Remembering Kevin Moore

Jimmy Moore’s n=1 Experiments: Nutritional Ketosis Day 1-30

Before I went on the 2012 Low-Carb Cruise last month, I started reading a book that my low-carb research friends Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney had written as a follow-up to their fantastic 2011 release The Art And Science of Low Carbohydrate Living (listen to my interview with Dr. Phinney about this book in Episode 479 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show”). The sequel is called The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance and was written specifically to share the latest science behind ketogenic diets for athletes who are keenly interested in optimizing their exercise performance with fat and ketones serving as their body’s primary fuel source once they reach what Dr. Phinney refers to as “keto-adaptation.” But the information these low-carb stalwarts provide in this handy dandy little book goes much deeper than that as you will read about in this blog post.

Most low-carbers have traditionally been using urine ketone sticks under the brand name Ketostix to measure their level of ketones being produced by color (from pink to dark purple) as a result of their low-carb diet. But as I previously shared in this YouTube video, this can be a frustratingly inaccurate way of measuring whether you are producing enough ketones in your blood to see the kind of results you are hoping for on your low-carb lifestyle change. But thanks to the cutting-edge information provided by Volek and Phinney in The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance, we now have a new and better way to measure the actual ketones that are in your blood which determines whether you have become keto-adapted and burning fat and ketones for fuel. They refer to getting into this state as “nutritional ketosis” to obviously distinguish it from ketoacidosis which is only an issue for a very small segment of the diabetic population, mostly Type 1’s. Listen to Episode 5 of the “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” podcast with Mark Sisson to learn more about why getting into ketosis plays an important role in maximizing your weight and health efforts when you are livin’ la vida low-carb.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, “Okay, Jimmy, how exactly am I supposed to measure my blood ketone levels?” Great question and I have some good news and bad news for you. The good news is you can get the blood ketone meters and strips just like you can a blood glucometer and blood sugar testing strips. The bad news is it can be very difficult and extremely expensive to find at your local pharmacy. When I went to 8 different stores (Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Publix, Target and a local pharmacy) in the Spartanburg, South Carolina area to inquire about getting a blood ketone meter and testing strips, the looked of bewilderment on their faces said it all. The pharmacist at Walgreen’s said to me, “I don’t think they make anything like that.” When I assured her that they do and that the meter is made by a pretty large company, she said she had never heard of anything like that before. It was a frustrating experience because I was super-excited to start testing my blood ketones at home in pursuit of being in nutritional ketosis.

After failing to have any luck searching for the ever-elusive blood ketone testing device at traditional brick and mortar stores, I then started looking online for a place to purchase a meter and the accompanying testing strips. Looking on Amazon.com I was quickly able to find the Precision Xtra meter at a reasonable price since it also doubles as a blood glucose monitor. But then I got some major sticker shock when I went to purchase the strips–A Box of 10 for for $58! Holy crap, that’s almost $6/strip just to test for blood ketones. Thankfully you only test once daily or that would send anyone not named Donald Trump to the poorhouse in short order. But I knew I wanted to do my next n=1 test attempting to get into and stay into nutritional ketosis and would need probably 100 strips. If I bought 10 boxes of the ones I saw on Amazon, that would have been close to $600! Yikes!

Volek and Phinney admit the testing strips are “relatively expensive” in their book and note that you can probably get them at a good price on eBay for around $1-2 per strip. When I placed a bid for 100 of them there, my original bid was $150 and I thought I would get them at a steal. Nope. Somebody kept outbidding me and I decided that I would stop at $400 which would be $4/strip. I ended up winning the 100 strips so I could begin testing my blood ketones but it cost me the $400. UGH! I’ll share the first 30 days of my results with you in just a moment. But knowing I was going to be writing about this experience of testing your blood ketones and that you my readers would probably want to test your blood ketones as well, I contacted Abbott Laboratories to let them know that they have a whole new market of people who would be interested in using their Precision Xtra devices and testing strips to measure their blood ketone levels. So far, they have limited their marketing to mostly Type 1 diabetics with insulin insufficiency who need to closely monitor their ketone levels if they exceed 10 mmol/L to monitor whether they have reached ketoacidosis. You’ll be happy to hear that Dr. Jeff Volek assured me this “will not happen in a non-diabetic simply restricting carbs.”

After waiting on hold for two hours speaking with six different representatives at Abbott trying to find out how you my readers can get these blood ketone testing strips both readily and at affordable price, they finally said to just go see your doctor and have him prescribe it for you. That wasn’t the answer I was exactly looking for and it’s obvious we’ve got some work left to do to convince them that they are missing out on a chance to expand their business while helping a whole lot of low-carb dieters in the process. Maybe if enough of us contact Customer Support at Abbott Laboratories, they’ll get the message and start making these blood ketone strips more readily available at your local pharmacies. In the meantime, I suppose those of us who are curious will just have to bite the bullet like I did and get them from eBay, Amazon or even overseas.

One of my fellow low-carb bloggers got his strips from an online Canadian pharmacy for about $2/strip. And if you want to get a FREE NovaMax Plus blood glucose/blood ketone meter that comes with 10 blood glucose and 2 blood ketone strips, fill out the brief form here and you’ll get it in about a week. A box of 10 NovaMax Plus testing strips on Amazon.com is a little over $3 each when you add the shipping costs. Yes, all of this is a bit of a hassle and an expense. But as Volek and Phinney share in their book, “Is this (hassle/expense) worth…pricking your finger once per day for a month or two? Based upon our experience working with many people, we think that the answer is ‘yes.'”

On the Low-Carb Cruise I announced to over 250 of my fellow Paleo/low-carbers in attendance that I would be testing this idea of nutritional ketosis for 90 days as my next n=1 experiment upon returning home. Dr. Volek gave an awesome lecture outlining many of the concepts from his The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance book, including testing your blood ketones–so I wanted to give it a go for myself. Anyone who has been following my blog knows that it’s no secret that I’ve gained back some of the 180 pounds I had lost in 2004 on the Atkins diet in the years that have followed. And I’ve received my fair share of criticism from those who think I am not worthy of talking about low-carb diets in a positive manner if my weight is higher than they think it should be. Fair enough. Be that as it may, I am like most of the people who read this blog and attempt to do whatever I can to optimize my weight and health with the thoughts and ideas that are shared with me through my podcast guests, other people’s blog posts and the latest books sharing the science behind the healthy low-carb lifestyle. That’s what was appealing to me about attempting to get into nutritional ketosis if I wasn’t there already to see how that might help me in my pursuit of turning my weight around. Before I share my results, let me share briefly what the goal is with testing blood ketones.

In order to be fully keto-adapted and to start burning stored body fat for fuel, ketone levels must be between 0.5 to 3.0 millimolar. There is no added benefit to pushing blood ketones higher than 3.0 millimolar which Volek and Phinney say is “about as high as most people get eating a well-formulated ketogenic diet.” The three primary factors impacting blood ketone production are carbohydrates, protein and exercise. The first one is obvious and requires most people to restrict their carb counts to no more than 50g daily. Some people will probably need a lot less than this while others can possibly be able to consume as much as 100g daily and be in nutritional ketosis. The second one is very likely the problem with most low-carbers who have trouble getting into ketosis. Despite what you hear about low-carb diets being “high-protein,” the reality is protein intake should be moderate or adequate. Why? Because a little more than half of the protein you consume is converted into glucose by the liver (a process known as gluconeogenesis) producing “an anti-ketogenic effect” in the body similar to eating too many carbohydrates. Finally, the third one is exercise which can increase blood ketone levels 0.25-0.50 millimolar immediately afterwards which is an indication that fat-burning has commenced. These ketone levels can “increase sharply during the 1-2 hours after exercise due to increased hepatic delivery of fatty acids and greater rates of fat oxidation,” according to Volek and Phinney. Consuming carbohydrates and the amino acid alanine post-workout will blunt this blood ketone response somewhat which is why they recommend to avoid consuming them.

