A Quick Primer On The Ketone Test Strips...
A Quick primer on the Ketone Test Strips... Questions about ketones, ketosis, KetoStix, and its implications and misconceptions have always been one of the most common querries at Low Carb Luxury. We'll try and clear up some of those mysteries here. So... what are they? You'll hear them referred to as KetoStix (the original brand name), Urine Test Strips, Reagent Strips, Ketone Testing Strips, and Lipolysis Test Strips. Depending on the plan you follow and whether you are new to this way of life, or an old timer from the 70's, you'll be referring to them as one name or another if your plan calls for being in Ketosis. Please note, we're not here to debate the merits of Ketogenic vs non-Ketogenic diets here, so don't send me mail of disagreement. For me personally, being in Ketosis is my ideal state and keeps my body's systems at their best. The Ketosis we're talking about here is what Dr. Atkins refers to as "Benign Dietary Ketosis" (or BDK), and should never be confused with Acidosis — a dangerous state for diabetics and those in advanced starvation where acetone builds in the blood and tissues. People will sometimes tell you that producing ketones is dangerous for the body. This is simply misinformation. They're confusing ketosis (the state from a Ketogenic diet) with ketoacidosis (or acidosis) which occurs in uncontrolled diabetes and/or starvation. Ketones? Ketones are incompletely burned carbon fragments. The very fact that they are less efficient as fuel is what makes them give you that 'metabolic advantage.' Some of the calories burned are not used to their full capacity... hence the person can eat more calories when in ketosis than when not, and still lose the same amount of weight. Ketoacids are short (four carbons long.) It's important because in that way the Continue reading >>
Is There A Dark Side Of Ketosis?
I can’t remember what appetizer she pointed to, but the woman sitting to the left of me said this so casually, and several folks at the table knew exactly what she meant, confirming what I’d long suspected: Ketogenic diets have officially gone mainstream – or recognizable at a party mainstream at least – in 2017. Let’s back up and demystify ketosis, which simply means you’re utilizing ketone bodies – more commonly called ketones – rather than glucose as your body’s primary fuel. Just like your car uses gasoline, your body needs fuel. That usually means glucose. But let’s say you’re on a very-low carbohydrate, higher-fat diet. Your body doesn’t get a lot of glucose, which primarily comes from carbohydrate and to a lesser degree protein. That means your liver’s backup glucose (glycogen) also becomes in short supply. Unlike your car, your body doesn’t just shut down. Thankfully, you have an alternative fuel source called ketones. Ketones are organic compounds your liver always makes. You’re cranking out ketones right now as you read this. During starvation or (more likely) when you restrict carbohydrate and increase fat intake, your body uses ketones as its primary fuel. In other words, when your body doesn’t receive or can’t make enough glucose, it shifts to this alternative fuel. Almost every organ can utilize ketones except for your red blood cells (which don’t have ketone-metabolizing mitochondria) and liver. Your liver, in fact, does the heavy lifting. This hardworking organ metabolizes fat into three ketone bodies: acetoacetate (ACA), beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and acetone.(1) BHB is the first substrate that kicks ketosis into action. Among its benefits, BHB reduces chronic inflammation and restores healthy inflammation levels. In Continue reading >>
Measuring Ketosis: What Are Keto Sticks And Keto Strips?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the liver breaks down fat to produce ketones. Ketones, on a ketogenic diet, are the primary fuel source for the body. If you’re new to the ketogenic diet and you still have questions, consider reading our Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Keto > There are three main ways to measure the ketones in your body, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. The most common ways to measure are: Blood Ketone Meter. Very accurate but the strips are extremely expensive. Breath Ketone Meters. More accurate than the urine strips, but can sometimes vary in accuracy. Cheaper than blood strips in the long-run. Urine Stricks. This will answer the question “Am I in ketosis?” but will not provide an accurate measure of blood ketones. Scroll down to read a more in-depth analysis of each, and what we recommend for you. Measuring Ketones with Urine Sticks Urine sticks will always be the cheapest and easiest way to measure ketosis. For beginners, this should cover everything you need – there is no point in getting more complex blood strips so early on when you are still trying to understand the nuances of a ketogenic diet. Ultimately, keto sticks are very easy to use – you hold the sticks in your urine stream for a few seconds, and within 10-15 seconds you should notice a color change in the strip (if you are in ketosis). The color of the stick typically is measured in red: light pink being low in ketone production and dark purple being high in ketone production. While keto sticks can be ideal for a general answer to the question “Am I in ketosis?”, they aren’t precise with their accuracy. They measure the acetoacetate in your urine, which is an unused ketone by the body. As you get deeper into ketosis and your body adapts, your b Continue reading >>
