For the last few months, I’ve been maintaining my ketogenic lifestyle while experimenting with diet and exercise. When am I in ketosis? How is it varying? Am I doing anything that hinders my fat burning metabolism? I bought a Keto-Mojo ketone monitor for testing ketones. The results, I found, very interesting.
There are a varying numbers on the web for optimal ketone range. On average, there is agreement on about 0.5-2.9 mmol/L. With a few months of testing, my ketones have been as low as zero and as high as 2.5. An average, they are around 0.9.
Here is a pretty typical day’s worth of testing:
Maybe if you test your ketones, your results will be different. Maybe diets should be based on blood types (I’m O+, by the way) or many other combination of factors. Maybe all of our bodies are so different that my test data doesn’t apply to you. However, if it does apply, here are the trends I’ve found.
The first interesting fact is my ketone production slows at night. I really expected it to increase when I was sleeping. I don’t normally eat too late at night. Not a big snacker before bed nor do I get up and eat at night. I love dinner followed by something sweet in general. Though I do try to not eat something sweet every night, but Breyer’s carb smart almond bars makes this challenging.
This new knowledge had me in a tizzy. An epiphany that a third of my day was spent not in ketosis! There were plenty of days where the ketones were minuscule at bedtime. Here’s an example:
This knowledge is empowerment to figure out what else I can improve! I bought some fat burning supplements that were for bedtime and supposed to act as a sleep aide. Problem is, I need zero help in the sleep department. My eyelids beg for sleep hours before they are finally allowed to shut. I didn’t find that my ketones changed that much at night with supplements. Taking them made it much harder for me to wake up in the morning. If you have trouble sleeping, this could be right for you though.
What has worked? Well, the age old rule of not eating past 7:00 pm seems to be a pretty good one. My ketone production in the morning is higher the earlier I eat dinner the night before. I wish this was always easy, but it is not. Sometimes after kid activities I’ll eat too late. I am just trying to be aware that this occurs and try to intermittent fast if my evening is to chaotic to consume dinner at an acceptable hour. This also depends on your goals. If you are maintaining, this is not a big deal. However, if you are trying to lose weight, you’ll have to pay close attention to late eating even on a keto diet.
The second astonishing finding was I don’t produce ketones during running. I can test my ketones before and after a run and they are always less after a run. There has been scientific testing on marathon runner’s and ketone production. There is starting to be more and more physical testing that is fascinating with types of ketogenic diets. It seems there is a variation of runner’s who do and who don’t produce ketones during exercise. Here is an average morning test before and after a run:
Less ketone production would explain why I thought the glucose from fruit helped my half marathon pace per mile. Less ketones makes sense where muscles keep their own glycogen storage. Apparently, my body is great at burning that fuel. I’m not sure there is much I can do here except take exogenous ketones prior to working out which I have been experimenting with. Also, seems like the perfect time to practice adding carbs with heavy exercise. I’m not in ketosis, so why not make the workout count as much as possible? I’ve not done a targetted ketogenic diet yet, but that is precisely what my testing confirms would be an opportune time to do so.
Third is my highest ketone production for the day is 12:00-3:00 PM. This was always my highest peak of ketones. It is also the time I am the most hungry. After fat coffee in the morning, I am not usually that hungry until after lunch time. This was the only result I was sure of before testing that was confirmed with ketone monitoring. Bulletproof coffee for the win!
There were some other trends I saw as well. Intermittent fasting definitely increases ketone production. This is not surprising and I’ll continue this practice when it works for the schedule.
During my period, it seems I can throw out all the rules. Ketone production is minimal the first two days of my period. I feel better if I eat minimal carbs to keep from being bloating and miserable. Unfortunately, this is when my girl math says I’m not in ketosis so I should eat the chocolate.
Sadly, too much low carb booze destroyed ketone production. I can have one vodka and la croix with no significant impact. After two beverages, ketone production slows. Any more drinks and I’m out of ketosis all together. Guess we can’t expect the liver to metabolize alcohol and produce ketones in high quantity at the same time.
I’ve learned so much about my body with all the experimenting. I will continue to monitor and test. I’ll keep you posted on all my findings. Tomorrow is a new day. I’m going back to the basics and going to try to push for my final goals. I’d like to hit pause on this maintenance phase until the holidays.