Those of you following a keto diet want to be in a state of ketosis, or the state in which your body is using fat for its fuel.
IT is for this reason people may use keto strips to check their ketone levels. They wonder, “Am I doing enough to reach a state of ketosis?”
You can absolutely use ketone strips as a way to test this out, to see how many ketones you have in your urine.
But do they work? Are these accurate? What other methods can we use to test ketones?
Regarding Ketosis: What Is It?
People following a standard diet high in carbs are going to be utilizing glucose for their fuel source.
But your body can absolutely use fat for fuel, too. When carb intake goes low, the body moves to burn up fat as its energy source. The body then goes into ketosis.
This is a natural and healthy state in which the body utilizes fat as its energy. When in ketosis, the blood ketone levels, which are a byproduct of fat breakdown, go up.
By measuring these numbers, these ketone bodies, we can see how deep we are into ketosis.
As a result, ketone strips have become a hot commodity over time for keto dieters.
What Are These Ketone Strips?
These are an inexpensive and safe way to know about your ketone levels. I personally like the Just Fitter brand of ketone strips; they are fairly priced and effective.
You may also hear them referred to as “keto sticks,” and it is via urinalysis that we can figure out the amount of acetoacetate in the urine.
Wait, what’s acetoacetate?!
Okay, so you have three types of ketone bodies.
- Acetoacetate is one of two ketone bodies, and it is in our urine. We test for it using keto strips.
- BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate is made from acetoacetate. It is the 2nd of our biggest ketone bodies. It is in our blood, and we can measure it with a blood ketone meter.
- Acetone. This is a ketone body also. It is not as prominent as BHB or acetoacetate.
By breaking down acetoacetate, we create acetone, and we can detect it in our breath.
How Ketone Strips Function?
Now you probably know how these work on a grand scale, but here’s how you use these guys to get those readings:
- Collect a urine sample in a jar
- Hold the end of the strip in the jar for just a few sec.
- Now wiggle the strip to get rid of any extra liquid before taking it out of the jar.
- Now give it 15 sec until the ketone strip develops color.
- Now compare the color on the strip to the side of the container that holds your keto strips, and you can see how deep you are into ketosis.
Watch this video of somebody using strips to see how they work:
Make sure you are also aware of how to read that ketone strip on the container.
Colors on the left mean there are no ketones in the urine. Meanwhile, pink colors indicate light to medium presence of ketones.
And as we get more to the right, dark purple indicates you are deep into ketosis.
What’s the Ideal Level of Ketone Bodies for Your Health?
So, what reading do we want to achieve if we are to get into ketosis?
Well, you might say, “I want to be a dark purple,” and that’s OK, but if you are just out to drop some weight or reap the benefits of ketosis, you don’t need to be in those very high levels at all.
Even if you are in the lighter range, take note that your body is still utilizing fat as an energy source. You will have ketone levels that outshine that of the average, carb-heavy eater.
In summary, it is not always ideal to aim for serious ketone figures in order to get results.
The best thing to do is to listen closely to your body and make sure you feel alright. That’s the most important thing.
Why It Matters?
You might say, “why not go for the gold? Why not shoot for having the highest amount of ketones?” Let’s address that now.
Many of us are getting into keto to lose fat. If this is you, nutritional ketosis is all you need. This means .5 millimolars to 1.0 millimolars is a fine place to begin.
Once you get there, try to shoot for “optimum ketosis.” This is ketone levels of 1.0 millimolars to 3.0 millimolars.
But if you are using the ketogenic diet as a means of helping conditions such as epilepsy, endocrine, cancer, or disorders of the metabolic variety, you would want to aim for millimolar levels of 3.0 to 5.0.
Those who are partaking in fasts or consume a larger fat to protein ratio will want to have ketone levels of 3.0 to 8.0 millimolar range.
But it is not a requirement for you to go here. We call it optimum ketosis for a very good reason, and this is where you want to aim for fat loss and good health.
It takes time to get there, so don’t fret. Remember, a lifestyle change like this will not happen in a day. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Are You Type 1 Diabetic? Have Any Other Health Problems?
If you are type 1 diabetic, please be sure to talk to your doctor before starting your journey with keto. A diabetic complication we know as ketoacidosis may result, which would require urgent medical care.
American Diabetes Association defines ketoacidosis as a serious health ailment that can cause diabetic coma or even death.
If blood ketones become too high, you become at risk for ketoacidosis.
And if you don’t have type 1 diabetes, but you have other health issues, you should absolutely speak with your physician first before starting keto.
There could be risks associated with other pre-existing health conditions such as hypercholesterolemia, kidney stones, or stroke under the age of 60 years of age.
