If you’re on the keto diet, you may be confused about the state of ketosis and wondering when you’ve reached the state and whether or not certain foods have kicked you out of ketosis. Today I’ll share with you some ways you can check to test if you’re in ketosis and answer the burning question I get whenever I share my keto test strips on Instagram: What are ketone test strips used for?
If you’re new here, I’ll cover some basics. Firstly, a quick recap of what the keto diet is and why you may choose to embark on this low carb lifestyle. Later, I’ll go into details about the three ways you can test for ketosis. For quick reference, these keto tests are pictured below.
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What is the Keto Diet
The ketogenic or keto diet is an eating plan that focuses on eating low-carb, high-fat foods. In addition to helping some people lose weight, keto has other health benefits. The focus of the keto diet on low carb eating encourages your body to enter a state of ketosis, where it is using stored fat cells in your body for energy rather than the carbohydrates in your diet. Ketosis cannot be attained when there are already carbs for your body to use. Here’s my guide on getting into ketosis quickly.
Looking at the basics of the keto diet, you want to strive for limited carbohydrates and more of your calories from fat. While we each process and metabolize food differently, the most common percentages touted among the keto community today is keeping your daily intake of carbs under 50 grams, but stricter adherents recommend eating under 20 grams per day. Most people on a keto diet strive to eat 60 to 70 percent of their calories from fat, 15 to 30 percent from protein, and just five to ten percent from carbs.
There are, however, several variations of the keto diet that you may want to consider, based on your needs. Some people do better with a cyclical keto diet, which includes five days of following a standard keto diet and two days of higher carb eating. This is the keto diet I tend to follow when I’m off keto and in keto maintenance mode. This allows me to have a good time with my family and friends on the weekends and get back into the swing of things during the week.
Other people choose to add in more carbs around workouts or physical activities. Some people believe that more protein is beneficial for them, so they choose a ratio that includes about 60 percent fat, 35 percent protein, and five percent carbs. There is little evidence to support the weight loss effects of other forms of ketogenic eating, as only the standard and higher protein versions have been much studied in science.
Most of the people choosing to adopt a keto diet these days are doing so to lose weight. This type of eating plan was actually developed under exceptional circumstances to manage specific medical conditions, such as epilepsy. The jury is still out on whether or not it’s a good idea to follow a keto lifestyle for extended periods, which is why I tend to cycle on and off keto.
If you’re lost and not sure how to get started with the keto diet, this meal plan is for you. It’s a fool-proof guide to winning at the high-fat, low-carb lifestyle.
Why Carbs are a Bad Idea
Eating carbohydrates provide your body with a ready source of energy, which means your cells never turn to your stored fat to help it perform its daily functions. Carbs also trigger cravings, which can lead to overeating, another source of weight gain.
Eating fats and proteins leads to feeling fuller faster, which can stop you from overeating, too. It also takes more energy for your body to process these macronutrients, versus carbs, so you are also burning more calories during digestion than you previously did.
One of the reasons that the keto diet often works is that by merely focusing more intentionally on what you eat, you are more likely to eat less. People on any diet tend to reduce their caloric intake, at least for a while.
Most people on the keto diet lose between one and two pounds per week if they follow the plan carefully. Everyone is different, though, so you should not expect your results to be the same if your metabolic rate is slower or faster. Here are my keto results after one week and after 90 days of lazy keto.
Your caloric needs may differ if you are an athlete, perform physical work of any kind, or spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s important to also understand that keto eating will not help you lose weight if you are still eating too many calories. Reducing your intake is still necessary for the keto diet to result in weight loss. This is why I incorporate intermittent fasting into my diet and avoid making these keto mistakes that often tend to lead to weight loss stall or even weight gain.
I love having keto snacks at the ready. Try my favorite keto chocolate bars, bone broth and protein powders here. Use code ONANDOFFKETO for 10% off your order!
What are Ketones
In the simplest of terms, the keto diet is a low-carb style of eating that causes the body to shift into a state of ketosis. By limiting carbs, the body has to look for another efficient fuel source. The objective of the keto diet is to switch from using glucose as fuel and move over to ketones.
Ketones are produced in the liver by the breakdown of fat cells. Essentially, the body is burning fat for fuel when in a state of ketosis. The human body is very brilliant and when given the right tools, can run like a well-oiled machine!
How to Obtain the State of Ketosis
The metabolic state of ketosis is achieved by maintaining a daily carbohydrate intake under 20g. It’s actually very simple. It usually only takes 24-48 hours of low-carb eating to shift the body naturally into ketosis.
You may also rely on ketone-enriched supplements to push the body into ketosis faster. For instance, I use these exogenous ketones to get me into a state of ketosis within 24 hours after a weekend off keto or a cheat meal. Once you’re in ketosis, it can be comforting to use keto test strips or a blood meter to reassure yourself that you’re there, especially in the beginning.
I use these test strips when I’ve had a new meal or I eat out but try to keep keto. This helps me to determine if a particular meal or ingredient kicks me out of keto.
What are Ketone Test Strips Used For?
For those wanting to lose weight fast on a ketogenic diet, you’ll want to begin testing your body immediately to see if and when you’re in ketosis. Once you’re there, like mentioned above, you’ll want to continue tracking your ketones to see what, if anything, knocks you out of ketosis so that you can put yourself back on track quickly.
Your goal is to have ketone levels at more than 0.5mM. Or, with nutritional ketosis, it would be 0.5-3mM. When your fat gets broken down to be used by the body, and the fatty acid spikes in your bloodstream, they’re turned into ketones, and when you achieve those specific levels, you’re then in ketosis.
There are three ways you can get your state of ketosis confirmed. The first is by using simple urine test strips like these.
All you do is put the tip of the strip into the stream of your urine (or into the container that you collected it in) and match the color of the strip to what’s on the bottle, which will show you when your body has a higher level of ketones.
Testing for Ketosis Using a Breathalyzer
You should note that urine is the least accurate of the three methods, though the most convenient. You can also do a breath test to see if your body is in ketosis using a ketone breathalyzer. The one thing people like is that, unlike the urine strips, you don’t have to keep purchasing anything to use this method.
You simply blow into the breathalyzer and it will tell you the level of ketones using the number of acetones excreted. The results you’ll get are similar in nature to the third, option, which is measuring blood ketones.
The Most Accurate Ketone Test
With a blood measurement system, it’s slightly more invasive because it requires the use of a lancet. However, it’s the most accurate method of seeing if you’re in ketosis, as it measures the presence of BHB, instead of acetones.
After sterilizing your finger with an alcohol swab, you’ll prick your finger with a lancet and then place a drop of blood onto the test strip, which is then read by the blood meter.
Whichever way you test, make sure to track how you’re feeling at different ketone levels and how your weight loss is progressing. It will be different for everyone, and you want to determine your best level of ketosis to be feeling your best and have the best weight loss results as well. The use of a keto diet planner is a dream come true if you’re into planners. You’ll be able to keep track of what works and see any patterns that need to be addressed as you ease into this new lifestyle. This keto planner will help you a whole lot! Stick to your keto goals and lose weight quickly with its help.
Looking for a more complete guide to start or stick to the keto diet? My Ketogenic Diet 101 eBook is a complete, all-in-one resource for the ketogenic diet. This book includes all the need-to-know info about the keto diet, how it affects lifestyle diseases like autism, epilepsy, diabetes and high blood pressure plus over 45 recipes, checklists and grocery lists to get you started. Want the grocery list, quick start guide and 7-day meal plan for free? Get it below.