EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT KETOSIS / Ketosis & Ketone Test Strips

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PeeFat

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 521

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 00:17
1. What are ketones?
2. How will ketosis help me to lose weight?
3. But, isn't ketosis dangerous?
4. How do the ketone test strips work, and where do I get them?
5. I'm following Induction strictly; why won't my strips turn purple?
6. Will I lose weight faster if the strips show dark purple all the time?
7. Does caffeine affect ketosis?
8. Will drinking alcohol affect ketosis?



What are ketones?

Ketones are a normal and efficient source of fuel and energy for the human body. They are produced by the liver from fatty acids, which result from the breakdown of body fat in response to the absence of glucose/sugar. In a ketogenic diet, such as Atkins ... or diets used for treating epilepsy in children, the tiny amounts of glucose required for some select functions can be met by consuming a minimum amount of carbs - or can be manufactured in the liver from PROTEIN. When your body is producing ketones, and using them for fuel, this is called "ketosis".


How will ketosis help me to lose weight?

Most reducing diets restrict calorie intake, so you lose weight but some of that is fat and some of it is lean muscle tissue as well. Less muscle means slowed metabolism, which makes losing weight more difficult and gaining it back all too easy. Ketosis will help you to lose FAT.

Being in ketosis means that your body's primary source of energy is fat (in the form of ketones). When you consume adequate protein as well, there's no need for the body to break down its muscle tissue. Ketosis also tends to accelerate fat loss --- once the liver converts fat to ketones, it can't be converted back to fat, and so is excreted.


But, isn't ketosis dangerous?

Being in ketosis by following a low carbohydrate diet is NOT dangerous. The human body was designed to use ketones very efficiently as fuel in the absence of glucose. However, the word ketosis is often confused with a similar word, ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition for diabetics, and the main element is ACID not ketones. The blood pH becomes dangerously acidic because of an extremely high blood SUGAR level (the diabetic has no insulin, or doesn't respond to insulin .... so blood sugar rises ... ketones are produced by the body to provide the fuel necessary for life, since the cells can't use the sugar). It's the high blood sugar, and the acid condition that is so dangerous. Ketones just happen to be a part of the picture, and are a RESULT of the condition, not the CAUSE. Diabetics can safely follow a ketogenic diet to lose fat weight ... but they must be closely monitored by their health care provider, and blood sugars need to be kept low, and stable.


How do the ketone test strips work, and where can I get them?

Ketone urine-testing strips, also called Ketostix or just ketone sticks ... are small plastic strips that have a little absorptive pad on the end. This contains a special chemical that will change colour in the presence of ketones in the urine. The strips may change varying shades of pink to purple, or may not change colour at all. The container will have a scale on the label, with blocks of colour for you to compare the strip after a certain time lapse, usually 15 seconds. Most folks simply hold a strip in the flow of urine. Other folks argue that the force of the flow can "wash" some of the chemical away, and advise that a sample of urine be obtained in a cup or other container, then the strip dipped into it.

The chemical reagent is very sensitive to moisture, including what's in the air. It's important to keep the lid of the container tightly closed at all times, except for when you're getting a strip to take a reading. Make sure your fingers are dry before you go digging in! They also have an expiry date, so make note of this when you purchase the strips ... that's for the UNopened package. Once opened, they have a shelf-life of about 6 months -- you may wish to write the date you opened on the label for future reference.

Ketone test strips can be purchased at any pharmacy, and are usually kept with the diabetic supplies. In some stores they're kept behind the counter, so if you don't see them on the shelf, just ask the pharmacist; you don't need a prescription to buy them.


I'm following Induction strictly; why won't my strips turn purple?

Ketones will spill into the urine ONLY when there is more in the blood than is being used as fuel by the body at that particular moment.

You may have exercised or worked a few hours previously, so your muscles would have used up the ketones as fuel, thus there will be no excess. You may have had a lot of liquids to drink, so the urine is more diluted. Perhaps the strips are not fresh, or the lid was not on tight and some moisture from the atmosphere got in.

Some low carbers NEVER show above trace or negative even ... yet they burn fat and lose weight just fine. If you're losing weight, and your clothes are getting looser, you're feeling well and not hungry all the time .. then you are successfully in ketosis. Don't get hung up on the strips; they're just a guide, nothing more.


Will I lose weight faster if the strips show dark purple all the time?

No. Testing in the darkest purple range all the time is usually a sign of dehydration -- the urine is too concentrated. You need to drink more water to dilute it, and keep the kidneys flushed.

