Blood ketone level clarification

(Darren Bradley) #102

Hi Crawford,
That’s some good runs you are getting in man. Haven’t done 5hours since on holiday in August. Hopefully will be up there again soon. Also ate nuts and cheese that day. Brazil’s mainly and some Italian cheese.

Too many carbs would be the obvious reason but I have checked them many times. Not exceeding 40g a day.

May have to lengthen the fasting period as you suggest although at the moment as I said 12hours is normal. Tomorrow will be 14hours but probably on an hour run. Will let you know.:blush:. New tub of strips arrived today

Cheers, Darren

(crawford walker) #103

Hi Darren,
40 gms is a lot of carbs. I have always stayed under 20 gms but still needed intermittent fasting to get into good ketosis. I wonder now if I could increase my carbs a little and stay in ketosis but I have become used to a diet under 20 gms and don’t want to rock the boat. Dr Phinney says that going out of ketosis is a mistake because it takes weeks to get back in but many people seem get away with carb binges and some say it helps build up their glycogen stores for major events.
I guess everybody is an experiment of one and we just have to try things out.
Cheers, Crawford

(Jane) #104

It takes most people only days to get into ketosis when they first start keto, so why would it take someone WEEKS to get back into ketosis? I am talking about ketosis, not being fat-adapted.

But regardless, I can eat a single high-carb meal (50-100g carbs) and be back into ketosis within 24 hours. I only do it rarely for special occasions and I don’t think I am unusual in this.

Perhaps Phinney meant going out of ketosis for an extended time (weeks, months) and it would take weeks to become fat-adapted again? Just trying to understand this.

(crawford walker) #105

Hi Janie,
I don’t understand it either because lots of people talk about going in and out of ketosis on a regular basis. I heard Dr Phinney say that one shouldn’t “cheat” on a ketogenic diet because it would take a long time to get back into ketosis. It was on one of his Youtube videos. Maybe he meant not to cheat while you were making your body fat adapted as that might impede the process. I have gone out of ketosis once or twice, usually after a big meal, and have had no trouble getting back into ketosis the next day. I’m sorry I transmitted what was either a mistake or a misinterpretation.

(Jane) #106

I agree with the statement if early on in the diet where the cravings are strong and you feel like [spoiler]shit[/spoiler] until you become fat-adapted.

Giving in and eating carbs just prolongs and delays the process.

A few months back I was reading a progress thread where a very overweight guy was struggling to stay keto while his whole family was still eating junk and carbage. Every night he would go to the kitchen after everyone was in bed and binge on carb snacks. Every day he would try to start over. He couldn’t make it 3 days w/o carbs so he eventually gave up and quit posting.

(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #107

"One doughnut is too many, and a thousand aren’t enough . . . "

(Darren Bradley) #108

Hi Crawf,
Happy Christmas,

just an update for you on my ketone levels. Bouncing about all over the place currently. even when I’ve consumed exactly the same meals for consecutive days. anyway, aside from that have finally got to 1.0 mmol! That took a 3 hour run and 19.5 hour fast on Saturday. Was pleased to be at 1, but honestly was expecting over 1.5 as got 1.0 the previous week having eaten breakfast (4 egg omlette) prior to the same lenght run in equally heavy wet and muddy conditions.

Cheers, Darren :slight_smile:

(Bob M) #109

Did you do a 3 hour run and then a 19 hour fast, or a 19 hour fast and then a 3 hour run?

I can only get my ketones above 1.0 if I fast multiple days or if I eat a ton of fat (and sometimes the latter does not do it). If I exercise, my ketones (BOHB, measured by blood) plummet at least for exercises about 1 hour in duration. I haven’t been exercising longer than that, so I don’t know what would happen if I did.

(crawford walker) #110

Hi Darren,

Glad to hear your ketones have been a bit higher.

I don’t understand ketone levels. My first 6 months on keto when I was pretty good at keeping net carbs under 20 my ketones varied between 0.3 and 0.8, mostly 0.5. This included several long runs (up to 6 hours). When I started intermittent fasting and not eating too much protein I was 1.0-2.0 most of the time and I thought I had it figured out. Then I had a period when I was under 1.0 again. In retrospect it was after a trip where I may have eaten too much protein. Now I am back around 1.0-1.6 with no rhyme or reason to the changes except that I have been keeping my protein low.

Some people think that your ketones reflect how much of your stored fat you are burning so if you eat a lot, even if it’s not too much carbs or protein, you will have low numbers because you are burning fat you ate rather than stored fat. If you are burning stored fat (long run, eating fewer calories) your ketone levels will go up.

I suspect there are other factors at play but have no idea what they are.

I went for a run this morning and felt great for an hour and 10 minutes then had no energy. It used to be around 2 hours that I would run out of steam but I think that on the ketogenic diet my glycogen stores in the morning are lower than they used to be so I burn them off quicker. Even on the keto diet your body is making glycogen at times, perhaps mainly during the night, and that availability of glycogen may affect your need to burn stored fat and hence contribute to low ketone levels.

If I’m running and I lose energy after a while I can eat a piece of cheese and my energy comes back even though the cheese has no carbs. I guess this is because my body is better at burning added fat than accessing it’s own stores.

I guess we just have to keep on experimenting.



(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #111

Ketone bodies (acetoacetate, acetone, and β-hydroxybutyrate) are intermediate products of fat metabolism, true, but it is also possible for the muscles to metabolize fat completely and spare ketone production for those organs, such as the brain, which cannot metabolize fatty acids and which prefer ketone bodies to glucose. When your muscles reach this state, we say you are “fat-adapted.”