Tweet Ketone testing is a key part of type 1 diabetes management as it helps to prevent a dangerous short term complication, ketoacidosis, from occurring. If you have type 1 diabetes, it is recommended that you have ketone testing supplies on your prescription. Ketone testing may also be useful in people with other types of diabetes that are dependent upon insulin. Why test for ketones? Ketones are produced by the body as an alternative source of energy to sugar. The body produces ketones by breaking down fats, this process is known as ketosis. Ketones may be produced as part of weight loss, however, it’s important for people with diabetes on insulin to note that ketones can be produced when the body has insufficient insulin. When the body has too little insulin, it means that cells of the body cannot take in enough sugar from the blood. To compensate for this, the body will start to break down fat to provide ketones. However, if a high level of ketones is produced, this can cause the blood to become acidic which can lead to illness and even potential danger to organs if not treated in time. This state is referred to as diabetic ketoacidosis. Where can I get ketone testing kits and sensors? The most accurate way of testing for ketones is to use a meter that measures blood ketone levels. The following blood glucose meters are able to test blood ketone levels in addition to blood glucose levels: Abbott - FreeStyle Optium Neo Menarini - GlucoMen LX Plus If you take insulin, you should be able to get these prescribed by your GP. You can also test urine for ketone levels, however, urine ketone testing is not as accurate as blood ketone testing as the levels of ketones in the urine will usually only reflect a level of up to a few hours previously. When to test for ketones? Continue reading >>
Urine Ketone Testing
Your body cells use sugar for energy. Insulin must be present for your body cells to use sugar for energy. When there is not enough insulin present your cells cannot use sugar to obtain the energy they need. If your body cannot get energy from sugar, fat is used instead. When fat is broken down, ketones are made. Ketones are strong acids and are harmful to your body. Ketones in your urine may be a sign that you are developing diabetic ketoacidosis. When should you test your urine for ketones? If your blood sugar tests are higher than 250 mg/dL for two or more tests in a row If you are feeling like your blood sugar is high If you think you have an infection If you are throwing up or feel sick to your stomach If you are ill or stressed If you have Type 1 diabetes, you should always have a supply of the strips used for urine ketone testing and know how to use them. If you have Type 2 diabetes, your doctor or nurse will tell you if you need to do urine ketone testing. If you are pregnant your doctor or nurse will tell you when to test your urine for ketones. How do you test your urine for ketones? There are several products that can be used to test the urine for ketones. The test strips can be purchased at a pharmacy and usually do not require a prescription. Ketostix® test strips are commonly used to test the urine for ketones. This is the way you test with a Ketostix®: Dip the test end of the strip into fresh urine. Remove the strip from the urine and wait 15 seconds. Compare the color on the strip with the color chart on the bottle. The urine ketone test will tell you whether you have no ketones present or if you have trace, small, moderate, or large ketones present. If your urine has moderate or large ketones present, call your doctor or nurse right away. Follow the d Continue reading >>
Using Expired Test Strips
Using expired test strips can save you a lot of money, but are they accurate? This is an important question for diabetics who can not afford new test strips or for those who want to know their old test strips are still safe. We tested several brands of test strips that had been expired between 1 and 5 years and found that accuracy depended upon the length of time since expiration and the brand of test strip. Test strips were tested with brand specific controls that had at least 6 months until expiration. Test strips were tested 3 times per each control solution (normal, high, low) and averages, standard deviations, and %RSD were used to determine accuracy and precision. Brands of test strips tested included: One Touch Ultra, One Touch Ultra Blue, FreeStyle Lite, FreeStyle, FreeStyle Insulinx, Accu-Chek Aviva Plus, Accu-Chek Compact, Bayer Breeze 2, Bayer Contour, Bayer Contour Next, Advocate, Element, Embrace, Liberty, Precision Xtra, TrueTest, TrueBalance, and Nova Max. Results are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please follow the advice of your physician. Expired Test Strips Data Test strips that had been expired for 1 year or less were not found to have a statistically significant variation in readings compared to unexpired test stirps. The majority of test strips at the 2 year mark were within the control solution range with the exception of Precision Xtra. Precision Xtra test strips that had been expired for more than 1 year were very slow at absorbing the control solution and readings were neither accurate nor precise. At three years past expiration Precision Xtra test strips read on average 102 below for high controls and read low (<20 mg/dL) for low controls. Test strips that had been expired m Continue reading >>
Kicked Out Of Ketosis? The Dirty Little Secret About Ketone Testing Strips
[Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I might receive a small commission if you purchase something by using one of those links.] Confused about how ketone testing strips actually work? Do you think you've been kicked out of ketosis because they suddenly turned tan? Many low-carb dieters have misconceptions about Ketostix and blood ketone levels, so in this post, we are going to clear out some of those myths and misunderstandings. You'll get the truth about testing strips and learn what really causes those high blood ketone levels. If you hang out at low-carb forums for any length of time, you're bound to hear again and again how someone recently got kicked out of the state of ketosis, and they are looking for a fast way to get back in. Out of all of the issues that you can have with a low-carb lifestyle, understanding ketone testing strips is one of the biggies. “I got kicked out of ketosis,” is one of the most common complaints I hear. And while that may or may not be true, depending on the situation, there are a lot of misconceptions about the role that ketones and ketone testing strips play in a low-carb diet. Even those who are using a blood meter often go by the rumors circulating around the web instead of listening to Dr. Phinney himself. For example: One of the misconceptions I've run into over the years is the idea that ketones are used to fuel the entire body. This is only true at the very beginning of your low-carb diet. When the body first runs out of glucose, the body runs on protein and ketones, but as carbohydrate restriction continues past those first few days, your body goes through a series of steps, or adaptions, that eventually result in muscle insulin resistance. This resistance to the presence of insulin allows the ketones buildin Continue reading >>
Take Care Of Your Test Strips For Accurate Results
Test strips are one of the most important supplies in your medicine cabinet. Regular testing can help you keep track of your blood sugar levels, and that allows you to make lifestyle and medication adjustments accordingly. Proper handling and storage of test strips can help ensure an accurate result every time. Six tips for handling test strips When it's time to take a blood sugar reading, handle test strips properly for an accurate result. Here are six things to keep in mind when dealing with your test strips. Wash your hands. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before you open the test strip vial. Check the expiration date. Make sure the vial is not past its expiration date, and that the strips are clean and dry. Check the test strip code. If your strips must be coded, make sure the code on the meter matches the code on the vial. Handle carefully. Shake a test strip out into your hand. Try not to touch the end of the strip. Protect test strips from air. Immediately close the vial to protect the integrity of the remaining strips. Make sure you have the proper amount of blood for a good reading. You only get one shot at this per strip, so make sure you have ample blood before applying the drop. Also, be sure to apply the blood correctly. Some test strips wick the blood drop at the side of the strip, while others do so at the very end of the strip. Test strips that are sold in wheels or drums don't have to be handled individually. This can be an advantage for those with arthritis or other conditions that might affect dexterity. Follow the instructions very carefully to ensure that you have inserted the drum or wheel properly. How to properly store test strips Your test strips should remain in the vial or wrapping until you are ready to use one of them. Test strips are pac Continue reading >>
Whether Your Ketostix Show Light Pink, Purple Or Beige, It Has No Bearing On Your Low-carb Diet
One of the most interesting tools we have at our disposal when we start livin’ la vida low-carb to let us know whether we are doing it right or not is a testing strip that measures ketone levels called Ketostix (there are other brand names for ketone sticks, but this one from Bayer is the most common). Basically, here’s how it works: you can check your urine on this testing strip to see how many ketone bodies you are excreting out of your body. Ketones are present when you are in ketosis which is instigated when you keep your carbohydrates at a ketogenic level (usually under 50g carbs daily). I recently asked a group of low-carb experts the following question–“Is Ketosis Necessary On A Low-Carb Diet?” That seems to be a “well duh” kind of question which is why we use things like Ketostix to see whether we are in ketosis or not. But where people seem to get most confused is with the color of the testing strip. If it’s light pink, then I must be doing something wrong. My Ketostix need to be dark purple if I am experiencing “deep” ketosis, right? I get these kind of questions every single week and they miss the point of the testing strips. In Episode 47 of “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb On YouTube,” Christine and I seek to better explain the purpose of Ketostix by telling you what they are for, what the various colors actually mean, why showing no ketones on these strips may not be a bad thing, and how you can virtually guarantee your body is in ketosis. I’m astonished by how many people are still so concerned about the results of their Ketostix, but hopefully this video will clear up some of the miscommunication. Find out all you need to know about Ketostix in today’s video: Noted biochemistry professor Dr. Richard Feinman from SUNY Downstate in Br Continue reading >>
What Is Ketosis?
