Calculating the Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) as Immune and Inflammatory Markers

Calculating the Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) as Immune and Inflammatory Markers

Guest post by Dr. Nasha Winters

Conventional vs. Functional Lab Testing Ranges And Markers

The Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio is a blood marker calculation used in functional medicine, particularly in the fields of immunology and cancer.  Looking at conventional lab testing can be a great screening tool for diseases and disorders, but looking at them through a functional lens can provide insight into the health trend of a patient long before a disease is discovered.

Functional ranges and ratios can help a clinician to see the health trend of a patient long before a diagnosis is made, thereby improving the overall health, wellness, and longevity potential of a patient, lowering medical costs, and improving the quality of life.

What Is NLR?

The neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a calculation that can be run off of a Complete Blood Count (CBC), which is a very low-cost, low barrier test picked up by most insurance companies or available through any direct to consumer lab testing. This marker  “may be an indicator of systemic inflammation, as neutrophils and lymphocytes are thought to be significant in tumour immunology and inflammation.

What Do Neutrophils And Lymphocytes Do?

Neutrophils are a white blood cell (WBC) and are part of the innate immune system, which is the branch of our immune system that we are born with and identifies potential threats as either self or not-self. They make up about 60-70% of WBCs, are made in the bone marrow and are found mostly in the lymphatic system including the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus.

Lymphocytes are another type of white blood cell, and are part of the adaptive or acquired immune system, making up about 20-25% of the WBCs and are more specific in their targets. They are what we acquire after exposure to a virus or pathogen and is the system that vaccines are based upon.

Together the neutrophils and lymphocytes work to protect the body from potential pathogens or threats, by increasing inflammation to bring nutrients to the site of injury or using inflammation to keep the infection or pathogen from spreading to other parts of the body easily.

How Can The Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio Benefit Myself Or My Patients?

Looking at the ratio between neutrophils and lymphocytes can help to show if there is an increased likelihood of inflammation and other threats to the system that are working in the background against the body on a chronic or acute level.  This ratio is often used with functional doctors who work with cancer patients. One study found that preoperative breast cancer patients with a high NLR had worse outcomes than those with a lower NLR. Another study found that the NLR in conjunction with a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) could be a better predictor of outcome for gastric cancer patients utilizing a ratio known as COC-NLR.

NLR may help to reflect systemic inflammation in patients with cancer and their immunologic capacity to mount an attack against the malignant cells. An increasing number of recent reports suggest that NLR can be used as a prognostic marker in various malignancies”.  The NLR “has been shown to predict cardiac arrhythmias as well as short- and long-term mortality in patients with acute coronary syndromes”.

How Do I Calculate Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR)?

To calculate the NLR marker, you simply need to divide the neutrophils into the lymphocytes based on your most recent CBC. Rather than manually calculating your patient’s NLRs, Heads Up is now calculating this measurement for you when you import or enter your lab values into our system.

Seeing the trends over time will provide an even deeper insight into the health trend of your patients and can be a warning sign that it’s time to take action with diet or lifestyle interventions or perhaps even consider further testing.

What Do The Numbers Mean?

I use a 2:1 or better ratio for neutrophils to leukocytes for the NLR when working with patients. For example, a ratio of 55-60:25-30 would be the highest/lowest I would want to see a neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio.

I also look at how big of a gap there is between neutrophils and lymphocytes, with a larger gap indicating a higher risk. Additionally, there is cause for concern if there is a relative ratio switch and the lymphocytes are elevated, and neutrophils lowered which could equate to blood dyscrasias, leukemias, lymphomas.

Consult with your health professional of choice if you have questions on these or any other lab values.

How can I track my NLR?

If you are using the Heads Up app to track lab values, you can either use the default ranges or enter your own custom ranges depending on your unique health objectives.

<This video> will show you how to track lab values and customize ranges in your Heads Up profile.


