Remembering Kevin Moore

Jimmy Moore’s n=1 Experiments: Nutritional Ketosis Day 121-150

I’ve just wrapped up the fifth month in my current n=1 testing of the concept known as “nutritional ketosis” and the interest in this has not waned a bit. In fact, many of my readers have even decided to take the plunge for themselves and started testing their blood ketones to see where they stand, too. I think a lot of people are just as shocked as I was (with a .3 mmol/L reading the first time I tested) because they thought they were doing everything right on their high-fat, low-carb nutritional plan. But perhaps they’ve fallen prey to some of the most common low-carb mistakes that seek to sabotage your efforts at attaining the optimal weight and health you so desperately desire. I sure did and now I’m correcting those thanks to the information I’ve obtained from this handy dandy little ketone meter.

It’s not cheap to test your blood ketones on a daily basis (or TWICE daily as I have been), but the data you obtain about yourself is so invaluable. Even if you only test your blood once or twice a week, you’ll know more about how well you are doing on your healthy low-carb lifestyle from ascertaining the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate in millimolars than most of your fellow low-carbers. This is some pretty cool cutting-edge technology that’s available to us nowadays and it is opening the eyes of a lot of people right now. Knowledge is power and there are a lot more empowered people in the low-carb community these days. You don’t have to test necessarily to reach a state of nutritional ketosis. But it’s always good to know exactly where you stand so you can make appropriate changes to see the desired results.

I recently shared an evaluation of the differences between the two major blood ketone meters — Precision Xtra and NovaMax Plus — so you can decide which one is best for you if blood ketone testing is something you’d like to do. I’ve been pricking my fingers every single day now since May (it’s not as bad as you would think) and I have been sharing regular updates every 30 days on what’s happening with blood ketone levels, blood sugar levels and my weight. In case you missed them, you can read all of my previous updates here: Day 1-30, Day 31-60, Day 61-90 and Day 91-120. And if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Stephen Phinney’s 2012 book release called The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance where they put forth the idea of testing your blood ketones to be in an optimal level of ketosis for proper fat-burning to happen, then you should get it immediately if you want to learn more about how to do it, find outstanding recipes and nutrition guidelines and more. There’s so much great information in that 172-page book that will educate and inspire you anew on your commitment to livin’ la vida low-carb.

For the first four months of my n=1 experiment of nutritional ketosis, I decided to back off on my exercise routine just a bit to let my nutrition be the primary factor in what level of blood ketones I would be producing. It’s not like I was a total slob and never did any movement at all. But I made myself NOT go to the gym (which was hard) for the first few months until I had become fully keto-adapted with regular blood ketone readings averaging 2.0 mmol/L or greater. It’s at this level of blood ketones that I have felt the best with incredible appetite and craving control, mental clarity like never before, boundless energy and so many benefits that I’ve already expressed in previous updates. But the Volek/Phinney book is about exercise Performance, so it was time to put that to the test in Day 121-150. I realized ahead of time that this was probably going to put a damper on the weight loss I’ve been seeing in the first four months. But I didn’t care because that number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. More on this in a moment.

Before I share how I did working out in a keto-adapted state these past 30 days, let me give you a brief history about how it used to be for me with exercise. Back in 2008, I participated in and documented on video a week-long summer fitness event created by former “Biggest Loser” contestant and friend Isabeau Miller called FitCamp. This simulated the kind of intense workout regimen that Isabeau and her fellow contestants from Season 4 of “The Biggest Loser” experienced as part of the Black Team led by trainer Jillian Michaels. I had been working out pretty hard at that point just a couple of years removed from my 180-pound weight loss on the Atkins diet. But little did I know what was in store for me through this experience. The first day of high-intensity training led to dizziness, blackouts, fatigue, hunger, body aches and nausea despite eating a solid low-carb meal before arriving at the gym. It wasn’t a pretty picture! Isabeau and the trainers encouraged me to eat some carbohydrates before a workout like a high-sugar fruit. And so I did. Yes, it helped in the short term with a lot of these symptoms but that was because I was still a sugar-burner despite eating what I thought was a good low-carb diet for several years at that point.

Fast forward to the past year or so. I had read posts from highly-respected people in the Paleo/primal/low-carb community like Mark Sisson, Brad Pilon and others who claimed there was an added benefit to engaging in exercise while in a fasted state and that it’s the most incredible feeling in the world producing superior fat loss and muscle recovery results. Ummmm, try telling that to someone who suddenly becomes hypoglycemic at the mere thought of working out without eating anything! And as of earlier this year, I was STILL experiencing this kind of poor performance at the gym whenever I’ve attempted to do it after even an overnight fast of less than 12 hours. And don’t even ask me about how well my recovery after workouts went–sometimes upwards of 7-10 days between workouts because I was still so sore. Needless to say, I was quite skittish about mixing the words “fasting” and “exercise” together in the same sentence ever again.

