Knowing your blood ketone levels can be a powerful strategy for sustaining a ketogenic diet.
Ketosis, meaning that your ketone readings fall within the 0.5 – 3 mmol/L range, indicates that your body is burning its stored fat for energy. In other words, being in ketosis is a tool for lasting fat loss — on top of other benefits like sustained energy levels, controlled blood sugar, and improved brain health.
Charles and I have been on the keto diet since 2019, more specifically a cyclical keto diet where we eat very low-carb (close to zero carbs) on weekdays and bring those carbs up during weekends. As you’ve probably guessed, yes, we go in and out of ketosis on a weekly basis.
To monitor the effects of our food intake on ketosis, we decided to try the BKT (Best Ketone Test) ketone meter.
We wanted to see whether the device is a reliable tool for people who are just getting started on the keto diet, have fallen off the keto train and want to get back, or do a cyclical keto approach like us.
This review includes our honest thoughts on the BKT ketone meter with images of the device and some tips on using the device and entering/maintaining ketosis.
|What We Liked:||What We Think Should Be Improved:|
What is the BKT Ketone Meter? (What It’s For, Things Included in the Kit, and Setting It Up)
The BKT ketone meter is a product by Best Ketone Test based in California. This tool measures not just your blood ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the most abundant ketone found in your blood, but it also measures your blood glucose levels.
As someone who’s trying to manage their blood sugar, the BKT ketone meter proves to be useful. This includes people who are at risk of diabetes, have diabetes, or simply optimizing their health.
Some ketone meters only measure blood ketone levels, but this one tests both blood ketones and blood glucose — which is a big plus.
Here’s what the BKT ketone meter looks like. It has the BKT logo on top, a Bluetooth indicator light, a big LCD screen that lights up, and one button at the bottom to operate the device. Overall, it looks nice and durable.
The BKT Starter Kit comes with a black pouch, 10 blood ketone test strips, 10 blood glucose test strips, 10 lancets, and 1 painless lancing device that you can easily adjust depending on the amount of blood you would like to draw. It also includes two AAA alkaline batteries, so you can take your readings right away.
If this is your first time setting up a ketone meter, you might feel a bit intimidated. To be honest, it was also our very first time operating a blood ketone meter — but we were able to set everything up (including adjusting the date and time, calibrating the meter, downloading the app, and taking our first reading) in 25 to 30 minutes.
Thankfully, BKT provides you with several printed resources. Here’s what you’ll find along with the kit:
- Owner’s Manual: This includes instructions on setting the meter, calibration instructions, preparing the lancing device, taking a blood sample, how to care for the device, and troubleshooting tips.
- Quick Start Guides for Blood Ketone and Glucose Measurements: These are the two blue leaflets in the image above. Each leaflet features visual steps from washing your hands to discarding the used lancets.
- Bluetooth Pairing Guide: It includes visual steps on downloading their app on the App Store or Google Play and pairing your device.
- Lancing Device and Sterile Lancet Instructions: This leaflet shows you how to set up the lancing device, choose an alternative testing site for drawing blood, and tips on reducing infection.
- Ketone and Glucose Test Strip Guides: We didn’t read these guides when setting up and using the ketone meter, but they can be useful for getting more information on the testing strip, code chip, and limitations on using the product (for example, that the test strip should not be used for newborn testing)
Our 5-Day Experience with the BKT Ketone Meter
As mentioned earlier in this review, we follow a cyclical keto diet in that we increase carbs during weekends and get into ketosis during weekdays.
Day 1: Monday
We started testing our blood ketone levels on a Monday, which clearly showed that Charles and I weren’t in ketosis.
Mine: 0.3 mmol/L
Charles: 0.3 mmol/L
You can see on the BKT app that both of us got the same result. We took our readings 2 hours after our morning cup of coffee, which was plain black coffee. Charles added stevia while I didn’t add anything to my coffee.
Also, we exercised (riding the elliptical machine and lifting weights) and did OMAD or one-meal-a-day fasting after getting this reading to start depleting our glycogen stores. Both strategies would allow us to speed up ketosis.
- Intermittent fasting, such as OMAD, isn’t necessary to enter ketosis. However, it can be a quicker way to deplete glycogen in your body, in addition to exercising.
- You can always enter ketosis by simply bringing down your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams in a day. Doing this alone can help you reach ketosis in 2-4 days.
Day 2: Tuesday
We measured our blood ketones 2 hours after our morning coffee, at around 11:00 am, and got the following results:
Mine: 0.5 mmol/L
Charles: 0.8 mmol/L
I’m not so sure why Charles was at a deeper level of ketosis than I was, but I assume it’s because he did continuous moderate-intensity cardio (on the elliptical machine) in a fasted mode on the previous day.
