Ok, so you are on the KETO diet, successfully limiting your carbs and sugar, but how do you know for sure if you are doing it right? You measure your ketones!
Ketones are formed when the body does not have enough glucose in its’ system, turning the ketones into an alternate source of energy. When there is not enough insulin in the body, glucose builds up in the blood, causing the body to break down fat instead. When this occurs, the liver prompts ketones to form in the blood, and spill into urine. These ketones can be measured and used as used by you as a guideline.
Urine Ketone Strips
Urine ketone strips are a very popular way to measure ketones, especially as you first embark on the KETO diet. This is a great low cost way to determine ketosis in the beginning. They only measure the level excess ketone bodies that are not utilized by the body and are excreted via urine. Urine ketone strips can still be useful during the initial phase of the ketogenic diet when you simply want to test if you are in fact producing ketones (Meaning you are properly restricted carbs in order to do so)
Some people use them to test if they are sensitive to certain foods that may be keto-friendly but still have a negative effect on their progress. They are easy to use and fairly cheap. You'll pay about approx $10 for 50 strips, that's $6 a month if you test yourself daily.
The downside of Urine Strips is since they only measure excess ketones that are shed thru the urine. Once you have been in ketosis fro awhile, your body begins to utilize the excess ketones more efficiently therefore less ketones are released into the urine resulting in a lighter test result and sometimes even negative even though you are absolutely still in ketosis. This can be frustrating and confusing. Your level of hydration also greatly impacts the result on your test strip. At this point in your journey I would recommend investing in a Blood Ketone Meter.
Blood Ketone Meter
A Blood ketone meter uses a tiny speck of blood to measure the precise amount of ketones in your bloodstream.
The Up Side:
It's extremely accurate and will take the guessing game out of it. You are given a specific result that is not open to interpretation. Anything over .5 is considered Ketosis. It takes some time for you ketone levels to build up in your blood to reach the optimal zone. Typically beginners float between .6-1.0 as you progress and successfully produce more ketones your levels will rise. You will also begin to learn more about how your body reacts to certain foods. The Ketone meter really is an excellent tool in your Ketogenic Diet arsenal.
The Down Side:
It's significantly more expensive than urine test strips. Blood Ketone meters range in cost from $60-$150 & that is just for the meter itself, you must then also purchase Ketone Testing strips (one strip per test) these range from $1 per strip to $6 per strip. As you can calculate, if you want to test everyday this can surely add up.
Ready for the Good News??
I have tested 3 different blood ketone meters and have finally found one that I feel is not only easy to use, but also the most affordable one I have come across yet! The CareTouch KETONE Monitoring system. The starter Kit comes with everything you need to get started testing your blood ketones and is only $48.99 on amazon and available with free Prime Shipping!! The starter kit comes with 10 test strips but you can purchase more on amazon for just a little over $1 per strip! I have been reluctant to promote blood ketone monitoring until now, because my previous monitor was & $129 and $5 per test, YIKES. At this price point I think it is well worth the investment.
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