Are pee strips worthless?

(Jim) #1

I’m new to keto (today is day 13). I was under the impression that pee strips were pretty useful early on, but with diminishing returns as your body adapts. Is that accurate or are they just mostly useless altogether?

I had ordered some as they are cheap, but UPS screwed up the delivery and now I’m thinking I might just cancel the order and get a blood tester from Walgreens.

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.



(Karen) #3

Pretty much yes, at least after you’ve been in ketosis for a while. Early on they can be useful just to see that you were actually in ketosis. Dr. Bosworth certainly recommend using them early on.

(Christy) #4

No. It’s a really inexpensive way to gauge whether or not your body is producing ketones in the early stages, prior to becoming fat adapted. Once your body starts using the ketones instead of spilling them, the blood tester is the route to take.

(⚕ ⚕) #5

For measuring ketones on a low-carb diet, yes, they are unnecessary and add complexity and confusion. They do provide vital information in other contexts, however.

(Scott) #6

I bought them and never used them if that tells you anything.

(Allie) #7

This option.


I think they are fun when you are new, so you can see that the WOE really works. They’re so inexpensive, and seeing that deep purple for the first time was totally worth it for me.

(Karen) #9

I was going to Metabolic Research diet advisers. They have Ketone strips in the bathroom so early on in ketosis I used them at appointments . It was satisfying to see them turning colors. But after while they didn’t. So I guess I was using my ketones.

I now have a keto mojo. I’ve only done a few tests, but I appear not to be diabetic, or insulin resistant, or very deep into ketosis. At least that’s useful information. KCKO

(I'm that bad type, make your mama sad type) #10

Useless, in some ways maybe. One way they’re not useless, for me, was in the very beginning, IE the first couple weeks. Seeing a color of any kind on them kind of gave me a cheer leading to keep going because I knew I was on the right track. It gave me something to look forward to checking and kept morale up.

After a few weeks I went the Keto Mojo route, and same applies. I dont know if I’m fat adapted yet, but I like the Keto Mojo readings because they act as another cheer leader for me to keep going.

(It's all about the bacon, baby) #11

Ketones in the urine or breath are being wasted, and that tends to diminish with time, for various reasons, apparently. Similarly, even ketones in the blood are what your body hasn’t used yet, so it’s not a great indication of how many ketone bodies you are actually metabolizing.

Any of the measurements can confirm that you are indeed in ketosis, and that may be useful, but you can save yourself a bit of cash by asking yourself these two questions:

  1. Am I eating less than 20 g/day of carbohydrate?
  2. Am I breathing in and out?

If you can answer Yes to both questions, then the odds are virtually certain that your liver is producing ketone bodies.

That said, it is true that serum β-hydroxybutyrate at 0.5 mmol/dL is the definition of nutritional ketosis, but even Dr. Phinney says it is arbitrary. That was just the level at which he and Prof. Volek saw benefits of ketosis occuring in their study subjects. Once you achieve fat-adaptation, this will all become much clearer to you.

(Cindy) #12

Based just from what I’ve read from newbies on this forum, I think that can be “false promise.” NOT that keto doesn’t work, but that, just because you see purple on a pee stick, you should be dropping weight.

Many newbies don’t understand that yes, you have to get into ketosis first, but that will absolutely happen if you eliminate carbs. THEN, you have to get fat-adapted and that can take a different amount of time for different people. THEN some combination of improved health and weightloss happens.

So even though I know seeing that color on a pee stick can motivate some people, I bet it causes more problems than it helps.


Ah, that’s interesting insight and you very well may be right. My brain went immediately to “Autophagy! Reduced insulin resistance! Reduced cancer risk!” but … yes lots of people here go to “I’ll see 10 pounds less on the scale tomorrow!” which will result in disappointment.

(Cindy) #14

Yes, and even the ones you mentioned (autophagy, etc), don’t happen in the beginning when you see purple on a pee stick.

(Charlotte) #15

I think testing can cause a false sense of security if your getting good numbers, and anxiety and stress if you’re not. I did strips in the beginning and after I was adapted I switched to a blood meter, but 3.5 months in I haven’t bothered testing because I know what I’m eating is and how my body reacts to it at this point so I don’t need the confirmation anymore. Save the money imo.

(Jim) #16

Okay, remember I am in the very beginning, less than two weeks. I’m wondering if, at this very early stage, they might help me to determine if I’m falling out of ketosis if I go to a net carb diet.

(Robert C) #17

I do not think so - blood meters give numbers.
0.4 out of nutritional ketosis.
0.6 in nutritional ketosis.

Strips that come up as “out” can be fooled with too much water intake and can’t get down to close to the accuracy above.

Also, some people sit in ketosis at 0.7 to 1.2 for all of their Keto journey.
Some people pop up to 3.0 and 4.0 plus (and will see purple on the strip).

Without the blood monitor, you can’t really tell where you are doing well in terms of Ketones vs. simply over producing/under consuming ketones or maybe even just dehydrated.

(Robert C) #18

Also - good advice on “net carb” is to use net carb calculations on whole foods (broccoli, spinach etc.) but use total carbs (count all carbs) on anything man made (to avoid label games).

(John) #19

They have always registered for me, even now, 6 months into it.

(Danielle) #20

I don’t think they’re useless, but like the scale, they are to be used as a guide, not something to obsess over. How you feel overall is a far better indicator of whether this way of eating is working for you.