Checking Blood Sugar and Ketones


Checking blood sugar and ketone levels regularly on a restricted ketogenic diet for cancer is an important part of reaching and maintaining the target blood sugar and ketone levels recommended for slowing cancer growth.  Here's how to do both, step by step: 

Getting Started: Calibrate the Ketone and Glucose Meters

You'll only need to do this step when you start a new box of ketone or glucose strips.  There will be a plastic calibration tool included with the new Ketone strips.

Plug the calibration strip into the Ketone meter and wait for it to confirm the calibration numbers. Once that is done, the meter is ready to use.


The glucose meter will also have a calibration strip, so if you are starting with a new box, do the same thing with the glucose meter.  A separate glucose meter is not required, as the Precision Xtra meter can check both glucose and ketones, but I just happened to already have a glucose meter, so I use it. 

Take the Readings

Now that both meters have been calibrated, we are now ready to take a blood glucose and blood ketone reading. For the glucose test especially, your hands must be clean and dry.  Using warm water to wash your hands will make the blood flow better. 

Since you will be washing your hands and don't want to contaminate them afterwards, get the strips ready first. This will also ensure that the meter doesn't shut off before you can get the strip out and insert it.

  1. Open one of the individual ketone strips and take the strip out. You can just place it on top of the meter until you are ready to insert it.  Do the same thing with a glucose strip.
  2. Using the lancet tool which comes with the Ketone meter, prick your finger and squeeze out a small drop of blood.
  3. Now insert the glucose strip into the meter and wait for the indication it is ready to test. Then touch the end of the strip to the drop of blood on your finger.  If you using the same meter for both, wait for the blood glucose result, then remove the strip.
  4. Now squeeze out a larger drop of blood for the Ketone meter.  The pictures below show the difference.

Wait for the ketone test results. The test results will look similar to the pictures below.  Those are my results after fasting for one day.


You will do this pretty often so checking blood sugar and ketone levels will become routine.  Remember to keep a log of your results along with tracking your food intake so that you can troubleshoot if you don't reach the recommended targets.

As you begin tracking your readings, you'll notice that your blood sugars will be higher and ketones will be lower in the mornings.  This is due to gluconeogenesis.



Done with Checking Blood Sugar, Back to Cancer Treatments

Starting a restricted ketogenic diet for cancer treatment necessitates checking your ketone and blood glucose levels.

In addition to the common method of using a blood glucose meter to check blood sugar, there are several ways to check ketones.

You can buy ketone stix, and check the levels of ketones in your urine.

This method has been the most common method for years, but recently, several companies have developed a blood ketone meter for home use.

This method of checking ketones in the blood is much more accurate, but is also much more expensive.

Jimmy Moore has a nice post on using the blood meters here. Below are links to the Keto-Stix for urine checks, and the various brands of ketone meters for blood checks.

If you would like to read more, Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney discuss the new method of checking blood ketones in their book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance".