Unlike most other diets, the ketogenic diet is designed to put your body into a state of ketosis in order to get your body to start burning ketones instead of the glucose that it usually burns when you eat a high carb standard American diet (SAD).
But to know whether you’re in ketosis and whether your body has enough ketones circulating for you to use as energy instead of glucose, you have to measure your actual ketone levels and then determine whether they’re high enough for you to be reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet.
If you’ve tried searching for this information already, then you’ll know that there’s some controversy depending on which expert you follow. So this article reviews the ideal ketone levels for weight loss and how to achieve and measure them.
After starting the keto diet, it takes your body a few days to burn through its carbs, which are stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles. Once these carb stores are gone, you’ll switch to producing ketones from either dietary fat or stored body fat to burn as energy.
At that point, you may have detectable levels of ketones in your blood. Blood ketone levels while on the keto diet typically range from 0.5–3.0 mg/dL.
These levels are the optimal range for nutritional ketosis, the state in which your body can utilize stored fat for energy most effectively, helping boost weight and fat loss.
Note that there’s a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. It only occurs in people with diabetes and is characterized by extremely high levels of blood ketones alongside extremely high blood sugar levels.
However, the blood ketone levels seen in ketoacidosis are typically 10–15 times higher than those of nutritional ketosis. Also, ketoacidosis is often accompanied by severe symptoms, whereas nutritional ketosis is safe for most people.