Diabetes is characterized by changes in metabolism, high blood sugar, and impaired insulin function ( Source).
One older study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75% (Source).
A small study in women with type 2 diabetes also found that following a ketogenic diet for 90 days significantly reduced levels of hemoglobin A1C, which is a measure of long-term blood sugar management (Source).
Another study in 349 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who followed a ketogenic diet lost an average of 26.2 pounds (11.9 kg) over a 2-year period. This is an important benefit when considering the link between weight and type 2 diabetes (Source, Source, Source).
Other health benefits of keto
The ketogenic diet actually originated as a tool for treating neurological diseases such as epilepsy.
Studies have now shown that the diet can have benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions:
- Heart disease. The ketogenic diet can help improve risk factors like body fat, HDL (good) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar (Source, Source).
- Cancer. The diet is currently being explored as an additional treatment for cancer, because it may help slow tumor growth. (Source, Source, Source).
- Alzheimer’s disease. The keto diet may help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow its progression (Source, Source, Source).
- Epilepsy. Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can cause significant reductions in seizures in epileptic children (Source).
- Parkinson’s disease. Although more research is needed, one study found that the diet helped improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (Source).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in polycystic ovary syndrome (Source, Source).
- Brain injuries. Some research suggests that the diet could improve outcomes of traumatic brain injuries (Source).
However, keep in mind that research into many of these areas is far from conclusive.