Trouble with Entering Ketosis


Hello all! I began a low-carb (not exactly strict Keto) diet on 1/10/23 for weight loss purposes and just out of pure curiosity. Since then, I feel like I never fully entered ketosis nor have I dropped the weight like I did the last time I tried keto. I began using an app around mid-January to track the foods I eat, and my net carb count has consistently been lower than 33 grams per day (it’s usually around 20-25 grams per day). I’m pretty active and lift weights 5-6 times per week and usually walk around 3 miles at least 3-4 times per week.

Starting yesterday, I finally purchased a blood monitor and tested my blood 4 times since last night. My readings, in order, were “Low,” 0.1mmol/L, 0.4mmol/L, and 0.3mmol/L. Based on those readings, I don’t think I’m in ketosis.

Since 1/10 I’ve lost 8 pounds (226.6 pounds down to 218.6 pounds), but I’ve fluctuated up and down the whole time. Could I be consuming too much protein? Am I not restricting carbs enough? I eat a lot of “low-carb” foods that are high in fiber, but I wonder if they’re actually hurting me in the long run. Anyway, just looking for any tips or thoughts on what could be happening, or if my current weight loss is normal, and I should just stay the course. Thanks!

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

There are a number of possibilities, here.

Firstly, you may need to cut your carbohydrate intake even further. How much you can eat depends on how insulin-resistant you are; the more insulin-resistant, the lower your carb intake has to be to switch from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism.

Second, do not intentionally restrict calories. Eat to satisfy your hunger. At first, that will be a lot of food, but in a few weeks you should suddenly find yourself much less hungry. That means your body has decided it is safe to shed excess stored fat, and it has revved up your metabolism and found things to do with the extra energy. People with fat to shed generally find themselves wanting significantly less food, once their insulin drops. As the excess fat is metabolised, of course one keeps eating to satiety, and eventually, all one’s daily energy comes from food, and the remaining fat is just there as a cushion. Many forum members have reported that their fat loss did not begin until they started eating more, not less.

Third, do not fear fat, and especially do not fear saturated or mono-unsaturated fat. Try to eat as little polyunsaturated fat as you can (easier if you stick to whole, real foods; very difficult if you eat anything processed—you know, the kind made in a factory, containing fifteen different ingredients, most of them unpronounceable). Fat helps greatly with satisfying hunger, and it’s so calorie-dense that it takes a lot less to satisfy our hunger. And fats have the added advantage of not stimulating insulin secretion, unlike glucose (carbohydrate), which stimulates insulin a lot.

Lastly, get a reasonable amount of protein. This will preserve and possibly even increase your lean mass (muscles and bone density). Don’t go overboard with the protein, but get enough.


Thanks for the tips, Paul! Should I be concerned that I’m almost 7.5 weeks in, and I’m still below the recommended 0.6mmol/L on my blood meter? Considering that my net carbs are usually below 30 grams per day (as you said, I may need to go lower), and that I regularly lift weights and walk 2-3 miles almost daily, I would have thought that combination would deplete my glycogen stores by now.

(Doug) #4

Welcome to the forum, UGAdawgs. (Georgia here, midtown Atlanta and we bought a house in Smyrna which I’m working on. Nephew just graduated from UGA, and a niece is a Junior.)

It sounds to me like you’re doing great. Given your activity level, I bet you’re burning up those few grams of carbohydrates and some stored fat as well. That fat is getting turned into ketones by your body, regardless of what the blood meter says. You’re almost two months in; perhaps you’re already running pretty efficiently, and there’s not excess ketones present anywhere.

Glycogen - even people on long fasts, and even athletes like long-distance runners who fast, or eat zero carb - they replenish their glycogen stores too. Not ‘all the way’ - their stored glycogen in muscles and the liver doesn’t get to the levels that carb-heavy eaters usually have, but I think it averages something like 2/3 or 3/4 of what would be ‘Full.’

We burn our stored fat - we break it down into fatty acids and glycerol. With that glycerol, we make glucose and glycogen. It’s all natural and all good, especially if we’re not taking in much in the way of external carbohydrates.


You’re showing blood ketones, you’re in ketosis.

Which is what our bodies do, the trend is what matters, day to day weight lets you see the trend, but it’s the trend that matters in the end.

You didn’t say how much you’re eating, but highly unlikely. Are you around the 1g/lb of body weight mark? If your protein isn’t up with your lifting program you’ll start noticing recovery problems, especially having little to no muscle glycogen. But again, depends on your lifting style, some types do just fine without it and what your end goals are.