Here’s a convenient graph from page 91 of The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance to help you visualize the “optimal fuel flow for brain and muscles” when attempting to reach nutritional ketosis:

Testing blood ketones is very similar to testing blood glucose, but there are a few subtle differences. The primary one is the amount of blood needed to get a reading on your blood ketone meter. When I first did it I pricked my finger and produced the typical amount of blood I use to test my blood sugar. BIG MISTAKE! As I was watching the blood get sucked up through the strip, it just kinda stuck there as if to say, “Feed me more, feed me more!” I hurriedly started squeezing my finger to produce just a tad more blood to get it to produce a reading. I’d estimate that you probably need 4-5 times more blood (a big drop) to test your blood ketones. It’s no big deal, you just squeeze the finger a little more after zapping it with the lancet. This used to freak me out making blood appear, but I’ve done it so much with my n=1 experiments that it’s no big deal anymore. While a glucometer will give you the blood sugar reading in a few seconds, it takes 10 seconds to get your blood ketone reading. That’s okay, though, because the results are worth the wait.

For my testing, I always checked my blood ketones sometime in the morning after I woke up, usually in a fasted state, and I checked my weight on the scale and blood sugar at the same time. This morning ritual has become a normal part of what I do now for the time being and I’m very comfortable with it. On days that I have an early podcast interview to record, I usually test afterwards while still fasting. So the fun began on May 15, 2012 when I finally took the plunge for myself and measured my first blood ketone reading for the very first time. Needless to say, as a veteran of high-fat, low-carb living for over eight years I was shocked by what I saw: 0.3! Holy cow, that could be one of the reasons why I’m not seeing my weight go down! This is a stark reality check for those of us who just automatically assume we are adequately ketogenic simply because we eat low-carb. Not necessarily for everyone as my dismal starting level of ketones shows. So beginning that day and in the month that has followed, I attempted to get my blood ketones in the proper range as outlined in that graph above and here are my results for Day 1-30 of doing this:

As you can see, within four days I was in nutritional ketosis (Volek and Phinney says it can take as much as two weeks to become fully keto-adapted) and I’ve stayed at 1.2 millimolar and above ever since averaging around 2.0 millimolar daily. While I started at an anemically low level, you’ll notice my blood ketones got as high as 5.0 millimolar at around the two-week mark. I gave blood on Day 2 of this experiment which may or may not have made an impact on the numbers. Honestly, I don’t know why the ketones went that high. And I didn’t “feel” any different with the blood levels of ketones above 3.0. Of course, I’ve been purposeful in eating a diet that is very high in fat to around 80-85% of calories, moderated in protein to about 10-15% of calories and very low-carb minimizing the intake to 1-3% of calories. My #1 goal has been to reach a ketotic state and not consume anything that would knock me out of that. Of course, when my levels reached the 4.0-5.0 range, I felt I had a little bit of wiggle room to have a little something extra if I wanted it. But over the past week or so the blood ketone levels have settled down naturally staying between 1.0 and 2.0 millimolar–right where it needs to be to give me the benefits of ketosis that I’m looking for.

One of the most fascinating aspects of doing this nutritional ketosis experiment is how long I have been able to go between eating meals. While I’ve long heard people talking about doing intermittent fasting for 18-24 hours between meals, this state of keto-adaptation makes doing that a cinch. I’ve not been hungry at all and my wife Christine has had to encourage and remind me to eat. There have been no cravings or hunger at all, I’m thinking much clearer than I have in a while, I’m finally sleeping well again getting 7-9 hours of rest at night, the pimple breakouts on my face have been significantly reduced, my workouts at the gym have been productive with no hypoglycemic “blackout” problems, and in general I just feel better than I have in a long time. It’s incredible how just a very small tweak in my eating has produced such remarkable results like this.

The key for me has been moderating the protein in my diet. Carbs have always been in check and I’ve been eating a good amount of dietary fat. But making sure I don’t eat too much protein is what I think has given me these spectacular results. Even chicken is problematic because it is a lean protein and attempting to offset it with more fat in the form of coconut oil, butter or cheese hasn’t helped. I’m not ready to share my menus or exercise plan with you just yet (but you can probably guess from what I’ve described that it’s high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb without calorie restriction) as I’m still wanting to see where this experiment takes me for the entire 90-day process. Needless to say, everything is looking very good with what I’m doing so far. I will tell you that I’ve drank liberal amounts of water and 2 Tbs Carlson’s liquid fish oil daily along with my regular daily vitamins during this experiment.

At this point I bet you’re curious about what my body weight has done over this same period of time. While I was hopeful that weight loss would happen once I got into nutritional ketosis, it was a pleasant surprise to see this much weight loss in such a short amount of time:

The numbers on that graph can be hard to see, but my weight on May 15, 2012 started at 306.2 pounds. That first week saw a very precipitous drop in weight before a slight increase that led to another steady drop in the second week. You’ll notice in the third week the weight loss just stalled completely out and I think I know why. Christine had spinal surgery on May 30, 2012 and experienced some complications post-op that had her at the emergency room twice in four days after she was discharged. It was quite a stressful time for us with very little sleep and I was picking up a lot of the household duties as well as taking care of feeding and bathing her during this time. Keeping my weight from skyrocketing upward was no doubt a minor miracle with all the cortisol my body was enduring from the stress of that situation. Christine is doing much better now and the cortisol levels were obviously reduced in the fourth week this past week as the weight loss has started going downward again. All in all in the first 30 days of my nutritional ketosis experiment, I’ve lost a total of 20.2 pounds. That’s not too shabby and I’m encouraged that I am on the right path for me with what I’m doing. I know the weight loss will likely slow down from this torrid pace, but shedding 8-12 pounds monthly would put me at a good weight for my 6’3″ body frame in about six months. I’ll continue to document my weight loss during the entire 90 days of my n=1 of nutritional ketosis.

The final health marker I measured during this testing period was my daily fasting blood sugar levels:

Looking at these results, they’re all over the place ranging from as high as 108 to as low as 78. I’m not sure why there are such highs and lows like this, but the average fasting blood glucose looks to be right around 90 which I’m happy with. I’m sure as I continue to keep up with my very high-fat, moderate protein, very low-carb nutritional approach to stay in the proper range of nutritional ketosis, some semblance of normalcy will begin to occur with my fasting blood sugars.

All in all, it’s been an exciting first 30 days of my n=1 examining nutritional ketosis. Definitely pick up a copy of Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney’s book The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance and learn more about this fascinating concept of measuring your blood ketones. It could be the missing element in your low-carb plan and might explain why, like me, you may feel stuck on your low-carb lifestyle. I’m cautiously optimistic that this is what I need to be doing and I’ll continue to document the results of my 90-day nutritional ketosis experiment. I look forward to sharing Day 31-60 with you in about one month to see if the awesome results I have experienced so far will continue. Feel free to share your thoughts about what I’ve shared today in the comments section below. And if you are already testing your blood ketones, please tell us about how it has gone for you. As always, thank you for reading and for your support of my work!

  • Andrea

    Jimmy that is incredible! It’s awesome what having one key piece of information can do for us.

  • marilynb

    That’s awesome, Jimmy!  I’m so glad you seem to have found the problem as to why you weren’t losing weight.  I’m tempted to get one of those meters except for the cost of the strips.  I can’t seem to lose the last 5 lbs. to get to my goal weight.  But I’m a great online shopper so I might just find some more affordable strips! 😉  Thanks for sharing your results.

