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How Do Ketone Strips Work?

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 >>

Being Fat Adapted Versus

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

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 >>

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 >>

Metabolism And Ketosis

Metabolism And Ketosis

Dr. Eades, If the body tends to resort to gluconeogenesis for glucose during a short-term carbohydrate deficit, are those who inconsistently reduce carb intake only messing things up by not effecting full blown ketosis? If the body will still prefer glucose as main energy source unless forced otherwise for at least a few days, is it absolutely necessary to completely transform metabolism for minimal muscle loss? Also, if alcohol is broken down into ketones and acetaldehyde, technically couldn’t you continue to drink during your diet or would the resulting gluconeogenesis inhibition from alcohol lead to blood glucose problems on top of the ketotic metabolism? Would your liver ever just be overwhelmed by all that action? I’m still in high school so hypothetical, of course haha… Sorry, lots of questions but I’m always so curious. Thank you so much for taking the time to inform the public. You’re my hero! P.S. Random question…what’s the difference between beta and gamma hydroxybutyric acids? It’s crazy how simple orientation can be the difference between a ketone and date rape drug…biochem is so cool! P.P.S. You should definitely post the details of that inner mitochondrial membrane transport. I’m curious how much energy expenditure we’re talkin there.. Keep doin your thing! Your Fan, Trey No, I don’t think people are messing up if they don’t get into full-blown ketosis. For short term low-carb dieting, the body turns to glycogen. Gluconeogenesis kicks in fairly quickly, though, and uses dietary protein – assuming there is plenty – before turning to muscle tissue for glucose substrate. And you have the Cori cycle kicking in and all sorts of things to spare muscle, so I wouldn’t worry about it. And you can continue to drink while low-carbing. Continue reading >>

Measuring Ketosis With Ketone Strips: Are They Accurate?

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 >>

How Do Ketone Testing Strips Work?

How Do Ketone Testing Strips Work?

Ketones and ketosis are no mysteries thanks to ketone testing strips. They are called KetoStix (the first brand name), Urine Test Strips, Reagent Strips, Ketone Testing Strips, or Lipolysis Test Strips. Quick look at ketosis and ketones During ketogenic diet program, glucose is by design in short supply; in this state the liver switches to breaking down the ingested and stored fats as alternative energy source. This metabolic state is called “beta-oxidization.” Ketoacids are the product of beta-oxidization process in our liver. During beta-oxidization the stored or ingested fatty acids are broken down in our liver into our alternative energy source. Our fat stores accumulate fat as “long” fatty acids called triglycerides. While sugar (glucose) is in short supply, the triglycerides are broken down into “short” ketoacids. These short molecules are able to penetrate our cells as fuel. These ketoacids are utilized (burned) by many of our tissues, including the brain. The brain operates just as well on a diet of ketoacids as it does on glucose. What’s left (the incompletely burned fragments) are called ketones. They are what spill into the urine to be removed from the body. Being in ketosis simply means that we’re burning our fat stores and using them as our primary source of fuel. How do ketone test strips work? The test strips provide a quick, private and cost effective way to determine if we are in ketosis at any given time and at what rate. Most of us feel more secure with such a simple way to test, and get instant answer. All we need to do is to simply dip the reagent end of the strip into our urine specimen and remove immediately. Alternatively we can wet reagent area of the strip in our urine stream. We check the color of the reagent area within 10-15 Continue reading >>

How To Know If You Are In Ketosis Without Strips.

How To Know If You Are In Ketosis Without Strips.

To know whether or not you’ve entered ketosis you can measure your blood ketone levels. But how to know if you are in ketosis without strips? Well, we’re already mildly ketogenic after an overnight fast. 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. If we’re not adapted, then our brain and muscles won’t be able to put those ketones into use. Nutritional ketosis begins if our blood ketone levels are over 0.5mMol. To indicate that, you can use either urine strips like Ketostix. There are also breath takers. The most optimal range for ketosis is between 0.5 and 3 mMol. Ketoacidosis occurs over 10mMol, which is quite hard to reach. It usually happens with people who are diabetic or after excessive alcohol consumption. But there are a few problems with measuring ketones. Having elevated levels of ketones doesn’t mean you’re in ketosis. These urine strips are expensive and taking several measurements a day is very costly. That’s why there’s another way how to know you’re in ketosis without strips. Like said, elevated ketone levels doesn’t necessarily mean ketosis. It might even be the opposite. If we’re not putting ketones into use, then we’re probably urinating it out. That’s why urine strips are not ideal. What we want to know as well is our blood sugar levels. Glucose and ketones are contradicting fuel sources. If one is elevated, then the other has to be decreased. If we have high blood sugar levels, then we won’t be able to use fat for fuel. We definitely won’t be in ketosis. Quantifying is great because it gives us an accurate interpretation of our condition. However, we shouldn’t get stuck with the dat Continue reading >>

