Why Your Blood Ketone Levels are Low in the Morning

Waking Up Morning

Ketones become present in your bloodstream when your body starts to burn fat for more energy. This starts to happen when your body no longer has as many carbohydrates to convert to energy. You may have used a ketone meter first thing in the morning and wondered why your ketone level is so low relative to the rest of the day. Here are the main reasons why.

First, it’s perfectly normal for ketone levels to vary throughout the day and the rate at which it changes will differ for each individual on a keto diet. Some people will have high ketone levels in the morning which gradually drops, while others may have low levels in the morning and see a gradual increase later in the day.

People who are recording low blood ketone levels in the morning are likely experiencing a phenomenon called the dawn effect. This term is used to describe an abnormal increase in blood sugar in the early morning (somewhere between 2 AM and 8 AM). It’s also a phenomena that’s more common among people with diabetes.

When your liver releases more glucose into the blood stream, the ketone levels tend to drop for a few hours since there isn’t a need to burn excess fat for energy. The main reason for the dawn phenomenon (also known as the liver dump) is believed to be a result of a change in hormone levels, such as an increase in cortisol and glucagon. Having low ketone levels in the morning isn’t something to be concerned about, especially if you are still only a few weeks into the diet.

You may have also noticed that your ketone levels are low just after an exercise session. For people who are new to the keto diet, we suggest you stop chasing a specific number and stick to the main principles of the keto diet. What matters more are the final results. Unless you are noticing any concerning symptoms, having low ketone levels in the morning is normal and nothing for you to worry about.