Diabetes is said to be a ‘progressive, chronic’ disease – incurable, in other words. Recently, case reports and clinical studies have accumulated claiming diabetes reversal with a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Many will debate if ‘reversal’ is the right term since adding in sugar and flour will bring their diabetes back. Nevertheless, there remains no doubt that people with diabetes benefit from these kinds of diets [1]. For diabetics, both type 1’s and type 2’s, a well-formulated low-carb or ketogenic diet should be the first line of lifestyle treatment.


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 research on ketogenic diets also suggests you'll need to take a multivitamin to get enough minerals, calcium and vitamin D — most of which are readily available in plant-based foods. One keto-specific example: Not getting enough selenium, an immune-boosting antioxidant found in plant foods, can cause cardiomyopathy, a hardening of the heart muscle leading to heart failure.
While many of the problems that develop with prolonged ketosis may be addressed simply by minding intake of prebiotic fibers, not all are, such as selenium deficiency and stunted growth. (Note that the ideal intake of prebiotic fibers, the level we aim for in Wheat Belly and Undoctored programs, is 20 or more grams per day.) Some have argued that higher beta-hydroxybutyrate ketone levels that develop with a ketogenic diet is all you need to do to maintain healthy bowel flora, but this is a huge extrapolation that does not make sense in light of the newest insights into the microbiome and its metabolites. It ignores the role of hundreds of other microbial metabolites that are required and/or produced that are changed with prolonged deprivation of prebiotic fibers. Also, some have blamed the adverse long-term effects in kids on the seizure medications they take, but the side-effects of, say, drugs such as tegretol, valproic acid, or topiramate do not include the above phenomena.

Perhaps the biggest anecdotal evidence on ketosis slowing down MS is the story of Dr. Terry Wahls. Dr. Wahls overcame being wheelchair bound after trying various drugs and conventional therapies without success. Eventually, she turned to dietary changes – including following a ketogenic diet – and a lot of her symptoms disappeared. She now lives an active life, riding horses and going on long treks. She shares her story and the protocol she developed in the book The Whals Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles.


Look for natural sources of electrolytes or take an over-the-counter supplement. “Avocados, leafy greens, asparagus, and cruciferous veggies are great for providing important electrolytes, says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, a certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist. Dr. Axe also suggests a magnesium supplement to help you sleep and avoid cramps or constipation.
Ketosis has a protein-sparing effect, assuming that you are consuming adequate quantities of protein and calories—0.7 grams per pound of body weight per day—in the first place.[1] Once in ketosis, the body actually prefers ketones to glucose. Since the body has copious quantities of fat, this means there is no need to oxidize protein to generate glucose through gluconeogenesis.
Adding salt to food might be new to you, since most people are used to being told to limit salt intake. However, when you’re eating a ketogenic diet of less than 60 carbohydrates each day, you’ll need to make up for this loss of salt. That being said, those with high blood pressure who take medication should check with their doctors before making a change.
Those issues can be part of what's known as the “keto flu,” Warren says. Other side effects of the keto diet, all of which are tied to carb withdrawal, can include lightheadedness, nausea, mental fog, cramps, and headaches, in addition to tiredness. Luckily, the keto flu doesn't usually last more than a week—which is coincidentally about when people start to see the number on the scale go down, says Warren.
Great article! Sustainability is key and Keto diet is extremely restrictive compared to others. Many of the comments I see don’t understand the importance of many years of research before stating something has a “significant difference” than the recommendations that are already in place. Also, understanding the pro/carb/fat balance in each meal instead of focusing on just carbohydrates. We have practiced the same modified Mediterranean diet at my practice where someone can enjoy life, eat complex carbohydrates and years later they are still successful and hundreds of pounds have been lost for good 🙂 Thank you for the reminder (and the comparison of Adkins supported research).
A second counterintuitive approach to healing the gut for children who are having a hard time gaining is to encourage a nice long ‘fast’ over night.  When the gut is less full, and the body can digest the food that’s in there completely and then it can repair an inflamed or leaky gut better.   If the gut is inflamed, food may be passing right through without being absorbed.  In addition, growth hormone raises during periods of fasting.

