You will no doubt have come across keto sticks if you’ve ever done a ketogenic diet planor read any message boards about low carb diets.
Whilst a lot of dieters use them, they do not always understand how to read the results and adjust their diet to optimise it.
This article aims to resolve this and clear up the facts about keto strips.
Ketogenic diets force your body to adapt to using fat for fuel when glucose (from carbs) is not present, this is known as ketosis
Ketones are a by-product of ketosis and keto sticks (also known as ketostix or ketosticks) are urine testing strips which detect the presence of ketones in the blood.
They are small plastic strips with an absorbent pad on the end, you urinate on the absorbent pad and it changes colour to reflect the amount of ketones present in your urine.
They are also sometimes referred to as keto diastix, don’t get confused as these are two different products. Keto diastix are usually used by Type I diabetics to detect the presence of glucose, they are of no use to keto dieters.
Where Can I Purchase Keto Sticks?
Amazon is probably your most convenient option – the best I have found online is this: Nurse Hatty Ketone Strips.
Diabetics use keto strips also, so sometimes they are with other diabetic products or behind the counter. Ask a shop assistant for help if required.
Keto strips are cheap to purchase, no more that a few pounds and a pot will last you a long while.
The pot contains a number of strips and a colour chart on the side which ranges from clear to pink to purple. Once you have urinated on the stick, you wait 10-15 seconds and then match the colour of the stick to the chart.
Clear: No/trace ketones in your urine
Pink: Some ketones in your urine
Purple: High level of ketones in your urine
Quite simply, No.
Purple readings mean you are not drinking enough water and you are very possibly dehydrated. Ensure you drink more water otherwise your kidneys will be working harder than they should be!
The biggest problem with keto strips in my opinion is that dieters get hung up on them as the absolute reference point for how well they are doing.
There is so much variance in the results keto strips show, if you test yourself after a workout you will probably show little to no ketones. This will be because your body used the ketones to fuel your workout.
At the other end of the scale if you eat a high fat meal and test yourself once its digested, you will show a high level of ketones. This is because they will be present in your body and the overspill will be in your urine.
The point I am making is ketones are made from fat, fat eaten and your body fat and the sticks only reflect the amount of ketones in your urine. The amount of ketones in your urine has no bearing on the amount of body fat being used for fuel.
I would say the answer to this question is yes and no. They are a worthwhile purchase at the beginning of a Ketogenic diet as they help you to know if you are in ketosis or not.
Once you are in ketosis their use is questionable. I think they are good to make sure you are not dehydrated and still in ketosis but if you tend to over analyse everything then don’t bother. They can take the focus off the real keys to the diet, i.e. – eating the right foods in the right quantities and continuously losing fat.
My personal experience was I very rarely showed a trace at all and I lost 28lbs in 16 weeks without keto sticks!
So in summary, keto sticks are cheap to buy, so feel free to use them as a guide if you wish but make sure you don’t let them distract you!
The single most complete guide to the ketogenic diet is Lyle McDonald’s The Ketogenic Diet, this is the book I used to drop 28 pounds in 16 weeks:
I can’t recommend this book enough, everything you need to make your ketogenic diet successful is in this book and it really is the ultimate companion which answers every question you can think of!