Ever thought something was keto only to find out that it wasn’t – but it’s too late? Is it all a bit confusing?
We have broken down the confusion and made it simple and easy to shop for keto products that are guaranteed to keep you in ketosis and support your ketogenic diet.

In this article we will discuss the following areas:

  1. What Is Ketogenic Certification?
  2. Our Formula and Method
  3. What Does ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ Mean?
  4. What Does ‘Keto-Friendly’ Mean?
  5. What Does ‘Not Keto’ Mean?
  6. Individual Differences
  7. Understanding Nutrition Labels
  8. Checking Nutrition Labels
  9. Testing Ketones In Response To Food
  10. Summary: The Takeaways

This article will describe the best way to use the Ketogenic Criteria and Keto Product Checker App to keep you on track with your ketogenic diet.

Check out the Summary Takeaways section to see an overview of this strategy. Then come back and grab all the details to fit it into your lifestyle.

Use the Keto Product Checker App to review products such as food, drinks and snacks and learn if they are suitable for your keto diet. The App has a simple step-by-step process to guide you along the way and you can even use it on your phone when you are on the go.

What Is Ketogenic Certification?

Ketogenic certification is an easy way for you to fully understand whether you can have a certain food or product on your ketogenic diet. These days, there is a lot of confusion and misleading information around the ketogenic diet. Each ketogenic diet structure will vary depending on your goal, whether it be fat loss or managing your epilepsy.

This can leave people feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. What is meant to be an easy lifestyle to follow, becomes tiresome and hard work – so it’s not surprising that people give up before seeing the full benefits.

That is why we have developed the ‘Ketogenic Certification’. We want to make the ketogenic diet as easy as possible for you day to day so that you can get on with the more important things in your life. We take the guesswork out of it.

Currently, any company can call a product ‘ketogenic’, ‘keto’, ‘low carb’ or ‘low sugar’. These are not protected terms. Companies are quick to add these popular terms to their products to increase sales. They do this even if the content of the product is not actually ketogenic or low carb. Their products often still contain hidden sugars and fibres that can drop ketones and leave you craving for more. Most of these products have not been tested for keto diet compliance.

Some companies do not make claims about the products but may have misleading product names. Therefore, people have assumed it is keto based on its apparent ‘low carb’ profile or name.

I’m sure we have all experienced a time where we picked up a ‘keto’ bar or treat, only to find out later that it wasn’t Keto at all, nor was it worth it. You can read more about our recent community experiment on ‘Keto’ bar products here.

Unfortunately, this does not look like it is going to change anytime soon. Therefore it is up to us as a company and you the consumer to fully understand what to look for when you are shopping for truly keto products. Once you understand what you are looking for, it is an easy process to decide whether something is keto or not.

In this short article, we will explain how we certify our products, what the certification means, and how you can learn how to read nutrition labels and test ketones so you are never caught out with hidden carbs again.

Creating The Ketogenic Certified Criteria

Our Formula and Method

When we receive a new keto product there are a few things that need to be checked before we add it to our online shop. If you familiarise yourself with these it will make buying keto products much easier.

There are four important areas to focus on for our formula. We like to use an easy to remember term: SNIIP.
SNIIP stands for:

  • Sugars
  • Net Carbs
  • Ingredients (Hidden – Unlisted Sugars and Glucose Spiking Fibres)
  • Ingredients – Glucose Spiking
  • Protein Plus Net Carbs

The nutrition label of each item is analysed by the research team to see if it matches our ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’, ‘Keto-Friendly’ or ‘Not Keto’ criteria. You can read more about each of these in the sections below. Once each item has been reviewed and approved it will then be added to our online shop under its given criteria. This will make choosing products for your specific diet easier than ever before.

Ketone and Glucose Blood Testing

The aim is for all of our ‘Keto-Friendly’ products to be blood glucose and ketone blood tested by the team at Ketosource. Blood sugar is also known as blood glucose. In this article, we will use the term ‘glucose levels’.

Blood ketone and glucose levels change in response to food. As ketone levels rise, blood glucose levels will fall and then stabilise. As blood glucose levels increase, ketone levels will fall. It is important for the Ketosource team to test both to see how the product will fully affect our levels of ketosis.

