High Blood Glucose While In Ketosis

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.

Understanding High Blood Glucose in Ketosis

The world of ketosis often presents surprises. One such surprise is the paradoxical rise in blood glucose levels despite being on a low-carb diet. But why does this happen?

The paradox of high blood glucose and ketosis

Instead of relying on carbs for energy, our bodies enter a state of ketosis and use fat as fuel. However, sometimes your body may show elevated sugar levels even when you eat few or no carbs.

This situation can seem puzzling, considering that we usually associate high sugar with carb consumption, not its absence.

This puzzle comes into play due to factors like excessive protein intake, unnoticed increase in carb consumption (carb creep), and frequent meals or snacks, among others, affecting blood sugar levels.

Factors Contributing to Elevated Blood Sugar in Ketosis

Several factors can increase your blood glucose levels while on a ketogenic diet. Let's explore some of them.

The Role of Excessive Protein Intake

Excess protein intake may be the source of elevated blood sugar levels. According to research, too much protein at dinner could spike blood sugar levels the next day.

The Effect of Carb Creep

Another potential factor is "Carb creep," or unknowingly adding more carbohydrates to your diet. Those extra grams sneak in; before you know it, they're messing with your blood glucose numbers. So keep an eye on what you eat, as every gram counts.

Impact of Frequent Meals or Snacks

Eating often? It may lead to higher blood glucose levels, too. Your body needs time between meals to use the food energy properly, if not given enough rest, it just piles up as excess sugar.

The Influence of Cortisol on Blood Sugar Levels

Many individuals may not be aware that cortisol, frequently referred to as the "stress hormone," has an essential role in regulating blood sugar levels.

When we're under stress, our bodies release more cortisol to help us handle it. Under tension, our systems may emit more cortisol, which can increase blood sugar.

Morning peaks in cortisol and blood sugar

Have you ever noticed your morning energy burst? That's partially due to a natural peak in cortisol just before dawn. This process is called the cortisol awakening response (CAR).

CAR gets your body ready for the day ahead by increasing both energy production and, you guessed it, blood glucose levels. It might seem counterintuitive to follow a keto diet aimed at lowering these same sugars.

This physiological reaction explains why some people may experience slightly higher fasting glucose readings first thing in the morning—a phenomenon known as the dawn effect.

But remember a slight bump isn't necessarily cause for concern; consider it part of your body's complex wake-up call.

The Role of Insulin Resistance and Keto Diet on Blood Sugar Levels

When a keto diet is initiated, the body shifts from relying on glucose to using ketones as its primary energy source. But what happens when insulin resistance enters the mix? You might find that blood sugar levels go up slightly.

The effect of a healthy keto plan and intermittent fasting on insulin levels

Following a healthy keto plan can help lower insulin levels. The body doesn't have to create as much insulin due to the low-carb consumption of a healthy keto diet.

Furthermore, practicing intermittent fasting allows your body more time without food-induced insulin production.

Understanding the transitional phase

In the initial stages of following a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting, there’s a transitional phase where blood ketone levels are between 1.0 to 1.5 mmol/L and blood sugar ranges from 90-105 mg/dL.

It's important not to be alarmed if you see these numbers; they're entirely normal during this period.

The Temporary Nature of Elevated Blood Sugar in Ketosis

Experiencing high blood sugar while on a keto diet might be unsettling, and you might be asking yourself if keto works. This is typically a short-term condition that will improve as insulin resistance improves.

Ectomorph body type

Monitoring well-being and energy levels

Beyond just focusing on numbers, listening to your body is crucial. If you're feeling energized and vibrant, that's an excellent sign you're doing things right.

However, if you notice sluggishness or brain fog, these could be signals from your body saying there’s more work. It doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong; rather it shows the transitional nature of our bodies adapting to ketosis.

This phase can feel like a balancing act sometimes - but remember: health isn't always linear. Just because glucose levels rise temporarily does not mean progress has halted or reversed. It simply means your body needs some time for adjustment.


Experiencing elevated blood glucose levels on the ketogenic diet can be unexpected and concerning, but it's essential to understand the underlying factors contributing to this phenomenon.

Factors like excessive protein intake, carb creep, cortisol levels, and insulin resistance can all play a role. However, it's crucial to recognize that these increases are often temporary and part of the body's adjustment process to ketosis.

By monitoring dietary habits, practicing intermittent fasting, and focusing on overall well-being, individuals can navigate through this transitional phase effectively. Remember, health is a journey, and fluctuations in blood sugar levels are part of the process as the body adapts to a ketogenic lifestyle.

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan