High Blood Glucose on Keto

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/11/2024

The ketogenic diet is known for decreasing insulin resistance and controlling blood sugar levels, so those who adopt the diet and find their glucose levels have gotten higher are often shocked.

Learn about what can cause high blood glucose levels on the ketogenic diet and what steps you can take to address this.

The Masking Effect of High Insulin Levels on Blood Glucose

How does our body's insulin production affect blood glucose levels when we consume unhealthy food? Typically, you'd expect a spike in glucose. But surprisingly, if your body produces high amounts of insulin, it might maintain normal blood glucose levels.

This is due to the masking effect, an overworked pancreas producing more and more insulin to get by. While initially effective at keeping sugar down, it’s not a sustainable solution.

The pancreas eventually tires out, leading to higher blood sugars, the very thing it was trying to prevent.

Pancreatic Exhaustion and Elevated Blood Sugar Levels

When insulin resistance persists, the pancreas can become overworked. The constant insulin production leads to what we call pancreatic exhaustion.

This fatigue isn't just about your pancreas needing a nap; it has severe implications for blood sugar levels. Over time, as the pancreas struggles, its ability to produce enough insulin decreases.

The Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting as a Solution

A ketogenic diet can help combat insulin resistance by reducing carbohydrate intake. But why does keto work? When you reduce your carb intake, your body turns to fat as an alternative energy source. That’s where fat comes in.

Your body starts burning fats instead of glucose for fuel, inducing a state known as ketosis. This switch reduces the need for insulin since less glucose is available in the bloodstream.

Less demand means lower levels of circulating insulin, which helps alleviate some effects of insulin resistance.

The Transition Phase in Dietary Changes

Starting a keto diet requires significant dietary changes that may initially cause an increase in blood sugar levels. This rise is temporary but vital because it signifies that your body is adapting to its new energy source: fat.

This phase might seem scary with higher-than-normal blood sugar readings; don't let these numbers discourage you. It's part of the journey towards healthier living through reduced carbohydrate reliance.

The Significance of Rising Blood Sugar Levels During Transition

Your body adjusts to burning fat instead of glucose for energy, causing temporary high blood glucose levels. But this rise isn’t harmful, it signifies your insulin levels are getting healthier.

This shift indicates that you're on track toward fixing your insulin resistance. So even though those numbers might seem alarming at first glance, remember: they're just a signpost along the road to better health.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar Levels Over Time

Shifting to a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting may initially trigger a rise in blood sugar levels. No cause for concern; this is just a sign of your body adapting to the new diet. Instead, it's your body adapting to the dietary changes.

Your body previously relied on carbohydrates for energy, but now you're asking it to switch gears and burn fat instead. It’s like moving from gasoline to diesel – there might be some hiccups at first.

This transition phase doesn't last forever, though. Insulin resistance starts improving as you stay consistent with keto eating habits and periodic fasting.

Blood glucose levels fall back into healthier ranges as your pancreas gets less taxed. The key here is consistency, stick with it.


Embarking on the ketogenic diet journey can sometimes lead to unexpected increases in blood glucose levels, especially during the transition phase. This rise is often due to the body adjusting to its new energy source and overcoming insulin resistance.

Understanding the masking effect of high insulin levels and the concept of pancreatic exhaustion sheds light on why these temporary spikes occur. However, with patience and consistency, the ketogenic diet, coupled with intermittent fasting, can help stabilize blood sugar levels over time.

It's essential to stay focused on the long-term benefits of improved insulin sensitivity and overall health while navigating through these initial challenges. By embracing dietary changes and sticking to the ketogenic lifestyle, individuals can pave the way for better blood sugar management and overall well-being.

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