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The side effects of extreme low-carb diets are still a mystery. "The first major drawback is the fact that we really don't have any long-term research about how keto followers fare 10, 20, 30 years down the line," Turoff says. "What will the results look like? Will they regain the weight? Will they suffer health consequences? We also thought smoking and diet pills were a good idea, until long-term studies showed us that we were wrong."
The good news here is no! All the evidence points to the fact that a low carbohydrate diet actually does lower blood glucose and A1c levels and does contribute to weight loss. The problem is we do not yet have enough large studies, over enough sustained years to support evidence that people with diabetes can remain on a highly restrictive Ketogenic Diet for the rest of their life and also not have other consequences to their health.
Reynolds, AN. "Comment on 'An Online Intervention Comparing a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Versus a Plate Method Diet in Overweight Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2018; 20(5):e180, May 2018. Available at: http://www.jmir.org/2018/5/e180/  Accessed May 4, 2018.
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
Keto is often suggested for children who suffer from certain disorders (like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Rett syndrome) and don’t respond to seizure medication, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. (1) They note that keto can decrease the number of seizures these children have by half, with 10 to 15 percent becoming seizure-free. In other cases, it may also help patients reduce the dose of their medication.
Although the exact role of the keto diet in mental and brain disorders is unclear, there has been proof of its efficacy in patients with schizophrenia. And, to boot, it works to reverse many conditions that develop as a side effect of conventional medications for brain disorders, like weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risks. More research is needed to understand the role of the ketogenic diet in treating or improving schizophrenia, as the current available studies are either animal studies or case studies, but the benefits of a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet in neurology is promising.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.
Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist, estimates that about 25% of people who try a ketogenic diet experience these symptoms, with fatigue being the most common. “That happens because your body runs out of sugar to burn for energy, and it has to start using fat,” he says. “That transition alone is enough to make your body feel tired for a few days.”

To get into and stay in ketosis, you must restrict carbs and sugar – less than 50 grams per day. This initiates your body to burn the remaining carbohydrates present, after which it moves on to stored glucose (glycogen), and finally it taps into ketones. Ketones are produced by the liver and readily used by the body for potent energy production and critical brain-related functions.
My son started the Keto Diet (not perfectly) with the ok of his Dr and a Different Oral Chemo at the same time. Last Tuesday an MRI indicated no new growth or no new tumors. We don’t know if the new Chemo, Keto diet, lots of prays or what has stopped the tumors from growing.I found your site after looking for possible adverse reactions to Keto Diets, and appreciate your research. His platelets are low now and never have been low before. This is stopping the next Chemo treatment. I understand that being on Chemo for 12 months could have created the low platelets and now the possibility that the Keto Diet could also be causing low platelets is frustrating. They will do a new blood test Tuesday to see if the platelets have increased. Any suggestions about how if possible to increase the platelets on the Keto Diet would be helpful.
Just this week, a 25,000-person study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich suggested that people on the lowest-carb diets had the highest risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and all other causes. Another study, published this month in the Lancet, also found that people who followed diets that were low in carbs and high in animal proteins had a higher risk of early death compared to those who consumed carbs in moderation. (The opposite was true, however, for low-carb dieters who opted for plant-based proteins over meat and dairy.)
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
We do recommend everyone eat something every 4-5 hours to maintain a healthy metabolism. If your meals are more than 4-5 hours apart, a snack consisting of a protein and a carbohydrate is a great choice. The protein will help fill you up quicker and keep you feeling satisfied between meals. The protein also has a slower effect on your blood glucose than most carbohydrates, so when paired with carbohydrates, your blood sugar will not spike nearly as high. We recommend eating a protein with every meal and snack.
They have high likelihood of calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones–Kidney stones are uncommon in childhood, yet these kids commonly have kidney stones. The risk in an adult on a prolonged ketogenic effort is therefore high, also. Kidney stones are not benign–they are painful and can occasionally result in kidney damage (increased creatinine, urinary tract infections, etc.)
It’s a fairly common scene for new keto dieters. Aubrey Marcus recently referenced a highly-disturbing stat that 25% of physicians still equate consuming dietary cholesterol with increased blood cholesterol, an association that has been unequivocally refuted by recent science. But before you accept AHA-sanctioned diet advice, determine if there’s actually a problem.
Every reduced-calorie diet is catabolic, meaning the diet can cause you to lose muscle. 'This is largely due to the fact that you are consuming less energy, so your body relies on other tissue (i.e., protein) to serve as an energy source. Added to that, some dieters do copious amounts of aerobic exercise when dieting, which can cause further breakdown of muscle. The brain can also call on protein to create more glucose for energy needs—a process called gluconeogenesis.
Your kidneys flushing out all that water is also part of the reason people see dramatic scale drops in the beginning of their keto journeys. "I wish people knew that the weight loss they will initially experience on this diet is largely due to water loss," Brown says. That means you're most likely not actually losing fat in the first couple of weeks, but instead losing water that will come back in the form of glycogen stores if and when you start eating carbs again. (BTW, Here's How to Safely and Effectively Come Off the Keto Diet.)
Statistical differences between body weight, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, level of fasting blood sugar, and urea and creatinine levels before and after the administration of the ketogenic diet were analyzed using a paired Student’s t test using the Stat-view version 4.02 (Abacus Concepts Inc, USA). Weight, BMI and all biochemical parameters are expressed as mean ± SEM.
The average American eats entirely too much sodium, but on the keto diet, you may struggle to eat enough. “One main concern from a dietary standpoint is an increased risk of dehydration and hyponatremia (low blood sodium), especially when exercising intensely in hot environment,” Fisher says. Low levels of sodium in your body can lead to leg cramps, decreased energy, confusion, and even vomiting. “Add a pinch of salt to every meal,” Dr. Petre says. Sea salt is recommended, as it also provides some traces of minerals. Add a pinch to any one of these 10 keto recipes that are so good they’ll make you forget you’re on a diet.

