10 Things Your Pee Can Tell You About Your Body: Taking A Deep Dive Into Urinalysis, Dehydration, Ketosis, Ph & More!
See, for the past several days, I’ve been randomly grabbing drinking glasses from the shelf in the kitchen… …and peeing into them. And yes, I realize that now you will likely never want to join me at my home for a dinner party. So why the heck am I urinating into our family’s kitchenware? It’s all about better living through science and figuring out ways to live longer and feel better (at least that’s what I tell my wife to appease her). It’s also about my sheer curiosity and desire to delve into an N=1 experiment in self-quantification with urinalysis. It’s also because I’ve been too lazy to order one of those special urinalysis specimen cups with the cute plastic lid. And let’s face it: with my relatively frequent use of a three day gut testing panel, my wife is already somewhat accustomed to giant Fed-Ex bags full of poop tubes sitting in the fridge, so urine can’t be all that bad, right? Anyways, in this article, you’re going to learn exactly why I think it’s a good idea to occasionally study one’s own urine, and you’ll also discover 10 very interesting things your pee can tell you about your body. Enjoy, and as usual, leave your questions, thoughts, feedback, and stories of your own adventures in urinalysis below this post. ———————– The History Of My Interest In Urinalysis Two years ago, I first became interested in urinalysis when I discovered a new start-up called “uChek”. The premise of uChek was quite simple. People with diabetes who want to check the amount of glucose in their urine would simply be able to download uChek to their iPhone or iPad. Then, after a “mid-stream collection,” (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like and, in my experience, despite my Private Gym training, can be quite difficult to Continue reading >>
The Signs Of Ketosis On Atkins Diets
The Atkins diet, first published in 1972 and reinvented 20 years later, has helped countless people lose weight, but isn't without controversy. The diet severely limits your intake of carbohydrates -- found in sugar, bread, pasta, most fruits, starchy vegetables and many processed snacks -- to encourage your body to lose fat. Often, this pushes you into a state of ketosis, a process that occurs when you burn fat for fuel. Video of the Day Ketosis isn't inherently harmful, but in some cases can lead to a build up of the ketone bodies, causing dehydration and changes in your blood chemistry. Though a blood test is the most accurate way to determine if you're in ketosis, certain other physical changes provide clues that you're in this state. Ketosis and the Atkins Diet Your body usually uses glucose, derived from carbohydrates, for energy -- particularly to fuel the brain. Ketones are produced when you're short on carbohydrates and must burn fat for fuel. When you produce ketones for energy, you are in ketosis. Phase One, or the "Induction Phase," of Atkins will likely cause you to produce ketones. During these first two weeks, you consume no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. This represents a significant restriction in carbohydrates -- the Institute of Medicine recommends you eat 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbs, or 225 to 325 grams daily on a standard 2,000-calorie diet. To meet your low-carb limit, the Atkins diet has you subsist primarily on meats, fish, poultry, eggs, oils, some cheese and watery, fibrous vegetables with few carbohydrates, such as lettuce and cucumbers. Breath and Urine Signs of Ketosis Ketones are burned for energy, but also breathed out through the lungs and excreted in the urine. As a result, your breath takes on a frui Continue reading >>
What’s Up With My Pee?
Sometimes new ketonians think of the strangest things to ask about on the Ketogenic Success Facebook group. One thing that just seems to keep coming up, again and again, is the question regarding changes to their urine stream. (I always want to remind people that there are over one hundred forty thousand users in the Ketogenic Success group, and maybe this isn’t a question they would ask in front of a crowd that large, but clearly, the question is on a lot of minds!) So let’s look at a couple of changes you may notice in the toilet after emptying your bladder. Change in Color You may find that your urine is changing color. Frequently folks report it getting lighter. This is totally normal. When you pass more water through your body, the urochrome that gives your urine its yellow color is diluted and your liquid waste may shift in hue to become straw colored. This happens as your cells release their retained water, as well, so this sight is commonly paired with a ‘whoosh’ in weight loss as inflammation decreases in your body. If your urine becomes nearly clear, or entirely transparent, you may be drinking too much water. Don’t force yourself to drink water if you’re not thirsty (unless you are dehydrated, more on that in a moment). If you are continuously drinking water and your pee is clear, be sure to replace your electrolytes with each serving (easiest thing to do is add Himalayan salt to your water bottle, or even pop a couple of H Salt crystals with each new glass of water). You can also replace electrolytes by drinking a shot of pickle or olive brine (just make sure it’s high quality, without unnecessary chemical ingredients). If your urine gets darker, on the other hand, you are likely not drinking enough water. Sometimes when we are dehydrated our b Continue reading >>
Fellow Low-carbs, How Yellow Is Your Urine?
