The keto diet may help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, according to new research from India presented at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) annual meeting.
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet, generally allowing between 20–60 grams of carbohydrate per day (depending on who is defining the diet). To evaluate the effects of the diet in type 2 diabetes, researchers followed 110 patients ages 35–60 with a body-mass index (BMI; a measure of weight relative to height) of 26 or 27 who changed their eating habits to adopt a keto diet. At the start of the study, the participants had an average glucose level of 169 mg/dl and an average A1C level (a measure of glucose control over the previous 2–3 months) of 7.8%.
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After 3 months on the diet, the subjects’ average glucose level dropped to 137 mg/dl and their A1C levels were 6.3%. Their BMI levels also fell to 23 or 24, and the number of people taking diabetes medicines decreased. The only side effect of the diet reported was mild constipation.
“A low carbohydrate-high fat or ketogenic diet over 3 months led to a remarkable reduction in HbA1c levels … this diet can also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance, all of which help control metabolic syndrome,” noted study author Angati Kanchana Lakshmi Prasana, MD, in an interview with Healio Primary Care.
“Experts caution that very little evidence indicates that the keto diet is effective over the long term for anything except managing epilepsy — but some research does suggest that this diet could help with other medical conditions such as diabetes,” the AACC noted in a press release.
Want to learn more about the keto diet? Read “Keto Diet and Diabetes: Help or Hindrance?” “Keto Diet and Diabetes, Health Frozen Food and More” and “Keto Pizza Crust Debuts at Blaze Pizza.”
Senior Digital Editor for DiabetesSelfManagement.com, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.