Long-term disruption of menstruation can bring on serious side effects, including low bone density. “This is because estrogen is very important to bone health,” says Yawitz. “Studies have also found prolonged menstrual irregularity to increase risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. It’s important to contact your ob-gyn if your cycles become irregular or if you stop having periods.”


But there is evidence that low-carb diets may increase metabolism, according to a paper published November 14 in BMJ. Researchers found that overweight adults who lowered carbohydrates and added more fat into their diets burned about 250 calories more each day than people on high-carb, low-fat diets. The study is impressive because it's the largest, most expensive, and controlled study of its kind.
What are the side effects of the ketogenic diet?  It’s not uncommon for people beginning the keto diet to experience “keto flu” symptoms, which can include: irritability, cravings, menstruation issues in women, constipation, fatigue, headaches and poor exercise performance. These side effects are due to the body going through major metabolic shifts and essentially withdrawing from carbs and sugar.
Lazy keto diet: Last but not least, the Lazy keto diet often gets confused with dirty keto … but they’re different, as the “lazy” refers to simply not carefully tracking the fat and protein macros (or calories, for that matter). Meanwhile, the one aspect that remains strict? Not eating over 20 net carb grams per day. Some people find this version less intimidating to start with or end with … but I will caution that your results will be less impressive.
Foods that are emphasized as part of an alkaline keto diet include non-starchy vegetables, raw foods, green juices, lean proteins and lots of healthy fats. Foods that are high in sugar, carbs and acidic that should be avoided include: added sugar, high-sodium foods, processed grains, too much meat and animal protein, milk and dairy products, alcohol and caffeine.

Consider Using Exogenous Ketones:  Providing pre-formed ketones takes stress off of the body and improves the bodies ability to use ketones as a fuel sources.  This, in turn, improves the bodies ability to make its own ketones and speeds up the keto adaptation process.  The best is when you take exogenous ketones with adaptogens which help stabilize blood sugar, improve the stress response and support your brain.  I recommend Keto Edge as the best all round exogenous ketone, adaptogen mix.


Brain fog and a lack of focus can be caused by having too much glutamate and very little GABA. This will happen if your brain has to use glutamate and glutamic acid for fuel, which leaves little left over to be processed into GABA. By giving the brain another form of energy when you break down ketones, you’re able to balance out the neurotransmitter production.


Author’s note: I want to stress again the importance of consulting with your doctor before you try ketogenic dieting. The more I study this area of science, the more I realize that every individual is extremely unique when it comes to health issues and there are a ton of reasons why you should NOT go full-on keto (especially if you are prone to kidney, heart, or gallbladder issues). That being said, for many people this form of eating is life changing, and the amount of scientific research supporting a ketogenic lifestyle is significantly increasing. Subscribe to my newsletter to stay posted when I publish new articles, and I’d appreciate any and all feedback/corrections on the content I’ve written above. Thanks! (Image credit)
Registered dietitian Julie Stefanski is based in York and has specialized in the ketogenic diet for more than a decade. She also advocates for anyone starting keto, especially individuals who have not seen a doctor in more than a year, to first see a physician and/or registered dietitian to have their lab work checked and monitored. She also notes there are certain medications that cannot be used while on a ketogenic diet.  
While the science of nerve signaling and genetic mutations is incredibly complex, it makes sense that a therapy, the ketogenic diet, that has been used successfully in epilepsy for 100 years might be helpful in conditions that share some similar features. Could changing the brain’s fuel, help change the malfunctions in its nerve cell firings and neuron excitability?
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." 
The mean initial weight of the subjects was 101.03±2.33 kg. The weight decreased significantly during all stages of the treatment period. The body weights at the eighth, 16th and 24th week were 91.10±2.76 kg, 89.39±3.4 kg and 86.67±3.70 kg, respectively (Figure 1). Similar to the loss in body weight, a significant decrease was observed in the BMI of the patients following the administration of the ketogenic diet. The initial BMI, and the BMI after the eighth, 16th and 24th week were 37.77±0.79 kg/m2, 33.90±0.83 kg/m2, 33.24±1.00 kg/m2 and 32.06±1.13 kg/m2, respectively (Figure 2).
Ketosis has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties while also assisting with pain relief. Reducing glucose metabolism influences pain, so this could be one potential mechanism of action. In the review The Nervous System and Metabolic Dysregulation: Emerging Evidence Converges on Ketogenic Diet Therapy the authors look at numerous ways that a ketogenic diet can assist with pain and inflammation.

