When a ketogenic programme is followed correctly, your body undergoes many biological adaptations including a reduction in insulin levels and increased fat breakdown. When this happens, your liver starts producing increasingly higher numbers of ketones to supply energy to the brain. You will start to experience the benefits of mental alertness and clarity, you may feel like you have more energy and focus and perhaps your pants may become looser around your waist as you start to lose fat. These are all great signs that you may be in nutritional ketosis, but how do you really know if you are and if your efforts are correctly focused?
There are a number of ways to measure ketones. Breath analysers monitor levels of acetone which is one of the three main ketones present in your blood during ketosis. More acetone leaves your body when you are in nutritional ketosis so increased acetone levels indicate ketosis.
Urine indicator strips also test for ketone levels, however this method sometimes has compromised accuracy. The most reliable and accurate method of testing if you’re in ketosis is to measure your blood ketone levels using a specialised meter. A small pin prick to the finger releases the blood onto a strip which is inserted into the machine to measure your ketone levels. This meter calculates the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in your blood. Nutritional ketosis is defined as blood ketones ranging from 0.5 – 3.0 millimolar (mmol/L). Your sweet spot for ketosis is anything between 0.5 and 1 mmol/L.