How To Tell If You Are In Ketosis Without Strips
A ketogenic diet is having a minor resurgence as of late, surpassing low carb diets for fat loss. The idea of keto dieting is to use all of your bodies glucose reserves and burn ketones for energy. The body eventually reaches a state of ketosis from the result of reducing your net carb intake. People who are new to a low carb high fat, ketogenic diet often ask what are the signs, symptoms and how to tell if you are in ketosis without strips. If you’ve never been in ketosis before then you may not even realize you are in it. The human body is quite remarkable being able to switch from burning glucose for energy to ketones. Your body experiences many physiological adaptions, including a decline in insulin and breakdown of fats. While Ketosis may be confirmed by urine ketone sticks and blood ketone tests, it is not always practical or convenient. You may be at work, out to eat with friends and don’t need the hassle of measuring your blood or urine levels of ketones. There are many small signs and symptoms of ketosis which can help your analysis. Sleep and Ketosis No matter what type of diet you follow, after a good nights sleep you are already in light ketosis. While you have fasted for over 8 hours you are on your way to burning ketones. Once our liver glycogen stores have been depleted we begin to produce ketone bodies at an exponential rate. Despite that, it doesn’t mean that we’ll be utilizing them efficiently. We will not be able to effectively use ketone bodies for our muscles, brain, digestive system if we are not keto-adapted. When following a ketogenic diet some people may experience all symptoms of ketosis, some may only feel a few signs or none at all. If you are brand new to low carb high fat dieting then achieving the optimal fat burning state takes ti Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 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 >>
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 >>
Measuring Ketosis With Ketone Strips: Are They Accurate?
Many people following keto diets want to be in ketosis, a natural state in which the body burns fat for fuel. For this reason, people are curious about whether they are doing enough (via carb restriction) to achieve this state. As a result, ketone strips are a popular tool that numerous people use as a way of measuring ketosis. However, just how accurate are they? And how do they compare to alternate methods of measuring ketones? What is Ketosis? Anyone following a standard high-carbohydrate diet will be burning glucose for energy. However, the body can use both carbohydrate and fat for fuel (1). When carbohydrate intake is very low, the body switches to burning fat for energy. As this happens, our body enters a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a natural biological state during which our body burns fat for fuel. While we are “in ketosis,” our blood levels of ketones—a by-product from the breakdown of fats—rise. Measuring these ketones (also known as ‘ketone bodies’) can, therefore, provide a hint as to how deeply our body is (or isn’t) in ketosis. For this reason, ketone strips—which measure the level of ketones—have become increasingly popular in recent times. Key Point: Ketosis is a biological state where the human body burns fat rather than carbs. What are Ketone Test Strips? For people who want to know if they’re in ketosis, ketone test strips are a cheap and simple way of detecting ketone levels. They are otherwise known as ‘ketone sticks’ and work by urinalysis to tell us the volume of acetoacetate in our urine. If you don’t know what acetoacetate is, then let’s start at the beginning. First of all, there are three types of ketone body; Acetoacetate Acetoacetate is one of the two main ketone bodies, and it is present in urine. We can test f Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
The Best Ketone Meters To Monitor Ketosis – Christmas 2017
The goal of a high-fat, low-carb diet is to get into a state called Ketosis where the body burns fat as fuel rather than using glucose as its source of energy. Types of Ketone Meters There are several types of ketone meters available that monitor ketosis in vastly different ways, some more accurate than others and some more convenient others. We’ll discuss 3 types of Ketone Meters available starting with the best on the market today in 2017. Ketonix Breath Ketone Analyzer The Ketonix breath analyser doesn’t use any blood glucose test or test strip, it works by analysing acetone on your breath that your body produces when you’re in a state of ketosis. The Ketonix is slightly less accurate as blood ketone and glucose meters are per test. But they are more convenient With the Ketonix, you can test yourself an unlimited amount of times, hourly if you like. Which is ideal if you want to see how various foods effect ketosis after you’ve eaten them or even the effects exercise has. The Ketonix is affordable when you take into account the price of test strips for blood monitors. (Many companies give away cheap versions of blood monitors but make their money on testing strips). The Ketonix has no test strips and requires no further outlay. Ketonix also comes with software that will keep a log and also calibrates the device to the optimal settings for your goals. If you’re trying to monitor ketones under conditions such as athletic performance, weight loss, diabetes, alzheimer’s or epilepsy. The Ketonix adjusts its settings to test whether you’re in the ideal range for that condition. The Ketonix Breath Ketone Analyzer is a one-off payment you can read more & check them out here. Blood Ketone Meter One of the best & most precise ways of monitoring ketosis is with a Continue reading >>
Ketone monitors recommended for dieters and diabetes patients The human body usually uses carbohydrates for producing energy for daily activities, however due to diabetic complications or starvation, the body may use the stored fat for generating energy and ketones are produced in the process. For a person who is not exercising or trying to lose weight, high levels of ketone in the blood and urine indicate that there is not enough insulin in the body, and he or she should immediately take corrective action to restore the insulin levels in the body to prevent further health problems. One of the most effective way to monitor the ketone levels accurately, is to use a ketone monitor like the keto mojo meter available online. The ketone monitor should ideally be approved by FDA, and should have a provision for monitoring both glucose and ketone levels in the body. Additionally the device will often have a provision for measuring hemaglobin and hematocrit. Dieting is one of the most effective way of losing weight, and many people are going on a ketogenic diet trying to lose weight. However while dieting, the body is likely to use the fat stored in the body for the energy requirement, resulting in an increase in the ketone levels in the blood and urine. The ketone monitor will accurately measure the increase in the ketone levels, so the dieter can ensure that his or her health is not adversely affected. Diabetes patients having type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes also have to accurately measure the ketone levels in their blood so that they can take suitable action immediately when the ketone and blood glucose levels exceed the prescribed safety levels as this will prevent further health problems. Using a ketone monitor periodically ensures that the diabetes patient can accura 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>