When starting a Keto diet, the primary thing that occupies the dieter’s mind is to know when would they reach ketosis? Experienced dieters can tell simply by observing common symptoms such as the fruity or “Keto” breath, Keto flu, or simply noticing changes in the body. However, for beginners and experts measuring ketones is considered the most effective method to determine whether an individual is in ketosis or not.

The presence of ketones in the body signified that lipolysis has started, which is a clear indication that ketosis has commenced.

Ketosis is the state in which the body alters its metabolism from utilizing glucose to fats as the liver starts producing ketones in the liver. To be on nutritional ketosis, or ketosis for weight loss, an individual should have 5 to 6 mmol/dl of ketone concentration in the body.

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Ketone concentration

Note that if ketone concentration goes beyond 8 mmol/dl, Ketoacidosis is triggered. Ketoacidosis is usually triggered at the onset of type 1 and type 2 diabetes or due to excessive alcohol consumption. However, such cases are rare and has nothing to do with nutritional ketosis, which is completely safe and natural. However, it makes measuring ketones important.

Methods to Measure Ketones

There are three primary ketone bodies that we are concerned with: Acetone, Acetoacetate, and Beta-Hydroxybutryate (BHB). The methods differ in the type of ketone body they identify.

1. Blood Ketone Meter

The most expensive but probably the most accurate way of measuring ketone concentrations in the blood. Similar to devices that are used by diabetic patients to measure blood sugar levels, the blood ketone meter also utilizes the dieter’s blood sample (often a drop) to calculate the level of ketones.

The device primarily accurately provides the concentration of BHB levels in the blood. However, since such accuracy is not really required to simply lose weight, try the other two cheaper yet effective methods.

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2. Ketone Urine Strips

The most commonly used method for measuring ketones is by using ketone urine strips. In this simple method, the dieter is required to urinate on a small ketone strip. The strip changes color based on the level of ketones in the urine.

However, note that this method only measure the amount of acetoacetate and doesn’t tell anything about blood ketone levels. Moreover, the result might be sensitive to certain foods and alcohol consumption. But for regular dieters, it is a sound method to verify ketosis.

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3. Ketone Breathalyser

Similar to a breathalyser used to detect alcohol levels, the Ketone Breathalyser measures the levels of ketones in the body, particularly acetone. It is the least accurate among the three, but the cheapest and most convenient. The dieter only needs to blow into the tool, which does the computation and provides results almost immediately.

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Note that Ketone Breathalyser are also sensitive to alcohol consumption and water levels in the body.

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No matter which method you use, the idea is to get a general idea on the level of ketones in your body. Do not obsess about the exact numbers because they vary throughout the day. If you are measuring ketone levels over a period of time, then ensure that you measure it at around the same time everyday to identify trends. The ultimate goal should be to lose weight through ketosis and not worry about figures.

Tips for Measuring Ketones

  • When it comes to ketosis, rely on your gut as much as you trust the methods for measuring ketones. Observe subtle changes in your body and adapt accordingly.

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  • Don’t measure ketone levels immediately exercise as glycogen level fluctuate considerably providing inappropriate results.

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  • Don’t measure ketone levels immediately after eating a high-fat meal or MCT (coconut oil) because they tend to overestimate ketone levels.

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  • Ketone levels typically vary throughout the day due to hormonal imbalances, so pick a specific time for everyday to measure ketones and don’t get dissuaded if it is taking longer than you expected.
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  • Make sure to stay hydrated while starting keto diet to avoid loss of electrolytes and unwanted fruity breath experienced during the onset of ketosis.

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