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How to Measure Ketosis with a Home Ketone Meter

<article> <section> <p>Here at Warrior Made, we swear by the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">ketogenic diet </a>because we’ve seen just how effective it is firsthand. If you’ve been following along with us, then you’ll know that the ketogenic diet—also known as <i>keto</i>—is a high-fat, low-carb lifestyle that helps you shed unhealthy fat, <i>decrease</i> your appetite, and even reduce your blood sugar and insulin levels<sup>1</sup>. In this article, we’ll demystify ketones, teach you how testing the ketone levels in your blood, urine, and breath can level up your keto diet, and share why you should measure your ketone levels and glucose levels together. </p> <p>Let’s dive in, shall we?</p> <p>The goal with the keto diet is to maintain a state of <i>ketosis</i>. Carbs and sugars—stored as glucose—are your body’s <i>normal</i> go-to source for energy, but they’re not the only one. Fat from the foods you eat and from your body’s own stores can also be used as an energy source. When you trigger your body to use fat as fuel rather than its glucose stores, you enter into <i>ketosis</i>, an ideal state for losing weight quickly and safely.</p> <p>In order to reach this state, keto dieters consume the majority of their calories from fat, plus a moderate amount of protein and very little <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">carbohydrates</a>. When the body doesn’t have carbs and sugars to break down into glucose, it has to turn to the fats you consume and store in order to refuel. Ideally, you achieve the perfect balance of fat, protein, and carbs to enter ketosis and stay there.</p> <p>And that point is crucial. You will only see the benefits of a keto diet if you maintain a state of ketosis during your high fat-burning days. (<i>We promote a 14-day cycle where you’ll eat high fat-burning foods for 12 days and incorporate one cheat day and one <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">intermittent fasting</a> day into the mix.</i>) </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="bowl-close-up-eggs-0174"> </picture> <p>But how do you know if you’re actually in ketosis or not? </p> <p>Given that most of us aren’t psychic, we have to rely on testing to see if we’re in the right range. The energy you get in ketosis isn’t from the fat directly, but is a byproduct of fat being broken down by the liver into what are known as <i>ketones</i>. <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Ketones </a>enter into the blood to supply energy around the body, especially in the brain. Using special ketone testing, we can detect how many ketones are in the bloodstream to see if you’re in ketosis. </p> <p> With testing available to measure ketones in your blood, urine, and breath right from your own home, finding out if you’re in ketosis is easier than ever. Here we’ll break down all the basics so you know exactly how to measure your ketones at home. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How to Use a Ketone Meter</header> <p>As we mentioned, there are three different types of ketone testing that are available for home use: urine, breath, and blood.</p> <div class="sub-head"><i>#1 Urine testing</i></div> <p>You apply a small sample of urine to a test strip to determine your ketone levels. The trouble with urine testing is that it only measures the amount of ketones that you excrete. When you are just getting started with the keto diet, this will be useful data—if ketones show up in your urine, that means you’re producing ketones. That’s a good sign! But over time, your body gets better at using those ketones for energy, so you pass far less of them through your urine<sup>2</sup>. Eventually this can cause an issue with testing accuracy since low ketone levels in the urine may not reflect actual blood ketone levels. </p> <p>Still, urine testing is a cheap and reliable option, especially for keto newbies. If you opt for urine testing, look online or check out your local drug store to find test strips, then follow the instructions to get your levels.</p> <div class="sub-head"><i>#2 Breath analysis.</i> </div> <p>In the same way a breathalyzer can detect blood alcohol level, testing is available to measure the acetone in your breath. Breath <i>acetone</i> is heightened when you’re in a state of ketosis, so testing at higher levels of acetone is a sign you may be in ketosis. The major advantage to this method is that it’s simple, pain-free, and reusable</p> <p>But there are challenges to this testing method as well. The way that you breathe—including the exhaled volume, pattern of breathing, and breath temperature—can impact the level of acetone in your breath<sup>3</sup>. If you’ve eaten garlic, had caffeine, or exercised recently, these may also tamper with your results. These variables can make testing accurately a challenge.</p> <div class="sub-head"><i>#3 Blood testing.</i></div> <p>Users place a small sample of blood from pricking a finger on a test strip. A device analyzes the test strip to give a fast readout of the blood ketone levels. Aside from a little pain, blood ketone testing gives reliable and accurate results quickly making it ideal for testing your ketone levels daily.</p> <p>We recommend using blood ketone testing as it tends to be more accurate. We’ll explain later how blood tests can give you a readout of blood ketones <i>and</i> glucose to get a clear picture of whether we’re in ketosis or not.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="adult-career-clipboard-0174"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Is a Good Ketone Level for Ketosis?</header> <p>Your ideal ketone levels will depend on which method you use. For urine samples, your testing strips will generally come with a color-coded key that shows your ketone levels. With breath analysis, breath acetone levels of anywhere from 2 to 40 ppm is an indication that you’re in ketosis<sup>3</sup>.</p> <p>If you’ve opted for blood ketone analysis, there are two different ranges of ketone levels that you should look for. If you’re new to the keto diet or are hoping to achieve weight loss, aim for 0.5 to 1.0 mmol/L of blood ketones, a range known as <i>light nutritional ketosis</i><sup>4</sup>.