Tracking Blood Ketones: Behind The Scenes Data On The Ketogenic Diet
Tracking Blood Ketones: Behind the Scenes Data on the Ketogenic Diet I’ve tried a lot of diets. I first went vegetarian, then slow carb, then gluten-free, then Paleo. I even did a 28-day Chipotle diet, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Eventually I found the Ketogenic diet. For me, like for many people in our communities, this all started with a health concern. I was born with a heart condition. It never impacted my life, but it was there, lingering. When I was a junior in college, a few classmates and I were out enjoying late night pizza. Out of nowhere, one classmate suddenly jolted upright and fell off his stool. He died. I found out the next morning it was from a lingering heart condition, not too unlike my own. I started to think about my health a lot more after that. I read about nutrition and started exploring the confusing world of diets. As I learned more and as I became more involved in Quantified Self, I found myself wanting to quantify these diets. That’s what drew me to Keto. It’s the most measurable diet. Quick Summary of the Ketogenic Diet Keto is a high-fat, very-low-carb diet, usually with 70% of calories coming from fat. The idea is to switch your body from using glucose as its primary energy to breaking down fats into ketones for energy. You can measure the macros that you eat and you can measure the ketones in your urine, breath, and blood. In 2013, I did my first experiment with the ketogenic diet. In that experiment, I tracked everything I ate in MyFitnessPal and compared it to other data I was collecting. I found my energy increased, my sleep quality went up (according to my Zeo data), my cholesterol levels improved, and my food cravings went away. However, I also found that measuring everything I ate was a pain, I didn’t really kn 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 >>
Measuring Ketosis On A Ketogenic Diet
Tweet Ketosis is the process of burning body fat for energy and can be measured when following a low-carb ketogenic diet. You don’t have to test for ketones for a ketogenic diet to work but some people may find it helps to check they’re on track and to tailor their diet towards more effective weight loss. Whilst ketosis is a natural process in the body, it’s important to know the safety implications of being on a ketogenic diet which will apply to people on certain diabetes and blood pressure medications. How measuring ketosis can help Whilst we can all measure our weight to see whether weight loss is occurring, there are a number of reasons why measuring ketosis can be better. Our weight can go up and down through the day but this won’t tell us whether we are actually burning body fat. Simply going to the toilet, for example, will involve a certain loss of body weight but that won’t give us any idea whether we’ve burned any body fat over the past hour or two. Additionally, if you’re exercising and putting on muscle, the scales will only show weight loss stalling or a gain in weight and won’t show you whether you’re gaining muscle whilst also losing body fat. Measuring ketone levels can help much more directly therefore as the production of ketones is a direct result of fat burning. Just as blood sugar levels vary through the day, depending on what we’ve eaten and how our body is coping with metabolising the food, ketones levels can also change through the day in response to the food we eat and how our body copes in response. How to measure ketones There are a few different methods of measuring ketones which each have their pros and cons. Urine ketone strips Urine testing strips are cheap but measuring ketones in the urine rather than the breath or b Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
5 Ways To Measure Your Ketones
5 Ways to Measure Your Ketones A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. Research has demonstrated that this nutrition plan improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation throughout the body. This leads to greater fat metabolism and muscle development as well as a reduced risk of chronic disease. (1, 2). I get asked all the time how to measure the state of ketosis. There are several major ways and we will discuss those in this article. Measuring Your Ketones There are three types of ketone bodies: Acetone, Acetoacetate and Beta-Hydroxybutryate (BHB). Each of these three can be tested as acetone is a ketone released through the breath, acetoacetate is a ketone released through urine and BHB is (although not technically a ketone it acts like a ketone) in the blood stream and used by the cells for energy. 1. Blood Ketone Meter This measures BHB and is considered to be the most accurate way to measure ketone bodies. These have the ability to determine the ketone level in your blood precisely but they are also pricey and invasive. Personally, I freak out every time I have to prick my finger!! The Precision Xtra blood glucose and ketone meter is a good buy at $28-$30. The expensive part is the ketone test strips here which can cost $4 each. If you are looking at testing yourself every day it is going to cost you $120 a month and the $30 meter. Here is a starter kit you can get on Amazon Most people will enter into a light nutritional ketosis (between 0.5-1.0 mmol/L on the meter) within two or three days. It typically takes 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 >>
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 >>
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- Does the Ketogenic Diet Work for Type 2 Diabetes?