But what about what Volek/Phinney wrote about in their Performance book? They claim that once you are in nutritional ketosis and are fully keto-adapted burning ketone bodies instead of glucose (sugar) for energy, you tap into a virtually unlimited (40,000+ calories) energy source (body fat) compared to those who limit their energy calories to a glycogen tank of only around 2,000 calories as a sugar-burner. This even applies to very lean athletes with 10% body fat as well as the rest of us who have even more stored body fat just waiting to be tapped into. While much of Dr. Phinney’s research has been on endurance athletes in a carbohydrate-restricted state, keto-adaptation extends to virtually any form of exercise that needs to be fueled. As someone who has grown to love weight lifting (yes, I said LOVE it!) over the past year and a half, I decided to put this keto-adapted thing to the test for myself (GULP!) to see how I’d do. What I experienced in those eight weight-lifting sessions at the gym over the past month was nothing short of miraculous!

I committed to doing 30-minute sessions lifting very heavy weights which have traditionally had me seeing stars within minutes of my time at the gym even after eating a solid low-carb meal. And, I’ll be honest: I was completely skeptical that being in a strong level of nutritional ketosis was going to make a difference in the negative side effects I had grown accustomed to seeing when lifting weights or engaging in physical activity. But to add one more element to these workouts and putting the keto-adaptation to the ultimate test, every visit to the gym was done in a fasted state of at least 18 and as much as 24 hours since my last meal. AM I CRAZY?! Yes, but with a purpose in mind I had to do this to see what’s going on with my body now that blood ketones are where they need to be for me.

Here’s what happened:

  • No dizziness
  • No blackouts
  • No fatigue or weakness
  • No hunger or cravings
  • Robust energy
  • Surprisingly full strength
  • Invigorating post-workout feeling
  • Full muscle recovery within three days
  • You might think these benefits I’m seeing make me an outlier and not what happens for most people. But as you’ll see in the testimonial from one of my readers below, I’m not the only one seeing great results in the gym on nutritional ketosis. See what his experience has been like exercising in a proper level of ketosis at the gym:

    I’ve found that if my ketone levels are below 1.1 mmol/L it is impossible to get quality training in. Once my blood ketones rise above 1.5 mmol/L, I don’t notice a difference between a carb-loaded workout and ketosis workout. Therefore I have determined that carbs are not necessary for even the most intensive training as long as ketone levels are sufficiently high. This is confirmed by the chart in the Performance book. I only eat 30g total carbohydrates per day and can maintain my training schedule.

    I could probably go on and on about how utterly amazing I feel engaging in resistance training in a keto-adapted state. But suffice it to say I was floored by how my body performed now that my blood ketones are where they need to be for me to tap into my fat stores for fuel. I wish I could let everyone have a taste of what this feels like because I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being a sugar-burner again. The muscle gains I’ve seen just in one month of heavy lifting while in nutritional ketosis are motivating me to keep this going for a very long time. I can’t wait to see how much stronger I’ll be over the next few months.

    I turn 41 in December and have never felt so healthy, strong and full of life as I do right now. And I know that will only continue to get better and better as I keep doing this in the months and years to come. While this started out as a simple n=1 experiment of a concept, it’s obviously become much more than that for me. I am excited to see this thing play out in the months to come, so I will be continuing to provide updates every 30 days for the time being on my progress with nutritional ketosis. This is one of the most exciting breakthroughs in low-carb living that has happened in a very long time and I’ll keep sharing everything I’m learning with you as it happens.

    So let’s examine my daily numbers for Day 121-150. Again I tested both blood ketones and blood sugar levels in the morning and at night. For those of you new to blood ketone testing, you’ll generally see lower levels in the morning and higher levels at night. So if you decide to test, keep that in mind so you’re not discouraged by what you see. I’ve been fortunate enough to have ketone levels that have remained consistently high for the previous couple of months and this past month was no exception. Here’s how my AM blood ketone levels were in Day 121-150:

    As you can see, they averaged right around 2.5 mmol/L when I measured first thing after waking up. I asked my low-carb expert friend Dr. Ron Rosedale about why blood ketones tend to be lowest in the morning and he said that the body is utilizing those ketones for fuel while you are sleeping to help repair and restore. The goal isn’t to see how high you can get your blood ketones in the morning hours but to have your body running efficiently on them as the preferred fuel source. It’s a good lesson and reminder for us all. So what about my PM blood ketone levels for Day 121-150? Let’s take a look at those numbers:

    As it has been for the past few months, blood ketones when I tested them at night about an hour or so before bedtime tend to be around 2.0 mmol/L higher than the mornings readings. As you can see in the chart above, my average PM blood ketones for Day 121-150 came in right around 4.5 mmol/L with my highest reading ever happening on September 18, 2012 at 10:00PM when it registered at 6.3 mmol/L. Some people have asked if you can “feel” when your ketone levels are that high. No, not really. But you can sense based on how your body is operating that you are putting yourself in the best position for running optimally powered by ketones. It’s a beautiful thing! In my next column for CarbSmart coming later this month, I’ll share some specific foods you can consume to help you increase your blood ketone levels. It has been fairly easy to see higher blood ketones by doing a few simple things I’ll share with you now:

    – Ketogenic level of carbs, below 20g daily for me
    – Significant reduction in absolute value of protein to 75-80g daily (biggest key IMHO)
    – A purposeful increase in dietary fat, primarily from butter, coconut oil, high-fat foods

    You’d be surprised what making those simple changes above will do for your blood ketones enabling you to get into nutritional ketosis and experience the same success that I have. So what about the weight loss that happened in Day 121-150? This was a funny one to watch this month in light of the purposeful increase in weight lifting and I’ll explain more about this after sharing the results with you:

    Did you see what happened during those first two weeks after I started some hot and heavy weight lifting in the gym? I GAINED NEARLY SIX POUNDS! But I didn’t really change anything about my diet. In fact, the only change I made was in the commitment to be at the gym twice a week lifting weights in a keto-adapted, fasted state. So it’s probably safe to say that the “weight gain” I experienced through September 23, 2012 was mostly lean muscle mass that I was putting on very quickly. And I’m sure stored body fat (and maybe some water) was still coming off my body, so the muscle gain was very likely greater than 6 pounds.

    This is not surprising as Finnish exercise physiologist Anssi Manninen shared regarding very-low-carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass. He noted that “ketone bodies exert a restraining influence on muscle protein breakdown. If the muscle is plentifully supplied with other substrates for oxidation (such as fatty acids and ketone bodies, in this case), then the oxidation of muscle protein-derived amino acids is suppressed.” He added that “beta-hydroxybutyrate (the ketone measured in the blood) decreases leucine oxidation and promotes protein synthesis in humans.” Manninen concludes that a very low-carb, adequate protein (and by default high-fat) diet is “protective against muscle protein catabolism.” I’m certainly seeing this happen for myself right now.

    I had a DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan conducted on September 13, 2012 at the Vitality Medical Wellness Institute up the road from me in Concord, North Carolina. A very special thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Galvin and his wonderful staff for providing such an outstanding service to the people in your area. I HIGHLY encourage you my readers to see if there is a medical facility in your area that will let you have a DXA scan done. I’ll be returning to Dr. Galvin’s office on November 12, 2012 to have another DXA scan conducted to see what kind of changes have happened in my body fat and muscle composition over a two-month period (wish I had one done before I started this experiment, but oh well). Stay tuned!

    While my weight loss for Day 121-150 was just 4.6 pounds (as compared with the 15-pound weight loss in Day 91-120), this marks a pretty significant achievement in my overall weight loss since beginning on nutritional ketosis: I have now lost a total of 51 POUNDS IN FIVE MONTHS! For those of you who have been with me as I’ve shared about all the struggles I’ve experienced in recent years trying to figure out why my body had seemingly rebelled against every effort to get my weight under control again, you know just how monumental this is. Although there have been ups and downs during these first 150 days, the “big picture” look says it all in this graph of my weight loss in Day 0-150:

    It’s great to see the progress, but I’m far from finished and there’s still plenty of work left to be done. I now weigh in at 255.2 pounds after being at 300+ pounds in May 2012. The next big step for me will be to get over that psychological obstacle that has been my albatross since the weight first started coming back on me beginning in 2006: Getting back below the 250-pound mark again! And I’m so close to it now I can taste it at this point. Short of a catastrophe happening, I should be below this by the next update in 30 days. People have asked me what my goal weight is. The answer is simple: whatever weight I end up getting to while still in a keto-adapted state. Obviously the 230-pound mark will be huge because that’s where I was after my original Atkins diet weight loss in 2004. But I’m not putting any limitations on where my weight will end up because I’m more concerned about being healthy, feeling well and performing at the optimal level for me. If that’s at 230, 220, or even 200 pounds, then so be it. What happens will happen and I’ll be happy to go along for the ride in the process of it all!

