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Jimmy Moore’s n=1 Experiments: Nutritional Ketosis Day 151-180

This officially marks the halfway point of my current n=1 experiment of “nutritional ketosis” (as shared in the MUST-READ book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek) now that I’m six months in with my one-year journey of a very high-fat, moderate-to-low protein, very low-carb experiment with the purpose of keeping my blood ketones at a high enough level to be fueled by them and not by glucose. You can get an idea about what kind of foods I am eating on this plan in this CarbSmart column and I’m working on providing a resource with even more guidance for those of you wanting to try this for yourself set to release sometime in the early part of 2013. Stay tuned!

I’ve been observing a lot of things during this entire process, including my phenomenal weight loss success, blood sugar changes, blood ketones in both the morning and at night (get a FREE Precision Xtra ketone meter from Abbott), exercise performance in a fasted and keto-adapted state, stellar lipid panel improvements, how I feel and other such markers of health. When I began this back in May 2012, I really didn’t have any idea what I would experience doing this other than the fact that something needed to be done with my low-carb lifestyle in rut. Reflecting back on these past six months, I’d say any doubts I may have had about doing NK have completely vanished as I’ve seen some pretty remarkable results to date (and all without the need for any “safe starches”). If you missed my “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” podcast talking about how I’ve done in the first six months of nutritional ketosis, then be sure to listen to it in Episode 32. And in case you haven’t been following my n=1 experiment updates, check ‘em all out here: Day 1-30, Day 31-60, Day 61-90, Day 91-120 and Day 121-150.

Like the previous 30 days, I again went to the gym every few days in a fully fasted state of at least 20-24 hours now that my blood ketones are high enough to fuel such a workout. My 30-minute weight lifting sessions have continued to go remarkably well with no dizziness, hunger, weakness, blackouts or any of the other nasty negative hypoglycemic effects that used to plague me when I’d try visiting the gym on an empty stomach. I felt like Superman pumping all that iron while gazing in the mirror at that funny-looking Jimmy Moore who looks smaller than he did just a few months back! I used to scoff at those people who would talk about how incredible their lifting sessions went while fasting. It wasn’t until I was keto-adapted with blood ketone levels at the proper amount for me (around 1.5-2.0 millimolar in the morning) that this became something I actually LOVED doing. For the past week, I’ve been playing multiple daily rounds of disc golf with my buddy Tom Naughton (watch video of one of our rounds here) walking over 32 miles on his home-based course while mostly in a fasted state being fueled by ketones. Never in a million years did I realize what an efficient fuel source ketone bodies could be for the body to perform quite well with the constant drone out there from so-called health “experts” about how “the body needs carbs”–WHAT NONSENSE! Now I’m a believer and am looking forward to seeing how this continues in the next six months of my n=1 experiment.

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from readers who are attempting to do their own n=1 experiments of nutritional ketosis and several of you have expressed frustration about not seeing levels above .3 or .4 no matter when you test. Remember, your lowest readings of the day will almost always be in the morning and your highest readings will tend to be at night when you are eating high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb. When I’ve inquired about what people are eating when they are getting these low readings, I see one commonality–they tend to eat three meals plus snacks. That’s a lot of feedings that doesn’t give your body the chance to make ketones. Even if that means eating a little more at your “breakfast” meal and skipping lunch or even skipping breakfast altogether, it will make a difference. While there’s nothing inherently magical about getting your ketone levels raised above 1.0 millimolar, the difference in hunger, cravings, satiety and overall feeling is immense. If you’re frustrated by low blood ketone readings, try eating more at your first meal and seeing how long you can go until the next meal. You should easily make it for at least 10-12 hours or you need to be eating more in that earlier meal. I hope this helps those of you who are stuck trying this.

