Ketone measurements counter intuitive?


Hey all, im about 7 weeks in and have been having a hard time losing weight and/or feeling the mental clarity/energy thats normally associated with this lifestyle. So i broke down and bought a blood testing meter and from everything ive read, my body seems to react opposite of how it should. Im out of ketosis every morning when i wake up. varying between, .2-.4 mmol. then i test again when i get home and I rarely get above 1.0. Two days out of the last two weeks, i had readings of 1.3 and 1.7 without doing anything out of my routine. ??? And ive read intermittent fasting is supposed to help elevate ketone levels. Mine drop off the map. when i test at various times during the 16/8 fast, sometimes they don’t even register. and they are ALWAYS low. always out of ketosis. I don’t understand. The only times i get into ketosis is after eating and i cant eat every two hours to keep it elevated. my body doesn’t want food for hours after i eat. I know everyones body is different, possibly i may just be one of those people this doesn’t suit? Has anyone else had similar issues? thanks.

(Ron) #2

Ketones are a by-product of your body burning fat for fuel. If the required fuel for the body at any given time is low and there is no foods to be metabolized then no or minimal fat is being burned. Another factor is since ketones are a by-product of metabolizing fat then any ketones floating around in the bloodstream are extra ketones the aren’t being used, so higher ketone readings are a symptom of not being adapted yet.

(Not a Chef) #3

.2 is still ketosis. Phinney has said that they picked .5 arbitrarily and that any ketones are probably fine.

You’re stressing too much.

(Diane) #4

My lowest ketone measurement is in the morning (before eating) increasing during the day (I’ve only done multiple, same day measurements a handful of times- the strips are so expensive). This occurs on a multi day, water and salt only fast; so it can’t be my dietary intake. My understanding is that our baseline blood sugar and insulin levels fluctuate with (or like?) our circadian rhythms. Why not ketone levels too? Also, physical activity and dehydration might affect readings. Some people run lower ketone levels all the time and have a hard time getting their levels over 0.5. You may be more like them.

Try not to stress too much over your readings. You seem to be doing fine.

Good luck!

(Chris W) #5

A few things are happening here
Some people have more of a reaction to dawn effect, were your liver in preparation dumps glucose into the blood. Depending upon how much glucose, your IR, and your level of fat adaption will all effect your morning ketones.
Ketones as measured are ones not being used in your case as you near fat adaption your blood ketones will start to drop of some if you are not ingesting MCT’s or SCT’s since they typically go straight to energy production. This may explain why you see a rise in ketones after you eat.
Things that have lead to higher ketones for me are: MCT’s SCT’s exercise, and extened fasting past 24 hours. That said I have never tested blood, only breath and urine but the results have more less been constant. In the case of exercise without question they drop off the map until an hour or two later unless I am fasted in which case they drop but not 100%.
Chasing a ketone level is going to be a futile experience your body will do as it sees fit with the energy it has. Short of knocking your self out with carbs or excessive protien its not really something to worry about.
Other things that will effect your levels and progress are general metabolic health, calorie intake level, stress, quantity and quality of protein, and IR. If you are a T2D or don’t have a lot of body fat, sedentary or restrict your calories you will not see much progress on the weight side.
So the take away is that yes you are in ketosis, yes you are burning fat, and keep calm and keto on.
Also share some of your meal and stats maybe there is a problem you are having with intake that is hindering your process.


Thanks for the replies everyone…im trying to stay positive here. as far as an example of a normal day for me…my day usually starts off with a cup of black coffee around 4am, i don’t have anything again until around 9am when i have my first meal. usually anywhere from 3-5 brown organic eggs, scrambled with about 2.5-4 oz breakfast sausage and a half cup of either cheddar or chihuahua cheese, a tbsp of oct oil and cooked in a tbsp of grass fed butter. then ill have dinner around 4 or 5, this varies. usually 2-3 oz of meat chopped up, an avocado mixed with mct oil, spinach and chopped bacon and maybe a little cheese. or sometimes ill just eat a couple of mild italian sausages, cauliflower “mashed potatoes” and cheese and bacon. or sometimes ill get crazy about once a week or 10 days and make a keto pizza as a treat. I also use fat bombs from time to time to even out a meal if my fat intake isn’t where it should be and ill have a bulletproof coffee once in awhile as well.