Resources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4839997/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30544398/?from_term=NLR&from_page=2&from_pos=1

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29491721/?from_term=NLR+&from_page=2&from_pos=4

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458276/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26878164/?from_term=NLR&from_pos=1

https://ic.steadyhealth.com/low-neutrophils-and-high-lymphocytes

Dr. Nasha Winters

Guest Lecture: Nutrition & CBC Blood Testing

3 Keto-Mojo Pro Tips

3 Keto-Mojo Pro Tips

Once you’ve got the basics of using the Keto-Mojo covered, it’s time to start looking at the bigger picture of how your keto lifestyle is affecting your overall health and performance.

1. Ditch the scale

Scales don’t always tell the full story (and they can drive you nuts). Lock the scale away in the closet and use the good ol’ fashioned tape measure!

Pro tip #1: Instead of daily scale measurements, just take a waist circumference measurement once a month. It’s a much more predictable (and lower stress!) way to assess your weight loss.

Optionally record your measurements in your Heads Up account so you can track your progress over time.

In the graph below, our social media manager (Lily) graphed her waist circumference and her glucose-ketone index in her Heads Up profile.

The results speak for themselves as she lost 5 inches off her waist over the course of 14 months!

2. Take the carb-tolerance test

Pop quiz: How high does your blood sugar go after your favorite restaurant meal?

If you don’t know, reach for the Keto-Mojo and test your blood sugar before you eat. Test your blood sugar again 1 hour after eating and again 2 hours after your meal. Record all three numbers.

Pro tip #3: Try to choose meals that keep your post-meal blood sugar below 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L). Learning how to control post-meal blood sugar is a powerful tool in your health arsenal.

You can also record results using the ‘Carb Tolerance Test’ feature so you can keep a journal of which foods work best for your own body.

Click Here for Carb Tolerance Test!

The Carb Tolerance Test is a powerful tool from Heads Up Health
 that anyone can use to optimize their health. 

3. Integrate fasting

There are so many health benefits to both intermittent and prolonged fasting (72 hours or more)! Benefits such as reduced inflammation, insulin, glucose, IGF-1 and helping with metabolic health. Not to mention the potential anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. [1]

Pro tip #2: Track your glucose and ketones before, during and after you fast. You should see your glucose drop and your ketones rise as you go deeper into the fasted state.

You can also try our Fasting Timer. Record your fasting intervals and graph them alongside your Keto-Mojo readings to master your metabolism.

That’s all for now folks! Hope you enjoyed our tips. For more great information on how to optimize your health, join our FaceBook community, subscribe to our podcast, or hit us up on Instagram.

Ready to start tracking? Start your free 30-day trial (no credit card required) using the button below.

References
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673798/
11 Remarkable Health Benefits of Fasting

11 Remarkable Health Benefits of Fasting

Fasting vs. Starvation

Many people mistake the practice of fasting with starvation, especially in the United States where food abundance and the idea of being hungry is perceived as a negative state (or altogether inhumane, something only happening to the ‘less fortunate’). The truth is, fasting and starvation are two completely different things. That’s why we put together this list of 11 remarkable health benefits of fasting… but before we dive in, a few other background points.

Starvation deprives you of nutrition and begins the process of breaking down your body, while the benefits of fasting on the other hand, are as long as they are deep. Fasting is a time-tested and controlled state that is not only beneficial to your health, it’s essential for creating optimal health, managing chronic diseases, reaching a healthy weight for your body type, reversing aging and much more. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the benefits of fasting… the healthy way, as recommended by Dr. John Limansky, the Keto Doctor… Heads Up friend and advisor. Thank you Dr. John!

