The benefits of a ketogenic diet have been well documented for those living with Type 2 diabetes. Not only does the diet help manage blood sugar but it promotes weight loss as well. The results for those living with Type 1 are less conclusive. Many studies tend to address low carb diets like paleo and Atkins, which focus more on types of low carb food to eat, unlike a keto diet, which pays close attention to macronutrients and staying in ketosis. There seem to be fewer studies exploring the latter, but there is observational information that seems to indicate the diet offers a way to manage A1C levels and glycemic control. Many people with diabetes who abide by the keto diet have found that they significantly reduce their use of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from many things, with the greatest risk factors being weight, lifestyle and dietary habits contributing to its onset. Since the disease typically starts with a sedentary lifestyle paired with a poor diet, it makes sense to approach treatment with lifestyle changes. One effective strategy is adopting a ketogenic diet, a diet that’s proven to stabilize blood glucose and promote weight loss.
The struggle as a prescriber is that you have to follow the “standard of care,” lest you open yourself up to a lawsuit. So I talk to my patents about what “the” recommendations are, and then I talk to them bout what the evidence says and what my experience says. Plain and simple, patient’s trust the government’s recommendations and can’t wrap their head around the idea of not eating carbs because they have learned their entire lives that the body “needs” carbs to survive.
For some, ketosis can cause more negative than positive side effects. Dorena Rode, a 52-year-old author, and speaker from Occidental, California, tried the diet for a month and experienced heart palpitations and dizziness. Unlike Drew, Rode says her cholesterol increased from 192 to 250 mg/dL after she introduced more fat into her diet. (Less than 200 mg/dL is considered desirable, while anything over 240 mg/dL is considered high.)
If you want to use a ketogenic diet as a health tool, it would be wise to do so for no more than a few weeks at a time, as nobody knows how long is too long. And, of course, the period of time during which ketosis is safe can vary from individual to individual. Breaking ketosis is as easy as upping protein intake or having a glass of wine or whole piece of fruit.

"Most people who wind up trying a ketogenic diet and then deciding not to continue do so because of the emotional and lifestyle consequences," Turoff says. To put it simply, people miss eating carbohydrates. "That doesn't mean that you should be eating pizza or cupcakes every day, but what about having a sweet potato with a meal, or beans in a chili? Or fresh watermelon in the summer?" Turoff asks. "Whether or not we want to admit it, food plays much more than just a physical role in our lives and having such restrictions on the types of foods you can and can't eat can really take a toll. It might be easy in the short-term to go for carb-free foods but at a certain point, the thought of not being able to eat your favorite foods again can become daunting."
Considering these risks, people who have kidney damage (including those with type 2 diabetes), plus individuals with or at risk for heart disease, and pregnant or breastfeeding women, shouldn’t try the keto diet. Also, people with type 1 diabetes shouldn’t follow the plan because of the risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and anyone who has had their gallbladder removed should avoid it because the diet is so high in fat.
What is the keto diet? Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower, this low-carb diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because it changes the very “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized: namely, from burning glucose (or sugar) to dietary fat, courtesy of keto diet recipes and the keto diet food list items, including high-fat, low-carb foods.
In a March 2018 blog post, Dr. Ede provides a range of very helpful tips for anyone already on mood-altering or psychiatric medications who want to try a ketogenic diet, such as how to talk with your psychiatrist or mental-health provider and what laboratory metabolic tests the doctor should order to help monitor your response to the diet. Most importantly, she provides details about some specific medications — notably specific antipsychotic medications, anticonvulsant medications, and lithium — that should be carefully monitored.
Oh Mike, I just cried when I read this. Jesus…you are right on so many different levels. For you, this sacrifice is a total game changer. It’s changing every aspect of your life and yes I am very happy you were brave enough to divulge the erectile dysfunction (ED) issue also. It’s one of the biggest (no pun intended lol) issues for teens and men and the reason they get on board quickly with getting back on track! Once they learn their high blood sugars are the actual cause of the ED, they are extremely relieved and happy to learn any way to lower their blood glucose levels!
As with any diet, precautions need to be taken. Pregnant women and those with kidney disease are not good candidates for this diet, and some people with diabetes may find that the diet increases their insulin resistance. Dairy can often spike blood sugar, so avoiding the dairy in a keto diet and taking a Vitamin D supplement might be a better option for some people. It’s important to pay attention to the way your body responds and realize that no diet is a one-size-fits-all model.
As for individuals with type 2 diabetes, Dr. Galati says, "a very low carbohydrate diet could be tolerated, albeit with extreme caution. Transitioning to a ketogenic diet will require several lifestyle changes as well as careful monitoring of both your food intake and glucose levels and adjustments to your medications. Also, you should increase your water consumption." 
