Guidelines for following a low-carb lifestyle are simple, well established, and easy to understand. But the truth is that people often react very differently to the same lifestyle change, and it can be quite difficult to tease out the effects certain foods have on your own metabolism. This is why measuring your ketones is essential if you want to fully reap the rewards of a low-carbohydrate lifestyle.
Ketone tracking is hugely beneficial to first-time carb cutters, as these people often test out which choices might increase their ketone levels. But it’s also useful for anyone who has already reached nutritional ketosis and strives to stay there. After all, understanding what kicks you out of ketosis is just as valuable as understanding what puts you in it!
On top of that, the factors that influence your ketone levels include far more than just the foods you eat. Your exercise patterns, the amount of sleep you get, and the degree of stress in your life can all nudge your metabolism in one direction or another. Tracking your ketones regularly allows you to be better informed about how your body reacts to these factors.
The Best Way to Test for Ketosis
Now that we’ve established the importance of tracking your ketones, let’s turn to a different question: What’s the best way to test for ketosis? Three methods currently exist for testing your ketone levels, but they’re not interchangeable. Let’s explore the options:
Measuring ketones in urine is one of the most common ways to test ketone levels. This method requires you to either pass urine over a test strip or dip it into a container that holds urine. Comparing the resulting color on your test strip with the chart on the product’s packaging gives you an approximate urinary ketone level.Though urinary testing is cost-effective, it suffers from several major disadvantages. First, results from urinary ketone tests are low-resolution and provide only a rough indication of your state of ketosis. Beyond that, urinary testing provides only an average since the previous test rather than an instantaneous value. The reading can also vary with your level of hydration and the amount of time the urine has been in the bladder — factors that are difficult to control for. Additionally, urinary ketones tend to be higher in the early stages of carb restriction and often return to baseline after the body adapts to using ketones for fuel.
Finally, urine testing can be quite inconvenient as it requires you to be near a restroom every time you want to test. Those seeking more convenient and precise measurement options should explore other methods.
Measuring ketones in blood is a more precise and accurate way to test for ketosis than urinary tests. Blood tests require you to prick your finger with a lancing device, apply a drop of blood to a test strip, and insert that strip into a blood meter. Not only is this process invasive and painful, but it also requires time and space to set up all your supplies, safely perform a measurement, and clean up afterward. This makes it very difficult to perform more than one measurement per day or test ketone levels on the go. Also, because blood test strips are single-use supplies (like urine strips), many find the cost of regular blood testing to be highly discouraging.
Measuring ketones in the breath is more convenient than urine testing and less invasive than blood testing. Most breath meters offer unlimited testing without the need for costly disposable supplies. This makes it easier and cheaper to test more frequently and track the effects of certain choices on your ketone levels wherever you are.
BIOSENSE™ is an advanced breath ketone meter developed by Readout Health that delivers high-resolution ketone data in a simple way. The device provides readings from 0-40 ACEs, a unique measurement unit for acetone levels. This stands in contrast to previous breath meters, which indicate only broad ranges rather than precise readings.
BIOSENSE™ is portable and provides information directly on the device screen without requiring a connection with a mobile application. Once you connect to the BIOSENSE mobile app, your trends, streaks, and goal progress will automatically update with any new data you’ve collected. This combination provides the best of both worlds: real-time feedback right on the device and more in-depth analysis when you log in to the app.
High-resolution data is the best way to know whether your lifestyle choices put you on the road to real results. Although BIOSENSE™ is only one way to measure ketosis, it’s the best way to get personalized feedback that will allow you to move forward in your health journey with a high level of confidence. Accurate, real-time data allows you to make changes quickly, improve on your existing plan, and conduct experiments as often as necessary.
Ultimately, you’re in charge of making the right decisions for your body’s overall performance and health. The better informed those decisions are, the better your outcomes will be.