  • Fireflyvixen

    I bought the Novamax monitor after reading Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.  Even at under 25g of carbohydrates per day I’ve never been able to get over 1.0 millimolar on the monitor, and it’s usually more like .3 or .5.  On top of that, I’d say about every third test strip doesn’t work (giving me some kind of error message) and so the strip is wasted.  I regret buying the meter to begin with because it and the strips have been so costly and the results have been so consistently demoralizing that I’ve pretty much lost my motivation to stay with the low-carb lifestyle.  Since it’s virtually impossible for me to further cut dietary carbs and I’m not very deeply into ketosis, what is the point?

    • LLVLCBlog

      Moderate your protein and raise your fat intake…especially coconut oil which can be ketotic.

    • melancholyaeon

      Firefly – don’t give up! When have you been testing? Please remember that ketones vary naturally throughout the day. They will be highest in the evening-night and 1-2 hours after exercise. So the time of day you test is important! They are naturally lowest in the morning. If you’ve been testing in the morning, you could be just seeing the natural low. Also, some ladies have fewer blood ketones the week of their cycle. If you tested that week, you could also get lower results. 

      Those boundaries aside, you may indeed have to watch your protein more than your carbs. You might cut down to 15-20g total a day, and try 18% protein, 75-80% fat. The key is high fat, 75% at least. Just try for 5 days. That should be enough to give you the kickstart you need.

      Jimmy, some people find their FBG is too high when they eat the bulk of their protein at night. Have you experimented with moving the largest part of your protein servings to lunch? 

      • LLVLCBlog

        I’m not eating many meals at night with the IF.

        • LLVLCBlog

          FYI, all of my readings are in the morning.

          • melancholyaeon

            All your readings are in the morning? Wow! Please tell  us your testing ritual – do you test before breakfast, after breakfast, a certain time after waking up, or what? 

            And also, what did Dr. Volek saw when you sent him your numbers? OMG I’m so happy for you, and can’t wait to adopt this plan for myself!

            • LLVLCBlog

              Always fasted, shortly after waking or as soon as I can, and when I weigh and test BG. Jeff doesn’t know yet. 🙂

              • Sss

                Congratulations, Jimmy! You are now eating The scandinavian Diet, also called LCHF or GI-Zero! I appreciated Voleks message on the cruise a lot and a week ago I got myself an Abbot blood measurement device and some packages of these really expensive testing strips.

                I´m doing an experiment like yours on my side of the ocean. My problem isn’t protein or fat, protein is low and fat is high, but I drink to much vine. Yes, I believe that wine can throw you out of ketosis! As you know I lost about 160 pounds ten years ago. I`ve been drinking vine för about two years now (a bottle a day!) and regained 35 of these pounds. 

                Since I’ve been eating the same way as before, it can’t be the food. And I never exercise. As a test I stopped drinking wine a week ago and has went from 0.3 to 1.2, measured on my Abbot device. I have no doubt that my ketosis will be deeper during the following weeks. Am I going to shred off my extra pounds too? As a matter of fact, I hope not! I really wouldn’t like to stop drinking wine…

                Sten Sture Skaldeman

              • LLVLCBlog

                Hey Sten, THANKS for chiming in from Sweden today. Thankfully I don’t drink and don’t have the issue that you do. 🙂 Absolutely wine can mess with ketosis and I’d love to hear how your testing goes. Perhaps adding a little bit of exercise will help as well. It certainly couldn’t hurt. Dropping the wine has definitely raised your blood ketones. Keep it up buddy. Maybe you can have wine again someday. 😀

              • Sss

                Hey, Jimmy!
                I will keep you informed. Of course, exercise could help, but I don’t like to mess up my “case study”. Never change two parameters at the same time…

                Sten Sture

              • LLVLCBlog

                True. But it all helps. 😉

          • JaceB

            I have been a low carber for the past decade so I think I am ketoadapted and particularly adept at converting protein to glucose. So I’ve increase my fat intake to at least 70%, decreased my protein to about 80 grams/day and carb intake to less than 30 for 3 days. I’m getting pink Ketostix in the evening but minimal readings by NovaMax ketone blood test (0.1 or less) in the morning. Why are my ketones so low in the morning? Should I just measure at night? 

            BTW, I lost 4 pounds in the past 3 days, similar to my rate of weight loss previously on the 1,200 calorie fat fast, eating more calories and protein.

            • LLVLCBlog

              Blood ketone levels will be higher at night and after exercise. I’m measuring my blood ketones in the morning right now and getting the readings I am. If you are just starting out, it can take 2 weeks to reach nutritional ketosis. Keep carbs/protein in check and eat more fat. You’ll get there.

              • JaceB

                If it takes 2 weeks to reach nutrition ketosis, what am I burning in the meantime? I don’t have 2 weeks worth of glucogen stores. And why does the Kekwick/Atkins 1,000 calorie Fat Fast work within 3 days? I see that Jimmy, you got good readings after Day 3. I tested this morning after coffee + cream and intense exercise and I still got a LO reading on my NovaMax meter. I’m eating 2000 calories/day, mostly fat, 80-90 g protein, less than 30 grams total carbs.

              • LLVLCBlog

                Carbs and protein may still be too high as a percentage of calories.

      • Jill4535

        Firefly, don’t give up.  Good health is worth the effort.  Find the routine you are happy with.  Don’t try to be perfect.  I am not but I am doing ok.

    • Owene700

      I bought the Novamax too b/c strips cheaper than Precision Ultra.  The few times I’ve tested, I came up w/.3 and .5 results except once after a 16 mile walk where I was thrilled to see the number go to 1.0 based on exercise alone. 

      I’m going to have to my blood work done soon and I will be checking the accuracy of my regular glucose monitor against the laboratory fasting blood glucose results.  Is there a test, and if so what is it, to test the accuracy of the blood ketone meter reults? 

      • LLVLCBlog

        The only way to check the accuracy is to have the ketones measured at a lab and measure your ketones with your monitor simultaneously.

  • gretchenb

    Jimmy, Fascinating. I hope you’ve finally found the key.

    BTW, the Cardiochek meter tests ketones as well as LDL, HDL, triglycerides. However, as with the meter you used, the strips are pricey.

  • Kevin T

    This is really cool to see Jimmy. Looks like a good eye-opener about how tightly some of us may have to pull in the reigns to get things rolling along again.

  • Lori Miller

    I’m so happy to hear about your success! FWIW, when I met you in Denver a few months ago, I wouldn’t have guessed you were 300 pounds.

  • kelly

    when filing out the form to get the free meter, does it matter what answers I give? And what does CDE stand for?

  • Wendy

    How timely that you posted this, Jimmy!  About two weeks ago I got a ketone meter and had decided to really go for the ketosis in a quantitative, concerted effort…but a false positive cancer scan followed by multiple tests and biopsies consumed my brain and time.  (I got the “all clear” so it’s all good).  Your post really really really inspires me like nothing else.  Thank you thank you.  And congratulations on your awesome results.  

  • Woohoo! I’m so happy for you! 🙂 Fingers crossed that the trend continues.

    You’ve inspired me to try this myself. If for no other reason than pure curiosity on how well I’m keto adapted (I’m guessing not as well as I would like).

    •  It’s day 3 of the #KetoneChallenge and I’m still at .4 millimolar. However I have lost 5 lbs!  I’m at about 80g protein, I may try to lower if and see if I can bump up my ketones.

      Thanks again Jimmy for the challenge and inspiration!

      • LLVLCBlog

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that may be the culprit in your difficulty. Lemme know how it goes.

      • JaceB

        Daytona, I’m jealous! Are you testing blood ketones fasting in the morning? 

  • Marlee

    I’m curious if with what you’re eating now if this is sustainable. As in a way of eating that’s enjoyable. 

    • LLVLCBlog

      VERY enjoyable for me.