I'm in Ketosis constantly and I notice that my urine, especially in the morning, is SUPER deep yellow. Like multivitamin-runoff yellow. I hydrate myself at the watering hole (my kitchen) in the morning. I try to sip water or ginger tea throughout the day. Since ketosis is obviously dehydrating (lose all that water weight), I replace lost water by drinking regular filtered water with a pinch of sea salt (my own version of Gatorade) or coconut water. But for the most part, when in ketosis, my pee never really gets as watered down as when I'm not in glycolysis. 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 >>
Eat Fat To Lose Fat? A Functional Medicine Expert Explains 4 Ways To Do The Ketogenic Diet
We are trained to think that in order to lose weight, we need to eat less…especially less fat. But what if I told you that the key to making the body a fat-burning machine was to eat fat? That's right! To lose fat you need to eat fat, and lots of it. This is the basis behind the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a diet high in fat, low in protein, and even lower in carbohydrates. Eating this way makes the body produce ketones in the liver from the digested fat, which is where the "ketogenic" diet gets its name. The ketones then take the place of glucose as fuel for the body, which is what our bodies typically use when we eat the average American diet of higher carbs and protein. With a high level of ketones and a low level of glucose in the blood, the body produces less insulin. In turn, it becomes a fat-burning machine, as less insulin being pumped out means that the body has a far easier time burning stored fat for energy. So, what does the ketogenic diet look like? There are several variations on the ketogenic diet, broken down below: Keep in mind that only the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and are primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes. The exact amount of fat and protein is a matter of individual body responses and activity levels, but almost everyone on a ketogenic diet will consume only 10 percent or less of calories from carbohydrates. This means that any food high in carbohydrates should be limited or avoided, including sugary foods like cakes, cookies; and candy, grains and starches including beans and root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and beets; fruits (except for small portions of berries), tomatoes, low-fat/sugar-free products, and alcoh Continue reading >>
How To Tell When You’re In Ketosis
Ketosis isn’t some mystical state, achieved only by days and months of fasting and spiritual connection. Kind of the opposite, actually. A lot of people (whether or not they follow a low carb diet) go into a state of ketosis every night without even trying, just by having a functioning metabolism. Of course, as soon as they eat carbs again, they’re knocked out and back to burning carbohydrates preferentially – but we’re not here to talk about them. The question at hand is for those following a low carb diet, who want to be able to tell when they’re in ketosis. Seems simple enough. Keto Sticks I’m including these, and listing them first, because they’re pretty widely known in the keto community. You really can’t throw a rock without hitting a post about them. The thing is, keto sticks work nicely to tell that your body has been in a ketogenic state recently, they just aren’t the best at letting you know whether or not you’re in a ketogenic state now. I’m not totally against using them, just not as a regular means of identifying your body’s current state. They’re certainly a good starting point to try and see when you hit that keto place. Keto Meter There are two varieties of these: blood & breath. Both test your current state of ketosis, but are costly. The advantage of breath over blood is no skin pricking, and any diabetic will tell you that has its benefits. The breath meter will also save you in the long run, if you plan on using this daily for any duration of time. While the blood meter is initially 1/5 the cost of breath, use requires testing strips that are $35 for 10. Yikes. Of course, if you don’t want to spring for a testing meter, you can check your body’s symptoms… Your Pee & Poo Yup. Get excited, you’re about to become very 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 >>
The Ketogenic Diet For Fat Loss & Much More
In this article you will learn: What Ketosis is and how it relates to fat metabolism. How to structure your diet in such a way as to create a healthy state of ketosis for fat loss, massively improved energy levels and many other health benefits. To put it simply, ketosis is the metabolic state wherein your body is burning predominantly fat to produce energy. Ketones are the energy substrate your body makes from fats you eat and from your own bodyfat. Getting into ketosis (fat burning mode) is a highly sought after state for anyone who desires to lose bodyfat. There are a few things that can get in the way of being in fat burning mode and we will review them in this post. For a more elaborate definition of ketosis, here is an excerpt from wikipedia: Note: when glucose is available for energy then the body will generally not produce ketones (i.e. will not burn fat). Glucose can come from eating foods that contain carbohydrates and it can also come from protein through a process mentioned above called gluconeogenesis (the production of glucose from protein.) That means that if you are eating carbohydrates often or too much protein, it can keep you out of fat burning mode. Before you jump into trying to follow a ketogenic diet you have to first determine if your body will be able to run primarily on fats for energy. The ketogenic diet is very high in fat, which means you need to be able to digest fat very effectively if you are going to thrive on this diet. Effective digestion of all the fat you eat on a ketogenic diet require your liver and gall bladder to be working well - i.e. producing and effectively secreting sufficient amounts of bile. Bile is an alkaline liquid soap/salt that your liver makes and your gall bladder stores and concentrates. When you eat any meal, the Continue reading >>
