To properly use the ketogenic diet for weight loss and performance gains, you’ll need to test if you’re actually in ketosis.
There’s a difference between eating low carb and actually being in ketosis.
The easiest, safest way to test if you are in ketosis is by using ketone meters.
In a hurry? Here are the best keto meters:
In this guide, we’ll look at what a keto meter (ketone meter) is, ways to test your ketone levels, benefits, and how to actually read the strips.
We’ll finish by looking at the best options on the market.
What Is A Keto Meter?
A ketone meter measures the amount of ketones in the body at a given time.
These measurements let low carb dieters (generally people using the ketogenic diet) know whether or not they are in a state of ketosis.
The science behind the ketogenic diet says that weight loss occurs at the point when, due to low carbohydrate intake, an individual enters ketosis. You can learn more by reading some keto books.
The body’s release of ketones is a signal that it has started burning fat as its primary fuel instead of carbohydrate.
The ketogenic diet has become notorious for rapid weight loss. A good keto meter will give you accurate feedback on your progress with the diet.
Ways To Test Ketone Levels
There are 3 popular ways people test if you are in ketosis: urine strips, breath ketone meters, and blood ketone meters.
Here’s a bit about each:
- Urine Strips – throwaway strips, non-invasive, these generally give the least accurate readings of the 3, but are convenient to use. They can be pricey, though, costing at least $1 each.
- Breath Ketone Meter– measures acetone (a byproduct of ketones) on the breath. You can test an unlimited amount of times with your device, though it still won’t be as accurate as a blood test.
- Blood Ketone Meter– though it involves a small prick of your finger, blood ketone meters give you the most accurate readings, and in most cases, also measure blood glucose levels.
Difference Between A Glucose Meter and Ketone Meter?
The difference between a glucose meter and a ketone meter is that blood glucose generally isn’t something you need to monitor if you aren’t diabetic.
Blood glucose, also known as your blood sugar level, indicates how much glucose you have in your blood at the time.
This is the reading diabetics take every few hours to make sure their insulin levels are in a normal, healthy range.
Blood ketones, on the other hand, are an indicator that the person taking measurements has achieved a state of ketosis.
Whether this is to burn fat or simply part an adjustment to eating healthier, it’s good feedback that indicates how the body is adapting to a change in diet.
Keep in mind that a good blood ketone meter like the Keto-MOJO and Precision Xtra (below) will give you both readings at the same time.
Benefits Of Testing Ketone Levels
In time, regular testing of your ketone levels will teach you exactly how many carbs you can eat and still enter into ketosis.
You’ll still want to measure, but you’ll also be able to eyeball it more.
What Level Should Your Ketones Be For Ketosis?
Blood ketone levels are measured mmol/l. Here are some markers to give you an idea of what to shoot for:
- Below .5m mmol/L means you are not in ketosis.
- Between .5 and 1.5 mmol/L means you have achieved light nutritional ketosis, which is good for some weight loss.
- Between 5 and 3.0 mmol/L is optimal state ketosis, great for burning fat and losing weight
Don’t let “diet brain” fool you with the more is more mentality. Anything above 3.0 mmol/L is not “more” useful for fat loss and generally not recommended.
If your numbers exceed 3.0, you should probably eat some carbohydrates.
How Often Should You Test Your Ketone Levels?
The short answer to this question is that you can test your ketone levels as often as you’d like, but the device you use will determine how often you do.
It’s best to take the reading around the same time each day, likely before you’ve eaten or several hours after.
This will give you a more accurate reading.
Keep in mind:
- The urine strips are easy to use and non-invasive, but cost about $1 each. Multiple tests per day can be costly.
- Blood ketone meters require you to prick your finger, so any more than 1-2 times per day
- You can test your ketone levels as often as you’d like with a breath meter, though the reading won’t be as accurate as a blood test.
What To Look For Before Purchasing A Keto Meter?
Key things to consider when buying a keto meter include:
- Accuracy- obviously, you want to find a proven brand that gives accurate readings.
- Cost- consider both the up front costs and ongoing. especially if you have a lot of weight to lose, you’ll be using the ketogenic diet for several months to a year. The cost of test strips will add up as they are disposable and sold separately.
- Comfort- consider whether an invasive option like blood monitoring is okay with you in exchange for a more accurate reading, or if you’d be more comfortable with a breath or urine test.
Top Keto Meters Reviewed
The most popular blood ketone measuring device on the market, the Keto-MOJO device measures both blood glucose and blood ketone levels.
Many of the top researchers studying the ketogenic diet (like Dominic D’Agostino) recommend this meter due to its industry-leading accuracy in readings.
Comes with all the same readings as the Keto-MOJO, but costs more. It includes 10 strips to monitor your blood glucose, but you’ll have to buy more once they are gone.
Precision Xtra (Bundle Kit)
While this kit prices higher than any other option, it bundles together a blood monitoring device with 30 keto urine strips and a few other extras. You’ll pay more up front, but save long-term.
The Precision Xtra is known for taking a smaller dose of blood than other options, so that’s something to consider.
The most affordable option of the 4, the Care Touch still boasts the same perks as the others listed.
Some customers complained about the difficulty in ordering more strips once the initial box is gone, as they can only be ordered directly through the company or on Amazon.
For those experimenting or using the ketogenic diet, using ketone meters will let you know if you’re actually in ketosis.
The 3 options to choose from are urine strips, blood ketone meters, and breath ketone meters. Blood is the most accurate, but also most invasive.
1.5-3.0 mmol/l is the optimal state to achieve when reading your strips.
You can test your ketone levels as often as your equipment and comfort dictates, but try to do it around the same time and without having recently eaten a meal.
If you’re in the market for expedited weight loss or increased performance, the ketogenic diet might be a good solution for you.
A good keto meter will help you be accurate in your assessments and reach your goals faster. Enjoy!