A slew of articles in recent months have referred to the ketogenic diet as a “fad” or “trend.” It’s “dangerous,” claimed one article, and an anonymous post by the Harvard Public School of Public Health said the diet “comes with serious risks.”1 Yet strangely, these critics seldom cite scientists or doctors who work with the diet, and many—including the Harvard article—cite no medical literature to substantiate their allegations. Without substantiation, many simply rehash long-contradicted, outdated claims.
Another difference between older and newer studies is that the type of patients treated with the ketogenic diet has changed over time. When first developed and used, the ketogenic diet was not a treatment of last resort; in contrast, the children in modern studies have already tried and failed a number of anticonvulsant drugs, so may be assumed to have more difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Early and modern studies also differ because the treatment protocol has changed. In older protocols, the diet was initiated with a prolonged fast, designed to lose 5–10% body weight, and heavily restricted the calorie intake. Concerns over child health and growth led to a relaxation of the diet's restrictions. Fluid restriction was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of constipation and kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial.
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.
Swanson, a professor of neurology who has researched the impacts of ketogenic diets on inflammation in the brain, got curious about the ketogenic diet when trying to treat the inflammation that persists for days after a person suffers a stroke. When he tried inducing a ketogenic state in mice with stroke injuries, he said, “I was overwhelmed by the effect.” Blocking glucose metabolism worked to suppress inflammatory genes, which in turn helped stroke healing.
Sesame seeds likely aren’t one of those foods you pay any mind to, but the crunchy little buggers have been shown to play a crucial role in weight maintenance and deserve to be tossed into a salad or whole wheat noodle dish. Researchers suspect its the lignans—plant compounds—found in sesame seeds (and flax seeds) that makes them so special. In a 2015 study, women who consumed high levels of lignans tended to weigh less and gain less weight over time when compared to women who didn’t consume these compounds in high amounts.
Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
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:
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.
While studies have demonstrated the weight-loss benefits of the diet, Grandl says, several recent studies that apply more rigorous research techniques to study insulin resistance have suggested detrimental effects. The new study, published in August 2018 in the Journal of Physiology, aimed to better understand the basic biological processes that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and the early effects of the ketogenic diet. What people eat impacts the release of glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream. High glucose levels can, over time, cause insulin resistance. Insulin is the substance released in the body to help manage and regulate sugar in the blood at healthy levels.
Hi Kelly, All packaged foods will have a nutrition label that list the macros per serving, including fat, protein and cabrohydrates. Net carbs, which is what most people look at for low carb and keto, are total carbs (the amount on the label) minus fiber and sugar alcohols, as explained in the article above. I have a low carb food list here that gives you a full list of all the foods you can eat, and the net carbs in each. You can also sign up above to be notified about the meal plans, which are a great way to get started.
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.
The fad military diet consists of low-calorie, odd food pairings such as bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli. “Any diet like the military diet that severely limits the amount of calories you consume or eliminates one or more entire food groups puts any individual at risk for nutrient deficiencies,” says Kyle. “This can be more harmful than holding onto those 10 extra lb you’re trying to lose.” (32)
The Keto diet versus Plate Method study triggered some challenges and a bit of criticism. In an editorial, Andrew Reynolds, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand, suggests that the much better results in those on the ketogenic diet may be due not to the diet itself but to the lifestyle changes and ongoing support that keto diet group received.5
Water is a weight loss ally in a number of ways. For starters, if sipped prior to a meal it can help ensure you eat less. A British study published in the journal Obesity that asked participants to chug 16 ounces of H2O prior to eating found said participants lost an average of 2.87 pounds in 90 days—which translates to nearly 12 pounds in a year! Water helps you blast even more fat because it is a much better beverage choice than diet soda or fruit juice, both of which are full of artificial sweeteners that can pack on belly fat super fast.
A small, randomized crossover study published in the Journal of Diabetes Sciences and Technology found that after three months, people who followed a modified, low-carb paleo diet saw greater reductions in their A1C, their triglycerides, their diastolic blood pressure, and their weight than those who followed a traditional diabetes diet. (The approach also increased their levels of LDL, or "good” cholesterol.) The diabetes diet in the study involved consuming no more than 6 g of salt per day, reducing saturated fat and total fat intake, and upping intake of veggies, fiber, whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Compared with the diabetes diet, the paleo diet involved eating less dairy, beans, potatoes, and cereals, and more veggies, fruit, meat, and eggs.
One study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, found a group of 28 people with type 2 diabetes overall lost about 6 percent of their body weight and lowered their blood glucose levels when they followed a keto diet for 16 weeks. The authors recommended individuals on this diet who have diabetes be under close medical supervision, and noted more research is needed on the diet’s long-term effects because the study was small and short term.