</p> <p>For those who have been at the keto diet for a while or have high weight loss goals, your target is <i>optimal ketosis</i> which occurs at 1.0 mmol/L to 3.0 mmol/L blood ketones. Optimal ketosis is just that: optimal! So aim for the blood ketone level that works with you and your goals.</p> <p>It’s important to remember that your blood ketone and acetone levels do shift throughout the day and can be altered by things like exercise, eating, and sleep. The best way to get accurate testing results is to measure at the same time every day.</p> <p>Many people opt to do testing when fasted in the morning, about an hour after waking up. This helps to avoid the <i>dawn effect</i>—the little morning glucose burst we get to help us out of bed—as well as any fluctuations that come up when we eat or drink<sup>5</sup>. Your blood ketone levels are also at their lowest right when you wake up, so waiting that extra hour before testing helps you get a more accurate result.</p> <p>In general, it’s best to do testing several hours after eating or just before your next meal. But the key is to test at a time that you can commit to every single day. </p> <p>To start, you may want to do testing twice per day, but once also works. You can also test 30 minutes before and after meals to see which foods spike your glucose and which keep you in ketosis.</p> <p>That’s a lot of numbers and information to take in at once! When you get the hang of it you’ll find it’s like second nature, but for now feel free to refer back to this article if you get stuck.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="glucose-meter-blue-background-0174"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can You Test Ketones with a Glucose Meter?</header> <p>If you or someone you know has diabetes, you’re probably familiar with finger-prick blood glucose testing. A test strip collects the blood sample, and a device gives a readout of your glucose levels. These same devices can be used to test ketone levels with special ketone test strips that are compatible with glucose meters.</p> <p>But until recently, ketone test strips were too expensive for the average consumer. The company Keto-Mojo disrupted the industry in 2017 when they released their dual ketone-glucose meter with affordable bulk test strips. The Keto-Mojo device gives separate readouts of your blood ketone and glucose levels, each using their own test strip. They also have a Keto-Mojo app available that allows you to keep track of your results over time.</p> <p>So far, we’ve only talked about how to track your blood ketone levels, but blood glucose levels are also important! The goal is to lower your blood glucose levels as you raise your blood ketones. The optimal level is around 83 mg/dL, but anywhere under 108 mg/dL is good<sup>6</sup>. Your blood glucose levels also rise when you’ve fasted, so don’t worry if your test strip reads a little high right when you wake up or if it’s been a while since you last ate<sup>6</sup>.</p> <p>The main advantage of testing blood ketones and glucose with test strip devices like Keto-Mojo is that you can calculate your <i>Glucose Ketone Index</i> (GKI). As we’ve mentioned, both of these levels can change frequently throughout the day. When you measure these two variables with test strips, you can control some of that variability to get a better overall picture when testing for ketosis. </p> <p>Once you have both measures, you can use Keto-Mojo’s <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">GKI Calculator</a> to find where you fall on the index. If your number is under nine, congrats! You’re in ketosis. If your index is anywhere under three, you’ve really hit the mark.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Try It Yourself</header> <p>The ketogenic diet can feel overwhelming, especially when things like testing for your ketone and glucose levels get thrown into the mix. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, and testing is really for those who find tracking these stats helpful. These are a few of the main things we want you take away from this article:</p> <ul> <li>Ketone levels can found by testing urine, breath, or blood. We recommend testing by blood with a device like Keto-Mojo that can give you ketone and glucose readings.</li> <li><i>The light nutritional ketosis</i> level—perfect for folks new to keto—is 0.5 to 1.0 mmol/L of ketones in the bloodstream. For optimal ketosis, aim for 1.0 to 3.0 mmol/L.</li> <li>Testing is recommended an hour after you wake up in the morning or when fasted, around four hours after your last meal.</li> <li>Get a more accurate picture of your ketosis level by testing both ketones and blood glucose to calculate your GKI. Again, Keto-Mojo’s device is an affordable option with low-priced test strips made for folks on the keto diet.</li> </ul> <p>If you really want to take your keto journey to the next level, blood ketone and glucose testing can help you make adjustments to enter and stay in ketosis.</p> <p>Click <a target="_blank" href="">HERE</a> to get 15% off keto-mojo meter kits and start testing your ketones with the best ketone meter on the market! and head over to our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Nutrition</a> page for more tools to help you on your keto journey! </p> <p>Resources</p> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">10 Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">How to Use Keto Strips to Measure Ketosis</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Measuring breath acetone for monitoring fat loss: Review</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">WHAT SHOULD YOUR KETONE LEVELS BE?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">WHEN TO TEST YOUR KETONES (AND YOUR GLUCOSE)</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Why does blood sugar increase during a fast?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">What do I need to know about optimal glucose levels and glucose-test results?</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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