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.
This diet plan will be especially important for people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, or diabetes. Post menopausal women will find that this plans helps them lose that extra midlife weight that is so troublesome. It will reduce your body's demand for insulin, and reduce the tendency to deposit fat in your midsection. Yes, that's right - this plan will reduce your waist size, which is an important indicator of health risks.
Cons: Eating this way perpetuates the outdated idea that dietary fat is the enemy of body fat.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.
Obviously, if you could keep the weight off, it may help in preventing diabetes. There are many risk factors for diabetes, but the Diabetes Prevention Program in 2002 followed 1,079 people with prediabetes. This groundbreaking study showed that 58% were able to prevent the progression of developing diabetes through diet and exercise. Want to know what the great news is? They didn’t have to eat 20 carbohydrates per day to achieve this!
Dr. Reynolds reviewed numerous research studies on ketogenic diets,6 and he has found that most studies show that the drop in blood sugar is typically short-term—only lasting during the initial three months or so—but does not last. "So it is very hard to encourage ketogenic diets when we have no evidence that they work over longer periods of time," he tells EndocrineWeb.
Full disclosure: I have followed a low-carb diet for nearly a decade and find no problem adhering to it. I’ve lost weight and all my cardiovascular biomarkers have improved. Moreover, I’ve studied the science and history behind low-carbohydrate diets, so beyond my personal experience, I bring an evidence-based perspective. (Previously, for 25+ years, I adhered faithfully to a “mostly plants” regimen of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, including my own homemade 7-grain bread, while exercising religiously. Yet during that time my blood lipids were unhealthy, and I never could shake an extra 10-20 pounds.)
One aspect that is not often mentioned is carb cravings. Before I started a keto diet, every day I would have serious starchy- or sweet- carb cravings that were uncontrollable and HAD TO BE satisfied. The high-fat keto diet has pretty much eliminated those carb cravings. It is wonderful to not be under the control of those cravings anymore. I think the high success rate of keto diets is that you are not hungry and have no cravings.
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.
After 32 weeks, those in the keto diet group lowered their HbA1c more than those in the plate group with more than 50% achieving a reduction to less than 6.5%, basically reversing their diabetes. None in the plate group did this well. As for weight loss, those in the keto low-carb group lost on average of 28 pounds, while those in the plate group lost an average of 6.6 pounds.1
There are three instances where there’s research to back up a ketogenic diet, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss, says Mattinson. “In terms of diabetes, there is some promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C — a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months — something that may help you reduce medication use,” she says.