With fats being my main source of calories, my body and energy levels have never been better. When I educated myself on it and understood the science behind it, it was clear to see why my joints started feeling better, and ailments started to go away. I now have more “oil” lubricating my cells so they’re more receptive/flexible/malleable to the nutrients in my foods. People can loose weight very fast, but honestly the first 10lbs or so is a lot of water weight so that’s really nothing to write home about.
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!
These affect your brain and spine, as well as the nerves that link them together. Epilepsy is one, but others may be helped by a ketogenic diet as well, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect your brain cells from damage.
While the American Diabetes Association notes that many individuals with the disease or its precursor, prediabetes, employ carb counting to control their blood sugar on a regular basis, others have turned to ultra-low-carb diets as a way to manage their symptoms. These diets are highly restrictive and often limit followers to consuming no more than 20 grams (g) of carbs per day, usually with no added sugar, and, depending on the diet, increased protein and fat. Experts say they rarely have patients who ask about following a ketogenic diet or a modified paleo diet long term, but they can be useful for short-term weight loss if done properly.
While the ketogenic diet is straightforward, it does require careful monitoring. You should begin by having your doctor check your blood glucose and ketone levels. Once you’ve been on the diet for some time and your body has adjusted to using fat for fuel, it’s still a good idea to see your doctor once a month for testing and to determine if your medications need any adjustments. And, even though you will most likely see your symptoms improve on this diet, be sure to regularly monitor your blood glucose at home, ideally before and after meals.
In a bowl, combine 7 1/2 ounces (half a 15-ounce can) canned chickpeas (rinse in a colander for two minutes to remove excess sodium and drain well; save other half for Tuesday's snack), 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper (save the rest of the onion and pepper for dinner), 1 tablespoon sliced black olives, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Serve mixture over 2 cups romaine lettuce leaves.
Urine ketone data were missing in a median of 4 participants (range 0–8) at any given visit. The proportion of participants with a urine ketone reading greater than trace was 1 of 17 participants at baseline, 5 of 17 participants at week 2, and similar frequencies at subsequent visits until week 14 when 2 of 18 participants had readings greater than trace and week 16 when 2 of 21 participants had readings greater than trace. During the study, only 27 of 151 urine ketone measurements were greater than trace, with one participant accounting for all 7 occurrences of the highest urine ketone reading (large160).
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids. Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.
Aude, Y., A. S, Agatston, F. Lopez-Jimenez, et al. “The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat: A Randomized Trial.” JAMA Internal Medicine 164, no. 19 (2004): 2141–46. doi: 10.1001/archinte.164.19.2141. jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/217514.
Finding keto-friendly foods can be difficult at social gatherings — so consider bringing your own snacks. “If I know the restaurant where I’m meeting my family or friends, I usually look through the menu in advance and see if there’s something I can eat,” says Lele. “Salads are generally safe, with ranch or another low-carb dressing and a non-marinated protein. There are a lot of hidden carbs in restaurant food!”
2- Eat more vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. The base of the Mediterranean diet pyramid should make up the base of every meal. When you can, opt for vegetarian entrees like this Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew; Spicy Spinach and Lentil Soup; or Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie). Rely more on satisfying, flavor-packed salads to make up a good portion of your plate. Some ideas: Kindey Bean Salad; Mediterranean Chickpea Salad; Greek Salad; Bean and Lentil Salad.
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.
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.
We really do only want to try and share the knowledge we have through seeing thousands of different patients with complex issues over decades with all of you. Physicians jump at the chance to have a CDE see their patients in their practice or in the hospital because they know our value. They know how thorough we are when assessing their patients and often find issues that may have been overlooked for years. It’s all we do all day, so it’s our specialty…diabetes. We live and breathe it and are very passionate about helping people overcome their hurdles. I do hope sharing some of my personal experience with all of you will help, but I am here if you all have more questions anytime!
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.
The basal metabolic rate per gram of body weight is seven times greater in mice than in humans. Organisms with large mass-specific metabolic rates typically show relatively large deviations from "normal" values because of a weak capacity to maintain homeostasis. Mice, which have a higher mass-specific metabolic rate, have a weak capacity to maintain cellular homeostasis; humans have a lower mass-specific metabolic rate, and a strong capacity to maintain cellular homeostasis. Mice are not small people, and "everyone else did it" is not a sound experimental design rationale.
In its 2016 report “Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice,” the Public Health Collaboration, a U.K. nonprofit, evaluated evidence on low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets. (The Keto diet falls under the LCHF umbrella.) Among 53 randomized clinical trials comparing LCHF diets to calorie-counting, low-fat diets, a majority of studies showed greater weight loss for the Keto-type diets, along with more beneficial health outcomes. The collaboration recommends weight-loss guidelines that include a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet of real (rather than processed) foods as an acceptable, effective and safe approach.