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.
In conclusion, these three meta-analyses indicate that low-carb isn’t a “miracle diet,” but it may be one of the best, if not the best diet, for the management of type 2 diabetes and reversal of the condition in some cases. When people with type 2 diabetes follow a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, their health improves, weight is lost, blood sugar and HbA1c levels drop, and other health parameters improve significantly. Even studies that put healthy individuals on a ketogenic diet found similar improvements.
Upon starting the diet, some patients report symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches. However, these short-lived symptoms are, in fact, a sign that the diet is working, and the body is switching over from burning glucose as fuel to burning fat. This transition involves upregulating certain enzymes and down-regulating others; it is a profound shift for the human body that can have uncomfortable symptoms. However, these side effect usually last only 3-4 weeks. They can be ameliorated in most cases, by drinking several cups of bouillion broth during the day until the transition is completed.15
Although the research has yet to discover all of the mechanisms behind why the keto diet is so helpful for diabetics, these four factors do seem to play a significant role in reducing the severity of type 2 diabetes while also helping with the management of type 1 diabetes. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, consider checking out our article on the keto diet and insulin resistance.
Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there.4If you want to learn more about ketosis and the scientific process around it, you can visit a very in-depth discussion about on Dr. Peter Attia’s website. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance:
The ADA has recommended since 2013 we use our best clinical judgement in recommending a low carbohydrate diet for people with diabetes, recognizing it needs to be individualized. 60-75 grams is the carbohydrate amount I would give to a very tall, large boned man or perhaps an active teen or young adult. I would never recommend that many carbohydrates for an average size man who was trying to lose weight; he would get 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-30 grams for snacks. A women trying to lose weight would get 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15 grams for snacks.
To get the most benefit from the Keto diet, you should stay physically active. You might need to take it easier during the early ketosis period, especially if you feel fatigued or lightheaded. Walking, running, doing aerobics, weightlifting, training with kettlebells or whatever workout you prefer will boost your energy further. You can find books and online resources on how to adapt Keto meals or snacks for athletic training.
Twenty-one of the 28 participants who were enrolled completed the study. Twenty participants were men; 13 were White, 8 were African-American. The mean [± SD] age was 56.0 ± 7.9 years and BMI was 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2. Hemoglobin A1c decreased by 16% from 7.5 ± 1.4% to 6.3 ± 1.0% (p < 0.001) from baseline to week 16. Diabetes medications were discontinued in 7 participants, reduced in 10 participants, and unchanged in 4 participants. The mean body weight decreased by 6.6% from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg (p < 0.001). In linear regression analyses, weight change at 16 weeks did not predict change in hemoglobin A1c. Fasting serum triglyceride decreased 42% from 2.69 ± 2.87 mmol/L to 1.57 ± 1.38 mmol/L (p = 0.001) while other serum lipid measurements did not change significantly.
Congratulations to you!! Keep up the good work. And, I have to say again, choosing the keto way of life as a type one diabetic is a lot easier than one would think, right?!. It is so rewarding, as you point out, and actually quite easy (lose the carb cravings and enjoy eating everything that you can!). I honestly feel more FREEDOM eating this way than I did eating the other way for 20 years and I love the normal sugars and better energy. Also the decrease in inflammation is awesome.
I’m not Edward, but I’ve been on a keto diet for 3 weeks. I don’t find it difficult at all. I’ve attended 2 birthday parties, and it’s easy to say “No thank you” when I’m offered cake because my health is my top priority. Drinking a lot of water to support the kidneys is an absolute must. Also, supplementing sodium, potassium and magnesium keeps electrolytes in balance. A Naturopathic doctor is a great source of information on true lifestyle modifications.
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.
Now, I know what you are going to say, “I can take a break from the diet anytime.” What do you think happens when you take that “break”? As soon as you start consuming a normal amount of carbohydrates again, you immediately go out of ketosis or the fat burning state, and your body starts storing fat again immediately. In other words, you immediately start gaining weight. So whatever weight you lost on the diet, you gain back right away. How healthy do you think it is for your body to be in a starvation mode, then in a feeding frenzy, making up for lost time?
102 of these subjects had type 2 diabetes. The subjects were divided into two groups: one consumed a low-calorie diet (LCD) while the other consumed a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD). Both also underwent equal exercise and nutritional training. Every four weeks, the researchers measured levels of waist circumference, blood glucose level, levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, and triglycerides.
The keto diet (also known as ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more1-6.On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.
