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Will I be in ketosis while following the Carnivore Diet?
Answer: Yes, the Carnivore Diet often induces ketosis. A properly followed Carnivore Diet will result in ketone levels above 0.6 mmol/liter, a mild range of ketosis that allows users to experience the benefits of ketosis without side effects that are present at higher levels.
Ketosis on the Carnivore Diet
In most cases, following the Carnivore Diet will result in a mild ketogenic state at all times, especially if long periods are taken between meals and the fat-to-protein ratio is high.
Because of the high amounts of protein consumed on the Carnivore Diet, the level of ketosis achieved will not likely exceed 2.0 mmol/L.
Ketone levels can be roughly measured with standard ketone urine strips when beginning the diet, but as the body become fat-adapted, ketone levels in the blood will begin to diminish since the body is not utilizing all ketones.
A much more accurate way to measure ketone levels is to use a blood monitoring device that can provide both ketone and glucose levels.
I only use the Keto Mojo because of how reliable and easy it is to use.
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Having to prick your fingers is a nuisance, but after using it for a few weeks, you will be able to “feel” whether you are in ketosis or not without using the device.
Ketone levels will likely be in the range of 0.5 to 1.0 mmol/L for the entirety of the Carnivore Diet. This is good after a time because it increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the work placed on the pancreas.
If you use these methods to measure ketone levels and the levels are not in the range of mild to high ketosis, reasons may include:
- Too many sugars coming from dairy products
- Not enough dietary fat
- Too much protein
These can be corrected by using the tracking the macronutrient ratios of food being consumed.
Carnivore Diet Macronutrient Ratios
A well-formulated carnivore diet will push you into ketosis. It is best to eat nose-to-tail when following an all-meat diet, and ensuring your food choices have proper macronutrient proportions will ensure you are in ketosis and feeling good.
The body cannot fuel itself on protein, so if the only two macronutrients consumed on a carnivore diet are protein and fat, the body must operate on fat. It is therefore vital to ensure you are consuming enough fat or you will feel sluggish and not experience great results with this way of eating.
I find the best results when I ensure my fat-to-protein ratio is at least 2:1. The higher the ratio, the better you will likely feel because there is plenty of fuel for the body to run on.
When the ratio is too low, the body tries to convert some of this dietary protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis, but this is an energy-intensive process that does not contribute much in the form of energy.
Gluconeogenesis will push the body out of ketosis because some glucose is being created in the body, and insulin levels will rise. Being out of ketosis will cause feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.
Protein is a satiating food, and when we only eat large quantities of protein, our hunger will remain at bay for more extended periods. This problem is that this protein is not contributing much energy to operate on, so we enter a state popularly known as “rabid starvation.”
In rabid starvation, you are eating large amounts of protein, but the body simply does not have the resources to perform well. There won’t be significant feelings of hunger either because the actual amount of food being consumed may be high.
- Measuring ketone levels when beginning the diet will help ensure your macros are in the right range to induce ketosis
- Use the Keto Mojo to track ketone levels accurately
What is Ketosis?
Here the ketosis I am referring to is not the “keto diet,” but actual ketosis that occurs in the body.
Ketosis is a natural process our bodies use to burn fat as a fuel instead of utilizing glucose, which is how the body operates when following a Standard American Diet (SAD) or any other diet where sufficient carbohydrates are consumed.
Ketones are the particles that the body uses as fuel, these ketones are derived from fat and can be burned in aerobic, low-intensity exercises in a very efficient manner.
There are many benefits of ketosis, and individuals wishing to perform at a high-levels often follow a diet allowing ketone levels to be high.
It is possible to inflate ketone levels artificially through consuming exogenous ketone supplements like ketone salts and esters.
Some people follow a regular high-carb diet and supplement with exogenous ketones to provide their bodies with high levels of the two kinds of fuel: glucose and ketones.
For high levels of ketones to be observed in the body, it is necessary to have high levels of dietary fat intake, and low levels of carbohydrates being consumed. Usually, if more than 20 net carbs are consumed on a diet, ketone levels will below. A high ketone level would be in the range of 1.6 – 3.3 mmol/liter of blood.
Effects experienced with different ketone levels vary from person to person, but a ketone level of 1.0 mmol/liter is usually enough to feel the effects of ketosis.
Using a device like the Keto Mojo is the only way beginners can confidently know their blood ketone levels.
- Reduced appetite
- Reduced acne
- May reduce cancer risk
- Improved heart health
- Protected brain functions
- Increased weight loss
- A high proportion of fat loss coming from the abdominal cavity
- Drastically reduced triglycerides levels
- Increased HDL cholesterol
- Reduced blood sugar
- Lower blood pressure
- Effective against metabolic syndrome
The significant cognitive boost experienced by most is a big driver in the popularity of ketogenic diets today.
These ranges are approximate but give a good idea of the ranges ketosis intensities can be experienced at.
Some people see the most benefits when they are in the high ketone range, while others feel that they are too “on edge” in this range.
It is helpful to test levels to determine where you perform best so you can shoot for this range repeatedly.
To accurately measure ketone levels, a device like the Keto Mojo should be used.
Beginners can use ketone test strips though because their bodies are not fully fat-adapted and some ketones are present in the urine.
Mild Ketone Range: 0.5 – 1.0 mmol/liter
Moderate Ketone Range: 1.1 – 1.5 mmol/liter
High Ketone Range: 1.6 – 3.0 mmol/liter
Dangerous Ketone Range: >3.0 mmol/liter
Our brains and fat
Fat is what we evolved eating. Scientists believe that because humans were fat-hunters, our brains were able to develop rapidly. Humans possessed tools that other animals did not have. When other animals hunted, they would eat all of the animal except for the brain, as they had no way of breaking open this cavity.
Humans differed because we utilized stone tools to break open the skull, where we would eat the brain. The brain was hugely beneficial to our brains, as the brain contains essential fatty acids, proteins, and other nutrients and vitamins that were crucial to the development of our own brains.
Essential fatty acids are considered essential because the body cannot produce these on its own. These fats include both omega 3 and omega 6 fats.
Most people in the modern world have no problem consuming enough omega 6 fats. Omega 3 fats are more difficult to come by because the animals we now eat are often raised on grains instead of grasses, where these fats reside.
It is still vital that the brain has at least some glucose because there are processes in the brain that require glucose to function correctly.
This is not an issue on the carnivore diet, though because the protein consumed will lead to enough glucose being produced for these processes.
Dangers of Ketosis
There are some instances where ketosis is not encouraged and can be damaging or lethal.
Dangerous ketone levels primarily occur in diabetics but can present itself with pregnant women, as hormonal changes can affect insulin in the body.
Ketoacidosis is a condition where the levels of ketones in the body are abnormally high, poisoning the body. It is a severe and dangerous condition that can quickly develop, sometimes within the space of 24 hours.
Measuring ketone levels with a device like the Keto Mojo will help ensure blood ketone levels do not rise to dangerous levels.
There are several different potential triggers for ketoacidosis. It is most commonly caused by illnesses that lead to the production of higher levels of hormones that work against insulin.
Ketoacidosis most commonly occurs in people with type 1 diabetes due to the body not producing any insulin. Ketoacidosis can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although it is much less common.
High levels of ketones in the urine and high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) are signs of ketoacidosis and can be detected with kits in the home.