"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle. For healthy people who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>
Being Fat Adapted Versus "in Ketosis" (pt.1/3)
UPDATE!! (9/20/2017) I have a new post that explains how and why the body produces ketones, It will help you understand much better the difference between burning fat and having a fat-based metabolism, versus being "in ketosis." It's very long, but I think it's worth reading if you'd really like to understand this -- and if you want to stop freaking out about your ketone levels. (If you click over to that post and want to read only the section that explains the difference between ketosis and running on fat, scroll way down to where it says Ketogenesis: How and Why Do We Make Ketones? Also: Fat Adaptation versus Ketosis.) Happy reading! If I never hear or read those six words, in that order, ever again, I’ll be one happy individual. Based on what I come across on low-carb forums, blogs, and videos, there is a lot of confusion about the correct use of urine ketone test strips (which I’ll sometimes refer to as ketostix, since “ketone test strips” is a mouthful, even when you’re only reading). So allow me to ‘splain a little bit about how to interpret these things, and what role they should play—if any—in your low-carb life. First and foremost is the most important thing you will read in today’s post. (And it is so important that I will likely repeat it in all the posts to follow in this little series. Plus, you can tell it’s important because it’s red, bold, in italics, and all caps, hehheh.) You can be in ketosis and not lose body fat, and you can lose body fat without being in ketosis. Here is an exhaustive, comprehensive list of everything urine ketone test strips tell you: There is acetoacetate in your urine. That’s it. Nothing more. Nada más. Game over. Finito. The fat lady has sung, and Elvis has left the building. Your worth as a human being Continue reading >>
Ketosis & Measuring Ketones
Generally, ketone concentrations are lower in the morning and higher in the evening. Whatever time you pick to measure ketone levels, make sure to keep it consistent. Also, do not measure your ketone levels right after exercise. Ketone levels tend to be lower while your glucose levels higher so you won't get representative numbers. Keep in mind there are daily fluctuations caused by changes in hormone levels. Don't get discouraged! Another aspect that affects the level of ketones is the amount of fat in your diet. Some of you may show higher concentration of ketones after a high-fat meal. Coconut oil contains MCTs that will help you boost ketones. To easily increase your fat intake on a ketogenic diet, try fat bombs - snacks with at least 80% fat content. Ketone levels tend to be higher after extensive aerobic exercise as your body depletes glycogen stores. Exercise may help you get into ketosis faster. ketogenic "fruity" breath is not pleasant for most people. To avoid this, drink a lot of water, mint tea and make sure you eat foods rich in electrolytes. Avoid too many chewing gums and mints, as it may put you out of ketosis; there may be hidden carbs affecting your blood sugar. Increase your electrolyte intake, especially potassium. You are likely going to lose some sodium and potassium when switching to the keto diet. Finally, if you find it hard to lose weight on a ketogenic diet, there may be plenty other reasons than the level of ketone bodies: Not Losing Weight on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet? Don’t Give Up and Read Further. Continue reading >>
How To Detect Ketosis
How can you tell if your low-carbing efforts have been effective enough to induce ketosis? Learn how to check your ketones! The state of ketosis The state of ketosis means that the body has switched from depending on carbohydrates for energy to burning fats for fuel. This means not only dietary fats (olive oil, guacamole, deep-fried pig ears), but also all the jiggly bits around your waist — clearly a desirable state for anyone looking to shed extra weight. When the body metabolizes fat, it generates molecules called ketones (also known as ketone bodies). As you restrict carbohydrate intake and amp up the dietary fat, more fat is metabolized and a greater quantity of ketones are created. Most of the cells in your body — including those in your brain — are able to use ketones for energy, although many people experience a few days’ adjustment period, often called the low carb flu. One of the varieties of ketones generated — acetone — cannot be used by the body and is excreted as waste, mostly in the urine and the breath. Conveniently, this makes it very simple to measure whether or not you are in ketosis. Upon entering ketosis, some people report a distinct change in the smell of their breath as a result of the extra released acetone. It could be “fruity” — it’s been likened to overripe apples — or even “metallic.” If you notice this happening during your first few days of changing your diet, it could be a good sign you’re in ketosis. The unusual smell isn’t anything dangerous, but it could be annoying. Drinking plenty of water should help, or get yourself some sugar-free gum. Most people report “keto-breath” diminishing after the first few weeks. Detecting ketones in urine The more accurate way — and the one we recommend — to check f Continue reading >>
What Everybody Ought To Know About Ketosis
Recently I wanted to explore the world of Ketosis. I thought I knew a little bit about ketosis, but after doing some research I soon realised how wrong I was. 3 months later, after reading numerous books, listening to countless podcasts and experimenting with various diets I know have a sound understanding of ketosis. This resource is built as a reference guide for those looking to explore the fascinating world of ketosis. It is a resource that I wish I had 3 months ago. As you will soon see, a lot of the content below is not mine, instead I have linked to referenced to experts who have a greater understanding of this topic than I ever will. I hope this helps and if there is something that I have missed please leave a comment below so that I can update this. Also, as this is a rather long document, I have split it into various sections. You can click the headline below to be sent straight to the section that interests you. For those that are really time poor I have created a useful ketosis cheat sheet guide. This guide covers all the essential information you should know about ketosis. It can be downloaded HERE. Alternatively, if you're looking for a natural and sustainable way to improve health and lose weight head to this page - What is Ketosis? What Are The Benefits from being in Ketosis? Isn’t Ketosis Dangerous? Ketoacidosis vs Ketosis What Is The Difference Between a Low Carb Diet and a Ketogenic Diet? Types of Ketosis: The Difference Between Nutritional, Therapeutic & MCT Ketogenic Diets Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe? Long Term Effects Thyroid and Ketosis - What You May Want To Know What is a Typical Diet/Macro Breakdown for a Ketogenic Diet? Do I Need to Eat Carbs? What do I Eat On a Ketogenic Diet? What Do I Avoid Eating on a Ketogenic Diet? Protein Consumption a Continue reading >>
How Too Much Protein Is Bad For Ketosis
One of the well-known mantras of the ketogenic diet is very low carb intake and high fat intake. But there’s another nutrient that’s important to monitor when going keto—and a lot of people make the mistake of not considering its importance. That would be protein. Although protein is a critical element in the diet we need for optimal health, it’s important to not eat TOO much protein on the ketogenic diet. Why? Well, there are a couple reasons that we’ll be discussing below. How Too Much Protein is Bad for Ketosis The biggest energy source on the ketogenic diet is fat. In fact, around 75% of your diet should come from healthy fat sources. The key here is that, unlike the traditional idea of low-carb diets where protein is higher, protein intake should bemoderate, not high, on keto. Not following this advice will never allow your body to enter ketosis, which is the main point of going keto and reaping all of the amazing benefits. The reason too much protein is bad for ketosis is because our bodies have a fundamental energy process called gluconeogenesis. For a deeper dive into the topic, see our post on fixing the biggest ketosis mistakes. For now we shoud know the basics. Let’s break it down this mouthful of a term. The word gluconeogenesis has three parts to it, Gluco – coming from the greek root glukos – literally meaning “sweet wine.” Neo – “new” Genesis – “creation” So a great way to think about it is this is how your body creates new sweet wine for your body. Some people tout that “you don’t need carbohydrates to survive,” which is only partially true. To clarify, you don’t need to eat any carbs to survive, but make no mistake, your body needs carbs in the form of glucose and glycogen, and it will get this via survival mechan Continue reading >>