Question regarding ketones

I am a bit confused and would appreciate any insight. I am currently sick and my sugars have been certainly not good the past two days. When browsing the internet, ketones came up. However, I am a bit confused because it says the ketones appear when the body burns fat due to a lack of glucose- wouldn’t that mean ketones emerge when you’re sugar is really low??? Confused…thanks

Hi @Mlp1124 Michelle. I’m going to say it the way I understand it. When you are losing weight you are generally putting in less calories than you are “burning” substitute “metabolize”.

When you are metabolizing fats, one byproduct is ketones. Perfectly fine to have ketones it’s a sign you’re metabolizing fats. Yes when your blood sugar is controlled, you’ll have normal blood sugar and ketones.

Diabetics get in trouble if they don’t take insulin or don’t take enough insulin. Your blood sugar goes sky high but your body can’t use any of that for metabolism so it begins metabolizing fats. Ketones will not only be present but can start to build up in the presence of very high blood sugar and can set off a chain reaction called diabetic ketoacidodis which will be a ride to the hospital.

So keep your blood sugar under control and if you have ketones it means you’re losing weight, which is very possible when you’re sick or on a diet. Cheers!


Hi @Mlp1124, and thanks for writing in. I found this article from the ADA regarding ketones and am sharing it with you. This sentence from the article might answer your question: “Ketones are chemicals that the body creates when it breaks down fat to use for energy. The body does this when it doesn’t have enough insulin to use glucose, the body’s normal source of energy.” The glucose is there, but there is not enough insulin to metabolize it so the body thinks it is starving and breaks down fat instead.
Good discussion question for your doctor - s/he will appreciate your asking.
As you know, drink plenty of water or other sugar-free fluids to wash the ketones out of your system - I personally have found no amount of insulin will start working until I’ve washed the ketones out - and avoid the temptation to stack your insulin.
Let your doctor know what’s going on so they can give you sick day instructions and make sure the ketones are decreasing even white you’re stuck. Feel better soon!