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How do I get deeper in ketosis?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 05, 2012 at 8:23 AM

I've read the books "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate ..." from Volek and Phinney. They speak of the "Optimal Ketone Zone" between 1.0 and 3.0 blood ketones (millimolar). After buying the Precision Xtra I tested my blood ketones for serveral times. The first time I only reached 0.3. After some days of eating a lot of fat (75 to 80%) and low carb (<50g) and low protein (<100g) the blood ketones are unchanged. Yesterday at 0.2! I can't eat more fat now.. Why don't I have higher ketone values? What can I change? Thanks a lot.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on December 06, 2012
at 12:55 AM

well, i certainly didnt lean out on vlc either. i dont think anybody normal gets under 10% bodyfat on keto; its best for training the system to burn fat, resting the glucose metabolism, resetting, learning the difference btwn real and hormonal hunger, and learning to intermittent fast. to lean out, leangains works the best imho. that is, moderate calories, lean protein, low fat, moderate starchy carbs on training days, low calories, lean protein, moderate fat, low (or i prefer zero) carbs on resting days. this shredded me, and if you search the net for pics, youll see it shreds most folks

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Maybe because it is related to purple ketostix.... Deep Purple?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:50 PM

@Borofergie, on second thought, both Cahill and Owen wrote papers towards the ends of their lives summarizing their work. Those would be good starting points too. One thing I'm unhappy about is that I planned to interview both of them for the website, but I've been slow getting it off the ground, they both died while I was procrastinating. Cahill died earlier this year; Owen two years ago.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:48 PM

@Borofergie, yes, as I've been reading the papers, when I find an especially good one or historically significant one, I add it to the Bibliography section of www.ketocure.com. I especially recommend the ones on the "Cahill" menu tab from the 1960s and 1970s. The one with Owen as the lead author from 1967 is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes each time I reread it. Those are the papers I'd start with.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:45 PM

@Borofergie, I haven't read Phinney and Volek, but if they know that the liver maxes its production of BHB/ACAC after three days, that means they've read Cahill and Owen and that will make me move their book up to the top of the pile. I'll take a look at their keto-adaptation idea.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:44 PM

@Borofergie, I haven't read Phinney and Volek, but if they know that the liver maxes its production of BHB/ACAC after three days, that means they've read Cahill and Owen and that will make me move their book up to the top of the pile. I'll take a look at their keto-adaptation idea. One thing I can say is that I don't think there's any single adaptation process. The body does a lot of things under these conditions on various time scales. Cahill believed that the central themes of these processes were that insulin was the driving hormone and glucose conservation was the teleological factor.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:41 PM

@Emanuel, I used to be a body builder when I was younger but nowadays if I can deadlift 200 lbs for 12 reps I'm happy camper. I don't know the effects of high ketosis on performance or training or recovery, but I agree that those are extremely interesting questions and I hope to collect hard data about them with my new website.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:40 PM

@Emanual, I used to be a body builder when I was young but nowadays if I can deadlift 200 lbs for 12 reps I'm happy camper. I don't know the effects of high ketosis on performance or training or recovery, but those are extremely interesting questions and I hope to collect hard data about them with my new website.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on December 05, 2012
at 04:49 PM

+1. I didn't lean out the way I wanted to until I followed this formula.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:23 PM

@Emanuel - there is some evidence that ketosis is beneficial for aerobic endurance type exercise (which is principally fat burning). For high intensity "gylcolytic" and therefore you probably need some carbs. Lyle MacDonald recommends carb cycling for this purpose...

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:19 PM

@RobS are these the references on your website or different ones? I ordered Stafstrom & Rho...

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:14 PM

@RobS: yes that was my understanding too (I think from reading Phinney and Volek, or possibly Lyle MacDonald). Do you think that the second timescale (a month) fits in with Phinney's "keto-adaption" period.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on December 05, 2012
at 02:16 PM

Deeper... although I have probably said it myself at some point, I do wonder why ketosis is conceptualized as something that has depth.

68f8895f9fd2dd880dbbda84e5fdd56d

(20)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Thank you RobS for your detailed comments! Do you do sports? Do you know if a deep ketosis (above 2.0) is good for recovery and strength training, weightlifting and crossfit? I mean on this understanding that you are adopted to fat for several month.. ?

68f8895f9fd2dd880dbbda84e5fdd56d

(20)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Thank's! I measure the ketones in the blood, not in the urine. Why I want to get deeper in ketosis? Releated to Volek & Phinney (Art and Science LC Performance, p92) at BOHB 2.0 it is easier to build muscles and stay lean. Quote: "At this lower level [0.4], ketones are doing little to feed your brain or help you build muscle, whereas at or above 2.0 millimolar BOBH, both would be working strongly in your favor."

627cf3f5d1ddfb4c2f4c96169420f55f

(1626)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:21 PM

"I don't even understand why you want to go "deeper" into ketosis." Me too! More than likely, going into ketosis is not the answer...