      • I’m looking forward to seeing your meals. I’ve tried going ketogenic before many times and without dairy found it difficult to do well. It’s always interesting to learn  new ways to incorporate yummy fat. 🙂

        I’m sensitive to dairy so I’m just a dork for eating it but … I love pastured cream!

  • So what is moderate protein?  That’s the big question, isn’t it?  Percentages are good, but that differs wildly depending on the number of calories you are eating.  Does the book give any hint as to what “moderate” protein is?  I know Dr. Rosedale recommends far less than Dr. Eades… I look forward to seeing your food logs, etc. 

    • LLVLCBlog

      Like carbs, moderate protein will vary from person to person. As I shared in my blog post, it’s not about percentages but in the actual amount of protein. For me, that number is very low.

      • That’s my point – how did you figure out the average number of grams per day you should consume? 

        • LLVLCBlog

          Trial and error just like carbs. That’s why testing blood ketones comes into play. Volek/Phinney explain this in their book.

          • if i could convince my husband and four children to stop eating, i could afford those pricey strips!  ah, well… trial and error blindly for me!  😉  thanks, Jimmy!

            • LLVLCBlog

              I’m not giving up on getting the strips more affordable, Jennifer. I’ll report any good news on that front if it happens. At least get that free meter sent to you that has two ketone strips in it.

    • Raggedyjo

       First thank you Jimmy for this great N=1.
      Do you not think after a month or so you could reduce the testing to once every 2-3 days once you know what general intake gives a certain result?

      I consume protein according to “feel like it” and not a “should” or worry about am I getting enough to fill me up. I honestly can go all day without much more than 20-30 grams and the next day maybe 2x that. Sometimes I think “numbers” and amounts mess us up. At some point when you know what your body is really asking for it will tell you. percentage relative to calories when looking at numbers is the most relevant.
      as calories are dependent on need and that will change with bosy composition and exercise. overall it sounds like in this case less is more and I go with Rosedale on that.

      • LLVLCBlog

        I’ll likely continue to test daily until I get that natural feel. The ketosis still fluctuates a bit.

  • Mandy Teoh

    Nice post and glad to know that you are on your way back to more weight loss 🙂

  • Adam Kosloff

    Awesome Jimmy! So happy for you, and this sounds like it could help so many low carbers out there!

  • Jalam1001

    Very interesting n=1 experiment and positive results. I was looking at your fasting blood glucose numbers. For some one who is so low in carb those numbers seems to me are on the higher side. You are not technically pre diabetic but some times crossing that boundary. 

    I will be curious to know how that number change in the future. If you still get the same numbers than I think there are at least two possibilities a. You are partially insulin resistant b. Your liver is dumping glucose in blood stream under the direction of cortisol

    This could be controlled through using Metformin. I would try Metformin and see what happens. Metformin improves Insulin resistance and cuts down on hepatic production of glucose. People have lost weight on Metformin.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks for the input and I’ve always suspected I was on the borderline of being insulin resistant/prediabetic anyway. Obviously something metabolic has been going on to make the weight struggles happen. It will be interesting to see if the blood sugar levels normalize as the experiment continues on. As for Metformin, I tried it for a month a few years back and it didn’t seem to help me–and gave me a big tummy ache all the time. I know they have a CR version now that’s supposed to be better for that. I’m just skittish about trying it and I hate taking prescription medications for ANYTHING. 🙂 THANK YOU for your input.

      • Dennis Godfrey

        From everything I have read when you are keto-adapted your body become Insulin resistant anyway, this way you save the glucose for your brain and use the ketones everywhere else. 

        • LLVLCBlog

          Interesting Dennis.

        • melancholyaeon

          Hi Dennis, I suggest you please review ↵ 
          Westman EC, Yancy WS Jr, Haub MD, Volek JS. Insulin resistance from a low carbohydrate, high fat diet perspective. Metabol Syndr Relat Disord2005;3:14–8.
          Also ↵ Rizza RA, Mandarino LJ, Genest J, Baker BA, Gerich JE. Production of insulin resistance by hyperinsulinaemia in man. Diabetologia 1985;28:70–5.
          Finally: “So, the increase in glucose disappearance effectively explained all of the increase in the glucose infusion rates, whereas endogenous glucose production did not change significantly. Therefore, insulin sensitivity improved largely because of an increase in peripheral glucose uptake.” See Boden G, Sargrad K, Homko C, Mozzoli M, Stein TP. Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Ann Intern Med 2005;142:403–11

          Well-formulated low-carb diets, such as Jimmy’s on now, improve insulin resistance, they do not cause it. They restore insulin sensitivity. After another few weeks on this diet, Westman’s studies suggest that Jimmy’s hepatic glucose issues will also begin to resolve (so if he can stick to it, he shouldn’t need any metformin or the like), and as his body adapts to the BHB levels in about 10 weeks, he may measure fewer in his blood as his body becomes extremely efficient with them. But he’ll still be in ketosis and enjoy the benefit! 🙂 

          See: “Two longer-term studies, in persons without diabetes, that measured fasting blood β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations over 10 wk found that, whereas the concentrations increased over the first 2–4 wk, they then decreased and, after 10–12 wk, remained only slightly higher than those of dieters following other diets.” Meckling KA, O’Sullivan C, Saari D. Comparison of a low-fat diet to a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss, body composition, and risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in free-living, overweight men and women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004;89:2717–23

      • Jalam1001

        I think prediabetic and type 2 diabetes are misnomer. The correct diagnosis should be metabolic syndrome X and doctors should test for Insulin resistance instead of inferring it by high levels of Glucose.

        Metformin is hard on the system and it takes some time to get used to. It does help in bringing down blood glucose levels that in turn reduces Insulin release in the blood stream. High protein diet may or may not raise blood glucose levels but it definitely raises blood insulin levels. What is ironic is that metabolic syndrome X is related to insulin dys-regulation and we don’t even test for it and one single test labs do in not very sensitive.

        Your experiment may help in that respect. By going all authentic ketogenic that is testable probably also reduces insulin presence in the blood stream. Just going low carb is not a guarantee that blood levels of insulin will drop if one goes on diet that is heavy on protein and that is very easy to do because of programmed fear we all have about fats. In fact that is precisely what I did when I went low carb last summer and it took almost a year to get over the fear of fats.

        • Peggy Holloway5

           I could not agree with you more. I always put “Type II Diabetes” in quotation marks because I believe the term should be abandoned. High blood sugar is a symptom and “Type II” is not disease to be treated medically but part of syndrome that is primarily genetic and can be managed with proper diet (low-carb, of course). In my family, insulin resistance is pervasive and serious, affecting all generations and in different ways. For some, weight is an issue, but for others, the symptoms are mood and energy disorders. My son and brother are both rail-thin but have issues with ADHD, anxiety, and fatigue/depression on high-carb diets. I have a very athletic, muscular nephew who was denied a license to drive a bus for his corn detassling business because of high blood pressure! The emphasis needs to be on the entire spectrum of symptoms, which for all of us (except the nephew who denies that he has the family “condition” and pooh-poohs low-carb diets), have been miraculously mitigated with low-carb/paleo diets. For me, it has required going ketogenic to finally feel that I have reversed all of my symptoms.

      • Jalam1001

        Also, what do you think about MCT oil that is made from Coconut oil? It popular among athletes. It has more medium chain fatty acids that converts directly into ketone bodies by liver.

        • LLVLCBlog

          Sounds good!

  • Haggus Lividus

    I had very much the same experience when I was in a ketogenic state.  The one exception was sleep.  I needed less sleep.  Some 2 or 3 hours less.

    Can’t wait to read how it ends for you after 90 days, Mr. Moore.  Perhaps you’ll extend it.