Ketosis Strips

Ketosis Strips

Source Many low-carbohydrate dieters utilize ketosis strips as a way to determine whether their body is reacting to the low-carb or low glycemic diet appropriately. The small strips test urine and measure whether or not you have achieved ketosis. Ketosis and Low-Carbohydrate Diets The father of the low-carbohydrate diet, Dr. Robert Atkins, brought the concept of ketosis to the popular consciousness when he penned his first book, Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, in 1972. At the time, Dr. Atkins suggested that in the process of a low-carbohydrate diet, the body achieves a process known as ketosis. When you are in ketosis, your body is burning stored fat as its primary source of fuel, causing ketones to enter your urine. Ketosis strips allow you to measure whether you are in ketosis. If you aren't in ketosis when low-carbohydrate or semi-low-carbohydrate dieting, then you may need to reduce carbohydrates further or look for hidden sugars in the foods you're eating. Signs of Ketosis Aside from using ketosis strips to test for ketosis, you may also notice other signs indicating you have entered this metabolic state, including: Bad breath Metallic taste in your mouth Increased energy, or even jitteriness Increased thirst and urine output Is Ketosis Dangerous? Many people fear ketosis is a dangerous physical state. It isn't. It merely means your body is utilizing its own fat as its primary source of fuel. The result is weight loss. Ketosis Strips Ketosis strips, also known as Ketostix, are small plastic strips that have a chemically-reactive indicator pad on the tip. You use the strips to test your urine to determine whether you are in ketosis. How to Use Using ketosis strips is relatively easy. You can either hold it in the flow of urine and take a reading after about 15 seconds, 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 >>

Kicked Out Of Ketosis? The Dirty Little Secret About Ketone Testing Strips

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 >>

What Are Ketone Test Strips?

What Are Ketone Test Strips?

When your blood sugar runs high for an extended period of time, your body turns to fat reserves in order to get the energy it needs. The byproduct of this process is ketones, which show up in your blood and urine. Ketones can indicate hyperglycemia, which can be a serious situation if not treated properly. Ketone test strips can help determine the level of ketones in either urine or blood. Testing ketones with a blood-based test strip that you insert in a meter is just like testing your blood sugar. Testing with a urine strip means you either collect a small sample of urine or urinate directly onto the strip. Though testing with blood might be more accurate, it is also much more expensive. That's why so many of those with diabetes chose to go with urine ketone test strips. Understanding ketone test strip results Urine ketone test strips are looking for acetoacetic acid in the urine. This acid reacts with nitroprusside, a chemical in the strip, to produce a color. This color corresponds with a chart that comes packaged along with your test strips, usually on the outside of the vial. Typically, the results include negative, trace, moderate or large ketones. Negative ketones are a good sign. Trace ketones mean you should treat your high blood sugar as you normally would. Moderate or large ketones mean that your blood sugar has been too high for a while. Take the test a second time to confirm, then give your doctor a call. Options for ketone test strips When choosing urine ketone test strips, keep in mind how often you will use them. Test strips in a vial must be used before the expiration date, which is typically within six months after opening the package. Test strips that are individually packaged in foil cost a bit more, but will last much longer than those in a vial. I 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 >>

How Do The Ketone Test Strips Work, And Where Can I Get Them?

How Do The Ketone Test Strips Work, And Where Can I Get Them?

Ketone urine-testing strips, also called Ketostix or just ketone sticks ... are small plastic strips that have a little absorptive pad on the end. This contains a special chemical that will change colour in the presence of ketones in the urine. The strips may change varying shades of pink to purple, or may not change colour at all. The container will have a scale on the label, with blocks of colour for you to compare the strip after a certain time lapse, usually 15 seconds. Most folks simply hold a strip in the flow of urine. However, the force of the flow can "wash" some of the chemical away, experts advise that a sample of urine be obtained in a cup or other container, then the strip dipped into it. The chemical reagent is very sensitive to moisture, including what's in the air. It's important to keep the lid of the container tightly closed at all times, except for when you're getting a strip to take a reading. Make sure your fingers are dry before you go digging in! They also have an expiry date, so make note of this when you purchase the strips ... that's for the UNopened package. Once opened, they have a shelf-life of about 6 months -- you may wish to write the date you opened on the label for future reference. Ketone test strips can be purchased at any pharmacy, and are usually kept with the diabetic supplies. In some stores they're kept behind the counter, so if you don't see them on the shelf, just ask the pharmacist; you don't need a prescription to buy them. Continue reading >>

Is There A Dark Side Of Ketosis?

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 >>

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