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 01:06 PM

(...continued) We therefore have events changing on two different time scales, production (3 days) and consumption (more than a month). What does this mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see the full results -- the steady-state results -- of diet very quickly. (Ketosis also involves a third set of events that happen on a time scale of hours: obligate ketogenisis from a few special foods like MCT oil.)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 01:02 PM

(...continued) These high levels are unique to human beings. They are an evolutionary adaptation because the amount of ketones that enter the brain is a function of blood concentration. In other words, high levels (concentration) are a causal factor that increases the brain's use of ketones and therefore allows conservation of glucose. Now, what does the time factor (3 days vs. a month) mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see the full results -- the steady-state results -- of diet very quickly.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:59 PM

(...continued) These high levels are unique to human beings. They are an evolutionary adaptation because the amount of ketones that enter the brain is a function of blood concentration. Now, what does this mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see the full results -- the steady-state results -- of diet very quickly.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:58 PM

(...continued) These high levels are unique to human beings. They are an evolutionary adaptation because the amount of ketones that enter the brain is a function of blood concentration. Now, what does this mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see results of diet very quickly.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:55 PM

(...continued) This probably happens because at three days, many cells in the body absorb large amounts of ketones, so ketones don't accumulate in the blood in large amounts. But if ketogenic conditions are continued (a scarcity of glucogenic food in the diet), most body tissues cut back on use of ketones to reserve them for the brain (which unlike most tissues, cannot use fatty acids for fuel), and blood ketones accumulate and rise to high levels. (...continued)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:51 PM

I'm just throwing this in because you're the only person I know who may find this interesting. Like I said last night in another thread, I've been reading the scientific literature on ketosis lately, and I recently learned that under the most extreme conditions (total fasting) the liver reaches maximum output of ketones in about three days. But at three days, blood levels are pretty low and they don't reach maximum levels until after about four weeks. (continued...)

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3 Answers

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2
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 10:07 AM

Probable reasons for your low ketone levels are:

  1. You're eating too many carbs
  2. You're eating too much protein (more than 0.8g per lb of lean body mass)
  3. You're eating too many calories
  4. You're fundamentally a bad person.

Number 2 will probably catch you out the most. I think that 50g or carb is too much. I can get into deep ketosis on <25g and restricted protein. 50g of carbohydrate would knock me down below 0.2mM

You should read through everything that RobS has written on here starting with this: http://paleohacks.com/questions/22451/how-do-i-get-my-ketostixs-to-purple#axzz1y5SqiFug

Cutting carbs and protein is tough. I agree with Eugenia. It's probably only worth doing this if you have some theraputical reason for doing so. I do it for diabetic control (and endurance running), RobS does it for migraine control, Jimmy Moore for weight loss.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:23 PM

@Emanuel - there is some evidence that ketosis is beneficial for aerobic endurance type exercise (which is principally fat burning). For high intensity "gylcolytic" and therefore you probably need some carbs. Lyle MacDonald recommends carb cycling for this purpose...

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 01:06 PM

(...continued) We therefore have events changing on two different time scales, production (3 days) and consumption (more than a month). What does this mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see the full results -- the steady-state results -- of diet very quickly. (Ketosis also involves a third set of events that happen on a time scale of hours: obligate ketogenisis from a few special foods like MCT oil.)

68f8895f9fd2dd880dbbda84e5fdd56d

(20)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Thank you RobS for your detailed comments! Do you do sports? Do you know if a deep ketosis (above 2.0) is good for recovery and strength training, weightlifting and crossfit? I mean on this understanding that you are adopted to fat for several month.. ?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:48 PM

@Borofergie, yes, as I've been reading the papers, when I find an especially good one or historically significant one, I add it to the Bibliography section of www.ketocure.com. I especially recommend the ones on the "Cahill" menu tab from the 1960s and 1970s. The one with Owen as the lead author from 1967 is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes each time I reread it. Those are the papers I'd start with.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:58 PM

(...continued) These high levels are unique to human beings. They are an evolutionary adaptation because the amount of ketones that enter the brain is a function of blood concentration. Now, what does this mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see results of diet very quickly.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:50 PM

@Borofergie, on second thought, both Cahill and Owen wrote papers towards the ends of their lives summarizing their work. Those would be good starting points too. One thing I'm unhappy about is that I planned to interview both of them for the website, but I've been slow getting it off the ground, they both died while I was procrastinating. Cahill died earlier this year; Owen two years ago.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:51 PM

I'm just throwing this in because you're the only person I know who may find this interesting. Like I said last night in another thread, I've been reading the scientific literature on ketosis lately, and I recently learned that under the most extreme conditions (total fasting) the liver reaches maximum output of ketones in about three days. But at three days, blood levels are pretty low and they don't reach maximum levels until after about four weeks. (continued...)

