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Testing Your Ketone Levels With Urine Strips

In this article, I will share my findings and basic research on using Ketone Urine Strips to monitor my ketosis levels. The brand I swear by is So Nourished Lab Grade Ketone Test Strips.

Before I get started, I want to clarify that this article is primarily written based on personal experience backed by bits of information I discovered from other articles available on the internet. I am not an expert by any means.

My Ketogenic Lifestyle Overview

Since pursuing the ketogenic lifestyle, my overall health has changed drastically for the better. But know this, it takes consistent enthusiasm to master my ongoing “personal protocol” — meaning that your experience and learning-curve will no doubt be completely different than mine. Regardless, I am pleased to be able to offer you my findings.

The ketogenic lifestyle is proving to be more than just a “fad” as it has (and still is) changing countless lives without being “yet another” weight loss gimmick. Trust me, I have done it all from Bernstein to HGC – and this regime not only generates, but it is also life-changing!

Simply described, the ketogenic “diet” is a complete overhaul on meal planning, where carbs are kept to a minimum, good fats are maximized, and proteins are consumed at a moderate level.

The benefits are outstanding as participants are thrilled to report optimal weight loss, blood sugar control, reduced IBS issues… and the list goes on! On a personal note, this lifestyle regime allows me to lead a “realistic” social life, inclusive of occasional cocktails, intermittent fasting (which I love) and guilt-free naughty indulgences — yes, life is far too sort to be denied of culinary spectaculars at any age!

The most ideal aspect of following the ketogenic lifestyle is that it is readily available to everyone at “no cost to join” and the free resources on how to be successful are endless. However, there are also many paid programs available through ketogenic experts should you want to go that route.

Using Ketone Test Strips

Regardless of whether you are on your own journey, or being guided by an expert, the key component to mastering the ketogenic lifestyle is to ensure that you are achieving and maintaining a natural state in which your body burns fat or fuel – termed “ketosis”.

Standard high-carb diets cause your cells to use glucose as the main fuel or energy source. By limiting carbs and sugars, your body resets its focus on accessing fuel or energy by breaking down stored fat into fatty acids. Your body produces ketones from fat which naturally replace glucose as the energy supply. Hence, on the ketogenic lifestyle, measuring your ketones is of utmost importance.

In my opinion, the most cost-effective means of measuring your ketosis by use of “urine strips.” As noted above, I use So Nourished Lab Grade Ketone Test Strips.

Testing is simple. Once the felt-like tip of the stick is saturated in urine, it turns color. The color shade indicates the level at which your ketone content is at – from “negative” to “large”. The color pallet chart is typically displayed on the container, allowing you easy access to determining your level.

Ideally, you want to maintain a reading in the “large” region of the color indicator — the darkest “maroon” color. Testing daily gives an indication at where your ketone levels are at so that you may adjust your food consumption to encourage your body to reach and maintain a state of ketosis. Generally, this entails eliminating foods that spike your glucose – such as carbs, however, if you have food sensitivities, such as an intolerance for dairy, chances are high consumption of these food products may knock you out of ketosis as well.

Best Time to Test

To maintain an accurate reading, it is suggested that you “pee on the stick” roughly at the same time daily.

From what I have read – and personally experienced — testing immediately after waking (as in during your first-morning pee) is NOT going to indicate a proper reading. Apparently, glucose is naturally higher than ketones at this juncture; a metabolism state that is called the “dawn effect”.

According to the MayoClinic (mayoclinic.org), the “dawn effect” is an “abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar (glucose) — usually between 2 am and 8 am. Some researchers believe the natural overnight release of the so-called counter-regulatory hormones — including growth hormone, cortisol, glucagon and epinephrine — increases insulin resistance, causing blood sugar to rise. High morning blood sugar may also be caused by insufficient insulin the night before, insufficient anti-diabetic medication dosages or carbohydrate consumption at bedtime.”

When testing in the morning, the best time to test is after you have been awake for a while, but BEFORE you consume anything. At this juncture, your body will be in a prime “fasted state”.

Determining your best timeline will need to be explored as your metabolic state may also intervene with your reading. For example, if you are not insulin resistant, testing an hour after waking will provide a great reading, in comparison to someone who is insulin resistant — they may get results if they test a couple of hours later, once their body has had a chance to adjust to the counter-regulatory hormones spikes.

In my case, and since I love intermittent fasting, I test around 10:30 am every day (note that I typically wake up at around 8:30 am). I was able to determine this timeline basically through trial and error. Initially, I would test on the first pee and get super frustrated because I would always receive a “trace” reading. Once I read further recommendations on how the strips worked, I tested at two hours after rising for one week, and then tested at three hours after rising the following week. The tests at two hours compared to the three-hour testing, so I went with it.

Food Sensitivity Testing

Through a bit more research, I also learned that testing between meals will give me better indications of my food sensitivities.

Basically, this entails consuming a specific food item or basic combination of a couple of ingredients – for example, cheese slices and avocado – then testing one hour after, and then again three hours after. To get the best comparison, two tests hours apart are recommended as glucose reaches its peak one hour after eating, while ketones take much longer to generate.

I discovered this technique in the initial stages of pursuing the ketogenic lifestyle. Having lived with an upset, bloated stomach for years, I thought that going high fat – low carb would automatically relieve me of the discomfort, however it actually escalated my issues! And so, I began to “eliminate” foods based on this protocol.

I plan to blog about this soon. Keep posted!

Proper Use of Keto Sticks

A quick note regarding the usage of ketone sticks – be sure to keep the container closed and do not touch the felt tip as residue on your fingers may affect the reading regardless of washing your hands prior.

Also, strips usually have a shelf life of only three to six months, and that is why I choose to purchase mine directly through a supplier who most likely sells volumes as opposed to the product sitting on the shelf.

SHOP my recommended “keto-approved” urine strips, click through HERE

To view all the “Keto Approved” products that I have researched, visit KETO APOTHECA


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