Resistant starches can be included as part of a ketogenic diet or as a supplement because it has minimal effects on blood sugar, so it doesn’t disrupt the state of ketosis. Resistant starches not only feed good bacteria in the gut but can also get fermented into substances that are beneficial for health. (Read this post to learn more about the health benefits of resistant starches and how to use them.)
He was wrong. Originally used for epilepsy, studies show that keto diets are far from dangerous. In fact, they benefit numerous conditions, including cancer, dementia, and overweight/obesity, and modern history only supports these claims. During the early 19th century, physicians had dramatic success implementing keto diets, yet they eventually found that prescribing drugs was much easier that than scrupulously monitoring what people ate. (1) 
But people who started following the keto diet noticed weight loss for a few reasons: When you eat carbs, your body retains fluid in order to store carbs for energy (you know, in case it needs it). But when you’re not having much in the carb department, you lose this water weight, says Warren. Also, it's easy to go overboard on carbohydrates—but if you're loading up on fat, it may help curb cravings since it keeps you satisfied.
Reduces mitochondrial free radial production, which decreases oxidative stress. Research demonstrates that the ketogenic diet reduces free radical levels in the brain. Furthermore, studies in cardiac tissue have suggested that ketones reduce oxidative stress, a pathogenic process implicated in many disorders ranging from atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries) to other diseases more specific to the nervous system.
In one study they were testing the endurance of the Mice by giving on group MCTs in their daily food, and the other group of mice LCTs. The study lasted for 6 weeks. The total swimming time until exhaustion was measured, and at first there was no difference. As the weeks went by, those fed MCTs quickly began to out-perform the others and continued to improve throughout the testing period.
A ketone body (KB) is a byproduct formed during the conversion of fatty acids to fuel. Some fatty acids are oxidized by the liver for energy production. Others can be partially oxidized to form the substrate acetoacetate, which is then converted to beta-hydroxybutyric acid; collectively, these are termed ketone bodies. Ketones can be used by all tissue containing mitochondria, which includes muscle and the brain.
After about two to seven days of following the keto diet, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. That's when you start making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs. At this point, your body also starts burning fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.
We have solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.
Your body uses the carbohydrates you eat for energy, so if we restrict how many carbohydrates we eat, the body has to get its fuel source from fat. A byproduct of this fat burning state are ketones which are produced; this is called nutritional ketosis. You can determine if you are in this fat burning state by purchasing urine ketone testing strips from your local pharmacy.
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.
According to Dr. Cabeca, “Fasting is a key aspect of a healthy diet and has many anti-aging effects.” In particular Dr. Cabeca recommends fasting to women during or after menopause due to it’s anti-aging effects. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when women went 12.5 hours between dinner and breakfast (a common form of fasting), the overnight fast seemed to help improve immune system functioning to the point that it reduced their risk for breast cancer. (03) 
Long-term disruption of menstruation can bring on serious side effects, including low bone density. “This is because estrogen is very important to bone health,” says Yawitz. “Studies have also found prolonged menstrual irregularity to increase risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. It’s important to contact your ob-gyn if your cycles become irregular or if you stop having periods.”

Klein S, Sheard NF, Pi-Sunyer S, Daly A, Wylie-Rosett J, Kulkarni K, Clark NG. Weight management through lifestyle modification for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: rationale and strategies. A statement of the American Diabetes Association, the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:257–263. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
What is more common throughout the history of the human race is fasting. Islamic Ramadan is a 28- to 30-day fast where food and drink are prohibited during the daylight hours. Christianity also has a strong fasting foundation, and in the Bible, Jesus fasted to have higher and clearer communication with God. Greek Orthodox Christians fast for a total of 150–200 days each year!
During the first few weeks of the ketogenic diet, the body has to go through the "metabolic shift," as Dr. Mauro DiPasquale calls it. While going through this, the body will experience a small degree of fatigue, brain fog, and even dehydration due to the increased water loss associated with ketoic-induced diuresis and water loss from depletion of glycogen stores.

