Following a ketogenic diet lowers blood glucose and HbA1c levels in people with type 2 diabetes, new research shows.

A short-term study by Indian researchers found that the diet’s benefits led to “great improvements” in symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.

Ketogenic diets are very low in carbohydrate, with a higher proportion of energy coming from fat and protein. Previous studies have reported the diet’s benefits for diabetes, with a 12-month trial last year indicating improved weight loss and blood glucose control among people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

The new study, led by Dr Lakshmi Prasanna Angati from CARE Hospitals in Visakhapatnam, tracked the progress of 115 people with type 2 diabetes following a keto diet for three months.

Participants restricted their carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 20 grams per day while increasing consumption of fat and maintaining a modest protein intake.

At the start of the study, the mean blood glucose and HbA1c levels of those taking part were 9.4 mmol/L (169 mg/dL) and 61.7 mmol/mol (7.8%), respectively.

These levels dropped markedly in 110 of the participants by the end of the three-month trial, to 7.6 mmol/L (137 mg/dL) and 46.4 mmol/mol (6.4%), respectively.

Dr Angati said: “The ketogenic diet over three months led to a remarkable reduction in HbA1c levels and to great improvements in symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.

“This is an especially important finding for diabetes patients in India because with the Indian diet people eat carbohydrates morning, noo, and night, and we want to encourage and counsel people to change these dietary habits.”

The data was presented at the annual American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) meeting in California this week.

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