Ideal Level Of Ketones In Urine For Keto Diet

How To Measure Ketone Levels

How to test Urine Ketone Levels |

The most reliable way to measure your ketone levels is to use a blood ketone meter.

These devices work similarly to blood sugar meters, as you use a lancet and a blood testing strip to collect a small blood sample from your fingertip, which the device then reads.

Although your body produces three types of ketones, most blood ketone meters check for beta-hydroxybutyrate, which is the most prevalent type .

Theres some disagreement among researchers about the best time of day to test ketone levels. You should pick a time and consistently test at that time to get the most accurate readings.

When you last ate appears to be a major contributing factor to your ketone levels, so you may want to do your ketone testing 3 hours after eating a meal .

Do You Really Need To Measure Your Ketone Levels On A Ketogenic Diet

We know all that all this testing equipment is expensive as well as a hassle to use. So, do you really need it?

The simple answer is no, you definitely dont need to know your exact ketone levels in order to enjoy the benefits of a ketogenic diet. And some people like Luis from Ketogains suggests not bothering to measure at all except in a few specific circumstances.

However, others raise the importance of measuring ketones especially when you first start the diet different people will require different levels of carbohydrates and proteins in order to get into nutritional ketosis and knowing how your levels change over time will give you a good idea of whether youre on the right track or if you need to tweak what youre eating.

Tracking your ketone levels can also be important for troubleshooting your keto diet e.g., if your weight-loss stalls.

But regardless, dont obsess about your ketone levels knowing your levels is supposed to help you tweak your keto diet, not stress you out!

High Ketone Levels May Indicate Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Now that you know what your ketone levels should be as a result of following a keto diet, we need to tackle an important topic: diabetic ketoacidosis.

Its important not to confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis, a serious complication that may occur in poorly managed Type 1 Diabetes and, more rarely, Type 2 Diabetes and is characterized by abnormally high ketone concentrations of over 20 mmol/L. Blood sugar levels tend to be unusually high as well, exceeding 250 mg/dL.

The good news: as long as your keto diet is well-formulated, it definitely wont lead to ketoacidosis. Meaning, you adhere to the right macro ratios, meet your electrolyte needs, dont restrict calories, and get healthcare supervision if youre using keto to manage or reverse a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.

The bottom line is that while people sometimes confuse healthy nutritional ketosis with diabetic ketoacidosis, one does not lead to another. And for anyone with diabetes who is concerned about ketoacidosis, urine test strips are actually a helpful tool to ensure youre not in ketoacidosis .

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How Do You Measure Ketones In Urine

This is super straightforward to do using Keto sticks, also called Keto strips .

Cost: These cost approximately $25 for 100 strips . So theyre fairly cheap.

Advantages: Urine test strips are cheap and easy to use. These are the Keto strips CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens often have in stock no need to buy online and wait for shipping.

Disdvantages: Theyre really not very accurate in measuring your bodys ketone levels.

How to use: And all you do is you pee on these sticks, which have a certain chemical covered on them that can detect the levels of acetoacetate in your urine.

These sticks will change color depending on the level of ketones in your urine:

If the Keto sticks dont change color

If they dont change color, then no ketones are detected in your urine. Your body is not in ketosis.

If the Keto sticks turn a dark purple

If a dark purplish color results on your ketostix, then high levels of ketones are detected in your urine.

If youre on a ketogenic diet, then this could be a useful indicator that youre in nutritional ketosis.

Not seeing ketones in your urine? Watch this video on why:

Bottom Line:

Measuring ketones is pretty easy just pee on the Keto strips and see what color they turn. While theyre a cheap and easy method for measuring ketone levels, they dont give you a very accurate measurement of what your bodys ketone levels are.

How To Test Ketones


Ketones can be tested at home via urine using a urine ketone strip or a blood ketone meter. To use a urine ketone strip, the strip is dipped into your urine sample and the color change is compared to a provided color array.

To use a blood ketone meter, you stick your finger with a lancet to draw blood and apply a drop to the strip inserted into the meter. The meter provides a result.

Experts suggest using a blood ketone meter because it can detect ketones before they show up in the urine. In addition, results from urine can be skewed due to other circumstances such as dehydration.

However, clinicians acknowledge that blood ketone test strips and meters are more expensive than urine strips. Call your healthcare provider to see if your insurance covers a blood ketone meter and test strips. If they do not, ask your physician if urine ketone strips are sufficient.

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Characteristics Of The Subjects

All subjects recruited completed the substudy. Characteristics of the study population are summarised in Table 1. Mean age and body mass index of the subjects were 37.5±11.1 years and 23.0±2.5 kg/m2, respectively. Seven subjects reported energy expenditure during the substudy from additional physical activities ranging from 2.3 to 15.7 MET out of one to five activities.

Quick Tips For Urine Ketone Testing

If you want to improve the accuracy and reliability of your results, there are a few key tips you should follow if you plan to use urine ketone test strips.

Most obvious is that you should consistently check and stay up-to-date on the expiration date on the urine test strips youve purchased. Typically, test strips will expire within six months of opening the bottle. Dont use your urine test strips if the date on the bottle has passed.

