What is the Ketogenic Diet and How to Measure if You’re in Ketosis

What is the Ketogenic Diet and How to Measure if You’re in Ketosis

What is the Ketogenic Diet and How to Measure if You’re in Ketosis

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what’s going on everyone today I want to address the tell-tale question the one that’s always coming up the super simple question that I quite honestly haven’t fully addressed and that is what is ketosis and what creates a ketone body and ultimately how do we measure them so i’m here with joe anderson who is an amazing amazing person who has published a lot of articles in the world of pulmonary research and i wanted to introduce him because he is a expert in the world of ketosis well thanks thanks for having me yeah yeah as you said I have a background in in chemical engineering but a lot of research and pulmonary physiology pulmonary medicine my research has really been on how do chemicals move from the body into the exhaled breath and then how do you measure those chemicals and been doing that for for quite a while published quite a feud about 40 peer-reviewed scientific studies and recently have been working with a company to understand how to measure those chemicals in the body using breath awesome so well I wanted to be able to have an opportunity to talk to you about ketones and how they’re truly created in the body because I think for the most part we understand the Umbreon ik level of ketosis like we understand that okay we’re not consuming carbohydrates our bodies are utilizing fats as a source of fuel sure we get that well what is actually happening in the body what is happening when we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates and and what’s happening to encourage our bodies to utilize fats and how are those fats used as energy right so obviously kind of a complex question there but the idea is that when you’re when your body is deprived of of glucose which your body loves to use but it’s not present then the body basically lowers the amount of insulin insulin is really the signal and insulin that kind of opens up the gates for fats to flood in from your stored body fats the other way is if you eat that so either way once they get into the bloodstream these fats circulate throughout the body when the fats get to the liver they get converted into energy but some of those fats also get moved into this idea of ketone bodies so the fats can be either used for energy reduction or they can be used for ketone bodies and kind of as a side note you may say why would you use some of these for ketone bodies that seems foolish why don’t you just use it all for energy yeah it’s the most efficient well our bodies have been designed or they’ve been created to use these use these ketone bodies for brain fuel and the reason that is is your brain cannot use fats for energy can use glucose you can use sugar can’t use fats so if you’re in a starvation mode or you’re in a lack of finding food then your your brain would die so that’s why these ketone bodies are created they’re created in the liver and the mother ketone body is this one called acetyl acetate so remember they’re created when loped the supply of sugar insulin is decreased fats and prevalent the mother is acetoacetate and that mother molecule can make two other ones one is beta-hydroxybutyrate which kind of inter converts between acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate acetoacetate also produces acetone which is once it’s produced it goes off by itself it doesn’t interconvert back Gatiss of acetone essentially it’s a keto that ultimately is just a byproduct exactly gotcha so and when you say the body or the brain can only use ketones like I’ve often referred to it as take the word ketones and think of the word ki the brain needs that ki to actually have energy so that’s like ketones essentially ended up being a source of energy for the brain they are the only ones that have the key to get into the brain outside of glucose correct No another thing that I’ve looked at before and maybe you can kind of attest to this I mean by and large what separates us from other animals is the fact that we have a very powerful brain and it’s our probably our most key component when it comes to end to survival we have a brain that allows us to have relatively good cognitive function that can keep us alive it can allow us to brainstorm and figure out how to survive you know so our ketones sort of a survival mechanism in that sense to keep the brain alive if all else starts to fail that’s exactly it because back you know years ago thousands of years ago we didn’t have a constant source of food so you may go kill an animal eat but then you may not eat for weeks before you find your next new your next meal so your sugar levels or your glucose those drop and then you’re using stored body fat so if your brain doesn’t have any energy because it can’t use fats you got to have something else there so the body is able to use those fats convert them into a different chemical ketone bodies that it couldn’t have been use for brain energy and all sort of neurological energy that includes your spine and your other nervous system component really interesting okay so and I know a lot of the people that are watching my channel typically want to know a little bit more about the science of that conversion process you might just explain just a little bit about how acetoacetate actually starts to convert into