Now let’s look at my numbers for Day 151-180. Testing blood ketones and blood sugar levels in the morning and again at night has been my routine for several months and I’m thinking of expanding my blood sugar readings to include post-prandial readings to get a picture of what’s happening with my blood glucose curve following meals. I’m not worried about it because my numbers have been stellar when I’ve tested in the morning and at night. But this will have to wait until I return from my trip to Australia over this next month. But it would be interesting to see what happens to blood sugar at 1 hour and 2 hours after my meals. We’ll see what happens. Now let’s take a look at how my AM blood ketone levels were in Day 151-180:

For the first half of this 30-day cycle, they were rockin’ it averaging about 2.7 millimolar, but then precipitously dropped to an average morning reading of 1.3 millimolar for much of the second half. I was paying attention to see if there were any noticeable changes in satiety, cravings, etc. Surprisingly, there were none. Although these numbers are still considered to be in the level of nutritional ketosis you are aiming for (.5-3.0 according to Volek/Phinney), I’ve found that being right around 2.0 millimolar works well as my morning reading. So what about my PM blood ketone levels for Day 151-180? Here’s what happened:

Predictably, they were well above 3.5 millimolar average for the month with a high of 6.4 on 10-20-12. When my AM blood ketones dipped down in the second half of the month, there was a correlating drop of PM blood ketones averaging around 2.3 millimolar. In a perfect world, I’ve love to see 4.0 millimolar blood ketones at night and 2.0 millimolar blood ketones in the morning. But I’m not complaining. While I’m not obsessed what’s happening with my weight during this experiment, it does seem to be getting a lot of the attention from people. What about any weight loss that happened in Day 151-180?

Yes, it was a funky up and down rollercoaster ride this month and I was concerned about getting near the 250-pound mark because this has been a psychological barrier for me to get past. I haven’t been this low in my weight in five years and I’m wearing clothes that haven’t been on my body in many moons. But despite the down and up and down and up nature of what happened on the scale, I still saw a cumulative 2.6 POUNDS LOST this month for a total weight loss after six months of 53.6 pounds to date. I’m loving the weight loss and fully expect it to continue to happen as I continue this in the next six months. But even more interesting to me are the other changes happening to me. Check out what my 100-pound friend Neely Quinn has seen doing her own NK experiment for the past few days. Although she doesn’t need to lose any weight, she did anyway. It’s always fun to see others try this for themselves to see if it works for them. Maybe, maybe not. You can’t know unless you try.

By the way, I will be getting another DXA scan done on Monday, November 12, 2012. I had my first one done on September 13, 2012 at the Vitality Medical Wellness Institute in Concord, North Carolina when I visited former podcast guest Dr. Jeffrey Galvin to see what my muscle/fat make-up is like. I started doing lots of hot and heavy weight lifting following that previous DXA scan, so it will be interesting to see what changes have taken place. If I can squeeze in time to blog the results before I leave for Australia on Tuesday, then I will.

Although my weight loss was pretty paltry for Day 151-180, I have to keep in mind that this isn’t a race but a journey to get to the goals I want to reach. This overall weight loss graph for Day 0-180 helps keep things in the proper perspective:

Being out of my normal routine while in Australia over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see what impact will have on my weight loss, blood ketones and blood sugar. Speaking of blood sugar, let’s see how my morning readings looked for Day 151-180:

I was amazed by the sustained number of days it was in the 70s upon waking up in the first half of the month, but then they suddenly went up in the second half of the month. Even still, my average AM blood glucose readings came in at around 83. I’ll take that every day of the week. So how about the PM levels in Day 151-180?

If 91 is the highest reading I’ll get, then I’m certainly not complaining. My average PM blood glucose readings was around 79–I’LL TAKE IT! It’s good to know that my NK plan along with the use of the berberine-based supplement Glycosolve is actually doing a stellar job of managing my blood sugar readings well. Like I said earlier, when I return from Australia I’ll likely add in some blood sugar testing after meals to see what’s happening there.

What do you think about my n=1 experiment of nutritional ketosis after the first six months? Tell us what’s on your mind about it in the comments section below. I’m curious to see what will happen with all the traveling I’ll be doing during Day 181-210 and look forward to reporting how it went when I update next month. THANKS for all of your encouragement as I’ve gone through this experience and I look forward to continuing to see success. Here’s a perfect example from one of my readers who e-mailed me recently about my n=1:

I took a few weeks off from listing to podcasts, so I only recently listened to your “Nutritional Ketosis 6-Month Update” podcast. I knew you were doing your own n=1 experimentation, based on your other podcasts over the past few months. However, I never checked your blog. I think it was “Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor” that mentioned the data on your site. To borrow your phrase, HOLY CRAP!

