The ketogenic diet is a popular lifestyle that people are adopting for its numerous benefits. However, many times people struggle to determine whether they are following the diet correctly or not.
Testing ketones is an excellent way of knowing if you are on the right track and whether you have reached ketosis or not. You can measure ketones at home, with the help of different devices, using either your blood, breath, or urine.
In this article, we will explore the different ways of measuring ketones at home and how. We will also clear a few more concepts about testing your ketone levels.
How to Measure Ketones at Home?
So, should you measure ketones at home? Yes, why not! With the advancement in technology, you have ample options to choose from to test your ketones in the comfort of your house.
Ketone testing is generally a straightforward method and is cost-effective.
However, not all provide accurate results for ketones. There are different methods of testing your ketone, namely through blood, urine and breath.
Blood tests assist in measuring β-hydroxybutyrate levels, urine tests help measure the excess acetoacetate, and the breath measures acetone levels. All these three molecules are produced during fat metabolism. Hence, it is essential to get your ketone level tested before it goes out of hand.
So, which is the best method to measure your ketone levels? Most people measure with a urine strip because they are cheap and readily available. However, they may not be as accurate as you believe.
So, how to measure ketone levels at home?
Everything mentioned in this video can be found below in great detail.
Testing Ketones in Blood
Measuring ketones through blood is one of the most reliable methods to determine your ketone levels. Hence, if you need to get the most accurate ketone levels results, you need to get to the source and check the amount of β-hydroxybutyrate flowing through your blood.
So, how to measure ketones in blood? The answer to this is the blood meter. You will require strips to test ketones with a small drop of your blood. It is crucial to get hands-on a verified and trusted brand for the ketone blood meters. The good news, they are very accurate. The bad? Most of the strips are expensive.
Hence you cannot afford to waste your ketone blood strips on invalid results.
Consequently, the best time to measure the ketone levels in your blood should be before your main meals (between 12-7 pm), especially after lunch. You can even measure it right before your dinner time if you haven’t exercised around the same time.
We recommend this ketone blood testing kit from Amazon.
- Simple method
- Prompt testing of ketones
- High levels of efficiency
- Reliable test results
- It might be slightly overpriced
Testing Ketones in Breath
The acetone present in your breath is yet again effective in monitoring ketosis for ketogenic dieters. A ketonix meter is generally used to measure the levels of acetone in your breath. As per research, testing ketones in-breath is non-invasive, highly sensitive, and convenient for monitoring diabetic ketosis.
However, many even suggest this technique to be non-accurate and less reliable for measuring the exact ketone levels. For the best test results, you may have to spend some extra dollars on a higher-grade of breath testers.
We recommend this ketone breath meter from Amazon.
- A suitable way of testing
- Different devices available to test breath ketone
- Rechargeable battery option
- Lower accuracy levels
- Lower reliability results
- Tests acetone which is a by-product
- Not a straightforward method
Testing Ketones in Urine
Testing your ketone levels with urine is considered the easiest and readily available test kit in any drugstore. The urine test strips are designed to monitor acetoacetate levels. Also, these were mainly devised for people with type 1 diabetes to determine if they are at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
So, now that you know how to measure your ketones in urine, what is the best time to test ketones? The urine testing for ketosis offers the most accurate results early in the morning and way after your dinner in the night.
With the change in the colour in the urine strips, you will determine the no ketone levels to a higher concentration.
We recommend these ketone test strips from Amazon.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Convenient method
- Readily available
- Over the counter strips
- Apt for Type 1 diabetic patients
- Not a very accurate method
- Limited duration of expiry for strips
How To Choose the Best Products to Test Ketone?
With a multitude of choices available in the market to test your ketones, you may feel overwhelmed to opt for the most suitable one. While each has its pros and cons, you may want to consider specific testing based on your goals.
So how to measure ketone levels with the best in the market?
With the blood, urine and breath keto testers, you may have to consider the most accurate and reliable methods for testing your ketones. The blood ketone levels are considered the most precise range to measure your ketosis.
