June 1

I’m eating well, but I don’t show up as being in Ketosis. Why?


Starting a new eating plan can be stressful and if doing well is important to you, it’s very easy to get worked up wondering if you’re doing it right. Atkins recommends ketosis test strips to see if you’re in full blown fat-burning mode and many newbies will test with those suckers multiple times a day looking for reassurance. Here’s what you need to know about checking for Ketosis.

  • While the benefits of being in Ketosis is like the Low-Carbers holy grail (energy surge, lessened appetite and clear head), showing Ketosis on the test strips is NOT important.
  • You do NOT need to register in Ketosis to lose weight. Many lose just fine and have never turned a test strip in the slightest.
  • Showing Ketosis on the strips does NOT mean you’ll lose weight. It’s only one indication you’re probably burning fat. However, the metabolism of dietary fat will result in the production of ketone bodies. It’s also possible to eat enough fatty foods to sustain your body without having to tap into your own fat reserves.
  • Darker on the strips is not necessarily better–it’s just more emotionally satisfying. Burning Ketones is like being pregnant: either your are or you are not. There isn’t a “little bit” option.
  • Are your strips old? Have they gotten damp? They are sensitive to both age and moisture. It may just be bad strips and not an uncooperative metabolism you’re dealing with.
  • Time of day matters. How much water you drink matters (and it’s likely a lot)! There are factors besides your eating that will impact whether or not you register on the test strips.
  • Pay attention to other progress indicators. How your weight is doing, how you feel, your energy level, and how your clothes fit all matter a whole lot more than what those little test strips say.
  • Know the other indicators of being in Ketosis as well. Reduced appetite, increased energy and focus, metallic taste in the mouth, and bad breath are some common indicators of ketosis. For most people, these fade with time but they can be great early signs you’ve hit the mark.
  • Too much success! As your body becomes more keto-adapted, you’re less likely to show as being on the ketosis strips even if you are in ketosis. You can either look to get a more accurate (and more expensive) blood ketosis meter to continue tracking it, or just let it go. Either choice is valid.

You’ll do well to keep things in perspective, in all phases of Low Carb. That means having LOTS of ways to trek your  progress so you don’t freak out when any individual measure isn’t showing the true extent of your dedication. If you’re doing all right overall, the color of these little strips don’t invalidate everything that’s going right. So don’t worry too much about it. Just go ahead and do your thing, okay?

Bonus tip: Snip those strips in half lengthwise to double your investment.

Do you test for ketosis? Do you find it helpful?

About the author...

Zen Goddess

Just a regular gal who found she feels better eating low carb.


Atkins, Ketosis, LC FAQs, Test Strips

  • I’ve been on low crab before and lost weight about 12 years ago now I find it very difficult to lose. I’m not sure why? I’m 51, healthy no thyroid problem. I even started working out because that always seemed to help before. I can’t seem to get to the fat burning stage. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

      • Are you using any artificial sweeteners? They cause a blood glucose surge in many people, especially type 2 diabetics.
        The surge causes your pancreas to dump insulin into your blood stream.
        Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to either store fat or burn it.
        When your insulin level is high, you store fat, When it is low, you burn fat.
        So… using artificial sweeteners can cause you to store fat, even when you’re eating a low carb diet.
        The great news is that when you eliminate all sweeteners from you diet, you totally stop craving sweets!!
        You have even more energy
        Your body starts to feel even better
        You start to lose weight again

  • Thanks, after eschewing carbs since the 13th of Jan, I was afraid I was doing something wrong, due to barely showing on the test strips, I will continue to keep the faith

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