Meat is the only nutritionally complete food.  Animal foods (particularly when organ meats are included) contain all of the protein, fat, vitamins and minerals that humans need to function. They contain absolutely everything we need in just the right proportions. That makes sense, because for most of human history, these would have been the only foods available just about everywhere on the planet in all seasons.
Financial disclosures: There were no conflicts of interest reported except for Dr Bernstein who has received royalties for books on the management of diabetes (which were used by members of the online social media group surveyed in this study). Dr. Hallberg who holds stock options and receives research support from Virta Health, and consulting fees from Atkins. Dr. Rhodes is the site principal investigator in clinical trials for pediatric type 2 diabetes that are sponsored by Merck and AstraZeneca. Dr. Westman has an ownership interest in companies using low-carbohydrate principles, and he receives royalties for books related to low-carbohydrate diets. Dr. Ludwig has received royalties from books on nutrition and obesity; and Dr. Galati is author of Eating Yourself Sick: How to stop obesity, fatty liver, and diabetes from killing you and your family (2018).
I am curious about what has been referred to as “keto rash”. I decided to shift from a GAPS Diet to a ketogenic one. I wasn’t tracking my carbs specifically and was doing well. Then I developed this rash on various parts of my body. I originally thought it might have been either pecan or MCT (C8) that I started having, but I have eliminated both of those. Then I did some research and realized that others have also experienced this rash after starting a strict Ketogenic Diet. There are a few solutions running about–most of which include introducing carbs at higher levels. Antibiotics were also listed. Anyway, I was wondering if you have run across this type of rash as it relates to starting a low-carb diet? Any thoughts, Dr. Jockers?
Experts are split on whether the keto diet is a good idea. On the one hand, Lori Chang, registered dietitian and a supervisor at the Center for Healthy Living at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles, says using a “cleaner” source of energy—ketones rather than quick-burning carbohydrates—can improve mood and energy levels. When you eat refined carbohydrates or just too many carbs in general, the blood is flooded with excess insulin, Chang says. "This can lead to a blood sugar rollercoaster that stresses the body and negatively impacts energy levels and mood. When you’re in a state of ketosis, however, ketone bodies don’t require insulin to cross the blood-brain barrier, which wards off unfavorable blood sugar levels."
Anecdotally speaking, people do lose weight on the keto diet. Heather Wharton, a 35-year-old business relationship manager from Tampa, Florida, lost 140 pounds since starting the keto diet in January 2016: “I plan on being on the keto diet for the rest of my life,” says Wharton. “My husband and I consider ourselves to be food addicts, and the keto diet is what we use as a form of abstinence from trigger foods that have sugar and other carbohydrates." A typical day of eating for Wharton includes coffee with a protein supplement, a cup of unsweetened cashew milk, cauliflower rice with ground turkey and liquid aminos (a carb-free substitute for soy sauce), spinach, six slices of turkey bacon, six eggs, and a little salsa.
Before the discovery of neuroplasticity, scientists believed that a damaged brain cannot regenerate. However, by improving mitochondria health, reducing inflammation, and stimulating cellular cleanup, ketogenic diets can help a damaged brain repair itself. Thus, the ketogenic diet is almost a miracle for many brain diseases that were thought of as incurable.
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One of the boldest claims about the keto diet is that it can help combat cancer by effectively "starving" cancer cells. It's a claim based on a phenomenon dubbed the "Warburg effect", which, in simple terms, describes how cancer cells are more reliant on sugar than healthy cells. So, the idea is that sticking to a low-carbohydrate diet will make it harder for cancer cells to thrive.
Dr. Campos, it is so discouraging to see that you disparage the ketogenic diet based on your assumption that it is very heavy in poor quality processed meats. No diet that relies on processed foods can be viewed as “healthy”. Become better informed by getting up to speed with what Jeff Volek, RD, PhD, calls a “well-formulated ketogenic diet.” Also, learn more about the potential of the diet to slow cancer progression (my specialty). You owe it to your patients who are depending on you for advice. Present them with facts, not opinions.
"Most of the work in this field is still pre-clinical, meaning it's been conducted in animal models," Angela Poff, a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida, told U.S. News & World Report. "It's been done in various cancer types, but most of the work has been done in brain cancer specifically. But there's very little clinical data all around. There's some case reports and very small preliminary clinical studies in small groups of patients, usually very late-stage patients with various types of cancers. So in the clinical realm, which is the most important in telling us whether this is going to be useful, we have a long way to go."
I have enough carbs in a day for all my needs. Just eating proteins alone raise the insuline level, enough for muscles preservation. And I top it with vegetables. I have more than enough. I just to be clear, I don’t think the human body is dumb enough to burn a lot of muscles when you have 100 pounds of stored fat. Why the body don’t store proteins, if it prefers that? Modern nutrition take our body – and us – for fools!