Each product will be tested on a team member. The blood ketones and glucose levels will be tested over a three hour period. This will then determine whether the product is ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’, ‘Keto-Friendly’ or ‘Not Keto’.

You can see the results of these tests on some of the product pages however not all products have been blood tested yet. This is due to the increasing amount of products we have in the shop right now.

As each product is tested the results will be included on the product page. In the meantime, the ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ and ‘Keto-Friendly’ criteria will determine whether or not a product should be blood tested.

Here is an example of what you can see on the product page if it has been tested by the Ketosource research team:

What Does ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ Mean?

Here is an example of what you will see beside a product on the Ketosource website.

What Is This Going To Give You?

Any product that you find in the shop with the tag ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ means that it is a true ‘keto’ food. To be a true ‘keto’ food, a product should have a ‘keto profile’. It should not significantly decrease ketone levels in the blood.

Although keeping blood ketones up is not necessary for everyone, many people look to avoid foods that may ‘kick them out of ketosis’.

This product:

    1. will not kick you out of ketosis and will not drop your ketones
    2. works for everyone on a ketogenic diet
    3. is suitable for the most strict ketogenic diet

Guaranteed Ketogenic Formula

  • Sugars less than 3g per 100g
  • Net Carbs less than 10g per 100g
  • Net Carbs plus Protein less than 20g per 100g

How Did We Decide On The Formula?

Having looked at the ketogenic research and reviewed the evidence our team developed the most ketogenic criteria.

We have based our criteria on 100g portions of a product. We do this to make sure that we see a clear effect on blood ketones if we are blood testing. It also helps us to compare lots of different products will each other. If a product is still ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ at 100g by reviewing the label then it will be safe at the lower serving size.

Most of the time, a serving size may be smaller than 100g but we know that it is always best to be on the safe side. Sometimes we want more than one serving, so testing 100g portion helps show us the worst impact a product can have on our glucose and ketone levels.

The sugars, net carbs and protein plus net carbs cut offs were agreed based on the current scientific literature and the product testing responses of our team. Ingredients lists were also agreed based on the blood testing responses of our research team.

Guaranteed Ketogenic Example

Using the information below you can see the full ingredients list and the net carbs, protein, and fat content (the macronutrients) for a ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic product’ from the online shop.

In this example, this bar contains all ketogenic ingredients. Therefore this is classified as a ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ product.

What Does ‘Keto-Friendly’ Mean?

Here is an example of what you will see beside a product on the Ketosource website:

What Is This Going To Give You?

Any product that you find in the shop with the tag ‘Keto-Friendly’ means that it has ingredients that might increase blood glucose levels for some people.

This product:

    1. will not kick most people out of ketosis but may drop ketones
    2. works for most people
    3. not suitable for those looking for very high ketone levels

Therefore we recommend blood testing with a blood ketone monitor to check the effect of the product on your ketone levels.

Keto-Friendly Formula

  • Sugars 3-4.9g per 100g
  • Net Carbs 10-20g per 100g
  • Net Carbs plus Protein 20g or more per 100g

How Did We Decide On The Formula?

In keeping with the Guaranteed Ketogenic products, we have based our criteria on 100g portions. The sugars, net carbs and protein plus net carbs cut offs were agreed based on the current scientific literature and the product testing responses of our team. Ingredients lists were also agreed based on the blood testing responses of our research team.

Keto-Friendly Example

Using the information below you can see the full ingredients and macronutrient breakdown of a ‘Keto-Friendly’ product from the online shop.

In this example, this bar contains a net carbs plus protein calculation of 23.4g per 100g. This is more than the 20g cut off. This higher level may negatively impact blood ketones. Therefore this is classified as a ‘Keto-Friendly’ product.

What Does ‘Not Keto’ Mean?


You won’t see Not Keto products in the Ketosource shop, but if you use the product checking app you might find that your product is ‘Not Keto’. So what does this mean?

What Is This Going To Give You?

Any product that you put through the Keto Product Checker App that results in “Not Keto’ is not ketogenic.

This product:

    1. will kick you out of ketosis
    2. does not work for a ketogenic diet

Therefore we do not recommend that you consume this product if you want to stick with your ketogenic diet.

