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What is a blood ketone & glucose meter and why you should consider using one

If you are trying to achieve ketosis whether for weight loss, diabetes, therapeutic purposes, or general health benefits, having a ketone & glucose meter will greatly increase your chances of success.

What is a blood Ketone & Glucose Meter?

You can measure ketones in three different ways: through the breath, urine, or blood. Blood ketone measurements are considered to be the most accurate (asides from lab tests). A Ketone meter is easy to use and will give you a precise reading. In comparison, traditional urine strips are sometimes hard to read accurately. That is because you have to match the color they turn to on a scale. This can sometimes be tricky.

Why should you use a ketone & glucose meter?

Having success with a Keto diet really requires you to track two key biomarkers:

  1. Body ketones
  2. Blood glucose levels

A good meter allows you to track both (though beware that not all do). The key benefit of owning one is that it can provide you with a clear feedback mechanism based on real data from your metabolism. By learning how different foods and other lifestyle habits affect these two biomarkers, you can really dial-in your keto diet or any variation thereof.

Seeing the needle moving can be incredibly motivating. This effect is mirrored in many of the comments we found in Reddit and Facebook groups. Here is a representative example:

Finally seeing hard data (I’ve used the urine dipstick and breath meter measurements as well) that I can really trust has made getting into, and staying in ketosis so much more fun and enjoyable. I feel accountable and I love the feeling of seeing the numbers reflect my disciplined nutrition. I feel so much more comfortable experimenting with foods, exercise, and timing since I have such accurate information to guide me.

Gary p.

How does a Ketone & Glucose Meter Work?

To activate the meter you insert a testing strip (more on these below, as they can be expensive. Kind of the way razors work). The meter turns on and performs a validation of the test strip (you can only use the strips that are sold for the brand of meter you have). When the meter completes this step it switches to “read” mode. You then apply a drop of blood on the other end of the strip. Typically you draw a drop of blood by pricking the tip of a finger with a lancet devise. The process is quick and painless.

Once you place the drop of blood on the tip of the test strip, capillary action pulls it to the sensor area, just a couple mm’s from the end you placed the blood on. There is a chemical waiting within a set of electrodes that reacts with the ketones or glucose. Electrical resistance is then created or reduced based on the amount of ketones or sugar in your blood sample. The reading takes 5-10 seconds.

Are these meters accurate?

As mentioned above meters tend to be more accurate than urine strips or breath analyzers. The FDA accuracy standard for this type of meters is that they must show results that are within 20% of a laboratory standard 99% of the time. Many factors can affect the accuracy of your meter’s results. These include temperature, levels of other substances (such as ascorbic acid) in your blood, traces of other elements on your skin (such as food residue), water, and heat. The age of your test strips may also be a factor as these can expire.

We found some data via Diet Dr. comparing the results of a lab test vs. ketone readings from a sample of leading meters. While the results are not exactly the same, they are pretty close. Here is a sample result.

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