Keto Diet for Diabetics: Can It Really Help You?

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Our comprehensive keto diet for diabetics guide will help answer all your questions surrounding the keto diet for diabetes type 1 and type 2.

If you are suffering from diabetes, you probably already know that you need to be careful with what you eat.

This can be very hard.

With so many tasty options and those nasty cravings, it is difficult to put your health in the first place all the time.

Proper diet is an important part of your diabetes therapy, your doctor has surely told you so.

However, it is not the whole solution.

Diabetes medications will always remain necessary. If you make these two work together, your quality of life will remain high even with diabetes.

So, why is eating right important?

Your diabetes is connected with your eating habits, so much, that you simply have no better option but to take good care of yourself.

When you eat, and whatever you eat, your blood sugar levels will increase.

Now, it is not the same to eat sandwiches or cookies and to choose fish or vegetables instead.

Lower sugar intake means a lower increase in blood sugar levels. This makes diabetes much easier to control.

If you are looking to control your blood sugar levels naturally, the keto diet is the best option for you.

This article explains how the Keto Diet for Diabetics can actually help reverse diabetes, along with expert evidence and we help answer all the questions you might have about this popular diet.

Keto Diet for Diabetics

What is the Keto Diet?

You must have heard about the array of trending diets nowadays.

Perhaps, you even tried some of them.

There is a diet flood out there and it’s still raining.

The blood type diet, paleo diet, vegan diet, body type diet, gluten-free diet, keto, etc…

There are many people who follow diets that they know little about.

Who would have thought that having this much information could lead to so much confusion?

The truth is, some of these diets work—and as you would expect— others do not.

Some can even damage your health.

Surprisingly, or not, there are also diets which are not based on anything.

They are more or less a bunch of assumptions and good intentions.

We all know where those can lead you.

Then, of course, there are diets that are scientifically tested and proven.

A good example of such a diet is the Keto Diet.

So, let’s dive right in and take a look at what it actually is…

The Keto diet is an extremely low-carb diet.

This can also be translated, roughly, as sugar-free.

You might wonder what this means exactly?

It means that all foods with a significant carb content are off the menu.

Not only sweets and sodas but also bread, rice, corn, potato, etc.

The list is long.

We can agree that this makes sense.

After all, sudden blood sugar spikes are the main problem with diabetes.

But, does Keto Diet for Diabetes really work?

Scientists have discovered that the human body does not need sugar to create energy.

It does prefer it, but it does not need it.

The Keto diet starves the body from all its sugar reserves and forces it to enter the so-called state of ketosis.

In this state, your body burns fat for fuel, you lose weight, and your blood sugar levels stay low and stable.

If you’re asking yourself now, what can you eat on this diet?

Don’t worry, there are plenty of healthy and tasty options available 🙂

Keto Diet for Diabetes

Keto Diet Friendly Foods

You can forget about French fries but you don’t have to say goodbye to fried chicken!

That’s what keto is all about! 

Confusing? Yes, it can be.

The explanation is simple though.

It is not how you prepare the food, but what type of food it is.

French fries (potatoes) are full of carbs, while chicken has zero carbs.

The fact that they are both fried in oil, which also has zero carbs, is of no significance.

The Keto diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and very low-carb diet.

On Keto, you are supposed to use fat for energy, remember?

Of course, it is better for your overall health (think heart) to cut down on saturated fats and avoid fried meals.

However, you can treat yourself from time to time.

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The keto-friendly foods are all types of meat and fish, fermented dairy products, and most vegetables.

Pretty much everything that your doctor would suggest to you as a part of therapy for diabetes. 

Sweets, bread, rice, corn, legumes, potatoes, fruit, juices, sodas, and alcohol are off limits.

Some processed foods can be keto-friendly but you’re better off avoiding them.

If you can’t do this, make sure to read the label so that you know what you are eating.

An emerging market exists for industrially produced keto-friendly products, such as keto shakes, desserts, etc…

The following is a long list of the best, keto-friendly, foods and drinks:

  • Salt
  • Fish (especially the oily types)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Beef
  • Pork (yes, bacon too)
  • Lamb
  • Water 
  • Stevia
  • Seeds
  • Olives
  • Celery
  • Thyme
  • Turkey
  • Yogurt
  • Turnip
  • Pepper
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Chicken
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Avocado 
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cayenne
  • Oregano
  • Asparagus
  • Guacamole
  • Cauliflower
  • Feta cheese
  • Swiss chard
  • Keto shakes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Almond milk
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Bulletproof coffee
  • Sugar-free mayonnaise
  • All types of cooking olives
  • Unsweetened coffee and tea

Keto Diet for Diabetics: How Can It Help You?