Not Keto Formula

  • Sugars 5g or more per 100g
  • Net carbs more than 20g per 100g

How Did We Decide On The Formula?

In keeping with the Guaranteed Ketogenic and Keto-Friendly products, we have based our criteria on 100g portions. The sugars, net carbs and protein plus net carbs cut offs were agreed based on the current scientific literature and the product testing responses of our team. Ingredients lists were also agreed based on the blood testing responses of our research team.

Ingredients List

Here you can see the list we use to check our products against. This ingredients are subject to change and will be updated often to reflect the latest research and testing results.

Any product containing a Red List ingredient will be ‘Not Keto’ whereas products containing ingredients from the Yellow List mean that a product will need to be blood tested and are classed as ‘Keto-Friendly. Any products with Hidden Ingredients will be ‘Not Keto’.

Red Ingredients

  • Sugar/s, cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, coconut nectar
  • Fruit sugars, fruit, fruit powders, fruit juices
  • Grains (barley, rice, bulgar, kamut, oats, spelt, teff, wheat, wheat berries, triticale, corn, hominy, rye, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, or buckwheat)
  • All flours with the exception of coconut, almond and tapioca flour

Yellow Ingredients

  • Acai berry
  • Tapioca starch
  • Tapioca flour
  • Oligofructose
  • Inulin
  • Brown rice protein

Hidden Ingredients (Sugars and Glucose Spiking Fibres)

  • Maltitol
  • Isomaltooligosaccharides (IMO’s)
  • Polydextrose
  • Tapioca Fibre and Soluble Corn Fibre

Definitions and Terms

What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Ketosis’?

The ketogenic certification criteria are based on both the scientific research and the blood testing responses of our team. Most of the scientific research currently states that ‘ketosis’ starts when you have a blood ketone level of 0.5 mmol/L. Therefore, the Ketosource ketogenic certification criteria also state that ketosis begins at 0.5 mmol/L.

If you are ‘in ketosis’ this means you have a blood ketone level of 0.5 mmol/L or above. If you are ‘out of ketosis’ or ‘not in ketosis’ this means you have a blood ketone level of below 0.5 mmol/L.

What Does ‘Drops Ketones’ Mean?

When we say ‘drops ketones’ we mean that the product in question has negatively impacted your levels of ketosis. In order to ‘drop ketones’, the food will increase your glucose levels and therefore decrease your ketone levels.

If you are in ketosis with blood ketone levels of 0.9 mmol/L or above, you might find that you can eat a product that ‘drops ketones’ but you still stay in ketosis. This is because the product doesn’t drop your ketones low enough for you to go below 0.5 mmol/L. Therefore you stay in ketosis.

However, if you are in ketosis with blood ketone levels of 0.5 mmol/L you might find that you can eat the same product and it will ‘kick you out of ketosis’ for a time.

What Does ‘Kicks You Out Of Ketosis’ Mean?

If a product ‘kicks you out of ketosis’ it means that the product decreased your ketones enough for you to drop below 0.5 mmol/L. If you have ketones levels of 0.5 mmol/L, you will need to be careful as more products will kick you out of ketosis than if your levels were higher to start with.

This shows us how each person’s blood response will vary depending on how deep in ketosis they are.

It is important to note that if you are kicked out of ketosis and your ketone levels drop below 0.5 mmol/L you are not permanently out of ketosis, but you will be out of ketosis until the body goes back to using fat and ketones for fuel. This could be anything from an hour to a day depending on the product or food eaten. The lower the impact on your ketones, the less time you will spend time out of ketosis.

Formula Flow Chart

Here you can see a flow chart of the Ketogenic Criteria Formula

Why Have We Certified Every Product In The Shop?

What Are We Trying To Do?

We want you to be able to come to the shop and purchase products without having to worry whether it will interfere with your keto diet or not. We want your keto diet to be easy. Not every ‘keto’ product on the market is truly ‘keto’ for everyone, so we wanted to share an easy way for you to identify which keto products fit your lifestyle.

