But comprehensive transcriptional profiling of glucose-sensing neurons is challenging, as glucokinase (Gck) and other key proteins that transduce glucose signals are expressed at low levels. Glucose also exerts a hormonal-like action on neurons; electrophysiological recordings demonstrated, for example, that hypoglycemia activates growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) neurons, suggesting a mechanistic link between low blood glucose levels and growth hormone release (Stanley et al., 2013).
But the real problem isn’t going over your carb limit—it’s the protein. A therapeutic keto diet limits your protein intake “If you’re eating a lot of protein, you’re breaking that down into carbs,” Giancoli explains. Your body is in desperation mode on keto, she says, and without a reasonable supply of carbohydrates coming from grains and fruits, you’ll start breaking down the amino acids in proteins to make glucose. Glucose, though it sounds like a scary sugar, is your body’s primary source of fuel. Too much isn’t good for you, but you need some just to allow your cells to function normally.
There are three instances where there’s research to back up a ketogenic diet, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss, says Mattinson. “In terms of diabetes, there is some promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C — a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months — something that may help you reduce medication use,” she says.