Experiment: Optimal Ketosis for Weight Loss and Improved Performance

Can measuring ketones help you lose weight and improve performance? Let’s try to find out.

Today my ketone experiment reached goal #1: achieving stable optimal ketosis*.

After getting my blood ketone meter I’ve eaten a stricter LCHF diet than I usually do. More fat, less carbs. No bread, no potatoes, pasta, rice or fruit. Instead I’ve eaten meat, fish, vegetables, egg and extra large amounts of high-fat sauces and butter. In the mornings coffee with plenty of butter/coconut fat in it. I’ve occasionally cheated with some nuts, root vegetables, berries, cream and a little wine.

After just a few days I entered light nutritional ketosis (over 0.5 mmol/L on the meter). But it took a full three weeks to achieve stable optimal ketosis (1.5 – 3 mmol/L) in the mornings. It was also interesting that it was much quicker to get high ketone readings during daytime and in the evenings (data not shown in the chart above).

I’ve also tested keto sticks for measuring urine ketones (cheaper and simpler). In my case the results so far track the blood ketones reasonably well, even if urine ketones is a more inexact and unreliable test.

So what do you think I’ve noticed? Does it feel different? What do you think happened to my weight & waist measurement (I started at a normal satisfactory weight) and training/mental performance? Answers are coming up, but feel free to guess in the comments!

Ketosis

*/ Ketosis is a natural state where the body is almost only burning fat.The secret of ketosis is to eat very low amounts of carbs and only moderate amounts of protein. Then add fat to satiety.

Some less informed people still confuse natural ketosis with the pathological state ketoacidosis. The latter has completely different causes, usually extreme insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetics. In this dangerous state the ketone koncentrations are around ten times higher then in normal ketosis, and the blood sugar is sky high.

Natural ketosis due to low carb eating is perfectly safe with stable well-controlled blood sugar and well-controlled blood ketones.

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96 Comments

Top Comment

  1. NM
    I think you put on a huge amount weight because of all that FAT, had a heart attack (just as Dr Keys predicted) and are now a vegan, eating your healthy-wholegrains and lots of soy-protein every day?

    Close? I guess I might not be, somehow? ;-)

    Read more →
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All Comments

  1. Sixtyyearsyoung
    Good NEWS for the other postmenopausal women struggling with shedding the pounds. I cut out dairy, except for butter and heavy cream. No cheese, no yogurt for now. And finally, after months of no loss,no gain, I'm losing a pound a week. That's much better! I 'cheat' occasionally and have too many nuts or wine (not enough), and berries in coconut milk with nuts. I'm also now eating a huge high fat, protein breakfast and then often not wanting to eat again, usually until dinner time. It was quite a challenge to do LCHF and not just give up when the weight stayed on, but my asthma is so much better I no longer need meds. And now the weight's going off too. :)
    I'd love to get into deep ketosis, but seem to be stuck around . 6 to 1.0 at best.
    I bet the DOC , in deep ketosis you feel brilliant, ready to take on the world for LCHF!
  2. It's awesome in favor of me to have a web page, which is valuable in favor of my knowledge. thanks admin
  3. dawn
    So what are the results regarding the doctors weight and measurements?
  4. Sixtyyearsyoung
    Ah fooey...(not really the word I want to use). I was losing, or so it seemed. Then weight went up four pounds in one week 'cheating' with a cheese back in my diet. If I eat high fat, like 80%, I don't get enough protein for a 1250-1300 cal per day. Truly, counting calories is horrid. I eat 70-75% fat, 20% or less carb, the rest protein to get around 70g carbs in my calorie requirement.
    I'm hungry at night, and sick of tracking food. Right now I'm still very, very low carb,no grains, no cheese, no yogurt and not losing weight. I think my fifty pounds overweight is not going anywhere. I've been doing this very carefully since August. I've lost 5 lbs. The GOOD news is my asthma is in remission, my cholesterol is 219, triglycerides <100, HDL 69 off statins. Can't recall LDL. Being off meds and breathing well keeps me LCHF. How are other's doing?
  5. Susan M.
    My husband was recently diagnosised with a GBM brain tumor and we are implementing NK to try and keep this beast at bay. Our oncologist is not happy about it, but we are committed to giving it a good shot. We have already been low carb for the past four years, so going into ketosis should not be terribly hard for my husband as he really has no other options. This tumor is a terminal diagnosis, and the only thing I have found that may stem the tide is a keto diet reaching at least 3mmol.

