Can Ketone Products Help People with Diabetes?

Ketone esters are gaining momentum and popularity for their ability to lower blood sugar, increase the body’s ability to burn ketones for fuel (a supposed advantage for athletes), and ideally help a person lose weight.

“For the first time,” explains the recent study published in the Journal of Physiology, “it has been shown that drinking a ketone supplement can lower blood sugar levels, presenting a potential future method to control spikes in blood sugar experienced by diabetics.”

“Although previous studies have shown that infusing ketones into the bloodstream can reduce blood sugar levels… researchers at the University of British Columbia and University of Oxford have demonstrated that a single drink of ketone ester enables better control of blood sugar by reducing spikes in sugar levels,” the study states.

The study consisted of 20 healthy, nondiabetic individuals consuming a ketone ester supplement or placebo following a 10-hour period of fasting.

About 30 minutes after consuming the ketone ester supplement, they consumed a drink containing 75 grams of sugar.

The participants who were given the ketone ester beverage were reported to have lower blood sugar levels than those given the placebo over the course of the following two and a half hours.

Dr. Peter Attia, an avid supporter of low-carb diets for diabetics as well as nondiabetics, gave his two cents on ketone ester drinks with the first warning of just how awful they taste, “The ketone esters are, hands down, the worst tasting compounds I have ever put in my body. The world’s worst scotch tastes like spring water compared to these things,” he said. “I failed to mix it with anything. Strategic error. It tasted as I imagine jet fuel would taste. I thought I was going to go blind. I didn’t stop gagging for 10 minutes.”

“The salts are definitely better,” added Attia, “but despite experimenting with them for months, I was unable to consistently ingest them without experiencing [gastrointestinal] side effects. Often, I was fine, but enough times I was not, which left me concluding that I still needed to work out the kinks.”

In terms of their efficacy for weight loss, blood sugar reduction, or athletic performance, experts in the diabetes community aren’t convinced they have any real place in daily diabetes management.

“Overall, this study was done in healthy individuals. Studies need to be done on people with diabetes to determine any real efficacy and application,” explained Jennifer Smith, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietician at Integrated Diabetes Services.

“For healthy individuals to be taking yet another supplement is another craze hitting the market isn’t necessary,” Smith told Healthline. “If we eat mostly healthy foods — close to what they looked like to begin with — and add activity that is good for us, we should be able to stay healthy, even for those with diabetes.”

Smith and Oerum — both of whom have type 1 diabetes themselves, are athletes, and work with everyday patients — are firmly convinced that good old-fashioned healthcare ought to be plenty, with an emphasis on your lifestyle habits.

“We shouldn’t have to spend extra money on expensive supplements to make our body do something it should be doing well if we are treating it well,” said Smith.

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With the rate of type 2 diabetes diagnoses soaring across the globe, it’s important to bear in mind that the pursuit for a quick-fix supplement is not only hoping to prevent complications of high blood sugar like retinopathy, neuropathy, kidney disease, and stroke, it’s also hoping to make money.

“From a personal perspective,” adds Oerum, “I’ve never seen or heard of anybody dropping body fat by taking over-the-counter supplementation alone. It has always been by changing their lifestyle or weight-loss surgery (along with lifestyle changes), or through taking necessary prescribed medications.”

Ginger Vieira is an expert patient living with type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and fibromyalgia. Find her diabetes books on and connect with her on Twitter and YouTube.

— Update: 04-01-2023 — found an additional article Is The Keto Diet Good For Diabetes? from the website for the keyword can diabetics take keto pills.

If you’re a person with diabetes, there’s a good chance you’ve heard someone suggest the ketogenic diet as a way to deal with your condition. This diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fatty foods, making it seemingly perfect for diabetes management. Even actor Halle Berry, who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 22, has said this diet has had a significant positive impact on her health. And her claims come from personal experience, as she’s followed the keto diet for decades.

“Because I’m diabetic, nutrition has been a big part of my life. For the past almost 30 years I have been following the ketogenic lifestyle,” Berry said in an interview with Insider.

According to Berry, the keto diet has helped her with everything from weight loss to “possibly revers[ing] type 2 diabetes.” But can any diet really have this much of an impact on the lives of people with diabetes – and is the keto diet genuinely safe for people living with this condition? We’ve researched keto and diabetes, and in this article, you’ll learn what we found.

The Keto Diet and Type 1 Diabetes

Can diabetics take keto pillsAre you wondering if you can safely try the keto diet while living with type 1 diabetes? As it turns out, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. Instead, you’ll need to be aware of various risks and precautions before starting this diet.

Studies show that the keto diet can significantly lower blood sugar levels and improve levels of A1C in people with type 1 diabetes. Still, there’s a catch – the diet can cause blood sugar in some people with diabetes to become too low. Complications from low blood sugar can range from confusion to a loss of consciousness, so you might need to adjust your insulin dosage to avoid this.

