Ketogenic Diet For Diabetes Patients – Is Keto Diet Safe For Diabetics?

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Damanjit Duggal, MD, MBBS March 7, 2022

Last updated on October 19th, 2023

As we all know, diabetes is a lifestyle disease that throws your normal life out of the window. The trend of the number of diabetes patients is rising worldwide. In just a span of 2 years, 31 million individuals were diagnosed as diabetics in India between 2019 and 2021. To stay away from the severe complications of the chronic disease, you have to bring your lifestyle in order by doing some physical activities and having a particular diet that keeps your blood glucose levels under control. Read this blog to know about ketogenic diet good for diabetes diabetes type 1 or type 2..

If you are also one of those people who are finding it tough to keep your blood glucose levels under control, the Keto Diet, also known as the Ketogenic diet, can be a great option for your overall wellbeing.  Many studies have shown that the keto diet effectively improves glycemic control in your body. It is best for diabetics looking to lose a few extra pounds.

Scientists are still researching how this diet helps you in works but here is all about what we know about this ketogenic diet.


Diabetes management is a tough job and you can not execute it perfectly without following a strict diet plan. The Keto diet has been a very effective diet plan for diabetes patients.

All You Should Know About Ketogenic Diet For Diabetes

The Keto diet is a low carb and high fat eating plan. Most of the time we eat unsaturated fats like seeds, nuts, avocados, butter or coconut oil. It is advised that you must consume about 10 to 20 percent protein and 70 to 80 per cent of healthy fats in your diet. While on this diet, you are supposed to limit yourself on carbs, even those that are said to be healthy, such as beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When you are on a keto diabetic diet, you eat less than 10% of carbs a day. In such a perspective, one medium apple is okay to be consumed as it has 25 grams of carbs.

Ketogenic diet for diabetes


In the keto diet, diabetes patient  are put on a high-fat and low-carb diet. In this keto diabetes diet, the patient is usually asked to have unsaturated fats like nuts, avocados, butter or coconut oil. You are also advised to eat about 75 grams of proteins aggregately in all your meals. This diet also binds you to limit your carbohydrate consumption, even if they are healthy sources of carbs like beans, whole grains, fruits and veggies. You can not eat more than 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day in a keto diet plan.

How Does Ketogenic Diet For Diabetes Work?

Normally, your body fuels itself from sugar, or glucose, that it gets from carbs. After a few days of the ketogenic diet diabetes type 2 patients will feel their body run out of glucose, and as a result, it starts burning fat. The entire process is known as nutritional ketosis. The procedure produces fatty acid substances known as ketones, which the human body uses for energy.

keto diet for diabetes

Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

Being a diabetic patient, it is very important to feel the difference between nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis as both include ketones.

Ketoacidosis is a risky condition that takes place in a patient’s body that does not include insulin and ketones. Some of the symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, confusion, weakness, tiredness or fatigue. It is noteworthy that this ketoacidosis is very common in patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes disease.

Ketosis is a condition that takes place very rarely in a daily life depending on the number of carbs and protein the person eats. This condition can lead to weight loss, dizziness, and lower A1C in a person’s body.


Nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis are two different things and every diabetes patient has to know the difference between them. Ketoacidosis is a risky condition that takes place in a patient’s body that does not include insulin and ketones. On the other hand, Ketosis is a condition that takes place very rarely in a daily life depending on the number of carbs and protein the person eats.

Benefits Of Ketogenic Diet For Diabetes

Ketogenic Diet Benefits

The keto diet and diabetes management are a very good combination, especially for obese diabetes patients. With high protein and fat intake, you may feel fuller for extended periods. A recent study of 2023 in BMJ Nutrition magazine says the keto diet chart helps patients reverse diabetes. The study found more than 50% of diabetics who were on a low carb keto diabetic diet achieved reversal. However, there is uncertainty as to how long the remission or reversal will last. However, maintaining portion control and dietary restrictions will retain the reversal. 

Along with this, especially overweight diabetics should start physical workouts and start with muscle-building exercise sessions. Losing weight greatly helps in diabetes control. Moreover, the benefits of keto diet include weight loss.

Some of the benefits of the Keto Diet include:


Keto Diet Side Effects For Diabetes Type 2

Side effects Keto Diet

A Keto diet chart can lead to some severe side effects, too. Short-term and long-term keto diet side effects have been mentioned below:

Short Term Side effects:

  • Keto-flu
  • Noticeable changes in bowel habits, such as constipation and stomach pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Loss of energy
  • Mental Tiredness
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of salts

Long-term side effects

  • Kidney problems such as kidney stones and an increased risk of bone fractures (due to acidosis)
  • Risk of dyslipidemia
  • Increase hypoglycemic episodes
  • Cardiac problems (due to fat)
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • The lower level of insulin

Does Keto Diet Help The Patients Suffering From Diabetes?

