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How Accurate Are Ketone Strips?

3 Ways To Measures Ketones: Which Is Best?

3 Ways To Measures Ketones: Which Is Best?

Intro: the age of Do-It-Yourself at-home medical technology The medico-technological age we’re in goes by many names, such as biohacking, self-experimentation or the quantified self. A lot of it is about tracking biochemical markers and performance metrics that can tell you something about your past and present state, usually in an attempt to predict or change it in the future. Ketones are one such biochemical marker of metabolism that can be measured in blood, breath and urine (see our What’s a ketone? section for more details). Some people use a ketogenic diet to manage cancer, epilepsy, obesity or diabetes and may find it helpful to monitor their ketone levels. Alternatively, they may simply be curious and interested in physiology. Whatever the case may be, since ketones can be measured in blood, breath and urine, which method might you chose for your circumstance and why? Measuring blood ketones The ketone bodies measured in blood are acetoacetate and is β-hydroxybutyrate (BhB), the latter being the most commonly measured. A well-known at-home device for doing so is the Precision Xtra. It can also measure blood glucose using glucose-specific strips. The portable device can measure BhB concentrations ranging from 0.1 mmol/L (1.0 mg/dL) to 8 mmol/L (or 83.3 mg/dL). Measuring blood ketones is the most accurate method compared to breath and urinary ones but the ketone strips are still quite expensive. One case in which blood ketones are measured is when doctors ask their diabetic patients to monitor their blood BhB levels so as to stay below 0.6 or 1.5 mmol/L. These doctors are worried that a rise above these levels may lead to a pathological condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is distinct from the normal physiological state of ketosis, where insulin Continue reading >>

A Detailed Guide On How To Test Your Ketone Levels

A Detailed Guide On How To Test Your Ketone Levels

I have to be honest with you. I’ve been making some critical mistakes. I was assuming that I was in ketosis for months but I’m now finding out that isn’t the case. Not even close. I’ve finally hunkered down and have been measuring my ketones the right way and the results have been pretty surprising. I was eating too much protein, and too little fat. I was eating too frequently. I was eating too few calories. I never would have known this without testing. Time for you to learn from the mistakes I made and test the right way. Ketosis can be a powerful nutrition approach to use switch your metabolism to prioritize for fat loss, mental output, physical performance, and much more. The main problem? Many people just assume that if they are “low carb” they are in ketosis, but think again. How do you know if you’re actually in ketosis? As I love to say, “test, don’t guess” when it comes to your health. (Still trying to get “track, don’t slack” to catch on…) I’ll outline in this article the three ways to test your ketone levels and which you should be doing when. HOW TO TEST YOUR KETONE LEVELS: THREE DIFFERENT WAYS There are three testing methods because there are three forms of ketones in your body: acetate, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutryate. Each of these ketone bodies do slightly different things and are in different forms, so they can be tested individually with different methods. The three different area these ketones exist in your body are your breath, urine or blood. The good news is that all of these ketone level measurements can be done at home, by yourself. You don’t need to go to a lab or use any fancy high-tech gadgetry. Tracking consistently, at least when you’re getting used to a ketogenic diet, is important so you know how mu Continue reading >>

What Are The Optimal Ketone Levels For A Ketogenic Diet?

What Are The Optimal Ketone Levels For A Ketogenic Diet?

If you’ve just started a ketogenic diet, then you’ll know that it can be really tough to figure out if you’re doing keto right. Am I eating too many carbs? Too much protein? Should I still be feeling tired? When is the fat burning supposed to start? It’s confusing, and one of the most confusing aspects is what your optimal ketone levels are supposed to be. Unlike most other diets, the ketogenic diet is designed to put your body into a state of ketosis in order to get your body to start burning ketones instead of the glucose that it usually burns when you eat a high carb standard American diet (SAD). But to know whether you’re in ketosis and whether your body has enough ketones circulating for you to use as energy instead of glucose, you have to measure your actual ketone levels and then determine whether they’re high enough for you to be reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. If you’ve tried searching for this information already, then you’ll know that there’s some controversy depending on which expert you follow. So in this article, we’ll tell you exactly what the different experts are suggesting are the optimal ketone levels as well as give you recommendations for what ketone levels you should be aiming for depending on your goals with a ketogenic diet. A Few Quick Notes Before We Start… If you’re looking for signs other than testing your actual body ketone levels as to whether you’re in ketosis or not, then please check out this article instead that provides you with signs you’re in ketosis. If you’re a type 1 diabetic, then this article is not for you and the optimal ketone levels suggested below are not applicable to you. Please check out the tons of other ketone level articles on the web to ensure your ketone levels do not reach Continue reading >>

Do You Really Need Ketostix?

