Lipolysis testing strips (LTS) measure the ketonesthe markers that confirm your body is in lipolysis and the secondary process of ketosis-in your urine. The strips will change to pink or purple, depending upon how many ketones are present. The more ketones you excrete, and therefore the greater degree of ketosis you are in, the darker the color. (Lipolysis testing strips are available under the brand names of Lipostix, which are designed for people following a controlled carb weight loss program, or Ketostix, which are designed to warn of ketoacidosis in diabetics. However, both are quite serviceable as lipolysis testing strips. LTS are relatively inexpensive.)
You don't have to use LTS, but doing so can be an extremely convenient aid to doing Atkins. My patients often tell me that they find the strips psychologically supporting. To see them go from beige to pink or purple is to receive in chemical code the message "you're burning fat." On the other hand, if you're not getting the results you expect, they will surely help clear up the mystery of what is standing in your way.
After all, the clear premise for Induction is to switch you into a primarily fat-burning metabolism by sharply controlling carb intake. Your LTS will help measure the extent to which you've done so. Later, as you move through the other phases and increase your carbohydrate intake, the strips are no longer needed. As long as you continue to lose weight gradually, lose inches, have your appetite under control and experience none of your old symptoms, you are clearly burning fat. Moreover, in most cases the LTS will no longer turn pink or purple once you are taking in 50 or more grams of carbs a day, so they are of no use as people get above that level of carb intake. What If They Don't Turn?
First, make sure that none of your foods-except your salad and other vegetables-contain carbohydrate, meaning no hidden sugars, no breading, etc. Then strictly follow Induction for five days. If the LTS still haven't changed to at least pink, measure your salads to make sure you are not eating too many veggies. Still no change? Try cutting out tomatoes and onions, which are both relatively high on the glycemic index. Finally, make sure you are not consuming excess quantities of protein. When eaten to excess, protein converts to glucose.
However, should your LTS not turn pink or purple, despite the fact that you are doing everything correctly, you may still show a decrease in appetite, an improvement in well-being, a loosening of your clothes and a slow but steady weight loss and reduction in inches. This simply means that you are not producing enough ketones to register on the LTS but enough to burn fat. Remember, the strips are tools; making them change color is not the sole object of the game.
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