Using The Ketogenic Diet As A Way To Treat Or Manage Type 2 Diabetes


I came across this article by Julia Belluz that was published at and believe it belongs here.

Advocates of ketogenic diets for weight loss claim that ketogenesis can lead to a “metabolic advantage” that helps burn 10 times more fat and an extra 400 to 600 calories per day — the same as a vigorous session of physical activity. The main scientific model that’s used to explain that advantage is the ”carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis,” which has been promoted by experts like Harvard professor David Ludwig, Obesity Code author Jason Fung, journalist Gary Taubes, and pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, among others.

Doctors have been prescribing ketogenic diets to treat epilepsy for nearly a century, and increasingly believe it may hold promise for people with Type 2 diabetes.

With Type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it becomes insulin resistant, so it can’t move glucose from the blood into the cells for energy. Eating carbs results in an increase in blood glucose — so if you vastly cut down your carbs, your blood glucose levels won’t go up as much, and you won’t need as much insulin to manage blood sugars. It’s not surprising that researchers have been finding that people who follow a ketogenic diet can better manage their blood sugar by cutting down their carbs.

In one of the most recent studies on the question, which appeared this month in the journal Diabetes Therapy, 262 adults with Type 2 diabetes patients followed a ketogenic diet, coupled with intensive lifestyle counseling. After a year, among the 218 people who completed the study, their hemoglobin A1C (a measure of blood sugar) dropped on average to 6.3, just below the 6.5 percent threshold for Type 2 diabetes.

The need for insulin was either reduced or eliminated in 94 percent of the participants who were using insulin when the study began. Their use of diabetes medications — other than metformin — also declined, from 57 percent to 30 percent, and metformin use decreased slightly, from 71 percent to 65 percent.

These are impressive results. And other randomized controlled trials on the effects of low-carb diets for Type 2 diabetes have also found improved glycemic control and reduced medication use among patients (though the effects tend to wane in the long term, again because people have a hard time adhering to restrictive diets).

The new study was sponsored and run by employees of Virta Health, a company selling lifestyle counseling on ketogenic diets for Type 2 diabetics. Virta, as well as other proponents of keto for diabetes, claim the diet can “reverse” diabetes — and that’s going to a step too far.

“What’s been demonstrated is that [the ketogenic diet] controls blood glucose levels,” explained Guyenet. “That’s a good thing. But to show true remission or reversal, you have to show a person can go back to being able to eat carbs without having diabetes again.” And that has never been proven with the ketogenic diet.

You can visit this page: to read the complete post which I find interesting.