February 10


How Can the Ketogenic Diet Influence Insulin Resistance?

By Gabriela

February 10, 2023

Insulin is a hormone that is located in the pancreas and it regulates the level of glucose in the blood.

In other words, the fat stored in the blood vessels that affects the functions of the metabolism is insulin. Some examples of insulin are the imbalance of potassium and sodium in the system, cognitive and emotional dysfunctions, triglycerides, fat synthesis, etc.

Therefore, insulin resistance is a metabolic syndrome that affects weight gain, appetite, skin, health risks, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. Even though we may have insulin resistance, it doesn’t mean that we will develop diabetes type 2, not everyone does.

How Many People Have Insulin Resistance?

About 50% of people with essential hypertension have insulin resistance. So, this condition is more common than we think. In the US there are around 60-70 million people who are insulin resistant.

This means that 40% of people who are 50 years old or older, will develop insulin resistance.

However, the younger generation is not excluded from this problem. Actually, this condition doesn’t only affect adults; it can also affect children, especially if they are obese.

What Causes Insulin Resistance?

  • Weight gain and obesity;
  • Hormone malfunctions;
  • Genetics and family history of diabetes, pre-diabetes;
  • Medications such as steroids;
  • Ethnic origin;
  • Pregnancy, including a baby delivery;
  • Age;
  • Smoking.

The Risks of Insulin Resistance (IR)

Insulin resistance is calcified as a deadly condition if it gets serious. Therefore it goes in the same category as hypertriglyceridemia, high and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and hypertension. So, here are the risks that IR can have:

  • Acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that causes dark skin discoloration on the body and around areas such as the back of the neck, armpits, and groin;
  • Gout, the easily converted fructose into uric acid;
  • Changes in the blood: high blood pressure—140/90 mmHg or above; a triglyceride level more than 250 mg/dL; high blood sugar (>100mg/dl); HDL cholesterol level lower than 35 mg/dL;
  • A fatty liver that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer;
  • Carbohydrate addiction and insatiable hunger;
  • Swollen fingers and ankles with sodium/potassium balance;
  • Gum disease;
  • Baldness for men and women;
  • Skin tags and acne;
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome.

How to Diagnose Insulin Resistance?

This kind of condition may be harder to pinpoint. To find out if we have it, we need to go and get a clinical examination. This examination starts by measuring glucose levels and blood insulin.

The fasting insulin level needs to be more than 25 ml/U/L and 75g glucose. Here are some of the normal levels of insulin in the system:

  • 1 hr after glucose uptake: 18-276 mIU/L< 125-1917 pmol/L;
  • Fasting: 25 mlU/L < 174 pmol/L;
  • 2 hr after glucose uptake: 16-166 mIU/L< 111-1153 pmol/L;
  • 30 min after glucose uptake: 30-230 mIU/L < 208-1597 pmol/L.

How Effective is the Ketogenic Diet?

If we reduce the intake of carbs from 25-50 grams per day, we can reduce insulin levels. Vegetables that are leafy and contain no or low calories are a great source of carbohydrates.

This safe and efficient diet can be ideal for lowering cholesterol levels and avoiding heart and sugar diseases. Moreover, it can help stabilize blood sugar and benefit overall health. In one research 13 overweight women participated.

They followed the ketogenic diet for four weeks, and after that, they ate a low-fat diet. As a result, the ketogenic diet didn’t reduce the LDL-C, but it didn’t allow the HDL-C to decline either.

Therefore, this diet improved the insulin resistance of overweight women. Moreover, this diet also helped raise good HDL cholesterol levels in men.

When it comes to children, this diet also seems beneficial. In a research 10 boys that were 8 years old followed the same diet. Their insulin levels decreased with no drugs or medication and got rid of their inflammation and abdominal fat.

This research seems to claim that ketogenic meals are great for the entire family. They are delicious and healthy, but most importantly they can help in the treatment of diabetes. Besides, these studies confirm these statements and promote a healthy way of life.

Source: KetoDiet Blog | PubMed | Virta | Medscape


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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