Newbie high ketones

(Nicole Billera) #1

Hi i have been on keto for almost 2 weeks now. I have been painfully (lol) testing my blood ketones. I keep getting high rating usually 4.0-4.9 mostly 4.5ish. I am a little worried that these number are too high. I am trying to lose weight and I am seeing 1- 3 mmol/l are the “optimal” numbers. I am drinking about 90+ ounces of water a day. Are these number ok for weight loss?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes. If you don’t have diabetes, you’re fine. Your liver produces as much ketones as you need. For the first few months various cells and organs don’t recognize it as fuel and don’t know what to do with it. You’re not using them efficiently and won’t be for a while yet, so ketones just float around in the blood not doing much of anything until you exhale or excrete them.


Your ketone levels mean near nothing as far as fat loss speed, stop wasting your test strips and save them if you decide later you want to troubleshoot something.

(Bob M) #4

What I would do is test every once in a while. You should see these come down over time. That should mean you’re getting fat adapted.

It’s too bad I didn’t take data when I started. It wasn’t until about 1.5 years into low carb that I started taking ketones, and back then the strips were $5/each. I never got near those results, though, unless I fasted 4+ days. Now, I couldn’t get those results unless I drank both exogenous ketones and a gallon of MCT oil.

(Nicole Billera) #5

Thank you all for your help. It’s so hard to find answers. How will I know when I am fat adapted?

(Bob M) #6

I’m not sure there’s a good test for that.

I went on the Atkins diet multiple times before I finally converted over the low carb/keto full time. Back then (7+ years ago), I thought I “needed” carbs to exercise, so I’d eat Atkins for a while, then ride my bike 60 miles, then have pancakes, because I “needed” those. Kept going out of and back into Atkins.

But I remember that what happened with me at some point when getting back on the Atkins wagon, was that I was no longer hungry. I was always hungry back then. I would be driving around at lunch time, say, and just feel content and not hungry, yet full of energy (or at least not lacking energy). That was shocking to me.

I think that meant I was fat adapted or near then. Though true fat adaption, particularly for exercise, probably takes a while. At least a month if not 6+ weeks. If you’re not exercising, it might be faster.

Now, I’ve been doing this so long, that my blood ketones are shockingly low. Many times, well less than 0.5 mmol/L. Those are morning values, as my ketones go up (and my blood sugar down) the whole day.

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #7

Fat adaptation generally refers to a process of reactivating certain molecular pathways in muscle cells, as well as the process of healing the mitochondria, the organelles that turn food into energy. The process generally takes something like 6-8 weeks in most people, but sometimes less and sometimes longer. Muscle cells, while they can make use of ketones, generally prefer to metabolise fatty acids, so until they become fat-adapted, they are sort of not running on all cylinders. This makes people feel less energetic, and less able to perform physical activity.

So if you notice a drop in performance, you’ll know you are still adapting. When your performance returns to or exceeds your previous level, you’ll know you are fat-adapted. Be aware that further improvements can still occur beyond that, for as long as up to two years, in some people. You will notice the improvement in your endurance first; explosive performance takes much longer to return to pre-keto levels.

(Joey) #8

@Caberbetnic Welcome to the forum and congratulations on such a grand start.

The answers above are all spot on the mark. You’re doing great.

I’ll share an old graph I’d posted many months ago, but it illustrates my n=1 experience with BHB levels during the months following adopting a keto diet.

Yes, my BHB (Mojo test kit) rose to 5-6 mmol/L at various points along the way before settling way down. There’s been no change in my eating patterns … the rise and fall simply reflects a change in what my body was producing/utilizing in terms of ketones in my blood.

FYI, currently, I run around 0.5 to 1.0 - whenever I bother checking… which is rarely.
Again, you’re doing great!