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Ketone Testing - Ketone Strips, Blood Testing Or Keto Breath Meter?

Ketone Testing - Ketone Strips, Blood Testing Or Keto Breath Meter?

Do Keto Strips Work? And What About Other Testing Methods?

Ketone testing is a sometimes annoying function of a low carb diet such as the keto diet, however we all know that 'what you don't measure you can't manage' it is important that set personal goals and keto test regularly to ensure you keep on track. 

You need your ketone testing results to be accurate so you know when you are in ketosis and can properly manage your food intake.

Worse still, you don’t want to waste your money on testing products or food and drink products if your testing results aren’t accurate.

Ketone Testing Tricks To Learn

This article is essential reading to learn and understand the background to ketone testing.
  1. Which testing methods are accurate
  2. Which testing methods are the best value for money
  3. How your body works and how different test methods operate and the way they take a reading
  4. What you can do to track your progress.

Understanding the Keto Diet

If you want to succeed in what you are the best, you need to understand the science behind what you are doing. For example, the most successful Americas Cup team have had sailors who understood not only how to sail a boat, but the science and engineering dynamics behind how a yacht is built and what makes a boat go fast. They are involved in the design and construction of the boats as well as sailing them.

Likewise, for you to get the best out of your Keto diet, it is very helpful to understand the science behind it.

The contents of this article are written as general observations and readers will be able to research further into the science as the internet is full of facts and tips and tricks if you spend the time researching

What is Ketosis and what is my body doing?

When on a normal diet, most people consume a mix of different types of foods and the body adapts these foods into forms that it can use as fuel for the brain, muscles, and other functions.

The primary ‘fuel’ for the body is glucose and this can be obtained directly from sugar in our diet or from processing carbohydrates in the liver and adapting them to be burnt as fuel.

Without going into too much detail, glucose is the biggest compound that fuels our body, and as we know if we take too much into our bodies it is stored as fat. Ketosis, or nutritional ketosis to be more particular is when the body is starved of the carbohydrates and sugars (glucose) which it normally uses for fuel to drive the brain and muscles.

Low Carb diets such as the Keto Diet remove of drastically reduce the amount of sugar and carbohydrate intake. In the absence of this fuel source the body starts producing ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain and muscles to burn.

And this is where we start to learn the secrets to the accuracy of testing that a lot of people don’t know. There is a little known fact that many dieters aren’t aware of that makes a big difference in how accurately you can test over the long term. 

Testing For BHB, NOT Acetoacetate

As a rule, your body produces 2 main types of ketones. One ketone is produced at the beginning of nutritional ketosis and is the main fuel for your body over the early days of a low carb or keto diet. This ketone is called acetoacetate.

However, after a few consecutive days of nutritional ketosis, the body changes from producing acetoacetate as the primary ketone to producing beta-hydroxybutyrate (commonly known as Bhb) as the primary ketone for fuel. If you are maintaining your diet for more than a week, the secret to consistent accurate ketone results means that you will need to be testing for BBH, NOT Acetoacetate.

Most keto testing methods test for acetoacetate, either in the urine or by testing the acetone in the breath. Acetone is a by-product of acetoacetate.

This creates an accuracy problem, because as we mentioned above, if you aren’t testing for BHB long term, you won’t get an accurate result.
There are only 2 ways to reliably test for BHB.

  1. Ketone Blood Meters using the finger prick system
  2. bhbSTIX® Urine Strips for BHB.

Testing for Acetoacetate – a long term fail.

Now we know that the body produces different ketones at different stages of the ketosis journey, let’s take a deeper dive into the science behind these test methods.

We’ll start with Acetoacetate.

Ketone strips, urine strips, keto sticks, ketone urinalysis strips, pee strips call them what you will…! There are many brands and levels of quality available, and they are a cheap and easy way to get a ketosis reading.

The Zest Keto Premium Ketone Strips are a great quality product manufactured from German materials and sold in their 1000’s by Zest Keto every year. If you are interested in anything keto you will be aware of these. They give a rough indication of your ketosis level but over time unfortunately they are testing the wrong ketone, Acetoacetate.

These keto strips are a chemically tipped strip of paper that reacts to the level of acetoacetate in the urine and gives a reading based on the amount of acetoacetate that is present in the urine at that point of time. Ss we now know, after 4-7 days in ketosis, production of this ketone wanes and bhb becomes prominent.

So then, why does Zest Keto sell these?

Many people want a cheap and easily available option for when they kick off their diet and at Zest Keto, standard ketone strips are what we recommend starters to use until they are sure that they can stay with the diet and want to plan longer term to hit their weight loss or wider health goals.

Reliable Keto Test Methods

So then, if normal keto strips are unreliable, what is the best option for me if I am in the Keto journey for the long haul?