The liver will make ketones from body fat, the fat you EAT, and from alcohol --- the ketone strips have no way of distinguishing the source of the ketones. So, if you test every day after dinner, and dinner usually contains a lot of fat, then you may very well test for large amounts of ketones all the time. However this does not indicate that any BODY fat was burned.

The strips only indicate what's happening in the urine. Ketosis happens in the blood and body tissues. If you're showing even a small amount, then you are in ketosis, and fat-burning is taking place. Don't get hung up on the ketone sticks.


Does caffeine affect ketosis?

This is questionable. There ARE a few studies that suggest caffeine may cause blood sugar to rise, with consequent effect on insulin ... The studies involve consuming 50 gm glucose orally, followed by a dose of caffeine. This is quite different from a low carber, who is consuming only 20 gm carbs, in the form of high-fiber vegetables, spread throughout the day.

Many low carbers continue to enjoy caffeine-containing beverages with no serious impact on their weight-loss efforts. However, there are some sensitive individuals ... and persons who are extremely insulin resistant may need to restrict or even eliminate all caffeine. If you have been losing successfully then find your weight loss stalled for a month or two, and you are following your program to the letter, you might consider stopping all caffeine for a while, to see if that will get things started again.


Will drinking alcohol affect ketosis?

No and yes. The liver can make ketones out of alcohol, so technically, when you drink you'll continue to produce ketones and so will remain in ketosis. The problem is ... alcohol converts more easily to ketones than fatty acids, so your liver will use the alchol first, in preference to fat. Thus, when you drink, basically your FAT burning is put on hold until all the alcohol is out of your system.

This rapid breakdown of alcohol into ketones and acetaldehyde (the intoxicating by-product) ... tends to put low carbers at risk for quicker intoxication ... especially if no other food is consumed to slow absorption.
DeniseTra

Joined: Oct 09
Posts: 620

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 07:45
Excellent post. One bit that I'd like to emphasize:

Keep in mind that Atkins no longer recommends the sticks.

A lot of people still use them, which is fine, but don't allow them to discourage you if you don't see them turn. With a lot of people (I'm one of them), they just simply don't work. Do NOT consider it a problem if they don't work. Your body is simply being really efficient by using up the keytones.
dawdevil

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 193

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 08:53
what a great insight to ketosis..thanks personally i dont use the strips but appreciate any knowlege that is given on a number of subjects dealing with dieting and so forth so again thanks for the lesson..peace dar
now that i have been and will be seeing docs regularly , i intend to weigh in at each visit only..that way i dont obssess at home about anything...thats a downfall for me..so...will keep ya posted as i go along o.0
Caroling

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 14

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 12:24
great post is right!! Good information there..
Fit-Kat

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 15:21
Thanks, but it didn't exactly answer my question (which can't be found in the book). How do I know if my dark purple strip means that I'm in ketosis & burning fat because I'm following the ANA perfectly & should keep doing what I'm doing...or, did I really just eat too much fat & should reduce my fat intake? But then if I reduce my fat intake and that in itself kicks me out of ketosis, then I could be failing because I'm not getting enough fat. Grrr! Confused yet? Me too.
mahara

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 147

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 15:33
Great Post! I am going to go back to enjoying my REAL 2 Cups of coffee.

Kit,
I wrote a post calculating the 65/25/10 ratio with differnt RDI, which may help you answer your question.
If your question is whether or not your gettin enough, or too much fat.
It can be found on "Doing Atkins Right Group"
Fit-Kat

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 19:00
Thank you. Having the ratio that works helps alot. Where did this ratio come from? The Atkins book?

I appear to be in the ballpark each day with the fat, but looks like my carb intake is a little low. If I don't lose weight, I'll adjust that & eat more carbs. Actually, in the 1st 5 days I have only lost 2 lbs so far, so maybe that's why. (Although I'm testing high for keytones.) Guess I need to eat more carbs. I've been getting less than 10g net carbs lately. Do you think I'll lose more weight if I eat more carbs?

Thank you!
Fit-Kat

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 19:05
One more question. If I find at the end of the day that I am low on carbs, should I eat some more (like a tomato or some salsa, etc) just to get more carbs in even if I'm not hungry?

Also, the ratio 65/25/10 - do you have to follow this ratio at every meal, or just as a daily total?
DeniseTra

Joined: Oct 09
Posts: 620

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 22:35
I guess that depends on how low. if you are severely deficient, yea, I'd eat something, especially if your calories are also too low.

if you are within a few, no.

It is better to hit ~20 every day. A lot of times I'll put my menu into fatsecret in advance to verify if I need to add/subtract anything for the day.
PeeFat

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 521

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Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 23:53
Fit-Kat wrote:
One more question. If I find at the end of the day that I am low on carbs, should I eat some more (like a tomato or some salsa, etc) just to get more carbs in even if I'm not hungry?

