The keto diet is an extremely low carbohydrate diet that helps the body to burn fat by forcing it into a state of ketosis, a metabolic process where the body uses fat instead of carbohydrates as its fuel source.
Studies have found that this very low-carb, high-fat diet is effective for weight loss, diabetes, and even epilepsy.
In fact, the keto diet was first used as a therapy to treat epilepsy in children back in the 1920s after studies showed the chemical produced when in ketosis, ketone, could possibly help reduce seizures.
The diet was later adapted for weight loss by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, a professor at the University La Sapienza in Rome.
Cappello studied the diet between 2006 and 2011. Cappello and researchers found a keto diet helped more than 19,000 participants lose an average of 22 pounds in 25 days.
While Cappello’s famed study looked at the keto diet as an effective treatment specifically for weight loss and not other chronic conditions, he tells dLife the diet can also be helpful to someone with Type 2 diabetes since lowering overall body weight reduces the risk for diabetes as well.
“The keto diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes, and it can be absolutely safe for someone with T2D, but you should stop antidiabetic therapy,” Cappello explains.
He says the keto diet could be dangerous for someone with diabetes, especially when the body goes into ketosis, but for that reason, he says decompensated diabetes should never be treated with a keto diet.
And, he doesn’t believe the keto diet can cause other problems, such as high cholesterol.
As far as the sustainability of the diet, Cappello says a keto diet should last only 10-15 days until the patient loses 10% of his or her weight. “It can be repeated after 10 days all the times you want,” he states.
Cappello says the problem for most diets is not whether you will lose weight. “The problem is that you should maintain the weight you achieve.”