In regard to serum measurements, the mean fasting glucose decreased by 17% from 9.08 ± 4.09 mmol/L at baseline to 7.57 ± 2.63 mmol/L at week 16 (p = 0.04) (Table ​(Table4).4). Serum sodium and chloride levels increased significantly, but only by 1% and 3%, respectively. Uric acid level decreased by 10% (p = 0.01). Serum triglyceride decreased 42% from 2.69 ± 2.87 mmol/L to 1.57 ± 1.38 mmol/L (p = 0.001). Increases occurred in both high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (8%) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (10%) but these changes were of borderline statistical significance (p = 0.08 and p = 0.1, respectively). The following blood tests did not change significantly: total cholesterol, potassium, bicarbonate, urea nitrogen, creatinine, calcium, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and hemoglobin.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Ben Tzeel is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holding a Masters in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Ben has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 1999 and has never allowed it to hold him back from achieving his goals. He is a published fitness model and author who writes about exercise, nutrition, and diabetes.

Here’s the tricky part: There’s no definite answer for how much protein you’d have to eat before you run into trouble. “It really depends on how much protein a person is consuming versus how much they need, as well as the health of their kidneys at baseline,” Hultin says. That’s why it can be helpful to speak with a nutritionist or doctor who can help you tailor your diet before going keto.
I must tell you when looking at this link they say the American Diabetes Association Guidelines call for 60-75 carbohydrates per meal and that is simply not true. 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.
But this state of metabolic derangement is not actually possible in a person who can produce insulin, even in small amounts.  The reason is that a feedback loop prevents the ketone level from getting high enough to cause the change in pH that leads to the cascade of bad problems.  A person who is said to be “keto-adapted,” or in a state of nutritional ketosis, generally has beta-hydroxybutyrate levels between about 0.5 and 3.0 mM.  This is far less than the levels required to cause harm through acid-base abnormalities.
And that’s the kicker -- most people “going keto,” may not actually be following a true ketogenic diet since it’s hard to know for sure if your body’s in ketosis. Mancella explains that the only formal and valid method of determining if your body is in ketosis is if there are ketone bodies being excreted in your urine. “There are strips for purchase at local drug stores that are available to determine this,” she says. “Otherwise, we’re not actually sure if we’re in ketosis, and we’re just following a ‘low carbohydrate’ diet.”
Participants were recruited from the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) outpatient clinics. Inclusion criteria were age 35–75 years; body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; and fasting serum glucose >125 mg/dL or hemoglobin A1c >6.5% without medications, or treatment with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA) and/or insulin. Exclusion criteria were evidence of renal insufficiency, liver disease, or unstable cardiovascular disease by history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. All participants provided written informed consent approved by the institutional review board. No monetary incentives were provided.
Keto dieters often commiserate about experiencing symptoms as their bodies adjust to the diet, but experts say this period of transition is no joke. "When your body first enters ketosis, you may experience a series of side effects termed the 'keto flu,'" says Jennifer M. Brown, R.D., a faculty associate at Arizona State University's School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. "These include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, poor sleep, difficulty with exercise, and constipation, all resulting from extreme restriction of carbohydrates." While these symptoms usually subside after the body adjusts to relying on fat for fuel, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Is losing weight really worth potentially feeling ill for three weeks?! "Given that low-carb diets have not been shown to have an advantage when it comes to weight loss, I would say these side effects aren't worth it and are unnecessary," Brown says. (Related: Is It Possible to Follow a Vegetarian Keto Diet?)
The same is true for meat. You’ve probably been told to avoid red meat when in fact you should not. Meat is an integral part of any diet including the ketogenic diet. There is no reason to avoid it (OK you’re excused if you’ve been bitten by a lone star tick!). The ketogenic diet reduces cardiovascular risk factors and improves the lipid profile by increasing HDL and lowering triglycerides [9,10].
Of course, there are over 160 research papers currently on Pubmed with the words “diabetes” and “ketosis” or “ketogenic” in the title alone. It’s beyond clear that ketogenic dieting is extremely effective for many people with both type I and type II diabetes for all the reasons discussed above related to keeping blood sugar levels and insulin in check.
Thanks for this inputs. 20 years ago I gain 17 pounds a year for 5 years. I was healthy but my dr told me start diet, any diet just come back in a month I want to see you start loosing… I started Atkins and lost 7 pound in a month. She was checking my progress every six months and checking my condition. I lost 64 pounds in 3 years. Now I started eating out of control. I am eating healthy but too much… I gain 40 pound back after 20 years. Now I will start again my Atkins to take off 30 pounds…
Weight loss is the primary reason my patients use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.
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.)