This is why we have certified each product in the shop and made the reasoning behind this decision available for you. Therefore, understanding our formula and what to look for in a product will enable you to shop smart for your personal situation. This should make it easier to stick to the diet and reach your health goals.

What Is ‘Tested By Ketosource’?

Our researchers have been testing their blood glucose and ketones in response to some of the keto products on the market. You will see on the product page that for some products there is a section called ‘Research’. Here you can see how the product affected our team members’ levels of ketones. This means that for some products, we have done the hard work so that you don’t have to.

Though this is helpful for most people it does not mean that you will respond the same way. We are all different. If you are looking for high levels of ketones, we always recommend that you test your own response to the ‘Keto-Friendly’ snacks as each person’s results will vary based on their individual circumstance and level of health. You can read more about testing your own blood ketone levels here.

Why Haven’t We Tested All The Products In The Shop?

Where We Are So Far

We want to give you access to these products as soon as they are available. This means that the products go through the Ketogenic Criteria review first. As soon as the product passes this stage and gets the label of ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ or ‘Keto-Friendly’ we make it available to purchase online.

As there are so many products in the shop and hundreds of keto products to source and test against the Ketogenic Criteria there is little time left to blood test. It is not realistic. However, our team is working on blood testing the ‘Keto-Friendly’ products in the shop and will update the ‘Research’ tab on each individual product page with the results as soon as they are available.

Get Involved: Start Testing and Help Others

Do you want to share your results? We would love to hear from you.

If you have bought a ‘Keto-Friendly’ product from our online shop and you have a blood glucose and ketone meter at home, why not test your personal response?

This gives you valuable personal information on how your body reacts to the ingredients.

You can share your results with us by emailing us at . We will anonymise the results and upload them into a graph within the ‘Research’ tab of a product, showing the impact of the product on blood glucose and ketone levels.

If you would like to contribute you can follow the protocol below and read more about it here.

Why Are Some Products ‘Keto’ Online But We Say They Are Keto-Friendly?

Some products can be labelled ‘keto’, ‘low carb’ or ‘sugar free’ and even have a keto product name, however, this does not mean that the product is safe for you on your ketogenic diet. If it is safe for you on your ketogenic diet it might not be safe for the next person.

Individual Physiological Differences

Each of us has our own metabolism and microbiome. The state of these will vary between us based on the environment we live in, the food we eat and our lifestyle in general. These external factors determine how your body reacts to the food you give it.

A caveat to note. There are some hormones and mechanisms within the body that can increase your blood glucose and decrease your ketones regardless of what food or drink you take. The science behind these goes beyond the scope of this article, though the research team is examining this to better understand what this means for you on your ketogenic diet.

This is why we are extra cautious at Ketosource. We encourage you to test products for yourself so that you have a deeper understanding of how your body reacts to foods.

Individual Personal Goals

Alongside the physiological differences, not everyone on a ketogenic diet has the same personal health goal. Some people use the ketogenic diet to lose weight or gain muscle, whereas others use it to increase energy levels, balance hormones or manage their epilepsy. The ketogenic diet can be used as a lifestyle for many reasons. As all of these goals are different, the type of ketogenic diet followed is different too. Daily calories, carbohydrates and fat intake will differ depending on the goal.

Therefore, it is always best to focus on your personal goal and not compare yourself to others on the ketogenic diet. If you are seeing the results you want, continue on until you reach your goal. If you feel you are not moving towards your goal, reach out to the team with your questions at . Most of the time it is just a matter of tweaking something in your lifestyle to get you back on track.

What Do The Tags On The Product Pages Mean?

You will see these blue tags underneath the product description. These tags identify whether the product meets the criteria for specific diets. This will indicate whether the product is safe for you.

The full ingredients and allergens can be found under the product ‘Nutrition and Ingredients’ tab. It is also visible on the product main page so that you can identify straight away whether you can have it in your diet. There are six tags in total:

  • Gluten Free – GF
  • Dairy Free – DF
  • GMO Free – GM
  • Paleo – P
  • Vegan – V
  • Vegetarian – VG

Using A Blood Monitor To Test Glucose And Ketones

Using a blood ketone monitor is the gold standard for testing blood ketone levels. If you are looking to start tracking your blood ketones you will need a monitor and its accessories to get started.

