Everything You Need to Know About Ketosis and Measuring Ketones


Here, I present to you the most helpful facts you need to know on ketosis and to measure ketones bodies.

Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

Ketosis happens when your liver accelerates the rate of producing ketones; hence shifting your body’s metabolism to fat utilization instead of glucose. The existence of ketones in your body is full proof for ketosis. Volek and Phinney define nutritional ketosis as a serum of ketones ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 nM.

Ketosis is useful only in weight loss. It has also been used in treating and managing conditional diseases like cancer, Alzheimer, and epilepsy. Read more on the health effects of being on a ketogenic diet here. Nutritional ketosis is very safe.

However, ketoacidosis indicates serious health problems. It occurs as type 1 and type 2 diabetes and alcoholics. Ketones levels in ketoacidosis are usually 3-5 times higher than in ketosis. It has nothing to do with ketosis.  

4 Ways to Measure Ketones

There exist three types of ketone bodies i.e., Acetoacetate, Acetone, and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB). The amount of carbs to enter ketosis is usually estimated using:

Blood Ketone Meter

It is very accurate when measuring BHB ketone bodies. The BHB level in your bloodstream measures the amount of BHB ketones remaining in the body, but not their metabolic usage. This is common for those not fully adapted to the ketogenic diet. You will easily determine the ketone level in your blood at a heavy price. Consider that the meter costs around $40 and $5 for each test strip. Daily tests for a month will cost $150+. Why not spend that eating healthy or get a gym membership? Those on the restricted Ketogenic Diet have the blood meter as their only option.

ketone meter


Breath Testing

Volek and Phinney recommend the “Breathalyzer” on their book as a non-invasive affordable means of measuring acetone concentration in the breath. Acetone results from the breakdown of acetoacetates. Your acetone level reflects your metabolic usage of tokens.

This breath ketone (acetone) Breathalyzer is cheap and straightforward to use. This method may not be accurate in giving blood ketones, especially for someone under the influence of alcohol.

Ketone Breath Analyzer


Urine Ketone Strips

Urine detection strips measure excess ketone bodies which are not utilized by the body. They measure acetoacetate that is excreted through urine. You can use urine ketone strips before you enter ketosis to test your carbohydrates level. You get these urine strips at $10 for 100 strips. That is $6 on a monthly budget. They are cheap options but don’t always work for everyone. Common brands are Perfect Keto, Uriscan and Ketostix.

Perfect Keto Ketone Testing Strips



Listen to your body to find out if you have reached ketosis. You may smell of acetone when your body is in ketosis. You are going to sense a “fruity” smell from your sweat, urine, and breath. 

Why is Ketostix Inaccurate?

Ketostix measures excess ketones that are excreted via urine. Excess ketones are wasted calories. You may experience different levels of ketone in your urine and blood because of:

  • Ketostix only measures acetoacetate, which is only one of the three types of ketones. You might not be able to detect acetoacetate when you are fully keto-adapted. 
  • When you are 3-4 weeks to getting keto-adapted, less ketone is going to be measured in the urine, while more will be measured in the blood.
  • Hydration changes like high water intake will indicate lower readings when measured on urine.
  • Body activity e.g., waking from sleep, post-workout and after eating

Does Losing More Ketones Mean More Fat Loss

Prominent diet authors like Atkins support that more ketones mean more weight loss. The reason is that ketones are fat breakdowns from the liver. The distinction between ketones and fat loss is not very clear. You can see the explanation on the effects of low-carb keto diet here.

Studies have shown that ketones lost through urine are insignificant (100 kcal at most). The simplest way to lose fat is by controlling your natural appetite. People who maintain high ketone levels experienced a slowed fat loss, unlike those who maintain low ketones levels who lose fat quickly. The explanation is high ketone levels in blood raise the insulin levels blocking the release of free fatty acids from all fat cells.

Individuals must find their optimal carb intake by themselves. Find more on ketones levels and their effects here. Add moderate amounts of carbs to your diet while on nutritional ketosis.

Why You Need To Look Beyond Ketones

Many people are obsessed with measuring ketones accurately. Urine detection strips are not always accurate to those who have achieved full-ketosis, but those who are getting started. It takes 3-4 weeks to get fully keto-adapted, after which many people don’t measure their ketone bodies since they know what to eat and what not to eat. Use the Ketostix for random tests, but ketone meters and breathalyzes are more useful when you need to keep track of ketone levels. You are smoothly going to lose weight and have general body wellness.

Useful Tips When Measuring Ketones

  • Choose a time for measuring your ketone level and keep it consistent. Ketone concentration is high in the morning and lowers in the evening. Do not measure your ketone levels right after a workout.
  • Expect daily fluctuations mostly caused by changes in hormone levels. Keep testing!
  • The amount of fat in the meal affects your ketone levels. High amounts of fat lead to higher ketone concentrations.
  • Aerobic exercises will help you get into ketosis faster. 
  • Eat foods rich in electrolytes to avoid the fruity breath. It is not pleasant for many people. 
  • Increase your potassium intake as you are likely to lose sodium during the keto diet.
  • Eat fat bombs– snacks providing up to 80% fat content.
  • If you experience no weight loss while on a ketogenic diet, click on the; Not Losing Weight on Low-Carb Keto Diet.

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