Hi guys! So if you are just starting out on the ketogenic diet, you may be wondering just how do I know I'm in ketosis? And if you're a "I have to see it to believe it" person like myself, you need to see the proof!
There are several ways out there currently to measure the ketones in your body. The way that we recommend is through a blood ketone monitor. We have another blog post reviewing all the ways to test your ketones and comparing the pros and cons of each method. We can spoil it for you here though...blood ketone monitoring is the method we recommend.
We recommend blood ketone monitoring because it is the most available and accurate method to testing. Plus, you can test your blood glucose as well - which is important.
The one we use is the Nova Max PLUS Blood Glucose Monitoring System.
The Nova Max Plus Ketone Monitor
You'll Need More Than Just The Monitor
You'll also need to purchase lancets that go with the machine and the ketone strips. We also recommend buying glucose strips because it is just as handy to understand your blood glucose when determining if you're in ketosis.
At the time of our purchase, Amazon was not the cheapest place to buy, but of course it is usually the fastest. It took at least a week to get the Nova Max Plus monitor from the company. 🙁
- "Nova Max Plus Starter Kit" (Monitor, lancing device and some lancets) - from Nova Max company - Update: As of October 2017 the online storefront is down
- "Nova Max Sureflex Lancets" - from Nova Max company
- "Nova Max Ketone Meter Test Strips" (actually the glucose test strips)- from Nova Max company
- "Nova Max Test Strips 40 Count" (ketone test strips) - from Walmart.com (cheapest in large quantities, but definitely not fastest)
If you like buying on Amazon, here is all that you need to buy:
- Nova Max Plus Meter Kit with 100 Glucose Test Strips
- Nova Max Plus Ketone Test Strips
- Care Touch 30 gauge Lancets and Lancing Device (100 Lancets + Lancing Device) (the lancing device does not have to be Nova Max brand. Nova Max lancing device is not sold on Amazon)
How to Use It?
It is actually very easy to use, especially once you test it a few times. If you're going to "test" it, use the glucose strips (they're much cheaper to waste).
1. The Monitor Comes Ready To Use
There's no calibration or set-up required. You insert a glucose or ketone strip, with the side with the 3 dots visible on the outside like in the picture above. Once inserted, you will see the screen turn on and a little droplet pulsing on the screen. It's ready for your blood. It will wait 2 minutes for you to get your blood on it before it turns off and makes you re-insert it.
2. Get the lancing device ready
Now you will have to insert a new lancet into the lancing device each time you test. Take off the cap of the lancing device, push the lancet into the device, and remove the cap of the lancet. Put the blue cap back on the lancing device.
Set your level of pricking. Setting 1 will be for non-calloused thin skin, 5 is for very hard calloused skin. I don't have any callouses but apparently thick skin, because my setting is a 3.
3. Prep your skin and draw blood sample
First, wash your hands.
Get your finger prepared by rubbing the pad of the finger of choice to get blood flow to it for about 15 seconds.
Once ready, put the pricker up to the skin (not too hard, not too gently) and click the button. This should prick your skin and you'll see a little bit of blood. Most likely you'll need a much larger drop so push the skin around the prick and force out a larger droplet. (You'll get better as you do more tests).
If you don't get enough blood on a test strip, the test strip will give you an error and you cannot re-use it.
4. Test your blood
Now that you have a nice blood droplet and the test strip has been inserted into the monitor and the screen is still flashing, you're ready to test. Touch the end of the test strip to your blood droplet and see the test strip suck up the blood it needs. It needs to cover the dots on the end right away. If it doesn't you'll get an error and have to use a new strip. About 1/2 a second after the blood is on the strip the monitor will begin it's countdown (5 seconds for glucose strips, 10 seconds for ketone strips).
And voila, there are your results!
You need more blood on the ketone strips than on the glucose strips, so on a daily basis we recommend checking ketones first so you can use the big blood droplet and not get an error on your ketone strip. The ketone strips are $2 a piece, so you don't want to waste them. So for your first try go ahead and test a glucose strip.
Read here if you'd like an explanation on the target glucose and ketone readings in your blood.