Storage is important too. Make sure that you store test strips with the lid closed tight, and keep the bottle in a cool, dry place. Any excess heat or moisture can influence the strips and the chemicals they contain. Do not store in the refrigerator, and protect them from direct sunlight and heat.

Dont remove the desiccant in the bottlethats the tiny white packet. The desiccant holds something called silica gel, which absorbs and holds water vapor, limiting moisture that could potentially ruin the urine test strips.

During testing, make sure you arent overly hydrated, and similarly make sure you arent dehydrated, as each could skew the test results. This is why early morning testing makes the most sense. Otherwise, test at the same time of day in order to control for outside influences that might affect urine ketone readings.

Last but not least, keep your hands away from the test strip material. Along with the above tips, this will improve the consistency of your results.

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/6are There Ways To Measure It

While achieving ketosis is a sure-shot way to start mapping your weight loss goals, there are also diagnostic tools to measure ketone levels in the body. Blood ketone levels, one such tool, help measure the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate, the most common type of blood ketone marker found in the body. The readings of the same, are, however, said to be dependent on the quantity, and quality of food last had.

Apart from this, urine test strips, breath check tests are also workable, but less-accurate means to check for weight loss and ketosis.

Heres A Quick Recap Of Our Key Takeaways

How To Test Ketone Levels – Urine Strips, Breath Meters, and Blood Meters

If youre a Keto dieter

Testing of ketones is optional, and you can choose which method you use.

If everythings going well and youre seeing the results you desire?

Dont worry about testing ketone levels!

Just keep doing what youre doing.

But if you want to be reassured youre in ketosis and troubleshoot your diet?

Then testing ketone levels could be a good idea. Urine testing is okay if youve only just started keto.

But if youve been keto for a while? Or youre only aiming for lower ketone levels?

Then testing your blood ketone levels is a better, more accurate option. And the optimal ketone level for you really depends on your goals on Keto .

And you dont have to be scared about getting ketoacidosis, either.

And if you have type 1 diabetes

Testing ketones in your urine gives you a rough indicator of your ketone levels.

It should be enough to establish if theyre in a healthy range or if theyre too high.

And if you do find you have high ketone levels?

Then you should seek medical attention. Ketoacidosis is a serious issue which needs immediate treatment. And dont worry, its reversible when caught in time!

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Disadvantages Of Urine Ketone Testing

Something not provided by urine ketone testing? Concrete numbers.

If you like hard data end-points to measure ketosis, urine testing might not be for you. Rather than a concrete number, urine strips give only a semi-quantitative measure of blood ketones, with colors on the strip corresponding to trace, moderate, and large amounts of ketones. Therefore, the test is somewhat subjective.

Many external factors can influence your urine ketone reading, and these could provide a reading higher or lower than what your actual ketone levels might be.

For instance, hydration can influence readings. If youre under-hydrated, ketones might read high, and vice-versa for someone whos over-hydrated. Certain medications and vitamins can also skew the results. Laffel1999

Urine testing may also be a poor way to measure ketosis achieved exogenously. Heres why.

Exogenous ketone esters will result in rapid, high ketone levels, equivalent to a multi-day fast or weeks of ketogenic dieting. Stubbs2017 But since were testing urine, those rapid increases in blood ketone levels wont show up in the urine tests.

Most are used for energy, and the pattern of metabolism is quite different from that of endogenous ketone production. Only a small amount of exogenous ketones are excreted. Stubbs2017 It has also been shown that at higher blood ketone levels, urinary ketones no longer correlate with blood BHB. Taboulet2004

Convert Ketones Mmol/l To Mg/dl:

A lot of people have emailed confused about this, so let me pull out my chemistry knowledge and try to resolve this question once and for all.

For Acetone, the molecular mass is: 58 g/molFor Beta-hydroxybutyrate, the molecular mass is: 104 g/mol

The rest is just fiddling around with decimal points to get all the units in order.

Thats why for Acetone, the conversion factor is: 5.8

So for concentrations of Acetone ketone bodies, 1 mmol/L = 5.8 mg/dL or 1 mg/dL = 0.17

And for Beta-hydroxybutyrate, the conversion factor is: 0.096

So for concentrations of Beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones, 1 mmol/L = 10.4 mg/dL or 1 mg/dL = 0.096

Hope this gets rid of all the confusion around converting concentrations of ketones around.

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How To Test Ketones In Urine

Testing urine ketone levels is one of the simplest ways to determine whether or not you are in ketosis. That being said, it is also considered less accurate and reliable than other methods .

Urine test strips are available over-the-counter in many drug stores and even some mass retailers like Walmart. Simply urinate on the indicated portion of the testing strip, allow to sit for as long as the packaging directs , and match the color indicating strip with the reference on the box or packaging.

Both blood and urine ketone tests are available over-the-counter however, blood tests tend to be the most accurate. Blood sugar levels can only be tested through blood.

For more information on how to test urine ketone levels, check our out article: How to Test Urine Ketones. For more information on how to test blood glucose levels and check for ketones in your blood, try reading our article: How to Measure Blood Glucose and Ketone Levels.