Also, the ratio 65/25/10 - do you have to follow this ratio at every meal, or just as a daily total?


Just make sure you don't eat just carbs alone. I'm pretty sure a snack needs some fat and or protein with the carb item. Please correct me if i'm wrong Denise.
DeniseTra

Joined: Oct 09
Posts: 620

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 09:18
You don't have to combine them, but it is definitely much better to do a combo. My preferred snacks are ones that are high in fiber. So even if there are net carbs involved, the fiber slows the absorption. Fat is always good.

Atkins bars and Flax crackers with cream cheese are my favorite nighttime snacks. I also like nuts, but have to be very careful with portion size and concentrate on eating them slowly.

Fit-Kat

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 11:38
Denise, I am on induction & nuts aren't allowed during this phase. Also, the Atkins bars halt my weight loss & I don't feel they should be eaten during induction.

Also, I feel that my calories are too high if they're getting close to 2000. I think I need to keep them around 1500 or less, but I'm not sure. Anyway, yes my calories are high due to fat & protien I'm eating I suppose, but my net carb count has been 10 or below.

I'm trying to figure out why I've only lost 2lbs in 6 days now. My guess is too many calories & not enough carbs possibly. Keytones are very high in AM & PM. (I'm also exercising on the treadmill at 3.5mph for 60 minutes each day, or 30 minutes on the rebounder. I think I should add some resistance training to develop muscle.)

My next experiment, therefore, is going to be to try to lower overall calories, increase carbs to 12-15, and add resistance training. (And stay within the 65/25/10 ratio.) Are you sure of this ratio? It's not too high in fat? Looking at my diet journal it appears that my diet has been a bit high in fat & protien & low in carbs - according to the ratio formula.

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

P.S. I have 25lbs to lose. (My avatar is my inspiration to get back into my skinny jeans!)
Fit-Kat

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 11:46
PeeFat wrote:
Fit-Kat wrote:
One more question. If I find at the end of the day that I am low on carbs, should I eat some more (like a tomato or some salsa, etc) just to get more carbs in even if I'm not hungry?

Also, the ratio 65/25/10 - do you have to follow this ratio at every meal, or just as a daily total?


Just make sure you don't eat just carbs alone. I'm pretty sure a snack needs some fat and or protein with the carb item. Please correct me if i'm wrong Denise.


That makes sense; it would follow The Zone diet principle also, I think.
DeniseTra

Joined: Oct 09
Posts: 620

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 13:11
Fit-Kat,

Atkins is NOT a calories in/calories out diet. The more likely result of dropping your calories is stopping your weight loss altogether.

I have found that at 5'3.5", I CAN go as low as 1300 calories and still loose, but I loose MUCH better when I'm over 1600. The "average" person stops loosing weight on Atkins when they are below 1500 calories.

Play with it and see what you find.


R.E. nuts..you have that right. OWL only.
Quite a few people have an issue with Atkins bars stalling weight loss, but I only do 1 or 2 a week, so I don't find an issue.

R.E. ratio: The range on fat for Induction is actually 60-75%. I did Induction at about 74% and lost 17#s. Fat is our friend!
Fit-Kat

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 15:53
OK! Then I am in the right ratio of fat & calories for induction. Do you know the complete ratio formula for induction? I think that helps me the most when I look at the pie chart. Thanks.
mahara

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 147

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 16:59
Fit,
I actually did the calculations myself, as I am not good with looking at grams and wanted to know exactly wat 65/25/10 meant in calories so I could get closer to this ratio. Or what they would be for different RDI's suggested for women in Atkins.
So the ratio came from the book, the calculations came from my good old High School American education! Smile
mahara

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 147

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 17:29
Denise, if your did 75% fat...how did the other percentages break down?
15% Protein, and 10 carbs?

Man girl how did you get all the fats in...drinking bacon grease? LOL
I have a hard time getting the fats in

DeniseTra

Joined: Oct 09
Posts: 620

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Posted: 18 Feb 2010, 18:38
OK mahara...You caught me on my failing memory. I just went back to my fitday profile (www.fitday.com), and I was averaging 68% for the 2 weeks of Induction.

I know I have been up to 75% before, but that must be isolated days rather than a pattern.

Now I believe that I'm averaging about 60% after 6 months on OWL. (~30 NET carbs per day)

As far as my breakdown in Induction, I was:
68% Fat
24% Protein
7% Carbs

Keep in mind that I tend to eat at least 2 12-oz steaks per week. I eat protein, fat and carbs with every meal.

PeeFat

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 521

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Posted: 09 Mar 2010, 23:33
* Bump *

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