acetone and converts into beta hydroxy butyrate right and that’s yeah obviously the lumo biochemical so acetoacetate there’s actually an enzyme or kind of machinery that converts the pseudo acetate into beta hydroxy butyrate and that enzyme can also convert beta hydroxy butyrate back to a pseudo acetate and that’s important the idea is beta hydroxy butyrate really there as a storage molecule think of you know you go and once again going back to this killing animals that’s not what we’re really here for but it let’s say you haven’t you have a large amount of food it can be beef or whatever you’re gonna take some of that in store in your freezer so beta hydroxy butyrate really is a way to store that molecule in a different place now once the acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate go from the liver get in the bloodstream then get out to maybe your skeletal muscle they’ll get to your brain the beta hydroxy butyrate gets converted back to acetoacetate to actually be used for energy so that backward shift once again that enzyme converts beta hydroxy butyrate back to C to acetate to be used in those what would call peripheral tissues your skeletal muscle interesting brain etc the other side of things the acetoacetate gets converted into acetone as the other side right but the one the great thing about acetone is you can measure in the exhaled breath it’s very small so it what we could call it evaporates but it’s volatile so it can appear in the breath and then you can measure in the exhale which kind of segues into what I really want to talk about next which is how do you measure ketones and I know there’s a couple of different ways to do it and I want to lead off by talking about the urine strips because they drive me crazy and I want to talk about the one thing that really has driven me crazy about them the most and that’s the fact that maybe you guys have noticed this before when you use a ketone urine strip if you’re in ketosis you find that throughout the first week or so of Quito it works really really well like you you notice you’re registering on the Quito strip you’re still in dark purple you’re showing high amounts of ketones you’re excited and then two three weeks into it suddenly you’re not registering those ketones anymore because your body’s getting adapted you’re not having these excess ketones that are showing up in urine but I mean can you explain a little bit more about how maybe the the urine strips and even the blood meters work sure so the urine strips that would be the one I’d be negative on I guess I try not to be too negative but the urine strips are problematic because number one it’s measuring acetoacetate which is great it can some of them can measure also acetone as well because of the reaction they use on that strip but remember the pseudo acetate in the acetone have to get into the urine so they have to pass through your kidneys so a couple things are happening there if you’re not well hydrated the you may not when you may get different concentrations of these in your urine if you have kidney dysfunction so you have a kidney disorder you’re gonna have a differential concentration probably the biggest thing that’s a problem with it is remember you make a measurement you don’t urinate all the time you’ve got to feel like you’ve got to go so and that’s not funny but you’ve got to build up enough your in taxi urinate so you’re really it’s an integrated concentration so it’s not I have a high concentration now but then a lower concentration lower concentration you integrate that together it can be different than what you are at currently so it’s kind of not it’s kind of a like I said an average it’s not really a indication of where you’re at right at the moment gotcha and then the other the other way that people measure a lot is with with blood meters which well yeah and let me go back to the other thing with yearn like you said is it’s not really quantitative yeah right so you get a different color you don’t really have a value it’s hard to track a trend and it’s it’s also very private right you know you’re not gonna be doing this out in public so speak well if you live in my neighborhood some people do that but but in polite society we like to try to do that behind closed doors right yeah no definitely and what it’s like you said it’s when it comes down to really measuring your success I’m always a big fan of eliminating variables never possible you know it’s and when you come down to something like ketosis it doesn’t matter how early in learning hito you are how experienced you are I think one of the reasons that people like it is because it is so black and white and is so measurable and when you get down to something like urine strips it really adds way too many variables into the equation I mean the thing that’s nice about ketosis is in the first place is you’re eliminating the variable of carbohydrates right it’s pretty darn simple fats and proteins and when you eliminate that variable it’s easy to stick to which is why it’s so easy for people so why complicate it by adding a measurement that includes variables so it’s which why when you moved to blood ketones are such a better better option right because you’re sticking your finger you’re taking a blood drop that’s pretty well controlled because it’s just coming straight from your your your circulatory system and then you’re putting on a strip and so we have a pretty good sample that’s being analyzed by the