Fat adapted? Still high ketones after 1.5y


(Marika) #1


I’m 40, I’ve been on strict, clean keto for over 1.5y with time restricted eating (usually 2 meals within a 4-6h window). Sometimes I fast 1-2 days.The diet was easy for me from the start, no keto flu, started making ketones early. I wasn’t overweight, but still lost a few kilograms. I feel good, enjoy keto and how easy it makes my life. The reason I went on keto was that I had daily loss of energy in the afternoon (falling asleep sitting), this does not happen anymore.

However, I worry if I am really fat adapted. I’ve read that with time your body should get more efficient at using the ketones it produces and the blood ketone levels should naturally go down to sth like 0.5mmol/L, yet I am still at 2~3 mmol/L on a daily basis, with up to 7 mmol/L after exercise. My glucose is around 70-90 mg/dL daily, down to even < 50 mg/dL after exercise.

So I wonder - does anyone else experience this? Should I worry that my body doesn’t really use all the ketones it produces?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

Actually, it sounds as though you are doing very well.

Fat-adaptation is hard to measure. The adaptation period is usually only noticed by athletes, who find they can’t run as well or lift as much for a while, before their performance returns to normal. What you describe with your ketones and glucose after exercise makes me think you are very well fat-adapted indeed.

One thing we have learned is that the level of ketones in the blood does not always correlate with success on this way of eating. From what you describe, this way of eating is working very well for you, and the fact that you are still producing a noticeable amount of ketones is not a problem, even though it’s somewhat unusual. From various comments on these forums over the years, however, I know that there are other members who are still producing ketones; it’s just that it’s not something that people tend to worry about, so it doesn’t get much attention. Just write your situation down to individual variability, keep calm, and keto on! :+1:

Welcome to the Ketogenic Forums!

(Marika) #3

Thanks Paul.

I wonder if maybe people who are doing well on this diet just stop measuring ketones after a while and don’t even notice.

You’ve put my mind at ease, that’s what I was looking for - information on how other people are doing.

Thank you :slight_smile:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #4

I’m sure that’s true.

And I’m glad to have been able to set your mind at ease.

(Bob M) #5

Are you a cyclist?

I’ve seen others who say their blood sugar goes down after exercise, but it seems like it’s usually people who are doing long sessions of aerobics.

I do short sessions of body weight training and HIIT, and my blood sugar goes up, not down. I was jogging a 5k twice a week, but I never took my blood sugar. That’s too bad, as now I’m back to short HIIT sessions instead (too dark to go jogging on the roads).

My ketones didn’t start dropping until years had passed. As in 5+ years. You may or may not experience the same thing.

(Jane) #6

Everyone is different. I am coming up on 5 years keto and still make a decent amount of ketones (1-2) and still waste them in my urine. I haven’t tested my ketones in over a year because they don’t make the strips anymore for my KetoMojo and I never upgraded it, but I don’t think anything has changed with me being on keto for so long.

One common mantra around here was "the pee sticks stop working after a) you are fat adapted or b) after some time period. I challenged it since it didn’t apply to me so a member started a poll and while we are in the minority, I am not the only one. I actually went out and bought a bottle of the pee sticks for the poll. Mine still turn pink and if I fast they turn darker pink - the longer my fast the darker. I realize the ketones in your urine are different than blood ketones.

The highest I measured my ketones was 7.6 after 3 days of fasting (glucose was 52). I don’t do any intense exercise so I don’t have any data personally on what my ketones might do in that case.

Just wanted to say you are doing great!

(Bob M) #7

That does suck. I have two old Keto Mojos (and two Precision Xtras), as when I was testing a lot, I liked to have one at work and one at home. (The problem: if I tested both of them at the same time…they often did not agree. Not helpful if you’re trying to test.)

I am getting a new Keto Mojo, just because I have a few tests I’d like to do. But by and large, testing isn’t that useful, if what you care about is weight loss, at least for many. My ketones – according to my old Precision Xtra – are still around 0.1 to 0.2 mmol/l, yet I’m at my lowest weight again, at least by belt and pants size.

(Robin) #8

I’ve never measured anything. If I am following the plan and feeling good mentally and physically, I just call it good.


I have been on this WOE for 6.5 yrs now and I do breath measuements in the 2-3 mml/l range every time I measure, I can go as high as 5. I feel great, love this way of eating. I am not diabetic and my ave. BS nos are in the 90s, occasionally after a treat they go to 105 or so, but come down with a short walk.

