I know that if you are eating the keto diet, sometime you may wonder “Why are my ketone levels dropping?”. Is there something wrong here?
Keto followers are often concerned with why their ketone levels are dropping and looking for ways to improve their ketone levels.
Determining the cause is essential to reversing it and thus preventing future occurrences. There are many reasons your ketones could be dropping, and you want to be sure that you don’t stop eating enough fat, protein, or too much food in general.
But there is no need to worry because we have a few tips and tricks that will help you get back on the right track!
I’ve helped hundreds of people get their ketones back up to a healthy range and have put together this article to help you do the same.
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Why are my ketone levels fluctuating and dropping?
The primary explanation for fluctuations and drops in your ketone levels lies in what you eat and how you go through your ketogenic diet journey.
Ketone levels can change from moment to moment, which is natural.
Low ketones don’t always mean that something is wrong. You might be in a bad mood or didn’t sleep well the night before and are experiencing what’s known as “diet fatigue”. Or, you could also have reacted poorly to a recent medication or nutrient load.
When ketones start dropping with no apparent cause, it might be time to re-calibrate your diet by avoiding things that trigger digestive upset and eat more raw vegetables until the problem resolves itself.
What are ketones & are you sure to understand them correctly?
Ketones are a byproduct of fat breakdown in the body. When your body is in ketosis, it’s breaking down fat to produce ketones for fuel.
Ketones are the result, not the cause, of breaking down fat. High ketone levels don’t guarantee a fat loss, so your ketone level tells you nothing about the efficacy of your diet.
A scale is your best tool for measuring your weight loss journey, not a ketone meter, and if you’re going for fat loss, a tape measure is more accurate.
The important thing is how you feel or if your health condition improves, not the level of ketones.
Top Reasons Make Your Ketones Fluctuating
There are many reasons why your ketone levels fluctuate and drop. These include:
- Your daily diet
- Exercise process
- Irregular sleep habits
- Stress level
And it has many other factors, but the most important one is the Ketogenic diet. While fasting, your body doesn’t get enough nutrients. It can cause your ketone to drop significantly.
Top 6 Silent Enemies Are make your ketone levels drop
Many people feel anxious and do not know how to deal with this situation. Most importantly, you have to find the silent enemies that are causing your ketone to drop and knock you out of ketosis. The top 6 enemies are:
#1 You’re not tracking your macros
Losing ketones can be frustrating for newbies and experienced guys alike. If you’re unsure why ketone levels are dropping, a good place to start is with your macros.
When you notice a drop, re-evaluate your macros to see what’s been changing with your recent food choices.
If you’re starting keto, calculate your macros based on the number of calories you need for weight loss and aim for net carbs around 20g-30g per day.
Whenever your daily carbs consumption is more than 50 grams, you should adjust day by day to aim for 20-30gr per day.
Net carbs are calculated by subtracting dietary fiber from total carbs.
When you’re getting low on carbs, add more fat to help fill up your energy levels and ensure that you are getting enough nutrients!
With a low-carb diet, every little detail counts.
Use the keto calculator for analysis after calculating the required number. You will know how much more carbs you should add.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start to get your macros right, my advice is to stick with a custom keto diet plan.
You can check it out here, where I found my custom daily meal schedule based on my eating and living habits. It comes with a free consultation from Dr. Rachel Roberts during the 8 weeks you follow this customized meal plan. Feel free to give it a try!
This keto meal plan allows you to create your very own keto diet plan based on your food preferences, daily activity levels, height, weight, and target weight goals. This is the best keto plan investment decision I have made in the past 3 years.
#2 Hormone issues
Hormone problems can cause ketones to drop.
Bad stress, depression, and some medications are common causes of hormone fluctuations in adults with behavioral and physiological changes.
This leads to a lack of energy and an increase in cravings for sugar or carbs, resulting in a lower ketone level since the body is not using enough fat for sustenance.
Some people think that if they give up the keto diet when their levels drop, it’s proof that they don’t need it but instead should eat more carbohydrates or have more sugars to feel better.
But this is just another short-term reminder of why sugar should be avoided because eating sugary foods may only provide temporary relief without addressing why your hormone levels dipped.
#3 Stress is the worst thing in this case
Stress can cause extremes in body functions, such as sleep disruption and irregular timing of meals or exercise. Going into ketosis can cause our bodies to produce more cortisol, a hormone related to stress levels.