We broke our fast in the evening and ate our one meal which was plain chicken wings with mayonnaise dip. We ate until we were satisfied. Also, we had diet soda on the side just to test if it would affect our ketone levels the following day.
When it comes to ketosis symptoms, I experienced increased urination throughout the day. I kept going back to the bathroom. I also felt a bit sleepy in the afternoon even though I had black coffee.
Charles, on the other hand, felt slightly weak and had a mild headache.
Day 3: Wednesday
We were able to maintain ketosis. Both of us got the same reading of 0.8 mmol/L at 7:48 pm and 8:20 pm, 2-3 hours after our dinner which was blue marlin steaks and eggs. Charles also had two servings of whey protein isolate, equivalent to 48 grams of protein.
Mine: 0.8 mmol/L
Charles: 0.8 mmol/L
I still experienced frequent urination, which meant that my body was still depleting its stored glycogen. To prevent losing electrolytes through my urine, I took a keto-friendly electrolyte powder (completely carb-free), which contained sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and zinc.
Day 4: Thursday
On our fourth day, we didn’t test our blood ketones for the reason that we were trying to save our remaining strips. We only had 5 ketone strips each (since we got the BKT Keto Starter Kit).
However, we knew that we were still in ketosis since we just had our usual morning coffee. Charles had a mild headache as a ketosis symptom, while I had a low mood. We broke our OMAD fast in the evening at 6:00 pm with meat and eggs, seasoned with salt.
At around 10:00 pm, I experienced extreme hunger, so I cooked five hotdogs, which had carbs in them.
Day 5: Friday
This was our final day of testing. Unfortunately, my ketone levels slightly decreased and I was out of ketosis, while Charles maintained ketosis. I believe it was the hotdogs that got me off ketosis (because they were highly processed and I ate a lot of them, which brought my carb intake up).
Mine: 0.4 mmol/L
Charles: 0.7 mmol/L
An important reminder when trying to maintain ketosis:
Beware of processed foods like hot dogs, even if they’re technically keto-friendly (since they contain a small number of carbs per serving). The problem with processed foods is that they’re easy to overeat, especially when you have cravings.
If you’re not careful with your carb limit, you could unintentionally consume more carbs than you need (over 50 grams) and get kicked out of ketosis.
A clean keto diet is always the best approach for ketosis and long-term health, plus you have control over the ingredients you use.
What BKT Could Improve
Based on our usage, we noticed two things we think BKT should work on for better user experiences:
#1: The BKT app does not allow us to edit our reading details.
This is what the Reading Details section looks like when you click your blood ketone result that’s registered on the app:
Unfortunately, no matter how many times we clicked on these fillable boxes, we weren’t able to edit the details and add notes. The only way we could enter personalized information is if we did a manual entry by clicking the plus button on the home page:
I believe being able to add more details to an existing ketone reading is so important, especially when you want to note specific ketosis symptoms.
Also, this would be beneficial for couples like us that share a single ketone meter and app. We would have wanted to add a note that “This is Tiffany’s ketone reading” or “This is Charles’s ketone reading.” You get the idea.
#2: No “quick reference” ketone levels chart.
Of course, you can simply search for the right levels of nutritional ketosis by doing a Google search — or remember that ketosis ranges from 0.5 – 3 mmol/L.
However, we think that a separate colored chart that goes with the kit would help newbies. Other than these areas for improvement, the BKT ketone test is a wonderful product!
Our Final Thoughts
We love BKT and we think their Keto Starter Kit is a great way to kickstart the keto diet and ensure that you’re doing it right. Based on our blood ketone readings and ketosis symptoms, we can say that the device has high accuracy.
Although we didn’t show images of us pricking our fingers using the lancet, our experience was painless. We also liked that the device had a quick eject button on the side which prevented us from touching the used strips upon discarding them.
Hopefully, this honest review helps anyone who’s curious to learn more about BKT before trying it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the BKT device measure?
The BKT device measures both blood ketone and blood glucose levels. We didn’t use our blood glucose strips that came with the pack, since we were focused only on testing our blood ketone levels to track nutritional ketosis.
Does BKT ship worldwide?
Yes, they do. This is one of the best things we liked about BKT. If you live in the US, you can enjoy free shipping if your order is above $34.
Does BKT provide meal plans?
No, BKT does not offer meal plans on their app and website. If you’re interested in a list of foods to eat and a sample meal plan for ketosis, you can check out our free keto meal plan guide.
Can the BKT device help me reach my health and weight loss goals?
Using the BKT device can aid weight loss and support your health by showing you objective data on ketosis. Getting your readings daily will help you know if you’re on the right track and it’ll give you insight into which strategies are working to your advantage (such as exercising, intermittent fasting, and the impact of foods on your ketone levels).