I recently bought some ketone detecting strips. (This brand.) I'm toying with using them regularly as an accountability tool in keeping my carbs low.
I'd like to hear more about folks' use of Ketostix or other ketone detecting strips. My main points of curiosity:
In other words, do Ketostix (or ketone detecting strips) work for you, and if so, how do you put them to work for you?
Well, I assist people with diabetes, so my answer might not be applicable to you. I prefer BD's brand - much easier to use. Just catch sample from urine stream 3 seconds after start, wait 15 seconds, done. No collection needed. Shorter shelf life, but the assumption is you are using everyday, so the 50-count vial will be done within the 3-month window, typically.
The best time of day to use is ALWAYS first thing in the morning. Some physicians instruct their patients to test throughout the day, but that is for type 1 diabetes that is fluctuating widely.
With the BD brand, you're looking for "small" or "medium" to know you are in ketosis. It shouldn't fluctuate too much day to day, but one HUGE carb-heavy meal will push you out of ketosis. Many people (again, those with type 2 diabetes) will see a change the next day if their diet returns to reduced carbs.
If you do not have diabetes, I understand sometimes detection can be a problem over time, and probably after awhile you don't need to use them often, maybe for a week every few months as a check-up.
The number of grams of carbs needed to detect a change varies by individual, and depends on what your carb concentration has been for at least the past three days.
I got the Bayer brand at CVS (about $15). Stopped using them after one box because 1) they were expensive; and 2) the data they yielded stopped being interesting after thirty tests or so. I never really went out of ketosis, and I was in it when I bought the strips (I bought them to confirm that which I was already pretty sure about).
The only thing I found that was particularly interesting was that my post-exercise readings (say 12 hours post-exercise) were very high. Otherwise, my readings were consistently low (can't remember the actual values). I was using them this past summer, while playing outdoor soccer. The morning after a game, the color would be dark red, almost purple.
For what it's worth, I eat less than 40 g carbs daily (and probably closer to 10-15).
No favorite brand here. Best deal was at Walmart (6 bucks at the time), but you need the pharmacist to get them out of the locked case. I got them when I was first trying to get into ketosis (which took a long time, 10 days or so). It's been faster after that (2 to 3 days usually).
However, for me, it's REALLY dependent on exercising (which is logical). The idea is your body has glycogen in the liver and muscles. You have to deplete it as part of the process of getting your body into ketosis. If you just eat low carb (no exercise), it's going to slowly use the glycogen, which means the process takes longer. If you exercise hard and use up the glycogen, it'll go faster.
I've not done any strict measurements on carbs, other than verify that I need to be under the general 100gram/day rule. If I eat more, I'm out of ketosis. This number can vary for different people though.
Trick I saw on extending the strip supply when you're testing multiple times/day. Use scissors and split them down the middle so you have 2 strips (the test patch isn't affected by this). Not necessary if you're only testing once a day, but I was an eager beaver the first time. Am I in ketosis yet? Am I in ketosis yet? Am I in ketosis yet? :).
I rarely use them now (they stop working once you're solidly in fat burning mode). When you really go into ketosis the first time, track how you feel. You'll be able to tell without the strips after that. Good energy, no sugar crash, low hunger, dead raccoon breath (not related to the hunger, honest!).