keto diet and diabetes type 2

What is type 2 diabetes? Did you or someone you know recently get diagnosed with it? You may be someone that has lived with it for years and have struggled to find a good balance in your diet. It is imperative to understand how changes in your diet might help type 2 diabetes. Are you someone that has wondered how the ketogenic (referred to as “keto”) diet might aid in prevention or help ease some of your symptoms? Our goal is to assist you in choosing fuel for your body that will help you achieve your goals, be sustainable, and help you be successful in remedying these issues. In this article, we will learn what type 2 diabetes is, what causes it, and then explore the keto diet and diabetes type 2.

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is certainly not uncommon in today’s world. The World Health Organization states that there are over 422 million people living with it across the world. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. We will be focusing on type 2 diabetes in this article. It is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of diabetes diagnoses are type 2 diabetes. This means that of the 422 million people with diabetes, 379 million to 400 million are living with type 2.

Diabetes is a disorder where the blood sugar levels in the body are elevated. When glucose is present in the body, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps create energy from glucose. Glucose is a natural sugar that comes from the food you eat. The glucose passes from your blood into your body’s cells because of insulin. Your body uses glucose when you need more energy (i.e. between meals, when exercising or sleeping). Individuals with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin or the body is unable to use what is produced effectively. This creates high levels of blood sugar and can cause many problems.


The symptoms of diabetes include: blurry vision, increased urination, excessive fatigue, increased hunger, unexplained weight loss, infections or wounds that are slow to heal, and increased thirst. In type 1 diabetes, these symptoms may be more obvious than in type 2 as they can be very slow to develop. Some people with type 2 diabetes do not experience any symptoms.

Other complications can occur as part of unmanaged high blood sugar levels in the body. These include: blindness, kidney failure, impaired sensations in hands and feet, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. It is important to be aware of any of these symptoms and talk with your doctor should you experience them.


As you get older, the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes increases. If you have had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy) or prediabetes you are at a higher risk. Family history and being overweight are other risk factors that can increase your possibility of being diagnosed. There are a few recommendations that can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes: regular exercise, a healthy diet and weight control.

prevention and management

What can you do to prevent getting a type 2 diabetes diagnosis? There are a few recommendations that can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes: regular exercise, a healthy diet and weight control. As with any issue your body faces, including chronic illnesses, it is imperative to make sure you remove things don’t have a positive impact your health. It is significant to make sure you move your body as often as possible, allow enough time for your body to rest and repair itself, and supplement your nutrition. Most diets today are lacking some nutritional value. We recommend that you get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals into your body. Sometimes it is hard to find all of it in your diet, so supplements aid in making up the difference. These are other things that you can do to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, along with many other potential health issues:

  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid smoking
  • Sleep more
  • Exercise

Reducing stress, exercise, supplementing your nutrition, improving diet and getting enough rest can all improve the health of your body. Next, we will look at how your nutrition can help you prevent and manage diabetes.

keto diet and diabetes type 2

When beginning treatment for type 2 diabetes, your physician will work with you to help manage your diet, exercise regimen and medications to balance your blood sugar levels.

When beginning treatment for type 2 diabetes, your physician will work with you to help manage your diet, exercise regimen and medications to balance your blood sugar levels. If you focus on overall body health, the risk for diabetes will likely decrease. Food is very powerful in keeping your body in optimum health. For this reason, we suggest that you eliminate foods that are highly processed and those that contain artificial ingredients. There is not a “one size fits all” diet for type 2 diabetes. Each person must learn how their body responds to different foods. The most significant thing for people with type 2 diabetes is to monitor blood sugar levels. It is not recommended to skip meals. It is suggested to eat around the same time every day and pay attention to food labels. Take note that your level of activity plays a role in managing diabetes. Because of this you will want to make sure you check your blood sugar levels before, during, and after you exercise. Your doctor will also work with you to monitor your insulin. There are a few different types of insulin:

  • Long-acting: this insulin starts working approximately two hours after injection and can last up to 24 hours

  • Intermediate-acting: this insulin starts working one to two hours after injection and can last 14 to 16 hours.

  • Short-acting: injection occurs before a meal. It starts working within an hour and lasts 5 to 8 hours.

  • Rapid-acting: this insulin starts working approximately 15 minutes after injection and can last 3 to 4 hours. 

What does a Ketogenic Diet look like as it relates to Diabetes?

In a ketogenic diet you will reduce your consumption of carbohydrates which is what your body burns first for energy. In doing this, your body will begin to burn fat. This is known as ketosis which is a metabolic process where your body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Simply put, the keto diet consists of very little carbohydrates, moderate protein and focuses on healthy fats. The keto diet has been known to improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss. Each of these play a role in managing type 2 diabetes.