It’s important to note, however, that most of the research is being done on diseases and disorders, not specifically weight loss. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been evidence of weight loss as a benefit of the eating pattern, just that the studies performed specifically for the benefits for long-term weight loss are limited. There’s anecdotal evidence out there, of course, but there was evidence of weight loss associated with a low-fat diet in the '90s… until that farce came falling down around our collective shoulders as the long-term evidence came rolling in to the contrary.
This process of burning fat provides more benefits than simply helping us to shed extra weight — it also helps control the release of hormones like insulin, which plays a role in development of diabetes and other health problems. When we eat carbohydrates, insulin is released as a reaction to elevated blood glucose (an increase in sugar circulating in our blood) and insulin levels rise. Insulin is a “storage hormone” that signals cells to store as much available energy as possible, initially as glycogen (aka stored carbohydrates in our muscles) and then as body fat.
The keto diet is one of the hottest weight-loss strategies today. That’s not surprising—who wouldn’t want to lose weight fast without counting calories or feeling hungry? But it’s not without controversy: Yes, you can eat all the fatty foods you want, but the tradeoff is the extreme restriction of carbohydrates: bread, potatoes, even fruit. Keto dieters are advised to keep carbs to just 10 percent of their daily intake.
This rule eliminates your ability to eat many fruits and vegetables, as many of them contain natural carbs. A diet low in fruits and vegetables can put you at risk for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It can also lead to your body not getting enough fiber, a type of carbohydrate often found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Without adequate fiber intake, you might experience constipation and be at risk for certain diseases.
Even if you don't have a history with eating disorders, keto can still leave some people (although certainly not everyone!) with negative feelings around food. "For the vast majority of people, keto is not sustainable, meaning they don't stick with it for more than a few months," Brown says. "Not 'succeeding' with this diet and returning to one's usual eating habits can trigger feelings of guilt and failure." Those two feelings can actually trigger disordered eating in some people in the worst-case scenario, says Brown. (Also, We Seriously Need to Stop Thinking of Foods As "Good" and "Bad")
An extensive review published in 2013 looked at the research and evidence of ketogenic diets enhancing fertility (long story short, it looks promising). Studies also show that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be treated effectively with low-carb dieting, which reduces or eliminates symptoms such as infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, acne, and obesity.
From baseline to week 16, the mean body weight decreased significantly from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg, BMI decreased from 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2 to 39.4 ± 6.0 kg/m2, and waist circumference from 130.0 ± 10.5 cm to 123.3 ± 11.3 cm (Table ​(Table3).3). The percent change in body weight was -6.6%. The mean percent body fat decreased from 40.4 ± 5.8% to 37.0 ± 6.0%. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures did not change significantly over the 16 weeks. The mean heart rate decreased from 81.2 ± 12.9 beats per minute to 74.6 ± 14.0 beats per minute (p = 0.01).
The keto diet involves a very high consumption of dietary fats, and very low carbohydrate consumption. Through these nutritional changes, the body reduces its use of glucose for fuel, and increasingly uses ketones (derived from fats). The diet was first used to control epileptic seizures, but there is growing body of research showing positive effects on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, inflammation1, and diabetes.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
This section consists of the most common complaints and struggles that keto dieters will come across. In most cases, these risks can easily be addressed and eliminated completely. Below is a graphic for a quick look at the short terms risks of a ketogenic diet and how to remedy it. If you want to read more about the risks or solutions, scroll down for an in-depth explanation of each.
I know a few people who struggle with keeping on the low carb diet and staying in ketosis. They introduced me to a exogenous drink called keto/os that is a natural energy drink that contains ketones. It gets you into ketosis within an hour!!! This can be tested in the blood and they showed me the results and it works!!! Not only that but it dropped their blood sugars as well. I am now on the product myself for other reasons but just thought I would share it. Let me know if you want more info.
That’s why the Bulletproof Diet uses cyclical nutritional ketosis, and why on days when I eat carbohydrates, I always have Brain Octane Oil so my cells have a steady supply of ketones. This builds metabolic flexibility: you can eat fat and carbs and your body will use them both, which is the goal. You want to be resilient and full of energy no matter what, and that means you want cells strong enough to burn whatever you give them.
Eating a keto diet can have some short-term health perks. But in the long run, it also has the potential to create some serious health problems. That’s why many experts say you shouldn’t attempt it on your own. “In general, if a person follows a ketogenic diet, they should only do so for a brief time and under close medical supervision,” says Hultin.
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.”