Do You Really Need Ketostix?

If you’ve ever spent time browsing the #keto hashtag on Instagram (what? I like to get meal ideas!), you’ve likely seen pictures of ketostix, proudly displaying their pinkish purple results. It’s exciting! It’s an almost instant way to tell if you’re in ketosis…sort of. Either way, the concentration of keto strip pictures on social media would seem to indicate that they’re necessary. After all, don’t you want to know you’re in ketosis? So, what’s the deal with ketostix? Do we really need keto strips to know we’re in ketosis? What Are Ketostix? Basically, ketostix (or keto strips) are used to detect ketones in your urine or blood. If you’re in ketosis, your body will excrete a measurable amount of ketones. This is a fairly good indicator of whether or not you were recently in ketosis. I say recently because if you have literally just eaten a piece of chocolate cake, and then go to test to see if you got knocked out of ketosis (spoiler alert: you did), it might not register for a little while. There are typically two types of keto strips. One is the type that you pee on, and the other is a blood test. For the latter, you use the same type of testing kit that diabetics use to test blood sugar levels, only with a different type of strip. The strips for the blood meters are actually really expensive, so most people tend to go with the first type mentioned. Alternatively, you could use a ketone monitor that checks for ketone levels in your breath. This is the most accurate way to check ketone levels, as it’s a snapshot of your body’s current state. These are disposable, but still more costly than just peeing on a strip. So… Do I Need Ketostix to Know I’m in Ketosis? Maybe, this one’s kind of relative. When you’re just starting out on a keto Continue reading >>

Why You Need To Stop Worrying About The Color Of Your Ketostix

Why You Need To Stop Worrying About The Color Of Your Ketostix

Yeah, I know you like to use them, but there are so many misconceptions about what they are telling you, that I need to intervene and make sure you get it. But before I go there, let me urge you to just buy The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and read pages 164-165. Phinney and Volek have the best description of this that has probably ever been written, and you should really just read it from them. If I could copy these pages verbatim and paste it here, I would. Seriously, it’s only a few bucks and it’s quite literally the book you want to own if you’re interested in low carb ketogenic diets. OK, while you wait for your book to arrive, let’s dig in… What ketostix measure First off, we need to understand what ketostix actually measure, and more importantly, what they don’t. Generally speaking, ketostix measure excess ketones in your urine. They are considered excess, because they are removed from your serum and shunted to your urine by your kidneys. Their caloric content is thereby wasted. Of the three types of ketones (acetate, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate) produced by your body, ketostix only measure acetoacetate. This is extremely important to understand, because it turns out that your body produces different quantities of these different types of ketones depending on how long you’ve been in ketosis. If you’ve been in ketosis for a while, you’re going to see a reduction in the “intensity” of what you register on your ketostix for two reasons: A change in the relative volume of the ketones produced/present in your body A reduction in the volume of ketones in your urine as your kidneys reduce the amount they secrete Both of these are covered below. Changes in the types of ketones you produce When you first start your ketogenic Continue reading >>

How To Know If You’re In Ketosis: A Guide To Testing Ketone Levels

How To Know If You’re In Ketosis: A Guide To Testing Ketone Levels

Ketosis can be a powerful way to use your metabolism for fat loss, mental output, physical performance as well as many other health benefits. But how do you know if you’re actually in ketosis? As the old adage goes “test, don’t guess” when it comes to your health. In this guide, we’ll show exactly how to test your ketone levels to know if you’re in ketosis so you can make sure you’re getting all of the benefits that ketosis has to offer. There are three primary forms of ketones in your body, acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutryate. Each of these compounds do different things in the metabolism of ketosis and can be tested individually with differing techniques. Not all measurement is created equally, however, and some can be better than others for different purposes or times. The three different ketone bodies can be measured when they spill over into three different areas of your body: your breath, urine or blood. The good news is that all of these ketone level measurements can be done at home, by yourself. You don’t have to go to any lab or use any fancy high tech equipment. Tracking diligently, at least when you’re getting used to ketosis based diets, is important so you know how much you react to different variables like exercise, type and amount of food, and amounts of exogenous ketone supplements. Also, the optimal level of ketones for specific goals can vary per person. Knowing the amount where you thrive in the goal you want to achieve (and consistently checking if you’re hitting that amount) is the fastest way to reach your goals. Testing levels of ketones with urine strips (acetoacetate) One of the ketone bodies, acetoacetate, can be measured directly in the urine if they are in excessive levels. The way metabolic substrates get into Continue reading >>

A Quick Primer On The Ketone Test Strips...