With a blood ketone test, you can determine the level of ketones in your body and if your body is in the state of ketosis or not. Blood testing may be the most suitable option if you look for robust, accurate, yet invasive results while on a ketogenic diet.
All three testing techniques differ in terms of the precise results which it offers. Blood and breath tests provide you with a numerical reading result, whereas urine strips determine the levels of ketones based on the colour factor.
Though you may get an idea of your level of ketosis, it would be a challenge to attain the exact readings with a urine strip.
While pondering when to measure your ketones, you may want to consider the consistency of each test. It means you may have to think of if they offer the same results at the same time.
Urine test strips may offer somewhat unreliable consistency results as compared to the other test for ketones.
Now that you know how to measure ketones at home, you may want to think of the price tag that comes along with them. The test accuracy rate should be effective and reliable for the price you pay to determine your ketone levels.
While talking about blood meters and strips, they are pretty expensive, especially if you do the test regularly. However, they offer you the most accurate results. Most of them come with ten strips in a pack, and you can opt for a few cost-effective brands available today.
Breath ketone meters are costly if you are looking for a super accurate result. Hence, these may not be feasible since they offer only ten strips in the starter kit. On the other hand, urine tests are the least expensive of the lot and are available at a price as low as $8.99.
Though cheap, you may want to rethink the accuracy rate when using the urine strips.
Since you are carrying out the tests in the comfort of your house, you may want to consider the convenience factor of each test. Few of the breath ketone meters are a challenge to set up, such as charging them, installing a separate app, and more.
Both a blood and urine tester is an easy-to-go method that couldn’t get any simpler.
It is often considered a ‘No No’ for many when you think about blood and urine. So, if you are terrified of needles, maybe the blood test is not the apt method for you. The same goes with a urine test wherein you need to pee in a container.
You can avoid all of these; however, it can be an expensive affair.
Ease Of Use
The simplest of the methods will let you measure the levels of ketones at ease. With innumerable instructions and steps, there can be room for an error to occur.
Out of all the three tests, breath ketone testers have numerous steps that are confusing and a daunting test to follow.
So, how to test your blood ketone levels? Can alcohol affect the ketones in your blood tests?
The simple answer would be a no. A urine and blood test remain unaffected by blood alcohol levels and provide an accurate ketones level.
However, the breath ketone meter may fail to provide a definite result on ketone levels until the alcohol is out of your system.
You are wondering how to measure ketones at home?
Then get the one that lets you track and even save the data for future reference. For both a blood and breath ketone test, you can save your ketone results to keep an eye on your health. However, this isn’t possible with a urine test.
What Happens During Ketosis?
Ketosis is a state of the body wherein your body lacks enough carbs to fuel your energy. While on a high-carb diet, the cells use glucose as the primary source of energy. However, while on a keto diet, you end up limiting these food products, and hence your body breaks down the fat for energy.
The ketones produced from the fat result in a metabolic state of the body and thus help in reducing the body fat. The shift from the circulating glucose to the breakdown of the stored fat happens over 2-4 days after limiting the intake of the carbs content.
Ketosis breaks down, and fat stores in the body; some keto diets aim towards weight loss by creating this metabolic state. Ketones, which are the by-product of this process, are fluids found in blood and leave the body through urine.
In a smaller amount, ketones are an indication that the body is breaking down the fat. On the other hand, ketones can be harmful to the body in more significant amounts, known as ketoacidosis.
Following a ketogenic diet can be a great way to get into nutritional ketosis.
Why Should You Test for Ketones?
While thinking of measuring ketones, it is essential to consider why you should test for ketones. Ketones are present in both urine and blood, and a high level may be a sign of DKA, which is the extreme case of diabetes. High levels of ketone present in your blood can indicate a severe ailment that needs medical attention.
Also, people with type 1 diabetes have higher chances of getting high ketones as their blood sugar levels are higher than usual. When high levels of ketones are produced, the blood becomes more acidic that can cause danger to the body and your organs.
