February 18, 2020

keto, diet, diabetes, diabetic, weightloss, Photo by @brookelark

A low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, once again rose to national and global prominence in 2019. From celebrities such as Hallie Berry and Kourtney Kardashian to athletes such as lineman Joe Thomas and NBA legend Lebron James, it seemed that everywhere you looked, a low carb/keto diet was being used for weight loss. And while many people extol the virtues of the keto diet, many others, including some doctors and so-called experts like celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels say that the keto diet is a poor choice and is downright dangerous. 

So who is right? Is a ketogenic diet safe? And perhaps an even more important question, given the rise of type two diabetes in the united stated over the last 20 years, is a ketogenic diet safe and effective not only for weight loss but for the management of type two diabetes?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, with 90-95% of those cases being type 2 diabetes. That places an estimated 30 million Americans living with Diabetes, and while type 2 diabetes generally develops in people over 40, CDC states that more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing the disease.

Unfortunately, having type 2 diabetes increases your likelihood of developing other chronic diseases such as cancer [1], heart disease [2] and Alzheimer's [3] among others. 

it is for this reason that effective management of type 2 diabetes is critically important. 

The role of diet in the management of type 2 diabetes 

Type 2 diabetes is a disease state that is best managed through not only medication but lifestyle modifications as well. There is significant evidence that living a healthy lifestyle, to include eating a healthy diet, modest weight loss, and regular exercise can maintain healthy blood glucose levels and greatly reduce the risk of complications that often accompany type 2 diabetes. [4][5]

None of this is news is new, as the American Diabetes Association has long recommended strict blood sugar control via a combination of medication and lifestyle modification for the management of type 2 diabetes. [6]

But what is updated news is the ADA recently revising their long-held stance that a low carbohydrate/ketogenic diet is an effective dietary strategy for the management of type2 diabetes.

American Diabetes Association endorses low carb and very low carb among other dietary approaches

In a 2019 consensus statement, the American Diabetes Association does not recommend a one size fits all approach to dietary disease management such as counting calories or carbohydrates.[7] The ADA instead recommends that people with diabetes receive personalized medical nutrition counseling, and among the options that should be recommended to patients is a Low Carbohydrate/ketogenic approach.

This is an important development for multiple reasons, one of the most important is that this frees up healthcare professionals to recommend a low carbohydrate/ketogenic approach to treat type 2 diabetes without the risk of punitive action by regulating bodies. 

It is important to recognize this departure from the ADA’s prior stance that “Low-carbohydrate diets (restricting total carbohydrate to <130 g/day) are not recommended because they eliminate many foods that are important sources of energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are important in dietary palatability.”

Further, the ADAs new consensus statement no longer includes language that the brain needs 130g of dietary carbohydrate per day. On the contrary, the new report makes clear that within the framework of a low carbohydrate diet, the brain's glucose requirement can be met via endogenous glucose production by the liver. Simply put, while it is true that the brain needs glucose, the body will manufacture glucose to satisfy this need within the content of a low carb diet.

The report also made clear that low carb and very low carb or ketogenic diets are amongst the most studied eating patterns for type 2 diabetes management. Low carb eating patterns have been shown to lower triglycerides, raise (good) HDL-C cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lead to greater reductions of diabetes medication when compared to low-fat diets.

While low carb and keto diets have been around for well over 100 years, this shift in guidance by the ADA is significant because, for the first time, people with type 2 diabetes can now feel confident in exploring low carbohydrate options with their health care provider for the management of their medical condition.

With the increased acceptance of low carbohydrate diets by the medical community as a valid dietary therapy, it looks like low carb and very low carb diets will continue to make inroads into homes nationwide. This is also a primary reason why, unlike Atkins in the 1980s and ’90s, low carb/keto diets are very likely here to stay.

We would like to remind you that any time you are considering a dietary therapy to treat a medical condition that you do so with the help of your medical provider.

Take a look at one of our favorite Keto Recipes below.

Keto Pesto Chicken Burgers

Keto, Burgers, Diet, Weightloss, Healthy, Food, Diabetic, Diabetes, Type 1, Type 2
Recipe provided by @heyketomama


  • Ground Chicken Breast
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Shredded Parmesan (helps hold the burger together)
  • Basil Pesto
  • Tomato
  • Salt and Pepper


In a large bowl, mix the ground chicken, pesto, and Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Separate the meat into 4 sections and form into patties.

Ground chicken is a little more wet than ground beef, but should still handle easily. If you find it's too sticky when forming patties, wet your hands with a little water. It will make prevent sticking and make them easier to smooth out.

In a skillet over medium heat, drizzle the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the patties to the skillet, working in two batches as needed. Don't overcrowd the pan because then it will cause the burgers to steam and not get a crispy sear.

Cook the burgers for 7-10 minutes, flipping half way to get a golden sear on each side. Reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking for 5-10 more minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you overcook them too much, they may get dry. Feel free to add a tablespoon of water to the pan and cover it if your burgers are on the thicker side and having trouble finishing up.

Let the burgers rest for at least 5 minutes. To serve, place a slice of fresh mozzarella on each and top with tomato slices. Sprinkle with black pepper and a pinch of salt, if desired.

Enjoy wrapped in lettuce, on a bed of spinach, or even just on the plate.


For this recipe, I used chicken breast because it best fits the flavor I was trying to achieve. Feel free to sub with ground chicken thigh for higher fat and adjust your personal nutrition.

Chicken breast is lower in fat than chicken thigh but still perfectly okay to use for high fat diets since you're adding fat in other ways such as oils and cheese or side dishes such as a side salad with ranch.

Please note that I am not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information that is discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates based on NET carbs. If nutrition is important to you, I highly encourage you to verify any data you see here with your favorite nutrition calculator.

Nutrition Information: Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 Burger

Amount Per Serving: CALORIES: 348 TOTAL FAT: 23g CARBOHYDRATES: 3.2g Total Carbs, 2.6g Net Carbs FIBER: 0.6g PROTEIN: 32.3g

Please note that I am not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information that is discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates based on NET carbs. If nutrition is important to you, I highly encourage you to verify any data you see here with your favorite nutrition calculator.

[1] https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/4/276

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600176/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19280172

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15626569/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15277143/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24357209/

[7] https://professional.diabetes.org/content-page/practice-guidelines-resources

[8]Photo by 
Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis

[9]Photo by Brooke Lark 

[10]Recipe and Recipe photo by @heyketomama 


Photo provided by @brookelark

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