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Keto can also help people lose weight – but weight loss isn’t desired or safe for everyone with diabetes. If you’re underweight or have other health concerns related to losing weight, the keto diet may not suit you.

Finally, it’s important to remember the differences (and the similarities) between diabetic ketoacidosis and nutritional ketosis. Nutritional ketosis refers to the state where a keto diet encourages the body to produce ketones from fat in the liver while using fat as its primary fuel source. As part of this process, ketone levels in the bloodstream rise.

Diabetic ketoacidosis also involves elevated ketone levels, but the same is true for blood sugar – which can throw the acid-base balance of your blood out of whack. Because of this, ketoacidosis is considered a medical emergency. While these conditions are far from identical, they both involve blood ketone levels. As a result, you’ll need to consult your healthcare team before embarking on a keto diet.

The Keto Diet and Type 2 Diabetes

As is the case for people with type 1 diabetes, the keto diet can encourage lowered blood sugar levels among people who have type 2 diabetes. This diet’s avoidance of carbohydrates may seem to make it a natural fit for people living with diabetes. However, you ought to be careful if you decide to follow the keto diet while living with type 2 diabetes.

For people with type 2 diabetes, the keto diet can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. To avoid this, you’ll want to do blood sugar tests throughout the day and make adjustments in response to your results.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is relatively rare in people with type 2 diabetes, but high ketone levels are a risk factor. With that in mind, it’s important to know what to look out for if you are following a keto diet with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, if your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dL, you should use a urine strip to test for ketones.

The Keto Diet, High Cholesterol, and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, blood sugar levels are far from the only thing you have to worry about – this condition also increases your risk of high cholesterol. Though scientists believe cholesterol, insulin, and blood glucose are interlinked, the exact interaction between these substances is not yet understood. In any case, it’s necessary for people with diabetes to take cholesterol seriously, too.

High cholesterol levels can cause severe problems for people with diabetes (and anyone else unlucky enough to have them). Cholesterol can eventually harden in the arteries, restricting blood flow. That increases a person’s odds of having a heart attack or stroke.

Research suggests that the keto diet can increase people’s levels of “good,” or HDL, cholesterol. However, it may also result in increases in “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol. Since people with diabetes are already at heightened risk of high cholesterol levels, make sure to think seriously about how starting a keto diet could impact your cholesterol.

Keto Diet Pills and Diabetes

Several supplements are available to people who are following the keto diet. Here are a few of these supplements and what you should know about each one:

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  • Ketone supplements/ketone esters work to boost the availability of energy to the body. These primarily consist of “BHB salts,” which combine the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate with sodium and potassium. These salts put ketones in the bloodstream, meaning the body doesn’t need to burn body fat to access ketones. While valuable for athletes, these supplements are not ideal for people with diabetes interested in weight loss.
  • Magnesium helps keep sodium and potassium levels in check, especially in the early days of a person’s keto diet. Unless it impacts kidney function, excessive magnesium should not be a problem.
  • MCTs, AKA “medium chain triglycerides,” are a dietary fat source touted by some researchers as being ideal for ketone development. This fat source can help people follow a keto diet while eating more carbs than they could otherwise. However, the jury is currently out on whether or not MCTs are better than other fats regarding weight loss.
  • Cinnamon has been theorized to help boost insulin response and increase the speed of glucose metabolism. Because of this, some people on the keto diet have started eating cinnamon before meals. Still, we should note that research has not proven that cinnamon affects insulin sensitivity.

The Difference Between A Keto Diet and A Diabetes Diet

While keto is one of the most well-known low-carb diets today, it is not the only option for people with diabetes. You’ll likely be better off working with a registered dietician and your healthcare team to create the perfect diet for your own needs.

The team at US MED recently put together an article featuring some diabetes-related dietary tips. We encouraged people with diabetes to:

Focus on eating nutritious vegetables and proteins. Fruits generally have more carbs than vegetables, but they can still be healthy.

Avoid overeating carbohydrates but continue to eat some foods in this category. Whole grains such as oatmeal or brown rice are good choices; processed grains are not.

Keep fats, oils, and sweets to the bare minimum to avoid weight gain since this can cause problems related to diabetes management.

A diet created with these tips in mind won’t be as restrictive as the keto diet, and it may be the better option for people with diabetes overall.

Enjoy Our Delicious Low-Carb Recipes

Though the keto diet may seem like a “magic bullet” for people with diabetes, life is rarely that simple. Instead, the best option may be eating a balanced diet designed with your nutritional needs in mind. However, if you are curious about the keto diet, ask your healthcare provider about what you should do to get started.

Are you interested in finding high-quality, low-carb recipes that have been written specifically for people with diabetes? US MED has put together a collection of these recipes for you. Our recipe database is easy to use and 100% free – try it out today!

US MED is also your one-stop shop for diabetes testing supplies, insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitors, always shipped for free with 90-days supplies.


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About the Author: Tung Chi