Cheapskate ketosis?

tldr; I’m looking for an easy, inexpensive product to estimate my ketone levels in a pilot study.

I’ve been eating a low-carbohydrate diet for a couple of years now and in a recent diet audit (using MyFitnessPal) I found that fat constituted around 70% of my caloric intake. Given that most of the remaining calories come from protein, I would expect to find myself somewhere on the beginning of the “keto-spectrum.” Recently, I’ve become interested in quantifying my ketone levels.

Given that the overly-recommended Precision Xtra is quite an investment, I’m looking for alternative options for my pilot study. As far as I am aware, the cheapest method is urine test strips. But it’s a saturated market.

From those of you experienced in this domain, which strips would you recommend and why? I’m looking for something inexpensive, (at least remotely) accurate, and widely available.

Thanks in advance and happy tracking,


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@QuantifiedBob says “Precision Xtra glucose/ketone meter or Keto Mojo cost just $1-$2 per test strip” But I think you want something 1/10 that price, yes?

Unfortunately, you aren’t going to find any reliable blood glucose meters/strips for less. But something important to point out is that there are several ways to measure ketones (blood, urine, breath), which all provide some insights about ketones in the body, but are not the same!

  1. Blood - this is the best (and most expensive) way to measure ketones in the body, via a ketone meter and test strips (or can be obtained via blood test). It looks at β-hydroxybutyrate (BhB). Precision Xtra and Keto Mojo are popular devices being used.

  2. Breath - this looks at acetoacetate in the breath, using a device such as Ketonix or LEVL. There is a non-linear relationship between acetoacetate levels in the breath and BhB, so there is some calibration required and breath testing is less accurate.

  3. Urine - urine strips detect excreted excess acetoacetate from the body. Keep in mind that urine strips can be inaccurate for someone who is already keto-adapted, as their body will be able to utilize more ketones so will not produce much in urine, thereby giving a false/lower result. So they might think they aren’t in ketosis, but in reality they are!

I’ve done some experiments with exogenous ketone bodies and you can see how I did my testing here:


Interesting. Perhaps you could help. I am trying to determine good vs bad stress and sse the impact on the baro rsponse, since this can be trained. What i would like to do is measure some neurochemicals continuously or as cloae as possible which could include cortisol, endogenous opiods, norepinephrine, seratonin, dopamine, ACh, … Any suggestions would be helpfu. Thanks

I think I may have misexpressed myself somewhat. As far as I understand, products like the Precision Xtra use strips that absorb blood and electronically quantify levels of certain markers. The strips are pricey, I’m sure, but my main issue for this pilot study is the cost of the device. If I’m not mistaken, there are also urine-based strips that require no device to take measurements. In my mind it would be something that changes colour based on certain levels of ketone markers in the urine and allows one to compare with a colour chart to estimate blood ketone levels.

I fully appreciate that these strips are far from precise and aren’t accurate in those whose bodies have acclimated to processing ketones. My interest in them is merely as a cheap way to explore some possible hypotheses to determine if a device like the Precision Xtra will provide justifiable benefits to my future experiments.

It looks like @QuantifiedBob has given a pretty good explanation of all of this below, so I’ll have a look at that (and his linked study).


Thanks, Bob. This is an awesome explanation!

As I said in my reply to @Agaricus, I’m looking for a really cheap-and-rough means of estimating ketone levels without an expensive device. That would presumably leave me with the urine strips? If the experiments end up being worthwhile, I’ll look into doing something more thorough and invest in precision equipment.

I’ve also had a look at the experiments you’ve linked. I must commend you on your thorough approach and detail write-up. I’ll definitely be referring to it as I experiment with ketones going forward!

Thanks again for the feedback and if you have any recommendations for simple urine test strips, please let me know!

@gianlucatruda define “expensive”? The Precision Xtra meter itself can be purchased for less than $30 USD (Keto Mojo costs $50 USD), then ketone test strips can be ordered for around $1-$2 each (Keto Mojo sells ketone strips for $1 each). If

It’s more a case of student budget in a country with no free Amazon delivery and a currency not so favourable for USD conversion.

The actual price aside, I’d prefer to do a trial run on disposable strips before sourcing and purchasing a new device.

A few months late to this thread. After years of HPLC dieting, and various forms of Intermittent Fasting, I’m (right now) in Week 3 of full Keto. Rookie. Almost over the physical need for ice cream…

Anyway - I agree with @QuantifiedBob - I’m using Keto Mojo to track glucose and ketone levels, sometimes a couple times a day (rookie…). I found a discount link for your first kit (don’t think it will work for re-orders of strips) - it’s 15%-40% off, if that helps at all - potentially offsetting the shipping costs…?

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