The Keto Diet for Diabetes

The keto diet for diabetes is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that could be good for weight loss and type 2 diabetes. See what diabetes experts think.

The keto diet for diabetes, originally called the ketogenic diet, has been around for a long time. Before injectable insulin was developed for use in the 1920s, the ketogenic diet was the main way to treat diabetes.

Since then, it’s been in and out of favor, but it may be inching its way back into the favorable column.

This very restrictive diet mimics a form of starvation. In the classic keto diet, you get about 80 percent of your calories from fat and 20 percent from proteins and carbohydrates. Normally your body runs on energy from sugar in carbohydrates, but if you severely limit carbohydrates, your body is forced to use fat instead.

“The word ‘ketogenic’ comes from substances called ketones that your body produces when you burn fat,” explained Christie Hust, MS, RD, CDE, LD, director of the Texas Tech Diabetes Education Center in Lubbock. “It may have been used before insulin, but people with diabetes didn’t do very well before insulin.”

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