Tips for Testing and Tracking Glucose and Ketone Levels
When you first start a keto diet, it's helpful to test your ketone and glucose levels regularly. Regular testing helps you know if you're in ketosis, identify trigger foods that may be adversely affecting your glucose and ketosis levels, and get some positive encouragement by seeing that what you're doing is working (i.e. keeping you in ketosis).
We've found that testing at consistent times each day gives you good baselines and opportunities for clear comparison as you progress from day to day. Here are some tips we have found to be helpful for consistent testing:
- Test before you break your fast each morning to get a good baseline, ideally an hour or two after waking due to the "dawn phenomenon" which is a normal release of cortisol that helps your body wake and can cause you to have a higher glucose level and lower ketone level than other parts of the day. To learn more about the dawn effect watch this video.
- Testing before your evening meal is another good baseline as ketone levels tend to rise throughout the day.
- If you test after eating specific foods, test at a similar time interval. For example: 60 or 120 minutes after the meal. Note that ketone levels respond more slowly than glucose to foods you eat. To learn more about self-experimentation and bio-individuality watch this video.
- Remember that exercise also can affect your measurable ketone levels since your body may burn available ketones as fuel. Watch this video to learn more about exercise and ketone levels.
- Keep in mind, with ketones, bigger numbers are not always better. A reading of 4 or 5 isn't necessarily better than a reading of 1 or 2. A high reading could mean that your body is very good at producing ketones, but possibly your body isn't great at using them yet. Usually once you are fat adapted, you will rarely see those high numbers, unless you are fasting. So don't chase higher numbers!
Everyone is different, if you are in the zone (ideally 1.0-3.0) you are doing well!