Original email for context: Can you tell me what I should see on my ketone strips? Should it be really dark? When is the best time to test? Not sure if it shows negative due to all the water.
Ketosis Is Allowable but Not Required on the hCG Diet for Fat Loss
There’s a few factors that come into play here I will discuss but I want to first say that you do NOT need to be ketosis in order to lose fat on the hCG Diet. Some say this but it is a myth. It’s not bad to be in ketosis but I want to encourage you not to get hung up on this. If you create a calorie deficit in your life, which is being done in a big way while on hCG, you will lose fat, whether you are in ketosis or not.
For instance, this study showed that the fat mass loss for a low fat diet and a low carb diet were almost identical and on a low fat diet a person would not be in ketosis. So if you eat 500 calories a day of oranges and that’s it, you will lose fat. I’m not suggesting you do that though!
Just making a point that ketosis can be fun to try out in hCG, but in reality you don’t really need to concern yourself with it unless you want to.
Additionally, if you DO choose to get into ketosis during hCG, and you have more carbs again at any point during Phase 3 and maintenance, you will most likely have a small amount of water-weight re-gain that you MUST allow for. More on that in a bit.
How to Get Into Ketosis on hCG
If you follow the original hCG diet protocol and eat the fruits on phase 2, or you are following a modified protocol that includes fruits, you will most likely not get into ketosis. 1 medium apple has 25g of carbs, and a handful of strawberries has about 11g – that makes it about 36g of carbs in 2 fruit servings (more if you ate 2 medium apples that day), and once you factor in the carbs from your vegetables, you can see why ketosis won’t likely happen. It COULD but it wouldn’t be reliable is all. Most keto people discuss being on 20g of carbs or less for consistent reliable ketosis.
To get into ketosis on the hCG Diet, you usually have to remove the P2 fruits, and replace them with either fat free greek yogurt, which is what I did on 2 rounds, or more P2 veggies. I have a post actually on how I went about this here:
This reduce the daily carbs to a level that will allow for reliable ketosis.
Tracking with Ketone Strips- the Issues with This
You can buy ketone strips on amazon – here’s a few brands:
Using keto strips can be pretty fun. I remember how delightful it was to see that dark purple color. However, using Ketone strips is not as reliable as you might think, as I also learned!
What are the ketone strips actually showing? This is the important question.
Ketone strips are only showing EXCESS ketones that spill out into your urine. But your body is actually USING ketones for fuel.
What happens is, even if you are in full blown ketosis, if you are getting thinner your body can get to the point that it’s using most or all of the ketones your body produces to function, which means there are no “extra” ketones left over to spill over into your urine. When that happens, your nifty little keto strips will give you a negative non-ketosis reading.
This is what happened to me! When I initially tracked my ketones, not eat eating fruits in Phase 2, I had very dark ketones on the strips, but they gradually got lighter and lighter as I got thinner and eventually registered nothing- even though I was eating the exact same super low carb way on the 500 calorie diet and I knew I was still in ketosis.
So ketone strips MAY show you are ketosis, but you can also easily be in ketosis if you are doing the right things but the ketone strips will not reflect this. My point is only not to rely soley on the strips for how you are doing. If you are eating in a way to produce ketosis, you can pretty much just trust that process, and don’t panic that you are doing something wrong if you suddenly see the strips getting lighter and lighter or possibly even nothing. You are still in ketosis girl.
Other Factors That Affect Ketone Strips
- Which urine of the day you used.
This should always be your very first pee of the morning, while your urine is more concentrated. Once you drink some water, this starts diluting your urine and the resulting ketones.
2. Variations in hydration from day to day.
If you drank tons of water before bed and peed all night, this can give a different result than if you drank less. The dilutions are different
I hope that helps you a little!