    • LLVLCBlog

      If this is still going well after 90 days (and I suspect that it will), then I will probably extend my n=1 experiment to 180 days to see this thing out. Oh by the way, Mr. Moore is my dad’s name. You can call me Jimmy. 😉

  • Very interesting experiment! 🙂 

  • Sietske

    Hi Jimmy, this post is an eye-opener for me! This just might be my problem! So thank you for sharing your preliminary results and I can’t wait to hear the rest! Luckily for me it’s easier to get a blood ketone meter and the testing strips are not that expensive here in the Netherlands too! Hopefully this will help me get through my plateau too…

    • LLVLCBlog

      I may have you smuggle some cheaper strips for me. LOL! 😀

      • Sietske

        If I ever travel over there I’ll bring you a suitcase of ’em! 😛

        • LLVLCBlog

          Ha! Deal!

  • Brigitte

    Great post Jimmy!  I am inspired!  I just bought a meter and strips for a kestosis experiment of my own.  
    Peter Attia talks about watching protein in his blog as does Nora Gedgaudes in her great book.
    I always thought I was moderate protein, until I actually weighed and measured… I was routinely eating nearly 200 grams per day…. time to pull out the food scale again and track my protein..

    • LLVLCBlog

      Dr. Ron Rosedale has also been a big believer in moderate protein and all this time I thought I was. Obviously not. Hope this helps you kickstart your plan.

    • chris a

      yes, peter attia talks about the problems he had when he went ketogenic (and at the same time continuing a heavy exercise load) which resolved rapidly after lowering his protein & upping his sodium.

      • Bernardo

         Hi, would you have a link for this article/post? I’ve been doing low carb for about a year now and at some points I have had some weird symptons (some digestive) and I think maybe they are related to too much protein. Btw, here’s an interview with Dr. Phinney with ou Diet Doctor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkdFkPxxDG8

  • LLVLCBlog

    I’m not necessarily counting protein grams. But the idea is to keep the absolute amount of protein minimized while simultaneously raising fat (mostly saturated fat) and lowering carbohydrate levels (to less than 20g daily for me) to see how that impacts ketone levels in the blood. I determine when it’s time to eat when my body gives me the signal that I need nourishment. It’s not an exact science unfortunately determining the timing of the meals and how much food to eat at the meals. But that’s why this is an extended experiment where I hope to create some sort of pattern to determining the answers to your questions. THANK YOU Erik!

    •  Hi, Jimmy!  When you say less than 20g of carbs per day, are you counting net carbs or total carbs?

      • LLVLCBlog

        Net carbs is a scam. Definitely total carbs.

        • JaceB

          I don’t exclude sugar alcohols from my carb count but I do subtract fiber. I need my fiber! In fact, I add konjac root powder and chia seeds to my hi fat/low protein shakes. Is that keeping me out of nutritional ketosis as measured by a blood ketone meter in the morning?  So we should call this a high fat/moderate protein/low carb/LOW FIBER diet. If so, it’s untenable for me as a lifestyle…unless I take Exlax, Miralax, psyillium husks or something instead. 

          • LLVLCBlog

            I used to be the same way. But I’m coming to believe fiber is causing more harm than good. The Blood ketone woes could definitely be coming from the fiber.

            • JaceB

              Great. If you are doing low fiber, relatively low protein, high fat with intermittent fasting (= calorie restriction), it sounds like you are doing the Fat Fast. I’m going to test my blood ketones tomorrow after a 1,200 calorie Fat Fast. 

              • LLVLCBlog

                Not a designed FF in my case. 🙂

            • JaceB

              What if insoluble fiber is OK and it is just soluble fiber that spikes our blood sugar? I know inulin, which is a soluble fiber, spikes my blood sugar. But maybe wheat bran does not. I guess I’ll have to do my own n=1 for that.

        •  I know that Atkins uses net carbs, and they also say to eat plenty of fiber.  When you say it is a scam, what do you mean exactly?  That the fiber IS digested the same as non-fiber carbs, and have the same effect on raising blood glucose, etc?  Thanks!

          • LLVLCBlog

            What I mean by “scam” is I don’t believe net carbs tell the whole story for everyone. Some people are so sensitive to carbohydrates that they need to count ALL of them. I’ve had to learn this for myself and that even the beloved fiber can cause some effect, albeit slower, on blood sugar. Yep, that’s what I am seeing happen.

  • Anne

    Sooooooooo thrilled to read this and so very happy for you!!!!! Thank you for everything you do and share!!!!!!

    • LLVLCBlog

      We’re gonna keep plugging away at it and sharing the results with you here. 🙂

  • Peggy Holloway5

    Congratulations, Jimmy! I am a huge fan of both Phinney/Volek books. As you may remember, I have been low-carb for more than 12 years, and keep “tweaking” my diet more for health than weight reasons. I was never seriously overweight, but had serious symptoms of insulin-resistance and was adamant about avoiding the “family disease” of “Type II Diabetes.”  Over the past few years, I have taken up cycling, and this spring decided to tackle the “Bike Ride Across Nebraska,” a 7-day 460 mile trip through some hilly terrain with the likelihood of significant wind. My SO/partner has been doing this ride for 10+ years and is quite an impressive cyclist for a 70-year-old. In the past, he was not concerned about diet, but most years, he would put on a sizable “beer/wheat belly” in the off-season. In younger days, he would shed it quickly during the cycling season, but in the past few years, that was no longer happening. Last summer, he “bonked” after 5 days of the BRAN ride and abandoned the trip. After reading the Phinney/Volek books (he is a retired physician, so the science was appealing to him), he decided to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle. Since March 1, he has lost 40 pounds. Our bike trip was challenging because we stayed in small towns where we were at the mercy of the host community organizations and local cafes who provided our meal options. I did not see a green vegetable in 7-days – seriously – (“vegetable” appears to mean baked beans and potatoes), and only 4 times was there a lettuce salad on the menu (and usually just some iceberg lettuce).  Seems strange for the heart of ranch/farm country! (I observed after 3 days that I had not seen a local  adult woman who was not obese, sadly). We were usually able to find hamburgers, steaks, and eggs, which kept us in a very ketogenic state. I did have an unfortunate encounter with some sort of gastro-intestinal bacterial that afflicted a large group of us, but not everyone. The Health Dept. is investigating possible food poisoning of water contamination. Yet, despite 36 hours of pretty severe abdominal cramping/diarrhea, I rode every mile and had amazing energy and strength. Ken is so impressed with our experience that he has been preaching ketogenic diets every opportunity he gets. The cycling community will be a pretty hard sell, because those people are adamant believers still in “carbo-loading” and person after person insisted that you have to have sugar to fuel your muscles. I had a long conversation with a 75-year-old woman who has been a fixture of the area cycling community for 40 years.  It is impressive that she bikes as much as she does, but she only rides partial routes each day and she was not able to bike when she got the stomach “bug.” She also carries a lot of belly fat. As we talked, she was eating a brisket sandwich (Ken and I had lunched on a serving of plain brisket to which we added some Kerrygold butter I had brought along)  on a white bun, a bag of chips, and a Sierra Mist and insisted that it was OK because she needed the sugar. “Everything in moderation – and of course, beef will raise your cholesterol.” I informed her that the bun, chips, and soda were the culprits in any cholesterol issues and she looked at me like I was nuts.
    I could go on and on singing the praises of ketogenic performance. We are convinced that this is the way to live and look forward to another bike trip starting next weekend and another chance to tell people about our success. Perhaps in time…….

    • LLVLCBlog

      Excellent Peggy! So proud of you and Ken.

    • Harold

      The same thing happened to me in rural Illinois. I was staying at a hotel that had a nice restaurant next door, it was obviously popular with the locals. The daily special included a “vegetable” which was always baked beans. 