device as well as it’s a quantitative measure so you get a you know 0.3 0.5 millimolar concentration so those are all nice things now probably the things that are difficult about the blood meter is just you have to prick your finger which at first glance I think we all think us it’s to prick your finger but when you start to do it day after day it starts to become a little more painful and sometimes you get some bruising and then the other thing that’s probably not great is the cost so which is a few bucks it used to be four or five dollars I think now it’s two to three dollars now but if you mess up sampling on one of those which can happen then you yeah exactly exactly but but there’s some of the nice things it is a gold standard at the moment right it is the way people really understand ketosis I want to give you a chance to talk a little bit about the third way to measure which is through your breath and really how that can be done and why it’s advantageous and why it’s superior to some of the other levels but also how it pertains not just to ketosis but to anyone who’s really trying to measure whether they’re in a fat-burning state or not and this is where I just totally geeked out on this stuff so I’ll kind of turn it to you to describe you know the Third Way with the breath one of the things we really like about Bayesian a chemical in breath is it’s very simple right you don’t have the invasiveness of of a finger prick you don’t have the privacy issue around urine you can do it with other folks and you can make multiple measurements right so if you mess up one it’s just the next breath down the road is your next sample so one of the things that we’ve done one of the things that we’ve tried to implement is to make this a comfortable measurement and to make it a repeatable measurement kind of things we talked about with the sampling and also like we said acetone is small so it appears in your exhaled breath so it’s something that we can measure in the breath as opposed to having to kind of interrogate the body to get that chemical out gotcha yeah and and with level it gives you a quick and easy way to basically see where your breath acetone levels are at so a quick and easy gauge of where am I in the spectrum of fatty acid utilization burning fat oxidizing fat and you can really start to develop these trends like when am i burning fat when am I not burning fat and the reason I want to bring this back just the fat burning in general and not just ketosis is simply because when you are burning fat whether you are ultimately in ketosis or not you are producing acetone and that is your indicator of burning fat and a keto strip can’t tell you that and a blood meter really is pretty hard to tell with so it’s nice to be able to test immediately even if you’re not in keto that I just exercise it’s X time of day I want to see if I am in an optimal state of fat burning right now I mean it really allows us to no pun intended level up like where you are in terms of how you monitor yourself I’m not in ketosis right now and this is still gonna measure where my breath acetone is regardless right it’s that’s correct yes interesting because breath acetone is related to fat metabolism fat loss there’s a nice study that was done back in the early 90s that showed if you can elevate your breath acetone above 2 parts per million you can expect to lose about a half pound of fat mass per week if you’re on a calorie restricted diet so a little bit different the folks out there or ketogenic diet yeah but if your calorie restricted senator standard American diet you can lose about to a half pound of fat mass if you’re at a 2 or higher and then as you continue to increase your breasts and hold it there for a week you can increase the fat loss and that’s what this kind of study showed so one of the things to think about with with acetone is the measurement is gonna be different than blood most people have about one part per million of acetone on their breath just your guy off the street so to speak to and higher is elevated fat metabolism one of the things that’s nice that we’ve been seeing that we’re gonna validate here shortly is if you’re at eight parts per million or greater you should be in that nutritional ketosis which is about a half million more of beta-hydroxybutyrate in the blood for the folks who are who really kind of get this stuff you understand that I always say even if you’re eating ketosis the whole idea is you’re getting yourself adapted to fats so that when you are in a calorie deficit the first thing that your body wants to utilize is fat not glucose that it would preferentially normally want to run on right so if you can get yourself to an eight and you’re in the nutritional state of ketosis then once you’re in a calorie deficit you are in action right and you can your body can probably more readily pull fat from the body stores as opposed to say I’ve got to go search for glucose and it may be a tough search right you may have to break down some of your structural structural components to get that okay well thank you Joe and for everyone that’s curious about this I’ve put a link down below in the description so you guys can check out level and see if you want to start taking your ketosis to the next level no pun intended again and and start checking when you’re in keto when you’re not in keto and when you’re burning the most fat so as always keep it locked in here on the channel and thanks Joe yeah you got it