To my mind, it’s an awful lot more important to be fat-adapted than to worry about measured ketone levels, which are highly variable, in any case. If you are eating very little carbohydrate and are neither unconscious nor dead, your liver has to be producing ketone bodies. How important, really, is it to know how much you are wasting in your urine (acetoacetate) or breath (acetone), or how much unused β-hydroxybutyrate is floating around in your blood (and is what you measured the leftovers or has it not been used yet—and how would you know?)?

As for deliberately eating at a caloric deficit, I strongly advise against this, because it can lead to a cycle of having to continually decrease intake as the body compensates for the (already) reduced intake by slowing the metabolism (further). Since the body can just as easily speed up the metabolism as slow it down, I personally vote for giving it an abundance of nutrition and relying on our satiety signaling to know how much to eat. That way, if the body need a bit more on a given day, it will automatically get it, and it knows better than I do how much it needs in order to be able to metabolize my excess store of fat.

(crawford walker) #112

Thanks, PaulL, for a very clear dissertation on why not to bother measuring ketones in the blood.The next question is how do you know that you are fat adapted? I figure I may be because I have been running without eating earlier, and when I run out of energy I get a boost from eating a small amount of cheese. If you have any suggestions as to how one could check for fat adaptation I’d love to hear them.
I’m sure you are right about eating at a calorie deficit. I usually only eat from noon to 6 pm but I try to get lots of food in that 6 hour window.

(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #113

Fat-adaptation is . . . hard to describe. But if you were performing at a certain athletic level before keto, took a hit after starting keto, and are now performing again at (or above) your previous level—that is a very good indication of fat-adaptation. Adaptation takes generally six to eight weeks (in some people even longer), because it involves certain shifts in hormone and enyzme production in muscle cells. I’m sure that mitochondrial healing/reproduction is probably also involved, as well.

Another sign of fat-adaptation is increased mental clarity and all-round energy level. But if you are an athlete, performance is the most clear-cut and most objective measure.

Oh, and finally: many people experience a rise in their serum glucose levels after fat-adaptation. This is because once they become fully fat-adapted, the muscles prefer to metabolize fatty acids over glucose and even ketones, thus sparing them for the cells that must have them (the red blood cells have no mitochondria and therefore cannot survive without glucose, and the brain really thrives on β-hydroxybutyrate, one of the ketone bodies). The sign of this “physiological insulin-resistance,” or “glucose-sparing,” as I prefer to call it, is that even though the serum glucose is somewhat higher than it was (earlier on the ketogenic diet, I mean), the HbA1C level remains in the non-diabetic range (under 5.5). This means that the slightly higher level of glucose is actually being used, because it’s not glycating the hemoglobin, as is the case in glycolytic people (a/k/a “sugar-burners”).

Clear as mud, I know, sorry!

(Darren Bradley) #114

sorry for delay in replying to your question Bob.
A bit of both.
My evening meal was completed at 7pm, I then ran for 3 hours between 9.30am and 12.30. Had an hour drive back to home, wash muddy kit etc and shower then ate my first meal of the day at 3pm. I did this as an experiment to see if ketones went up and they got to 1.0mm0L. I’m not a fan of fasting although as primitive man I’m sure we were forced to fast between successful hunts so probably are adapted to doing this. I generally eat a good breakfast and evening meal and snack lunch.
The previous week, if you noticed, I ate breakfast and after a similar run had a reading of 1.1mm0L. Ketones are evidently highly variable and individual, my levels may be low but i had no problem running for 3 hours with other than water. Evidence of fat adaptation, surely?

(Lauren G. ) #115

Blood meter readings are not a perfect science. The tricky part is that you may not be registering higher levels because your body is actually using them. Measuring first thing in the morning is a waste of a strip (a fairly expensive strip!)-when we are at rest our body has no need to produce ketones for energy-so I usually wait about 2.5-3 hours after waking to measure. The most important thing I’ve learned is to go by how I feel. If I have enough energy during the day, through my work outs and wake up fairly easily and am not plagued by hunger pangs-then I usually know I am in nutritional ketosis. I suggest picking different times during the day to measure but also-measure your glucose. It is possible you may have a food sensitivity to something you eat regularly that is causing your glucose to spike and keep your numbers low. <3

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #116

Glucose and ketones in your blood are available fuel. Acetone in your breath is the exhaust gas of fat burning. So if you want to measure fat burning, measure acetone concentration in your breath.

(Suzanne) #117

Im new to this forum and Im very happy to read these posts I have been getting readings from 0.3 to 0.5 and so frustrating my fingers are tender from all the sticks it is good to know that people’s ranges can be lower I’ve lost 9 lbs and overall pleased with progress excluding low ketone levels. Thank you

(April Harkness) #118

My ketones don’ t even register anymore. Not worried…why? Because abs. That will always be my answer now. I guess my body isn’t wasting any ketones.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #119

@smobley9931 Don’t worry about the numbers on your ketone blood tests. You are doing just fine. Keep your carbs sub-20 grams per day and you will continue to be just fine. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Suzanne) #120

Thank you so much .

(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #121

I just watched (or perhaps re-watched) a lecture by Jeff Volek, in which he points out that the kidneys get better at scavenging ketone bodies from the waste stream, the longer we eat keto, which is another reason the strips often stop showing urine ketones.