    And finally, let’s look at what’s going on with my blood sugar levels. After reporting my spectacular 4.5 A1c number last month (which works out to an average blood sugar reading of around 83), these numbers should come as no surprise for the morning fasting readings for Day 121-150:

    If you look at the average, it’s right there at 83…HO HUM! That’s my little inside joke with my wife Christine now when she asks me what my n=1 testing numbers were like for that particular day. If I say “ho hum” then she knows it’s what I’ve typically been seeing. The range of AM blood sugar readings was from 71-91 and I’m perfectly happy with that. Interestingly, the day I hit 71 also happened to be a weight lifting day and I felt completely fine pumping the iron with that seemingly low blood sugar reading. How about the PM levels in Day 121-150? Check ’em out:

    Again, HO HUM! My nighttime blood sugar readings taken at the same time as my PM blood ketones averaged around 83 as well ranging from 70-93 in the past 30 days. I asked Dr. Rosedale about whether blood sugar readings in the lower 70s is something to be concerned about and he said that readings even as low as in the 60s can be completely normal for someone consuming a minimal carbohydrate, moderate protein, high-fat diet. It’s not something to freak out about thinking you need to eat some carbs to get your blood sugar up or you’ll pass out. That’s nonsense! Get into a fully keto-adapted state and the days of needing to consume more than a cursory level of carbohydrates become ancient history. This is DEFINITELY the place you want to be.

    One more thing I wanted to share with you is something that spontaneously happened in just the past week. Now that I’m over 50 pounds lighter than I was just a few months ago, I’ve noticed my energy requirements are not as high as they once were. In the middle of one of my meals last week, I noticed I was getting fuller faster despite having the same amount of food as I’ve been eating all along. But the 255-pound Jimmy doesn’t have the same caloric requirements as the 306-pound Jimmy did back in May. So I cut down on the volume of food just a bit and haven’t felt any ill effects in hunger, energy or anything else since ostensibly cutting out around 300 calories from my daily diet. Adjusting your food intake to your new, smaller body is a critical key to continuing the success moving forward.

    Some would argue that this proves that the weight loss I’ve experienced is merely a result of a simple reduction in calories. But without the sustained satiety, craving suppression, robust energy and other key benefits of being in nutritional ketosis, the reduction in calories would never happen without forcing the issue and arbitrarily cutting them while suffering through hunger, irritability and overall weakness. NO THANKS! I’ll take my high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb approach every day of the week and give credit where credit is due–nutritional ketosis rocks, baby!

    I invite you to share your comments about my latest n=1 update of nutritional ketosis in the comments section below. Here’s some feedback I recently received from someone who used to be critical of my advocacy of low-carb living until he realized the value of the information I’m providing my readers through sharing about my own ups and downs:

    You know Jimmy, I was one of those people who was critical of your advocacy of low-carb diets while still being overweight. I never flamed you or wrote anything critical publicly, but in the back of my mind I was always thinking, “What does this guy know? He is not getting great results.” In retrospect I think you actually deserve an “atta boy” for keep-on-keeping-on continuing to learn and sharing your life experience. I know I would have disappeared from the Internet the first time someone wrote something critical of me. Keep up the great work you are doing!

    Oh, I’m not going anywhere. There’s a world full of people who desperately need to hear nutritional truth. THANK YOU for your support and I’m so very grateful to my readers who have stuck with me through thick (literally!) and thin. How have your results been testing your blood ketones and getting into nutritional ketosis? I’d love to hear your stories, so please share.

    • Catrina

      Wow, wow, wow!!! So happy for you!! I just want to know what you’re eating! 🙂

      • LLVLCBlog

        Food. 😛

        • Catrina

          No details yet? 🙂

          • LLVLCBlog

            No, not yet. As I’ve said, people should find the high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb foods THEY enjoy and eat up. Mimicking my menus won’t duplicate my results. 😉

    • LLVLCBlog

      It’s definitely a challenge…the coconut oil and butter will help along with anything that provides healthy saturated and omega-3s.

      • Diane

        You’ve inspired me Jimmy to start again. My whole confusion lies in the percentages of what you are eating. I know eating more fat is the key, but what exactly have you been eating and how much?

        • LLVLCBlog

          THANKS Diane! But as I’ve stated over and over again, I’m not sharing my specific menus because they are what’s working for me. The best starting point for you is to pick up a copy of the Volek/Phinney Performance book where they provide some amazing direction about getting into nutritional ketosis. I’m working on providing a resource for helping people determine how to do this as well, but the key is to test your blood ketones and blood sugar levels regularly to know where you stand based on what you are eating. YOU CAN DO IT!