The Paleo Guide To Ketosis
Ketosis is a word that gets tossed around a lot within the Paleo community – to some, it’s a magical weight-loss formula, to others, it’s a way of life, and to others it’s just asking for adrenal fatigue. But understanding what ketosis really is (not just what it does), and the physical causes and consequences of a fat-fueled metabolism can help you make an informed decision about the best diet for your particular lifestyle, ketogenic or not. Ketosis is essentially a metabolic state in which the body primarily relies on fat for energy. Biologically, the human body is a very adaptable machine that can run on a variety of different fuels, but on a carb-heavy Western diet, the primary source of energy is glucose. If glucose is available, the body will use it first, since it’s the quickest to metabolize. So on the standard American diet, your metabolism will be primarily geared towards burning carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel. In ketosis, it’s just the opposite: the body primarily relies on ketones, rather than glucose. To understand how this works, it’s important to understand that some organs in the body (especially the brain) require a base amount of glucose to keep functioning. If your brain doesn’t get any glucose, you’ll die. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need glucose in the diet – your body is perfectly capable of meeting its glucose needs during an extended fast, a period of famine, or a long stretch of very minimal carbohydrate intake. There are two different ways to make this happen. First, you could break down the protein in your muscles and use that as fuel for your brain and liver. This isn’t ideal from an evolutionary standpoint though – when you’re experiencing a period of food shortage, you need to be strong and fast, Continue reading >>
10 Signs And Symptoms That You're In Ketosis
The ketogenic diet is a popular, effective way to lose weight and improve health. When followed correctly, this low-carb, high-fat diet will raise blood ketone levels. These provide a new fuel source for your cells, and cause most of the unique health benefits of this diet (1, 2, 3). On a ketogenic diet, your body undergoes many biological adaptions, including a reduction in insulin and increased fat breakdown. When this happens, your liver starts producing large amounts of ketones to supply energy for your brain. However, it can often be hard to know whether you're "in ketosis" or not. Here are 10 common signs and symptoms of ketosis, both positive and negative. People often report bad breath once they reach full ketosis. It's actually a common side effect. Many people on ketogenic diets and similar diets, such as the Atkins diet, report that their breath takes on a fruity smell. This is caused by elevated ketone levels. The specific culprit is acetone, a ketone that exits the body in your urine and breath (4). While this breath may be less than ideal for your social life, it can be a positive sign for your diet. Many ketogenic dieters brush their teeth several times per day, or use sugar-free gum to solve the issue. If you're using gum or other alternatives like sugar-free drinks, check the label for carbs. These may raise your blood sugar levels and reduce ketone levels. The bad breath usually goes away after some time on the diet. It is not a permanent thing. The ketone acetone is partly expelled via your breath, which can cause bad or fruity-smelling breath on a ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets, along with normal low-carb diets, are highly effective for losing weight (5, 6). As dozens of weight loss studies have shown, you will likely experience both short- and long Continue reading >>
7 Signs You Might Be In Ketosis When Doing The Ketogenic Diet
One of the main goals of starting the ketogenic diet is to get your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body has depleted its glycogen stores so blood sugar and insulin levels drop causing the body to look for an alternative fuel source. The fuel source that it begins to use is known as ketones which are produced by enzyme breaking down fat in the liver. 7 Signs You Might Be in Ketosis Testing for ketosis is not the most accurate science. A blood glucose monitor or ketone test strips can show you your ketone levels but these are not always an accurate portrayal of ketosis. Instead, your body does a great job of letting you know when you’re in ketosis and shows you the signs through a number of different ways. Here are things to look out for to see if your body is in ketosis. 1. Weight Loss Weight loss is one of the more obvious signs that your body is entering ketosis. However, the weight loss can be a little deceptive initially due to what is actually being lost. In our Keto Dash program, we find that most of our member lose between 4-6 lbs in the first week of applying the keto diet. This isn’t your body burning fat but finally being able to release the water that was being held by the fat cells due to the drop in insulin. Insulin is one of the main causes of weight gain and when your insulin levels drop, they allow the fat cells to release the water they are holding. When this occurs it then allows the fat cells to enter your bloodstream where they can then enter the liver and be converted by enzymes into ketones. After the initial rapid drop in water weight, you should continue to lose body fat consistently if you are able to stick with the low-carb aspects of the diet and keep your body in a caloric deficit. 2. Loss of Appetit Continue reading >>
Am I In Ketosis? The Symptoms And Signs Of Ketosis.