    • Jack

      Do you have any tips on cycling performance in ketosis? I’ve won the Men’s junior’s track kilo TT for my state (1:27), not in ketosis. I’m looking to train hard this winter, and race seriously next season.

      My downfall is my family likes to keep granola bars, cereal, etc in the house. I sometimes see these things and fall for it. I’ve tried to convince them, but they still believe in counting calories, eating whole grains, etc. I lost 35lbs two years ago, and gained about 5lbs this year from taking up cycling.

      Basically, how long does it take to ‘get the juice’ back? What should I be eating?

  • Hacopeland3

    Do you think you are losign weight because your ketones are now in a certain range, or are you losing weight because you had to eat differently to raise the ketone number. In other words, maybe just eating different food caused the weight loss?  Does that question make sense? I’m not awake yet.

    • LLVLCBlog

      I think the answer is yes to all of your questions, Hunter.

  • GretchenB

    Jimmy, Have you tried measuring both blood ketones and urine ketones to see if you can find any reliable conversion factor for your own body? Then you could just measure the urine ketones with the cheaper strips most of the time, measuring blood ketones say once a week to make sure the calibration was still correct.

    If the ratio varies a lot, then I guess you’re stuck with the expensive method.

    • LLVLCBlog

      The urine ketones haven’t been very reliable, but I like your thinking Gretchen. I thought about doing the urine testing while doing the blood testing from the start, but I wanted this to be about the blood ketones since it’s more quantifiable with numbers vs. subjective with varying shades of pink/purple. Perhaps I could add urine ketones to my next 30 days of testing just as a comparison. THANKS for the suggestion.

      •  I’ve been doing exactly the same thing as Jimmy – although his peak ketone numbers are much better than I’ve achieved.

        I get a good shade of purple on the ketostix when my blood ketones are above 1mmol/l. If I get above 2mmol/l then they go to the deepest shade possible.

        • Martin

          What Phinney and Volek are saying in their book is when you’re ketone adapted you will have high blood ketones but may show low urine ketones. So the ketostix staying yellow does not tell you that you are not keto-adapted.

          I guess the question then is: what if the ketostix turns purple? Does it necessarily mean that the blood ketones are also high? Or could it be bthat the body is excreting the ketones in urine because it does NOT burn them efficiently and so it is NOT keto-adapted?

          • LLVLCBlog

            Now that I’ve been in nutritional ketosis for a month, I’m testing this theory Martin. For this second 30-day testing period, I will also be testing my urine ketone levels to see if there is a correlation.

            • Ujimanell

              Will you be tracking your fluid intake? I think fluid intake affects urine ketone as well,

              • LLVLCBlog

                I’m personally drinking a lot. But his only tends to dilute urine ketones.

    • Melancholyaeon

       Hi Gretchen:

      “Then you could just measure the urine ketones with the cheaper strips most of the time,”

      This isn’t really an option, as the stix measure AcA, while the blood strips generally measure BHB, as Peter Attia says.

      • gretchenb

        Correct. But if in any one person, the ratio of AcA in urine to BHB in blood were pretty consistent, then one could use a conversion factor.

  • Barbjean94

    This is very interesting. And, if I’m not mistaken,, it’s just as Dr. Atkins advised in his book. He said that some people will have trouble losing on a simple low carb diet. For these metabolically challenged folks, he recommended a very high fat diet, lowering both protein and carbs in conjunction. The blood ketone testing Is wonderful! It will really allow for our individual metabolic vagaraties. I do think that a damaged metabolism might need a little prescription help in the form of Metformin. I have also read some interesting work on Berberine, a naturally occurring derivative of goldenseal. Apparently it has similar positive metabolic effects on blood sugar, and less side effects.

  • Fireflyvixen

    Great discussion – so glad I started following this blog!  Regarding my earlier post, I’ve been blood ketone  testing in the evenings, often after exercise and still getting low readings even though ketostix almost always turn for me (throughout the day).  I appreciate the advice of lowering protein and increasing fat, but I’m not entirely sure what that would look like.  The higher fat items (nut butters, whole fat yogurt, cottage cheese, avocados) also have higher carb contents as well and so when I increase those foods I wind up over 25g of carbs daily.  So I’m not entirely sure what foods are high fat and lower protein, other than cheese.  I’d love any ideas!  I did just pick up some of the coconut oil at Whole Foods.  I’ve read mixed things about it though — some people have said that while it increases ketones, it’s an artificial increase — a type of “false positive.”  Thanks again Jimmy and everyone — I’ve been doing low-carb on and off for years, but only recently found enough scientific information and like-minded community to fully commit myself to becoming keto-adapted as a long term lifestyle.  

    • LLVLCBlog

      It’s easy to add fat: coconut oil, butter, cream, sour cream, etc. Moderating protein is about choosing higher fat meats instead of the lean ones.

  • YAY Jimmy! I bet this was a huge relief to find out what was going on. Congrats on the weight loss and your (sorta-newfound) eating!
    I was especially interested in the days your weight loss stalled while you were under some tremendous stress. While it’s unfortunate that Christine had to have surgery again – and go to the ER (hopefully the last time for surgery!! fingers crossed over here) it was interesting to see how your body handled the stress and the weight loss.

    Personally I have gained some weight because I’ve been very, very stressed out for several months (and ate accordingly on a few days). I kept wondering what was going on after I dialed in my diet. I dropped 10lbs originally but then the scale just wouldn’t budge after 0 cheats and several weeks of very good eating. It can be very frustrating. (And extra stress when you’re already stressed out…!) Your graphs were a good visual for your body thinking you’re running from a predator even if you’re not really being chased (or actually moving) when you’re stressed. I think that would definitely account for your blood and weight non-results for those days.

    Also, did you end up losing some sleep during that time? Your blood sugars were noticeably lower during that time then the rest. I always thought your blood sugar should go up when you’re sleep deprived, not the opposite like in your chart. Interesting.

    Anyway, I read some other blogs/books/articles that talk about supplements (aminos mostly) that you can take when you’re stressed. I wonder how blood would look after a regular regimen of that when someone was stressed out vs when they don’t take the supplements. I really have no interest in making anyone else stressed out for that kind of experiment… Seems like a unique kind of torture.

    Congrats again! I’m so happy for you!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Holly, I’m hoping the good news continues.

  • LLVLCBlog

    Perhaps. Although the ketosis is probably naturally allowing me to eat less whereas any other way to eat would not.

    • Melancholyaeon

       This is the key statement. If you just ingested less, you’d be hungry, cranky and cheat on the rebound. By being in higher ketosis, the ketones supress the negative aspects of ingesting fewer calories – because you’re not actually hungry. Please note you’re not actually “eating less,” because your body will snack on its own fat & use it. Your calories used will actually be the same. . . (wink). But you are putting less food in  your mouth, so that your body can marshall your stores. If you abandon the insulin theory here, then you have to explain biochemically what causes your body to finally decide to liquidate its fat stores, when it didn’t do so before when you on a low-fat lower calorie diet. 🙂

  • Lori

    I always try to buy fatter cuts of meat, but have no idea how to figure the protein/fat ratio. Seems like everything is trimmed too closely (for my taste, anyway!) and I can’t tell just by looking. Is there a rule of thumb, or a guide somewhere to help estimate the protein vs. fat in various cuts of meat?

    • LLVLCBlog

      Try to get the more marbled cuts.

