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How The Ketogenic Diet Works For Type 2 Diabetes

Special diets for type 2 diabetes often focus on weight loss, so it might seem crazy that a high-fat diet is an option. But the ketogenic (keto) diet, high in fat and low in carbs, can potentially change the way your body stores and uses energy, easing diabetes symptoms. With the keto diet, your body converts fat, instead of sugar, into energy. The diet was created in 1924 as a treatment for epilepsy, but the effects of this eating pattern are also being studied for type 2 diabetes. The ketogenic diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin. However, the diet does come with risks, so make sure to discuss it with your doctor before making drastic dietary changes. Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, so a high-fat diet can seem unhelpful. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to have the body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates or glucose. A person on the keto diet gets most of their energy from fat, with very little of the diet coming from carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you should load up on saturated fats, though. Heart-healthy fats are the key to sustaining overall health. Some healthy foods that are commo Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. welcometothejungle66

    long time lurker, first time poster. i've been doing keto for about a week and a half now and been thinking deeply about everything i've seen (i'm in the life sciences too, so i've been endlessly fascinated)
    what do you guys think about this: the logic behind keto makes sense to me, and i've already lost some pounds. but i have some questions

    does research suggest following a keto diet will cause weight loss up until a certain body fat % is reached? or is the period where weight loss ceases arbitrary? (my experience says things are rarely arbitrary)

    if it does stop at a certain BF% (or other body stat), atkins (later stages) seems to make sense as the logical next time, no? that way, if you so desire, reintroducing carbs would be ok.
    i guess what i'm trying to figure out is maybe.. keto = excess fat loss and healthy diet, with fibrous carbs in moderation, with decent exercise = weight maintenance
    i'd love to hear your thoughts or share your anecdotes or anything!

  2. gogge

    It seems like the increased volume of food (and decreased calorie density) makes people eat a more "sensible" amount of food on Low Carb diets:
    Patients spontaneously reduced their mean energy intake to approximately 2200 kcal/d, which is approximately the caloric intake of normal-weight individuals with the same height as our patients.
    Boden G, et al. "Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes". Ann Intern Med. 2005 Mar 15;142(6):403-11.
    Even so it usually takes around a 15% higher caloric deficit to lose a pound of fat than it does to put it on, here's a table. Taken from:
    Wells JC, Siervo M. "Obesity and energy balance: is the tail wagging the dog?". Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul 20. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.132. [Epub ahead of print]
    It's likely that your body has evolved a way to balance the intake when you eat food that has a proper energy density. When we have processed food that's very energy dense, but not all that filling, we tend to overeat (from a study that let people eat as much vending machine food as they wanted):
    Ad libitum intake resulted in a 7-d overfeeding of 6468 +/- 3824 kJ/d above weight-maintenance requirements, leading to a 2.3 +/- 1.2-kg gain.
    Rising R, et al. "Food intake measured by an automated food-selection system: relationship to energy expenditure". Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Feb;55(2):343-9.
    Translated to calories that's between 631 to 2459 (1545 +/- 914) kcal extra per day. Compare that to the low carb diet where people spontaneously reduced their intake to a level appropriate for their natural weight/height. Stephan Guyenet has a really nice write up on how people react to refined carbs called "Humans on a Cafeteria Diet ", a short but very interesting read.
    A maintenance diet with carbs is probably not a problem as long as you avoid the refined carbs and sugars, the Kitavans eat 70% carbs (including fruit) and are very healthy.

  3. ICOrthogonal

    Awesome response!

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