    We have our meter and the strips. My question is when to test - in the morning in a fasted state? An hour after meals? At night before going to bed? When?

    Any help would be appreciated. We already test for blood sugar, is testing for blood ketones the same?

    Thanks,

    Susan M.

  6. sootedninjas
    Watch the video to give you more idea what cancer experts are discovering about carbs as related to cancer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUlE1VHGA40

  7. Aeon
    Ughhh! I eat exactly the way you do & use a ketone meter & I have lost body fat but every night my stupid meds kick me out of ketosis. Its SO FRUSTRATING!!!!!! I know I'm still better off on a ketogenic diet even with meds but honestly what a rollercoaster ride. cant wait to get off horrible toxic medication that destroys my metabolism. Sigh
  8. hila
    Doctor,

    My english is not so good, but let me try ask you a question? I'm on LCHF fast 3 months now, but since 4-5 days I have problems that make me very very scared and unsecure about it - I have become pain in my kidneys that won't stop! At night I can't sleep sometimes becouse of it and I will se a doctor in few days...Now I'm thinking about what I have heard befor I started with LCHF and that is that ketozis is very bad for our kidneys?! Is it possible? I would be very sorry if it is the reason for my pain and problems with kidneys, becouse I was very pleased with LCHF, and I have lost 5 kilos until now..thank you!

    Reply: #59
  9. Zepp
    Noe.. there are not any problems with ketosis for your kidney.. rather the oposit.. becuse one pee more in ketosis.. and that supose to be good for the kidney.

    But.. with a pain in the kidney.. one should always se a doctor!

    "This study provides preliminary evidence that long-term weight loss with a very-low-carbohydrate diet does not adversely affect renal function compared with a high-carbohydrate diet in obese individuals with normal renal function."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20338292

  10. hila
    Thanks for answering so fast doc, I feel much better knowing that, I was really worried that ketosis is bad for me, couse there are such opinions around, there must be something else responsible for my condition...thanks for research results, feel relief! Greetings from Sarajevo!
  11. Sandra
    Hi, I started 3 days ago and did a simple thing wrong - I used Xylitol sweetener. (the problem is I read all the nutrition info and it stated 0g Carbs, but doing some internet searching I discovered that per teaspoon it contained 4g of carbs) My body did not even get a chance to go into Ketosis. All fruits and by products cannot be consumed. Hopefully it will go better now that I know what I did wrong. My daily carb intake is no more than 15g. Is this to low? Any other info will be so great! This is a steep road for me ahead.
    Warm Regards - Sandra
  12. Jennifer
    Sandra, I did 9 mos of LCHF and didn't gain or lose. Was in minimal ketosis. My denverdietdoctor.com advised Dana Carpender's Fat Fast Cookbook, on Kindle. Inexpensive and full of information as well as recipes. She uses stevia, xylitol etc. in her recipes.
    I'm down 15 lbs in two months. Best of Luck.
  13. Dawn
    Hi there, i was wandering....in ketosis....if your burning fat..who's fat are you burning? Your exsess fat or the fat you are eating?
    Reply: #64
  14. Zepp
    Both!

    Soo.. to lose weight one have to burn the body fat anyhow!

    But.. in ketosis, one often have an uppregulated lipolysis, that provide fuel, and then one eat less if one have a lot of fat stored.

