Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body is forced to breaks down fat reserves to produce ketones. Ketones, during a ketogenic diet, are the chief energy source for the body.
There are three key ways to measure the ketones in your body, all of which have their pros and cons. The universal ways to measure are:
- Blood Ketone Meter: Highly accurate but the strips are very expensive.
- Breathe Ketone Meters: More accurate as compared to the urine strips, but can vary in accuracy. Much cheaper than blood strips in the long-run.
- Urine Sticks: This will answer the most common question “Am I in ketosis?” but will not present a precise measure of blood ketones.
Measuring Ketones with Urine Sticks
Urine sticks will any time be the cheapest and easiest way to measure ketosis. For beginners, this is all you require – there is no point in purchasing more complex blood strips so early on when you are still trying to figure out the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet.
Finally, Keto sticks are incredibly easy to use – you hold the stick in your urine stream for just few seconds, and within a minute you will notice a color change in the strip (if your body is in ketosis). The color of the stick normally is measured in red: light pink indicates low in Ketone production and dark purple indicates high in Ketone production.
Measuring Ketones with Breath Meters
Breathe Ketone meters are gaining popularity rapidly because of their simplicity. You simply connect it to your computer via USB and blow into it. From there, it measures the acetate in your breath – giving a fairly accurate indication of your Ketone levels.
Research shows that there is a high level of correlation between acetate in the breath and the level of blood Ketones, but readings can vary as you get deeper into ketosis. While they are fairly more accurate as compared to the urine sticks, their readings can vary widely against the readings of a blood Ketone meter.
Measuring Ketones with Blood Meters
Blood ketone meters give the most accurate readings of Ketosis. They show a precise and real-time measurement of the ketones in the blood. The biggest drawbacks of the blood strips are that they can be very expensive if used frequently.
Some minor drawbacks of blood Ketone meters are their accurateness per device and their failed readings. Blood Ketone readings will vary (though not to a great extent) between device and strips, even if they’re from the exact same brand.
Another minor drawback is that you do have to prick your finger to draw a sample of blood for each reading. If you’re delicate or don’t like to draw out your blood, this is not the best option for you.
Optimal Ketosis and Ketone Readings
Ketosis has several varying degrees, which indicates the amount of ketones your body is producing. As a general rule, the higher the level of Ketones – the better your weight loss efforts will be.
Here’s an easy guide to the readings; best possible weight loss will be in the “deep ketosis” range:
- Light Ketosis: 5 mmol/L – 0.8 mmol/L
- Medium Ketosis: 9 mmol/L – 1.4 mmol/L
- Deep Ketosis (best for weight loss): 5 mmol/L – 3.0 mmol/L