Blood Chemistry – Part 1

So you’ve decided to “go keto,” but what does that really mean? Good question.

Keto is the shorthand term for the ketogenic diet, which is what goes in your mouth (diet) or what’s going on in your blood (ketones).

If you were to Goggle “keto” you would discover that many bloggers and authors measure the “what to eat on keto” in percentage or grams consumed of carbs, proteins and fats — the macros of any diet. If the particular keto diet is measuring macros in percentages then it is likely 70-75% fat, 20% proteins and 5-10% carbs. Too messy and too many calculations for me. I prefer using macro grams with a tracking app like Cronometer or CarbManager — enough fat to satisfy, 20 g total carbs, and a calculated amount of protein that remains the same throughout weight loss into lifelong maintenance.

However, what goes in your mouth doesn’t necessarily make your body make ketones for your body to use as fuel. The only hard-and-fast rule I use with my clients is to eat 20 grams of total carbs or less. And, yes, this level of total carbs does usually put an individual into nutritional ketosis.

Nutritional ketosis refers to a state of chemistry inside your blood where ketones are present.”

Dr Annette Bosworth, aka Dr Boz

I am often asked if ketones are in my blood, do I need to measure ketones. My response, “That depends.” If you choose to measure the level of ketones in your blood, Drs Phinney and Volek define nutritional ketosis as blood ketones of 0.5-3.0 mmol/L. So yes, blood chemistry — what’s in your blood — does determine whether you are in ketosis or not.

But do you have to prick your finger? Can’t you just use symptoms to determine that you’re in ketosis? Again that depends.

The keto way of eating is measurable. For some of my clients that have no interest in pricking their finger, we’ve chosen to use a list of keto-adapted symptoms:

  • increased energy
  • reduced appetite
  • skip meals without hunger
  • eating window of 1-8 hours
  • fewer cravings, especially for carbs
  • increased mental focus
  • decreased brain fog
  • improved memory performance
  • improved mood
  • reduced digestive gas/bloating
  • little to no afternoon slump(s)
  • fasting becomes a natural rhythm

After reading Dr Annette Bosworth’s book, Anyway You Can, I decided to run an experiment on myself. Why? Well, I had been using keto-adapted symptoms to determine whether I “felt” like I was in ketosis without actually measuring my blood or breath ketones. Remember I said that the ketogenic diet was measurable, but I wasn’t measuring. As Dr Boz says, checking ketones is the “single step that separates this diet from every other weight loss regime. The keto lifestyle provides realtime feedback on how you are doing. Checking ketones allows you to see your progress…Testing really takes all of the guess-work out of the process.” (Bosworth, Any Way You Can, p316) If ketones are measurable and provides feedback on your progress, I was going to test that theory.

In my next blog post on this topic, I will share with you my N=1 experiment I ran on myself. I will share my results of using ketone urine strips, blood ketone monitor and Biosense ketone breath metre for 2 months.

Can’t wait to know how these ketone measuring tools can change your keto journey? Don’t wait! Send Brenda an email to schedule your FREE Discovery Chat to find out to take your keto journey to the next level.

About Brenda

Brenda loves learning and sharing what she's learning with you. She is a certified keto/carnivore coach with Keto-Adapted (Maria and Craig Emmerich, a certified holistic nutritional consultant (CHNC), and a natural nutrition clinical practitioner (NNCP).