According to many studies, the benefits of keto diet for type 2 diabetes include weight loss and low blood sugar levels. In one of the studies, people with keto and diabetes type 2 needed less medication in comparison to people who are not on the keto diet. And they also saw the loss of a few kgs in their bodies. A1C levels of the diabetes patients were also seen in the controlled limits when they were kept on the keto diet for a year.

Many studies have proven that patients who follow the keto diet for diabetes type 2 and 1 witness a drop in A1C levels. It is to be mentioned that there is much research done to understand the Keto Diet and its connection with Diabetes. However, it is still a matter of discussion how much the ketogenic diet and diabetes are interlinked.

Well, if you are trying to follow a keto diabetic diet, then make sure you follow it strictly. However, it’s hard to stick to a keto with diabetes as it has a very low amount of carbs. Therefore, it is a challenge and a big change for a person.

The Keto diet plan can also make a person weak in the initial weeks until the body adapts to the new meal plan. To make the keto diet plan successful, you must make a meal chart and prepare some instant recipes.


Many studies have proven that keto for type 2 diabetes patients helps keep their blood glucose levels under control and also ensures weight loss. The Keto diet chart also helps diabetes patients maintain healthy A1C levels for a longer period. People with type 1 diabetes are advised to consult with a doctor before beginning the ketogenic diet. Moreover, the keto diet menu is really hard to maintain because it requires the patients to eat a much-reduced amount of carbohydrates.

Tips for Maintaining Low Carb Count in Keto Diet Plan

It is not easy to maintain low carb content in your diet for days. In the keto diabetic diet, the carb count is generally kept below 30 grams. And in between 5% to 10% per cent of your daily diet calories. To follow this guideline, diabetics have to bring major changes in their lifestyle. 

Popular Indian foods like dal chawal and roti sabji won’t fit in this keto diet plan. Foods that have been a part of your diet for ages, like potatoes, bread, etc., have to be avoided. Therefore, these changes altogether will be tough to implement. 

Generally, tips to maintain this keto with diabetes is to start using food tracking apps. The second tip will be to take weekly off from this diet to sustain it for longer periods. The third tip will be to join a community of individuals following keto diabetic diet on social media. Joining the group, you will get to learn new tricks. Also, you will get to know new keto diet recipes, which you could also try.

Diabetes-Friendly Keto Diet Food List 

Keto Diet Food List

The keto diet safe for diabetics when taken under a doctor’s supervision. So, if your doctor or dietitian is deciding on the keto diet menu then it’s fine. Otherwise, when you have doubts, always remember that high-carb foods are not for you. Restrict all foods of high carb content. Rather, include foods with healthy fats and loads of proteins in your keto diet meal plan. Foods that you can include are:

  • Dry fruits and nuts
  • Avocado
  • Nut Butter
  • Non-starchy foods and veggies
  • Olive and mustard oil
  • Eggs
  • Lean plant-based proteins like tofu, soymilk, almond milk, etc.
  • Chicken and fish (only occasionally)

Focus more on the veggie keto diet plan, which is green leafy veggies, as they are very low on carbs. 

Now, here are some foods that are definitely to be avoided when following a ketogenic diet and diabetes

  • Fruits 
  • Alcohol
  • Grains of all types
  • Processed foods
  • Red meat and other animal fat sources
  • Sugar
  • Starchy products made of potatoes, rice, etc.

Is Keto Diet Safe For A Diabetic Person?

Well, that depends on what type of diabetes you have. People suffering from Type 2 diabetes, especially those who are overweight, see good and safe results while being on the Keto diet. Therefore, for overweight and obese, keto diet diabetes type 2 is a good choice. In the case of ketogenic diet diabetes type 1, it is important to take the suggestion of the doctor before starting a keto diet meal plan. Also, you must keep a check on your health and observe any and every sign of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a top side effect of being on a keto diet therefore, being in constant touch with your diabetologist is important. It is advised that you take the consent of your doctor before going on a keto diet.


The Keto diet plan has shown great results in people who are suffering from type 2 diabetes and are also overweight. In people with type 1 diabetes, the keto diet menu should only be opted for after consulting with a doctor.

Should A Diabetic Person Try Keto Diet?

It is strictly advised to consult the doctor before trying the keto diet plan. In some cases, the keto diet safe works as a boon, but in some cases, it makes diabetes worse. Therefore, stay in touch with the doctor and follow it only when recommended by him. In the initial days, the keto diet chart can make a person weak. You will also need to stay careful when you stop following the keto diet, as adding carbs back can rapidly increase blood sugar levels and make you gain some weight.


