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Christine’s 4-Week NK N=1 Experiment: First Week Of Readings And Menus

Although my official one-year n=1 experiment of “nutritional ketosis” came to an end last month, I have continued to monitor my blood sugar, blood ketones and weight to make sure all the hard work I’ve invested over the past year hasn’t been in vain. Some people have asked me why I stopped doing NK. Ummm, I haven’t. I fully expect to keep on eating my high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb nutritional plan that will provide me with adequate ketone levels to fuel my body and keep me optimally healthy for many years to come. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But after watching me for the past twelve months testing my blood everyday, my wife Christine recently asked if she could check her blood sugar, blood ketones and weight for a period of time. What a great idea since so many people have wanted to see how nutritional ketosis would work for a woman. This oughta to be interesting!

Those of you who know Christine and have seen her in person will quickly ask why she would want to do something like this. She’s already thin with no metabolic damage or history of obesity like her husband. This is true, but the purpose of NK isn’t necessarily about weight loss. While shedding pounds on the scale is certainly a cool side effect of doing this, the primary goal is to become a fat-for-fuel burning machine, controlling hunger and attaining all the other unexpected health benefits that come from eating this way. I encouraged her to do it for four weeks and we would keep tabs of everything that I did during my experiment–and even share her menus so you can see exactly what she is eating to attain the numbers she is getting. What you’ll learn is that my self-imposed 85/12/3 ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates isn’t necessarily what Christine needs to be doing to see the results she desires. We started this experiment on Monday, June 3, 2013 and plan on documenting her readings and menus through Sunday, June 30, 2013.

Let’s take a look at exactly what Christine is eating along with the macronutrient breakdown of each day’s meals:

  • JUNE 3, 2013
    12:00pm: Salmon, spaghetti squash, green beans, 2 Tbs butter

    6:00pm: Salad with mixed greens, green peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, eggs, bacon, cheese, Ranch dressing

    7:15pm: Strawberries, almond butter, almonds, 70% dark chocolate, sea salt, whipped cream topping

    Calories – 1745, Fat – 61%, Protein – 22%, Carbs – 17%

  • JUNE 4, 2013
    12:45pm: Salad with chicken, hard boiled egg, lettuce, cheese, bacon, cucumber, carrot slivers, Italian dressing

    7:45pm: Beef rib roast, broccoli, 2 Tbs butter

    Calories – 1664, Fat – 63%, Protein – 30%, Carbs – 7%

  • JUNE 5, 2013
    9:50am: 7 slices of bacon

    6:00pm: Salad with chicken, hard boiled egg, lettuce, cheese, bacon, cucumber, carrot slivers, Italian dressing, 1.5 oz 70% dark chocolate

    Calories – 1326, Fat – 62%, Protein – 25%, Carbs – 13%

  • JUNE 6, 2013
    10:20am: 7 slices of bacon, coffee with heavy cream

    8:30pm: Chicken breast with broccoli and mixed veggies (green beans and peppers), 1.5 oz 70% dark chocolate

    Calories – 1392, Fat – 57%, Protein – 27%, Carbs – 16%

  • JUNE 7, 2013
    10:20am: 6 slices of bacon, coffee with heavy cream

    6:45pm: Salmon with green beans and salad with lettuce, broccoli, bacon, cheese, hard boiled egg, apples and Ranch dressing

    Calories – 1715, Fat – 60%, Protein – 31%, Carbs – 9%

  • JUNE 8, 2013
    11:45am: 6 slices of bacon, coffee with heavy cream

    6:00pm: Salmon and steak

    8:30pm: Homemade chocolate strawberry low-carb ice cream

    Calories – 1333, Fat – 51%, Protein – 38%, Carbs – 11%

  • JUNE 9, 2013
    11:00am: Eggs with bell pepper sauce, Canadian bacon, green beans, 2 Tbs butter

