The LIPODIET Pilot Study:
Impact of keto on pain & quality of life in patients with lipedema
Today I’d like to tell you about a paper called Effect of a ketogenic diet on pain and quality of life in patients with lipedema: The LIPODIET pilot study. This research was performed by the Nutrition Department at the University of Oslo in Norway and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Obesity Science & Practice in December 2021. One of the authors, Dr. Siren Nymo presented the results of this study at our Ketogenic Solution for Lymphatic/Fat Disorders virtual symposium that was held in November 2020.
The objective of this research was to assess the impact of a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet on the pain and quality of life in patients with lipedema.
9 women diagnosed with lipedema were recruited for this pilot study. Their average BMI was almost 37, so they were considered obese. The average age of the participants was 47 years old. The participants first underwent 7 weeks of a low-carb ketogenic diet followed by 6 weeks of a standard Nordic diet, which was considerably higher in carbohydrates.
Measurements and testing were completed at baseline, after week 7 (after the low-carb diet), and then again at the conclusion of the study at week 13 (after the standard Nordic diet). The pain was assessed using a 0-10 rating scale (0 = no pain, 10= severe pain). Participants also completed a quality of life questionnaire and weight and body composition was assessed.
The ketogenic diet resulted in greater weight loss, pain reduction, and quality of life improvements than the standard Nordic diet recommendations. Interestingly, the pain returned to prior levels when the women added carbs back with a standard Nordic diet, even though they did not regain the weight they had lost. This gives rise to the speculation that the pain in lipedema is not just related to excessive fat, but may also be due to inflammation from high carb intake.
The authors then conclude that a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is associated with pain reduction and improvement in quality of life for women with lipedema. They suggest that a larger randomized clinical trial is needed to confirm these findings.
This paper is important for women with lipedema because it confirms what we’ve been seeing anecdotally for over 6 years. Many women with lipedema report improvements in pain management and weight loss using a ketogenic diet when low-fat, low-calorie diets have always failed. Although there have been many clinical trials using a ketogenic diet with other medical conditions such as obesity, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and diabetes, this is the first (one of now three published studies) that shows success for women with lipedema.
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