  15. Carine
    Hello Dr,

    I have just started the ketogenic diet (2 days in) & I must say I am a bit put off by the amount of fats to be consumed. I have always been on a low carb, low fat (no butter,cream,animal fat; only olive oil, oily fish, avocado) & high protein diet & I always saw quick results. However a month ago I started carbo-loading on butter & caramel popcorn & Chinese steamed chicken buns & haven't been able to stop. It all started with one bite & the cravings for carbs & sugar took over. I'm a female in my mid twenties, 1m58 & used to weigh around 50kg & these extra 5 kg that i have gained are really noticeable on my short frame. So I decided to give the ketogenic diet a try. I do feel full (maybe too full & bloated) & barely have any cravings for carbs or sugar. At first I had frequent urination & a pounding headache after the magic bullet coffee but that subsided at the end of the day. Are the headache & frequent urination a good indication of ketosis & does this mean that I am no longer in ketosis Since these symptoms faded? Also I consumed more than 2200 calories last night (way more than the 800-1200 cal/day I was accustomed to) & would like to know what is the maximum number of calories that I can consume & still lose weight rapidly? Majority of people are raving about all the weight they've lost on the ketogenic diet but I wonder if maybe it isn't for me or maybe I am doing it wrong. I haven't lost any weight, instead gained another kg & feeling bloated. I feel happiest when I feel light & my tummy is flat & taught & my waist is small. I want to get back to my comfortable 50kg or less. Kindly advise.

    Many thanks

  16. quasar731
    I started the diet 6 days ago. I measure my ketones today and I have 0.2. Am I in ketosis? Thank you.

    quasar731

  17. phil
    You shouldn't be trying to eat a full 1600-2000 calorie diet when trying to lose weight in ketosis. You should only eat when you truly feel the need to, and when you do feel hungry, make a very large meal full of protein and fat. Take a multivitamin everyday to stay focused and nutritioned all day. Just whatever you do stay away from sugar and carbs. You'll break the addiction for processed foods, and sugary shit within the first 2 days.You wont even crave it when you see it in the fridge or freezer, or pantry. You'll actually begin craving fat and protein more, and not a lot of it either considering you'll only feel the need to eat once a day (as long as its a huge meal).

    Once you've achieved your weight loss goal, your blood sugar levels will be regulated and as long as you stay away from sugar as much as you can, you'll keep the weight off. Only eat carbs at the right times. You'll have to use google for that information. Ketosis diets to lose weights are most effective when accompanied by some kind of intermittent fasting, however, it isn't even necessary.

    Another key thing to remember is the more fat you eat, the more your body will focus on burning that dietary fat rather than burning its own fat stores.

  18. April
    Whats with all this calorie counting. Stop already. Count carbs only, and get enough good fats. Steer clear of artificial sweeteners, processed foods and canola oil. Use sea salt. Drink more water especially if you have kidney pain. Biggest meal should be no later than lunch. Eat light at night, 4 hours before bedtime. If you are feeling bloated its your body doing battle with you, your body is trying to hold on to water. Hang in there, follow the guidelines and you will not feel hungry. If you get muscle pain take a magnesium supplement. If you reach a plateau for a month eat light on 2 separate days of the week and see if that helps. Again no artificial sweeteners or processed foods. It takes a couple of months for your body to acclimate to burning fats instead of carbs. I am 57 and have been following this diet for almost a year.
  19. Jean Elliffe
    Hi all been following this diet for 5 weeks now and have lost 10kg so far once the ketosis kicked in I felt energized and more alert I am pretty sure the carbs were my problem I used to do low fat andstack up on carbs did not work for me I struggle with the fat amount usally just use butter lots of leafy greenschicken seafood eggs and cheese very happy with theresults and lack of hunger
    Reply: #70
  20. Zepp
    Happy to here about your progress!

    And as the topic of this tread.. measuring keton levels is for neerds or those that need to strugle to lose weight!

    The ketosis levels you have is those your body think is optimal.. if you eat a healty diet, no less, no more!

    One should be happy if ones body regulates it by it self, whitout counting calories, whithout starving and just eating real and good food!

  21. Rosario
    Hello, I have done the LCHF diet for 20 days, but I havent lost so much weight, and my ketones levels are very high. My measure my blood ketones at the afternoon and I have 5 or 5,4 mmol/L. Is that normal?
    Reply: #72
  22. Zepp
    Its high keton levels.. its in optimal zone if one listen to Phinney and Volek!

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Science-Carbohydrate-Living/dp/0983490708

    If you do some exercise and fasting then you can rise it more.. but dont do this becuse its not your keton levels that predict your outcome!

