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Can't get blood ketones above .9 on ketogenic diet

Answered on November 10, 2013
Created November 09, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Hello all! I have finally reached the end of my rope with my body and my ketone meter. I'm about to chuck it out the window. So I've been on a ketogenic diet for about 20 days now. My ketone readings have been all over the place, ranging anywhere from .3 to .9, but have never gotten a higher reading than .9. And my ketone readings ALWAYS go down after I eat a meal. Always. Is that normal? I thought the sweet spot for ultimate fat burning is about 1.5-3.0 on the ketone meter. I haven't noticed that I'm really losing either. I initially lost about 7lbs when I first went VLC and started the diet, but since then the scale hasn't budged. And I have about 40lbs to lose, so the fat should be falling off at this point I would think. Can someone please hack this for me? I'm so, so frustrated! TIA!!

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:59 PM

He isn't advising me to go on Ketosis and stay on it. I am asking why my blood ketones are so low. You were the one giving advice on how I should be eating, not jake.

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:44 PM

If I had a medical degree and was counseling on this basis I'd deserve to be kicked out of the profession. If anyone follows advice on this forum or the internet in general without research and common sense then I feel sorrow for them. AND I never "counseled" the OP to stop anything, I merely stated IMO that she would never achieve success with poisoning herself with chemicals. Advising someone to go on Ketosis and how to stay on it is medical advice.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:37 PM

Thank you Jake, I really appreciate the support on this.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:33 PM

Unless you have a medical degree and know the particulars of Rissypoo's conditions, I don't understand why you're counseling her to stop her medications.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:32 PM

I do eat veggies, a lot of them. Do you know anything about Bipolar Disorder? Doesn't sound like you do. Not all ailments can be controlled through the use of the Paleo diet, sorry to say.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:17 PM

I know it's a hefty drug regimen. Unfortunately, no getting around it. :(

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:14 PM

I'm 5'7. Yes, I did take measurements. I took them on day one and day 11. On day 11 I lost (in inches): .5 of neck, 1 off chest, 1.5 off waist, 1 off lovehandles, 1off hips, 1off right thigh, 1.25 off left thigh, .5 off saddlebags. But my theory is that this is all from initial water weight loss from going VLC in the beginning, just like I lost 7lbs initially and am now losing nothing.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:09 PM

Thanks much for the additional information. I forgot to ask about your height (*smacks head*). Also, did you take measurements prior to starting to eat paleo, e.g., neck, arms, chest, bust, wrist, waist, hip, thigh?

That's quite a drug regimen you've got going there.

I need to think and do some research.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:00 PM

Understood. I just feel as though I haven't reached the sweet spot because I went from 182 to 175 and have stalled. Haven't lost anything in over a week. I lost that initial seven lbs the first week and then nothing since then. :(

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:59 PM

Also starting weight was 182. 175 is current weight.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:58 PM

Left you the info in a new reply.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:52 PM

Oh, and initial weight was 182, so I have lost about 7 lbs but have since stalled.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:42 PM

Has Dr. Steven Phinney provided any guidelines for what blood ketone levels constitute nutritional ketosis?

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6 Answers

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 10, 2013
at 03:39 AM

I found some excerpts from Volek's and Phinney's book "The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living" that seem relevant. From Chapter 1:

"This 10-fold range of serum ketones, from 0.5 to 5 mM, is your body's normal physiological response to varying degrees of dietary carbohydrate and protein restriction. This response rate is called 'nutritional ketosis', and is associated with metabolic adaptations allowing your body to maintain a stable stare of inter-organ homeostasis. This process is dependent on an adequate, albeit minimal, ability of the pancreas to produce insulin in response to dietary protein and serum ketones, thus maintaining serum B-OHB in the range where it replaces much of your body's (and your brain's) need for glucose without distorting whole-body acid-base balance."

You can read more excerpts about nutritional ketosis from the book here.

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:38 PM

@Rissypoo,

You might take some comfort in a blog post "Why the Scale Lies".

Also, at 11 days, it's likely that your body hasn't reached maximum ketone production. It takes 3–6 weeks for a body to get the production of lipolytic (fat-digesting) enzymes to the point where the body becomes fully keto-adapted.

