When on a high-fat diet like keto, after a certain period of time, your body will enter into a state of ketosis where you’re burning fat for energy.
Ketosis is the process of becoming insulin resistant and highly efficient at using ketones as an energy source instead of glucose.
When people experience this process, their bodies will begin to break down fat, which leads to the release of ketones.
Ketosis levels are technically measured in millimoles per liter, and ketones are found in the breath, urine, and blood.
Studies have shown that being in ketosis can help regulate and even improve blood sugar, decrease hunger, and even maintain lean muscle mass. (1)
Is there a specific target ketone level you need to reach in order to lose weight at a faster rate?
We’ll go over what the best levels are for your weight loss goals and how to get to where you need to be.
Ketone Target Level For Losing Weight
Once you start a low-carb, high-fat diet like keto, your body needs some time to adapt to the new fuel source and burn through the glycogen stored in your body.
After that phase happens and the carbohydrate stores are dried up, you’ll start producing ketones from the fat you’re eating as well as burning your stored body fat for energy.
At this stage, you’re likely to have certain levels of ketones in your urine as well as your blood levels.
A typical range for ketone levels in your blood range from 0.2 to 3.0 millimolar (mM).
These levels are what experts recommend for your optimum fat-burning potential, and as a result, you’ll want to keep your levels in this range if you’re trying to lose weight and maintain muscle mass. (1)
Related: How To Quickly Get Into Ketosis
Is There An Optimal Ketone Level?
In order for you to start producing ketones in the first place, you need to drastically reduce your intake of carbohydrates.
Typically on the keto diet, you wouldn’t have more than 50 grams of carbs or 5% of your daily calories.
Exogenous ketones can also help get you into ketosis quickly. This significantly reduces the time it takes to break down fat stores in your body and make ketone bodies.
By inducing ketosis through exogenous sources, you bypass the strict dietary restrictions needed for an adequate ketogenic diet. However, it’s still recommended to follow the diet guidelines.
It’s important to note that not everyone’s body will respond the same way to exogenous ketones, so it’s best to experiment and see if it’s right for you and your goals.
More research is needed to study the impact of exogenous ketones as it’s unsure whether it’s beneficial for weight loss.
Measuring Your Ketone Levels
There are a few ways to test your ketone levels, but the most reliable is through a blood test.
You can get your ketones measured through ketone meters as well.
Blood ketone meters are similar to the meters that check blood sugar, and by using a lancet and a testing strip, you’ll be able to collect a sample of blood from your finger, which can be read by the ketone meter.
Even though we produce 3 different kinds of ketones, the one that ketone meters are looking for is beta-hydroxybutyrate.
The time you take your test to measure the ketones in your blood will matter what and impact what your test results read.
To have the most accurate reading, you’ll want to measure your ketone levels in a somewhat fasted state or 3 hours after you’ve eaten anything.
Pick a time and stick with it so you can be as accurate as possible when testing yourself.
There are two other methods you can use to check your ketone levels, but they are less accurate than getting your blood taken.
Urine testing strips and breath tests are ways you can check for the presence of ketones.
Urine strips will change color based on if acetoacetate is present in your urine. How dark the strop gets will determine how deep into ketosis you are. (2)
It’s important to note that if you are dehydrated, it will impact the results you see on your strips.
Breath tests will be measuring the ketone acetone. These kinds of tests can be rather expensive and a little less accurate than testing your blood.
If you’re testing your breath, you’re looking for levels of 2 to 40 parts per million (ppm) and can indicate you’ve achieved ketosis. (3)
How Often Do You Need To Test Your Ketone Levels?
To be successful on the ketogenic diet, you don’t have to test your ketone levels at all.
How often you test yourself can add up, and it’s really not necessary to do it often.
If you want to check your levels just out of curiosity, to see if you’ve reached ketosis after following a certain fasting protocol, or after you eat certain foods, you can test yourself as much as you’d like.
Once a week is a good way to keep track and see if your body is in ketosis and that you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of losing weight.
For some, testing your ketone levels can act as a sense of accomplishment and reward to keep on top of your diet habits.
The most cost-effective method if you want to test yourself often is with urine strips, but they have their flaws.
While on the ketogenic diet, many have been successful in losing weight and achieving ketosis on a regular basis.
To be in the optimal ketosis range, the ketones in your blood should range from 0.2 to 3.0 millimolar (mM).
In order for you to reach the level of fat burning you’re looking for while in ketosis, you need to restrict your carb intake to 5% of your daily calories or no more than 50 grams of carbs daily.
You should also make sure that you’re consuming around 70-75% of your calories from healthy fat.