We recommend the OnCall Dual GK monitor. You can purchase this from Amazon along with the following accessories for approximately £60.

You will need:

  • OnCall Monitor
  • Lancing Pen
  • Lancets
  • Ketone Strips
  • Glucose Strips
  • Glucose and Ketone Control Solution (to calibrate the strips)

How you use it will depend on your health goal. However, it is good to remember that ketones will be lowest in the morning and will peak in the afternoon. So your highest levels will be seen around 4-5pm.

Blood Ketone and Glucose Levels

Blood ketone levels can range anywhere from 0.0 mmol/L to 6 mmol/L on a ketogenic diet. For our ketogenic product criteria, we have classed 0.5 mmol/L as the cut off for ‘ketosis’. Anything 0.5 mmol/L and above can be thought of as ‘in ketosis’.

Blood glucose levels can be an indicator of how high or low your ketones are. Blood glucose and ketone levels work with a ‘see-saw’ action. When ketone levels increase, glucose will decrease and regulate. It also works the other way around. When blood glucose levels increase, ketone levels will decrease.

On a ketogenic diet, blood glucose will be at its highest first thing in the morning while ketones will be at their lowest.

If you decided to pick up a monitor and would like some information or guidance on how to track to help you reach your health goal you can email our team at .

Understanding Nutrition Labels

Here is an example of the Nutritional Information label from a Ketone bar.

Sugars

Sugars should not be confused with ‘added sugars’. Sugars are seen on a nutrition label as ‘of which sugars’. For keto products, this number should be as low as possible, preferably under 3g per 100g. ‘Guaranteed Ketogenic’ products follow this rule. Higher amounts of sugar can kick you out of ketosis.

Total Carbohydrates

Total carbohydrates are the total amount of sugars and polyols (also known as ‘sugar alcohols’) that are present in the product. Not all of these carbohydrates will kick you out of ketosis. To calculate the number of carbohydrates that will affect ketosis levels you should calculate the net carbs.

Net Carbs

Net carbs take into account only the carbohydrates in a product that will spike your blood glucose levels. This is the number of total carbohydrates minus the polyols (and fibre in the US).

Polyols

Polyols (EU), also known as “sugar alcohols” (US), refer to non-sugar sweeteners. Polyols are listed in Nutrition Information (EU) labels, whereas sugar alcohols are listed in Nutrition Facts (US) labels. They mean the same thing and include sweeteners like erythritol and xylitol. They are mentioned on the nutritional label due to their structure.

What is important to note is that they don’t raise blood glucose enough to impact ketosis. This is why they don’t count towards your carbohydrate count on a ketogenic diet.

Protein

On its own, protein has a small impact on blood glucose, but it still decreases ketone levels.
The exact amount of protein needed to do this will depend on the individual. Therefore it is important to keep an eye on the amount of protein in a keto product to avoid any drop in ketones if you are looking to stay in ketosis at all times.

As it is usually the combination of carbohydrates with protein that have the biggest impact, the Ketogenic Criteria reviews them together i.e. protein + net carbs.

Protein Plus Net Carbs Calculation

This is particularly important as many ‘Low Carb’ products on the market now contain high levels of protein. This can suit some people but for those looking to stay in ketosis and keep insulin low, it is not ideal and they may need to follow a more conservative protein intake. This is why products with 20g net carbs + protein or more are classed as ‘Keto-Friendly’ under the Ketogenic Criteria and should be tested.

In order to maintain its ketogenic status, a product should be high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates.

How Do I Test My Ketone Response To Food?

If you want to learn more about your individual response to a product, it would be best to test your blood ketones.

Protocol

Here is a suggested testing protocol that you can try at home:

    1. Take a baseline ketone (and glucose if necessary) reading at 2pm (use 1 ketone strip and 2 glucose strips as these are not as accurate compared to ketone strips)
    2. Take 100g of the food on its own with nothing else
    3. Test your ketones (and glucose) every 30 minutes for 2 hours in response to the food
    4. If ketones remain stable or increase, you have consumed a food that has not negatively impacted your glucose or insulin levels. You will stay in ketosis.

How Can I Check Foods Myself With The Formula?

