Health Concerns

Can the ketogenic diet help manage certain health challenges?

Absolutely. Obesity and insulin resistance are at the root of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and the fact that both can be improved on a ketogenic diet may suggest that the diet can help with those situations. Additionally, there is very strong evidence that the ketogenic diet benefits conditions such as epilepsy and GLUT 1 deficiency.  Further research is exploring how the diet may help with conditions like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, depression, PTSD, and cancer.  However, please consult your primary care doctor and physician before making any changes in your diet for therapeutic purposes.

What is insulin resistance, and how do I know if I have it?

Insulin resistance is the inability to effectively utilize insulin, the hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Insulin resistance means that insulin is not properly communicating with cells, and it can contribute to many metabolic diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes. If you often feel lethargic and easily gain weight from consuming carbohydrates, there is a high probability that you have some degree of insulin resistance. Ask your doctor to test your fasting blood glucose and insulin levels or, if possible, run an oral glucose tolerance test.

To run an at home oral glucose tolerance test:

  1. Do an overnight fast (12 hours).  Upon waking up in the morning measure your fasting baseline blood glucose
  2. Drink 75 grams of a glucose/sugar containing drink (i.e sports drink, orange juice, etc)
  3. Measure your glucose over 120 minutes (0,30,60,90, 120 min)
  4. Record your numbers and see how they compare with your baseline (ideally within 80-120 mg/dL)

My cholesterol has gone up since starting a ketogenic diet. What should I do?

Total cholesterol is not the best marker to look at because it does not take into consideration the composition of the cholesterol. The ketogenic diet has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol, which would lead to an increase in total cholesterol but would be beneficial overall. Be sure to have your doctor check the breakdown of your blood lipid tests and look for better markers, such as VLDL,LDL-to-HDL ratio, triglycerides, and even high sensitivity CRP (not traditionally part of cholesterol panel, but can be measured with an NMR Lipoprofile test).

I’m concerned about raising my triglyceride levels. Will a high-fat diet raise triglycerides?

No! It’s a common myth that eating a lot of fat causes high triglyceride levels. However, research has found that when a high-fat diet is paired with carbohydrate restriction, triglyceride levels actually drop.

My doctor said a ketogenic diet is bad. What should I do?

We still hear this all the time, in spite of all the research showing the benefits of keto. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself and offer educational materials to your doctor. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to consider a new physician. For those looking for a doctor who will support the ketogenic diet, a solid list can be found here.

Also, check out our Doctor PDFs in Keto Club that can be printed and given to your doctors to provide them with easy science.

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