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 >>

Measuring Ketosis: What Are Keto Sticks And Keto Strips?

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 >>

When And How Should You Measure Ketosis?

When And How Should You Measure Ketosis?

If you are following a low carbohydrate diet that is based on the ketogenic principles then measuring if you are in ketosis may be an important goal for you. There are times when measuring the specific ketone level may not be required. When is measuring ketosis really needed? My advice to people is if you are following a ketogenic diet for a therapeutic reason (such as epilepsy, cancer, MS, diabetes etc.) then measuring the ketogenic level will be important for you. This is because from the evidence that we have to date, we can see some correlation that in order for the ketogenic diet to be effective, the ketone bodies need to be consistently elevated. If you are someone that is following a ketogenic diet for weight loss, then measuring ketosis through objective ways (I will go over them below), really may not be necessary. There is still this notion that I see online form various Keto Coaches that having a high ketone level in the blood or breath will automatically mean you will lose more weight. I want to say categorically that this is NOT the case. “High blood ketone levels do not automatically mean you will experience a fat loss”. In the next few weeks I will detail in a weekly email exactly why this is the case but for now back to the topic of how to measure ketosis. How to measure ketosis? Subjective Measurements: There are several ways in which you can detect if you are in a ketogenic range. The first way is looking at more subjective measurements. What I mean by this is measurements that focuses more on how you are feeling. In the beginning, you can experience certain symptoms including: nausea, headaches, fatigue, bad breath and weak legs. These symptoms are a sign that your body is now switching from using glucose to using fat for energy. Another subjectiv Continue reading >>

Ketosis & Measuring Ketones

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 >>

Why Test For Ketones: Is Blood Or Urine More Accurate?

Why Test For Ketones: Is Blood Or Urine More Accurate?

There are certain situations when ketone testing is needed to reduce the risk of critical complications of diabetes. Options are using plasma blood with a meter to check for ketones or using urine testing kits. We will review which is more beneficial. Let’s first look at the basics of ketones and when they can cause a possible life threatening situation. What are ketones? Ketones are formed when fat is used as an energy source instead of carbohydrates. There are dietary ketones which are formed on a low- or no-carbohydrate diet with a high fat/protein intake; when blood sugars are controlled these ketones are not dangerous. When blood sugars are uncontrolled the carbohydrate source may be available, but with no (Type 1 Diabetes) or little (Type 2 Diabetes) insulin present, the body relies on fat breakdown for energy source; ketones are a toxic by product of the fat breakdown. Ketones circulate in the system as acids and change the PH of the blood, resulting in DKA or Diabetic Keto-acidosis. This is a serious medical situation and must be treated. What is DKA and what are the symptoms? Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition that can occur when people have diabetes type 1 and are suffering from illness, excessive stress, or lack of insulin delivery. It can be because of a displaced insulin pump or using expired insulin. Although less common, it can occur in those who have diabetes type 2 when they are ill, have an infection, are severely stressed or prone to ketone production. The ketones accumulate in the blood, eventually go to the kidneys and are released from the body through urine. Ketone production can also occur in pregnant women with diabetes or women who develop gestational diabetes when pregnant. Ketones can form in patients who are switched from exogenous Continue reading >>

Ketones: Introduction To Testing Ketones

Ketones: Introduction To Testing Ketones

We’ve all had the question, or been asked the question: how do I know when I’m in ketosis? Should I feel different? Should I have increased mental clarity and focus? While one could give a case-by-case, yes-or-no type response for these questions, the best way is to simply test it out. The problem is that most of us don’t have access to a lab 24/7. Due to this issue, we have three possible ways to test ourselves for ketones from home, namely, urine strips, blood meters, or breath meters. Urine Test Strips There are numerous brands of urine strips to choose from if you decide to go this route and they can be easily obtained at your local drug store or online for a relatively inexpensive price. They can cost anywhere from $9-$20 for about 100 test strips. While this would seem to be the easiest way, it may not be the best way. Urine strips are coated with a chemical that reacts to the presence of acetoacetate (one type of ketone body). However, urine by definition is a waste product. So, while having ketones present in the urine may be a great indication that you are producing them, it could also mean that you are not utilizing them effectively. Also, we tend to see that individuals who have been on the diet for a long period of time and/or individuals that are leaner tend to show lighter or smaller traces of “ketones” on the strips compared to people starting the diet or who are significantly overweight. For this reason, this testing method may be great to let yourself know that you are on the right track with your ketogenic diet but it may not be the best way to know one you are keto-adapted. Blood Meters For a more reliable method of measuring ketones, a blood meter may be the way to go. Diabetics are familiar with the concept, as most glucose meters can also Continue reading >>