One of the questions people who are new to the LCHF (keto/ketogenic/low carb) diet frequently ask me is: how do I know if I’m in ketosis? What are the main signs of ketosis? Everyone’s different and while some may experience all of the symptoms of ketosis, some might only feel a couple of them. Some feel none at all. There are basic signs and symptoms that indicate that you’re in ketosis. But please note that I’m differentiating between the signs of keto flu (covered in the post I’m linking to) that many experience in the first days of a ketogenic diet, and the feeling of being in ketosis when the flu has subsided: Dry mouth (eat more salt and drink more water to alleviate this). See my keto breath article here. Weight loss. Yay! Metallic taste in your mouth or a strange taste in the back of your throat. Some describe it as fruity or a little sweet. A kind of “buzzing” feeling that’s hard to describe. Almost euphoric at times. Different kind of urine smell, stronger too! “Ketosis breath” – It can range from being a little sweet to being almost like you’ve had a drink of alcohol. Less appetite. You can go for hours without eating and don’t feel very hungry. Increased energy. If you don’t experience it try to eat more fat. Also, drink more water and watch your electrolytes. A ketone strip you pee on shows a positive result. There are also blood ketone meters, or the popular ketone breath test, that give a more specific result. (Pro-tip: If you get the pee strips, cut them in half ) But do note that even with a positive pee strip it’s not 100% certain that you’re in ketosis. A very dark positive result may only indicate that you’re dehydrated. For me personally, the main signs of ketosis are hard to miss. I just feel different! It’s hard Continue reading >>
Source Ketosis is the name for a state achieved on a low-carbohydrate diet. According to WebMD, when you are in ketosis, it means your body is burning fat for energy. When that happens, your body releases ketones into your bloodstream, and you are in ketosis. This state may cause a host of temporary symptoms. Understanding the Symptoms Many dieters develop symptoms that let them know ketones are present. For many people beginning a low-carb diet, ketosis kicks in after a few days of strict adherence to the diet. In fact, many low-carbohydrate plans, such as Atkins and paleo, have an initial phase in which dieters take in extremely low amounts of carbohydrates (usually less than 25 grams per day) to kick start ketosis. You can test for ketones in the urine using ketosis strips, or rely on symptoms to tell you ketosis has been achieved. Early Stages Symptoms of ketosis vary, depending how long you've been in the state. In the early stages, the symptoms may be a bit unpleasant. However, as your body adapts to ketones in the bloodstream, symptoms may decrease. Early symptoms usually last for several days or up to a week in some people. This period of symptoms is sometimes called the keto flu. It may continue until your body is used to burning fat instead of glucose. Afterwards, the levels of ketones should lessen, but that doesn't mean you aren't losing weight. It means your body has found a balance and is no longer producing excess ketones. According to Diet Doctor, early stage symptoms include: Flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and headache Nausea Brain fog Constipation Leg cramps Feeling unusually thirsty Irritability Heart palpitations Dry mouth Ketosis breath, which smells fruity and unpleasant Decreased energy and weakness Dizziness Sleep problems Cold hands and feet Continue reading >>
Ketosis – What Is That All About?
What’s it all about? Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? What’s it like? How do I ‘do’ ketosis? How do I know I’m in ketosis? The questions everyone who’s Banting wants the answers to. Ketosis, in chef speak, is quite simply a state your body enters once it has been deprived of glucose. Your body switches to burning fat for energy (stored fat or fat that you have eaten) instead of glucose. A side-effect of that process is the release of ketone bodies into the blood stream. When you’re starved of glucose, your body has no choice but to burn fat for fuel, so it needs little explanation as to why ketosis works at melting fat like a blow heater on an ice sculpture. Ketosis comes with some added extras, namely a commonly noted sense of euphoria or lucidity and increased energy levels. A downside includes toothbrush-proof halitosis, which stems from the secretion of ammonia through the lungs as a side effect of burning all that fat. Some people on low-carb diets have reported kidney stones, gallstones and a number of other ailments. Scientific research on both sides of this debate is being done all the time, but in our experience from talking to the members of our community and tracking their data, it is generally a case of what was done before they started Banting and not Banting itself. But, this post isn’t here to debate that, it serves as a ‘how to’ and not as a ‘you should’. Eat more buttery or creamy sauce on your steak and eat less steak. Your body can convert protein into glucose so too much meat will hinder your progress. What doIdo? Theoretically it is very easy. Avoid anything with high carbs in it. If you’re not sure what those might be, consult the Real Meal Revolution ‘Red List’. Even dipping your toe into the red list will ruin Continue reading >>