Long term ketogenic diets can impair blood sugar regulation

    High protein, low carbohydrate diets increase production of acid compounds called ketones. These diets trigger rapid weight loss but can have unhealthy effects. A long term study on mice found that ketogenic diets lead to changes in the beta and alpha cells in the pancreas that regulate the production of insulin and glucagon, two hormones essential for blood sugar regulation. These changes led to a decreased ability to take up blood sugar in the cells. The animals also developed blood markers of unhealthy fat regulation and inflammation such as elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, leptin and interleukin-6. In mice, long term adherence to ketogenic diets cause unhealthy changes in metabolism that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Ketogenic diets cause rapid short term weight loss but can have unhealthy long-term effects. In humans after 12 months, there is no difference in weight loss between ketogenic diets or mixed reduced calorie diets. (American Journal Physiology Endocrinology Metabolism, published online January 7, 2014)