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Breathalyzer for Ketosis Check

FooFatFightersFooFatFighters Posts: 37Member Member Posts: 37Member Member
So I've read on r/keto that you can use a cheap breathalyzer to test for acetone on the breath which indicates your level of ketosis. The trick is to use a cheap, crappy alcohol breathalyzer to test and not an expensive fancy one.

The cheap ones can't tell the difference between alcohol and acetone, the good ones (like the police carry) only measure alcohol and ignore acetone (ketones).

So I bought this breathalyzer http://www.ebay.com/itm/231045711618 from ebay

And folks in r/keto say that blowing 0.01—0.05 is good and shows youre in ketosis. I just blew 0.14 which I can believe because I've been doing less than 15g net carbs/day this week and I lost three pounds. I put a photo of the readout in my profile pics.

Has anybody else tried this? What reading levels should I be watching for? This seems a lot better than peeing on a stick.
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Replies

  • BooksandbeachesBooksandbeaches Posts: 1,823Member Member Posts: 1,823Member Member
    That's interesting and affordable too.

    I'm interested in what the veteran keto folks have to say.

    I found this study that says breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. It's not a long-term study though, but still intriguing.

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/1/65.full
  • FooFatFightersFooFatFighters Posts: 37Member Member Posts: 37Member Member
    I bought a nice breathalyzer on Amazon.com but it was a good one and it didn't register breath acetone at all, only alcohol so I returned it. Seems like this cheap one does the trick. I'm meeting-up with a friend tommorrow and hopefully she hasn't had any drinks and isn't doing keto, I'm going to get her to blow into it for a baseline test.
  • BooksandbeachesBooksandbeaches Posts: 1,823Member Member Posts: 1,823Member Member
    Which breathalyzer did you get from amazon?
  • FooFatFightersFooFatFighters Posts: 37Member Member Posts: 37Member Member
    Just tested this with a friend, she blew 0.0 BAC so it appears to be working. I blew after that and blew 0.14 BAC.

    I forgot which one I got from Amazon.com but you gotta get these cheap ones because the 'good' ones don't detect acetone from ketosis on the breath, they only detect alcohol.
  • Leonidas_meets_SpartacusLeonidas_meets_Spartacus Posts: 6,200Member Member Posts: 6,200Member Member
    That's interesting and affordable too.

    I'm interested in what the veteran keto folks have to say.

    I found this study that says breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. It's not a long-term study though, but still intriguing.

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/1/65.full

    Study compares breathalyzer with Urine strips. I would love to see studies comparing with blood BHB levels to acetone levels. I can save a lot of if they are comparable.
  • DebbiedebbieyDebbiedebbiey Posts: 830Member Member Posts: 830Member Member
    I've seen these at gas stations on a keychain ! I'll have to try it !!! Thanks for the idea
  • Leonidas_meets_SpartacusLeonidas_meets_Spartacus Posts: 6,200Member Member Posts: 6,200Member Member
    Ok, guys I borrowed a breathalyzer from some one I know. Its pretty useless because it measures acetones not BHB. BHB >0.5milli molars is ketosis. Dang! I thought I could save some money getting rid of those ketone blood test strips.
  • GaleHawkinsGaleHawkins Posts: 6,152Member Member Posts: 6,152Member Member
    FooFatFighters my breath analyzer is reporting about the same as yours. It blew my mind when I blew 0.154 yesterday morning. By the way I have the one with the big display that sells for $15 +/- on eBay that uses three AAA batteries.

    I started on coconut oil 12 weeks ago but was still get a shake from time to time and eating some bread. My readings were from 0.000 to 0.02 for the first 8 weeks. Four weeks ago I got serious about trying to eat any carbs (getting about 20 accidental carbs a day now) since I do almonds and cottage cheese and less and less peanut butter/peanuts (no sugar added.

    Just now at 8 pm 24 Oct 2014 I blew an 0.084 on the %BAC scale which I would like to learn how blood test for ketones would relate. The main objective of buying the cheap meter was to know if I am in ketosis and at what relative level. Staying at .04-.12 for the past three weeks so I just assume I am in ketosis. I did not think the meter worked for the first two months because of so many 0.000 readings but then I learned if you are not healthy getting into ketosis is next to impossible. As first I do not think my liver was able to burn fat and produce ketones.

    After cutting carbs in a serious way but not every day I was in and out of ketosis and did not loss or gain any weight for the first 10 weeks but lost an inch in the waist, need for a bra :smile: and the flab under my chin went away for the most part. For the past two weeks I have been loosing .5 pounds a day on average. I guess in am becoming ketosis adapted.