We want you to be able to walk into a shop, pick up a product and decide whether it is keto enough for you, without hassle. We know how frustrating it can be, wandering around a shop, looking for something nice as a treat and everything has hidden sugars and carbohydrates. Therefore, we have broken it all down for you here and created the Keto Product Checker App that you can use to check your food.

If you don’t fancy using the app you can follow our simple rules below and you will be able to decide whether the snack is keto for you. These steps might seem overwhelming at first, but once you have done it a few times you will know what to look for. Why not take a picture of this on your phone so you can look at it when you are shopping?

  • Step 1: Find a snack that you like and turn over to look at the Nutritional Information box
  • Step 2: If the product says Nutrition Information it is a UK label / Nutrition Facts it is from the US
  • Step 3: Think SNIIP – Sugars (‘of which sugars’): Must be less than 3g per 100g
  • Step 4: Net Carbs: Total carbohydrates minus polyols / erythritol / xylitol equals less than 10g per 100g
  • Step 5: Ingredients: Must have no
    • Maltitol
    • Isomaltooligosaccharides (IMO’s)
    • Polydextrose
    • Tapioca Fibre
    • Soluble Corn Fibre
  • Step 6: Ingredients: Must not have any of the following:
    Red Ingredients List:
    • Sugar/s, cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, coconut nectar
    • Fruit sugars, fruit, fruit powders, fruit juices
    • Grains (barley, rice, bulgar, kamut, oats, spelt, teff, wheat, wheat berries, triticale, corn, hominy, rye, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, or buckwheat)
    • All Flours with the exception of coconut, almond and tapioca flour
  • Step 7: Ingredients: The following ingredients might increase your blood glucose:
    Yellow Ingredients List:
    • Acai berry, tapioca starch, tapioca flour, oligofructose, inulin, brown rice protein
  • Step 8: Protein + Net Carbs: Must be less than 20g per 100g

Summary: The Takeaways

The purpose of this certification process and the Keto Product Checker App is to make your keto lifestyle easier to stick to. Understanding the certification criteria and using the Keto Product Checker App should simplify shopping trips for you and help you test products on the go.

Takeaways: Ketogenic Certification for Keto Approved Products

  1. Nutrition Box “g of Sugars” is the most important item to pay attention to
    • Sugars spike glucose the most. Thus they drop ketones most. But most people don’t start by reading this.
    • It’s the easiest to read on a Nutrition Box. It’s the same on all labels.
    • You should read these first. It’s the quickest way to understand a ketogenic profile.
  2. Nutrition Box “g of Net Carbs” is the 2nd item to look at
    • It’s extremely common to not know how to calculate Net Carbs from the nutrition box.
    • This is partly because USA and EU/UK Nutrition Box labels are very different in this area.
    • Depending on the type of Nutrition Box label – you use a different calculation to get Net Carbs.
    • Formula for UK: Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Polyols (Sugar Alcohols)
  3. Check for Ingredients whose impact is “hidden” on Nutrition Box labels
    • Some ingredients will increase your glucose. But they aren’t counted in Sugar or Net Carbs on labels.
    • Thus we call them “Hidden Ingredients”.
    • This includes “Maltitol” and “Isomaltooligosaccharides (IMO’s)”
    • Check the ingredients list for these.
  4. Some Fibres spike glucose (and thus can drop ketones)
    • Fibres have very widely ranging effects on glucose.
    • These are not counted in Net Carbs… but sometimes they will drop your ketone levels.
    • We call these “Glucose spiking fibres”.
    • They include (but aren’t limited to): Polydextrose, Tapioca Fibre and Corn Soluble Fibre.
  5. The last and most complex rule. Large amounts of Protein WITH Net Carbs can drop your ketones
    • There is a lot of discussion about whether you need to limit protein on the ketogenic diet.
    • In particular, large amounts of protein with net carbs have a negative impact.
    • So to keep it simple, here is a rule to protect ketone levels:
    • Keep Protein + Net Carbs under 20g. That prevents the downside.
QUESTIONS: Do you think this ketogenic certification criteria is helpful? Have you used the app to check if your products are keto? What do you think? Let us know by adding to the in the comments.