He also told me that I was in horrible shape, that I would need a lot of medication, and that because I was T2, insulin would do nothing for me. I still remember walking out of the building after. I felt like shooting myself. My brother had just gone blind from retinopathy 2 months earlier. There was no hope for me. High numbers were inevitable. Complications were inevitable.


The aim is far broader than suggested by the article here: It’s not just about what you put in your mouth – it’s also about timing and exercise. There are three ways to be in ketosis – which simply means that “fat burning” and not being dependent on sugars. Fasting puts a man into ketosis in 3 days and a woman by 2 days. Endurance exercise gets you there in a couple of hours. Eating a high fat diet will do it too. The goal however is hidden by the detail – it is to acquire a “Flexible Metabolism”. The aim is to switch on the full fat burning capacity and keep it running – which takes from between 4 to 12 weeks physical adaptation (for the muscles to fully be able to use ketones). The heart runs approximately 27% more efficiently on ketones than on glucose! The brain works better too – Alzheimer’s being referred to by researchers as “diabetes 3”. Once you have a Flexible Metabolism you can consume carbs during or after exercise without dropping out of ketosis – though this depends on your own bio-individuality. I can eat quite a lot of carbs – without losing ketosis – my partner cannot.
As Tammy points out, diets are diets, and many people nowadays think/feel that diets are a “time/value-based goal”. “If I just get my weight down, or if I just fix this, then I’ll be all set…” WRONG!!! There in lies the first problem. How long can it be maintained? Well that’s a good point. The real question is, how long is one committed to changing their life, and how strong is their desire to do it. ALL things that one wants to change in life, require a change in to the way their living and/or perceiving life. They require a life-style change. One could attempt a Mediterranean diet, and yet relapse back to “normal” eating after 3mos, 1yr, 3yrs, etc.. It doesn’t really matter if the change isn’t first on the mental and emotional level. Unfortunately, many first-world daily diets (namely American) incorporate many foods that are addictive which can cause cravings. And yes, the cravings are scientifically prove-able, and have been proved. We grow up thinking that it’s “normal” to have your cake (since its the carb of debate lol) and eat it too, because why?… Well because that’s how they were raised. Simply as that. Conditioned living if you will. There are many cultures on this planet that DO NOT grow up eating as many carbs and sweets as the American Diet, and do perfectly fine without all the sugars and carb cravings. And incidentally, they also lead healthier lives too… Go figure.
A second counterintuitive approach to healing the gut for children who are having a hard time gaining is to encourage a nice long ‘fast’ over night.  When the gut is less full, and the body can digest the food that’s in there completely and then it can repair an inflamed or leaky gut better.   If the gut is inflamed, food may be passing right through without being absorbed.  In addition, growth hormone raises during periods of fasting.
Finally, wait it out. Certain folks who do everything by the book and follow every bit of good advice may still get a few symptoms of the keto flu. This usually comes in the initial three weeks of entering nutritional ketosis, and things get much better very quickly. Trust that your lull will pass and your energy will increase substantially—usually within a few days.
Earlier in this article, I briefly mentioned how consuming too much sugar can impair brain function and cause plaque build up in the brain. Many studies on Alzheimer’s disease patients agree with the biochemistry as well. In fact, A group of scientists reviewed the literature and concluded that “high carbohydrate intake worsens cognitive performance and behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” This means that eating more carbohydrates cause more problems in the brain. Will the opposite (eating fewer carbs) improve brain function?
One study from 2005 followed 22 people with Type 1 Diabetes for 12 months. The difference here however is they consumed 70-90 grams of carbohydrates per day versus the restrictive less than 20 grams per day on the Ketogenic Diet. Remember my motto? Moderation is the key! The results were positive; less hypoglycemia, insulin requirements were reduced and their A1c dropped from 7.5% to 6.4%.
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