    • Keep on keepin’ on!!!

    • zack passman

      Holy crapola this is great.

    • Martin

      >> Short of a catastrophe happening, I should be below this by the next update in 30 days.
      Christmas will happen soon afterwards so be careful 🙂
      Congratulation, great effort & great results!

      • LLVLCBlog

        Christmas hasn’t bothered me in years. I don’t eat carbage anymore. 😀

    • LLVLCBlog

      THANKS buddy! Be patient with yourself. Everything will normalize in due course. You’re doing fantastic.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yes, my strength gains are faster than they’ve ever been. I’m lifting significantly more today than I was just one month ago. Who knew?

    • LLVLCBlog

      Not sure, Risa, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps being that much more vigilant about getting enough fat intake while reducing protein and carbs to appropriate levels for you will help get you there. Don’t look at any correlations with ketones levels and weight loss. Not very reliable parallel markers per se.

    • I wonder if blood Ketones are higher before bedtime due to increased energy requirements from daytime activity and utilization of more Ketone bodies for energy? Dr. Phinney and Volek only tested fasting am blood Ketones.

      • LLVLCBlog

        I’d be interested to see the tracking of blood ketones at varying times of the day in future low-carb research.

      • D. Lane

        Couldn’t blood ketones be higher in the evening due to consumption of fat during the day?

        • LLVLCBlog

          Most likely.

    • Amelia

      You could send him ghee, which is basically clarified butter. It is totally shelf stable and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. I buy mine online from Pure Indian Foods. It’s from grassfed cows and is amazing! A little goes a long way – it’s very concentrated – so I find it is very much worth the cost.

      • LLVLCBlog

        Yes, I love ghee!

      • Elise

        Thank you! I don’t use ghee (just haven’t tried it yet), so that totally slipped my mind.

    • Jimmy, this is fantastic news! Glad you stuck with it and are finally seeing results. So many people either do it improperly or just simply don’t stay with it long enough, I think you have made a major breakthrough here.
      Would you mind sharing your workout routine? Is it any different than the standard routines that rely on carbs?

      • LLVLCBlog

        Nope, same workouts. My exercise consists of going to the gym about every three days and engaging in lots of what Mark Sisson refers to as “play” activity. Mostly practicing frisbee golf to kick Tom’s butt when I go back to visit him in early November. 😀

        • Haha good luck to you :). For play right now I’m doing rock climbing and
          kung fu regularly, I actually feel more energised after a good session
          than before it. This is how the human body is meant to run, i.e. smoothly and efficiently!

          Is that doing a full body workout each time? I’m interested in how fast we can recover from weight training in nutritional ketosis, compared to the old bodybuilding wisdom of many days recovery per muscle group.

          • LLVLCBlog

            Yes, full-body workouts. I’ve been STUNNED at the recovery time. I’ve always been a very slow recover guy.

    • Gary

      Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy! Love it, brother! I haven’t been this excited since I first read Gary Taubes!

      And I know you don’t want to reveal your menus, but could you just give a list of some of the foods you eat in no particular order, sequence, pairing, etc? I’m so struggling to find high fat, low carb, moderate/low protein foods. Outside of Avocados, bacon, veggies lathered with butter, and meat lathered in coconut oil, i’m stumped. I’m already getting bored and running out of options.

      Jimmy, pretty please with sugar on top, can you give us some kind of list of some of the things you eat? Not because we want to mimic your diet, but because we may not know what foods have a high fat, mod/low protein, low carb??

      • LLVLCBlog

        I don’t eat sugar, so the pretty please will suffice. LOL! As I stated in my post, I’ll be writing a column for CarbSmart coming up soon that will list some great foods for getting you into nutritional ketosis.

        • Gary

          Awesome. I can’t wait to read it!

    • Glad to hear of your improvement Jonathan, keep at it! Patience is the key, day after day, whether you’re feeling down, stressed or tired.

    • melancholyaeon

      @ Johnathan Duncan

      “plus my own lack of will power to get started again”

      NO NO NO NON NON NEIN NO!!!! 🙂 Never blame yourself or your supposed lack of “willpower.” Carb addiction, as Jackie E. can tell you is REAL. You are carb addicted and insulin resistant. This is a HEALTH issue NOT a moral issue. Please never beat yourself up with this self-defeating talk. 🙂

      Hop into ketosis and stay there – it’s your best hope to permanently kick the carb addiction, which can take some people months. Your “reptile brain” has been on carbs, and there’s nothing your conscious volition can do about those signals except keep on keepin’ on with a positive attitude of self-acceptance and a stern resolve to stay in ketosis. Best wishes.

