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Keto 101

How Do I Test For Ketones?

TESTING FOR KETONES: To pee or not to pee!?

Testing for nutritional ketosis is such an advantage to the ketogenic diet that it wouldn’t be right no to. You could think you’re doing all of the right things by keeping your carbohydrates very low, but still not be getting the major benefits that a ketogenic state provides.

If you’re horribly insulin resistant, it’s possible your carbs may still be too high. Too much protein, a great deal of stress, lack of sleep, too much travel, a number of artificial sweeteners or even some natural sweeteners could be kicking you out of ketosis. Until you begin to test effectively for ketone bodies in your blood you can improve the way you’re able to augment your diet, to even shift those last 10 pounds!

HOW TO TEST YOUR KETONE LEVELS…

One way to test for ketones is to check your urine with urine-testing strips; however, ketones in your urine are what your body is getting rid of, not what it’s using. After a month or two as you become more keto-adapted, your body gets better at using the ketones for fuel and conserves them in your blood, so less is present in urine. Urine strips typically show higher levels in early stages of a keto diet because your body isn’t using the ketones for fuel yet.

The urine test strip is also highly susceptible to changes based on your hydration – which can vary a lot. The more hydrated you are the lower the ketone level on the urine strip (but only when you are keto-adapted). So, how well you are keto-adapted combined with hydration levels are the variables that affect the urine strips.

The second method of testing is with a breath ketone meter; these meters don’t directly test Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) which is present in your blood, they test acetone, which is the ketone expelled through breath. Acetone is blown off through the lungs in small amounts. The challenge with breath testing is that the amount of acetone breathed off is not the same for everyone at uniform levels of blood BHB. That means breath meters can’t give you a number that correlates with the level of BHB in your blood; they just give you an acetone level that lets you know you’re in a certain range of ketosis. If you’re trying to find out how a certain food affects your level of ketosis, it’s more difficult with a breath meter than with the other testing methods.

The final method of testing is through the use of a blood ketone monitor. This is the only way to test for the ketone BHB, which shows most accurately how much energy is available to fuel your body.. To check your ketones, you basically prick your finger like you would check your blood sugar, drawing up a drop of blood onto the test strip. The monitor gives you a blood ketone reading; the goal is to see blood ketone levels at 0.5 to 4.0 mmol/L, this is the optimal range. Check out our post on: ‘What A Good Ketone Level Looks Like’, to better understand blood ketone readings.

Using a blood ketone monitor has been my favoured method to retrieve accurate and consistent readings for testing my ongoing state of ketosis, allowing me to experiment with my ketogenic diet; understand by personal carbohydrate and protein tolerance and requirement.

This is the one we use: Keto MOJO & BONUS you can test your blood glucose too.

Sophie Laura

Hi! I'm Sophie (Easy Keto Lifestyle). I'm a Certified Nutrition Coach and I help women who struggle with their weight to radically transform their health and body, by living a simple yet delicious ketogenic lifestyle.

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4 Comments

    1. Thanks for your question Erin. I checked mine daily or every other day when I first started eating keto, as well as tracking my food, so I could get a real understanding of what I was eating and the affect it had on my ketone levels. By doing this I found I was eating too much protein which was keeping my ketone levels low, so when I decreased protein my ketone levels improved 🙂

  1. You may know this…. I have been thinking of getting the Keto Mojo at some point because I would like to see the actual amount of ketones in my blood so I can see how well I am doing. However I have been putting it off because my urine strips still show color. I have been eating keto for 17 weeks. What is the average amount of time when the urine strips stop showing color, and is it true for some that urine strips keep working?

    1. Hi Jacquelyn, urine strips only test the ketones that are being excreted from the body, acetoacetate. The body isn’t using these ketones, so overall they don’t show you how well you’re doing at all, they just show you what ketones are not being used. There are lots of variables like hydration, that disrupt their results too. To really know if your body is utilising ketones properly and efficiently, you want to test your blood ketones beta-hydroxybutyrate through a device like Keto Mojo. You can also test your blood sugar using the same device too which is really important 🙂

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