Your body loves sugar.

It reaches for it much sooner than it does for fats and protein.

This is because sugar is potential energy in its easy-to-access form.

Think about it.

It’s like choosing what to burn on your campfire on a cold night.

Are you gonna use wood, metal, or rocks?

All of those can burn at certain temperatures, but you will probably choose wood because it is the easiest to burn and will warm you up the fastest.

Unfortunately, if you have diabetes (type 1 or type 2) you cannot “burn” sugar at all, or you can’t do it properly.

This becomes a problem once you realize that most of the foods you love are packed with sugar (carbs).

Keto helps you here by cutting off the supply of new sugar and forcing your body to spend all the stored reserves.

Once that happens and you reach ketosis, the fat meltdown begins followed by the stabilization of blood sugar levels.

It’s simple.

No stored sugar and no new sugar coming in equals no problems with blood sugar spikes.

The effects of a low-calorie keto diet in the treatment of diabetes are extremely positive.

However, you should not use the Keto diet as the only way of controlling your condition.

Always make sure to consult your doctor and take the prescribed therapy regularly.

Keto Diet for Diabetes Type 1

Keto Diet for Diabetes Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is a much less common form of diabetes.

Only one in twenty people with diabetes are affected by this form of the disease.

Anyhow, if you are suffering from type 1 diabetes, you probably know this already.

With type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels.

In some cases, it does not produce any insulin at all.

This means, if you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll find it almost impossible to manage even the smallest amounts of sugar.

So, you simply need an outside source of insulin (medications to keep your diabetes in check.

The Keto can potentially help you with type 1 diabetes as long as you have insulin in your body.

It will make it easier for you to keep control of your blood sugar levels.

However, without insulin, no diet can manage type 1 diabetes.

A combination of keto and no insulin can even result in unwanted complications.

Keto Diet for Diabetes Type 2

Keto Diet for Diabetes Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is a completely different story. Here the Keto diet can show its full effect.

Around 95% of all diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes.

That’s a great number of people who can benefit from the keto diet.

With type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin but still cannot properly process sugar.

Ketosis lowers the levels of blood sugar and keeps them stable.

Keto helps you to eliminate carbs from your diet, almost entirely.

Since carbs transform into sugars (glucose), this leaves the body to deal with less glucose and makes the control of its levels easier.

Also, if you burn fat for energy, you will end up losing weight and lowering other health risks.

This is important because people with type 2 diabetes are often overweight.

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. It is considered incurable.

However, a new study has found that this disease can be reversed and possibly cured with a radical low-calorie diet (such as the keto diet) that causes significant weight loss.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes in the past few years, this kind of diet could possibly help you to improve your condition.

The Final Word

If you are making the right food choices, you are half the way to successfully controlling your diabetes.

This means that you are pretty much in control. We can all agree that these are great news.

Now, there are many ways for you to do this.

The Keto diet is one of them.

More importantly, it is the most successful way.

So, if you already have to take care of what you eat, our suggestion is to choose the most effective way to do it.

Expert References:

  1. Leslie WS, Ford I, Sattar N, Hollingsworth KG, Adamson A, Sniehotta FF, McCombie L, Brosnahan N, Ross H, Mathers JC, Peters C, Thom G, Barnes A, Kean S, McIlvenna Y, Rodrigues A, Rehackova L, Zhyzhneuskaya S, Taylor R, Lean ME. The Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT): protocol for a cluster randomised trial. BMC Fam Pract. 2016 Feb 16;17:20. doi: 10.1186/s12875-016-0406-2. PubMed PMID: 26879684; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4754868.
  2. Masood W, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2019 Mar 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from:
  3. 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 Dec 1;2:34. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-2-34. PubMed PMID: 16318637; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1325029.
  4. Turton JL, Raab R, Rooney KB. Low-carbohydrate diets for type 1 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2018 Mar 29;13(3):e0194987. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194987. PubMed PMID: 29596460; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5875783.
  5. Westman ECTondt JMaguire EYancy WS JrImplementing a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to manage type 2 diabetes mellitus.  doi: 10.1080/17446651.2018.1523713.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

One thought on “Keto Diet for Diabetics: Can It Really Help You?

  • I basically did this. I prayed to lose weight, the amount of food that I could eat at meal was greatly reduced and my Appetite was also reduced. I checked with a dietitian and was told that it was alright to skip a meal if you are not hungry, you are not starving your body if you are not hungry. I weighed 320 lbs when I started and ended up at 160 lbs. Then my thyroid became Hypothyroidism and I gained back 50 lbs. I have been holding 210 lbs for the past year. The year that I was at 160 I did not need any insulin.

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