Fat burning mode part 3: measuring ketosis

Nutrition and productivity blog 28

From parts 1 and 2 we covered off the benefits of getting into ketosis and how to hack getting into that state. But how can you tell you’re in ketosis, and how deeply? We’ll review a couple of methods for measuring ketosis, but first let’s look at the various phases of ketosis.

Levels of ketosis

  • Slight / mild ketosis: blood ketones are in the range 0.2-0.5 mMol/L.
  • Nutritional ketosis: When levels of blood ketones hit 0.5 mMol/L, nutritional ketosis kicks in. At this point the level of blood ketones resets the body’s hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin), leaving a feeling of satiation1.
  • Optimal ketosis: When blood levels hit 1.5-3.0 mMol/L, this is when the effects of mental clarity and focus really kick in.
  • Ketoacidosis: Blood ketones over 10mMmol/L can lead to the blood becoming highly acidic. Ketoacidosis is a life threatening condition most common in untreated diabetics and alcoholics and is difficult to achieve through a ketogenic diet alone.

Measuring ketosis


There are 2 ways to measure how deeply you’re into ketosis:

  • Ketone urine strips (e.g. Ketostix): these are the cheaper option, costing between £10 and £20 for pack of strips. These you have to pee on and as a result they don’t measure blood ketones directly – but only the excess ketones excreted by the kidneys. As a result, there can be situations where you’re in ketosis but it won’t appear that way. Levels of hydration can also lead to skewed readings as ketones can become diluted. Another drawback is that you have to wait until you need the toilet before taking a reading.
  • Blood ketone monitor (e.g. Precision Xtra): this consists of a reader and blood strips that measure beta-hydroxy butyrate (BHB – the main ketone body). The reader costs about £50 and the blood strips £5 each – so a much more expensive option that the urine strips, but much more accurate and you can take a reading whenever you need.

I find both options give a good indication of ketone levels. Ketostix are recommended if you’re on a budget.

Thanks for reading,


Have you tried measuring your ketones? Please comment below.


  1. https://blog.bulletproof.com/the-definitive-guide-to-mcts/ ‘Brain Octane vs. MCT Oil: What’s The Difference?’

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