Maintaining Optimal Ketone Blood Levels


(John Dawes) #1

Hi All,
I purchased a keto 30 day diet plan online and it is working great so far (I’m 10 days in). Recipes are really good and seem to keep me very satisfied. I do have a question maybe someone can help me answer as this is all new to me.

I am in week 2 of the plan and I have bought a blood testing machine to monitor my ketone levels. In the past few days, my ketone levels have gone from 1.1 to 1.4 to 2.0 as i am now really getting into the diet. Researching online, they say for optimal weight loss I want to keep my ketone levels between 1.5 - 3. Being at 2.0 right now, its perfect. Is there a way I can insure that they will stay around this level as the trend seems as I progress in the diet, the ketone number keeps getting higher. I do not want it to go above 3.0 and actually am very satisfied with it at 2.0 +/-. Will it level off at some point? Is there something I can do to the menus to adjust something? Something I should eat less or more of to keep them where they are? Just not really sure how to stabilize my ketone level? The menu has me eating about 1500 calories a day, 100 grams of Fat and Protein +/- (fat is usually higher than protein) and about 25-30 grams of carbs a day… I have walked a bit, but plan to start a more structured route of exercise. I eat 3 meals and 2 snack meals throughout the day. I sometimes don’t feel that hungry, but i still make sure to eat the daily menu, figuring it has the macro’s i need to maximize this diet. I am not fasting, although i work nights, i usually consume the 5 meals between 12 noon and 12 midnight, spread out when i am hungry. So i guess, i am not eating for 12 hours.

Thanks to everyone that can help this newbie figure out some of these answers and maybe throw in a few tips. John

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #2

Don’t worry about it. Ketones will take care of themselves. Measuring is interesting, but don’t obsess over it. Eat sub-20 grams of carbs per day - that’s important! Cut the 2 ‘snack meals’ per day. Eat more at your 3 real meals instead. Why are you restricting your eating times? A lot of stuff happens when you start eating keto, many metabolic adjustments occur and you have to give your body sufficient fuel and time to do it.

(Joey) #3

@giovanni3122 First of all, welcome to the forum - and congratulations on your decision to embark on a keto-oriented diet!

I’m not quite sure what you mean by you “purchased a keto 30 day diet plan” as I’m not familiar with how one “buys” a plan given how all the relevant information is freely available, but let’s put that aside…

As to your question about maintaining blood levels of ketones (actually “BHB” which is the abbreviation for beta-hydroxybutyrate) within a certain range, as @amwassil notes above, please put any such objective about capping your ketone levels out of your mind.

The purpose of the blood test is to confirm that you’ve got a certain minimum level of BHB in your blood serum. Levels above that (unless you’re a type 1 diabetic and are at risk for ketoacidosis!) are not harmful to otherwise healthy folks in any way. In fact, higher ketones simply confirm that your body is doing great in producing BHB ketones for your heart, brain and muscles to be fueled with.

I don’t know if your plan addressed the importance of staying well-hydrated and keeping your salt (electrolytes) up, but this will become critical along the way, so please don’t skimp on the water AND salt intake.

When you cut out the carbs, your body will typically lose lots of water weight and, as a result, your kidneys will want to jettison salt in your bloodstream to maintain essential salinity. When you add back the fluid through drinking (lots of) water, make sure to ALSO add the salt - ideally mixed in with the water and/or more heavily salting your food.

Remember, once you cut out the carbs, your fat and salt intake are essential to how you’re going to thrive. Don’t miss out on this key part of the plan.

Best wishes!

(FWIW, my own BHB levels hovered in the 4-6 mmol/L range for weeks on end. Not a problem.)

(John Dawes) #4

I am not really restricting my eating, i just don’t feel hungry and have been eating the daily menu thinking i need to keep my macro ratio. Seems to be working. I like the idea of combining meals and eat 3 solid meals verse 5. As for the carbs, there menu usually has it between 20 - 30g per day, mostly in the few veggies they add to the recipes.

My plan is to start amping up the exercise, once i do, i guess there may be an adjustment after that as well.

Thanks for your insight… really helpful.

(John Dawes) #5

Thank you… Really informative!

And yes they do talk about water and salt intake, which of course i have been following.

Thanks for the info and response, really interesting information.

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #6

There are probably as many ways to get into keto as there are people doing it. If you find the structure and pre-planned meals working OK, go for it! Eventually, you will gain sufficient knowledge to figure things out for yourself. You’re 10 days in and seem to be doing just fine. So no major adjustments seem necessary. Sub-20 grams of carbs is your ultimate limit and once you get accustomed to keto, staying below that limit will be quite easy.

As for veggies, I always recommend bok choy. It’s a perfect keto veggie, nutrient dense and very low carb. Here’s the Nutritional data. I am pretty hard-core and I eat this stuff every day, usually 200-300 grams. It’s my only vegetable. If you live near a Chinese grocery you can usually find several different varieties, which are all nutritionally identical. Even if your nearest Chinese market is far, it’s worth a trip. Whole Foods and even Walmart have it, too, although few options.

@SomeGuy bok choy is even an excellent source of vitamin K.

I love this:

1 cup of chopped bok choy (around 170 grams) has just 20 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates. This is so low it is considered in the negative calorie category of foods, whereby your body actually uses up more calories digesting it than are in the food itself.

More detailed writeup here

HELP! crashing /sleepy after meals. Trouble adapting 8 weeks in
(Joey) #7

Bok choy (pak choy) is indeed a superfood of sorts!

If you haven’t seen the Shokey couple’s book “Fermented Vegetables” it’s well worth a look. Great photos, instructions, recipes, reference info.