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From Pau, PyrenÚes-Atlantique, France:

My question is about the Atkins Diet. I heard it works by bringing on ketosis. Ketosis in a diabetic person can be deadly, so how come it isn't dangerous in a non-diabetic? Also, I have always been led to believe that ketosis only occurs in diabetic people who have high sugar levels, so how do non-diabetics get ketones? Is it possible to have ketones and still have a safe blood glucose level? Are these no carbohydrate diets safe for those with diabetes?


Ketosis is the formation of acetone or other ketone bodies due to a multitude of etiologies. One of these is the lack of insulin which will convert the carbohydrate to ketone bodies rather than carbon dioxide and water. Another is starvation. The idea of the Atkins diet is to limit the carbohydrates to induce an "artificial like" starvation state. This is not the best situation for someone with diabetes mellitus. An individual without diabetes is able to compensate for this, but those without the ability to produce insulin can have difficulties. Additionally, the increase in protein intake can place a burden on the kidneys. This can have dire consequences.

As a physician, I do not recommend the use of Atkins for my patients with diabetes. I would discuss this with your diabetes team. I would not attempt any changes without their advice or consent.


Original posting 22 Feb 2004
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:54
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