    Thanks for your post on the meter. Yours is the first I have found so far. I have picked up two more for $13.97 shipped and I got them in 2-3 days by mail from CA.
    edited October 2014
  • Black_Cats_RuleBlack_Cats_Rule Posts: 7Member Member Posts: 7Member Member
    For those who would rather buy it on Amazon I found the same one the op is using http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Breathalyzer-Blood-Alcohol-Tester/dp/B005K6HTTO/ I'm going to try it out once I run out of urine strips.
  • miamouse3miamouse3 Posts: 73Member Posts: 73Member
    For those who would rather buy it on Amazon I found the same one the op is using http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Breathalyzer-Blood-Alcohol-Tester/dp/B005K6HTTO/ I'm going to try it out once I run out of urine strips.
    Please post if it works for you! I don't fancy the idea of those pee strips/sticks. My partner is iffy about me going Keto as it is lol. If it is effective, it will save me money and weird looks from her lol. I am starting Keto tomorrow, just bought *most* of my first weeks stuff.
  • KaloaKaloa Posts: 4Member Posts: 4Member
    I'm new to nutritional ketosis, I got the urine test sticks, which said I was in ketosis, then I'd read that it's not that accurate, so I was looking at the other options, I'd like to do Blood, but cant afford to keep up that expense. So was looking at the ketonix breath tester but it's a lot of $ too, it's on my list though, in the end much cheaper than blood testing.
    For now, I thought I'd try the Alcohol Breathalyzer, it was all of 5.95 with free shipping from ebay. I've consistently been blowing between 0.02 and 0.05 most every test. (0.00 when I know I'm over my carb tolerance) So it seems to be working.
    However, I'd like to know if anyone has a chart or even a rough estimate of how that would correlate to blood ketone levels.
  • yarwellyarwell Posts: 10,572Member Member Posts: 10,572Member Member
    If you want to know the correlation with a specific device I think you'll have to splash out on 10 keto blood test strips for $20 or whatever.

    In blood B-OHB is ~80% of ketone bodies, 18% are acetoacetate, 2% is acetone from spontaneous decomposition of acetoacetate.

    Breathalysers measure acetone in breath, which will be related to blood acetone which in turn is related to acetoacetate from which B-OHB is produced.

    Pee sticks (ketostix) measure surplus acetoacetate spilled out by the kidneys. You can be in ketosis by B-OHB and get a negative ketostix response :-
    uz6abuw4yvkc.jpg
  • deansdad101deansdad101 Posts: 644Member Member Posts: 644Member Member
    yarwell wrote: »
    If you want to know the correlation with a specific device I think you'll have to splash out on 10 keto blood test strips for $20 or whatever.

    In blood B-OHB is ~80% of ketone bodies, 18% are acetoacetate, 2% is acetone from spontaneous decomposition of acetoacetate.

    Breathalysers measure acetone in breath, which will be related to blood acetone which in turn is related to acetoacetate from which B-OHB is produced.

    Pee sticks (ketostix) measure surplus acetoacetate spilled out by the kidneys. You can be in ketosis by B-OHB and get a negative ketostix response :-
    uz6abuw4yvkc.jpg
    Yar;

    Thanks for the "excellent" explanation and especially the graphic.

    Couple of "minor" questions.
    1. Don't disagree with "....acetone in breath which is in turn related to acetoacetate..." but am I correct in assuming that you do not mean to imply that the two are directly, and consistently related - mathematically, (as in X ALWAYS = Y?). I believe this to be the case (no direct mathematical correlation) but have no cite to verify - do you? (Not questioning your info but preparing for the "....me or your lyin' eyes" skeptics)
    2. On the Ketonix - I'm color sensitive (blue/green) so not a good judge but my wife is not (she reads every stupid number on the circle joke-makes me crazy<g>) - and even she says it's almost impossible to differentiate between the "yellow" and "green" ranges, which renders the already questionable "scaled" readings pretty much useless.
      Do you see a clear distinction or might my unit be defective?

    Thanks again for the post and if you don't mind I'm gonna hijack your "Pin" for future use (will credit, IF I remember who to credit <g> (not so easy these days).

    I really don't "get" why there is so much resistance to just doing the B-OHB tests. Yes they "can" be somewhat more expensive but unless someone is conducting multiple N=1 tests there is no reason to test everyday. Especially when it IS pretty easy to determine an individual correlation between blood glucose level and k-ranges. $130 (ketonix) buys a lot of K-strips and 4 or 5 times that number of BG strips.)