    1:30pm: Large coffee with heavy cream

    6:15pm: Salmon, raw veggies, 1.5 oz 70% dark chocolate

    Calories – 1368, Fat – 49%, Protein – 30%, Carbs – 21%

  • As you can see, Christine didn’t even come close to my 85% fat, 12% protein and 3% carbohydrate intake. But that’s because she doesn’t have to. That 85/12/3 ratio is the mix that works for me, but the 5’3″ tall Christine can eat more carbohydrates, more protein and less fat than I can to get into nutritional ketosis. Her average fat/protein/carbohydrate ratio for the food she ate this week was 57/29/14 with a mean daily caloric intake of 1506 calories. If I ate this ratio of macronutrients, then I know my blood sugar would go up, my blood ketones would disintegrate and I’d gain weight. But let’s take a look at what happened to Christine’s numbers eating the way that she did:

    Since Christine has never tested her blood ketones before, I was very surprised to see she was over that .5 lower threshold level of nutritional ketosis from the very beginning. Keep in mind she’s been eating low-carb for a while, but not with the specific goal to test for ketones. As we know from my own testing, the morning blood ketone readings tend to be the lowest of the day. She averaged around .7 millimolar blood ketones in the morning and that’s pretty awesome! She’s in full-on fat-burning mode. WOO HOO!

    Well, how about that? Christine was in a full state of nutritional ketosis for her evening readings with her levels catapulting way up on the upper end of the .5-3.0 millimolar range of blood ketones by Day 4. AMAZING! She was super-excited and ended up averaging 2.0 millimolar. OUTSTANDING! For someone who hasn’t really tried to create ketones before this experiment, she’s certainly rockin’ it.

    During my own n=1 experiment, I was very disappointed in the unreliability of urine ketones as compared to blood ketones. But Christine’s AM urine readings matched up relatively well over this one week of testing to her AM blood ketone readings. We’ll continue to track this, but I’m still not convinced it’s as precise as measuring blood.

    As I stated earlier, Christine has no need to lose weight and is very happy and healthy with what she weighs. Starting out at 129, she saw a very slight uptick in weight with it coming right back down by the end of the week. Statistically speaking, it was NO WEIGHT CHANGE! It’ll be interesting to see what happens during her time of the month (typically responsible for a modest weight gain of a few pounds) which we’ll be monitoring very soon. I do expect Christine to actually be lower in weight by the end of this four-week experiment–maybe a few pounds down from where she started.

    It looks like Christine has a bit of “dawn phenomenon” going on in her morning blood sugar readings averaging around 94 mg/dL. Yes, it’s a bit elevated, but I’m not worried about this for her. Her latest A1c reading is 5.1, so she’s doing okay with this. It’ll be interesting to watch her AM blood glucose results as she is in nutritional ketosis. As blood ketones get higher, blood sugar tends to go lower. We shall see.

    After watching her blood sugar readings to start the day get into the 90s, it was interesting to watch how much they dropped when we measured in the evening. She averaged 77 mg/dL which I couldn’t be prouder of for her. Those blood sugar numbers are PHENOMENAL and I’m so delighted that she’s able to manage her numbers so incredibly well with the diet that’s right for her.

    What do you think about Christine’s results after just one week of NK? I’d love to hear your thoughts about how my little lady is doing on her nutritional ketosis experiment. If you are a woman and would like to chime in with how your results on NK compare to what I’ve shared today about Christine, then it would be great to hear from you. We’ll keep testing Christine for the remainder of the month and share how she does when the n=1 is completed on June 30, 2013.

    • http://lowcarbbetterhealth.blogspot.com/ Rebecca Skvorc Latham

      Hi, Jimmy and Christine! The results are very interesting, but I am surprised at the amount of protein she is eating. At 5’3″, we are the same height, and I have only been eating 57g of protein to be in ketosis, and she is eating over 120g most days. This is such a small amount for me – the other day, I fixed a pork chop in the morning and ate 1/3 of it at each meal! Do you suppose that is just an example of YMMV?

      As far as comparing her results to mine, when I was checking my blood ketones last summer, I always checked in the morning and never at night. In the morning, my average was 2.0 with my highest being 3.1 and my lowest 0.6. It was usually right around 1.8. Seeing her results, it makes me wonder if I had been eating a little more protein, would my numbers still have been good. In other words, would being in “less ketosis” still have been good enough, and would it be good enough now? So, possibly, I could be eating more protein than I am now. (Can you tell I want to eat more?) It’s not that I am hungry. It’s just that I am eating so little that I feel deprived, on an emotional and rational level.

