What is your concentration of [urine/blood] ketone bodies while in ketosis ?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 12, 2012 at 11:46 PM

I've got strips to measure concentration of ketones in urine. It is doable to have a concentration between 1.5 and 4 mmol/L on paleo [this range is labelled small concentration] with say 40g of carbs and 40g of proteins [over one day comprising 2 meals].

However, it is very hard to get higher than 4mmol/L on the sticks [labelled moderate]: I managed to get this high by fastening for two days and run a bit for 1 hour in the middle of the fast; naturally, after the first meal it decreased to get in the small range of concentration.

FOr info, the high concentration starts at 8mmol/L for my sticks.

Thus, do you think concentrations as low as 1.5 mmol/L of urine ketone still counts as ketosis ? What values do you reach and how ?

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3 Answers



on September 13, 2012
at 08:09 AM

Yes - I've got to "deep purple" but only by restricting my carbs to <25g Net Carbs (ie with the fibre subtracted), restricting my protein to <15% and exercising.

There are lots of reasons why your ketostix might not be turning purple:

  • They're out of date
  • They've got damp
  • You're drinking too much liquid and diluting them out
  • You're testing at the wrong time (they're highest in the evening, lowest in the morning).
  • You're burning them all up.

However, the most likely reason is that you're not deep in ketosis are:

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

Number 2 will probably catch you out the most. (I made the last one up).

In my experience ketostix are a pretty fair guide to blood ketones. If my blood ketones are over 2mmol/l then the stix will be deep purple.

The best possible guide for getting deeper purple is here:


Read this, and everything RobS has ever written on Paleohacks.



on September 14, 2012
at 06:54 PM

Why do people keep missing the point about ketosis? Your goal is to be in Ketogenesis, not ketosis.

Ketosis is the state of producing EXCESS ketones.

Thus if you have been in ketogenesis for a while you will not necessarily be in ketosis. Thus the ketone strips will not show any ketones.

In other words, there's nothing wrong with you. Your body has adapted to being in ketogenesis and has self-regulated.

I'm in ketogenesis right now (haven't had a carb in 3 days and I am extremely fat-adapted at this point) and I know for a fact I wouldn't see anything on the ketone strips. I stopped seeing results on ketone strips about 2 weeks after I started this crazy diet (1.5 years ago).



on September 13, 2012
at 08:40 AM

Hop over to Jimmy Moore's blog - he's currently 90 days into a 120 day nutritional ketosis programme, with some staggering results.

Seems that you really need to invest in a blood ketones measurement for a good handle on what's going on.

40g CHO might be too much if you want to maintain a reasonable level over 24hrs.

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