It sounds like you are liking your results.
Just enjoy and KCKO. And a big welcome to the forums.

(Michael) #10

I am curious, are you low carb AND low protein? While you are probably perfectly fine, is it possible you have high ketones due to a lack of oxaloacetate? Not a problem, simply an explanation. You can test if you wish by eating a noticeably higher protein load and measuring your ketones in general following the load.

(Marika) #11

@ctviggen Yes, I’m a cyclist, but I haven’t cycled much since the pandemic started. I think my glucose does go up a bit during exercise, but usually when I get to do the measurement (keto-mojo) it’s ~1h post exercise, after a shower and all :slight_smile: I tend to exercise in a fasted state. My feeling is that my body mobilizes some glucose during exercise, but it’s never enough so it keeps producing ketones like crazy and continues to do so even after exercise has ended, while glucose is being sponged up as soon as it’s produced.

@Janie Good to know I’m not the only one! For me the highest was a year ago: ~7,5 ketones and 49 glucose after a 3h bike ride without breakfast. I felt a bit dizzy and very cold. I wonder how it’ll be when I get back to long-distance cycling. That’s actually why I worry and why I posted here, keto is fine on a daily basis, but will I be able to do a 24h bike ride :slight_smile:

@Naghite I think I’m not low protein, there is a lot of red meat, eggs and fish in my diet. I tracked my macros very carefully for the first 3 months of keto, but I didn’t plan what to eat. To make my life easier I created a list of foods allowed and just ate to satiety. I didn’t make any allowences for carbs except for some berries in the summer, but to be on the safe side I just assumed “no carbs” except for what was naturally in the food. At the end of each day I checked how I did, hoping it will be good enough to stay in the keto-ratios, and it was. So I dropped the excel spreadsheets all together and just continue in the same way ever since. Here are my numbers from that time:

I just took a reading 30 min after waking up and having a black coffee: glucose 85 mg/dL, ketones 3.5 mmol/L.

EDIT: fixed the excel summary, calories were badly summed up and I noticed the % didn’t add up to 100% :smiley:

(Michael) #12

It is all relative of course. You ate exercising a lot and on average eating 1600 calories with 29 g carbs and 75g protein. Unless you are very tiny, I suspect your body is shy protein/ carbs to get enough oxaloacetate to use all that ketone energy as you run through the carb energy instantly and not enough protein to keep the substrate available. Not saying anything is wrong, again, just the reason your ketones are so high. Again, you can test by eating 125g protein with everything else the same and check you ketones a few hours after eating. If they fall drastically, then you know it is substrate issue.

(Marika) #13

@Naghite Im 168cm / 55kg (5’6 / 121lb). I will try upping the protein and see, should be interesting.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #14

Protein is used to make new proteins out of its constituent amino acids. It is fat that is used for energy, and which supplies the source of ketones, since they are partially-metabolised fatty acids.

If the body has to start deaminating amino acids and converting them into glucose and fatty acids for energy (some amino acids are lipogenic, some are glucogenic, and others are both), then you are definitely not eating enough, because deamination is metabolically expensive and the body doesn’t do it on a whim.

(Pete A) #15

I still have high ketones after testing by the doc. After 5 years!


Your ketones are high because you’re doing TRE and Fasting. If you don’t give your body the fuel it wants, it needs to mobilize more fat into ketone production, hence higher levels.

That would be the majority of us long timers, because ketones are pointless to measure, with the exception of those who actually need them high for medical reasons.

(Bob M) #17

I also the results to be inconsistent, at least for testing. I currently have 4 ketone monitors, and I tested them against each other and got different results. Have one picture with 0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 mmol/l. Which one is it?

Fine to use if you want gross measurements, but not really for fine testing.

If you do test higher protein, let us know. I was never able to find any differences, at least that were repeatable. I did not, however, take a week of high protein and compare with a week of high fat. I’m getting a half pig and might use the fat from there to perform this test, though.Don’t get it until January.

(Jane) #18

My DIL is named Marika and I love that name and you are the only other person I know of with that name.



From what you state here it certainly sounds like you are fat adapted. I regularly do fasted rides in the morning that are 3 hours long and at an intensity of 70-80% of max HR. At this level, I am still burning primarily fat and some sugar. My blood lactate level is still below 2 at this intensity. Above this intensity, I will eat carbs on the ride. At the beginning (10+ years ago) I would bring gels out of fear. (bonking). On high-intensity training or race days though I will eat 100+ grams of carbs with no adverse effects. As my coach says “Fuel your ride accordingly.”