    Keton levels are more about how much carbs you eat.. or rather less!

    Ketones replace glucose in many processes.. perticaly in your brain and heart!

    I can predict a drop soon, becuse your body is still in a strugle to find a new homeostas!

  23. Nan
    @rosario- according to Volleck and Phinny, there is no additional benefit above 3.5; the best results happen between 1.5-3.5.
  24. Orit
    Hi! can you please explain how to make coffee with butter/coconut oil, every time is like drinking them separately,they just wont mix ;)

    thanks

  25. paula stewart
    I have been doing this diet for 3 days however, I was given this diet by close friend who has given me mixed information that is stated here. She said first 3 days only do meat and little fat ( ie. low fat cheese with a protein) do not incorporate any veggies until you reach ketosis which should be in day 3. I bought the ketone test strip but my color is in "moderate". Can you give me the correct information to follow this properly.
    Reply: #76
  26. Zepp
    Eat the fat.. its not a quick fix.. cuting corners are often a longer way to go, in the end!

    Give your healt a bost and eat properly.. and if one cut the carbs one must ad fat.. for energy and satiety!

    Normal people have an buildt in calorie counter.. let it take care of your eating habbits.. its only demand is that you eat food it use to handle.. by evolution!

    I rather propose that you start your new healty life style.. and thats more complicated then coming in ketosis.. its a lot of mind changing!

    You are in ketosis anyhow.. it means you are eating litle carbs.. but fatoxidation is more important then ketolysis!

    The keton strips only tell that you dont eat to much carbs!

  27. April
    A state of ketosis is your bidy burning fat for fuel instead of carbs, so eat more healthy fats! Otherwise you will get very tired. Your body will need several weeks to adapt.
    Good fats; Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, saturated fats, avocados, nuts. All should be organic, cold pressed etc. Bad oils; trans fats, vegetable oil, canola oil.
    Eat real food, no sugar, no processed foods. Count carbs only, go easy on the cheese. And yes you should eat non starchy vegetables, they are very low in carbs and provide essential micro nutrients. Google Ketogenic diet.
    I have been on this for 1 year, age 58, lost 35lbs.
  28. Christian
    I just received my ketone tester now and checked (after eating a steak) my ketone level. It was only 0.4 mmol/l is this normal after eating?

    Should I only check after waking up?

    How could I improve the ratio to 1.5?

    Reply: #79
  29. Zepp
    Check in the morning becuse then you have fasted the whole night!

    And ketones goes up and down the whole day.. like blood sugar.. and thats altso normal.

    It take some time on a ketogeic diet befor your body have lower glykogen, insulin and need to use more fat.. then it convert fat to keton buddies, to replace some of the glucose thats missing.

  30. kevin
    Hi There
    I have been on the LCHF Diet now for over a month,I just bought a ketone Meter and my levels stay around 0,3... I am lacking Testosterone so i am taking injections and creams to increase..My weight has been 104KG since i started, and feeling very despondent...eating , Bacon and Egg for breakgfast, then lunch and dinner Chicken breast with Broccoli and Cauliflower with cheese sauce, a lot of Almonds and walnuts...also taking omega 3 supplementation,what am i doing wrong, or waht should i do extra please help ???
    Reply: #81
  31. Zepp
    its not everybody that lose weight that fast.. but its strange that you dont get more keton readings.

    Ketones are produced when you lack glucose.. and there are high levels of FFA in your blood.

    http://www.ketotic.org/2012/05/keto-adaptation-what-it-is-and-how-to....

    And here som advices frome the "Duke".. see if you are doing somthing wrong.

    http://www.fitintegrity.com/uploads/9/5/1/6/9516119/no_sugar_no_starc...

  32. kevin
    Thank You
    Reply: #83
  33. Zepp
    It took mee three months to get it strait.. and then I didnt have any transitation problems.. you know Im a slow starter!

    The moste difficult was to get rid of old habbits!

  34. Ruby
    I have been burning ketone's for at least a couple of months now. No suger, no wheat, glutin and minimal carbs. It's been about a month now and I havent lost a pound even though I am so strict. I am usually in the small to moderate ketone burning area. I don't want to give up because in the first month, I lost about 15 pounds. What am I doing wrong?

