The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, refers to a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein diet. It has numerous health benefits such as weight loss, longevity, and a better control of the blood sugar. The diet requires you to achieve the process of ketosis. Ketosis is a natural state in which your body starts burning fat for fuel.
It is also essential to detect this process in order to see if your diet needs adjustments. Measuring ketosis in such circumstances can sometimes become difficult.
For this reason, a lot of people tend to use keto strips.
This article will explain about the keto strips and how to use them. It will also highlight the accurate way to reach this state via the keto diet.
What Happens During Ketosis
If you are following a normal high-carb diet, glucose is the main energy source. Your cells will derive it from the diet rich in sugary, starchy foods like pasta and bread.
However, in the keto diet, you limit the intake of glucose-rich foods. This means that you are depriving your body of its primary fuel source. Hence, the body starts looking for an alternative source to energize itself.
Eventually, your body starts breaking down stored fats into ketones and fatty acids. These ketones slowly replace glucose and start supplying energy to the bran. This results in the initiation of a physiological state- the dietary ketosis.
In a state of dietary ketosis, the levels of ketones in your body increases. You can easily detect these agents in your blood, urine, and breath.
Measuring Ketosis Through Urine
If you wish to know if you are in a state of ketosis, urine strips can help. These strips are convenient and a cheap way of finding the right answer.
Urine strips are actually meant for people suffering from diabetes type 1. They assess if the patients are at a risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, a harmful condition.
You can easily purchase urine strip kits at any local pharmacy without a prescription. They are also available in supermarkets and online shops. These strip kits are inexpensive and have 50 to hundreds of strips in them.
The urine strips tend to expire within 3 to 6 months. So, before buying a strip kit, be sure of how often you intend to use them.
If you wish to check your urine ketones every day, fix a specific time. For example, try checking it in the morning and a few hours following your last meal. Once you have two readings, compare the results.
The process of correctly using a keto strip looks like this:
- Wash your hands properly, and take a urine sample in a container
- Dip in the absorptive end of the strip in the sample for a few seconds and remove it
- Wait for a few seconds for the strip to change its color
- Now, compare the color of the strip with the color chart printed on its packaging
- Dispose of the urine and the used strip properly before washing your hands
The color chart on the packaging indicates the number of ketones in urine. The scale ranges from no ketones to high concentrations. The darker the color, the higher the ketones in your blood.
Measuring Ketones in Blood
Ketone blood meters are an accurate way of measuring ketones in your body.
These meters are normally for people suffering from diabetes type 1. They may also be useful for those following a keto diet.
You can easily find blood strips in any place which sells urine strips. However, you will require a meter to read these strips.
A lot of glucose readers are capable of reading blood keto strips. This is true even though both of these strips are entirely different.
On average, blood strips cost around $1 and do not expire before 12 o 18 months.
Following are the steps of using a blood ketone meter:
- Wash your hands properly
- Use needles to load the lancet, following the directions
- Place a blood ketone strip inside the ketone meter
- Prick your finger to get a small drop of blood with the help of lancet
- Allow the strip to come in contact with the drop of blood
- Check the results
- Get rid of the lancet and the strip as the directions say
Are Keto Strips Accurate?
Urine strips are a good way to measure the process of ketosis. They are particularly handy during the first few weeks of keto.
During the time, your body is unable to use ketones effectively. Therefore, most of these ketones come out through urine.
But as time passes, you go deeper into the ketosis. Your body eventually adapts to using them for fuel. It starts using more ketones for energy leaving behind fewer ones to pass out via urine.
In simpler words, if you have been following a keto diet for months, urine strips may not work. These strips may only indicate trace amounts of ketones in urine if any. This may mislead people into believing that they are not in ketosis.
Urine strips are, therefore, a cheap way of detecting ketosis in initial months only.
If you have been following the ketogenic diet for some time, try blood strips. Blood keto strips will accurately detect the ketone levels in your blood.
However, it is important to keep in mind that blood strips are relatively expensive.
How Can You Get into Ketosis with the Keto Diet
For a healthy individual, it may take several days on the keto diet to start ketosis. Keto-adaptation will, therefore, require a couple of more weeks.
A keto diet has high fats, a moderate quantity of protein, and minimal carbs.
Some people tend to mistake the keto diet for being low in carbs but high in proteins. However, you must remember that consuming too much protein is not suitable. This is because too much of it can actually hinder the process of ketosis.
More specifically, the keto diet requires you to gain 75 percent of calories from fats. 20 percent of them must come from protein. Lastly, only 5 percent must come from carbohydrates.
For comparison, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals get:
- 20 to 35 percent of calories from fat
- 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbs
- 10 to 35 percent of calories from proteins
Most of the time, consuming less than 50 grams of carbs per day causes ketosis. However, everyone has a different body. Some people may need to eat less than this while others can get away with a lot more.
If you are new to the ketogenic diet and want to keep a track of it, try urine strips. They are effective and cheap and can help you keep up.
The Bottom Line
Ketone strips are a popular way of checking ketosis in people following the keto diet. These strips are of two types: blood and urine.
If you are new to the keto diet, urine strips are better for you. They are an effective yet affordable way of ensuring that ketosis is occurring.
Once you are keto-adapted, blood strips are more accurate but more expensive too.
Either way, keto strips let you monitor ketosis and adjust your diet accordingly.