You are likely to realize that your body has achieved ketosis because you may have a dry mouth, increased thirst, and find yourself needing to urinate more frequently, Dr. Goss says. “You are ridding your body not only of ketones but electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium,” which may lead to dehydration, she says, so drinking plenty of fluids will help reduce any problems even if it means more trips the bathroom. “Bad breath is also commonly noticed as a result of the body trying to eliminate acetones produced during ketosis.”    
Researchers note that subjects taking between 40 to 90 units of insulin before the study were able to completely eliminate their insulin use while also improving blood sugar control! They also point out that this effect happens “immediately upon implementing the dietary changes” so people with type 2 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar closely and likely adjust their medication dosages/needs with the help of their doctors.
If you are pregnant or are nursing, you should not follow a Ketogenic diet. You will not receive enough of the recommended carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients necessary for yourself and your growing baby on this diet. Your obstetrician will recommend how many carbohydrates you should consume per meal and for snacks during each phase of your pregnancy. They will likely refer you to a Certified Diabetes Educator for nutritional counseling as well. Please check out The Diabetes Council’s FAQ’ About Gestational Diabetes for all your gestational diabetes related questions.
What is the ketogenic diet exactly? The classic ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet plan that was originally designed in the 1920s for patients with epilepsy by researchers working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Researchers found that fasting — avoiding consumption of all foods for a brief period of time (such as with intermittent fasting), including those that provide carbohydrates — helped reduce the amount of seizures patients suffered, in addition to having other positive effects on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and hunger levels. (1)
The Ketogenic Diet is a low carbohydrate diet, consisting initially of less than 20 carbohydrates per day. Not per meal, yes, you heard me correctly, per day. It is not for the faint of heart and yes I am writing from experience. Of course I have tried it! Hasn’t everybody in America at some point who has wanted to lose weight? Does it work you ask? Of course it does! The problem is how long can you keep it up?

No one is trying to diminish your success, but it does not work for everyone, and studies show it can have long term negative effects on your overall health. If you look at the Meta-analysis it shows a calorie restricted diet and Keto for 12 weeks had the same weight loss. There are also many studies that suggest looking back at people after one year those on a calorie restricted diet kept more of their weight off. The only one it does better than is just a low fat diet, which Dieticians stopped suggesting long ago. And as Health Care professionals we read the “REAL SCIENCE” not the internet articles, You Tube, Blog, book writers. One of the books written about it by Dr. Jason Fung. Have you looked him up on PUBMED? He has not written one article published in a real medical journal to be such an expert. It is not magic, it is not a cure. If you like the diet and it does not mess up your cholesterol then so be it but promoting it to others not knowing their medical history can be dangerous. What people don’t realize is that for year’s we have known that if you lose 7-10% of your own body weight your blood sugars will improve, cholesterol, and blood pressure. But you don’t have to do the fasting and put more burden on your Liver or potentially increase your risk for cardiac problems eating such high fat. If you do high fat at least do plant fats and not animal fats. But of course everyone is happy with your success but just keep a tab on your lab work.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself parched while you’re on the keto diet. Excreting all that extra water will likely cause a spike in thirst—so make it a point to drink up, Mancinelli advises. There’s no hard and fast recommendation for how much water you should be having on a keto diet. But in general, aim to drink enough so your urine is clear or pale yellow. If it’s any darker, bump your intake.

Good article. A friend at work is stating this diet and of course being new at it, he is quite the Zealot. I have been into nutrition and exercise for over 40 years (57 years old now). I have tried s few different eating philosophies (I never use the word the word diet. Negative connotation and dieting isn’t good the way most practice it.). Eating Keto style and the logic behind it aren’t too different than some others. And you pointed out many of the misconceptions about cholesterol and triglycerides ect. For about the last 20 plus years I have pretty much followed a “Zone” type diet. 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein. And I always get weird looks at the 30% fat part. Well, I’m 57 with 7% body fat. Not bad for and old guy. I work out and I supplement with protein as I lift weights. It’s worked well. The ratios may be different, but the emphasis on vegetable carbs and good fats are the key to either way to eat. There were only a couple things that kinda struck me as something that made me go hmmmmm. Using the Inuit people isn’t a good example really. They have evolved some different physical features over hundreds of years than we have. And there is no evidence if ketosis occurring in examination. And somehow when you mention eating large amounts of animal fat, just hit me as counterintuitive. It’s a much different fat than an avocado. Finally, and this is just me, I love fruit. True it’s probably less efficient, but its good, sweet, and beats the hell outta donuts for your health. It fulfills the reward need many of us have. I also feel if God put it on the earth naturally, it’s got a place in our food source. I’ve had a philosophy about excersise that’s served me well. What’s the best exercise? The one that you’ll do regularly. Get up and move and find out what works for your own body. It applies to good too. If you feel deprived or for various reasons can’t stay on the supposed best food program, what good is it? But if you stay with more natural and Balanced foods that usually leads to more energy then more and regular excerise. Check in. It looks like it’s been 2 years since you wrote this. I’d live to hear how your doing.


