The relationship between a person’s levels of ketones is often a source of concern for those starting on a Zero Carb diet, especially if you have come from the keto diet. For the most part, this is the result of a misunderstanding of the ‘Zero Carb’ label which more accurately refers to someone who feeds on all-meat diets only. Basically a Carnivore. However, with the question coming up quite often there is need to address it properly.
For starters, someone on a Zero Carb diet has no need whatsoever to measure ketone levels in order to fully enjoy all of the benefits of this way of eating. The experiences of many who have been on an all-meat diet for years reveals that for the most part, their ketone readings remain on the low.
Ketones are created when the body is using fat for its fuel. When your body has glucose to burn it will not burn fat and so it will not produce ketones. Ketones in your blood or urine will show that the body has run out of glucose and is now burning fat. The excess ketones will show that your body is also not using all the ketones and is having waste ketones. It is common when some starts any form of very low carb diet, there body will have a high amount of waste ketones in the urine or on the breath. As your body becomes more adapted to this new fuel type, less ketones will show up in readings as the body is now not wasting as much.
A reading well below the 1.0 mark seems to be most reported by long term Zero Carb diet folks that I have seen. Why is that so? The science on ketosis is still relatively new and uncertain. As a result, it is easy to confuse things. Yes, glucose is the main source of fuel for your body. Yes, too, it is expected that as someone on a Zero Carb diet your glucose levels are negligent which means your ketosis should be on the high side.
But that’s not quite true as experience of many living this lifestyle has proven. Indeed, it would seem that the longer you reside in a low carb state, in this case eliminating carbohydrates from your diet entirely, the more your body adjusts to these new conditions. As a result, your body only produces just as much ketones as it needs.
Zero Carb enthusiasts who have been able to raise their ketone levels above the 1.0 mark have had to do that by reducing themselves to near starvation levels. a condition that is neither ideal nor conducive.
Note that the very fact that you are a ZC means that you are in constant ketosis. However, the longer you stay in ketosis, it would seem, the more efficiently your system uses up your ketones. This improved efficiency results in a drop in the amount of ketones that can be measured in your blood. Just because a Ketone stick seems to say otherwise, does not mean it is.
The Bottom Line
Eating meat is the natural way of life. If you have decided to adopt this way of life, welcome to the family. Continue to eat meat freely and stop worrying about the number the meter produces. You have no need of that. The very fact that you are on an all-meat diet means you are as healthy as can be.