Ketogenic diet & LE

I've been following a keto diet for around 4 weeks and have noticed a significant reduction in the swelling on my affected leg. The change to a keto diet was not because of the LE, however it does seem to have made an unexpected difference.

It is still early days so will see if the improvements continue and update again soon.

Has anyone else tried keto and if so, did you note any changes to your LE as a result?

10 Replies

  • Hi, River 83.

    That's very interesting. A few years ago, I was following the Paleo diet (which I quite enjoyed) and that worked somewhat for me. But, I was doing that in conjunction with high intensity exercise three times a week, which I still do. Are you following an exercise regime, too? I've not looked at the ketogenic diet but I'll do that, because anything to reduce the swelling, especially in hot weather, is a definite help.

    Thank you for your post.

  • Hi BuddhaBabe,

    I've not altered the amount of exercise that that I am doing since starting the Keto diet but I plan to do so over the next few weeks, maybe this will improve the LE further based on your findings... fingers crossed.

    I hope the Keto diet works for you too, if would be interesting to hear how you get on.

  • You are not alone in your findings! Loads of Lymphies in the US follow Keto eating because it reduces LE symptoms. There has also been clinical research recently undertaken (randomised study) to test the impact of Keto way of eating on LE. The webinar sponsored by the Lymphtatic Education and Research Network/LE&RN looking at the results of Keto was less than a fortnight ago. it will be up on their website in the symposiums section in the next few weeks. You don't have to be a member of LE&RN to view the symposium library. Also, If you search on Facebook there area few groups for lymphies and Keto diet and Keto way of eating. Anyone reading this post with Lipidema might find it useful to low Keto way of Living has also hugely reduced Lipidema symptoms in another clinical study completed in 2017.

    Since Keto has not landed on our side of the pond as heavily as it is used in North America, it's not been discussed as much in the UK as a tool in the fight against LE symptoms. Keto is very disclplined so sticking with it in the long term is the key as a return to eating a non-Keto way will return the LE symptoms. You may find a video on Utube interesting it's about Keto and lymphatic diseases - look up Ketogenic Way of Eating 29 😊

  • Very informative CCT67 - thanks!

    You're right about the discipline needed, and there does seem to be a big difference between how popular the Keto diet is in the UK as opposed to the US. This is very noticeable when looking online at websites and blogs, the majority of information is from outside of the UK.

    I'll definitely check out those videos.

  • That is very interesting. I thought I had read somewhere that it didn't help. I have a friend who has been on it for weight loss and the anti inflammatory effects she swears by it. I could imagine it could have an effect since part of lymphedema is the bodies inflammatory reaction to the blockage is the lymph vessels. Please keep us posted.

  • Hi, can I ask how long it took for you to see a difference in the swelling? I'm giving it a go after seeing your post but am only 8 days in, just wondering if I should have seen a difference by now if there was going to be one?

    Also how many carbs are you eating a day to see a difference (hoping I don't have to maintain 20-30g forever to see an improvement!)

    Thanks in advance 😄

  • Hi Angelil,

    I didn't start the Keto diet in order to reduce the LE so I wasn't really looking for a change, however I think I probably noticed it around a week before my original post, maybe 3 weeks after starting the diet. The reduction in size appears to be continuing and in general I feel a lot better for the change in diet - more energy, less hunger and a massive reduction in stress levels.

    I'm limiting my carbs to 5% of my daily calorie intake, which usually means around 25g. You need to do this for your body to enter a Ketogenic state where it is burning fat and using ketones for energy rather than the glucose from carbs. If you are eating more carbs you will find it much more difficult to get into, or stay in Ketosis. Tracking your macros is the only way to do it and keeping your carbs as low as possible is an absolute must.

    The craving for carbs passed very quickly for me and I'm sure you will get used to it soon.

    Good luck - Please keep us updated on your progress! :-)

  • Thanks for your reply. I am eating between 20-30g of carbs a day and think I have probably reached ketosis by the signs my body is giving but I'm finding it difficult as I am vegetarian too! I'm not really craving carbs, it's more about ideas of what to eat. I'm willing to keep it up as long as there is an improvement in swelling as that is the only reason for me doing it. I'm just desperate to see some improvement!!! Hopefully another couple of weeks will see a reduction in swelling for me too! 😄

  • Where are you affected by LE, is it primary or secondary and if secondary, how long since you were diagnosed?

    Mine is secondary, in my right leg following surgery / radiotherapy to remove a Sarcoma in 2011. I was diagnosed with LE mid 2012.

    I wonder whether the results will differ between people with differing types and severity of LE?!

    I find it fascinating that a change in diet (from an already supposedly healthy one) can have such an affect on so many things. The more I research the Ketogenic diet and its benefits, the more interesting it becomes. It seems that there are a huge number of applications for all sorts of medical conditions.

    It must be really tricky as a vegetarian - maybe you could take supplements or use protein shakes.

  • Mine is secondary in both thighs and groin following a radical hysterectomy and lymph node dissection April last year. My swelling started weeks after surgery and despite following all advice it is still getting worse in my right thigh so I'm happy to try anything. I had already cut out gluten as I had read that it may affect lymphoedema so I think that naturally lowered my carb intake so gave me a helping hand for the ketosis but almond flour is my saviour at the moment - shame it's quite pricy!

    I have read today that beetroot and other red veg may help too but need to work out if I can fit it in to the keto diet first!!!

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