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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163 Comments

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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  1. Brenda
    I am running HI ketones (over 8) my meter will not read it at all. I have eliminated all carbs, starches and dairy products. It is driving me crazy! I lost 14 pounds in four weeks and I am 136 pounds at this time. Has anyone experience such a high level of ketone burning and is it good? Should I be concern? My doctor doesn't believe in any of this stuff, but his diet didn't work in 10 years.
  2. Zepp
    Yes, its starving ketosis or type 1 and to litle insulin!

    Now that you know that, what is you going to do about it?

    Are you type1?

    Up to 6 is starving or post excersise ketosis!

    Optimal diet induced ketosis is 1-3.

    10 or over is typical type 1 and if you go further one can get keto acidos!

  3. Lauren
    Ok so I am diabetic and I know for a fact that ketones in your blood are life threatening. NEVER try to get your ketone levels up. If they are above 0.6 you require immediate medical attention. It's very serious. If you want to lose weight do not have low carb diets just eat the amount of carbs you require. It will differ for everyone depending on exercise and size what amount of carbs you should be having but you should definitely not have less carbs. This leads to type 2 diabetes. If you wanna lose weight see your doctor for help.
    Replies: #154, #155
  4. Misko
    Thanks for your concern, Lauren. But if you browse thru this blog and do some research on "ketosis", "nutritional ketosis", "ketogenic diet", etc. and look for the works of Dr Stephen Phinney, Dr Jeff Volek, Dr Peter Attia, Dr Andreas Eenfeldt, and many others on this subject, you'll learn that many many people are in the best shape of their lives on this diet.

    I've personally been eating a high fat very low carb moderate protein diet for almost eight months now and I'm in the best shape of my life, both physically and mentally, and so our countless others.

  5. Galina L.
    Dr. Bernstein(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_K._Bernstein) who is D1 since 12 years old recommends no more than 30 grams of carbohydrates a day for diabetics( http://www.diabetes-book.com/readit.shtml). He is 80 years old now, still working treating diabetics.
  6. Tim
    Hi, Ive been following low carb and Keto for a while now but I only recently bought a glucose/ketone test meter. Although I thought I was doing everything right I struggle t get into ketosis. My carb intake is around 30 g per day,and protein around 80g. I have been in and out of ketosis for about 6 weeks. I seem to take ages to get in and then drop out really easily.
    Just because I had the test meter I started to test my blood glucose and its really high in the morning 120.6 to 145 it then drops slightly during the day. I'm really at a loss to explain it. I seem to be bordering on type 2. I'm 53 I cycle every weekend and train at least twice a week on the bike and lift weights on the other days. I weight in at 153lb. Should I be worried about the high glucose readings? and is the high blood sugar preventing ketosis?
    Thanks
    Replies: #157, #158
  7. sten
    This is THE problem after a while! Google Jimmy Moore as he solved it for himself, but with a lot of efforts, like workouts and limiting protein intake after mid day, also limiting carbs then of course.
    Our livers make glucose from protein during sleep...., and it seems the worse metabolic syndrome the higher it gets in the mornings.
    Proteins and a glass of wine to evening dinner helps, which can compensate when eating out I also found that some raw vegetables - organic of course to avoid increased load of primarily glyphosate toxin (roundup) that is heavily used on all non-organic plants - was lowering the dawn phenomenon! Re ketone meter; Not really needed until morning BS is close or below 100!

    BS over 5.5 (100) to 6.9 (125) is regarded prediabetic.
    Here blood vessel damages also start, although slowly but making it important to get out of it quickly!

    Welcomes like you more and better advices how to solve this problem permanently.
    Diabetics have these problems all the time of course.

  8. Zepp
    Morning sugar shall be higher then other fastig sugar!

    Its part of your cirkadian cycle and cald Dawn phenomenon!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_phenomenon

    Its linked to Cortisol awakening response.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol_awakening_response

    So take a A1c and se if that is better?

