In growing and learning over the last year of my ketogenic diet I have learned some valuable lessons. One of the primary lessons I learned is that there is no “ideal” level of ketosis for weight loss, muscle gain or any other reason. The ketosis level as told to you by urine strips, ketone blood meters, like a KetoBM, or breath meter is only a measure of them in your system.
What Is The Ideal Ketosis Level For Weight Loss? There is no specific benefit to having a very high level of ketones in the body. If you are utilizing them properly this level should stay in the .5 to 1.5 range. If they are higher than this you aren’t using them well and this may be to indulging too often in foods or alcohol which move you away from fat burning.
This KetoBM has become my preferred blood ketone tester and we will delve below into ketones and ketosis levels below to help fill in gaps you may have in your understanding of a ketogenic diet.
I hope that when you leave this you will know why you don’t need to frequently test and why testing won’t give you the answer you are hoping to get.
HINT: It’s not the higher the number the better, this is a mindset you will want to work on removing. Instead you really want to focus on managing your overall fat intake as less consumed will mean more used from your body stores which is the goal for many.Josh
What Are The Levels Of Ketosis?
The prevalent list was built by Stephen Phinney who is a force in research into a ketogenic lifestyle and is a proponent of a well formulated ketogenic diet.
A Well formulated ketogenic diet is balanced to provide the energy required for the body to function and help gain muscle or to lose fat.
Optimal Ketone Zones:
- 0 to 0.5 – System Normal Range
- 0.5 to 1.0 – Light Nutritional Ketosis
- 1.0 to 3.0 – Optimal Ketone Zone
- 3.0 to 5.0 – Optimal Therapeutic Zone
- 5.0 to 7.0 – Fasting Ketosis [Burning More Fat]
- 7.0 to 10.0 – Starting Ketoacidosis Should Be Checked By A Physician As System Isn’t Self Regulating
Ketosis Vs Ketoacidosis
I just wanted to get Dr Ken Berry to explain why you care about ketoacidosis and why ketosis and it aren’t the same thing. When at all possible I try to bring in legitimate YouTube videos from physicians to ensure it is properly described.
Understanding A Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet
To lose fat they show you would fit the standard macronutrient ratios listed for a ketogenic diet of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
You would make sure though that instead of consuming the fat percentage that you remove a portion of that so that your body consumes it from your body fat.
This is the part that always trips people up on how to lose weight reliably and consistently.
What Does the Level Of Ketones Indicate?
Ketones in the body are an indication of the body utilizing fat as a fuel source. They are an important indicator of if you are starting or monitoring a change from being a primarily carbohydrate burning body to a fat burning body.
This is where I think the train of thought comes from of “If its higher then I must be doing better”. This thinking in flawed though as your body while it adapts can be quite inefficient in burning the fuel source fully leaving you with measurable amounts in the body.
The better your body is and the longer you are in ketosis the smaller this number should be as long as you aren’t in-taking a seriously large amount of plate fat or long running fasts. Both of those have been shown to increase the ketones level but will definitely can cause weight loss stalls if not supported correctly.Josh K
What you want to do is to begin your journey into ketosis and stop indulging and cheating and adding carbohydrates, the longer you go the easier it becomes and the more level you end up.
My personal reading as after a year with almost no cheats stays right around a level of 0.5 to 1. I don’t stress that it isn’t higher as I have learned that this number means very little other than you are burning fat for energy.
Does A Higher Ketone Number Mean More Weight Loss?
As I have established above the higher the level of ketones in the measurement doesn’t mean the more fat you are burning, really it is a measure of how inefficient you are at using the ketones as a fuel. Here is also where the measurements vary a little based on the source also.
Urine Strip Measuring
A ketone test for urine can be very high due to you being dehydrated which makes it appear like there are more ketones in the urine. The counterpoint is if you are super hydrated it could appear that there are no ketones in your urine, this isn’t true either.
Plus over time as you get to be more efficient in processing and using ketones in your body, the urine strips will fail to record much as you will be peeing less out as you will use it all in your body correctly.
Here is a guide from YouTube by a company who provides urine strips if interested in reading them correctly.
Ketone Blood Measuring
A ketone blood measuring tool, like this Keto Mojo offer quality in cost and performance, measures the ketones in your blood which is more reliable and less balanced on a hydration point.
There are really only 2-3 drivers to increase this number if your body is doing its job correctly.
You would be able to increase through a large increase in dietary fat intake, strenuous physical workouts or elongated fasting of 2+ days in length. Read more on our review of the Keto Mojo which opens in a new link.
Why Would You Measure Ketones If They Don’t Matter?
They are good to measure to see how impact a certain food is on your unique body system. They can help you to understand if there are foods you tolerate or are intolerant of consuming.
This can help you long term make decisions on food choices to get the maximum benefits to your long term fat loss under a ketogenic diet.
If you don’t follow GoodyBeats on YouTube you should check him out, he like me isn’t attached to his Keto Mojo but can and does take readings around specific needs.
Learn from the best to be the best and you’ll see the benefits to not stressing yourself out with 24/7/365 monitoring!
Final Thoughts on What Is The Ideal Ketosis Level For Weight Loss
I hope that you have started to gain a better understanding over what ketone levels are and why you should and shouldn’t burn time trying to manage the “levels”. The biggest thing you can leave with is the understanding of purpose to measuring your ketones.
If you are at what you feel is a stall, over a month without weight loss, then maybe you would want to start measuring ketones and evaluating your diet.
Then a reading can be invaluable to help you look at what you are eating and maybe that you have an issue with the foods being consumed.
Please feel free to share and send this to anyone you know who is doing a ketogenic diet and is enthralled with higher ketogenic numbers to help them learn how to manage and why they need to care or not care.
If you have something you thin I missed please feel free to comment below and I will respond and if possible update this articles to help the next reader out!
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