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Ketone Testing: How to Know if the Ketogenic Diet is Working

It’s a brand new decade. And it’s off to a good start! After watching your coworker Janice drop 40 pounds, you’ve finally decided to give keto a go— and what better time than January— right?! So you downloaded a sample menu plan. Watched the Keto Kickstart Masterclass. Polished off your junk food and restocked with the essentials— butter, bacon and coffee ;).

“Let’s do this!”

Tomorrow rolls around and you hop on the scale— nothin’— zero pounds lost.

Okay, no biggie. It’s only day one.”

The following day you’re SUPER strict— bulletproof breakfast, lean lunch, followed by intermittent fasting for dinner. Next morning it’s back to the scale— nothin’— not a damn pound.


So Janice recommends you run to Walgreens and purchase some ketone strips. You take her advise— pee on the strip— and watch as nothing happens.

Begrudgingly, you give it another go. This day even more militant than before. That evening you bust out your strip and wait in anticipation.

“Neutral?! Forget this garbage!”

Whoa, whoa, whoa friend— pump the breaks! First off, if you actually watched the Keto Kickstart Masterclass, you would know that keto is a LOT more than bacon and butter. Second, those pee strips are basically garbage. And finally, ketosis takes a while to get into— so be patient.

“What’s the deal with ketosis anyhow?”

Let’s recap.

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses ketones (derived from stored or ingested fat) instead of glucose (sugar and carbs), for energy.

Ketosis is basically the holy grail of keto. Meaning, if you can maintain a consistent state of nutritional ketosis— you’ve mastered keto (for the most part).

Fortunately, ketosis is not some elusive metabolic state. In fact, it’s 100% measurable. In order to know (for sure) you’re in a state of ketosis, you can simply test your ketone levels. There are 3 common methods for measuring ketone levels.

3 Ways to Measure Ketone Levels

1. Urine Testing

The first (and most common) option when it comes to measuring ketone levels is to test your urine. Urine testing involves peeing on a test strip (and often your hand) in order to measure excess amounts of ketones within the body. Urine testing may help to determine if you’re in a state of ketosis, but they aren’t always accurate. Adaptation and hydration play a major role in the outcome of your read— often resulting in misleading results.

If you choose to go this route, I’d recommend the brand Perfect Keto, they run around 8 bucks on Amazon. However, if you’re impatient like me, you can always purchase an off-brand at your local Walgreens or CVS.

2. Breath Testing

The second method of ketone testing involves your breath. You can actually measure the amount of acetone in your body by using a breath meter. However— you should know— that this is the least reliable method of ketone testing. And not one I’d personally recommend (especially if you’re a boozer).

3. Blood Testing

The third, and most reliable method of ketone testing involves drawing blood. Now don’t worry— it isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. By squeezing a single drop of blood onto a test stick, you can test the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your body. Blood testing will determine whether or not you are in a state of ketosis (down to the millimole). However, blood testing is the most expensive method available.

If you’re considering keto for the long haul, or diabetic— you’re wise to invest. I’d recommend the Precision Xtra for diabetics. And Keto Mojo for the lifers. Both have great reviews. Precision Xtra is more expensive. However, it measures both beta-hydroxybutyrate and blood glucose.

Understanding the Ketone Spectrum

Ketosis isn’t as simple as you’re in or you’re out. There’s a whole spectrum involved. Dr. Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD and Jeff Volek, PhD, RD suggest nutritional ketosis begins at molecular concentration levels of 0.5 mmol/L. Which means, once you cross the 0.5 threshold, you’re officially “in ketosis.” Now, it doesn’t stop there. Beyond “nutritional,” there are progressive zones of “optimal” or “theraputic” ketosis.

How Do You Know Which Zone is Best?

Well, that all depends on your goals.

If weight loss is your primary goal, then nutritional ketosis (0.5 mmol/L-1.0 mmol/L) is a good starting point. As your weight plateaus (or if you’re up for the challenge), aim for optimal ketosis (1.0 mmol/L-3.0 mmol/L).

Individuals seeking therapeutic benefits for medical conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, or endocrine and metabolic disorders are generally encouraged to aim for therapeutic ketosis (3.0 mmol/L -5.0 mmol/L).

Long-term keto enthusiasts or athletes may want to consider a cyclical keto diet (CKD). In which case, therapeutic ketosis (3.0 mmol/L -5.0 mmol/L) is a solid goal prior to the advancement of CKD.


No one (no matter the goal) should aim for the ketoacidosis zone (8.5 mmol/L -10.0 mmol/L). Anything above 8.0 mmol/L moves into the danger zone. The good news is, this zone is almost impossible to reach.

Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes need to be especially cautious, because they face the potential of producing a diabetic complication called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a life threatening condition, which is why I always recommend consulting with a health care provider prior to experimenting with keto.


Brand New to Keto?

If you’re brand new to keto and not sure where to begin I encourage you to check out my FREE Keto Kickstart Masterclass!


Whether you’re well-versed or brand spankin’ new to keto life and looking for some help, you should check out Katie’s coaching program. Coach Katie lives keto all day, errryday. She keeps up to date on the latest science, so you don’t have to. But more importantly, she addresses your specific goals to help you achieve ultimate success on your keto journey. And it’s always better to have someone in your corner, guiding you along. So if you’re ready for total life transformation and ultimate keto success, schedule your FREE initial keto consultation today!


Medical Disclaimer

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Katie Rodriguez nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.


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