Even if you don't have a history with eating disorders, keto can still leave some people (although certainly not everyone!) with negative feelings around food. "For the vast majority of people, keto is not sustainable, meaning they don't stick with it for more than a few months," Brown says. "Not 'succeeding' with this diet and returning to one's usual eating habits can trigger feelings of guilt and failure." Those two feelings can actually trigger disordered eating in some people in the worst-case scenario, says Brown. (Also, We Seriously Need to Stop Thinking of Foods As "Good" and "Bad")
Ketosis, similarly to fasting or caloric restriction, turns on a group of genes called Sirtuins. When scientists activate Sirtuins in animals, they found that these animals live longer. In addition, Sirtuins can help keep you lean and energetic during the day and sleeping well at night. More research is needed to know if this effect is the same in humans, but evidence seems strong that spending some time in ketosis is beneficial.
So rather than giving one-size-fits-all dietary advice or weaponizing the word “balanced” it might be better if the medical community suggested that there are Individual differences that need to be considered. This might also help those lay folk who have had success with one dietary lifestyle or another also realize that what’s valid for them may not be good advice for others.
Type 1 diabetes causes the same blood sugar control issues as type 2 diabetes, but in an entirely different way. Type 1 diabetics cannot produce enough insulin or any insulin at all, which requires them to have insulin administered exogenously. On top of that, the perfect diet will not be able to reverse this disease as the ketogenic diet can for type 2 diabetes.
The keto diet is also extremely low in certain fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that are generally thought of as healthy. Without these foods, people on the diet can miss out on fiber, certain vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that only come in these foods. That has significant human health impacts over the long term such as bone loss and increased risk of chronic diseases.
The key of these miraculous healing effects relies on the fact that fat metabolism and its generation of ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) by the liver can only occur within the mitochondrion, leaving chemicals within the cell but outside the mitochondria readily available to stimulate powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants. The status of our mitochondria is the ultimate key for optimal health and while it is true that some of us might need extra support in the form of nutritional supplementation to heal these much needed energy factories, the diet still remains the ultimate key for a proper balance.”
Mike, that’s exactly right! With T2, we no longer have the option of eating carbs, sugar and all the good stuff. Why can’t dieticians and the ADA recognize that and quit trying to shove all those carbs down our throats? I don’t get it… I seriously don’t. And I think the author of this article would do an about face is she actually had diabetes. It’s amazing the amount of people who claim to be experts that seriously don’t get it!! It I had Celiac Disease, I couldn’t eat gluten… at all. Why is the same not recognized for diabetics? Our meters show us when we are eating too many carbs. Its VERY clear as the number goes very high. What do the professionals not get about that? It’s been the most amazing thing about this whole process for me and I just can’t believe how biased people are against a very low carb diet for managing diabetes. You think that because people can’t maintain that kind of diet for long term makes it OK to go ahead and be against it? Did it ever occur to any of the professionals that by recommending a low carb diet it might actually encourage people to maintain it? Instead, you are giving them excuses and reasons to eat way too many carbs!! Last August 2016 I was diagnosed with T2, with an A1C of 12.7. My last blood test showed an A1C of 6.2 (July 2017) and I had reduced some of the meds I was originally on. I am still working on lowering my numbers. The whole process has been a slow progression to keto and I had to stumble on the whole thing myself through my own research. I tried vegan at first and quickly realized that I was eating too many carbs. Then I went low carb but knew I could do better. When I tried the Keto diet, my numbers went much lower. You get over the sweet addictions. You get over the bread addictions and you find suitable substitutions. You do what you have to do. But by not recommending an ultra low carb diet simply because you don’t think people can do it is ridiculous! It is basically telling people that they can’t possibly manage their own lives… they can’t possibly make their own, good choices. And then, because you are the authority, you are giving them reasons to not even try. You defeat them before they even begin. It just amazes me!

