Glucose and Keto: The Things You Should Know

Lienna May

October 19, 2022

A high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb diet is what the ketogenic diet is all about. It is among the most widely used diet plans. The ketogenic diet has helped make eating high-fat foods more common. It has been exceedingly popular as a way to lose weight. Additionally, ketogenic diets have multiple other benefits, including their effect on glucose levels and improvement of insulin sensitivity.

Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet results in changes in metabolism and also decreases glucose levels. However, this does not mean that it works well for every individual. Since every person is unique, various people may react differently to the same food. As a result, there is no universal guideline for using such regimens. Generally, the body enters ketosis, and blood sugar levels get reduced when the carbohydrate consumption levels are below 50 grams per day. However, your body might enter the level of ketosis at less than 40 grams of carbohydrate consumption per day. 

It is helpful to monitor your blood glucose levels continuously and understand how the diet works for your body. HealthifyPRO 2.0 BIOS, a wearable continuous glucose monitoring device, can help you. This modern device tracks your blood glucose levels in real-time, allowing you to improve your diet. HealthifyPro health coaches will help you create balanced meals to improve your metabolic health

Does Ketogenic Diet Affect Glucose Levels?

A ketogenic diet primarily consists of high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate intake. Experts divide the dietary macronutrients into approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein, and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. More specifically, in a 2000 kcal per day diet, carbohydrates amount to 20 to 50 g daily.

According to a research review, carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source. When the body receives less than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily, it reduces insulin production significantly. Then the body switches into a catabolic state. The catabolic state is the state in which the body focuses mainly on the breakdown rather than the build-up.

Once the body enters a catabolic state, it focuses on producing energy for its tissues. It mobilises the glycogen storage reserves from the body and uses them as an energy source. This process is known as glycogenolysis. After a certain period of time, the body’s glycogen reserves run out, forcing the body into a condition of gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis. These mechanisms are the body’s way of combating low levels of glucose.

Gluconeogenesis is the production of glucose in the body, especially in the liver, primarily from lactic acid, glycerol, and amino acids. When glucose availability drops, gluconeogenesis cannot meet the body’s needs. Ketogenesis takes over to provide an alternate energy source. In this state, ketone bodies replace it as the primary energy source. Insulin secretion is also low due to decreased blood glucose levels. It, in turn, reduces glucose storage and mobilises fats. 

Fats break down into fatty acids, which later get metabolised into acetone and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These are the primary ketone bodies. These ketone bodies accumulate in your body for as long as you follow a ketogenic diet. The state in which ketone bodies are the primary energy source is called “nutritional ketosis.” Nutritional ketosis is safe and utterly different from diabetic ketoacidosis, a pathological state.

Insulin Resistance and Nutritional Ketosis

According to research, insulin resistance is a complex metabolic state that affects energy utilisation. It stimulates ectopic fat deposition in non-adipose organs, specifically skeletal muscle, the heart, and the pancreas. At the level of skeletal muscle, it hinders the ability to take up plasma glucose. It results in glucose diversion to the liver, which is converted to and stored as fat. Nutritional ketogenesis promotes the sensitivity of the insulin receptor. A ketogenic diet ensures the supply of primary nutrients and maintains a negative energy balance. It also reduces the fluctuation and insulin secretion caused by reduced carbohydrate intake, eventually improving insulin sensitivity.

Diabetes and Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet positively impacts glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Therefore, you can use it as an alternative treatment modality. Research has shown that the ketogenic diet improves HbA1c levels and the body’s glycemic response. However, people with diabetes who take insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents suffer severe hypoglycemia. It’s important to discuss any dietary changes with your doctor before starting a new diet.

The HealthifyMe Note

The human body mainly depends on glucose for energy. However, a sudden surge in glucose levels is the reason for an increase in fat storage. The ketogenic diet focuses on decreasing the number of carbohydrates consumed while increasing the fat content. This absence of carbohydrates shifts the body’s metabolism and makes ketone bodies the primary energy source. It helps in combating hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

Is Ketosis More Advantageous for the Body?

Most tissues can make use of the ketone bodies present in the body. The heart, muscles, and kidneys are among the tissues. The popular belief that the brain gets deprived of energy in ketosis is false as the ketone bodies can also cross the blood-brain barrier. While red blood cells cannot utilise ketones due to the absence of mitochondria, the liver cannot depend on ketones due to the lack of necessary enzymes.

The ketone body produces more adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the basic unit of energy. It is also called super fuel due to this very nature. To explain further, one hundred grams of acetoacetate generates 9400 grams of ATP, and 100 g of beta-hydroxybutyrate yields 10,500 grams of ATP, whereas 100 grams of glucose produces only 8,700 grams of ATP. It allows the body to maintain efficient energy production even during a caloric deficit. Ketone bodies also decrease free radical damage. It also enhances the antioxidant capacity.

