A major success of paleo keto diet studies has been the cessation of insulin in young people with type 1 diabetes. The safety of stopping medication is yet to be established in long-term studies, but the findings are exciting.

The practicalities of coming off diabetes medication on a paleo keto diet are unknown, though. This is because, so far, all studies have been conducted under strict medical supervision.

You should not come off medication that has been prescribed by your doctor unless you have their agreement.

Coming off diabetes medication

In case studies of children with type 1 diabetes , researchers have halted insulin treatment once blood glucose levels have normalised on the paleo keto diet. In some cases, children have gone for up to two years without needing insulin treatment.

Researchers have also shown the diet can help type 2 diabetes patients come off medication. [327]

Type 1 diabetes

Hungarian physician Dr Csaba Tóth says that insulin cessation is possible in children with type 1 diabetes because, once the paleo keto diet has been adopted, blood sugar levels normalise. Less food is eaten on the diet, and less insulin is required.

Further research is needed to determine how long insulin can be stopped for in children with type 1 diabetes.

Read more about paleo keto diets in children

Insulin cessation along with the paleo keto diet is not possible in the majority of patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Tóth says the paleo keto diet, which is low-carb, works by tackling markers of type 2 diabetes – such as inflammation, obesity, elevated blood glucose and metabolic disorder – all at once.

Low-carb diets have for years demonstrated their efficacy in helping people with type 2 diabetes come off medication , and Tóth thinks going paleo keto enables medication cessation by treating all conditions associated with the metabolic syndrome as a whole.

He said: “A major problem is that patients with long-standing disease are excessively medicated because of an increase in the number of symptoms over time.

“In current medical practice each component of the metabolic syndrome is treated separately even though targeting one symptom by a drug may worsen another symptom also associated with the metabolic syndrome.”

Tóth says the paleo keto diet is particularly effective in treating type 2 diabetes because it leads to improvements in key markers of metabolic syndrome.

Pre-existing medications

Future research will have to address how people with diabetes can come off medication safely through the paleo keto diet.

So far, medication cessation has not been attempted outside of a clinical setting, and studies have not practically demonstrated how to ease out pre-existing medications.

This relates pertinently to insulin. Insulin management will require consideration and guidance to prevent hypoglycemia and tackle dose adjustments during ketosis.

Going against today’s medicine

The Hungarian researchers behind the paleo keto diet acknowledges that scepticism exists among healthcare professionals as to whether the diet could be as or more effective than medications (such as insulin) in certain people.

But a well-formulated paleo keto diet would likely lead to a reduced need for a variety of medications, including sulphonylureas and glinides.

Tóth told Diabetes.co.uk: “The amount we have to eat [on the diet] is about a third of what we do eat. This means that we would have to buy three times less than we would otherwise buy; there’s less packaging, we don’t buy processed food and we take less medicine.”

Moreover, he adds, reduced medication would ease the strain on healthcare services worldwide scrambling to prescribe people with tailored treatments.

“With the paleolithic ketogenic diet, this person no longer needs these medicines, so the medicine industry has to produce less medicine,” Tóth said.

Of course, scepticism from the medical community will remain while the diet is in its infancy. Future, long-term studies will be pivotal in assessing the diet’s potential for eliminating certain medicines.

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