High-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD): This version of the keto diet is often followed by folks who want to preserve their muscle mass like bodybuilders and older people. Rather than protein making up 20 percent of the diet, here it’s 30 percent. Meanwhile, fat goes down to 65 percent of the diet and carbs stay at 5 percent. (Caution: folks with kidney issues shouldn’t up their protein too much.)


Diarrhea can also be due to a lack of fiber in the diet, says Kizer, which can happen when someone cuts way back on carbs (like whole-grain bread and pasta) and doesn’t supplement with other fiber-rich foods, like vegetables. It can also be caused by an intolerance to dairy or artificial sweeteners—things you might be eating more of since switching to a high-fat, low-carb lifestyle.
My pick for the healthiest meal plan for diabetes? My favorite is the Mediterranean Diet. It’s high in fiber, low in saturated fats and includes no processed foods which is the challenge for all of us at this point in history. If we could all eat like they do in Italy and Greece! Think of Sicily and the coasts of Greece where their diet consists of fresh fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, olives and olive oil, lean meats such as chicken and pork, some eggs and little red meat. The American Heart Association recommends it as well as the American Diabetes Association as being one healthy diet choice for people with diabetes.

With the high intake of fat, are we concerned about the high intake of cholesterol? YEP. A study using the keto diet as a form of treatment for epileptic seizures in children found that after 6 months of administering the diet, triglyceride levels increased, total cholesterol levels increased, and HDL and LDL increased. These results suggest that over time, a keto diet may lead to an increased risk of hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia. In the same ten-year study, 40% of patients developed hypertriglyceridemia and 29% of patients experienced hypercholesterolemia. So, if heart disease runs in your family, you may want to bow out now.

Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist, estimates that about 25% of people who try a ketogenic diet experience these symptoms, with fatigue being the most common. “That happens because your body runs out of sugar to burn for energy, and it has to start using fat,” he says. “That transition alone is enough to make your body feel tired for a few days.”


"Many of the richest sources of fiber, like beans, fruit, and whole grains are restricted on the ketogenic diet," registered dietician Edwina Clark told Everyday Health. "As a result, ketogenic eaters miss out on the benefits of fiber-rich diet such as regular laxation and microbiome support. The microbiome has been implicated in everything from immune function to mental health."
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