People use a ketogenic diet most often to lose weight, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne, but there needs to be more research in those areas. Talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
As far as weight loss is concerned, I have heard great things from many who have switched to eating the Mediterranean way. Some were able to see results in just a few weeks…feeling better and losing a moderate amount of weight. From my personal experience, the only time I wasn’t eating the Mediterranean way was during my early years in college. I attended college in Michigan, and naturally, I ate whatever was available in the school cafeteria. Freshmen year, I gained nearly 30 lb. But lost it all without much effort in 2 months, when I returned home that summer and started to eat Mediterranean again. It’s important to say that the Mediterranean lifestyle is really a way of living, and one we commit to longer term, not necessarily a quick diet for the sake of losing weight. I always mention too that I have no medical or professional background to lend in the area of weight loss. If that is priority, a registered dietitian or someone with that kind of experience would be of help.
It is important to understand that the statement that carbohydrates are “nonessential” is not only factually inaccurate, it results in adopting a low-carbohydrate diet or ketogenic diet that increases your risk for a wide variety of chronic health conditions that may ultimately shorten lifespan, decrease your quality of life, and accelerate your risk for chronic disease.
My principal hope in this article is to provide journalists with a resource to do what basic journalism demands, namely to ensure that stories are scientifically balanced and accurate. At the end of this post I provide contacts for some of the credentialed experts who helped me compile this research. Reporters, please seek out these or other low-carb diet experts so you can provide accurate, up-to-date information for your readers.
It’s the same with a keto way of eating: there is a ton of research and studies out there, and we KNOW that it works. Sure, more studies will come, and the new information will help us refine it, and we will learn how it specifically affects certain individuals in different ways…but the truth about the basics of it are all there, in the open, for all to see.
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.
Slice 4 ounces raw chicken breast into small chunks to skewer on a kabob stick. Marinate at least 30 minutes to overnight in 1/4 cup fat-free Italian dressing. Slice remainder of white onion and green pepper from lunch into chunks; set out 10 grape tomatoes. Alternate pieces of marinated chicken, onion, pepper, and cherry tomatoes on skewers and grill. Serve with one 6-inch whole-wheat pita pocket, toasted over the grill. Spread pita with 2 tablespoons hummus. Finish with 1 cup fat-free milk mixed with 1 tablespoon strawberry drink mix. For added refreshment, freeze the flavored milk into a Popsicle mold the night before and enjoy this as a healthy dessert! Make three Popsicles and save the remainder for Tuesday's and Sunday's desserts.
Two additional shortcuts that can easily be worked into a DASH diet plan are meal prepping and batch cooking—both of which are important for quick, healthy eating. Meal prepping doesn’t have to mean cooking a full meal, either. It’s just preparing components that can be used to toss together a quick meal—like baking chicken breasts, roasting vegetables, and cooking a whole grain like quinoa. You can also minimize time spent in the kitchen by buying weekly salad greens, bags of pre-cut veggies, and prepping produce at the start of the week.
Similar to our results, three studies noted that diabetes medications were reduced in some participants[6,8,9], although details were provided in only one study. We also discontinued diuretic medications during diet initiation because of concern for additional diuresis incurred by the diet. This concern was based on the theoretical effects of the diet , observed effects of the diet on body water by bioelectric impedance , and practical experience with the diet . Until we learn more about using low carbohydrate diets, medical monitoring for hypoglycemia, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities is imperative in patients taking diabetes or diuretic medications.
Variations on the Johns Hopkins protocol are common. The initiation can be performed using outpatient clinics rather than requiring a stay in hospital. Often there is no initial fast (fasting increases the risk of acidosis and hypoglycaemia and weight loss). Rather than increasing meal sizes over the three-day initiation, some institutions maintain meal size but alter the ketogenic ratio from 2:1 to 4:1.
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.
First, that study, which was reported upon widely, was on mice. Mice are not like humans in the way they fatten or contract metabolic diseases. Journalists/media should stop reporting on mice stories as if they were applicable to humans, especially when there is such a large body of clinical trial data on humans. Let’s be clear: rigorous clinical trial data on humans trumps any data on mice. Every time. And what does the rigorous data on humans say?
The more recent study was conducted online to ascertain if this online approach proved effective in eliciting weight loss.1 Dr. Saslow's team randomly assigned the 12 participants to the Keto diet and lifestyle improvement group and another 13 individuals to the traditional low-fat diet known as the Plate Method,1 supported by the American Diabetes Association.
Use fat as a lever. We’ve been taught to fear fat, but don’t! Both keto and low carb are high fat diets. Fat is our source of energy as well as satiety. The key to understand, though, is that fat is a lever on a low carb or keto diet. Carbs and protein stay constant, and fat is the one you increase or decrease (push the lever up or down) to gain or lose weight, respectively. So if your goal is weight loss, eat enough fat to be satisfied, but there’s no need to “get your fats in” once you’re satisfied.
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.
When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.