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What is the Ketogenic Diet and How to Measure if You're in Ketosis

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Ketone Breath Meter:

What is the Ketogenic Diet and How to Measure if You’re in Ketosis

Keto Urine Strips

Urine sticks are the cheapest and easiest way to measure for ketosis

With a keto stick, you hold the stick in your urine stream for a few seconds, and within a few seconds there should be a color change in the strip (if you are in ketosis)

When ketone body levels increase, they are just excreted through your urine instead of having to be stored back as fat

However, this is not always a reliable test. Once your body is in a “keto-adapted” state and you get deeper into ketosis, your body adapts and becomes more optimized in ketone production

Disadvantage: not that accurate

Advantage: cheap

Feeling of Ketosis

Keto Flu/Focus and Mood

Tiredness and feeling sick when first starting a keto diet; This is termed the “low carb flu” or “keto flu.” – usually due to the loss of electrolytes

When you get into ketosis, a large part of the brain starts burning ketones instead of glucose. It can take a few days or weeks for this to start working properly.

Ketones are an extremely potent fuel source for the brain and can cross the blood-brain barrier – have been used to treat brain diseases and conditions such as concussion and memory loss

Long-term ketogenic dieters often report increased clarity and improved brain function

Keto Breath

Your body makes small amounts of acetone as it’s made during the breakdown of fat

The liver breaks down acetone to chemicals that are not harmful – The amount that is not broken down leaves your body mostly in the air that you breathe out and a small amount leaves the body through urine

The smell can vary, but it usually has a fruity (like the smell of rotten apples) smell – usually likened to the smell of nail varnish remover (acetone is a chemical in nail polish remover)

However, keto breath does not affect everyone in ketosis and tends to disappear once keto-adapted

LEVL Breath Meter

Keto breath meters are extremely accurate and a simple way to check for ketosis, without a urine or blood test – you simply breath into the meter and it lets you know whether or not you are in a ketogenic state

There’s a correlation between the amount of acetone detected in the breath and body fat burned, giving you a reliable indicator of fat loss.

LEVL is a FDA Class I medical device that is designed to detect trace amounts of acetone in your breath when your body is burning fat (even if you don’t have “keto breath”)

You breathe into the device and your breath is analyzed by a nanosensor within the device that gives you an immediate reading of your body’s acetone concentration

When your body shifts to utilizing fat for energy your breath acetone concentration increases – This increase usually occurs over the course of 3-7 days, until you reach an elevated level of breath acetone

The LEVL device is measured in PPM, an abbreviation that means of Parts Per Million, of acetone in exhaled breath.

A breath measurement of 2 PPM or greater indicates an elevated state of fat metabolism that should correspond to a loss of at least ½ lb. of body fat per week

The device is not only used to help you achieve nutritional ketosis, but it can also monitor how diet and exercise are impacting acetone in your body so you can be sure you’re burning the maximum amount of fat.

If you consume too many carbs your body will switch back to running on glucose, which will result in an acetone concentration reduction over the course of 1-2 days – or can be used if you are unsure about your current state of ketosis

1) Measuring Ketosis: What are Keto Sticks and Keto Strips? | Ruled Me. (n.d.). Retrieved from

2) 10 Signs and Symptoms That You’re in Ketosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from

3) Acetone | CH3-CO-CH3 – PubChem. (n.d.). Retrieved from

4) ATSDR – Public Health Statement: Acetone. (n.d.). Retrieved from

5) Science – LEVL. (n.d.). Retrieved from
6) Using LEVL – LEVL. (n.d.). Retrieved from /

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