How To Use Ketone Strips To Stay In Ketosis

How To Use Ketone Strips To Stay In Ketosis

If you are new to the world of low carb, you may have come across people talking about ketone strips or “ketostix” to see if they are in ketosis. These are small strips to test your urine to see if you have ketones in it. It is a roundabout way to see if you are in ketosis. Here is a guide to your most common questions about how to use ketone strips and if they are right for you! Ketone Strips FAQ Testing Laboratory Microbiology - Air Quality - Mold Asbestos - Environmental - Lead emsl.com What Are Ketone Strips Used For? Ketostix are used to help track when someone is in ketosis. Sometimes people use them to see how many carbs they can consume and stay in ketosis. For most people this range is from 40-55 net carbs a day. For other, it can be as low as 20 carbs per day. Also, it can be used to help determine what foods may interfering with ketosis. For some people, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, or high fiber foods (giving a high carb content, but low net carb result) will take them out of ketosis. Using these strips can help one figure out what the problem is if they are not staying in ketosis or losing weight. How To Use Ketone Strips: You take a strip and dip it into your urine. Generally it is better to dip it into a cup with urine in it, rather than passing through your urine stream. This is because if your stream is too strong, you could potentially wash all the reagent off of the strip and get a false negative result. Either way, dip it, and remove immediately. Usually the bottle will tell you how long to wait, but as a general rule, you will see your results in seconds. After a minute, the results are no longer valid. How Accurate Are They? They are very accurate at showing if you are passing ketones in your urine, so the rate of a FALSE positive is Continue reading >>

3 Best Ways To Measure Ketones For Your Ketogenic Diet (review & Buyers Guide)

3 Best Ways To Measure Ketones For Your Ketogenic Diet (review & Buyers Guide)

How do you get accurate readings of ketones? Which methods actually work? These are common questions I going to help you with in this article. Anyone interested in using the latest nutritional research to improve their health has likely heard of a ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets are a simple way to get your metabolism to prioritize the consumption of fatty acids, also known as ketones, when at rest or exercising. While there is a wide body of research that confirms the benefits of this type of nutritional plan, for the average user at home – one big question remains. How can you measure ketone levels to ensure your body is reaching a perfect state of ketosis? Without an accurate method of ketosis measurement, you will never achieve an optimized LCHF or ketogenic diet. However, it has not always been easy to measure your level of ketosis at home. At least this concern is now a thing of the past, because there are many ways to measure ketone levels easily and accurately in the comfort of your own home. Find out the very best method to test your level of nutritional ketosis that strikes the perfect balance of ease, price and quality. Before getting too deep into the different methods for measuring ketosis, it is important to first look at exactly why measuring them is so important and to clarify some of the more complex scientific terms. Ketone Testing Terminology If you have decided to try a ketogenic diet to achieve nutritional ketosis, then finding an accurate way to measure your ketone levels is important. You need to be able to maintain yourself in the optimal zone where fat is used as energy rather than glucose. Too little ketone and you will not see any positive effects. But higher levels give no real benefit and could indicate a serious problem with your diet. Li Continue reading >>

A New Toy Measuring Blood Ketones

A New Toy Measuring Blood Ketones

I just got a new toy: a device for measuring blood ketones. This is a far more exact and reliable measurement than testing for urine ketones using cheap dipsticks. Ketosis is of course the state the body is in when eating very low carb. Ketones, made from fat, will then fuel the brain instead of glucose. So who needs one of these gadgets? Perhaps nobody. Obviously it’s easy to eat LCHF without it. This is for curious nerds (like me) and for those who want definite proof that they are eating so little carbs that insulin levels are low and fat burning is maximized. A ketone level somewhere between 1.5 – 3 is said to be an optimal level for maximizing weight loss. It means that insulin levels are very low. As you can see my first measurement was 0.2, after a caesar sallad dinner. I’m not surprised as I’ve probably eaten at least 50 grams of carbs a day lately. I will try it out fasting in the mornings during the coming days. Perhaps I’ll try being really strict with the carbs for a while to see what happens. Have you tried one of these or are you interested in doing it? Continue reading >>

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