Firstly, lets cover off on Ketone Breath Meters...


Keto Breath Meters

Keto breath meters are a super convenient and ultimately inexpensive (no consumables) way to test for ketosis on the go or without the mess of a urine test or a blood prick test.

The convenience is very appealing, however once again it is important to understand how breath testers work to get an understanding of the accuracy and reliability of this method.

Ketone breath meters test for levels of acetone.

Acetone is a spontaneously created by-product of acetoacetate (tested in the urine) that is present in your breath when you are in ketosis. This is tested using an electronic meter like an alcohol breath meter. The user blows into the ketone breath meter and the internal sensor measures the amount of acetone and converts that into a reading on the LCD screen.

However, as they are measuring a by-product of acetoacetate, ultimately they come under the same category as normal urine strips, and are subject to the same lack of long team accuracy and reliability – perfect for use in short bursts of low carb dieting and when you are getting started.

As Zest Keto are NZ’s top suppliers of keto testing products, we sell normal keto strips and breath testers because they have their uses in their place, however the future of testing is BHB testing. We have embraced this so that our customers can reach their keto goals through accurate, reliable results.


Better Accuracy through measuring BHB

Because BHB testing is a relatively new science, it is a bit more expensive for day-to-day use than budget ketone strips, however as we pointed out earlier, spending money on potentially inaccurate results is in itself expensive as it is simply a waste of money.

The secret is to test less often, get reliable accurate results, and track the results properly.

Zest Keto ketone breath tester meter
Ketone Blood Test Meters

Ketone blood test meters work the same way as a diabetes Glucose Tester Meter. But instead of measuring the current glucose level in the blood it measures the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate in the blood and gives a clear accurate reading on a digital screen.

To be honest, this is the king of ketone testing. It is accurate to the .01 Mmol/L and consistent. While some people are not keen to prick their finger to get the blood drop for testing, the process is largely pain free and easy to do, and the bonus is that the meter will store a certain number of results making it easy to track.

At Zest Keto, we sell the eBKetone meter which is manufactured in Taiwan. Taiwan has emerged in recent years as a world leading manufacturer of quality healthcare and diagnostics machinery as well as being less subject to supply fluctuations.

Despite the accuracy of ketone blood testing, the 2 main drawbacks with are the higher cost compared to normal keto strips and the fact that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with pricking their finger to get the tiny blood sample to test.

Now well into 2021, at Zest Keto we are selling more and more eBKetone Blood Ketone Testers and helping more people reach their keto dreams through accurate testing. Ketone blood testing remains the benchmark method to accurately and reliably measure ketosis for the longer term.

Introducing The Keto Testing Dream Product – bhbSTIX®

NEW RELEASE - test for BHB without needing to use blood!

Now available from Zest Keto are the revolutionary new bhbSTIX®.

These are keto strips that test for BHB in urine. We have combined the ease of urine strips with the reliable accuracy of testing for BHB and not Acetoacetate.

During the 2020 covid crisis lockdowns and restrictions, the team at Zest Keto partnered up with a leading USA based company who had just formulated a way to get accurate test results from BHB, using urine strips.

This breakthrough is just what everyone was asking us for - accurate testing using BHB that wasn’t as restrictive as taking a blood test. The new process using a special formula of reagent on a high quality paper was extremely difficult to perfect, but its now here and gaining popularity.

bhbSTIX® are manufactured in USA using a special paper material for the strips and a breakthrough advanced reagent chemical that can measure the level of BHB in the urine. The strips are a very high-quality product with a long lasting (36 months) shelf life.

Like all urine strips, simply dip and match the colour against the label on the bottle to get your result.

In Summary

As you will now understand, the most accurate ketone testing comes down to ensuring you are measuring the right ketone, BHB.

There is a time and place for normal ketone strips and breath meters, however if you are serious about achieving your keto goals, whatever they are, you will need accurate results to plot your progress.

Remember, what you can measure, you can improve.

And don’t forget that while it may appear cheaper at the time, any money spent on unreliable testing methods is money wasted.

Ketone Blood Test Meters and bhbSTIX® keto strips test for bhb and we recommend these products to partner you in your Keto journey, wherever that is taking you.

bhbSTIX® are:

  • Cheaper than blood test strips
  • Are accurate
  • Will last for up to 3 years without losing their usefulness (other have a lifetime of 6 months)

bhbSTIX® are the cost effective, fast & easy way for you to keep your keto or low carb diet on track in 2021!

Sold in bottles of 25 strips which will last you nearly a month at once a day testing rates (recommended). The strip changes colour the same way as other keto strips do and give you clear indication of the level of ketosis that you are in.


Next article Craving Carbs On The Keto Diet? 5 Tricks to Overcome It