A New Toy Measuring Blood Ketones


I just got a new toy: a device for measuring blood ketones. This is a far more exact and reliable measurement than testing for urine ketones using cheap dipsticks. Ketosis is of course the state the body is in when eating very low carb. Ketones, made from fat, will then fuel the brain instead of glucose.

So who needs one of these gadgets? Perhaps nobody. Obviously it’s easy to eat LCHF without it. This is for curious nerds (like me) and for those who want definite proof that they are eating so little carbs that insulin levels are low and fat burning is maximized.

A ketone level somewhere between 1.5 – 3 is said to be an optimal level for maximizing weight loss. It means that insulin levels are very low. As you can see my first measurement was 0.2, after a caesar sallad dinner. I’m not surprised as I’ve probably eaten at least 50 grams of carbs a day lately.

I will try it out fasting in the mornings during the coming days. Perhaps I’ll try being really strict with the carbs for a while to see what happens.

Have you tried one of these or are you interested in doing it?

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Top Comment

  1. Willis Morse
    After a huge weight loss and health improvement five years ago with very low carb, I've been backsliding in weight gain and health for the last few years, despite rigorous very low carb diet. I got this meter and lo and behold, I wasn't anywhere near ketosis. As soon as I cut WAY back on protein, a la Volek/Phinney/Moore, I start going into ketosis again. I've played with this up and down a couple of times now, and it's totally repeatable even over a single day. I had to drop from an average of 150g protein/day down to around 70g protein/day. That's pretty close to the "0.5g protein/lb lean body weight" amount suggested by Volek and Phinney.

    Also, my fasting glucose dropped when I dropped the protein. It bounces around a lot, but the trend seems to be upper 90s before, low 80s afterwards.

    It doesn't seem to matter how many calories I eat, or how much fat I eat. Ketosis seems to be directly tied to the ABSOLUTE amount of protein and carbs I eat. Once I've hit my protein and carb limit for the day, I can stop eating or I can guzzle pure fat; it doesn't matter. This holds true whether I eat 800 or 1600 calories in a day. It basically means I have a meat and eggs budget for the day (my two largest sources of protein).

    I don't think it's really about the macronutrient ratio in your diet. I think it's about absolute amounts that you can tolerate. I think focusing on percentages of macronutrients just confuses the issue; if you eat 70g of protein each day, the daily percentage of protein will change if you eat 800 calories one day and 2000 the next. Percentages only make sense in the context of a constant number of calories. It's not mathematically incorrect to talk about percentages, it's just a more indirect way to calculate things. Just like expressing your carb limit as 20g/day; it's much simpler to track.

    I bought the ketone strips from the Canadian pharmacy that Jimmy mentioned in his original post. Much cheaper, but they did take almost a month to arrive. But even at high US $ rates, I think a pack or two of strips is a worthwhile investment if you aren't already dialed into steady weight loss.

    Replies: #105, #108
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All Comments

  1. Mariza
    Sorry ? its 2.6 lol
  2. Matt
    No, no they do not. People end up in the hospital for keto acidosis not for having ketone bodies in their blood. You should research a ketogenic diet and its effects and benefits on health before posting.
    Reply: #210
  3. Bunty
    if you eat fat, your body needs to burn that before it can tap into your body's stored fat, correct? If that is the case, you should see ketones in urine/blood after consuming fat, without signifying that you are burning stored fat. Right ?
    Reply: #204
  4. Yes you can have ketones in the blood without burning body fat 🙂

    If you are interested in detail how ketosis works , I think Peter Attia have written some really good posts.

    if you eat fat, your body needs to burn that before it can tap into your body's stored fat, correct? If that is the case, you should see ketones in urine/blood after consuming fat, without signifying that you are burning stored fat. Right ?

  5. Becca
    I've been doing keto since June of2015. I've had the precision x ketone/glucose meter. I've gotten the strips 100 for $150) so I test a lot. The only time I've gotten to 1.5 and above is when I'm outright fat fasting. Beyond that it rarely goes above .7.

