Factor in diabetes and this task can suddenly seem like an insurmountable obstacle overcome only by the most health-conscious fitness guru. Some diets are clearly fads, popping up into existence seemingly overnight, selling books and recipes and often food itself, only to fade into the twilight and be overtaken the next day by yet another set of guidelines by which we are to become, optimistically, the best self we can be. There are seemingly endless options to curate a diet to meet every notion or need. So what about the ketogenic diet? Is it a fad that will one day be supplanted by the next newest way to eat, or will the science behind it ensure it keeps a lifelong and loyal following? And if the latter, what role can it play in the lives of those living with diabetes? Ketogenic diets were first proposed as a way to control epileptic seizures in children. Before keto diets, epileptics often fasted to reduce seizures, so the keto diet offered a less restrictive alternative.
Stories of people who have reportedly lost a lot of weight on very-low carbohydrate ketogenic diets seem to be everywhere. Ketogenic diets have been used for years as a medically prescribed treatment for difficult cases of epilepsy, especially in children. The original Atkins diet included an initial ketogenic phase. But key questions remain: Can they help control diabetes? Are ketogenic diets more effective than other weight-loss diets? Are they safe? Not your typical low-carb diets. Ketogenic diets are very low in carbs and typically very high in fat. Fat becomes the primary energy source and also fuels the amino-acid-to-glucose conversion. The breakdown of fat and to a lesser extent protein and its constituent amino acids generates compounds called ketones, which can be used for energy by the body including the brain, though not as efficiently as glucose. This metabolic state, known as ketosis, is an adaptation that occurs during starvation as well as in certain diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes and alcoholism.
If you are considering the keto diet, we recommend that you talk to your physician and care team. Kabir M. Autoimmune Diseases. Diabetes News. Diabetes Obes. Ludwig D. Gomez-Marin B. Hall K. Beyond Type 1 App. Insulin is the most potent anabolic hormone that promotes glucose uptake into tissues, suppresses release of fatty acid from adipose tissue, inhibits production of ketones from liver and stimulates fat and glycogen deposition.
Leadership Council. Learn more about Food and Diabetes. Effect of dietary carbohydrate restriction on glycemic control in adults with diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis.