When you follow a keto or low-carbohydrate diet, eventually your body ends up in a state of ketosis. This causes an increase in the ketones in your blood and urine, making ketosis an easy thing to detect.
If you don’t want to get your blood drawn regularly - who does!? - you can use urine strip tests as a quick, easy, and reliable alternative.
Ketone strips, keto strips, or ketone test strips are all the same thing - thin plastic strips with a small square at the end that changes color if ketones are detected in the water sample.
The color will vary depending on the concentration of ketones in the sample, allowing you to get an idea of how far into ketosis you are.
Keep reading to find out how best to use these strips so you can get a better understanding of your body.
Reading Keto Strips: Quick Guide
In a rush? We’ve got you! Here are the super quick instructions for using and reading keto strips. Keep reading to find out more detailed information.
- Dip the strip for the recommended time - usually around 40 seconds.
- Wait for the color to develop.
- Compare the color of the strip to the color chart provided by the manufacturer.
- Dispose of strips appropriately.
How To Read Keto Strips
Before you begin, it is important to remember that the majority of healthy people will not have significant or even detectable levels of ketones in their bodies.
Ketones only become detectable in the urine or blood after several days or even weeks after you have been following a low-carb or keto diet.
- Make urine-to-strip contact. If you are feeling brave, you can hold the reactive end of the strip under your stream for however long the manufacturer recommends. Most brands recommend that you do this for at least 40 seconds. Not feeling brave? Collect a sample in an appropriate container and dip the test for the specified time.
- Remove the strip from the sample and wait for the color to develop. This step is important as the reactive pad that changes color needs time to react. If you do not let the color develop properly you are likely to get an incorrect reading.
- Once the color reaction has taken place, compare the strip to the color chart that the manufacturer has provided. This will usually be on the bottle to make things easier. Hold the strip close to the bottle but try not to actually touch it for hygiene purposes! You may find that there is no exact color match - just go with the closest shade possible.
- The final stage - and most important from the perspective of your cohabitants - is to appropriately dispose of the strips.
When To Use Keto Strips
It is important to use keto strips at a similar time of day each time. This will give you the most reliable and accurate results.
Studies have shown that taking a reading first thing in the morning gives the most accurate reading of levels of ketone in your body.
That said, there are several other steps that you can take to make sure that you get an accurate reading every time.
Getting Reliable Results
If you feel that you are not getting reliable enough results from your tests, you may find they are improved with some minor experimentation.
The most obvious source of error or inaccurate readings comes from the tests themselves.
Old tests will not work as the reactive chemicals in the reagent will have denatured. This means that they will not react appropriately with the ketones in your urine and create the wrong color.
The first thing that you should try changing is how you make urine-to-test contact.
It may be that your method is not working well enough and that your urine is not making a strong enough connection with the reaction pad on the strip.
We recommend that you try dipping your strip into an appropriate container with your urine in it. Just be sure that you can fully submerge the whole of the reactive patch or the results will not be reliable.
You also need to control the environment so that the strips are kept as much as possible. Exposure to moisture or light can interact with the reactive pad and change its functionality.
Any changes in how the reactive pad functions are going to affect its ability to accurately change colour.
The easiest way to keep your strips safe is to keep them in a cupboard with doors, away from sunlight, and make sure that you replace the cap each time you take it off.
Leave the desiccants or silica gel packets in the tube or box alone - they are there for a reason!
Finally, do not contaminate the strip or reactive pad. Keep the area that you store the strips in as clean as possible. The same goes for the testing area.
We recommend that you are careful in how you take out the strip and do not make contact at all with the pad. This will contaminate it and the reading won’t be accurate.
Ketosis For Weight Loss
One of the most common reasons why people want to enter and stay in a state of ketosis is for weight loss.
Once you have entered ketosis, your body can more quickly burn fat and retain muscle that you gain through exercise.
Some even find that they are less hungry throughout the day which is going to help you stick to your diet.
Ketosis will happen after around 4 days for a healthy person who is not pregnant and does not have diabetes.
Aim for a reading of around 3 mmol/L for the best weight loss results.
Some brands manufacture strips that can detect very low levels of ketones in the urine but keep in mind that anything less than 1.5mmol/L is considered to be trace amounts.
These readings are not considered to be ketosis indicators.
Keto test stri[ps are one popular method to help you calculate your ketosis status. This is because they are cost-effective, easy to use, and can be reliable when used properly.
Try to use the strips at the same time every day for the most accuracy. You also need to make sure that they are stored somewhere where they cannot be interfered with or contaminated.
Any contamination will mean that the reagent on the reactive pad at the end of the strip will not work properly and give an inaccurate reading.