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The Different Ways to Test For Ketones

Published: June 9, 2018

The Different Ways to Test for Ketones

With so many options to test your blood ketone levels, sometimes it’s easy to get an analysis paralysis with what the right one to really utilize is. I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo and today, I want to help you understand why blood testing is really the gold standard when it comes down to testing your ketone levels. Now, I’m not throwing all of the other ones under the bus, but I want to help you understand what is truly going on when we’re measuring our ketones using these different vehicles.

So, first off, I want to start out with the urine strips. So, the urine strips are useful for diabetics, here’s the thing, they are created for diabetics. The reason that these urine strips are available at CVS or at the grocery store is simply because they are to help diabetics make sure that they don’t end up in ketoacidosis, not really designed to help you understand if you are in a nutritional state of ketosis. Now, although they will register some ketones in the way of what is called acetoacetate, they are grossly inaccurate and here is why, they measure excess ketones in the urine, keyword excess. You see, when you first start a ketogenic diet, you create a lot of ketones and you create so many that your body expels them and doesn’t utilize them all the way, therefore, they show up in your urine. So that’s why it’s so easy, when you first start on a ketogenic diet, to use a urine strip, have it turn dark purple and be really excited that you’re in ketosis and then, a couple weeks later, the urine strip doesn’t register ketones anymore. You, unfortunately, end up thinking that you’re no longer in ketosis and you start scratching your head and going stir crazy wondering why you’re not in ketosis anymore, when in reality, had you used a blood meter, you probably would have found that you are in fact still in ketosis, you’re just not registering ketones in excess quantities on a urine strip. So, although urine strips have a medical purpose, to help diabetics understand if they are in a dangerous state of ketoacidosis, they are certainly not a reliable way to test if you are in an active nutritional state of ketosis.

Okay, now let’s talk about breath meters for a second, because, at first glance, the science is kind of interesting, but when you start understanding how ketones are metabolized in the body, you kind of wonder if it’s truly an accurate way. You see, what these breath meters do is they test what is called breath acetone and acetone is a natural byproduct of ketone metabolism, it technically is a ketone body. So, at first glance, you would think, when I breathe into a keto meter and it registers a lot of acetone, that you are in a deep state of ketosis. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way and here’s why. Acetone is a byproduct of acetoacetate self-destructing, so, what that means is you, sometimes when you’re in a state of ketosis, have a certain percentage of your ketone bodies that are, for lack of a better term, dysfunctional, they don’t really work properly. So, what happens is they sort of implode, self-destruct, and turn into acetone and you breathe that out. So, the acetone doesn’t really tell you if you are in a deeper state of ketosis or not, it just tells you if you have a level of “dysfunctional” acetoacetate, dysfunctional ketones, so, it’s not really giving you an accurate reading and some things that you’re going to find is right after exercise or right after any kind of laborious work, your acetone levels are completely different and they vary so wildly throughout the day, simply because of how we breathe, our respiratory rate, and so many other factors and co-factors that will affect how our acetone levels and ketone levels are reflecting in our breath.

So now, let’s talk about the blood meter, which I would consider the gold standard. It takes one step and that’s testing your blood and you’re getting right to the root of how much beta hydroxybutyrate, the most active form of ketone, is in your blood. Right then, right there, at that very moment, the moment that you test, no other metabolism effects going on, no other excretion, no other respiration, just flat out, what is in your blood at that very point in time. The number that you read on your blood meter, on your Keto-Mojo device, is where you are at, right then and there and that is exactly why it’s a gold standard. You’re not going to have this deviation, but it’s also going to allow you to really be able to tell, directly, what is happening at a cellular level at each respective point in the day. You can test right after you workout and you might find your ketone levels go up or you might find they go down, it allows you to determine that bio-individuality. You also might be able to test first thing in the morning, you can test right before you go to bed, you can test right before a meal, right after a meal, and you can truly learn the data points of what is in your blood at that very point in time with a concrete number, with no other variables.

If you look at some of the actual breath meters out there, you have to constantly calibrate them, the reason you have to constantly calibrate them is because your breath is exposed to a lot of different things and the meters get exposed to a lot of different things, meaning there are so many variables that could skew the results. And then, of course, with the urine strips, if you touch the urine strip, it can throw it off, but also, you have different factors in your body as well, how much acid is in your urine, what you ate, the concentration of your urine, the concentration of your blood, although it does change from time to time isn’t going to affect the ketone readout, you’re going to end up with a concrete number. And that is why blood testing your ketone levels is the gold standard, and taking it one step further, that’s why Keto-Mojo is the gold standard of all the ketone testing, because it’s accurate, it’s easy to use and it doesn’t just stop at ketones, it continues on to glucose and some of the other more complex things if you’re interested in utilizing those as well. So, that’s a breakdown of why blood testing is the gold standard. Don’t leave any variables on the table, this is your body, you need the data and you need to know how you work as an individual without all these other co-factors. I’ll see you in the next video.

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