The Health Benefits of Fasting

  1. Achieve your optimal weight. Different than starvation, fasting gives your body a chance to burn the energy from food instead of storing it as glycogen or fat. During longer fasting periods your body will burn through the glycogen stores and then begin burning fat stores.
  2. Overcome insulin resistance and balance blood sugar levels. Fasting gives your cells an overdue break from insulin so that they can ‘rediscover’ their sensitivity, overcome insulin resistance, and use glucose more effectively. That means blood sugar crashes along with your sugar cravings, taking the strain off of your overworked pancreas while significantly reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 
  3. Increase metabolism by as much as 18%. It’s been long-believed that fasting will bring your metabolism and weight loss efforts to a grinding halt. The good news is that’s no longer true. Research now shows that a stress hormone called norepinephrine increases during fasting, releasing fatty acids from the fat cells. This in turn makes it faster and easier for your body to use its fat stores. 
  4. Keep cortisol levels in check and better manage stress.
    Remember the research that suggested that your cortisol response depends on having glucose in the blood? In those same studies, participants who fasted and drank water had a much lower cortisol response than their peers who drank glucose solution. This indicates that fasting keeps cortisol levels low, helps us to respond to stressful situations in a much healthier manner, and protects us from the harmful effects of chronic stress.
  5. Reduce inflammation by inhibiting the immune response.
    Inflammation occurs in response to pain, injury and/or disease, and in some cases, your immune system continues releasing inflammatory chemicals even after the original state is gone. Such sustained exposure to those chemicals can create other chronic disease states, but fasting helps inhibit that prolonged immune response and blocks the continuing release of inflammatory chemicals
  6. Regenerate your immune system from the inside out. When you fast, your body saves energy by recycling old or damaged white blood cells. This drop in white blood cells flips a ‘regenerative switch’ in the body, stimulating the production of new stem cells. These stem cells then go on to develop into new, healthy immune cells, meaning you’re essentially regenerating a whole new immune system.
  7. Improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
    Fasting is shown to reduce blood pressure and harmful LDL cholesterol, and it also helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of diabetes. It also reduces heart disease risk by protecting your vascular system. 
  8. Improve brain health by stimulating the production of new neurons.
    Fasting stimulates the growth of new neurons and increases production of a hormone called brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Altogether, this helps to protect against depression, improve brain function and memory, slow cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.
  9. Protect against cancer.
    Cancer is characterized by the rapid and uncontrollable growth of cells. Although further studies are needed to confirm this, fasting is believed to help prevent cancer by depriving cancerous cells of the essential hormones they need to grow. Insulin Growth Factor, or IGF-1, is one such hormone, which goes into decline as soon as you stop eating. 
  10. Increase cellular turnover and regeneration.
    Fasting sends your body into cell recycling, a process of self-digestion at the cellular level called autophagy. But you’re not just digesting your fat to fuel yourself while fasting. Your body also targets malfunctioning cells and old tissues to optimize resources for survival.
  11. Improve sleep quality.
    New studies show that routine intermittent fasting in many ways helps the body stay well aligned for sleep and strengthens the circadian clock. That means it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep so you can wake feeling more rested.

Is it working? Track it and see.

The best way to understand how your body is responding to fasting, no matter what plan you’re on, is with hard data. Getting an app that collects your key health metrics along with tracking your fasting cycles is not only an easy way to track progress and see how you’re changing, it’s also a fun and motivating method to stay on track. 

The Heads Up app, for example, offers a fasting timer, along with a dashboard to track weight, body fat percentage, sleep, blood sugar, ketones and other vital health metrics, giving you a holistic view of your health before, during and after fasting. Start with their 30-day free trial to connect your other health data, then select an affordable monthly plan to continue tracking your metrics over time.

Should you fast?

With so many metabolic health benefits that are now research backed, it’s hard to say fasting doesn’t have some benefit to most people, however, it’s important that certain demographics should not fast at all, such as those with diabetes or other chronic disease, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the elderly and children. Most importantly, check with your doctor before starting any new diet regimen. 

Once you decide to give fasting a try, check out all the various fasting routines to get a sense of what type may be right for you. Not all fasting plans are right for everyone. The other key will be to find a useful tool (e.g. web or mobile application) that you can use to track your fasting plan as you go, and as importantly, to track your key health stats during the fasting state. 

This will be a good indication of how fasting will work for you, and how it impacts your health day to day. It will also be the perfect data to offer to your doctor as you work to achieve your personal health goals over time. 

The big picture? Fasting can become a steady and ongoing part of your healthy lifestyle plan for the long haul, rather than just a diet fad. 