The bottom line? It’s always a good idea, and highly encouraged to talk to a healthcare provider, so your journey into keto is safe, satisfying, and gets you the results you want.
Thanks for sticking with me through that- I know that was a lot of info. Let’s get back into discussing keto strips.
So, How Accurate Are These Strips?
Sadly, we have to be honest. These strips are not as accurate as you might think.
Here are some instances in which an inaccurate reading could present itself:
Urinary Ketones Aren’t Indicative of What’s Really Going On.
Ketones that aren’t used are expelled in our urine.
Urine strips will only indicate the amount of extra ketones the body could not make use of.
As a result, just because you have a certain level of ketones in your urine (such as a small number), this does not mean the blood’s ketone levels are also small.
It also does not mean that we have reached ketosis.
Because of this, blood ketone numbers are a better method of measuring how deep your ketosis is as opposed to urine test strips.
How Does Hydration Affect My Ketone Level?
First, we have to understand that it matters how dehydrated or hydrated a person is and whether this condition has an impact on their ketone strip readout.
For example, if a person is consuming large water vessels, it could very well dilute their urine and affect the strip reading.
Meanwhile, if a person is dehydrated, it is likely that a higher ketone concentration will be present.
I do not believe that hydration has a serious impact on the reading.
Ketone strips are created for use by the average Joe who drinks typical servings of water. If there is a person who is REALLY dehydrated or drinking COPIOUS amounts of water, it is likely their reading will be affected.
But for the everyday keto dieter? Nah, I don’t think hydration matters that much.
Adapting to Keto
It is going to take time for you to adapt to the use of fat for energy instead of glucose.
For instance, we have all heard about the keto flu.
This is a name given to the period of time it takes for our body to utilize fat for energy instead of glucose.
IN simpler terms, when we first start out doing keto, it takes our body time to adjust. It doesn’t know what to do!
You end up with a higher number of wasted ketones in your urine when first starting out.
Over time, as our body gets used to the utilization of fat for energy, it will become more efficient at the use of ketone burning to fuel you on. As this occurs, the number of ketones we expel will go down.
As a result, your ketone readings could go down also.
This result could really confuse you as your body will be deeper into ketosis, but you will have a reduced level of ketones as indicated on the strips.
This is why ketone strips aren’t always the most accurate when it comes to ketone measurement.
How Else to Measure My Ketones?
You can measure your ketones in a few other ways.
You already know about urine strips.
But you can also use blood meters, and
You can use Breath analyzers for acetone.
Now let’s look at blood meters and breathalyzers.
Blood Meters for Ketones
These are far more accurate as composed to keto urine strips.
But the accuracy comes with a price tag.
How Do These Work?
First, you place a blood ketone strip into your meter.
Then you prick the finger to bring out some blood- it is such a small amount and is a lot like a blood glucose assessment.
After that, the blood goes onto the ketone strip, and you can view your results.
It is a very simple method of testing, and the ketone levels of the blood are a more reliable indication of ketosis compared to levels present in urine.
Breathalyzer for Keto
Ketone breath analyzers are NOT as accurate as blood meters, but there absolutely are benefits.
- You will pay more upfront for a breathalyzer, and it is pricier than keto urine strips, but this is a one-time purchase. You don’t need to buy anything else after this. You can reuse your breathalyzer as many times as you like. Unlike the other two ways of testing for ketones, you don’t need strips. It is very cost-effective, and you can enjoy unlimited uses.
- You don’t have to fumble around with blood or urine, two substances we can all agree are quite unsavory.
How Does It Work?
It is easy and simple. You simply turn the breathalyzer on and breathe into it for however long the maker of the device suggests. It usually takes just 15 seconds of breathing.
Then wait for a few seconds and get your results.
So, What’s the Best Method of Measuring Ketosis?
It all depends on what you can afford and what you need.
Urine strips are pretty cheap but not as accurate as blood meters or breathalyzers.
Breathalyzers are pricey, but it is a one-time purchase, and you don’t need ketone strips. It is pretty accurate, but not 100% spot on.
Blood meters: Easily the highest inaccuracy, but also the highest in price.
Wrapping It Up
Ketone strips are relatively accurate and inexpensive when you just want to see if you are in ketosis or not.
If you want to enter ketosis for therapeutic reasons, testing for ketones is a must.
However, these instruments and strips are not required for the average Joe who just desires to drop a few lbs. or just wants to be in keto for the health benefits.
That being said, it is a great way to check on your progress if you are new to keto.
Which of these methods will you try, if any? Let us know!