Would you pee on a tiny strip of paper once a day in the name of weight loss?
Believe it or not, that’s what some followers of the ketogenic diet are doing to ensure they shed pounds.
Some background: The ketogenic diet is the hottest low-carb diet right now, with proponents saying that it helps them lose weight quickly without hunger. The diet calls for getting 70 to 80 percent or more of your total calories from fat and eating fewer than 50 grams of carbs (the equivalent of two bananas) per day, explains Ashley Cuellar Gilmore, M.D., gastroenterologist and program director for IU Health Medical Weight Loss.
Why so low? Because, unlike many other low-carb diets, it’s centered around achieving ketosis. And to see all the purported benefits of going keto, you have to get in ketosis and stay there for an extended period. (Though, Gilmore notes that the benefits of the diet don’t always outweigh the risks; talk to your doctor before making an attempt at ketosis.)
One of the simplest ways to find out if you’re in ketosis is by peeing on a tiny piece of paper called a ketone strip.
The Basics of Ketosis
First things first: What is ketosis?
Ketosis occurs when you have used up all your body’s glucose stores (translation: sugar from carbohydrates) and your body switches to metabolizing fat for energy instead, says Adam Splaver, M.D., of NanoHealth Associates in Hollywood, Florida.
So, when people say they’re “in ketosis,” they mean they’ve depleted their glucose stores completely and are now primarily burning fat.
But how do you know you’re in ketosis, exactly? That’s where ketone strips come in.
Find out what happened when one writer tried the keto diet:
So What Exactly Are Ketone Strips?
Ketone tests are strips that you pee on, similar to pregnancy tests, that test the levels of a particular type of ketone, called acetoacetate, in your urine, Gilmore says.
The levels of acetoacetate in your urine roughly indicate the levels in your blood, helping you gauge your level of ketosis. Most people are considered “in ketosis” when their blood…