As with any healthy lifestyle plans, consult with your health practitioner first.

 

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Top 11 Genes for Keto Diet Success

Top 11 Genes for Keto Diet Success

Setting Yourself up for Success

Whether you’re ready to dive into the ketogenic diet for the first time, or you’ve tried it in the past and didn’t achieve the results you’d hoped, this article is for you! Using your genes for your methylation status, digestion and to help you avoid metabolic syndrome, we walk you through Sarah Morgan’s work in using your genetics to optimize the keto diet for you.

Genetics, through the study of epigenetics, can provide a framework for understanding why we react to our food and environment in a certain way, and why the same diet produces different results in individuals. Why do some people do exceptionally well from the beginning with a ketogenic diet while others struggle? Well, genetics may play a large part in that.

Due to the large increase in the quantity of fats consumed on the ketogenic diet, some people may struggle to be able to break down those fats and turn them into ketones for energy and brain power. It turns out that this is often due to several genes that affect how we process fats in our bodies. 

Whether you want to focus on more of a traditional keto diet, a carnivore diet or a ketotarian diet, your success will come down to what your genes need to support them. So, you can see why knowing this information before beginning a dietary shift like this can be beneficial.

Just like you don’t have to fall victim to the keto flu with proper support, you also don’t have to struggle to get into ketosis if you know ahead of time how to navigate what your unique body needs.

The following genetic interpretations and information are based on the work of Sarah Morgan, the “Gene Queen.”  (Make sure to check out her podcast episode). So grab your Nutrition Genome, 23 and Me or other genetic SNP report and learn how you can customize the keto diet based on your SNPs. Make sure to sign up to track your data with the Heads Up app (download in the app store for on-the-go tracking), where you can directly sync your blood test results with your food tracker, Keto Mojo, blood sugar, HRV, sleep and more.

Reading a Genetic Report

When interpreting genetic data, you will commonly see plus and minus signs next to the gene.  The more plus signs you see, the more variants of that gene you have. Use the following to interpret them if they are not already labeled as such:

  • -/-  Normal or Wild Type
  • +/- or -/+ Heterozygous
  • +/+ Homozygous
# 1 Gene: PEMT

What it does: Makes choline to support liver functioning. The liver needs to converts fats to ketones, so this is super important with the keto diet for keeping the liver healthy and not bogged down processing the increased fat in the diet. Choline is also supportive of brain health for memory and cognitive ability.

Where to find it on your report: Methylation
Common symptoms associated with it/indicators for support:

  • Anxiety
  • Trouble with fats
  • Pregnancy
  • Nursing

How to support it: Eat choline-rich foods like egg yolks, Brussels sprouts, liver, and can also be used in a supplement form.

What labs to run to monitor its functioning: Liver function tests ALT and AST to monitor liver functioning and the potential need for additional choline in the diet. 

# 2 Gene: FADS2

What it does: Indicates your ability to convert shorter chain omega 3 fatty acids to longer chain fatty acids, like EPA/DHA, which are critical for brain health. If you have one or two copies of this gene, you will need more fats from fish or supplemental support to get enough EPA/DHA for brain health, as you will not be able to convert enough of the shorter chain omega 3’s, (such as from plant sources like chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp hearts, etc.) for your brain’s needs.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Metabolic symptoms
  • Neurological symptoms

How to support it: Eat more fish or take a fish oil supplement
What labs to run to monitor its functioning: Check EPA/DHA levels to see what your status is based on your diet and ability to convert plant-based fats to DHA and EPA for optimal brain function. 

# 3 Gene: FUT2

What it does: Plays a part in how well you absorb your fats based on the type of bacteria living in your gut microbiome. If you have one or two copies of this gene, then you’ll need to bring in more prebiotic rich food for your good gut bugs to feed on.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion

Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Craving more veggies on a keto diet or not doing well on a carnivore diet.
  • More inflammation, or increase in inflammatory blood markers in response to a higher fat diet.