    Reply: #159
  9. sten
    Dawn phenomenon induced by cortisol that drives fasting BS over 5.5 it is regarded prediabetic. Something to avoid as it has potential consequences on eysight, hearing, dementia and blood vessels in general through plaque building. I guess when plaque builds in our finest blood vessels it can be measued through how hearing of higher pitch tones disappears; what goes at the same time we can guess. Progressively "everything" goes the same way. As I see it the speed depends on average blood sugar which is also measured with HbA1c.
    Reply: #162
  10. Nan
    @Tim- I had to drop my carbs below 20 per day, and then my over-all calories. My BG dropped from around 95-100 to the 80s, but my ketone response was unimpressive (I use the PrecisionX tone meter). I was taking in too much fat, though adequate protein, which means my body didn't need to dig into its reserves. Now, having adjusted my calories down, my AM fasting ketones register at around .5-.7. I am in late middle-age, which matters, and had become insulin resistant, so just going low carb wasn't enough, despite a regular exercise schedule with hit weekly and regular long walks 2-3 miles. I wish more emphasis would be given to the metabolic spectrum and that while most people can do the basics and get good results, some of us, like Jimmy Moore, have to work harder and be strict to get any results. I would love to not have to count calories, but contrary to what Dr. E has stated, some of us do have to monitor caloric intake, along with everything else, and closely.

    http://www.sugaraholics.com

    Reply: #161
  11. sten
    Thank you for that comment. One of the "last nails" in the coffin of the metabolic syndrome I think, calorie reduction.
    And once the visceral fat is burning - through cutting also the fat intake as you say - one must carry on to a level well below what measures as metabolic syndrome, which can be tough I think.

    Visceral fat that comes and goes with the seasons is probably an asset while the same stuff sitting in the same place for years becomes more of a culprit. If the fat also store toxins over time our bodies are probably also reluctant to let it dissolve back into the circulation. (kind of taste, spit and avoid also at that level ?) ( A nasty longer time dimension living around too much environmental toxins)
    Yet once that journey is over - if we ever get there- I think the problems associated with the MS vanishes, as showed by the Newcastle doctor that measured VF before and after a seriously reduced carefully supervised low calorie diet:
    Then diabetes and visceral fat disappeared together!
    But because none of those (all diabetes 2) test subjects practised LCHF or similar, 99% or all returned to diabetes within a short time after the trial.
    Yet the connection was proven.

  12. Zepp
    Yes it is.. but one cant do anything about ones cirkadian cycle.. more then try to be less insulin resistante and to be healtyer.

    A better prediction on prediabetes is postprandial glucose levels.

    It can take 10-30 years to develope full diabetes.. faster if one realy tryes!

    The thing to know about Dawn phenomenon is that it is by cirkadian cycle that rise glucose levels by excreting mostly cortisol.. if one tryes to lower it by taking more insulin, the body excret more cortisol and then one can get a fluctuating glucose level the whole day.

    Best approche still seems to be to take a swift walk early in the morning, to signaling that the dawn is gone.

    Reply: #163
  13. sten
    Hi Zepp, thanks for your reply, keeps the minds going!
    I personally am not concerned with diabetes, yet my entry to LCHF came from heart disease which usually comes with prediabetes, so I am concerned that I will not fall back down in that angina hole that LCHF cleared me 100% from. My heart calcium score scan values had increased slightly between 2006 and 2014 and angina went with LCHF in January 2012, so it may well have increased before 2012. But better safe than sorry especially in a deadly matter like this.

    There are of course other things at play than the circadian cycle. I think we all agree that the blood sugar is not meant to rise over 5.5, and it is one indication of prediabetes when it does, although A1c and glucose challenge are others.

    Here I will attempt to make a simple explanation for thr events, as I see it. Other facors may of course be at play but I think this one may be the prominent one. Not proven!

    When BS rises too high in morning it can be due to poor metabolism or lack of natural melatonin or melatonin does not work as it should. Or mayb poor thyroid.
    In younger people and healthy older it is normal that after some hours sleep capillary blood vessels are dilated. The noticable effect is a feeling of warmth in limbs, particularly in feet. The reason for it may be regular maintenance, and maybe all capillaries open up like this at the same time, in essence to open the smallest vessels for "clean up" to prevent early blockages.
    But the effect is only noticed in the capillaries in the skin, are noticed through the warming up of the skin. A second side effect -that realets to the blood sugar usage - is that when the body cools down as a result of the transport of warm blood into the cappillaries of the skin, the overall body temperature is reduced and energy is required to compensate for this! The core body temp reduction can be 0.25 degree while normal warming in skin can be + 2 degrees. To maintain homeostasis extra energy must be provided, supplied by deafult as part of the package?

    Hence when this nightly opening up of capillaries is dysfunctional to any degree, the result maybe that the unused energy results in raised morning blood sugar.

    A major manifestation is cold feet through most of the night. A quick and maybe lasting fix I found is some vinegar late at night, before teeth brushing as the acidy stuff definitely can harm the enamel.
    I now found that there is a well known positive correlation between cold feet and diabetes, which for us prediabetics may mean high morning blood sugar...
    http://www.diabetesmonitor.com/supplies/foot-care/diabetes-and-cold-f...

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