Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have for the first time determined that the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, may reverse impaired kidney function in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They also identified a previously unreported panel of genes associated with diabetes-related kidney failure, whose expression was reversed by the diet.

This is a big deal in the world of medicine.

  • According to the latest U.S. Renal Data System Annual Data Report, more than 660,000 Americans are being treated for kidney failure, also called end stage renal disease, or ESRD. Of these, 468,000 are dialysis patients and more than 193,000 have a functioning kidney transplant.
  • In 2013, newly-reported cases of kidney failure occurred in approximately 117,000 Americans.
  • Medicare spends $31 billion annually to treat people with kidney failure.
  • In 2013, total Medicare expenditures for all stages of kidney disease was over $99 billion (not including prescription medications).
  • The majority of these expenses, about $68 billion, were spent caring for those with chronic kidney disease

And all this could be impacted by just changing the way a person eats. Seems pretty simple, but it will be some years before we actually have an answer. Let’s hope this research advances and changes the practice of how we treat diabetes and kidney disease.