    My weight loss is often stalled, in the 10 months I've been eating this way I've lost 57 lbs. I started at 304 lbs, I honestly need to get down to 180 or so (I'm 5'10" woman, 35 years old, big build).

    I've found the smallest thing (1/2 cup berries) will drop my ketones down to .3.

    Anyway what can I do to tweak things? I don't expect fast weight loss, I've gotten over that. 10 years ago I dropped 120 lbs in a year and I've read about the one golden bullet everyone gets. I used and squandered mine.

    Anyway I've read several books, keto clarity and the art and science of the low carb lifestyle Etc. Loved those books but I guess I am trying to use my precision xtra as a tool to see what effects my levels but I haven't been able to find anything really concrete as to how long should I test after eating, how much these numbers really matter, whether it's the fat in the food effecting the numbers or if it's my fat releasing?

    I'm also considering trying to just load up on pure fat for a few days, more of an extreme fat fast, like 2000-3000 calories of 90% + fat to see if that helps? Oy sorry for rambling just a little frustrated at how slow the results are. I'd be happy with a consistent 1-2 lbs a week lost.

    Also I don't exercise because I am afraid of producing cortisol and preventing fat loss.

    Reply: #213
  6. Su-Chong Lim
    @Becca: when you say you've gotten the strips 100 for $150, do you mean the keto strips for the Abbot Precision keto-glucometer? That's the lowest price I've heard of. Could you tell us where or how you got them, and was there any difficulties etc?
  7. Geraldine Denise
    Stephen , I'm in Brazil and I've been doing LCHF for quite some time. At the beginning I didn't lose weight and I believe or rather know I was eating too much protein. I took the two week challenge, bought Dr. Andreas's "TOY" and in the middle of the challenge, after one week I had light ketosis with a reading of 1.5 Now a few weeks later after reducing the amount of protein and upping fat consumption, +/- 20 carbs, I'm in "Optimal Ketosis" Toy reads 2'6 I'm not fasting , although on Mondays I have a Fat Coffee, (Bullet Proof coffee with butter and Coconut Oil) at Breakfast and eat around two o'clock. I suppose this might constitute Intermittant Fasting, 16-8. Not hungry very often and eat dark chocolate every day. Don't count calories. Really enjoying this way of life!
  8. Geraldine Denise
    Sheila you will lose more fat if you limit your protein like I did. I weigh 64 kgs. and I need 57grams of protein a day. There is a site where you can check how to regulate your macronutrients. It's about one gram of protein to each kilo of weight. Google "Keto Academy" you'll get there, if you reduce the protein and eat more fat you'll lose quicker.
  9. Geraldine Denise
    Here's the link to the Macronutrient calculator.
  10. Geraldine Denise
    I don't know why people are so quick off the mark to declare incorrect facts. Why would she be reading this site if she's so ignorant of the basics of LCHF?
  11. Hillary
    I have the Abbott Precision Xtra glucose and Ketone meter, purchased it on Amazon. The ketone blood testing strips are very expensive however I found an online drug store "universal drugstore" and the strips were significantly less expensive when purchased from them.
    My blood ketone levels range .8 to 1.5. I keep a log of everything I eat and test my blood several times a day. I admit I have a very sedentary lifestyle and hate going to gyms.

    I don't know how to stay in the optimal ketone range? I hit it once a day and then fall back to .8 or .9. Any suggestions?

  12. Rafael
    Cassie, you are misinformed. A ketogenic diet is based on high ketones (.50 to 3.0) and LOW blood sugar. Ketoacidosis occurs with high very ketomes(over 10.0) and HIGH blood sugar. As a type 2 that once had a bout with ketoacidosis, i know the difference. A ketogenic diet keeps blood sugar down, so ketoacidosis is never a concern.
  13. Rafael
    Becca, i have a small fb group ketogenics 101, and what i have found to be very successful is a combination of a ketogenic diet coupled with a 5-2 fast protocol. Join me there for more details. Not trying to sell anything, just sharing info.
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