Remember, too, that as time goes by, the body tends to reserve ketones for specific, critical organs:

  • The brain
  • The heart
  • The diaphragm muscles

Skeletal muscles change from using primarily ketones to using primarily free fatty acids (FFA) for energy. Since the concept of quantifying ketosis is so new, it might (and I stress might) be the case that measuring ketones only isn't a complete measure of keto-adaptation. Maybe in the future, researchers might recommend measuring FFA and ketone levels in the blood for a better assessment of keto-adaptation.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:29 PM

I think that with the litany of drugs you are ingesting you are doing more harm than good. I don't see how you can be healthy and expect to lose weight while medicating like that. "Unfortunately, no getting around it. :(" Sure there is, others have reported great success on Paleo and elimination of the need for some of those meds. You will never be truly healed with chemical poisons in your system. Stressing out with ketone measurements isn't a healthy way to live ones life IMO. Eat fats, protein and some carbs - possibly follow the Perfect Health Diet in percentages and have patience for a slow steady weight loss over a few year period. Quick weight loss is usually not sustainable. Eat some veggies.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:32 PM

I do eat veggies, a lot of them. Do you know anything about Bipolar Disorder? Doesn't sound like you do. Not all ailments can be controlled through the use of the Paleo diet, sorry to say.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:37 PM

Thank you Jake, I really appreciate the support on this.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:33 PM

Unless you have a medical degree and know the particulars of Rissypoo's conditions, I don't understand why you're counseling her to stop her medications.

0
D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

on November 09, 2013
at 10:49 PM

Female

33

175lbs

about 32% BF

Caucasian

Bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, ADD

Medications: Abilify, Lamotrigine, Zoloft, Topamax, Ativan as needed

Currently no exercise routine, except taking care of my five children. Four of them are four years old and under, so I am not completely sedentary, and some housework but feeling too tired to workout currently

Married, stay home mother to five children

Food log:

Wednesday: B- coffee w/ heavy cream and CO, three sausage patties, chicken salad for lunch, butternut squash soup made with heavy cream and Caesar chicken salad for dinner

Thursday: B- coffee w/ heavy cream and CO, a few pork rinds and then nothing else to eat because I didn't feel well the rest of the day. I think I had an intestinal bug, if you get my drift.

Friday: B- coffee w/ heavy cream and CO, creamed spinach and 3oz chicken breast for lunch, large salad with salami, bacon, cheese, olives, peppers and ranch

I have tested ketones at various times of the day. I seem to have the highest ketones around 12-1pm right before eating lunch. After lunch they go down to around .4 and usually stay there for the rest of the day. I have never tested high in the evening. Some evenings I even test .2-.3. :( I just can't figure it out.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:09 PM

Thanks much for the additional information. I forgot to ask about your height (*smacks head*). Also, did you take measurements prior to starting to eat paleo, e.g., neck, arms, chest, bust, wrist, waist, hip, thigh?

That's quite a drug regimen you've got going there.

I need to think and do some research.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:14 PM

I'm 5'7. Yes, I did take measurements. I took them on day one and day 11. On day 11 I lost (in inches): .5 of neck, 1 off chest, 1.5 off waist, 1 off lovehandles, 1off hips, 1off right thigh, 1.25 off left thigh, .5 off saddlebags. But my theory is that this is all from initial water weight loss from going VLC in the beginning, just like I lost 7lbs initially and am now losing nothing.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:52 PM

Oh, and initial weight was 182, so I have lost about 7 lbs but have since stalled.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:17 PM

I know it's a hefty drug regimen. Unfortunately, no getting around it. :(

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:25 PM

Jake's questions are right on, but I would add that the time of day you are testing your ketones makes a difference. What time are you checking yours? Ketones are higher at night.

1.5 to 3.0 is the sweet spot for Jimmy Moore. Remember that was an N=1 experiment. YMMV, particularly if you are female.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:42 PM

Has Dr. Steven Phinney provided any guidelines for what blood ketone levels constitute nutritional ketosis?

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 11:00 PM

Understood. I just feel as though I haven't reached the sweet spot because I went from 182 to 175 and have stalled. Haven't lost anything in over a week. I lost that initial seven lbs the first week and then nothing since then. :(

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:05 PM

@Rissypoo,

Can you post some information about yourself and what you're eating?

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Initial weight
  • Initial BF%
  • Ethnicity
  • Medical conditions
  • Current exercise routine
  • Current life circumstances (e.g., working/student, married/single, parent/not parent, etc.)
  • 3-day food log (foods and amounts by meal)

Also, how did you determine your fat loss goal?

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:59 PM

Also starting weight was 182. 175 is current weight.

D7095f1ee6ee87009ce14457008e174c

(0)

on November 09, 2013
at 10:58 PM

Left you the info in a new reply.

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