lots of low-intensity activity, some high-intensity exercise, strength training, and plenty of sleep.


Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., Holly R. Wyatt, M.D., James O. Hill, Ph.D., Brian G. McGuckin, Ed.M., Carrie Brill, B.S., B. Selma Mohammed, M.D., Ph.D., Philippe O. Szapary, M.D., Daniel J. Rader, M.D., Joel S. Edman, D.Sc., and Samuel Klein, M.D., “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity — NEJM,” N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2082- 2090. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022207.
You’re a diabetic counselor and are talking about being worried about not being able to eat birthday cake? Hell I’ve been on keto since July 2016 and haven’t felt any urge to go back, simply because I feel so much better. Also the diet is really not all that restrictive, you can make desserts using stevia/erythritrol, coconut/almond flour, etc. I had ketogenic pizza the other night and it turned out great. Lots of great resources out there for food options. I’m not diabetic myself, but I used to be prone to hypoglycemia and keto has eliminated the issue since I’m not dependent on glucose. There are a lot of wrong ways to do keto though, and doing the diet correctly has a moderate learning curve.
Also, as I believe is mentioned, this diet has been around for along time and was the only way to treat diabetes. And some people did die. However, people still end up dead from t2d even after all the diet advice from educators and with all that pharmacy has to offer. An industry which gains nothing if people just choose to eat less. But has lots to gain if we just keep taking the tablets.
Hello Marylin, Yes, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be effective for weight loss. However, you dip need to consume the right amounts of food (calories) to lose weight as that varies depending on age, gender activity level etc. Here is a link to the Greek Nutrition Guidelines that includes servings https://www.olivetomato.com/eat-like-greek-greek-dietary-guidelines-a-better-choice/

One meta-analysis18 incorporating data from 447 participants found that low-carbohydrate diets not only helped individuals lose weight, but also improved their cholesterol. And another meta-analysis,19 citing 17 clinical trials, found that low-carb diets protected against major cardiovascular risk factors. A third study20 including 119 participants found that low-carbohydrate dieters had lower cholesterol than low-fat dieters after one year.
You can eat what you love. It’s evident that with such a variety of whole, fresh foods available to you as options, it’s easy to build meals based on the diet. And, you don’t have to eliminate your favorites, either. They may just require some tweaks. For instance, rather than a sausage and pepperoni pizza, you’d choose one piled high with veggies and topped with some cheese. You can also fit in a lot of food into one meal. Filling up on fresh foods like fruits and vegetables will allow you to build volume into meals for fewer calories.
However, the meta-analysis was riddled with confounding variables — one of which being their lackadaisical definition of a low-carb diet. The researchers identified a low-carb diet as a diet where less than 45% of its calories come from carbs. With such a lax criterion for low-carb, it is difficult to tell if a true low-carb diet (i.e., fewer than 26% of calories coming from carbs) is genuinely the best dietary option for type 2 diabetics.

It seems like everyone is talking about the keto diet — the high-fat, low-carb eating plan that promises to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. For that reason, keto has surged in popularity over the past year as a lose-weight-fast strategy. Thank Hollywood A-listers and professional athletes like Halle Berry, Adriana Lima, and Tim Tebow who’ve publicly touted the diet’s benefits, from shedding weight to slowing down aging. Here’s everything you need to know about going keto.
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