The ketogenic diet is a strict, low-carb diet that is gaining in popularity due to claimed health benefits, which include dramatic weight loss, lowered blood triglycerides, increased levels of good cholesterol and more.
Maintaining a keto diet can be difficult, though, and it involves not only dedication but accurate tracking of the amount of carbs you ingest each day. It is also important to check your ketone levels daily to ensure you are keeping your body in a state of ketosis. The best and most affordable method of doing this is with at-home ketone test strips.
If you have been following a keto lifestyle for a while and are looking for the most accurate test, the Keto-Doc Advanced Ketone Blood Meter Testing Kit stands out as a top choice. It only requires a small blood sample, provides results in just 10 seconds and gives you a numeric value in a digital format, so there is never any guesswork or color matching to deal with.
Those who are just starting on their keto journey may want to opt for a urine testing kit instead, such as the Keto Mojo Ketone Test Strips. It is easier to use and doesn’t require pricking your finger.
The two main methods for measuring the level of ketones in your body are urine testing and blood testing. The majority of people, especially those who are just getting started on a keto lifestyle and want a quick way to check if they are keeping themselves in ketosis, opt for urinalysis in home settings because it is cheaper and easier. You can find urine test strips that check for both acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate, the latter of which is the most predominant ketone produced by the body.
If you want more accurate results, you will need to opt for a blood ketone test. These are less likely to be affected by hydration levels, exercise and food consumption. The downside of blood testing for ketones is that you will need to buy a lancet for pricking your finger and a meter. Oftentimes, you can purchase these as a kit that also includes some testing strips to get you started.
If using urine testing strips, the process is very simple. Depending on the ones you have purchased, you may urinate directly on them, or you may urinate into a cup and then dip the absorptive end of the test strip into the sample afterward. Wait whatever amount of time is specified in the directions of your test strips, usually 30 to 40 seconds, and then compare the colors on your test strip to the included guide to determine your ketone value.
Blood testing is a slightly more involved process that requires you to insert a blood ketone strip into your meter, then load a needle into the lancet and prick your finger to draw some blood. Touch your fingertip with the drop of blood to the strip and then wait for the meter to display the results. They will be provided as a numeric value that takes away the guesswork of color matching like with urine test strips.
With both testing methods, it is important to wash your hands before getting started to ensure there isn’t any substance on your skin that could skew the results.
No matter which type of test you use, you will get the most accurate results if you adhere to a regular testing schedule. This means testing yourself at the same time every day, ideally early in the morning or at least several hours after a meal.
You will get the most accurate results from urine ketone test strips if you choose one that measures both acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Acetoacetate is the first type of ketone your body produces, which can then be used as energy, converted into beta-hydroxybutyrate or broken down in acetone. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is the most energy-efficient ketone and will be produced in higher concentrations after you have sustained a carb-restricted diet for a long period of time.
When buying ketone blood test strips, you can find them packaged with needles for your lancet. You should note that not all blood ketone test strips are compatible with all machines, so make sure to check that any you are considering purchasing will work with your device.
Some urine ketone test strips may come bundled with disposable cups that can make collecting your urine sample easier.
All ketone test strips have an expiration date and a shelf life, so you don’t want to buy more than you will use within that time. Commonly, the shelf life is two years when sealed and anywhere from 90 to 180 days once the package is opened.
The longer a urine test strip is, the easier it is to avoid getting any urine on your hands during testing. If you are worried about this, look for strips labeled as extra-long.
Some keto test strips are designed to integrate with an app from the manufacturer. These will allow you to enter and track your ketone levels over time. Some are also capable of reading the test strips, which takes away the guesswork of manually color matching to the guide.
Urine ketone test strips usually cost between $0.05 and $0.10 per strip; however, strips designed to automatically integrate with apps can cost as much as $5 each. Blood ketone test strips generally cost between $0.50 and $1 per strip.
A. Most experts recommend keeping your ketone levels between 0.5–3.0 mg/dL for nutritional ketosis.
A. In addition to blood and urine ketone testing, you can also use a ketone breath tester; however, this is considered the least accurate method.
Keto-Doc Advanced Ketone Blood Meter Testing Kit
What you need to know: This is a highly accurate testing kit for people who don’t mind pricking their finger that provides results in just 10 seconds.
What you’ll love: Its large-digit, high-contrast display is easy to read, and it only requires a small blood sample of 0.5 ul. Also, it can save 180 test results for later recall.
What you should consider: It only comes with 10 strips and needles to get you started.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: A great choice for beginners, these strips are affordably priced and come with a free keto lifestyle guide eBook to get you started.
What you’ll love: They are extra long to reduce the chances of getting urine on your fingers, and the company makes a free app you can use to track your test results and progress.
What you should consider: The color result portion of the strip is very small, which some may find makes matching difficult.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This advanced option provides a 10-parameter urinalysis to look for infections, kidney functions, hydration, ketone levels and more.
What you’ll love: The associated app can read the results directly from the test strips and will not only track your results but also provide you with personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice from experts.
What you should consider: The per-strip cost is too high for daily use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.