So, the question is, when to measure ketones? Here are a few instances when you should plan a test to monitor your ketones:
- If you are unwell or injured
- When your blood sugar levels are higher than 250 milligrams, continuously for two days
- When you are pregnant
- If you are facing nausea, stomach pain
- Constant thirst
- Dry mouth
Yes, ketones are produced as a part of the weight loss procedure during ketosis. However, it is crucial for people with ailments and diabetes to check their ketone levels.
How To Get into Ketosis with A Keto Diet?
Ketogenic diets are high in fat and low on carbs with moderate levels of protein. Restricting your carbs content and switching to a high-fat diet is the way for your body to produce ketones. Low glucose levels and insulin with low carbs would let the stored fat break down for energy.
Even for healthy dieters, it can take several weeks for the body to go into ketosis and get fully adapted to the keto diet.
Thus, if you consume less than 50 grams of carbs each day, you will be closer to the target of acquiring ketosis. This scenario will also differ among dieters based on their physical attributes. Also, if you are new to the ketogenic diet, you can track your status with the help of urine strips.
So, how to measure ketones at home? Ketone strips such as urine and blood testers are pretty effective for monitoring your ketone levels when needed. They are not only readily available but also worth all your penny.
Furthermore, urine strips are ideal for the newbies in the ketogenic diet as these methods are easy and affordable to monitor your levels of ketosis.
Once your body gets adapted to the keto diet, you can switch to the blood testers and strips for better accuracy and efficient results. In essence, both can help you determine your ketosis levels and help you adjust your diet accordingly for a smooth-sailing keto phase.
After starting with your keto diet, it is customary to think of the ketone levels in your body. The level of ketones determines your progress after following the ketogenic diet. Ketone levels of 0.5-1.5 mmol/l, though a lighter level is beneficial for ketosis.
This range is well-suited for people who have a primary goal of weight loss. The more you aim to stick to this range, the more effective your goal will be to lose weight. For optimal ketosis, the ketone ranges from 1.0 mmol/l-3.0 mmol/l.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a keto diet for medical benefits, higher ketone levels of 3.0 mmol/L -5.0 mmol/L range are recommended.
Once you start with your keto diet, it may take weeks for your body to adapt to ketones; hence you need to be tolerant.
Though you can check your ketone levels daily, it may not be required. With the ever-increasing cost of the blood test stripes, you may want to consider testing regularly. So, when to measure ketones? And how often?
It is not necessary to keep a tab on your ketones to be successful on keto. Although, initially, you may have to monitor your ketone levels every day while on a keto diet to attain nutritional ketosis. Following this, you can keep a check once a week to double-check if you are still on ketosis.
Experts recommend checking ketones in your blood glucose when it is more than 240 mg/dl. Also, when you are unwell, keep a check on your ketones every 4-6 hours and monitor if they are rising.
Keeping a check on your ketones can be a motivation for you to follow the keto diet religiously. Also, it can help you understand which specific food is allowing you to limit your carb intake.
Yes, ketones can be present even when your blood sugar levels are low or average. Also referred to as nutritional and starvation ketones, you can still have levels of ketones present in your blood sugar. It primarily occurs while you are on a keto diet.
Additionally, when you are sick or on an extreme diet change like keto, where carb intake reduces, the body uses fat as fuel. This way, your body will still be producing ketones even with low and normal levels of blood sugar.
On a ketogenic diet, you need to be extra patient to see the significant weight loss in your body. If you stick to the diet longer and consume a deficit of 500 calories per day, you will be successful in witnessing significant changes.
You can notice a weight loss within 10-20 days from the start of the diet, and some people may even witness a change earlier than this.
Ketones in the blood may vary from one person to another. Beta-hydroxybutyrate or blood ketones may continuously fluctuate throughout the day. This variation occurs due to the dietary carbs and protein intake from meals you may consume in a day.
The levels of ketones may also vary in different individuals based on their diets. For some, it is the highest in the morning and drops after meals. On the other hand, the blood ketones are lower in the morning and then rise later for some dieters.