Despite its explosive popularity, there’s a lot of confusion about what the ketogenic (keto) diet really is. “Many people think they’re following a keto diet when they’re really just consuming a low-carbohydrate diet,” says Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. “So one person’s ‘keto diet’ may look very different than another’s.”
There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).
Like the stress response, ketosis is a natural, physiological adaptation designed for short-term responses. In other words, an acute stress response to some danger or threat that involves increased adrenaline and cortisol release, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and heightened alertness is normal and can even save your life. But, if the stress response becomes chronic, as it may with divorce, prolonged caretaking of an impaired child or demented adult, PTSD, financial struggles, etc., then the stress response can have terrible health implications that include increased risk for Alzheimer’s dementia, heart disease, dysbiosis, inflammation, diabetes, and cancer. The same applies to ketosis: Acutely, ketosis is a normal physiological adaptation that serves us during periods of carbohydrate or calorie deprivation. Chronically, however, peculiar things happen with consequences that range from constipation, to selenium deficiency and cardiomyopathies, to colon cancer.
In general, men tend to do better on a long term ketogenic diet than women do. From my own research and experimentation, women can follow a keto diet, but with some adaptions. Most women will do well with a cyclical ketogenic diet when they stay on ketogenic diet most of the time and eat starchy carbohydrates occasionally to spike calories and carbs.
"Electrolyte imbalances can also be common if keto followers aren't aware of hydration needs," Turoff says. It's important to stay hydrated on keto, she says, especially in the beginning. "As you limit carbohydrates, your body produces less insulin, and glycogen stores (how carbs are stored) in the muscles and liver are depleted. For every 1 gram of glycogen that's depleted, you lose about 3 grams of water." This causes the kidneys to flush out more water, and along with it, electrolytes your body needs like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. "Imbalanced electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, cognitive distortions, and lack of body temperature control," Turoff says. Some people may also be more likely to get kidney stones while on keto due to inadequate hydration, according to Turoff. (PS: These Are the Hydration Tips Every Fit Girl Needs.)
Use a Magnesium Supplement: Unless you are experiencing diarrhea, a magnesium supplement can work great for helping balance electrolytes and hydration levels. As you can see, magnesium can help keto-adaptation in many ways. Using 1 gram of the L-threonate form 3x daily is my general recommendation. If diarrhea occurs, lower to once or twice a day until it subsides.
Parkinson’s Disease Because these patients are at a higher risk for dementia, researchers like Robert Krikorian, PhD, professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the division of psychology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, are studying how inducing nutritional ketosis may be used to preserve cognitive functioning.
Recommendations: If conventional therapies are not helping you or your child lower the frequency of seizures, strongly consider using a ketogenic diet. Remember to discuss a suitable plan with your doctor and a registered dietitian, and monitor its effectiveness. Use Ruled.me to gain access to critical information on the keto lifestyle and community that will help you stick to the diet.
A related clinical diet for drug-resistant epilepsy is called the medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet, in which MCT oil is extensively used because it’s more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides. (13) Another dietary therapy for epilepsy called Low Glycemic Index Treatment (LGIT) was developed in 2002 as an alternative to the keto diet. LGIT monitors the total amount of carbohydrates consumed daily, and focuses on carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.) (14)
Examples include non-starchy fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, mushrooms, bell peppers, and berries. The trace minerals and vitamins found in grains can also be obtained at higher percentages in good-quality meats and dairy products. Moreover, compounds such as phytates and tannins in grains hinder the bioavailability of several minerals.13
I started on a strict keto diet one year ago, and it has been the easiest diet I have ever been on. I was prediabetic before the diet, and now am not. My triglycerides are lower ( in normal range) and my good cholesterol is high. I am at lower than normal risk for heart disease because of my cholesterol ratios. I was not overweight to start with, am not now….and have not changed my weight at all. So the good effects are due solely to the diet change and not weight loss, which the author implies throughout the article that it is the weight loss that causes the good effects….not so. I am a veterinarian and believe in good medicine. This diet makes sense biochemically for those with diabetes or prediabetes.

The keto diet may also be beneficial for adults with epilepsy, though the Epilepsy Foundation notes that it’s less frequently recommended for this group because it is so restrictive and difficult to stick with. (1) One study, published in May 2016 in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior, found the diet reduced the frequency of seizures for many study participants, 7 percent of whom were seizure-free at the four-year mark. (2) And though it wasn’t the goal for this study, nearly 20 percent of the participants lost weight while following the diet.
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