Low-carb and ketogenic diets are popular among clinicians and patients, but the appropriateness of reducing carbohydrates intake in obese patients and in patients with diabetes is still debated. Studies in the literature are indeed controversial, possibly because these diets are generally poorly defined; this, together with the intrinsic complexity of dietary interventions, makes it difficult to compare results from different studies. Despite the evidence that reducing carbohydrates intake lowers body weight and, in patients with type 2 diabetes, improves glucose control, few data are available about sustainability, safety and efficacy in the long-term. In this review we explored the possible role of low-carb and ketogenic diets in the pathogenesis and management of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, we also reviewed evidence of carbohydrates restriction in both pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, through gut microbiota modification, and treatment of type 1 diabetes, addressing the legitimate concerns about the use of such diets in patients who are ketosis-prone and often have not completed their growth.
Keywords: carbohydrates; diabetes; dietary patterns; ketogenic; nutritional intervention.