It improves insulin sensitivity and treats metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, it is also known to promote weight loss and improves lipid profile in a few individuals. It has been tested in various chronic diseases like cancer, hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease and was proven to be quite effective in many studies.

The HealthifyMe Note

Ketones can be used by nearly all tissues, except for RBCs and the liver. Ketone bodies provide more energy than glucose, making the process highly efficient. It can be used for improving insulin sensitivity and lipid profile and helps in treating metabolic syndrome. It also reduces cellular ageing and is highly effective in chronic conditions, especially epilepsy. 

How is Nutritional Ketosis Different From Ketoacidosis?

According to research, uncontrolled hyperglycemia and increased levels of ketone body production characterise diabetic ketoacidosis. This excess formation of ketone bodies reduces the body’s overall pH, resulting in electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. It is a severe condition with life-threatening complications. It is often confused with nutritional ketosis. A healthy ketosis state is relatively safe, as ketone bodies get produced in small concentrations without altering blood pH. 

Potential Side Effects of Ketogenic Diet

The short-term side effects of the initiation of the ketogenic diet are “keto flu.” This flu encompasses symptoms including fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and low exercise tolerance. Symptoms generally go away within a few days to weeks as the body adapts to the low carbohydrate, ketogenic condition. Hepatic steatosis, renal stones, hypoproteinemia, and vitamin deficiencies are long-term adverse effects. While the benefits of following a ketogenic diet have been high, long-term compliance with keto is a limiting factor.

Does the Ketogenic Diet Work for Everyone?

Ketone body production relies on several factors such as resting basal metabolic rate (BMR), body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage. An individual’s response to carbs might also be very different.

Some people tolerate carbs way better than others. It can be one of the reasons the ketogenic diet acts differently on different individuals. 

It also depends on additional factors like physical activity and fasting. For example, individuals on intermittent fasting can enter the state of ketosis even while consuming higher levels of carbohydrates than people who are not. It is also more effective for people with excellent metabolic rates and more significant physical activity to enter the state of ketosis.

Keto-Friendly Foods

There is no single diet that suits the nutritional requirements of every individual. However, these are common foods that are part of the keto diet

  • Avocado is an excellent source of fat. It contains good fats and helps improve high density or cholesterol levels.
  • Cheese is an incredible source of fat and protein. However, highly processed cheeses are not beneficial for health; hence, you should opt for fresh ones.
  • Nuts are another source of healthy fats. Use them as an alternative to junk foods during hunger pangs. They can be consumed raw or slightly roasted to enhance the flavours.
  • Fish is a good source of fats. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids that have incredible cardiovascular health benefits.
  • Tofu is a plant-based product that is rich in fats and can be consumed in any form owing to its versatility.
  • Eggs are a must-have food. They are rich in fats and proteins and are super simple to make.
  • Sunflower seeds make great snacks and are full of healthy fats. You can also try pumpkin seeds similarly.
  • Full-fat milk and dairy products can make a wide range of foods and drinks.

Tips to Maximise the Effects of Ketogenic Diet

Follow the below-mentioned tips to maximise the benefits of the ketogenic diet:

  • Monitor the glucose levels consistently to understand the limit of carbohydrates you can consume while keeping the state of ketosis.
  • Practice intermittent fasting to boost your metabolism and maximise the effects of ketosis.
  • Exercise goes a long way with a ketogenic diet to improve blood glucose levels.
  • Differentiate healthy fats from unhealthy ones.
  • Make and follow a healthy meal plan.
  • Understand that a ketogenic diet might not be for everyone and may have adverse effects. Consult a health professional before starting your regimen.


A ketogenic diet includes high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and low levels of carbohydrates. As a result, it leads to low blood glucose levels, and the body becomes a state of nutritional ketosis. The primary energy source of this state is ketone bodies. 

Ketosis is a better state for the body as it decreases fat deposition and boosts the overall metabolism. It also helps improve lipid profile and increases insulin sensitivity. In addition, ketosis can help reduce free radical injury and prevent cell ageing. However, it is essential to understand that everybody is different and will react differently. 

Some people might need higher carbohydrate restrictions to enter ketosis, but this may not be the case for everyone. It might show adverse effects and reactions in some people while not working on others. It is the prime justification for tailoring a diet to how your body responds. You can make it possible by routinely checking your blood glucose levels and being aware of where your body is at that time. HealthifyPro health and fitness coaches can help you achieve optimal metabolic health through healthy meal planning and lifestyle changes.

About the Author

Received Master’s Degree in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport - one of the most advanced scientific and evidence-based nutrition programs in the US. Lienna is also board-certified in Clinical Nutrition (CNS) by the American Nutrition Association and a licensed clinical dietician/nutritionist in the State of Florida. She is also certified by Yale University in 'The Science of Well-Being.' "I help my clients uncover the root causes behind their symptoms, understand their motivations, and help them break down big goals into manageable steps! My passion is to share the power of food and lifestyle as a form of medicine."

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