Very High Ketone readings


I became interested in Intermittent Fasting and bought a Keto-Mojo GKI meter to check on my glucose and ketones. I learned about butter coffee and decided to drink some to help with the fasting. I was astonished to discover my Ketone levels going through the roof as follows

22/3 - 3.1 mmol/L GKI - 1.5 (Butter coffee OMAD)
23/3 - 5.2 mmol/L GKI - 0.8 (Butter coffee OMAD)
24/3 - 1.3 mmol/L GKI - 3.2 (2MAD - no coffee)
25/3 - 4.0 mmol/L GKI - 1.0 (Butter coffee OMAD)
26/3 - 9.7 mmol/L GKI - 0.37 (Butter coffee OMAD)
26/3 - 2.6 mmol/L GKI - 1.8 ( 4 hours later, post exercise and lots of water)
27/3 - 3.7 mmol/L GKI - 1.2 (2MAD - no coffee)
28/3 - 5.4 mmol/L GKI - 0.8 (Butter coffee OMAD)
29/3 - 6.8 mmol/L GKI - 0.6 (Butter coffee OMAD)
30/3 - 2.0 mmol/L GKI - 2.2 (OMAD - no Butter coffee)

I’ve been LCHF for 5 months but I am pretty new to measuring ketones, glucose and GKI. I’m new to IF and butter coffee. I did try some MCT oil in the coffee at first but dropped that when it disagreed with my stomach. So my butter coffee is just butter and double cream.
Before I tried the butter coffee my ketones were generally in the 1.0 to 3.0 range so I am a little alarmed at the huge rise in Ketone bodies (especially 9.7 mmol/L).

Can this be dangerous?
Is this typical of Butter coffee suplementation?


Did you feel okay after drinking it? That is slightly higher than usual but the same day the other reading is perfectly normal.

Unless you felt ill, I would think you are fine. Maybe something besides the coffee was involved? Any foods within an hr. of the testing?


I didn’t like the effects from the MCT oil so I stopped using that. I felt ok after drinking the coffee, cream & butter, thanks.
My mouth felt a bit dry the next morning, so I thought I may be a little dehydrated. I drank about 2 - 2 1/2 litres of water between the two readings and did an hour and a half of weights. I didn’t eat until after the 2nd set of readings. I do feel very drowsy after an OMAD meal (noon). But not ill. Here are the results of the following 2 days:

31/3 - 2.0 mmol/L GKI - 1.4 (Butter coffee OMAD)
01/4 - 2.3 mmol/L GKI - 2.1 (No coffee OMAD)

I did up my fluids by drinking 3 - 4 litres of water, salt & Apple Cider Vinegar and normal coffee.


You’re no where near the “dangerous” ketone levels and realistically unless you’re a T1D you couldn’t be even if you tried because we have safeguards against that. The 9.7 is higher than most people typically get but remember your taking snapshots in time and all it takes is getting it THEN vs possibly even 10mins from your test time. Just like blood sugar ketone levels are all over the place all day long and very much depending on your activity. I wouldn’t worry about it.

If you’re trying to manage a medical condition the testing may help you really hone in stuff, but absent of that don’t get to brainwashed my constantly taking readings. Through most of my 100lb weight loss My ketone levels rarely went about 2, most of the time were around 0.5-1.5 or so. Lost weight fine, had plenty of energy.


You’re very reassuring, thanks for that.
The Finney/Volek tables indicate that most people have Ketone readings similar to yours. My Ketone levels have never been under 1.6 mmol/L and when I attempted Intermittent Fasting (OMAD) and tried butter coffee to aid in that, my Ketone levels went through the roof.
Maybe that’s a good thing. The IF has helped me break through a plateau and I’m back to losing 1 lb per week.
I would just like to hear from other people who have had high levels of Ketosis while fasting or drinking butter coffee just to know that it isn’t abnormal or dangerous.

(Veronica C) #6

Hi Keith - that could be a manufacturing issue with that one strip when the enzyme is applied. All your other readings are ideal… Good job!


That was my first thought - just a faulty strip. So I took a second sample with a new strip and it came out the same.

(Old Baconian) #8

The highest healthy level I’ve heard of was mentioned by an audience member during one of Dr. Stephen Phinney’s lectures on the LCDU channel on YouTube. (It was one of his workshops on practical aspects of eating a ketogenic diet.) At one point, Dr. Phinney asked for people’s highest readings, and one person stated something in the neighborhood of 14 (if memory serves). Dr. Phinney seemed neither surprised nor alarmed.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is not a risk until serum β-hydroxybutyrate rises above 10.0, and most people don’t experience symptoms until around 20.0. The reason the meters and urine strips tell you to worry at 10.0 is that this advice is intended for Type I diabetics whose insulin and serum glucose are not well-regulated. Telling you to start worrying when you hit 10.0 is a way to make sure that you have time to get to the hospital to be treated before collapsing. If your pancreas is secreting insulin at all, then diabetic ketoacidosis is not a realistic fear for you.

There is such a condition as euglycaemic ketoacidosis, which can afflict pregnant or lactating women who attempt to fast (which is why they must not do so) and certain patients taking certain specific drugs. If you are pregnant or on one of those drugs, your physician will have warned you about this risk. Pregnant and lactating women can avoid the risk of euglycaemic ketoacidosis simply by not fasting, but I believe patients taking one of those drugs need to be monitored.

Home blood meters typically have an accuracy of ±20%, which means that a reading of 10 (a purely made-up example) could reflect a serum β-hydroxybutyrate of anywhere between 8 and 12. This is apart from the matter of whether your test strips come from a good or a faulty batch, and whether they have been properly calibrated to the meter.

(Heather Wells) #9

Thank you for this post. I tested my ketones for the first time today. I have been LCHF for several months now. My ketones 2.6 and my GKI 1.8. I was surprised but am reassured after reading this post and replies.