Ketosis Vs Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Low Carb Diet Ketone Levels

Its crucial not to confuse these two terms, as keto diet haters and the media have occasionally done. Yes, both conditions involve high blood ketones, but their physiology and effects on the body are vastly different.

Physiological ketosis is harmless . Physiological ketosis is the goal of any ketogenic diet or taking exogenous ketone supplements.

What defines ketosis exactly?

As mentioned, when blood BHB levels of > 0.5mM are achieved, one is said to be in ketosis. Ketone levels can reach up to 7mM – 8 mM in some instances in healthy individuals. Cahill2006 However, it seems like levels dont get much higher than this . The bodys feedback mechanisms involving several different hormones serve to regulate endogenous ketone production. Manninen2004

The evidence is clear that physiological ketosis has substantial health benefits, maybe due to the fact that ketosis seems to activate certain survival pathways in living organisms. In fact, ketogenic diets have been associated with longevity . Roberts2017,Newman2017

In addition, ketones are an efficient superfuel which have been shown to yield health benefits like weight loss, improved glucose control, better blood lipid profiles, mental clarity, and even improved athletic performances in some cases Evans2017,Volek2015,Cox2016,Newell2016 Long story short, humans seem to benefit from both endogenous and exogenous ketosis.

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If You Dont Have Diabetes Then Keto Wont Give You Ketoacidosis

According to Registered Nurse, Debra Sullivan, PhD, RN, The breakdown of fat for fuel and the creation of ketones is a normal process for everyone. In a person without diabetes, insulin, glucagon, and other hormones prevent ketone levels in the blood from getting too high.

However, she adds, people with diabetes are at risk for ketone buildup in their blood.

Your body has natural feedback mechanisms, involving insulin, that prevents this from happening in people without diabetes.

So keep calm! Mother Nature has your back.

How Often To Test

Although you can test daily if you want to, its unnecessary. Plus, the cost of test strips can add up quickly. In fact, you do not have to test your ketone levels at all to be successful on keto.

However, you may want to check your ketone levels daily for a few days after starting keto to ensure that you reach nutritional ketosis, and then once a week or so while on the diet to ensure that youre remaining in ketosis.

For some people, checking their ketone levels may provide a source of encouragement or motivation to stick with the diet.

Alternatively, some people may test more frequently if they want to see how their body responds to certain foods or a change in their carb intake.

If you want to test often, urine testing strips are by far the least expensive way to do so, although theyre also the least accurate.


The best way to measure your ketone level is with a blood ketone meter. You may want to check your levels 3 hours after a meal for the most accurate reading. That said, theres no need to check your levels at all to be successful on keto.

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When Do Ketones Build Up

Youre most at risk of a build-up of ketones if you dont inject enough insulin or if you miss a dose of insulin. Its important to know that sometimes you need more insulin than usual and need to check for high blood sugars more regularly, like when:

  • youre not feeling well
  • you have had an injury or surgery
  • youre pregnant
  • youre having your period.

All of these times are just part of normal life and that can be a reminder that diabetes is always there in the background. If youre struggling to cope with your diabetes you can have a chat with us on our helpline. We can support you when youre feeling down or tired with managing your diabetes.

What Are You Trying To Achieve

Easy@Home Ketone Strips for Diet Monitoring and Diabetic Ketone Level Awareness
  • If youre trying to lose sizethen the most important thing to be tracking is your physical measurements

  • If youre trying to lose weightthen the main thing you should be tracking is your weight

  • If youre trying to improve your type 2 diabetesthen youll want to be checking your blood glucose levels and hba1c.

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So Is A Higher Ketone Level Really Better

I do agree that if your blood ketone level is under 0.5 youre probably not really burning ketones much at all. You might still be losing weight. But perhaps not as much as you could be.

But if its above 0.5 youre definitely in ketosis. You might be burning fat from body sources or from dietary fat.

If it is all from body fat, you might be able to go a bit higher.

Really anything greater than 1 is fantastic.

If youre achieving that on a well-formulated low carb diet such as the one I will describe shortly, then great.

I wouldnt go increasing my fat intake/decreasing exercise/reducing my protein intake purely for the sake of increasing it.

And if its less than 1 but youre still losing weightwell youre still losing weight! Great stuff!

This generally tends to agree with two of the most prolific researchers of ketogenic diets, Dr Stephen Phinney & Dr Jeff Volek, who state that

Light nutritional ketosis is between 0.5mmol/L and 1.0mmol/L

optimal ketosis is between 1.0mmol/L and 3.0mmol/L.

Unfortunately, I think the phrase keto has come to mean consuming fat for the sake of consuming fat, often at the expense of getting adequate protein, vitamins and minerals from good-quality sources of food.

A Word From Mantracare

If you are looking for more information on this topic or on Diabetes treatment, Online Therapy, Hypertension, PCOS treatment, Weight Loss, and Physiotherapy, please visit or feel free to reach out to us at +91-9711118331 or email at . You can also download our free Android App or IOS app.

Here at Mantra Care, we have an incredibly skilled team of health care professionals and coaches. They will be happy to answer any questions and provide further information. So you know whats best for your unique needs.

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