Accumulating evidence suggests that low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are safe and effective to reduce glycemia in diabetic patients without producing significant cardiovascular risks. Most of these studies have been carried out specifically restricting carbohydrates, which tends to lead to increased protein intake, thus reducing the ketosis. However, diets that limit protein as well as carbohydrates, entailing a composition very high in fat, appear even more effective to reduce glucose and whole-body glucose metabolism in humans. In animal models, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets do not produce ketosis or reduce glycemia but rather cause obesity. However, limiting both protein and carbohydrates as in a classic ketogenic diet remarkably reduces blood glucose in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and reverses diabetic nephropathy. Future studies should assess if ketogenic diets would be effective to reverse diabetic complications in humans.
Keywords: low carbohydrate; nephropathy; type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes mellitus.