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:19 PM

@RobS are these the references on your website or different ones? I ordered Stafstrom & Rho...

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:59 PM

(...continued) These high levels are unique to human beings. They are an evolutionary adaptation because the amount of ketones that enter the brain is a function of blood concentration. Now, what does this mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see the full results -- the steady-state results -- of diet very quickly.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 12:55 PM

(...continued) This probably happens because at three days, many cells in the body absorb large amounts of ketones, so ketones don't accumulate in the blood in large amounts. But if ketogenic conditions are continued (a scarcity of glucogenic food in the diet), most body tissues cut back on use of ketones to reserve them for the brain (which unlike most tissues, cannot use fatty acids for fuel), and blood ketones accumulate and rise to high levels. (...continued)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:45 PM

@Borofergie, I haven't read Phinney and Volek, but if they know that the liver maxes its production of BHB/ACAC after three days, that means they've read Cahill and Owen and that will make me move their book up to the top of the pile. I'll take a look at their keto-adaptation idea.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:14 PM

@RobS: yes that was my understanding too (I think from reading Phinney and Volek, or possibly Lyle MacDonald). Do you think that the second timescale (a month) fits in with Phinney's "keto-adaption" period.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:41 PM

@Emanuel, I used to be a body builder when I was younger but nowadays if I can deadlift 200 lbs for 12 reps I'm happy camper. I don't know the effects of high ketosis on performance or training or recovery, but I agree that those are extremely interesting questions and I hope to collect hard data about them with my new website.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 01:02 PM

(...continued) These high levels are unique to human beings. They are an evolutionary adaptation because the amount of ketones that enter the brain is a function of blood concentration. In other words, high levels (concentration) are a causal factor that increases the brain's use of ketones and therefore allows conservation of glucose. Now, what does the time factor (3 days vs. a month) mean for people here? It probably means that people shouldn't expect to see the full results -- the steady-state results -- of diet very quickly.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:40 PM

@Emanual, I used to be a body builder when I was young but nowadays if I can deadlift 200 lbs for 12 reps I'm happy camper. I don't know the effects of high ketosis on performance or training or recovery, but those are extremely interesting questions and I hope to collect hard data about them with my new website.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 05, 2012
at 05:44 PM

@Borofergie, I haven't read Phinney and Volek, but if they know that the liver maxes its production of BHB/ACAC after three days, that means they've read Cahill and Owen and that will make me move their book up to the top of the pile. I'll take a look at their keto-adaptation idea. One thing I can say is that I don't think there's any single adaptation process. The body does a lot of things under these conditions on various time scales. Cahill believed that the central themes of these processes were that insulin was the driving hormone and glucose conservation was the teleological factor.

5
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:57 AM

I don't even understand why you want to go "deeper" into ketosis. You're fine the way you are (unless you're trying to fix an ailment that's specifically fixed with ketosis). According to Dr Jack Kruse, it takes up to 2 years to be FULLY adapted to fats. While you'd be adapted in a good degree in the first 2 months, it will take more time to be fully adapted.

Also, if you are adapted, then you won't pee your ketones out, your body will use them for energy. So after the initial adaptation period, urine-based ketosis sticks are useless to measure ketones in any precise manner. You'd need blood tests in that case.

627cf3f5d1ddfb4c2f4c96169420f55f

(1626)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:21 PM

"I don't even understand why you want to go "deeper" into ketosis." Me too! More than likely, going into ketosis is not the answer...

68f8895f9fd2dd880dbbda84e5fdd56d

(20)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Thank's! I measure the ketones in the blood, not in the urine. Why I want to get deeper in ketosis? Releated to Volek & Phinney (Art and Science LC Performance, p92) at BOHB 2.0 it is easier to build muscles and stay lean. Quote: "At this lower level [0.4], ketones are doing little to feed your brain or help you build muscle, whereas at or above 2.0 millimolar BOBH, both would be working strongly in your favor."

3
Medium avatar

on December 05, 2012
at 10:44 AM

You have your reasons I'm sure, but I found higher protein, moderate fat, zero carbs yielded greater performance AND satiety.

That is to say, high fat and low protein will get you neither lean nor increase muscle mass or performance.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on December 06, 2012
at 12:55 AM

well, i certainly didnt lean out on vlc either. i dont think anybody normal gets under 10% bodyfat on keto; its best for training the system to burn fat, resting the glucose metabolism, resetting, learning the difference btwn real and hormonal hunger, and learning to intermittent fast. to lean out, leangains works the best imho. that is, moderate calories, lean protein, low fat, moderate starchy carbs on training days, low calories, lean protein, moderate fat, low (or i prefer zero) carbs on resting days. this shredded me, and if you search the net for pics, youll see it shreds most folks

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on December 05, 2012
at 04:49 PM

+1. I didn't lean out the way I wanted to until I followed this formula.

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