How to support it: Eat more fibrous vegetables (prebiotics) to feed the good bacteria in your gut and increase levels of bifidobacteria, which also helps lower inflammation. You’ll need 25 different plant species per week.
CAUTION: Extremely restricted diets can be potentially detrimental, so use caution if you don’t have all of the information on how it will affect you before beginning a very restricted diet. Test, don’t guess, then monitor frequently in the beginning.

What labs to run to monitor its functioning: Comprehensive GI panel or Viome testing to see microbiome diversity as well as homocysteine, CRP, and Sed Rate to watch for inflammation.

# 4 Gene: ACAT

What it does: Allows your body to convert proteins and fats to ATP (energy). We make our body weight in ATP every single day, so we want to make sure we can get good energy from our fats and proteins when this is our primary source of fuel.  

Where to find it on your report: Digestion

Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Fatigue or hypoglycemia symptoms on a high fat or carnivore diet.
  • Cholesterol goes up eating a high-fat diet.

How to support it: Eat a more vegetable-heavy form of keto and avoid carnivore if you have one copy of this gene, but especially if you have two copies. You are not a good candidate for a carnivore diet.

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • Cholesterol labs – Total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, and LDL particle cholesterol testing if budget allows.
  • Liver Enzymes AST, ALT
  • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
  • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
# 5 Gene: ADIPOQ

What it does: Relates to a hormone released in the intestinal tract when we eat foods, which has to do with how much insulin is secreted, affecting blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, etc. Those with this gene are more predisposed to metabolic syndrome.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion

Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Heart disease
  • Increased risk of colon cancer

How to support it:

  • Exercise
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Omega 3’s to increase adiponectin secretion
  • Turmeric
  • Berries
  • Ginger

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
  • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
  • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
  • Daily monitoring of fasting glucose at home with Keto Mojo
  • CRP to monitor for inflammation
# 6 Gene: SLC22A5

What it does: Picks up fats and shuttles them to the mitochondria to be burned as an energy source, which then goes through the digestive tract and is absorbed across the gut barrier. L-carnitine then picks up the fats and shuttles it to the mitochondria.

Where to find it on your report: Digestive
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Low energy

How to support it:

  • Getting enough L-Carnitine in your diet or through supplementation if needed
  • Adequate vitamin C intake
  • Making sure you’re methylating well
  • Adequate intake of amino acids
  • Optimizing digestion

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

# 7 Gene: PPAR Alpha

What it does: This plays a role in fatty acid metabolism and can make it difficult to get into ketosis.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Difficulty getting into or staying in ketosis
  • Problems in a cholesterol panel – HDL, LDL, triglycerides
  • Hypoglycemia on a high-fat, low carb diet

How to support it:

  • Exogenous ketones to get into ketosis

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • Watch cholesterol levels closely if homozygous and taking exogenous ketones. Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
# 8 Gene: ACSL1

What it does: Has to do with how well you metabolize saturated fats from animals like bacon, fat bombs from dairy, etc.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Higher fasting glucose
  • Insulin resistance

How to support it:

  • Focus on getting your fats from plant sources
  • Eat a more Mediterranean style keto diet
  • Coconut oil is okay

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
  • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
  • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
# 9 Gene: APOA2

What it does: This runs an enzyme that regulates appetite. People with this gene who eat more fat, tend to be more hungry and consume more calories in a day.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Weight gain with higher fat diet

How to support it:

  • Exercise
  • Don’t have a sedentary desk job

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • CRP to monitor inflammation
  • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
  • Liver enzymes, ALT, AST to monitor liver functioning
# 10 Gene: FTO

What it does: Relates to the hunger hormone ghrelin, which regulates hunger.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Especially those who are homozygous (2 copies) may feel hungry all the time

How to support it:

  • Don’t consume a high glycemic diet
  • Pay attention to hunger signals

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
  • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
  • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
# 11 Gene: TCF7L2

What it does: Has to do with incretin hormone which relates to insulin sensitivity.

Where to find it on your report: Digestion
Common symptoms associated with it:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Dysregulated insulin
  • Carb cravings

How to support it:

  • Be careful with your carbs. If homozygous, be REALLY careful with your carbs.