    Not to mention that, with the "right" meter, it's a "twofer" - BG and K in the same meter and BG numbers "might" be (are?) even more important for EVERYONE to monitor, at least occasionally {/soapbox}.
  • yarwellyarwell Posts: 10,572Member Member Posts: 10,572Member Member
    1. Acetoacetate spontaneously breaks down to acetone and CO2, the rate of that reaction may depend on a number of factors, I think I've seen plots with a curve fit relating the two with R^2 about 0.5 or something (and plenty of outliers). As the breath acetone comes from the blood acetoacetate then some relationship is at least likely, but probably isn't linear.

    2. The LED glows appear around the circumference of the Ketonix so it would be easy to mark up the body to show which color is which ? I have the original model. Will try to attach video

    I agree that B-OHB is definitive and bulk buy on ebay of K-strips is worthwhile to get towards $1 a test.

    Here's another pin for you where the pee sticks are in line with the other readings : gu6ga4cfnp5s.jpg
  • yarwellyarwell Posts: 10,572Member Member Posts: 10,572Member Member
    "breath acetone acetoacetate relation" is a productive search term in Google F2.medium.gif
  • deansdad101deansdad101 Posts: 644Member Member Posts: 644Member Member
    yarwell wrote: »
    "breath acetone acetoacetate relation" is a productive search term in Google F2.medium.gif
    Yar;

    Thanks again - excellent info.

    I "thought" there might be something to the "position" on the circumference from watching the vids on their site but it appears (on my sport) to be only the very first flash - I'll have to look closer next time and see if I can mark it.

    I do agree that Ketonix "should" be able to come up with a chart (although I too think it's likely not linear).
    I think I've seen mention made that they are "trying"
  • yarwellyarwell Posts: 10,572Member Member Posts: 10,572Member Member
    This link is a short video of the startup mode of the original ketonix which shows the relative positions.
  • deansdad101deansdad101 Posts: 644Member Member Posts: 644Member Member
    yarwell wrote: »
    This link is a short video of the startup mode of the original ketonix which shows the relative positions.
    Yar;

    Thanks....that one is a "little" better than the one I'd seen before
    https://ketonix.com/index.php/usage

    but.......
    ....maybe it's just me (and color issues certainly confound it), but there just are just too many "maybes", "sort ofs", confusions, etc for my taste.

    I knew "going in" the limitations (from a pure "testing" perspective) but really did have "high hopes" for the nix being an affordable and more reliable tool for our purposes than the styx.
    Never expected it to equal (or even approach) the accuracy or reliability of blood tests but did "hope" it would be a step in the right direction.

    Unfortunately, given the "issues", I'm just not comfortable recommending it (at least in its current state of development).

    The results reporting (colors/flashes) can be improved in a major way with some pretty minor "fixes" (IMO), and while it's unreasonable to expect that there will ever be a "linear" and direct comparison to B-OHB readings since it's simply not testing the same thing - as is, the results aren't much more (if any) informative for the average LCHF/KA'er than are those of the styx (essentially useless and misleading).

    At 2.6 - 2.8 B-HOB, I get anywhere from 3 green to 10 yellow (or is it 3Y/10G??<g>) which tells me next to nothing.
    My bride, who runs 0.5-1.2 on a pretty consistent basis has YET TO register "anything" on the KN (never changes from solid blue, no flicks), after probably 25 attempts.

    Wish my results were more encouraging but at least for now - it's going back (credit due for the 30 day return policy).

    It's basically a "one man shop" and as such he's earned my respect for bringing it this far - but there's a way to go (IMO) before it's a "viable" and cost effective tool that I'd be willing to recommend - I DO hope he gets there, we'll see.

  • yarwellyarwell Posts: 10,572Member Member Posts: 10,572Member Member
    My bride, who runs 0.5-1.2 on a pretty consistent basis has YET TO register "anything" on the KN (never changes from solid blue, no flicks), after probably 25 attempts.

    Get her to take a swill of wine and see if that wakes it up - the sensor is not specific to acetone.
  • deansdad101deansdad101 Posts: 644Member Member Posts: 644Member Member
    yarwell wrote: »
    My bride, who runs 0.5-1.2 on a pretty consistent basis has YET TO register "anything" on the KN (never changes from solid blue, no flicks), after probably 25 attempts.

    Get her to take a swill of wine and see if that wakes it up - the sensor is not specific to acetone.
    Yar;

    Interesting, especially in light of the discussion regarding the use of "ebay breatholizers".

