Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
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Someone Tell me the Truth about Ketosis

by (90)
Updated about 15 hours ago
Created June 17, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Is it true or isn't it true that the color of the strips doesn't matter? I realize the blood test way is the most accurate but holy crap, they are way out of my budget. Should I consider myself in trouble if the sticks read "trace"? If I don't feel tired then isn't that evidence that I am making sufficient ketones, i.e. my glycogen stores are empty and I'm using ketones for energy? My friend says that if it's purple, that means your body is burning more fat. I repeat what I heard (I need to personally research this) that it doesn't matter what color it is as long as it's registering at least trace. How do get a good understanding of the fundamentals of ketosis? P.S. I am losing 2 lbs weekly and have lots of energy, yet am rarely purple.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce
3432 · July 11, 2013 at 1:14 AM

But, to answer your question, you're eating way too many carbs. As far as staying keto, it doesn't matter where they come from. Now they may or may not be more useful taken in different forms at different times. But for what you're asking... carbs are carbs & you're eating too many. I also use a vegan (soy free) protein because it just tastes best to me. By the time you process the protein I doubt the source is relevant, as long as you're getting a full spectrum.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce
3432 · July 11, 2013 at 1:10 AM

You're going to mess up your hormones if you go any leaner.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f
4218 · November 14, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Yikes. I honestly can't conceive of eating six times a day, personally. I eat once, maybe twice. And I only do vegetables once every two or three days.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · November 14, 2012 at 8:26 PM

How about some ground beef? Or chicken breast? No carbs there.

01b48eed29453942fb2d30eaef207f98
0 · November 14, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Matt, I have to take vegan protein powder because I am allergic to WHEY! Do you know of any other protein powder? I was told at the supplements store that other than whey I would be looking at vegan protein (pea, hemp, etc) and unfortunately they all have a few grams of carbs. I want to get into Ketosis to loose that stubborn weight below my belly button and I also carry some weight on my quads, specifically above my knee. I'm working my legs well to try to grow the muscle as well.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · November 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Why would you want to be in ketosis anyway? You're already extremely lean at 14% BF. Vegan protein powder? Sounds like you're uber-confused about what this site is.

5df8b2d60e5e5b95636289eed6e4320d
260 · July 15, 2012 at 3:38 AM

GurlzLuvSteak - Very true. Metabolic derangement and activity level has a lot to do with all of this - but she said she is losing weight, so hopefully her overall picture is close enough to the mark to keep her moving in the right direction!

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21405 · June 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Boogiemaam, unless I am missing something I think the author may have accidentally grabbed the price for Glucose strips instead of Ketone strips - those appear to be around $50 for 10 strips, whereas the Glucose strips are $50/100.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82
280 · June 22, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Each, I mean. :) I think you have to buy packs of 24.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82
280 · June 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Your favorite Canadian pharmacy sells them for US$1.75-2, usually.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4873 · June 21, 2012 at 7:44 PM

I might add, there is a substantial scientific literature about ketosis and ketogenic diets. Some of these papers (for example, any paper with GF Cahill as one of the authors) were done as pure science. Others were done in the context of medical treatment for childhood epilepsy. This research goes back to the 1920s. For anybody who really wants to know about ketosis, I recommend these papers. There are links to some good free ones on my unfinished website here: http://www.ketocure.com/p/papers_fasting_and_ketosis.html

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4873 · June 21, 2012 at 7:36 PM

@Borofergie, thanks for the tremendous compliment.

7e6644836cdbcbe2b06307ff7db92d31
693 · June 21, 2012 at 6:51 PM

I did "original" Atkins many years ago. Shot for zero carbs just to have a fighting chance of staying under what he recommended for induction (maybe 20 grams?). Anyway, I was in for 11 days and the test strips were always dark purple. I've read here that the strips will clear as your body starts using ketones (and clear for other reasons like dilution if you drink a lot of water). Not sure I believe any of that yet. Purple is purple, and the rest may be semantics or "degrees of ketosis" whatever that means. That's kind of where I'm at until I see something more convincing.

9d6fe8e0399bba8d698110c694330866
0 · June 21, 2012 at 6:08 PM

you can get strips on walmart.com for 7 bucks shipped. for 50

Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
90 · June 20, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Where on God's green earth do you get BLOOD KETONE TEST STRIPS FOR $35 FOR 50. Pray tell!

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11478 · June 18, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Yes, if I run a 5k race, even in deep ketosis, I always get a massive liver dump.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
418 · June 18, 2012 at 4:44 AM

No, the new one on performance. Not the old one, Karen. Volek's new book has updated ketosis & ketone info. Still thanks for being helpful.