What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

  • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
  • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
  • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels

About Heads Up

Heads Up is an app designed to empower individuals who want to take a self-directed approach to managing their health. Instantly centralize your medical records, connect your favorite devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use data to optimize your health.

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3 Ways to Simplify Your Dieting with a Keto Food Tracker

3 Ways to Simplify Your Dieting with a Keto Food Tracker

If your goal for beginning the keto diet is to lose weight, trying to learn the ins and outs of your new diet can be a struggle. Add in all the numbers and ratios, and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Fortunately, there’s good news – you can simplify the process to make it more easy, convenient and intuitive with a keto food tracker. 

However with the keto diet, tracking your macronutrients (i.e. carbs, protein, fat) is critical – especially in the beginning – to ensure you stay in ketosis (when your body uses fat as fuel instead of carbs) and ultimately ensure your success.

Consistently Monitor Your Food Intake in a Keto Food Tracker

Let’s face it, if something isn’t easy and quick, we aren’t likely to stick with it. That’s why for keto diet followers, convenience and consistency are key. If you aren’t tracking what you are eating, you are likely to drift off course and fall out of ketosis. 

The best way to combat this is to use a convenient app that allows you to easily enter your food intake whenever and wherever you are. Fortunately, the tech-driven world we live in means there is a variety of free (or close to free) keto food tracker apps to choose from. We recommend apps like MyFitnessPal, Cronometer and MyMacros+ to track your daily food intake and ensure you are adhering to your daily goals.

When you start out, calculate your target protein, fat, carb and calorie goals by using a macronutrient calculator designed for ketogenic diets. (You can find a list of calculators as the bottom of this blog. Note: If using a keto food tracker such as Cronometer, the keto calculator is built-in.) Once you have your target numbers, simply enter them into the app. This will allow you to track your day-to-day progress against those numbers. 

Still not sure how you are going to have time to enter those details as you go? Try entering your meals in advance to help you plan your day and ensure you are not over-consuming in any area of your ratios. This will not only help you stay on course but will simplify the process of trying to remember to enter what you ate during the day. If you need to deviate from the plan, you can easily update it. 

Identify Macros You are Over or Under Consuming with a Macros Tracker

By monitoring the ratio of your fats, proteins and carbs (keto macro ratio), you can ensure you are successfully staying in ketosis. Although this may sound daunting, all of the keto food tracker apps noted above allow you to easily track your keto macronutrient ratios and see where you stand against those ratios. 

Once you see where you are falling short or consuming too much, you can adjust your diet to get the right mix. This takes a bit of work upfront, but it’s an important step in helping you achieve the right balance for ketosis. Once the ratios are entered, you’ll be able to easily see where you stand. It won’t take long for you to reach the point where eating to your target macronutrients is intuitive. Additionally, as you become more advanced with the ketogenic diet, you can adjust your macros based upon your progress to best suit your specific body and health goals. 

Get a Holistic View of Your Keto Journey

The keto food tracking apps give you a good start for tracking your macros, but you will want a more comprehensive view of how your ketogenicdiet is impacting your overall health and success. This allows you to monitor other key areas impacted by the keto diet, such as your blood glucose, blood ketones, blood pressure, weight, measurements, HbA1c, insulin levels, etc. Based on this information, you can adjust your macros and diet to account for the most critical areas of your overall health.  

With Heads Up, you simply enter the food you’ve eaten into your keto food tracker. The trackers mentioned link directly with your Heads Up account, and the calculations for your ketogenic ratio are done for you. You’ll not only know at a glance if you are on track, but you will also be able to compare those levels side-by-side with your ketone and glucose levels, weight loss, measurements, lab numbers and more.

We hope these three tips will help you closely monitor your food intake, keto levels and track your success with ease. If you are interested in making your keto diet journey easier and more meaningful, you can get started with Heads Up for free using the button to the right.  We’ll give you the tools to track all your data and make it simple in the process! 

