Kidney Diet Tips

Is kidney disease reversible through diet in people with diabetes ?

Anyone with diabetes and chronic kidney disease would gladly accept a treatment that could reverse their kidney disease. That’s why this topic in an article I recently ran across caught my attention.

A report from Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers indicate a ketogenic diet may help people who have kidney disease related to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. A ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrate, high in fat and contains a moderate amount of protein. For years this type of diet has been used for seizure control in children with epilepsy.

When this type of diet is consumed, the body produces ketones because fat is burned as the primary energy source.

Charles Mobbs, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Geriatrics and Palliative Care Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says “Our study is the first to show that a dietary intervention alone is enough to reverse this serious complication of diabetes. This finding has significant implications for the tens of thousands of Americans diagnosed with diabetic kidney failure, and possibly other complications, each year.”

Researchers believe the ketogenic diet works by blocking the toxic effects that high glucose levels have on the kidneys.

Future research to find out how the ketogenic diet works to reverse nephropathy may lead to drug therapy to mimic the ketogenic diet effect. The research may also help with treatments for other long-term diabetes complications such as retinopathy and neuropathy.

A few considerations are in order before you change your current diet.

  • These findings are from research on mice; human trials are needed before this type of diet could become a part of the treatment plan for people with diabetes.
  • Any changes in your usual intake of carbohydrate will have an impact on glucose levels. Lower glucose would be expected. Any changes in diet must include communication with your healthcare team to monitor glucose changes and regulate insulin and other diabetes medications.
  • A ketogenic diet is very difficult to follow. Until more is known about this topic, stick to fine-tuning your currently prescribed diet and optimize glucose control.

You can read more in the original news article.

For information on chronic kidney disease and diabetes, checkout the following articles on

Diabetic nephropathy

Preventing chronic kidney disease when you have diabetes

Diet tips for diabetics with kidney disease

Kidney diet resources from

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.