One study showed that an anti-inflammatory diet, along with exercise and limiting alcohol, reduced insulin sensitivity. Because of this, you will want to minimize instigators of inflammation in your diet. You could have inflammation in your gut, your joints, your digestive tract; or you may have allergies, food sensitivities, or any other chronic inflammation issue. Here are common foods that cause inflammation: sugar and high fructose corn syrup, artificial trans fats, vegetable and seed oils, refined carbohydrates, excessive alcohol, genetically modified foods, artificial sweeteners, and processed meat. It is wise to watch consumption of these products not only to avoid inflammation but also to promote healthy gut bacteria growth, which we will discuss below. Most of the foods that cause inflammation will be removed or dramatically reduced if you are following a ketogenic diet. Therefore, you will naturally experience a decrease in inflammation in your body which could lessen your insulin sensitivity.

One study showed that type 2 diabetes and obesity are impacted by the bacteria in your gut. The gut is a common term for the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestine. The intestines are part of the digestive system which are responsible for breaking down the food you eat, absorbing nutrients and water to provide nourishment, and removing waste products from the body. The intestines serve as a barrier between the gut and the rest of the body. A healthy intestinal tract can reduce inflammation, as well as house the healthy gut bacteria to process food. When managing type 2 diabetes, paying attention to gut health is important. The following foods are recommended to improve your gut health, they are also on the suggested food list when following a ketogenic diet:

  • Vegetables: Broccoli, arugula, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, zucchini.
  • Fermented vegetables: Kimchi, sauerkraut.
  • Fruit: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries.
  • Sprouted seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Healthy fats: Avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fish: Salmon, mackerel, trout, herring.
  • Meats and eggs: Chicken, lamb, turkey, eggs.
  • Beverages: Bone broth, teas, kombucha, water.
  • Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts.

There are many foods that can negatively impact the healthy bacteria in your body. They include: wheat based products, grains with gluten, baked goods, junk food (chips, candy, fast food, etc.), and artificial sweeteners. Most of these foods will also be removed or cut considerably if you are following a ketogenic diet. Therefore, you will be promoting healthy bacteria in your intestines. Reducing inflammation and promoting this healthy bacteria growth will lessen your risk of a type 2 diabetes.

The keto diet focuses on increasing fat intake and minimizing sugar intake. Some people have experienced a decrease in blood sugar when using keto diet and diabetes type 2. If there is too much glucose in the body, diabetics have high blood sugar, which can be dangerous. This often happens after consuming carbohydrates (starches, fiber and sugar). Minimizing carbohydrates could help diabetics keep their blood sugar low. With that being said, you should pay close attention to be sure that you are getting enough carbohydrates. You do not want your blood sugar to drop too low either. Your doctor may want you to monitor glucose and ketone levels to make sure you are on the right track. It can be overwhelming to find that balance and, at times, it can be very frustrating. Keeping a food journal to see how your body responds to your diet can also be tremendously helpful.

There is not one “perfect” diet for type 2 diabetes. Each person has a unique background and body composition that will impact how their diet works for them. We discussed avoiding inflammatory foods but there are a few other recommendations that may help you manage symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Most of these foods will also be removed or considerably reduced if you are following a ketogenic diet. For both a keto diet and diabetes type 2, it is suggested to avoid:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages – high in carbohydrates, high levels of fructose
  • Trans fats – chemically altered fats, linked to inflammation and insulin resistance
  • White bread, pasta and rice – high in carbohydrates, low in fiber
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals – high in carbohydrates, low in protein
  • Honey, agave, maple syrup – sugars, can increase blood sugars
  • Dried fruit – more concentrated in sugar than real fruit
  • Packaged snacks, including crackers, pretzels, etc. – often made of refined flour
  • Fruit juice – contains high level of fructose
  • French fries – fried in oil that can increase inflammation


With this information, you can see how incredibly important it is to consider your overall body health. Many health issues can be, at least partially resolved, by monitoring your nutrition. If you have other health concerns in addition to type 2 diabetes, always discuss your diet with your doctor. You will want to create a plan where whole, natural foods, that you enjoy consuming, can be incorporated. A lot of focus should be put on the quality of food consumed. Other lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity and improving sleep can also contribute and improve overall results. Setting yourself up to be successful with keto diet and diabetes type 2 will assist you in improving the health of your whole body.

Regardless of your diet choice, remember to stay hydrated by drinking water. It is also suggested to avoid soda, drinks with added sugars, and alcoholic beverages. We want you to be able to make informed decisions regarding a keto diet and diabetes type 2 to support your health. In knowing the potential causes and issues triggered within your body, you can take steps to balance your diet while living with type 2 diabetes.

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