  • Peggy Holloway5

     I agree with Jimmy. That is one of the wonders of ketosis – you eat when you are hungry (which is very rare) and eat just what you need to feel satisfied (which on very high fat, very low carb is really not a lot). I had eggs and bacon yesterday morning around 8. At 4:00, I realized I had not eaten lunch and had a piece of cheese. Around 7, I ate a cheeseburger patty with asparagus in olive oil, then rode my stationary bike for an hour (it was a rainy day or I would have biked outdoors earlier) On our bike tour where we cycled an average of 60 miles/day, we often did not eat breakfast and had brunch of eggs/bacon or steak about halfway into the ride. There is no doubt that we were simply burning our reserved fat stores (isn’t that what we want?). We both came home to significantly reduced body fat and visibly more muscle. Since Ken is 70 and I am 59, that defies the adage that “you can’t build muscle after a certain age.” You should see our calves and quadriceps and my slim, well-muscled midriff. I can wear a bikini with pride and just bought some short skirts! (OK, I am a little bit vain; I saw a former student of mine who is in her mid-20’s this week and she said “your legs like great!”) But I digress….

  • LLVLCBlog

    It’s not that I haven’t been in ketosis before, but it’s obvious for me that I needed a more concentrated and consistent effort in my low-carb plan to get me to the level of therapeutic improvement.

  • LLVLCBlog

    Joshua, I have no doubt my blood sugars will normalize without all of that. But thank you.

  • scott

    Hi Jimmy – most home bg meters have an error of +/- 20% relative to a laboratory test.  Some readings (5%) will even be outside of that error range.

    So, I wouldn’t worry to much about that variation.  As you say, the average is a better marker.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Not worried. But it’s an interesting marker.

  • You are such an inspiration and providing information in a way that is easy to understand. Thank you!! I have ordered the Free Nova Max Plus and it will be here in 3 weeks. I gave up sugar substitutes 4 weeks ago and have been experimenting the last 5 days with a Fat Flush that ends today. During the Fat Flush I  kept my protein btw. 30 to 40 grams and my fat grams at 100+ and my carbs btw 2.5-5.6 As I reintroduce more veggies I am considering keeping the protein at 40 grams and the fat at 90 grams. I look forward to using the blood ketone meter to help me determine my body’s response to the various meats I eat. I also have ordered “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance”. I look forward to seeing your results in the next 30 days!!!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Debbi. This is the most exciting thing I’ve found n my low-carb life in a while. I’m hopeful the success continues.

  • Martin

    Well, you cannot separate one from the other: high carbs/protein -> high blood sugar -> high insulin -> sugar used as energy source -> you need to eat more and more often.

    • Hacopeland3

      I was lower carb, but added back some sweet potatoes and other whole food carbs.  I do much better now and I don’t have to eat more.  I also found that adding back a bit of carbs helped with the insomnia that seemed to go along with my lower carb existence. 

      • LLVLCBlog

        I had exactly the opposite happen to me eating sweet potatoes. Since getting into nutritional ketosis, my hunger is zapped and I’m sleeping through the night.

        • Hacopeland3

          Sure, but you would have said the same about low carb in general at some point, but in the end that lead to eventual weight regain.

          • LLVLCBlog

            Perhaps. Keep in mind I’m not saying this is the answer for me buddy. I’m still observing.

  • Kay

    Wow! Jimmy. What a great post and I am so happy for you! Thanks for all this great information!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Kay. Here’s hoping.

  • Joy

    This is such exciting news!  I can’t wait to give this a try.  I am thrilled for you that this is working so well for you.  I admire your perseverance and I love how thorough and comprehensive your posts are so there’s no wondering exactly what you’ve done.  Thanks for all you do, Jimmy and best wishes for a speedy recovery for Christine!

    • LLVLCBlog

      So far so good.

  • Margo Res

    Jimmy – congratulations. This is a great test and your results thus far are impressive.   I’m a pre-D and have found that I can’t get my sugars much below 90 unless I limit my carbs to <20g AND my protein to <60g.  Too much protein is definitely a stall for me.  I'm looking forward to the free ketone meter to see where I am at.  Thanks for the link.

  • RazWoman

    Jimmy, I’m looking forward to learning more about your day-to-day food plan. Barbjean94 is correct about Dr. Atkins’ advice in his book. I tried following his plan for the metabolically challenged for a few days a very long while back, since I’ve had a bear of a time getting and keeping weight off in spite of LCHF.  I’m guessing I am pretty protein-sensitive, since following his advice for the week I did it strictly worked, but it has been very difficult to keep up while dining socially with family/co-workers/friends (Dr. Atkins warned of this difficulty in his book). I also wonder how my not having a gallbladder impacts following such a high-fat plan. For now, I try to keep protein and carb intake as low as possible as much as possible and stay comfortable with defining little weight loss (2-5 lbs/per month) or no weight gain as tremendous success. That’s what got me through the first 50 lbs with at least another 90 to go.

  • Andreatf

    Hi Jimmy,

    I had the privilege of interviewing you twice on the radio when each of your books came out and continue to follow your blog every day. Your contribution to the health of anyone who will listen is invaluable. Both of my parents had diabetes so I have been into this lowcarb lifestyle for years. I am not overweight according to the charts but am over fat. The only way I can go into dietary ketosis is to eat the way you are doing. My problem is that I do it for a while and then fall off the wagon. You are an inspiration. I check BG religiously but need to dig out the ketone meter and get back on the wagon. Hope to see you on the next low carb cruise and that both of us are healthier than ever!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Andrea, I’d love to hear how you do getting back on this and sticking with it. It’s not as difficult once you get into a groove. And seeing you on the 2013 Low-Carb Cruise will be glorious. 🙂

  • Lbull

    Hi Jimmy,
    Well, if your current approach keeps working, it looks to me like you are answering, for yourself (as usual, N=1), whether the key was eating according to elite Paleo/Primal standards, versus low-carb/moderate protein, resulting in ketosis.  I say this because I think you’d been eating mostly Paleo/Primal for about 9 months now, and that didn’t result in weight loss, but ketosis appears to be key for you.  I realize you may still be eating Paleo/Primal as well, so both approaches are working together, but in the absence of ketosis, Paleo/Primal didn’t magically cure all your problems, as some Paleos seemed to suggest it would.  Anyway, I see good things in both camps- Paleo-Primal and low-carb- but I will admit that I have sometimes found myself so irritated by what has seemed to me to be judgmentalness, and over-interpretation, or scientifically incorrect interpretation, of limited data, on the part of some paleo folks, that it kind of started turning me off to that movement, and I had to stop spending much time reading Paleo blogs, as they really irritated me with their ‘we know what is best for everyone and if only others would do exactly what works for us, they would be enlightened’ (literally and figuratively).  Obviously, not everyone in Paleo has that attitude, and some low-carbers do to, but sheez, it should be okay that some things work better for one person than for another.  And honestly, while I mostly ‘eat real food,’ and eat low-carb, I’m not going to turn myself in to the dietary purity police if I eat the occasional milk chocolate, or- gasp!- an Atkins bar. 😉

    I wish you continued success in your revised dietary approach.  You are inspirational!  Thanks.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Absolutely, nutritional ketosis seems to be the key part of what works for my body. I still eat the high-quality foods that nourish my body but with a make-up that is very high-fat, moderate protein and very low-carb.

      • Karn Griffen


        I am dying to know what a typical day looks like for you.  I have been doing this for about 12 days, and can only get my ketones to .6.  My ratios are about 70/25/5.

        • LLVLCBlog

          I won’t reveal my menus on this for a while, but you’re eating way too much protein ans not enough fat. 🙂

    • Elenor

      I’ve been wondering if there isn’t a ‘split’ between the paleo folks who are young(er) and haven’t been way overweight, and those of us with, as they say, deranged metabolisms. The continual remarks at and about the AHS symposiums (I made the first one and loved it!): about how: ‘we’ve never seen such a glossy, healthy, “fit-looking” (i.e. thin?) group of folks’ fer shure leaves ME out! It may BE that for young thin(ner) folks, there is such a thing as safe starches, but not for us older fatter folks… The seeming drive to ‘push’ low-carb OUT of the paleo movement may be a generational thing. {shrug} No way to know.