The Keto diet chart should also be taken up in consultation with the doctor as it can produce both positive and negative results. Initially, a person may feel weak for a few days. If you stop the keto diet recipes, you should return to a normal diet gradually, as starting heavy carbohydrate consumption may lead to increased blood sugar levels and rapid weight gain.

Alternatives of Keto Diet For Diabetes

The Keto diet for diabetics is undoubtedly a very effective meal plan for diabetes patients. But there are plenty of other variations, like the veggie keto diet plan and other options that can help in managing the disease as well as their weight effectively.

There, however, are plenty of medical professionals who do not recommend the keto diet plan for diabetes management. There are plenty of other nutrient-rich diets that provide a great balance in carbohydrates, protein and fat intake. They also help in managing body weight and keeping blood glucose levels at optimal levels.

You can discuss these diets with your doctor, and he might be able to suggest the best one as per your overall condition.


Many medical practitioners do not find the ketogenic diet and diabetes appropriate for diabetes management and suggest a more balanced diet plan according to the needs of a particular patient, which has fewer side effects.

Criticisms of the Ketogenic Diet For Diabetes

There are many critics of the keto diet and diabetes, who majorly highlight the adverse effects of the diet, including kidney troubles, cardiovascular diseases and hypoglycemia.

The critics also suggest that following such a diet for a long time is really difficult as it includes a lot of restrictions. This also poses a threat to quick weight gain as people who are put on such a restrictive diet tend to start binge eating without keeping any control over their carbohydrate consumption once they return to the normal diet.

The critics have also been highlighting that there are no studies that prove that the keto diet can provide any kind of long-term benefits.


Many critics believe that keto with diabetes can be very detrimental to the kidneys and heart and may also lead to low blood sugar levels. They also believe that following it for a longer period is very challenging.

Some Popular Ketogenic Diet Recipes For Diabetes

Talking of keto diet recipes, here is the list of popular dishes that can be included in the keto diet menu:

Cucumber Kimchi

It is a Korean dish made with slowly fermented cabbage and garlic featuring all types of veggies. This is one of the popular keto diet recipes, which is a delicious dish and easy to cook. Let us learn how to make this delicacy at home:


  • Two Pickling cucumbers and eight small cucumber
  • One teaspoon salt
  • Two cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • Two scallions (chopped)
  • A Small amount of ginger (chopped)
  • Two tablespoon rice vinegar
  • One tablespoon of chile powder
  • Two teaspoon sugar
  • ½ spoon fish sauce

How To Cook?

  • Cut the cucumber in a half-moon shape and place in a bowl
  • Mix it thoroughly with salt at a room temperature
  • Now combine garlic, scallions, ginger, vinegar, chile powder, sugar and fish sauce in a medium bowl
  • Drain the cucumber and discard the water and mix it into vinegar
  • Cover the mixture and keep it in a refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours before serving

Also Read: Normal sugar level before breakfast

Homemade Chicken Tenders Bagel Seasoning over Salad

Now we talk of another popular keto diet recipes which is chicken and bagel over salad.


  • Two spoons of all-purpose flour
  • One large egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • One tablespoon bagel seasoning
  • One pound chicken tender
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • Two spoons of olive oil
  • One tablespoon vinegar
  • One tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • One teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • One teaspoon of honey
  • Pinch of ground pepper
  • One teaspoon honey

How To Cook?

  • Place all purpose flour in a dish and beat egg in another shallow dish
  • Now mix breadcrumbs and bagel seasoning in another dish and mix chicken tender in flour with eggs and breadcrumbs
  • Heat canola oil in a pan and add chicken to cook
  • Cook until it turns golden brown
  • Whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper in a large bowl
  • Add greens and toss to coat and serve the greens topped with the chicken

Also Read: Can Quitting Smoking Reverses Diabetes?


The Ketogenic diet for diabetes has been known for producing different types of results in different patients. Its effects depend upon the overall condition of the particular patient. Many physicians believe that the keto diet and diabetes can produce great results in type 2 diabetes patients who are also overweight, but people with type 1 diabetes should only opt for the keto diet or keto diabetic diet after discussing it with the doctor.

Also read: Food Pyramid for diabetics


Is a keto diet good for diabetes?

Some research has proven that people with type 2 diabetes can lose some extra kilos of their body and also keep their blood sugar levels in check while being on the ketogenic diet. There have been some studies that prove, people on the keto diet needed less medications to control their blood sugar levels.

Why is keto diet bad for diabetics?

There are some studies that prove that keto diets do not allow the body to use the insulin in the correct manner, hence, the body doesn’t stay in control. This may cause insulin resistance increasing the risk of development of type 2 diabetes.

Can keto reverse diabetes?

Nutritional ketosis has the potential of sustainably reversing type 2 diabetes by reducing the blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity and also reducing inflammation.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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