I had the privilege of personally using some of the new breath ketone devices in the midst of writing this book, and so far they’re very promising. There are still some obstacles to overcome for breath ketone testing, such as the fact that the devices use different ways of displaying results and there’s no exact, apples-to-apples comparison to the results you would get from a blood ketone monitor.
But if the companies developing breath ketone meters can smooth out these problems, then this could be one of the biggest breakthroughs not just in ketone testing but in health in general. Ketones play a vital role in many chronic health issues, and having an easy-to-use, pain-free device for determining how well you are producing them would be invaluable.
DOCTOR’S NOTE FROM DR. ERIC WESTMAN: Dr. Lubna Ahmad, president of Invoy Technologies, which is developing a breath ketone analyzer, did a small study comparing breath ketones, blood ketones, and urine ketones in about forty people, some of whom were following a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet and some of whom were not. Two important findings are clear: 1) occasionally the urine ketones are absent but the blood ketones are present; and 2) morning ketone levels are lower than evening ketone levels. What this means is that if you only check ketones in the morning urine, you might be in ketosis even if the tests are negative.
We are living in exciting times when patients like us have access to equipment that you used to see only in a doctor’s office. And now that we have these at-home technologies to determine how well we are doing in our pursuit of health, the power is in our own hands. I envision ketone testing to be part of the wave of the future for those who are interested in being in a state of ketosis.
A ketogenic diet is a great opportunity for self-experimentation. Start with a set of simple generic guidelines, such as Atkins Induction, and manipulate the variables to see how your body responds by measuring blood or breath ketones. I think this is probably the best way to know what works for you.
– Bryan Barksdale
Self-testing is a powerful thing, and I highly encourage you to give it a go for yourself. If you cannot afford to do any of the ketone testing discussed in this chapter, then you might be interested to know that there is a fantastic free website, The Low Carb Flexi Diet (www.flexibleketogenic.com), that provides a ketogenic ratio calculator. All you do is plug in how many grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat you are consuming, and it tells you how ketotic you are. Give it a try and see for yourself!
Coming up in the next chapter, I want to share with you what happened to me over the course of one year when I decided to put the idea of being in a constant state of nutritional ketosis to the test. The results and lessons of that experiment were what really propelled me to write this book. Get ready to be blown away by what I discovered!
Key Keto Clarity Concepts
- New technology is being invented to test for ketones in the urine, blood, and breath.
- There are three types of ketones—acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone.
- Urine testing is the cheapest, easiest way to test for ketosis.
- Blood ketone testing is much more accurate than urine ketone testing.
- The high cost of blood ketone testing make it too expensive to test daily.
- Blood ketone monitor companies are uninterested in marketing to people pursuing nutritional ketosis.
- Breath ketones correlate very closely to blood ketone levels.
- Several companies are working on breath ketone meters for consumers.
- There are pros and cons for each way of testing the presence of ketones.
- At-home ketone testing is the wave of the future for people seeking to be healthy.
- Self-testing is the only way you can know for sure if you’re in ketosis.