      • LLVLCBlog

        We address this in an upcoming guest podcast on Sean Croxton’s “Underground Wellness Radio Show” on 8-27-12.

  • Owene700

    Can’t wait for you to post some of your meals.   I can’t figure out a sustainable version of a high fat diet.   

    I can’t get my fasting blood glucose down into the 80’s w/o metformin. I’m normal weight for my size/age (5’2 female, 120 lbs, 49 years old). I think that I may have to be on a ketogenic diet for the rest of my life in order to get my “pre-type II diabetes” reversed.  To do that, I’m going to have to come up w/ a sustainable well formulated moderate protein/high fat diet soon. : )

    I bought the NovaMax after reading A&SoLCP because the strips were much cheaper than the Precision Ultra ketone strips.  I’m going to get routine laboratory blood work done soon, and I will be checking the accuracy of my regular glucose monitor against the laboratory fasting blood glucose results.  Seems to me there should be a fasting blood ketone test too so that I can test the accuracy of the Nova Max blood ketone meter results.

    Looking forward to seeing you post your meal plans.

    • LLVLCBlog

      I’d love to hear how your testing continues.

  • JaceB

    I’ve been trying to get into ketosis for the past 12 days. I’ve had moderate/pink urine ketostix in the evening but LO or 0.1 fasting readings in the morning. Yesterday I did the Kekwick/Atkins Fat Fast (18g carbs; 11g protein; 83% fat but kept at 1,200 calories) and got a reading this morning–after exercising hard–up to 0.4! I think the trick is calorie restriction plus low carb, low protein, high fat. But I’m not going to pretend it’s a healthy, pleasant, or sustainable way to eat. 

    • LLVLCBlog

      Read the Volek/Phinney book…they explain how to raise blood ketones. Or email me what Yiu are eating/drinking and I’ll help you.

      • JaceB

        Actually, I’m happy to be at 0.4 Finally! But I’m still not in range. I did read Volek & Phinney The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. I’ll get their first book, too. And I’ll email you my food log from sparkpeople.com.

        • LLVLCBlog


  • Vernellia Randall

    Hello, Jimmy. This is the first time I have posted to your site. I am started the ketogenic diet for about 3

    • LLVLCBlog

      What’s the rest of your message?

  • Ujimanell

    Back in the 1970’s I lost weight on Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. I gained it back. Over the years I have seen my body become more and more carbohydrate resistant. I have eliminate rice, flours, sweets, corn, fruits.  On this diet I found my self at least maintaining weight — at  300 lbs. A few months ago, I started gaining weight a gain – the only things left in my diet was beans and nuts. I am diabetic .  I went to my doctor who praised me for having good control (with insulin) but had no explanation for why I was gaining weight.  I had been telling myself for a long time that I thought I was “allergic” to carbohydrates. That even a very small amount was problematic.  A couple of weeks ago I did a search for “Crabohydrate resistance” and I got a number of hits. I decided that I never included enough fat. and I decided to get most of my fat as a supplement (mCT and cocoonut oil). For the last two weeks, I have 2-3 atkins advantage shakes a day, 6-9 tablespoons of MCT or coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of Emu oil.  I also have a meal of a meat or fish saute in 2 Tablespoon of olive oil. Currently I am no fruits or vegetable.  My blood glucose is much lower. I feel better and  I have lost about 10 lbs in 11 days. Just last night I came upon this page. this is exactly what  I need. I think that I need to stay in nutirional ketosis and I need to accurately measure when I am out. I plan to order a glucose/ketone meter immediately. I will be following your experiment closely.

  • Karn Griffen

    Way to go Jimmy, come on over and join us at http://www.reddit.com/r/keto, where we all try and eat this way!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yes, I know that site well. And I’ve been eating ketogenic for nearly nine years. This isn’t new. Measuring blood ketones is. 🙂

  • Ken Beasley

    Hehe, hey Jimmy, from reading your post, I’m assuming there’s a fair chance that I was the one who kept outbidding you (was this going on during April 23rd – 26th perhaps?).  I had a very similar experience as you did.  I read Phinney and Volek’s book, and decided to test my blood ketone levels in depth.  I too was shocked by how high priced they are (there goes me monitoring my levels after every meal!).  I first started on Amazon, and only later found out that I could get them a bit cheaper on Ebay, but even still, they aren’t cheap!

    I do agree that Abbott has a huge untapped market on their hands.  I can certainly say that I would be purchasing far more if only the price point was a little lower. 

    Anyway, I’ve been following your blog for a while, though obviously as more of a silent, observant lurker, after being introduced to it from the Fat Head blog (which is how I got introduced to low carb eating).  I really do love the work you’re doing, and hope that one day, perhaps I could do something similar, as this whole life style has worked very well for me.

    If that was you during that little bidding war, sorry about driving up the price as high as I did.  But thanks a lot for your post on it, as it nets everyone some value just the same.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Don’t remember, but maybe. I ended up winning the bid at $405 for 100. Oh well, it’s been wowoth it.

  • Enjah

    Jimmy, I have bought Ketostix at Walgreen many times, and just ordered a box of 100 on amazon for $18.90. I don’t know why you had such a hard time finding them at a reasonable price.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Enjah, but go back and read my post again. I’m not referring to the unreliable urine ketone testing strips which are indeed affordable around $15-20 for a container of 100. But what I’m talking about are BLOOD ketone testing strips which retail for around $6 per strip in a box of 10. I got mine for $400 for 100 of them. In my next update coming soon, I’ll be sharing my results of testing BOTH urine and blood tests so you can see whether they urine sticks are reliable or not.

  • Ujimanell

    Saw my Doctor today, told her I was on a Low Carb, Ketogenic diet and that I wanted to monitor my ketones daily.  She ordered the Nova Max Plus strips. I look forward to their arrival. By the way I have lost 12 lbs, my glucose is consistently between 80 to 120 and I have cut my insulin from 120 to 70.  My A1c was 5.4. So the diet is going well.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Woo hoo!

  • fritz cloninger

    I was feeling a little bit snacky yesterday before dinner. In your honor, I decided to have a few spoonfuls of cream cheese instead of something else. Straight from the container. Very decadent. Killed my hunger for quite a while.

    • LLVLCBlog


  • Vik Gill

    Ok but you are seriously teasing us by not telling us what you’re eating. Spill!!! 🙂

    • LLVLCBlog

      Not happening for a LONG time. 🙂

  • Pam

    Jimmy we are all waiting with bated breath for the second month report of your N=1 Ketone experiment. Where R U?

    • LLVLCBlog

      LOL! You’re so funny Pam. You do know I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks and am coming out from under a mountain of emails? 🙂 But patience my dear. I’m writing the post right now. 😉

  • LLVLCBlog

    Body odor? Haven’t seen this myself or heard about it. Maybe keto-breath for some people: http://www.livestrong.com/article/542205-ketogenic-diet-body-odor

    But Dr. Atkins calls this a sweet breath. Not harmful or lasting.

  • Luke

    I just bought a glucose reader and it said 39!! is that too low? just tested myself had dinner 2 hours ago….. i have no diabetes but diabetes runs in my family (my brother has type 1 diabetes)…i am in ketosis (pink ketostix )….am i doing something wrong? is this glucose level dangerous??

    • LLVLCBlog

      Measure again. If your blood sugar were actually 39, you wouldn’t have been able to type your comment.

  • so you really keep no count.. n if u did whats estimate, because i am
    curious if eating turkey leg and thigh .. 5 eggs fried in butter
    3tblspoons..4oz heavy cream and 2 beef burgers with cheddar would be a
    bad calorie amount or no real limit unless fat high?

    • LLVLCBlog

      If you get results on that diet, then do it. If you don’t then don’t.