Ketogenic diet followed by diabetes patients, despite lack of recommendations, finds study
Quebec, Canada: Despite the lack of safety information, strongly motivated diabetes patients are following a ketogenic diet (KD) owing to its wide range of reported emerging or expected benefits, according to a recent study in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.
Currently, there are no recommendations on following a ketogenic diet for diabetes patients. Therefore, health care professionals are not very confident in supporting KD. In this qualitative study by Kayla Wong, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada, and colleagues aimed to understand the diabetes patients' perspective on following the KD particularly with regard to reasons pertaining to starting the diet, motivators, support systems, sources of information and challenges.
The study recruited adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who followed a KD for ≥3 months.
Participants were 54.5 (standard deviation 10.1) years old, on average, and had been following the KD for 6 to 19 (median 5) months; 43% were male and 79% had type 2 diabetes. The researchers conducted semi-structured interviews, audio-recorded, and transcribed. Themes were analyzed using concept mapping until theme saturation was achieved.
Participants were 54.5 years old, on average, and had been following the KD for 6 to 19 months -- 43% were male and 79% had type 2 diabetes.
Key findings of the study include:
- The main motivation to start the diet was to improve blood glucose control or to reduce/stop taking diabetes medications, followed by weight loss and diabetes reversal.
- Participants reported benefits of the diet, such as improved glycemic control, weight loss and satiety, which appeared to strongly prevail over challenges, such as lack of support from health-care professionals and lack of information sources.
- Most participants considered the KD as a normalized way of eating that they would continue for the rest of their lives.
"Further studies are needed to establish guidelines that health-care professionals can use to provide direction for individuals with diabetes who wish to follow the KD," concluded the authors.
The study, "Ketogenic Diet as a Normal Way of Eating in Adults With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: A Qualitative Study," is published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.