Are there foods that cause ketons?

Something strange just happened:

The only time I’ve tested positive on ketones was when I was diagnosed.
It is possible that there were cases I actually had some but couldn’t test simply because I didn’t had any stripes with me.
If my bg was high, it showed positive on sugar, not a big surprise.

And now?
No sugar but ketones!

My highest bg today was 163 (after lunch). I definitely drank enough. I did not exercise.
It was more a coincidence that I found out, I had no real reason for testing. One could say: the stripes looked lonely… or something like that.

Anyway, I looked up what could possibly have caused them. Nothing on any list fit my day - except for one thing I can’t be sure about: food. Or rather “wrong food”.

So, what is “wrong food”?
Is there a certain kind of food that can cause ketones?

Mainly ate vegetables, some cheese, 2 apples… actually nothing very different from what I ate the past 2 days a well (I’m testing my basal)… and didn’t have that before.
In case you wonder about the post lunch spike: For some reason, they put sugar in the salad - at least that’s what I think, so that wasn’t planned and corrected later. My bg never rises 60 points from a salad at home, this kind of ruined my testing.

Yes, I’m trying to figure the reason for my result.
But the question is a general one since it is an interesting/important topic and if it really is certain foods, I don’t want to let it happen too often.


My stripes have 3 levels for the amount of ketones, my result was on 1, hence mild ketones.

I’ve read somewhere on the forum that weight loss can result in ketones.

I would say, okay, it may have dropped a pound or so during my testing phase, but that happened before in my life but never involved ketones. There are also other days I eat few carbs and the test is negative.

Perhaps today is the exception that proves the rule but it’s confusing because I just don’t see any reason.

No food causes ketones. Or, all food can cause ketones without insulin:) High ketones can be due to high BG–insufficient insulin. Dehydration can also, though you mentioned drinking enough. Drink more water & test again. Did you test again after correcting? 163 isn’t typically high enough to cause this. Those strips expire & maybe yours are kaput. Check the date.

Mild ketones are nothing to be concerned with. Ketones are a natural by-product of burning fat for energy. This happens to everyone whether they have diabetes or not. If you test in the morning before eating, you’d have low ketones from fasting. There’s no reason to be testing ketones unless your BG is consistently high (over 240-250) & you can’t bring it down. Some people test ketones for evidence they’re burning fat from weight loss.

Well, one article mentioned something about food in the context of ketones.

That made my wonder about a connection.

I should have mentioned: I did not test at 163 but ~ 7 hours later (bg: 130, that’s another thing: it is higher than I expected it to be, and I had this before but did not test in these cases: if you have ketones in your body, do they influence your bg?)

I got the strips earlier this year, they’re not expired (and kept in they’re original box).

I’ll test again before going to bed.

Fasting causes ketones. So if you are eating much less than normal because of the basal testing you’re doing that could explain it.

As Gerri said, overnight fasting (i.e. while you’re asleep) causes ketones in some people, but not everyone.

Low carb eating can cause ketones; similar to fasting. Your body absolutely needs carbs or ketones to keep your brain functioning. If you’re eating very low carb your body will convert proteins to carb, and generate ketones from fat for the remainder. So if you’re eating much less carb than normal that can also cause ketones. The degree of low-carb that causes ketones seems to vary; I think its less than 50g carb per day for a lot of people, maybe closer to 100g? Two apples plus vegs is probably around 50g of carb depending on what vegs you ate.

Also as Gerri said, no reason to be concerned about occasional mild ketones with normal BG. Be concerned about high ketones accompanied with high BG.

There’s no need to go to the ER for mild ketones. Test after exercise, you may have trace ketones from burning fat. Test in the morning before food, chances are you’ll have mild ketones like most people. Test if you’re on a diet & lowering carbs–ketones.

I have tested for ketones hundreds of times. Yes. Hundreds of times. And I’ve probably found ketones hundreds of times. I’ve been on low carb diets since 2006 and a benchmark for a low carb diet is when you burn fat generating ketones. It is a perfectly normal process, anytime you fast or demand energy beyond your dietary carbs, your body will start to burn fat stores for energy. I rarely test for ketones anymore, mostly because it doesn’t provide any more information. I still produce plenty of ketones. And in the end, I found that I will often naturally produce ketones that register as “marginal” or “trace” on ketostix. This happens mostly after exercise and after fasting. But if your body shifts to fat burning you will generate ketones and excess ketones are dumped in your urine where they can be detected later (perhaps hours later).

Yes, be caution of a highly elevated blood sugar (300+) and generating ketones. But with a blood sugar in normal range ketones are perfectly natural.

Be glad you generate ketones, because if you didn’t your body would not be burning fat, you would blow up like the goodyear blimp and then you really would die.

My understanding is that as long as the ketones are not accompanied by high blood sugars, you don’t have to worry, especially if they are just trace or small. In some instances, this is seen along with diets that are very low in carbs. So consuming lots of very low carbohydrate foods will cause you to spill some ketones. But I think it’s this effect of a low carb diet that has many dieticians against low-carbing for diabetics, despite the obvious benefits many of us experience in our blood sugars when we go low carb. All that said, I don’t think it’s really clear the extent to which small amounts of ketones are bad for diabetics.

I’ll keep that in mind.

My (regular) tests came back okay in late March so I doubt it’s my kidney… but good to know, I’ll ask about that at my next appointment.

When I turned about 17, my doctor basically told me to stop testing for ketones unless I was sick or had a persistent high blood sugar. Ketones are a significant indicator of a problem with most kids with diabetes but as an adult trace amounts of ketones are pretty normal for all the reasons mentioned above. It’s a fairly normal byproduct of the human body. My bottle of ketone strips only really gets a work out during cold and flu season. I usually have to remember to buy a new bottle most times, because more often than not, they’re expired by the next time I need them.

Pretty much the same goes for me.
Until I got this bottle, I didn’t even have any for several years because they always expired before I had used all of them…

My new Endo wanted me to restart testing for glucose + ketones because I told her I’ve only tested positive for sugar but never ketones whenever I’ve used the strips. She wanted to know if that’s still the case (since we all know there are cases ketones are really bad for us, while glucose indicates that there is too much sugar in our blood to be hold back by the kidney entirely. Both is bad but ketones are worse.)

I did a bit of thinking.
Basically it is

high bg + ketones = to few or no insulin -> the body can’t use any of the sugar floating around in the blood stream and therefore has to use fat to keep all necessary processes going

normal/low bg + ketones = too few or no carbs -> there is a basal amount of insulin but only so much sugar in the blood to use therefore the body uses fat in addition


That would also explain why I never test positiv on ketones if my bg is high - there is still my basal insulin and I don’t let a high untreated for too long so there’s bolus, too. Even on days I’m ill there still seems to be enough insulin to bring sugar into my cells, there’s simply still too much sugar there and my bg stays high.