    I cheat rarely. Have a glass of low sugar wine occasionally but I do eat allot of nuts. Even so, I am still in a Ketone state.

    Maybe I am just plain eating too much, however when I go to bed, I am hungry.

  35. Conny
    "Normal people have an buildt in calorie counter.. let it take care of your eating habbits.. its only demand is that you eat food it use to handle.. by evolution!"
    If I were a normal people whose built in calorie counter was working properly I wouldn't be overweight and discouraged.
    Reply: #86
  36. Zepp
    Try then to eat more like a caveman.. like wild boar, mamuth and things like naturaly grown veggies!

    If you cant find any wilde boar and mamuths.. substitute it with pork and beef.. eat the fat that comes with it.

    And if your butcher cut of the fats.. substitute it whith more butter!

  37. Peter
    Don't give up on ketonic diet...it is God's answer to prayer! I am 6ft2ins and 77. Four months ago I was 248 pounds with a waist of 46inches. I am now at my target weight of 200lbs with a waist of 36inches. I started off on the South Beach diet but after one month started with Ketonic regime as I was not getting the results I was looking for with SBD. I use intermittent fasting, don't eat after 6pm next meal around lunch time then dinner at 6pm again. Keep the carbs below 35 and protein around 80 and that works fine for me. Also I walk 10000 steps 6days a week .
  38. Ruby
    Great results Peter, fantastic! I've fallen off the wagon but will be jumping back on soon. I felt much better with low carb/Ketonic diet.
  39. Jaz
    Hi, I've been do the LCHF for couple of weeks and my weight has not changed much. However, when I checked my ketone it showed (deep purple darkest color)160 mg/dL. I am not a diabetic but when I saw the color I was concerned and consumed more carbs. I check my levels several times a day and I seem to go in and out of kentosis, but many of the times it is dark pink to purple (I workout hard, I think that's why I have high levels of ketone). Is that safe? Am I not losing weight because I eat more carbs but still shows ketone levels? And people talk about their breath smelling a certain way, mine has no change. Am I
    Reply: #90
  40. Zepp
    There is post excersice ketosis.. perticuly in the begining!

    It can go up to 6 as a blood measurment!

    If you got very high post excersis ketosis it meens that you use a lot of glucose or are not that much converted to fat oxidation.

  41. Jaz
    Thank you for the quick reply!
    Yesterday I only worked out for 30 minutes in the morning and that was it. I went and bought the blood test meter and checked my levels (urine too). At 5 p.m. (before meal) it was 4.4, then rechecked it before going to bed (checked it twice), it was 4.6. This morning as soon as I woke up I did the test and it read 5.1. The urine test results were consistent with blood test. Are these numbers safe? If not what should I do?
  42. erdoke
    If we are talking about mmol/liter and as far as I know, ketoacidosis begins above 25. Long fasting can elevate ketone levels to 10 mmol/L, so I would say that although the range you report is higher than usual during low-carbing, it is still normal. Anyway, if you feel OK in general, it is not likely to cause damage to your organs with this level.
  43. weight loss meal plans for women
    Thanks for finally writing about >Experiment: Optimal Ketosis for Weight Loss
    and Improved Performance | DietDoctor.com <Loved it!
  44. Jean
    this is day 10 for me on the low carb diet (20 carbs daily) I lost 6 lbs and use the urine ketone strips, my levels are low on the strips only pink not purple so how do I know if I am in ketosis ?
    Reply: #95
  45. Zepp
    You only need to count the carbs you eat!

    Becuse if you eat very little carbs you are in ketosis!

  46. Brenda
    I am running HI ketones (over 8) my meter will not read it at all. I have eliminated all carbs, starches and dairy products. It is driving me crazy! I lost 14 pounds in four weeks and I am 136 pounds at this time. Has anyone experience such a high level of ketone burning and is it good? Should I be concern? My doctor doesn't believe in any of this stuff, but his diet didn't work in 10 years. I have diabetes so any diabetes should I be concerned about ketone levels?
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