I was first introduced to the idea of a vegan keto diet about five years ago by Carrie Diulus, M.D. As a spinal surgeon, Diulus performs long operations with the added challenge of managing type 1 diabetes. She told me that a plant-based diet high in fats and low in net carbs provided her excellent diabetic control and stable blood sugar for hours at a time.
Diulus is not alone in her praise of the vegan keto diet. There are other nutrition researchers that tout the benefits of a high-fat plant diet, particularly when cycled on and off (although Diulus selects this pattern continuously). For example, David Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., famous for creating the glycemic index, developed and studied an “Eco-Atkins” diet. In the study, he compared a low-carbohydrate, high-fat plant-based diet (the “Eco-Atkins”) with a control diet, which was a high-carb lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. The study reported that after six months, those on the high-fat “Eco-Atkins” diet saw more weight loss and better cholesterol measurements than the control group.
Another example of a higher fat plant diet is the Prolon Fasting-Mimicking Diet developed by the world-famous longevity scientist Valter Longo, Ph.D. On this diet, you eat prepared foods providing 800 calories a day for five consecutive days, with about 60% of calories coming from whole plants rich in fat like Spanish olives and nuts. When this diet was cycled five days a month for three months in a randomized trial, important changes in biomarkers, including stem cell release and the inflammation marker hs-CRP were identified supporting a promotion of health and health span. I have tried Prolon myself, as have hundreds of my patients.