LCHF Diet and Ketones

I have been considering the LCHF diet for some time now but couldn’t get my head around the idea for a fear of hypoglycemic events. This week, I finally bit the bullet and went for it. I successfully went zero-carb for so many reasons:

  • Better blood sugar control
  • Lower weight
  • Cancer diagnosis which I’m told can be reversed with exercise and weight-loss
  • Cycling performance - as a cyclist, the power/weight ratio is key

So, things were going well, maintaining my ketone levels between 1.5 and 3.0 until last night. After a particularly hard ride on the bike, my ketones shot up to 6.0.

Given that my glucose is in a good range, at what level of ketones should I be concerned? Normally, a level of 6.0 would have me on the way to the Emergency room. But, from what I understand, if I have normal glucose levels, I am not in DKA.

Actually ketones are a side effect of fat burning. Fat burning is a constant part of a very low carb diet, you just burn fat rather than carbs and you would expect a modest level of ketones all the time. It isn’t worth even testing. And you can have a surge in ketones (despite a high carb diet) after exercise just because your body turns on fat burning. If you didn’t burn fat and you just accumulated fat you would eventually look the Stay Puft Marshmallow man


High levels of ketones associated with a high blood sugar are the real concern. You won’t go into DKA simply from a surge in fat burning and subsequent ketones.


I’ve been on the keto diet for about 5 months and even when my BG’s go high I haven’t had any attached health problems. It seems that nutritional ketosis is very different from DKA. I don’t check my ketones either so I don’t know where mine are or where they sometimes go. This website has a lot of good info for type 1 athletes on keto.

Thank-you Firenza !! That was very helpful. I contacted Dr. Runyan. He’s is really a good source of information.

Glad I could help.