    Forgot I had one (although it's supposedly one of a higher degree of accuracy and certainly cost a lot more).
    "Blowing Alcohol Detector", aka "Aloscan AL-5000"

    Dug it out, recharged batts, and brought it up to room temp (stored in unheated garage).

    Figured a comparison would be interesting (while I still have the "nix") even if just for "kicks".

    I blew a 0.02 BAC
    Last alcohol intake was ~24hrs, ~7-8ozs wine
    Would expect 0.00
    "Assume" the 0.02 is k related (didn't do simultaneous B-OHB but last was 2.2)

    Had the First Lady try
    She blew 0.02 (coincidence?)
    Same last alcohol intake 24hrs, 6oz wine
    Same expectations and assumptions, BUT
    her last B-OHB was 1.1

    Repeated both blows - same results.
    Tried mine again after a glass = 0.05 (so assume the meter is working but reading high)

    Never got to the Nix (she fell asleep...we just don't "do" long days like we used to <g>)

    Too confused trying to explain the 002's and range of B-OHB's

    I "think" I read that there IS a direct correlation between breath and blood with alcohol (due to the inability to be digested) so I think it's safe to assume that, sans acetone we both "should" have started off at 0.00

    Makes sense so far but can't explain the 002 = 002

    "Might" (possibly? maybe?) be the "cold soak" of the meter, OR it "might" actually be correct and despite the difference in B-OHB's, acetone levels are the same????

    Should have a couple more days before I have to send the Nix back (didn't get the RA yet) and we'll do some more tests tomorrow (w/the Nix, B-OHB at the same time, no alcohol, and the meter at room temp for >12 hrs) if we have time.

    It'll be interesting to see results (if nothing else).

  • cheedo45cheedo45 Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    miamouse3 wrote: »
    For those who would rather buy it on Amazon I found the same one the op is using http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Breathalyzer-Blood-Alcohol-Tester/dp/B005K6HTTO/ I'm going to try it out once I run out of urine strips.
    Please post if it works for you! I don't fancy the idea of those pee strips/sticks. My partner is iffy about me going Keto as it is lol. If it is effective, it will save me money and weird looks from her lol. I am starting Keto tomorrow, just bought *most* of my first weeks stuff.

    I bought the same one (but with prime), here is the link:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KL8XJEA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00

    just today i did a pee test and scored somewhere between 40 and 80, then i used the breathalyzer and got 0.02%. I will run further tests and try and make some type of correlation between the two, perhaps I will invest in the blood meter to compare more accurately. hope this helps!
  • FivePercentBodyFatByKetoFivePercentBodyFatByKeto Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
    I just bought the same one, the tiny Greenwon breathalyzer, from Amazon with Prime for just $9:

    http://amzn.to/20KKIyk

    I've been in moderate ketosis for about three weeks, and my urine ketones have gone down now from ~100 mg/dl to an almost undetectable ~10 as I've become increasingly keto-adapted. The breathalyzer measures a super consistent 0.02% (I got this reading three times in a row), and when I blow just air through it, it reads 0.00%. I haven't drunk any alcohol recently. So it seems to be working well for me and will hopefully become the main way I track my ketosis. Easier to use and much cheaper than the Ketonix or a blood meter.

    Thanks for this thread!
  • FivePercentBodyFatByKetoFivePercentBodyFatByKeto Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
    Update: after many days of using the cheap Greenwon, I still like it, but I got a second identical one to compare, and it reads quite different from the first. The first reads 0.02-0.04% when my blood ketones are over 1mmol, but the second consistently reads 0.00% unless I drink a couple of glasses of wine, so it looks like they have some kind of offset issue and a lot of manufacturing variability.

    So I bought this one instead: http://amzn.to/1S9XyjU

    It's a bit more expensive but seems to be a newer design and is definitely more reliable. It has a slightly longer 15 second warm-up time compared to 10 seconds on the cheaper unit. It has three sig figs of BAC %, so you get more fine-grained numbers like 0.036% rather than just 0.04%. It reads very consistently if you use it several times in a row and reads 0.000% if you blow just air through it.
  • GaleHawkinsGaleHawkins Posts: 6,152Member Member Posts: 6,152Member Member
    Update: after many days of using the cheap Greenwon, I still like it, but I got a second identical one to compare, and it reads quite different from the first. The first reads 0.02-0.04% when my blood ketones are over 1mmol, but the second consistently reads 0.00% unless I drink a couple of glasses of wine, so it looks like they have some kind of offset issue and a lot of manufacturing variability.