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418 · June 18, 2012 at 4:26 AM

"If you are under 50 carbs per day, you are in ketosis" This isn't true, strictly. It's a good enough guide for many but if you're insulin resistant, or pre diabetic, you may need to dial down protein and carbs. Some may not reach blood BHB levls above .5 until they're down to 20 total carbs. Jimmy Moore is an example, I think he had to take it down to 15 actually, may be even less.

Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
90 · June 18, 2012 at 2:41 AM

Thank you. Also, I am a horrible jerk. So, good call. Ha ha.

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11478 · June 17, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Too much protein, not enough fat.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f
11581 · June 17, 2012 at 9:15 PM

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable [Paperback] Stephen D. Phinney (Author), Jeff S. Volek (Author) http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Science-Carbohydrate-Living/dp/0983490708

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f
11581 · June 17, 2012 at 9:13 PM

There is no advantage to having a purple ketostix.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2
2904 · June 17, 2012 at 9:10 PM

It's not, because dietary fat still shows up as ketones. If you're burning dietary fat for energy, you may not necessarily be using body fat (which is kind of the whole goal of ketosis.)

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d
11478 · June 17, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Bang on. If your ketostix aren't purple enough, it's probably because you're eating too much protein.

Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
90 · June 17, 2012 at 6:51 PM

I think people imagine that a "deep" ketosis is evidence of more abundant burning fat and "trace" ketosis is evidence of minimal burning fat. This is the core of my question.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · June 17, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Isn't it also true that once your body begins using ketones, fewer come out in your urine, affecting the strip's results?

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12 Answers

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5df8b2d60e5e5b95636289eed6e4320d
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260 · June 17, 2012 at 7:05 PM

It really depends on a lot of factors. How long have you been low carb? Ketosticks measure the ketone that your body is eliminating . . . if you are fat adapted (usually it takes several weeks on a low carb diet to get there) your body will efficiently use all of the ketones for energy. In the fat adapted state many people show only trace amounts on a Ketostick.

Another factor can be over consumption of protein (not usually a problem for most people). Through gluconeogenesis your body can turn excess protein into glucose - and that can kick you out of ketosis.

Two quick things - 1) Keep a food journal. If you are under 50 carbs per day, you are in ketosis - regardless of what the Ketostick says. 2) You are still losing weight, and have lots of energy . . . what you're doing is working . . . don't rock the boat!

Good Luck!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f
11581 · June 17, 2012 at 9:13 PM

There is no advantage to having a purple ketostix.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d
11478 · June 17, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Bang on. If your ketostix aren't purple enough, it's probably because you're eating too much protein.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
418 · June 18, 2012 at 4:26 AM

"If you are under 50 carbs per day, you are in ketosis" This isn't true, strictly. It's a good enough guide for many but if you're insulin resistant, or pre diabetic, you may need to dial down protein and carbs. Some may not reach blood BHB levls above .5 until they're down to 20 total carbs. Jimmy Moore is an example, I think he had to take it down to 15 actually, may be even less.

5df8b2d60e5e5b95636289eed6e4320d
260 · July 15, 2012 at 3:38 AM

GurlzLuvSteak - Very true. Metabolic derangement and activity level has a lot to do with all of this - but she said she is losing weight, so hopefully her overall picture is close enough to the mark to keep her moving in the right direction!

best answer

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d
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11478 · June 17, 2012 at 9:22 PM

There are lots of reasons why your ketostix might not be turning purple:

  1. They're out of date
  2. They've got damp
  3. You're drinking too much liquid and diluting them out
  4. You're testing at the wrong time (they're highest in the evening, lowest in the morning).
  5. You're burning them all up.

However, the most likely reason is that you're not deep in ketosis.

Probable reasons for this are:

  1. You're eating too many carbs
  2. You're eating too much protein (more than 0.8g per lb of lean body mass)
  3. You're eating too many calories
  4. You're fundamentally a bad person.

Number 2 will probably catch you out the most. (I made the last one up).

In my experience ketostix are a pretty fair guide to blood ketones. If my blood ketones are over 2mmol/l then the stix will be deep purple.

The best possible guide for getting deeper purple is here:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/22451/how-do-i-get-my-ketostixs-to-purple#axzz1y5SqiFug

Read this, and everything RobS has ever written on Paleohacks.

Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
90 · June 18, 2012 at 2:41 AM

Thank you. Also, I am a horrible jerk. So, good call. Ha ha.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4873 · June 21, 2012 at 7:36 PM

@Borofergie, thanks for the tremendous compliment.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4873 · June 21, 2012 at 7:44 PM

I might add, there is a substantial scientific literature about ketosis and ketogenic diets. Some of these papers (for example, any paper with GF Cahill as one of the authors) were done as pure science. Others were done in the context of medical treatment for childhood epilepsy. This research goes back to the 1920s. For anybody who really wants to know about ketosis, I recommend these papers. There are links to some good free ones on my unfinished website here: http://www.ketocure.com/p/papers_fasting_and_ketosis.html

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137
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2181 · June 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM

ALso, the concept that every last bit of glucose is used up before ketones are burned is false. Your glycogen stores are backup fuel for short bursts of energy--fight or flight, etc., and will remain available while you normally burn ketones for energy.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d
11478 · June 18, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Yes, if I run a 5k race, even in deep ketosis, I always get a massive liver dump.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
2
418 · June 17, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Read Volek's on low carb performance for the facts. That's really the best and easiest way.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
418 · June 18, 2012 at 4:44 AM

No, the new one on performance. Not the old one, Karen. Volek's new book has updated ketosis & ketone info. Still thanks for being helpful.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f
11581 · June 17, 2012 at 9:15 PM

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable [Paperback] Stephen D. Phinney (Author), Jeff S. Volek (Author) http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Science-Carbohydrate-Living/dp/0983490708

8bc620aa75babf962a80d33f26782761
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0 · May 07, 2013 at 2:43 AM

You shouldn't be eating 6 times a day on keto. You should be eating 3 times a day max. the idea is that the fat and moderate protein levels keep you full between meals if you eat enough. Heres my diet for the day as a sample:

bfast: 6 whole eggs with 1 tbsp olive oil 60g bacon 30g walnuts lunch: 285g tuna 4 tbsp full fat mayo 2 tbsp olive oil 30g walnuts dinnr: high fat meat to fill out my pro macro of 25-28% of calories walnuts/nuts to fill out fat macros to 70%+ maybe 1/2 cup of green beans, broccoli, asparagus. keep carbs minimal to 0-2% max and dietary fiber doesnt count towards carbs so if it says 10 carbs but 5 fiber then its only 5 carbs. I got in keto really quick with this meal plan just waiting for adaptation to finish so i can go into a cyclical keto diet. Enjoy

01b48eed29453942fb2d30eaef207f98
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0 · November 14, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Can anyone give me a day's diet as an example in 6 meals? what should I have in a breakfast shake, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and possibly a late night snack if I get hungry... I really think I'm getting too much veggies, but I find that without the salads I am still hungry and isn't it bad to not get veggies?

Will adding a spoonful of powder greens or algae/chlorella into my breakfast shake make up for the missing 4-5 servings of veggies a day?

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4218 · November 14, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Yikes. I honestly can't conceive of eating six times a day, personally. I eat once, maybe twice. And I only do vegetables once every two or three days.

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26182 · November 14, 2012 at 4:58 PM

I did a four week N=1 where I used a blood ketone measurement tool and the ketostix. I found the ketostix to be incredibly unreliable. Time of day, hydration levels, and other unknowns made the strips impossible to use.

If you want to use the strips, here's how I was able to get the best results:

Pee into a cup first, peeing on the strips gave different readings than dunking (yes I did both)

Use two strips for each test (I did five at every measurement, and found that there were disagreements)

Do it first thing in the morning before you do anything else. I found that hydration can play a huge part in whether the tests are accurate, while they may not be precise first thing in the morning, they will be repeatable and capable of being used to determine general direction.

Good luck!

01b48eed29453942fb2d30eaef207f98
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0 · November 14, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Hello, can someone please help? I've been trying for weeks to get into ketosis...

when I punch in my food (I use livestrong's my plate application) I see that I often reach about 60-80g carbs, but from sources such as spinach, brocolli, avocado, nut butter, etc... Can someone please help me out and give me a sample meal plan diet for 6 meals a day?? I'm female, 29, 5ft 7.5" 127lbs, 14%body fat, and cannot get my ketosticks to turn colour!

I have no idea what I should be eating. PS - i'm allergic to whey, so I use a combination vegan protein, which has 4g carbs per scoop... can't get away from this.

THank you!

Lexi

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41452 · November 14, 2012 at 8:26 PM

How about some ground beef? Or chicken breast? No carbs there.

01b48eed29453942fb2d30eaef207f98
0 · November 14, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Matt, I have to take vegan protein powder because I am allergic to WHEY! Do you know of any other protein powder? I was told at the supplements store that other than whey I would be looking at vegan protein (pea, hemp, etc) and unfortunately they all have a few grams of carbs. I want to get into Ketosis to loose that stubborn weight below my belly button and I also carry some weight on my quads, specifically above my knee. I'm working my legs well to try to grow the muscle as well.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · November 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Why would you want to be in ketosis anyway? You're already extremely lean at 14% BF. Vegan protein powder? Sounds like you're uber-confused about what this site is.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce
3432 · July 11, 2013 at 1:14 AM

But, to answer your question, you're eating way too many carbs. As far as staying keto, it doesn't matter where they come from. Now they may or may not be more useful taken in different forms at different times. But for what you're asking... carbs are carbs & you're eating too many. I also use a vegan (soy free) protein because it just tastes best to me. By the time you process the protein I doubt the source is relevant, as long as you're getting a full spectrum.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce
3432 · July 11, 2013 at 1:10 AM

You're going to mess up your hormones if you go any leaner.

9d6fe8e0399bba8d698110c694330866
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0 · June 21, 2012 at 6:06 PM

When you aren't diabetic, the levels of ketones marked on the bottle, don't matter much. you are either IN or OUT of ketosis, the darker the strips, usually you're eating a lot of fat that day or you aren't drinking enough water...or a mix of both. There is not "deep" ketosis in the sense being spoken about here I don't think.

9d6fe8e0399bba8d698110c694330866
0 · June 21, 2012 at 6:08 PM

you can get strips on walmart.com for 7 bucks shipped. for 50

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48 · June 18, 2012 at 6:57 AM

I had a similar question about maintaining Ketosis when using a recovery drink after exercise. This was the response I got directly from Jeff Volek (the coauthor of the Low Carb Living series):

As to your question of Progenex interference with keto-adaptation, the best way to know would be to actually measure your blood ketone levels. We hope there will soon be non-invasive technologies to measure acetone in breath, but for now the hand-held glucose/beta-hydroxybutyrate meter from Abbott (Precision Xtra) does a very nice job using a drop of blood from a finger stick. Keto-adaptation occurs when blood levels of ketones are consistently above 0.5, preferably above 1.0 mmol/L. If you find your current recovery product with 8 grams of carbs is bringing your ketone levels down, then you should probably discontinue it. But I suspect it may not have a major impact on ketosis but it depends on many factors (e.g., the rest of your diet including protein intake, your level of insulin resistance/sensitivity, etc.). Again the best way to know if Progenex is having an anti-ketogenic effect is to measure ketones.

And that meter is less than $20 on Amazon with the test strips (for the meter) around $35 for 50 strips. So not overly expensive and the best way to tell how the ketosis is going. Remember, the pee strips don't work after you are keto-adapted. Using the blood meter is the best way to know and will allow you to expiriment and find out how many carbs you can eat before you are knocked out of ketosis (when you are consistantly below 0.5 - 1.0 mmol/L).

Hope that helps.

Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
90 · June 20, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Where on God's green earth do you get BLOOD KETONE TEST STRIPS FOR $35 FOR 50. Pray tell!

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0
21405 · June 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Boogiemaam, unless I am missing something I think the author may have accidentally grabbed the price for Glucose strips instead of Ketone strips - those appear to be around $50 for 10 strips, whereas the Glucose strips are $50/100.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82
280 · June 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Your favorite Canadian pharmacy sells them for US$1.75-2, usually.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82
280 · June 22, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Each, I mean. :) I think you have to buy packs of 24.

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1173 · June 17, 2012 at 9:06 PM

For me the ketostick never reads more than a trace...even if I eat no carbs.

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11478 · June 17, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Too much protein, not enough fat.

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2904 · June 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

I wouldn't go as far as to say the strips don't matter. Having been in ketosis several times, the strips are a good indicator of whether or not you are in ketosis. But as far as being in "deep" ketosis matters...well, that's when things get a little hazy. For example, if you eat stick of butter as your last meal of the day and then retest your urine in the morning, you'll be in the deepest ketosis (dark purple.)

Dietary fat intake has an effect on the ketones your body produces. In reality though, does it really matter how deep into ketosis you are? It should be more than enough to simply know you are in ketosis.

Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843
90 · June 17, 2012 at 6:51 PM

I think people imagine that a "deep" ketosis is evidence of more abundant burning fat and "trace" ketosis is evidence of minimal burning fat. This is the core of my question.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · June 17, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Isn't it also true that once your body begins using ketones, fewer come out in your urine, affecting the strip's results?

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2
2904 · June 17, 2012 at 9:10 PM

It's not, because dietary fat still shows up as ketones. If you're burning dietary fat for energy, you may not necessarily be using body fat (which is kind of the whole goal of ketosis.)

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