      • Jonathan* sorry pet peeve that’s my name too and there is no h before the first n

    • melancholyaeon


      “Do you have any sense that ketone readings for women vary in accordance to their monthly cycle?”

      The last time Dr. Phinney was on ATLCX, he definitely suggested this was the case and discussed how PMS, weight stalls, and menopause were related to inflammation. The best info we have now is that ketosis lowers inflammation. Think about what this means – Japanese women don’t get “menopausal.” They have lower inflammation from eating a lot of fish, etc. and very little wheat and sugar compared to Westerners.

      What if menopause is a “disease of civilization” caused by sugar, wheat, lack of Omega-3 and insulin resistance? Most people in the West naturally “age” into inflammation & insulin resistance – what if we could reverse that?? This really is an entire podcast topic for Phinney & Michael Fox, no doubt.

    • Nick

      Wow! Thanks Jimmy! I second the request for high-fat food suggestions as the some of the dairy-based high fat foods seem to make me feel bloated, otherwise I have been in the same boat overall with gradual weight regain over time. I’ve gotten so much great info from you over the years that I’m hitting the paypal button so you can at least buy a few more ketone strips!

      • LLVLCBlog

        You are awesome! I’ll be sharing those foods in my next CarbSmart column later this month.

    • Maud

      Jimmy, you’re so amazing and it’s so inspiring 🙂 what you do not only in your n=1, but also with all the pod casts etc. My own ketone measuring journey so far only two months is like the lovely old Beatles’ song – a long and winding road, but I stick to it for sure.

      • LLVLCBlog

        NEVER GIVE UP!

    • Rock and freaking roll, my friend! Love these updates.

    • Last weekend I did a 50km/30m hike, keto-adapted and completely fasted, no problemo.

      –> http://ashsimmonds.com/2012/10/06/50km-trailblazer-hike-in-the-adelaide-hills-fat-powered/

    • Congratulations! You have worked hard for this. I finally bit the bullet and my ketone strips will be arriving from Ontario next week. I, like other very low-carbers, assume I am in ketosis but the truth will soon be revealed! I think I eat a lot more vegetables and less protein than other low-carbers so it will be interesting to compare notes. I do keep my net carbs well below 50 almost all the time.

    • Misty

      Jimmy, I love that you are so willing to do and share these n=1 experiments. I’m always intrigued with what you’re doing next. Thank you for being an integral part of my education. Putting yourself out there in the name of science! You rock!!

    • Janknitz

      2 Questions:

      1. Have you come across any studies about the long term safety of NK (years)?

      2. Did you base your protein limits on a calculation of your lean body mass (if so, how much per pound–p&V say 0.1 to 0.6 g per lb of LBM)? Or is 80 g just what works for you? Did you lower the ratio at all with your recent calorie reduction?

      Thanks for the reports, Jimmy!

      • LLVLCBlog

        No studies yet, but I’m sure they’re coming someday. 80-85g protein is what works for me. Incidentally, that’s a bit higher on lift days.

    • Nice job Jimmy! You are doing a lot to bring more credibility to this kind of diet. My experience is pretty much the same, although I might do a little more carbs than you(still less than 100gr). But I do feel like I get superhuman results on this type of diet in terms of how I look, feel, and perform.
      Side note here: I just saw a preview of a Dr. Oz show and he had Dr. Weil on promoting a Noninflammatory diet. We all know Dr. Weil is full on board with the Paleo diet. Maybe Dr. Oz is finally really coming to his senses. lol!

    • AnneS

      “Do you have any sense that ketone readings for women vary in accordance to their monthly cycle?”

      I`ve asked myself the same question, as I`ve notised a change in my ketone readings the 3-5 days before, during, and a few days after my period. Will need a few months more of measuring to be absolutly sure of this, but already I see a difference. This happens with the same type of food and fat %. Here in Norway and Sweden LCHF bloggers and readers comment on this topic every now and then, and also on the topic that it seems more difficult for some women to lose weight even on a 80-85% fat/ 12% protein diet .

      Jimmy: Thank you for your monthly updates and everything else on your blog. 🙂

    • LLVLCBlog
    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Mike! Your example is precisely why we are all different with a variety of metabolic needs.

      • spunkydud

        jimmy a tanita innerscan scale can get you a very close idea of many biomarkers and for 100-150$ been using one for a few years, it will tell you your hydration bone mass muscle mass and even visceral fat and has ratings..

        • LLVLCBlog

          I have one. The readings haven’t been very reliable though.

