How the Keto Diet Works for Diabetes

Part of diabetes management involves your diet and lifestyle.

While there is a lot of research on the propensity of low carb diets for weight loss, there is no conclusive evidence. But, we do know that the results vary from person to person.

What is the ketogenic diet? And can the keto diet help with diabetes?

We will answer these questions in this article, and explain whether the keto diet is safe for people with diabetes.

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a hot topic right now, but what is it?

Many will explain it as a high-fat, low-carb diet. While there is truth to this, it is a little-known fact that the ketogenic diet has been around for a hundred years.

The classic ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake to as little as 20g of carbohydrates per day and boosts the fat intake. If a person consumes under 1000 calories, any food eaten is broken down into glucose to fuel the body.

Some early studies reveal that the keto diet can promote a healthy weight loss in some individuals, but it is not conclusive.

Get Your FREE Diabetes Diet Plan

  • 15 foods to naturally lower blood sugar levels
  • 3 day sample meal plan
  • Designed exclusively by our nutritionist

By clicking “Download Now”, I agree to Ben's Natural Health Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Does the keto diet work for diabetes?

Many diabetic diets include weight loss, which generally speaking cuts out high-fat food products.

While it seems odd to incorporate a high-fat diet, the efficacy of the diet is currently being studied in diabetes.

There have been notable improvements in blood sugar control and obesity with the use of the ketogenic diet. 

Type 2 diabetes can be a result of overconsumption of fructose and refined sugars. Subsequently, insulin resistance with excess body weight occurs.

A low carbohydrate diet is one of the most influential factors in lowering your blood sugar level and diabetes reversal.

As weight is lost, the insulin sensitivity of cells increases. The body, in turn, uses glucose more effectively.

Is the keto diet safe if you have diabetes?

While having a high-fat diet seems counterintuitive, it is essential to provide suitable types of fat in a keto diet.

Other health issues could arise as a result of the ketogenic lifestyle if not done correctly.

Health concerns that could arise include developing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease (NAFLD) and heart disease.

Trying to steer away from saturated fat and introducing healthy fats may be the key to success when considering the keto diet

Healthy fats include these types of food:

  • Fish such as salmon, trout, herring, sardines
  • Cottage cheese
  • Avocado
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Ghee
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and nut butter such as almonds and walnuts
  • Seeds such as flax and chia seeds
  • Organic grass-fed beef


The keto diet seems to promote effective weight loss in diabetes and improves blood glucose levels

Once glucose levels stabilize, glycemic control for diabetics can help lower cholesterol and improve high blood pressure.

Carbohydrate consumption raises insulin levels because you need this hormone to metabolize it. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin you need.

The Keto diet minimizes the amount of insulin required for the body.

While starting the diet may create a brain fuzz there is research that shows overall nerve health is improved and shows potential in degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.


Aside from possibly taking in too many saturated fats and increasing cardiovascular risks, there is also the risk of experiencing low blood sugar.

Hypoglycemia can occur from restricting carbohydrates too much. A person with diabetes must carefully monitor blood carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels. 

Insulin dosage will likely decrease because of the low carbohydrate diet. The nutritional ketosis that occurs is different from diabetic ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis is potentially life-threatening and can occur in type 1 diabetes from a lack of insulin.

Dangerously high blood sugars often accompany incredibly high blood glucose levels and can induce a diabetic coma and be life-threatening. It develops in a short period in Type 1 diabetics.

Other symptoms eminent during the onset of DKA include frequent urination, extreme thirst or polydipsia, dehydration, and abdominal pain.

Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy. Some have successfully sustained a keto diet while pregnant.

The diet itself lacks vital nutrients necessary for the growth of a fetus. Because of the lack of grains in fortified bread and cereals, the pregnant mother may be deficient in nutrients such as Folic Acid.

Folic Acid is imperative for development and preventing things like neural tube defects. Because the uniformed keto dieters may have a high saturated fat intake, the mom-to-be may unintentionally set herself for high blood pressure and the risk of pre-term delivery.

Those with diabetes mellitus ( Type 1 and 2 diabetes) will have a better success rate of a keto diet in diabetes versus those with Gestational Diabetes.

Monitoring your Diabetes 

If you are on the keto diet, you must monitor your ketones throughout the day.

Follow the guidelines set up by your endocrinologist to make sure they are in the target range.

Before initiation of the diet, discuss your diabetes medications with your physician and make adjustments.

Your lower blood sugar levels will likely result in fewer medications and insulin injections

Many times, the ketogenic diet is started under guidance in a hospital. Direct oversight of a physician is a way to have consistent monitoring and become acclimated to the plan. 


The diabetic patient must keenly weigh the pros and cons of initiating the Diabetic Keto diet. 

Ketosis requires stringent patient monitoring and a collaborative approach with their healthcare team.

While the idle diabetic might struggle to start this plan, those proactive and focused would successfully manage the intricacies.

What might one eat while doing a keto diet? Take a look at this three-day plan that will help you monitor your carb intake.

Example 3 day meal plan 

Day 1


2 eggs, scrambled

1 tablespoon butter

Coffee or tea with 1 tablespoon cream


8 oz tuna salad, made with real mayonnaise

1 medium tomato

Afternoon Snack

4 ounces mixed nuts

Evening Meal

6 oz baked chicken

1/4 cup brown rice

2 cups mixed greens

1/2 cup cucumber slices

1/2 cup avocado slices

2 tablespoons vinaigrette salad dressing

Evening Snack

1/4 cup fresh raspberries

Day 2


½ cup tofu scrambled

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup almonds

1 cup soymilk, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D


1 veggie burger (low carbohydrate, GI < 50)

4 slices avocado

4 leaves lettuce

1 tablespoon mayonnaise, vegan

4 slices tomato

1 cup soymilk, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D

Afternoon Snack

2 tablespoons mixed nuts

Evening Meal

½ cup tofu, cooked and mixed with:

½ cup coconut curry sauce

1 cup broccoli, cooked

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup soymilk, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D

Evening Snack

¼ cup fresh raspberries

Day 3


2 eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

One cup of coffee with:

1 tablespoons cream

1 cup soymilk, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D


1 veggie burger patty (low carbohydrate, GI <50)

1 slice cheese

4 leaves lettuce

4 slices tomato

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Afternoon Snack

¼ cup almonds

Evening Meal

½ cup tofu, cooked and mixed with:

½ cup coconut curry sauce

1 cup broccoli, cooked

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup soymilk, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D

Evening Snack

¼ cup raspberries 


A low-carb diet has shown to be the most beneficial in weight reduction and positively affects glycemic control in diabetic patients.

But, bear in mind the Keto diet in diabetes requires planning and monitoring.

Firstly, start by understanding the foods you eat by label reading and planning your meals daily.

If you would like to improve your weight and metabolic control, you should consider the keto diet.

Speak with your physicians because they will ascertain if the keto lifestyle is suitable for you. 

Next Up


Find out The Best Diabetic Diet.


  1. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2020 Dec 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  2. Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T, et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004;9(3):200-205.
  3. Kinzig KP, Honors MA, Hargrave SL. Insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance are altered by maintenance on a ketogenic diet. Endocrinology. 2010.
  4. Yancy WS Jr, Foy M, Chalecki AM, Vernon MC, Westman EC. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005.

Top Products

Total Health


Glucose Control