At 33g of net carbs, lifting 5-6x weeks, walking a couple miles a couple of times a week, you’re more than fine there. You have plenty of places to dispose of that glucose. Also


Thanks for the reply! I usually consume around 180 - 205 grams of protein per day (that would be an average range - sometimes I’m higher or lower). I currently weigh 218 pounds, so, it’s not an extremely high amount of protein, but it seems to be higher than most articles suggest. However, I do stay very consistent with weight training, and my goal is to not lose muscle mass, just fat, so I think the weight lifting allows for extra protein intake.

My main sources of protein are usually meat like chicken, ground beef, steak, eggs, fish, etc., but I also have a whey protein shake with collagen each day. The shake is 24 grams whey protein, plus 9 grams collagen, along with cacao powder, MCT oil, Inulin powder, and ashwagandha, so it comes out to 35 grams protein all together with 5 grams net carbs. Is the shake something that needs modification?


All of that sounds good, that’s not high protein at all, the 1g/lb became the standard for a reason. Mainstream stuff will under-protein you all the time. If you look at any recommendations from anybody that knows anything about muscle mass that’s always the number whether it be trainers, or doctors that actually lift including the low carb ones. One that has a ton of good stuff is Gabbie Lyon, she’s a doc who specializes in geriatrics so a ton of her career was watching muscle waste off of people and all the problems that causes, she now calls her way of practicing medicine “Muscle centric medicine” because of all the benefit in every aspect of being strong.

The shake is fine, but remember the amino profile of collagen isn’t great as it’s not complete protein, it would be completed by your Whey, but with a weird amino profile. The only real benefit of collagen is the high Glycine, which if you’re going for skin or something can also be supplemented in much cheaper than buying collagen which by itself can’t be counted as protein.

I’d say everything looks good overall.


I wouldn’t worry about the protein, it sounds good. The carbs too, you would need to be someone with an unusually low ketosis carb limit to have problems with your activity I suppose…
How much fat do you eat? Normal people don’t lose fat if they eat more than what they need, no wonder… My own body surely never dropped bodyfat with no reason.
Some people say certain items interfere with fat-loss…

But you are losing fat, right? A significant amount in such a short time. Some people do it quicker, yes but many of us do is WAY slower…

So there are possible reasons why you don’t see a bigger result but I don’t see a problem, you loses fat, eat right, are active… You seem to be doing just fine.

(Chuck) #9

I personally don’t worry about the ketones, as long as I eat within what I have come to understand as my own personal limits and keep active, I am happy. I am seeing improvements in my body while seeing no changes on the scales, which too is okay with me. I weigh the same as I did my 8 years in the Navy, my waist is within a couple of inches of being the same. At 75 years old I can’t ask for much more. And my measurements are still improving and is noticeable almost daily. Look for the improvement in body composition not some number on the scale.
If you aren’t diabetic, I am not, then the ketones shouldn’t be as important as body measurements.


Thanks, everyone for the tips, advice, and positive notes of encouragement! I’ve noticed a difference in my body - I feel like I’m carrying less mass, weight, etc. around my upper abdomen, and I’d say I look like it too. My weight is down, so I should be happy about that.

I guess my fear was that something’s wrong with my current plan since the last time I cut out carbs (granted that was 12 years ago, so I’m sure my body is much different now!), I lost about 12 pounds in just 14 days, and all straight from my waist. My waist lost 2 inches that quickly, so I was pumped! This time around, the waist isn’t going down nearly that quickly, but I’m also a lot older ha.

As for fat, my daily average since 2/1 is 174 grams. Lots of fluctuation though - as low as 124g and as high as 225g. The tracking app I use suggests that I get 206g fat per day (along with 166g protein, 33g net carbs, and 2,654 calories), so I probably could increase the fat a little bit.

Thanks again for all the comments!


Tracking apps have little idea about your personal needs though. And of course, your needs easily may change from day to day. It’s fine to be far from the advice of adds and guessing of calculators if that is what your body feels best with :wink: And you are pretty close, apparently.


I agree! These apps and calculators are helpful starting points, and they can keep you on track, but ultimately I think each person should go with what works and feels best. Everyone likely has different opinions and preferences.

(Cathy) #13

Not sure what you mean by ‘low carb foods’. Are you referring to pre-prepared foods like breads, bars, shakes and the like? If so, beware as the ingredients may have different effects on various people. Best to stay clear until you can clearly establish that you are in ketosis and then slowly add back those things you like.

If you are just referring to meat, veg, dairy, etc., then some people find that they have to be careful about these items too, especially dairy. Be sure you are consuming the natural state of products not ones that have reduced fat etc.