3 Ways to Test Your Ketone Levels

how to test your ketone levels

A ketogenic diet can be an immensely powerful tool in boosting mental acuity, losing overall body fat percentage, performing well athletically, and combating diabetes.  One thing that is often overlooked, however, is tracking the levels of ketones in your body.  Keeping tabs on your ketone levels and documenting them is paramount to fully taking advantage of any ketogenic diet, once you’ve entered a state of ketosis.

There are three different types of ketones in the body:

    1. Acetoacetate
    1. Acetone
  1. Beta-Hydroxybutyrates

Ketone bodies are created when your body no longer has as high of insulin levels due to cutting carbohydrates out of a diet, for the most part.  Minimal carbohydrates with an emphasis on complex, slow-digesting carbs is the name of the game while on a ketogenic diet.  As you adapt to the diet, though, your body will begin to use the ketones more effectively, creating inaccurate results on a ketone test.  Initially, though, using ketone tests is effective in ensuring you are in a ketogenic state. Here are the 3 primary ways to test your ketone levels as you are initially entering into ketosis:

1) Urine Strips to Test Ketones

Some of the benefits of using this style of test are how affordable they are, how readily available they are at most local pharmacies, and how effective they can be in measuring ketone levels effectively.  Plus, they are fairly simple and easy to use, you just pee on them.  In the very beginning phases of this diet, the urine strips are the best method to use, and only when your body is processing ketones better does their efficacy fade away. 

2) A Blood Ketone Meter

This method is by far the most accurate and effective method but requires you to sacrifice a minuscule amount of blood to use it.  It is most effective in testing what is known as BHB bodies of ketones.  These ketones are known as the clean, pure, positive energy ketones. 

When thinking about this test, it is very similar to how one would test glucose in a patient suffering from diabetes.  A small prick on your finger, put the droplet of blood on a test strip, then use a device to measure the number of ketones.

This test is not for everyone, however.  If the sight of blood makes you woozy, then I’d advise against it.  Also, this method is fairly expensive, costing anywhere from ten to twenty dollars per test.  This method is the most effective, though, and is not affected by over-hydration the same way urine is. 

3) Breath Testing for Ketone Levels

When your body effectively metabolizes BHB ketone bodies it creates acetate ketone bodies.  While not as direct as the blood meter test, measuring acetate, or acetone, ketones can achieve close results to what your true blood ketone level is.  Breath acetate is measure with a device similar to a Breathalyzer, as seen with law enforcement officers while on a drunk driving call. 

This method is expensive, but you only need to by the ketone breath monitor once and it is reusable, contrary to the other aforementioned methods. 

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