    So I bought this one instead: http://amzn.to/1S9XyjU

    It's a bit more expensive but seems to be a newer design and is definitely more reliable. It has a slightly longer 15 second warm-up time compared to 10 seconds on the cheaper unit. It has three sig figs of BAC %, so you get more fine-grained numbers like 0.036% rather than just 0.04%. It reads very consistently if you use it several times in a row and reads 0.000% if you blow just air through it.

    @FivePercentBodyFatByKeto while I use the $15 meters off eBay I get three different reads from the three meters of three different ages (time in use). The readings start to climb a bite after first 100 uses I found. @yarwell above covers the breakdown of the three type of ketones best that I have ever read in one place. As his info shows detecting acetone levels basically shows if we are in or out of ketose. I must my Precision Xtra if I want to know medically what my main blood ketones are.

    With the $15 meter I currently use a few times a day a reading of .050-.080 means strong blood ketone levels. I rock between .035 and .070 for the most part on the blow meter. It has the 15 second warm up timer then it counts down from 10. I tend to blow the last 4 seconds on the timer so the info from blow to blow is more consistent.

  • sbsatorisbsatori Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
    Just started trying to get into keytosis and hadn't limited the carbs enough - was getting 0.0 on the cheap key-chain breathalyzer I happened to have - thought it didn't work - tried a bit harder yesterday to stick to the plan and today it reads between .04-.05%. Wow... it works. However I went ahead and ordered the blood tester and ~10 keytone test strips so I can get an idea of how the breathalyzer correlates for my body. Should be interesting. I'll post back when I have more info.
  • sbsatorisbsatori Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
    posting back after more tests - cheap breathalyzer went up over time to ~ .09 but while I was still trying to stick to the diet plan it started going down. Wasn't sure if it was something I ate or what - today it read 0.0. I tried the Abbott blood/ketone tester and it reads 2.5 mmol - a very solid nutritional ketosis reading. I think the breathalyzer is working as it still notices when I drink alcohol. Wondering if this is somehow analogous to ketone testing in urine - that goes down as you adapt to the dietary changes. Not sure what this means other than I can't trust my breathalyzer for ongoing testing - which is disappointing as those ketone test strips are too expensive. Hoping for a better solution... but happy I got a good reading. :)
  • ecweissingerecweissinger Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    After reading this post I wanted to add a few thoughts that may assist other readers in purchasing a good breathalyzer and keeping the readings accurate. I regularly use and calibrate breathalyzers at work. Lack of calibration may be one of the issues you are running into when comparing readings from various breathalyzers. Especially using older breathalyzers, or breathalyzers that don't see regular use (lack of use increases the chance the breathalyzer will go out of calibration). We verify the calibration of our breathalyzers monthly and calibrate as necessary. Even the expensive ones that we use do go out of calibration from time to time. With that said, I was not able to locate a calibration process or calibration substance for some of the breathalyzers mentioned in previous posts. I, like others, am trying to find the most frugal method of testing, but I am willing to pay a bit more for accuracy. BACtrack recommends calibrating non-pro breathalyzers, like the keychain breathalyzer, every 6 months. The calibration for the keychain breathalyzer cost $19.99 or $40.00 per year, which nearly doubles the initial cost. The BACtrack mobile cost $99.99 and is considered a pro breathalyzer which requires calibration once a year, at a cost of $24.99. BACtrack's calibration test require you to send your breathalyzer back to the manufacturer, meaning you will be without it for the time it takes to send out, calibrate and return. We calibrate the devices at work ourselves using a calibration gas, greatly reducing down time compared to shipping out for calibration. While still less expensive than the blood meters for frequent testing, calibration is a hidden cost that should be considered if you expect your breathalyzer readings to stay accurate.

    Just to clarify before the question comes up, I do not work for any company that produces or sells breathalyzers. Also, I do not use BACtrack at work. I mentioned BACtrack because it was the first breathalyzer I found that was both sold on Amazon and has a calibration method.
  • joey4014joey4014 Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Just keep Carbs under 30 grams. 20 if you want to be sure.
  • shrenleeshrenlee Posts: 6Member Member Posts: 6Member Member
    I was going to experiment with the breathalyzers but found this deal. Its a Nova ketone meter with two boxes(20) of ketone strips for less than $40. https://storefront.novacares.com/storefront/free-meter-w-purchase-of-2-boxes-of-ketone-strips.html if anyone is interested :)
  • Clare0116Clare0116 Posts: 35Member Member Posts: 35Member Member
    :) Thanks for the headsup on ketosticks/breath testers.
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