          • L. Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn

            I think that the problem with impedance scales and low carb diets is that when you are on a low carb diet you have less glycogen, and therefore a lot less water. Impedance scales either depend on an assumed level of water in the body, or else in some other way become innaccurate (i.e. overestimate) when there is less. It is well-known that they do not give accurate results when the person is dehydrated. It would be interesting to get a bunch of people randomized to different weight loss diets and compare the difference between a DEXA and an impedance measurement.

            • LLVLCBlog

              Great idea!

    • LLVLCBlog

      No negative impact on either.

    • Sabu2012

      Take the plunge! I’m on day 7 (reducing protein), and didn’t hit .5 on the friendly strips until this morning – after two days of butter, guacamole, bacon and sour cream. Yippee! Yippee! .5 is here! (ok, need to aim a little higher, but it’s been YEARS of LC and I have clearly not been in NK). Get the strips. Do the prick, rah rah rah!

      • LLVLCBlog

        Sounds like a cheer. 😉

    • LLVLCBlog

      Fasting doesn’t mean you have to be hungry. I’m allowing my body to tell me when to eat. If I’m hungry, I eat. It’s as simple as that. 🙂

    • Jimmy your recent update and one point you made in particular sort of set off a chain reaction of though. I have restarted my own nutritional ketosis with what you have posted in mind. Will start doing HIIT workouts again but less aggressively at first. I really think I was eating to much protein.

      Since a ketone meter is not in the picture right now I will keep a careful food log and use hard limits (80g protein, 25g carbs, Min 75% fat even if I had to eat a cube of butter LOL).

      Quote – Once my blood ketones rise above 1.5 mmol/L, I don’t notice a difference between a carb-loaded workout and ketosis workout. Therefore I have determined that carbs are not necessary for even the most intensive training as long as ketone levels are sufficiently high. This is confirmed by the chart in the Performance book. I only eat 30g total carbohydrates per day and can maintain my training schedule.

      And I think there may have been my problem. Too much protein, not enough blood ketones… I know that ketones work on a feedback mechanism with muscle, the more present, the more likely muscles are to spare glycogen. Becoming glycogen depleted is a factor of how much glycogen your muscles use… I think at higher intensity I did not have the necessary blood ketone levels to steer some of the load to ketones.

      I am thinking of putting out for a meter, may be hard with Christmas coming, and am wondering if you or anyone has an good priced source of sticks in Canada.

      For now I will leave out the super starch and just focus on getting this right in gradual steps.

      Thanks for your careful documentation and sharing of your outcomes, it truly inspires food for though.

      • LLVLCBlog

        Danny, that a fascinating experiment. I personally have seen a demonstrable difference lifting heavy in a fully ketogenic (blood ketones above 2.0 mmol/L) and fasted state. Amazing!

        • Well Jimmy a week down, I also set a hard limit on protein and have eaten far less. I really did not realise I was eating so much, many days over 200 grams.. I now have a much better idea of the amount I truly need to sustain.

          I am enjoying some wonderful new recipes such as home made mayo and dressings, and a bit more “plants” than before to carry the fat into my mouth since I am eating less protein.

          I really do feel better and more energized. I added in as well L-Carnitine yesterday which is an amino acid Nora recommends and she is dead on it really seems to compliment ketosis and give even more energy.

          As well, it turns out the chest infection I had has now taken on the entire city. My GF sadly is down with it now. Its a treatment resistant bacteria (a super flu) and everyone is getting it. I wonder if people can stop blaming my diet now?? So many people up North here have it, that I drove 200 miles for work last week, north, and everyone there had it too!

          With the hard limit on protein and a strategy to really bring fat with me on my regular travel I think I may have finally found my own perfect balance. Will let it run for a while though 🙂

          This update was just the nudge I needed to get it perfect for me.

    • Alvar Edin

      Con gratulations from a swedish now healthy and slim 72 years old man because of LCHF since 2008.
      Alvar Edin

      • LLVLCBlog

        Great job yourself Alvar!

    • Sivan

      Congrats Jimmy! 😀

    • LLVLCBlog

      I’ve seen just the opposite for me. The higher fat intake keeps me energized and satiated. As I shared in my blog post, I’ve had to cut down on total calories a bit as I’ve gotten smaller, but not on fat percentage. Still at 85%. As for sleep, I’ve never slept well in my life. Waking up refreshed is a great feeling. Liquid melatonin about an hour before bed helps do the trick.

      • xro99

        I should explain a bit more:

        Fat definitely is the key to satiety. Without it, it’s impossible for me to feel satisfaction with any food. And this is from a heavy sugar addict (before reading Taubes last year).

        Regarding calories and fat intake: Lyle McDonald points this out in his book The Ketogenic Diet, if you cut your calories too much, meaning just eating lean meat, you will not appreciably lose fat, you need incoming dietary fat for your body and a decent amount of calories to come in for your body to conserve lean body mass, muscle, and burn it’s own fat reserves. You can’t be starving on just lean protein, otherwise you will lose too much muscle mass, and then you’re just starving yourself. He talks about roughly 1800 calories at minimum.

        I don’t actually measure calories, never have, never will. I do know carb counts roughly though.

        So I am eating dietary fat. And I am in ketosis, about the same level as you Jimmy, typically 2.5 – 3.5 millimolar at a fasting state first thing in the morning.

        I am eating smoked salmon, bacon, westphalia ham, goat meat (in indian curry which is ghee onions more butter), and any other fatty animal cuts.

        But I no longer add more fat, like an extra dollop of butter or a ton of extra virgin olive oil onto my cold salad of onion tomato red pepper parsley. In fact right now I’m not really eating any salad. Also I’ve cut the cheese out as well since it’s also probably too much fat given I’m eating fatty meat already and I tend to overdo it on brie.

        So I am eating fatty meat, definitely. Smoked salmon and bacon are pretty fatty, and I just can’t eat lean meat or I don’t feel satiated. And I’m reducing my waist steadily.

        Maybe I’m having to go to these lengths because I am already very light with a moderate amount of muscle, just an extra two inches of flab around my waist.

        There’s my n=1, Jimmy!

        Thanks a peach

    • LLVLCBlog

      I eat high-quality dark chocolate everyday, so no.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Pretty incredible ain’t it? 😉

    • LLVLCBlog

      Somewhat…with some others lessons I’ve learned over the years. All will be revealed in due course.

    • kang


      do you have any urine ketone data you can share together with the blood ketone graph ?

      • LLVLCBlog

        I tested urine ketones for two months. Look in Day 31-60 and Day 61-90 for an update. No correlation.

    • Michael Mifsud

      – Significant reduction in absolute value of protein to 75-80g daily (biggest key IMHO)

      How can you lift heavy weights on such low grams of protein? Myunderstanding is that it should be about 2g per kg of weight for someone doing heavy weightlifting (for exampl something like the Starting Strength program). Or are you not lifting that heavy? Or are ketones making up for the protein shortfall somehow? But I dont see the link between ketones and muscle repair/recovery.

      Thanks in advance.

      • LLVLCBlog

        On lift days I’m eating a bit more protein but not more than 100g. And yes, I’m lifting VERY heavy weights in that state and reporting to you how I feel. Like I said, I’ve been shocked at my performance level in the gym running on ketones. As for the recovery, don’t know the mechanism. Just reporting what I’ve personally observed.

        • Michael Mifsud

          Interesting, thanks for the info. I usually work out late in the afternoons and though I fast once or twice a week I have not consistently had it cross-over with my weightlifting. Though when I have I was fine.

    • Tim

      Congratulations! Your methodical dedication and use of empirical data to hone in on what works for you is both inspirational and a lesson to us all.

    • Desiree

      Thanks for donating your body to low carb science with these experiments I have enjoyed reading them. I started high fat low carb in Feb and I have maintained a 19.9 BMI for months down from and already healthy 24.5 BMI. I find this WOE treated my insomnia and aided in the greiving process as well. It figures since the brain is made of fat! Haters gonna hate, but I got bacon on my plate!

      • LLVLCBlog

        Nobody’s gonna hate you for liking bacon here. 😀

    • Jimmy, do you eat ANY lower carb fruit? Such as berries, etc in half cup to cup portions (unsweetened of course)… thanks! I’m trying this too and have only gotten up to .3 but it may take me longer than it took you.

      • LLVLCBlog

        I am SUPER-sensitive to fruit, so it’s out for me right now. While fruit is certainly better than sugary candy, the fact is some of us probably need to avoid it as well to prevent the blood sugar and insulin spikes from happening in our bodies. It sucks, but it’s the reality of the situation.

    • Magdaly

      Hi Jimmy I do enjoy listening to your podcast and I’m very happy for you, that you have
      found a way to keep your weight under control.

      I’ve been eating meat vegetables a fat since March and I do enjoyed eating animal fat and
      coconut oil. This way I don’t feel hungry anymore I can eat two meal a day without any

      My question is that I’ve just found out that I’ve H pylori (probably I’ve this all along) and
      listening to Dr Amy Yasco that this bacteria thrive in fat for this matter I’m
      a bit confused. She recommend low fat high carb diet. If I do this I’ll hungry

      Any though
      about this, Thanks very much Magdaly

    • LLVLCBlog

      Interesting Patti. Fruit is like candy to me now.

    • LLVLCBlog