How can I tell if I’m in ketosis?

Before you go out and buy ketostix, short litmus-like strips that you pee on to measure ketones, let’s talk about ketones.

Ketones are a byproduct of your liver breaking down fats for fuel. The short answer is:  If you are eating 20g or less of carbs per day you are in nutritional ketosis.

Some people like to buy the pee strips. That’s fine. They will tell you if you’ve begun to produce ketones. Once you know that, however, they are useless. First of all, they measure only one of three types of ketone body – acetoacetate. There are three different ketone bodies: acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutryate (BHB). Secondly, they only show what is being excreted, not what is being used. Once your body gets good at using acetoacetate, your pee strips will not show color even though you’re still in ketosis.

The best way to measure your available ketone level is to use either a blood meter or a breath meter. For a more complete discussion of measuring ketones see

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