These wide swings change the way the whole metabolism runs, which means food could be turned into fat more quickly, potentially leading to ketosis – although this is not a given.
In other words, stress may lead to ketone levels dropping if it messes with your natural routine enough. Many people find their ketones are higher on vacation than they usually are when at home caring for kids or working overtime every week.
It’s not clear why stress leads to lower levels of ketones in some people while others see their levels spike; there seems to be a different response based on personality type and diets.
#4 Lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns
Ketosis suppresses growth hormone and increases insulin-like growth factor I, while sleep deprivation leads to reduced levels of the same hormones.
In other words, insufficient sleep may lead to a reduction in ketone levels.
#5 Overeating protein on your plan
One of the most common mistakes that newbies to the keto diet make is consuming too much protein. The mistake is due to the misperception that you need protein for building muscles and other physical changes.
Again, you need to double-check the number of macros that work best for you and strictly adhere to a meal plan.
As I mentioned, you can try to calculate the number of macros you need to be personalized based on your living habits & eating preferences here.
#6 High-calories Dietary Sugar
In your diet, you should be more attentive. Sometimes there are dishes with a lot of high-calorie diet sugar. But when there are high calories, of course, ketones will drop.
Even supplements and vitamins will contain this sugar. People need to learn because this type of sugar has many different names.
The common dietary sugars in keto are stevia, Splenda, and artificial sweeteners.
Don’t forget to double-check on the nutrition label to find any hidden sugar. You can find the list of popular artificial sweeteners that consumed most in keto here.
4 tips to help make sure your ketone levels are stable and accurate
First, don’t worry or fret if you find that your ketone level has dropped for no obvious reason.
It happens to almost everyone from time to time, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong. If depletion of glycogen stores is the cause, replenish them by eating sufficient carbohydrates at a meal.
Second, remember that ketosis is still happening even when the ketone level dips within normal ranges; this shows you are not releasing a lot of acetone through the breath or body odor (a common misconception).
Third, verify your ketone testing device is working correctly. If it isn’t calibrated well, your ketone level may read lower than what you are producing.
Fourth, verify the solution you use to test for ketones is fresh and not oxidized (oxidized strips will cause a false-positive indication).
Is it normal for your ketone levels to fluctuate?
Yes, it is normal for your ketone levels to fluctuate. There will always be some ketones in your body, and they vary from person to person, time of day, etc.
The tests are primarily for maintenance rather than scientific purposes, so don’t freak out if some days, the line is higher or lower than others! 🙂
What does it mean if your ketone levels are low?
Ketoacidosis is the most serious keto-related condition and is caused by a disruption in your body’s ability to use insulin.
It’s important to note that ketone levels are only one piece of the puzzle rather than an indicator of how close you are towards achieving goals. Keep in mind that diet quality, sleep patterns, and life stressors can influence your results too.
When testing for ketones, it’s important to have more blood drawn after at least 3 hours without food (fasting) or expressed breast milk (breastfeeding) since these both contain sugar which also causes ketones during testing. And you should wait for at least 30 minutes before consuming anything following the blood draw to prevent skewering.
What is a good ketone blood level?
A good ketone level depends on what you are using the ketones for. If you’re looking to reduce seizures, a level of around 3 mmol is recommended. If you are looking to enter nutritional ketosis (i.e., to decrease appetite), a higher level of 8-10 mmol is most effective for that purpose.
What color should my ketone strip be?
The color will vary depending on what the ketones are at. If it’s below 0.5, it should be something of a light yellow — if not, then you should watch what you’re eating and why your ketone levels have dropped so much. Higher than 0.5 would have to be dark yellow or greenish to signify that there are high enough ketones for the keto diet in your body.
If you are experiencing fluctuating or dropping levels of ketones, it is important to know what could be the cause.
I believe this article has helped you troubleshoot your situation and provide some helpful tips on preventing drops in ketone production.
We hope this information helps you better understand why your ketone levels might be changing and offer a few suggestions for you to improve them. Comment below if you have any additional questions we haven’t covered here!
Thank you for reading!
- “https://www.healthyweightforum.org/eng/diets/ketogenic-diet/low-ketones/”, .healthyweightforum.org, May 18, 2018
- “https://www.dietdoctor.com/lose-weight-by-achieving-optimal-ketosis”, .dietdoctor.com, March 13 2013.