The Best Ketone Meter For Monitoring Ketosis
If you're on the ketogenic diet, measuring your ketone levels is crucial to make sure your body is actually in ketosis - otherwise, you're basically just leaving things up to chance. We spent roughly five days researching ketosis meters in order to find the most accurate monitor for measuring ketone levels, and after reviewing 20+ options, we've found the Precision Xtra to be the best ketone meter available. Using a light prick of the finger, it measures ketone levels using your blood, collecting nearly-exact numbers to help you manage your diet better than any other testing method. You will also need a set of ketone test strips to get started, which can be a little expensive, but we consider this a small price to pay when you're investing in your health. If you’re following the ketogenic diet, you probably already know how it works – low carb, high fat. By eliminating carbohydrates (our body’s main energy source), you’re manipulating your body to move into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of carbs. Maintaining ketosis is relatively easy if you stick to the core principles of the diet (60-70% fat, 20-30% protein, 5-10% carbs), but at the end of the day, you still don’t know for sure if your body has successfully made the transition. Instead, regularly using a ketone meter (also called a ketosis meter) is the preferred way to ensure your blood-ketone level consistently stays within the optimal range for ketosis. There are three main types of ketone meters: blood ketone meters, urine strips, and breath analyzers. Urine strips and breath analyzers work exactly as their names imply – one measures ketone levels using your urine, the other measures them using your breath. Blood ketone meters, on the other hand, work like a blood-glucose me Continue reading >>
Now this topic is important to a certain extent in my opinion simply because I live this life so when I compare my thoughts and assumptions to what others say… I could only agree to some of it. All-in-all, measuring your ketones is important but since you have me… I would like to make things as simple as possible. There are three way to measure your ketone levels. acetoacetate (AcAc), The primary ketone in the urine Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), The primary ketone in the blood Acetone, The primary ketone in the breath So which way to go? Ideally, Beta hydroxybutyrate is the best way to measure ketosis as you are measuring it within your blood and this tends to be for the long term of nutritional ketosis of a ketone measurement level of about 1 to 3 millimolar per liter. The reason I say “ideally” is because through my experience… I feel as though this is not something that is mandatory if you know what you are doing. For years, ketone levels have been measured through the urine and to me it gets the job done because I feel that all you need is that first indication of ketone production to get things rolling especially with the smackfat approach to weight loss. I am also not a fan of how expensive testing the blood can get when you have to constantly measure you ketone levels during your personal process of learning your tolerances to the foods you consume in achieving your custom fit for ketosis. As more research is done… testing your ketone levels through the breath is an adequate approach because it is said that measurements are close to the blood version of testing which seems promising but I must say that I feel these approaches to testing ketone level to just about reach nutritional ketosis is some what counter productive. I say this because this would pr Continue reading >>
Why I Stopped Testing My Ketones On A Ketogenic Diet
On measuring Ketones. Like many people, when I first started a Ketogenic diet in early 2014 I bought the Ketostix and just couldn’t wait to see the color change. And change it did! It was neat, and it provided motivation for me to continue. Eventually, I got a blood meter, a breath meter and spent lots of time (and money) testing ketones. Between a Ketonix Breath Ketone Analyzer, as well as dozens of blood ketone test strips, I’ve probably spent well over $500 testing ketones. The main thing I learned from my extensive ketone testing regimen is that the results vary widely and there’s little application to my goals. Eventually, I stopped testing and here are several reasons why: 1. Burning fatty acids from fat is the main benefit of a ketogenic diet On a ketogenic diet, some of the brain’s energetic demand is fueled by ketones, but the heart, muscles, etc. are fueled by fatty acids. Most of the energy we utilize both at rest and at sub-maximal exertion on a ketogenic diet is fatty acid, not ketones. Quoting Dr. Ron Rosedale on chasing ketones at the Keto Summit: “I don’t want people to have the mindset that it’s the ketones that are the benefit of the diet. They are a beneficial side effect, but the main benefit is that you are burning fatty acids from fat. The more fatty acids from fat you are burning, the less glucose you need to burn. And that’s really where you are getting the benefit…So ketones are great but the term ketogenic diet indicating that the diet is so good because you are generating all these ketones is a misinterpretation of the benefit. The main benefit is that you are burning fatty acids, and as a side effect of burning fatty acids you are producing ketones that your body can burn too!” 2. Urine Ketones aka “peetones” are ridic 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 >>
How To Test Your Blood With A Home Ketone Meter
testing is used by people with diabetes and by people on a ketogenic diet. You can test your urine or your blood for ketones. But because urine testing is not as accurate, the American Diabetes Association recommends blood ketone testing with a ketone meter as the preferable method. If you have diabetes, you should discuss home blood ketone testing with your doctor to learn whether it is recommended in your case and when you should perform the testing. Ketone testing is particularly important during periods of illness. Blood Ketone Meters for Testing at Home You will need a blood ketone meter and a kit that include the lancet pen and ketone test strips. These meters also will read blood glucose test strips, and both will download their results to your computer. Other brands and models may be available, including: Precision Xtra: This meter from Abbott Diabetes Care can store up to 450 measurements and will display your blood glucose averages over different time periods. You need to enter a code to switch from glucose testing to ketone testing. Users seem happier with the Precision brand, and researchers find it to be the more accurate. The strips require 1.5 microliters of blood. It also features a backlit display. Nova Max Plus: This meter from Nova Biomedical is often provided free with the purchase of two boxes of test strips. You don't have to enter a code to switch it from blood glucose to ketone testing; it does that automatically when you insert a ketone test strip. If you are using it primarily for blood glucose, it will remind you to test for ketones if your blood sugar level is 250 mg/dL or higher. The test strips for the Nova Max are less expensive but also flimsier and give more error messages, requiring retesting. The strips require less blood than the Prec 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 >>
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 >>