Nutrient Dense Foods for Stable Blood Sugars and Nutritional Ketosis

These foods will help you to maintain excellent blood glucose levels by reducing the insulin load of your diet while at the same time maximising nutrient density to minimise cravings and allow you to get the nutrients you need with less food.

More than carbohydrates or the glycemic index, the food insulin index data suggests that our blood glucose and insulin response to food is better predicted by net carbohydrates plus about half the protein we eat.

There is a relationship between carbohydrates and our insulin response to the food we eat, but it is not that strong, particularly when it comes to high protein foods or high fibre foods.

insulin response to carbohydrate from the food insulin index testing

Accounting for fibre and protein enables us to more accurately predict the amount of insulin that will be required to metabolise a particular food.  This knowledge can be useful for someone with diabetes and/or a person who is insulin resistant to help them calculate their insulin dosage or to choose foods that will require less insulin.  People wanting to follow a ketogenic diet will want to select foods towards the bottom corner of this chart.

insulin response to food = net carbs + 0.56 * protein

If your blood glucose levels are high you are likely insulin resistant (e.g. type 2 diabetes) or not able to produce enough insulin (e.g. type 1 diabetes) it makes sense to reduce the insulin load of your food so your pancreas can keep up.

This list of foods has been optimised to reduce the insulin load while also maximising nutrient density.  These low insulin load, high nutrient density foods will lead to improved blood sugar control and normalised insulin levels.  Reduced insulin levels will allow body fat to be released and be used for energy to improve body composition and insulin resistance.

As shown in the chart below this selection of foods is also nutrient-dense and provides a substantially greater amount of nutrients compared to the average of all foods available.

2017-02-27 (2).png

From a macronutrient perspective, these foods have a similar protein content to the rest of the foods in the USDA database, more fibre but much less digestible non-fibre carbohydrate.  And the carbohydrates that are there come from nutrient dense veggies that are hard to overconsume compared to the processed nutrient poor carbs that are typically causing the issues for people.

2017-02-27 (3).png

Included in the tables are the nutrient density score, percentage of insulinogenic calories, insulin load, energy density and the multicriteria analysis score (MCA) that combines all these factors.  Why not use these lists to inspire your next trip to the grocery store?

vegetables and fruit for diabetes

foodND% insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g)calories/100gMCA
chicory greens1523%2231.8
curry powder513%143251.3
beet greens1235%2221.3
mustard greens836%3271.1

eggs and dairy for diabetes

foodND% insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g)calories/100gMCA
egg yolk518%122751.2
whole egg630%101431.1
sour cream-513%61980.9
limburger cheese-119%153270.9
cream cheese-511%103500.9
feta cheese-122%152640.8
Swiss cheese-022%223930.8

nuts, seeds and legumes for diabetes

foodND% insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g)calories/100gMCA
sunflower seeds315%225461.0
flax seed011%165341.0
coconut milk-68%52301.0
sesame seeds-210%176310.9
brazil nuts-29%166590.9

seafood for diabetes

foodND% insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g)calories/100gMCA
fish roe1547%181431.1

offal for diabetes

foodND% insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g)calories/100gMCA
beef brains322%81511.1
lamb brains527%101541.1
lamb liver1448%201681.0
turkey liver1347%211891.0
chicken liver1450%201720.9
liver sausage-413%103310.9
chicken liver pate534%172010.9
lamb kidney1452%151120.9

animal products for diabetes

foodND% insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g)calories/100gMCA
ground turkey530%192580.9
pork sausage125%132170.9
pork ribs-118%163610.9
turkey bacon-319%112260.8
pork sausage-220%163250.8

If you’re not sure which approach is right for you and whether you are insulin resistant, we may help identify the optimal dietary approach for you.

Read more about the Food Insulin index 

  1. Making sense of the Food Insulin Index
  2. What foods raise your blood sugar and insulin levels (other than carbs)?
  3. The insulin load… the greatest thing since carb counting!
  4. Does protein raise blood sugar?
  5. The blood glucose, glucagon and insulin response to protein
  6. Insulin calculator for Type 1 Diabetes (including protein and fibre)
  7. What is the difference between glycemic index, the insulin index and insulin load?
  8. Nutrient-dense foods for stable blood sugars and nutritional ketosis

76 thoughts on “Nutrient Dense Foods for Stable Blood Sugars and Nutritional Ketosis”

  1. None of these are a good source of carbs! this is dangerous for the body! A warning here, ketoacidosis is very dangeours for diabetics persons! I dont think you sould recommend this, and im telling you as i study nutrition. Many people who doesnt know anthing reads these posts, you shoul at least give a safe % of carbs

    • Do you know anything about optimal diets for diabetes? Low carb is a very effective way of reducing insulin requirements and controlling weight for diabetics. You should study Dr. Richard Bernstein’s plan, he has been type 1 diabetic for many years and still treats patients at age 83.

    • Ketosis and ketoacidosis are not the same thing even though the words sound similar, you need to do some more study Sebastian. The level of ketones necessary for the latter is ten fold greater and secondly is a condition of type one (no insulin production by the beta cells) not type two (insulin resistance.) I’m a type two and in four months have reversed a serious condition to very close to normal by applying the ketogenic eating style. God bless

  2. Pingback: Nutrient Optimiser
  3. Hi,

    There is a ton of great information here, but I have a couple of questions;

    What number is considered a High insulin load? Or is there a range for high. moderate, and low?

    The charts list insulin loads by g/100g; exactly what is that 100g referring to?

    I’m stoked to find this website. Thank you so much

  4. Is there a column for nutrient density in relation to fat gm/protein gm/carb gm? Still not sure how to use this if I am trying to keep carbs below 20gm.
    Is there a total score to aim for?

    • generally the foods towards the top of the lists will be the most nutrient dense while also having the lowest insulin load (which is good for diabetes). we’re in the process of rolling these lists into the automated Nutrient Optimiser if you want to check it out.

Comments are closed.