      Rebecca

    • Karen

      My “dawn phenomenon” did not go away even
      after 3 months of NK. Then I discovered I was having a significant insulin
      response to milk products (even heavy cream). This despite a well regulated
      blood sugar all day long (other than first thing in the morning). I tested and
      found and elevated fasting insulin of 16! After one week of being dairy free,
      my “dawn phenomenon” cleared up and I now get
      constant morning blood sugar readings of 87. In addition, my fasting insulin
      levels came right down. With in 4 days they were at 5 and two weeks later 4.
      Just a thought…

    • Kirk Bloomer

      Very interesting. Thanks.

    • Laurie-Avalanche Rosen

      Christine is a coffee drinker? Knew I liked that girl! ;) Good results, Christine! Can’t wait to follow the rest of your experiment.

    • Organic_one

      I love your picture Christine. It cracks me up. I am more metabolically challenged. I probably eat close to Jimmy’s %’s I wasn’t losing weight so on Jimmy’s advise, I lowered the protein and upped the fat. I am so glad Christine to see your blood sugar results too. I will start graphing mine to see how I am doing. Love you grillfriend.

    • Miriam

      Thanks, this is great! Do you take your morning blood sugar readings before or after getting up?

      • LLVLCBlog

        LOL! Hard to do it before. :)

        • Myron Schwarzennecker

          I think she means getting up and out of bed, as opposed to just waking up.

          • LLVLCBlog

            Yes, I was having a little fun. :)

    • Miriam

      It’s about the dawn phenomenon. My BG is like Christine’s while I am still in bed, then seems to go down during the walk to the kitchen.

    • Zephir1

      Way to go, Christine! As you know, I too, have been testing occasionally, (shaky start with wrong strips to begin with) to see where I can go with ketosis. Yesterday (with correct strips) a.m., they were a 1.1 and so after about 5 days, the ketones are increasing, as they started at a 0.5. I thank you so much for sharing your menus with the world, as these could truly help women gauge for themselves where their own fat/protein/carbs need to go. For me, it tends to be around 12% carbs or lower (like your June 4th menu), but just like Jimmy said, what works for each one of us, is obviously going to differ. As for weight loss, I have now lost 2 pounds, but not quickly (i.e. over the month). I think if women are doing this like Christine and I, first and foremost for health, then all other markers (i.e. weight loss or inch loss even) will become secondary factors on our road to understanding ourselves and what makes us feel strong and energetic as we age. -Toasting you with Keto coffee now, Christine! :))

    • jethro bodine

      Jimmy, you should DEAX Christine.

      Although her weight hasn’t moved I’m sure she lost fat and gained lean mass.

      OBTW, the menus with calories are awesome.

      • LLVLCBlog

        I’m sure she has.

    • Maleia

      Hi Jimmy! Hope you are feeling better after your marathon dental adventure earlier today! Question – can I be too far into Ketosis? Been on Wheat Belly way of life (excl dairy too) for almost 16 months now. Lost 30lbs easily within first four months but been on plateau even gained back a few lbs since last October. Using the ketostix I am consistently 3-8 range…can this be stalling my weight loss? Only want to lose about 10lbs more anyhow… ordered blood ketone monitor as well as I know you said urine can be inaccurate… I eat a lot of coconut oil and read that can skew readings too. Confused! Thx!

      • LLVLCBlog

        Great question! If you’re measuring urine ketone, they’re not reliable. Check the blood to see where you stand. Feel free to email me when you do.

    • Cheryl Tolbert

      We have a great community we have started for people following NK

      http://nkevolution.freeforums.net/
      Join us!

    • LLVLCBlog

      THANKS Kati! The official end of her four-week experiment is on Sunday, June 30, 2013 and I’ll write a full wrap-up post about it next week. This was just a sneak peek into how she did after one week.

      • Kati

        Looking forward to reading it! (0:

        • LLVLCBlog

          Coming soon. Finishing up my book has been kicking my hiney.

          • Kati

            Oh yeah! I can’t wait to look at that either :) thank you for being patient with my questions.