By: Dr. Keith Kantor

1. What do we know about how the keto diet can affect existing diabetes, or how it can cause it?

I promote the ketogenic diet and enforce that the foods consumed are also whole unprocessed foods.  A low carbohydrate diet helps reduce spikes and falls in insulin levels. When insulin levels are stable the body is more efficient at burning fat.  The study does not suggest that the ketogenic diet can cause Type 2 Diabetes it simply says that the mice had a difficult time regulating insulin on the first three days of diet, not that it caused Type 2 diabetes.

  1. Do you find the keto diet to be troublesome for existing type 2 diabetics? No it is beneficial, it promotes weight loss, it educates patients about carbohydrates and their effects on blood sugars and there is an abundance of research that shows it improves symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.

Don’t some docs and patients swear by it to help with diabetes? Yes, I am one of them.  It is important to know there are always exceptions to the rule, and a cookie cutter diet is not the way to go, patients should be looked at individually and their laboratory values should be taken into consideration before any diet is recommended.  A patient with renal failure or elevated liver enzymes needs to follow a lower fat and protein diet to deal with their kidney and liver issues, because those are complications of Type 2 Diabetes being out of control for a long period of time or acute stress issues.

  1. Should docs recommend the keto diet to help diabetics lose weight? Yes, diabetics who do not have seriously complications like renal failure, congestive heart failure or liver disease would for the most part be good candidates for the keto diet after all lab results were taken into consideration. If so, are certain diabetics not good candidates? Those mentioned above

Should people only do it for a short amount of time? Yes, and no.  The keto diet may give great results for a time period and then the person will reach a plateau and may need to adapt their diet to continue getting results, they could introduce intermittent fasting in addition to the ketogenic diet.  Some patients are successful with a lifestyle of keto diet and maintain optimal health by following it most of the time.  The key is to train our body to be metabolically flexible and adapt to our lifestyle.  If an individual decides to increase their activity they will need more calories (vegetables and fruits)  than they were once consuming.

  1. Because this study was done on mice, do you think the results would be similar in humans? That is hard to say, the endocrine system of mice is not the same as humans, further research needs to be done.
  2. What do you hope people take from hearing about this study? Always look at the funding sources of studies to make sure they are not biased and do your own research by looking at multiple studies on the same topic.
  3. It seems like the verdict is out on the safety of the keto diet in general. What do you think? What do you think with regards to existing diabetics using it?

I think that the keto diet is safe for the general population that have no additional health complications.  It is always important to work with a qualified nutrition expert before getting on any specific diet program.