Why is it important to monitor my ketosis via blood?
Have you been doing keto for a long time but are still monitoring your ketosis through urine test strips? If this is you, then don’t worry; you are one of many out there that like to see the pretty color changes of a urine test strip. It’s okay! However, it is time to retire those urine test strips because the most accurate way to check your ketosis is by monitoring your blood levels!
Why is blood ketone monitoring the most accurate?
The main reason that blood ketone monitoring is the best is that the critical ketone used by the body is beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which is carried through the blood so it can get to the cells to be used for energy and fuel. One thing you must understand is that our blood ketone levels are not profoundly affected by different variables. When you monitor your ketones through your breath or urine, then there are many factors that can change your results.
Urine test strips lose their validity after a couple of weeks.
Have you been discouraged by testing your urine after a few weeks because you discovered that you were no longer in ketosis? If so, don’t worry; you probably still are if you have been right about staying on your keto diet! The method in which these urine test strips works is by detecting levels of acetoacetate ( AcAc). After several weeks on the diet, the kidneys get better at reabsorbing AcAC, and the body begins converting most of the AcAC to beta-hydroxybutyrate ( another type of ketone) that can only be measured in the blood 1.
Since these urine test strips test for AcAc, they will not be able to detect urine ketones as accurate once the kidneys get better at reabsorbing acetoacetate. Also, as your body becomes fat-adapted, it converts ketone bodies more efficiently and is less likely to expel them 2.
Urine test strips designed for diabetes
The critical thing to remember about urine test strips is that they are designed for diabetics and prevent ketoacidosis. When you initially start your keto diet, they are suitable for monitoring the transition into ketosis. However, once you have made this initial change to fat burning, you got to get a ketone blood monitoring device!
Breathalyzers good, but also not as accurate as blood monitoring
Personally, I have minimal experience with the breathalyzer ketone monitoring device. However, I am here to tell you that these also can be inaccurate. The key to understanding the breath test is to know how ketones are metabolized in the body. Breath meters test breath acetone (parts per million) in a non-invasive manner. Acetone production is a byproduct of the fat metabolism process. Because of its small size, acetone appears in exhaled breath 3.
Many outside factors can affect your level of breath acetone. These things may include chewing gum, mints, cigarette smoke, toothpaste, or even coffee and fermented tea ( Kombucha). There are also various other mechanisms to consider when using a breathalyzer like its calibration, breathing technique, or even environmental factors.
I don’t know about you, but this sounds too complicated for me! I don’t have time to make sure every variable is constant when using a breathalyzer. When I want to know if I am in ketosis, I need it to be simple.
Now, saying all of this, if you are looking for the most accurate cheaper alternative to blood-monitoring, then a breathalyzer would be next in line. It is more accurate than the urine test strips (especially after a couple of weeks), however, it is not the most user-friendly.
Ketosis blood levels along with blood glucose is a good indicator of your health
When you choose to monitor ketosis blood levels, you are painting a better picture of your metabolic health. Especially, if you do this in combination with your blood glucose. It is the incorporation of these two biometrics, which are a direct indication of how good your ketosis is and if you are right on target.
One of the markers that I highly recommend to see if you are on track with your keto diet is to calculate your GKI. If you are not sure what this is, then don’t worry. A GKI stands for a glucose ketone index and as mentioned before, it is a good indicator of your metabolic potential. If you are dealing with a chronic illness, such as cancer or an autoimmune disorder, then monitoring your GKI is especially important. GKI rates on a scale from 1-9. The lower on the scale, the deeper level of ketosis!
If you are someone who wants to lose weight or maintain your health, then you would opt to stay within a GKI of 6-9. However, if you are someone who has diabetes or insulin resistance, then you need to be somewhere between 3-6. For those of you with long-term illnesses or cancer, then you will want to shoot for between 1-3.
How do you calculate GKI?
In order to get your GKI calculation, you need two essential values, which include your blood ketosis levels and blood glucose. The best way to get those is with a blood/ketone monitor, such as Keto-Mojo. After you get these two values, all you do is use the GKI calculator on the Keto-Mojo website or you can manually figure it out by doing the following: [glucose reading (mg/dl)divided by 18] divided ketone reading(mmol/L) = GKI 4.
Now, unless you are a math junkie, then I would just use the calculator online. However, an exciting thing, is now the Keto-mojo has a new meter called GK plus. The GK plus enables Bluetooth integration to allow you to instantly download all of your glucose and ketone readings right from your meter to the free Keto-Mojo Classic app on your mobile phone. This is so you can track and monitor your results along with other important health markers like the GKI or Glucose Ketone Index on this app.
Ketosis and you!
Ketosis is wonderful and there are many benefits, however, sometimes you may get untoward side effects (especially if you are new to a keto diet.) It is important to always consult your healthcare provider before starting a keto diet to make sure it is right for you!
Join me on a health journey!
I am so glad you have come to HKG and have decided to expand your knowledge about a keto diet. I am here to show you the many benefits of keto and expand your holistic knowledge. Choosing a journey to better health is not only about your dietary choices, but also an emotional state. That is why I also emphasize the importance of balancing your chakras. Please listen to my podcast called Keto and Chakra balance for your health to learn more about theory. Also, I encourage you to listen to my other podcasts to expand your knowledge of the different chakras and how keto can balance each one! Sign up for my email list to get updates from me!
[toggle title = “References”]
Davis, E. (2017). Fight Cancer with a ketogenic diet. Gutsy Badger Publishing, Cheyenne, WY1.