Keto Macro Tracking

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Whittling Down Waist Size Using the Glucose Ketone Index with Keto-Mojo and Heads Up Health

Whittling Down Waist Size Using the Glucose Ketone Index with Keto-Mojo and Heads Up Health

The real power in using Heads Up Health with Keto-Mojo is being able to track and correlate biomarkers you care about, such as the GKI (Glucose Ketone Index) with other major health metrics, like body measurements.

The leader in consumer software for personal health data analytics, Heads Up Health allows you to see your progress over weeks, month, years — all in one place. When used together with Keto-Mojo, the leader in affordable, accurate blood glucose and ketone testing meters, they’re a powerful force for helping you get into ketosis, maintain keto-adaptation, and see the big picture of your metabolic health and body composition.

For example, our Social Media Manager, and avid Heads Up Health user, Lily Chien-Davis, correlated her GKI with her waist circumference measurements, whittling down her waist size while staying keto-adapted.

In the graph above, Lily shares how she used Keto-Mojo to track her glucose and ketones over the past 12 months, uploading those results to Heads Up Health where we automatically calculate the glucose-ketone index (GKI), a powerful biomarker for tracking your metabolic health. 

The graph speaks for itself as Lily slashed over five inches off her waist circumference!

Lily first discovered the glucose ketones index as a biomarker when her husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. They used a therapeutic ketogenic diet as an adjunct to conventional treatment, consulting with Miriam Kalamian [1] and following the advice of cancer researcher, author [2] and inventor of the GKI, Thomas N Seyfried and his advice to keep the glucose ketone index low, “tracking the ratio of blood glucose to ketones as a single value”, in an effort to blast the tumors near her husband’s aorta. [3]

As they both carefully monitored his glucose ketone index and watched his tumors rapidly shrink, she began eating keto too, surprised, as someone diagnosed with pre-diabetes, to watch her own HbA1c go down, from 5.9% to 5.2%. In 2016, she discovered Heads Up Health while listening to keto podcasts (i.e., Jimmy Moore, Ketovangelist, 2 Keto Dudes). Both she and her husband immediately signed up, excited to track their glucose, ketones, and GKI alongside their medical records and body composition data, such as weight and waist size.

Since then, Lily has never looked back.

Instead of using a scale to track her weight every day, which can be maddening because weight loss is never linear, she tracks her GKI alongside her waist circumference and weight once a month using our measurements feature. In the beginning she also tracked her macros, but now relies solely on eating an intuitive keto-paleo and sometimes carnivore diet, preferring to track her GKI regularly, using the graphing feature in Heads Up Health’s Analyzer to reflect on her progress, helping her stay motivated.

Here’s Lily’s before/after photos and you can see how great she looks. Most importantly, she FEELS awesome, both mentally and physically.
“Tracking with Keto-Mojo and Heads Up Health helped me to stay in ketosis and keto-adapted for over a year, giving me accountability and motivation to keep keto-ing on. Although I’m not completely where I’d like to be just yet, I’m free of all prescription meds, happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. My husband is now almost 4 years in remission and we recently sold our house to move into, travel and worldschool our kid in a RV, a dream we hatched up during long days of chemo infusions. People say keto is restrictive, that it’s a fad diet, but because I’ve used it for mental and physical health, it’s just a way of life for me now. The rest — feeling younger, more energy to actually want to exercise, mental clarity, and better body composition — is just icing on the cake!” – Lily Chien-Davis
It takes a lot of courage to share this information so please give Lily a shout-out on Instagram (@hellbentonbliss). We love you Lily!

Ready to get started? Enter your first set of baseline measurements, get yourself into nutritional ketosis and track your success!

We’ve included a little video tutorial below to help you get started.

Questions? Hit us up!

Keto on!

Dave Korsunsky | Founder  
VIDEO: Gimme that Mojo! Tracking the GKI and Your Waist Circumference
[1] Miriam Kalamian [2] Cancer as a Metabolic Disease by Thomas N. Seyfried, PhD [2] The glucose ketone index calculator: a simple tool to monitor therapeutic efficacy for metabolic management of brain cancer