What wonderful information and RESULTS! It’s nothing short of remarkable! In fact, I would call your experiment n = won.

In addition to being very happy for you, I’m immensely proud of you. Not only for your determination, but for your willingness to be so transparent in sharing so much of your life and journey. It’s no wonder I continue to hear your name mentioned on so many other podcasts. The central theme—what a truly great person you are.

More than anything, I love your endless enthusiasm, your positive attitude, and your passionate desire to help others. These are what truly make you such a successful person.

THANK YOU so very much! I’m here to serve others and help them in any way that I can to be as optimally healthy as they can be. I am excited about sharing what I have learned through all of this and look forward to see what happens next.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.mitchell.792 Jill Mitchell

    Wonderful post Jimmy. Monday is 12th not 13th. See you soon.

    • LLVLCBlog

      You’re right, I’ll fix that now. Maybe I’m already on Australian time. ;)

  • Kent Altena

    Congrats Jimmy! I know you were probably hoping for more than 2#, but you are doing well. The photos from Fathead Open only prove that. Keep it up!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Kent! I’m not discouraged. I know how these things go. I feel great so that’s half the battle. :)

  • Laura

    I wonder if you might have lost less weight because you are gaining muscle?

    • LLVLCBlog

      That’s what I’m thinking Laura. We’ll know for sure after I get that DXA scan on Monday.

  • LLVLCBlog

    Honestly, I’m not even paying much attention to the weight loss per se as part of this experiment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it. But I don’t have a specific goal in mind because I’m aiming for this to be a lifelong thing.

    • Stuart Hechinger

      Has your waist gone down in size more at this stable weight which would indicate a loss of visceral fat the best part to lose?
      I’m on my 4th replacement of the Abbot Labs Precision Xtra which you gave a good review and the customer service still has not figured out why all of them do not calibrate its been going on for weeks now so I can’t do my own experiment! I got it before you reviewed it so I’m not blaming you.

      • LLVLCBlog

        Haven’t measured per se but my clothes fit well. Strange about the Precision Xtra. Mine has worked well.

        • Stuart Hechinger

          well the problem is that it does not take up calibration control solution unless you use a very large drop. My fourth meter worked on BG but gave error E-7 on ketones and they wanted to send me a 5th one and no way am I going to waste time, already >2hours, with them again and the people and the help line waste your time with silly rout questions and do not listen or understand.

          Well you can tell by your belt hole if you use that kind. If you are gaining strength in say one type of exercise like a leg press or chest press then you are probably gaining or maintaining muscle mass. I would add creatine to help with maintaining muscle mass and even add some carbs maybe >20g after hard workout as your muscles should be able to take it in and aid muscle recovery and I doubt it would knock you out of ketosis.

          Here is a follow up interview of a retired cardiologist/lipidogist who was successful with zeita+sterols, this works for hyper-absorbers and Jonathan Carey is also targeting his liver with supplements in a similar fashion as zieta does but trying his route will likely work for you too so good luck we want to see you be successful.

          http://www.prescription2000.com/Interview-Transcripts/2011-03-10-joe-d-goldstrich-integrative-cardiology-transcript.html

          remember others that are doing the n-1 like you are at http://www.heartlifetalk.com

          • LLVLCBlog

            I will definitely NOT be adding creatine to my routine. That’s what started my weight gain back in late 2006.

            • Stuart Hechinger

              well you are now and soon in the future less likely to have the following affect.. so maybe you can see what I meant no harm at all just assumed you are doing the most efficient form of exercise that will benefit you as the below suggests and most likely not doing the couch-potato.

              “Because creatine is an “osmotically active substance,” it pulls water
              into your muscle cells, which increases protein synthesis, Kerksick
              says.
              Studies in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that muscle fibers grow when a person takes creatine.

              The catch: This only happens if you take advantage of the boost in energy and hit the gym. Otherwise, it is just water weight.
              http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/creatine-side-effects-what-it-what-it-does

  • LLVLCBlog

    I’m moving slowly along these lines so as not to confound too many variable.s.

  • LLVLCBlog

    YOU GO GIRL! You’ve done so well. :)

  • LLVLCBlog

    Wow, that’s too bad. Volek/Phinney said it can take upwards of 2-4 weeks to get into nutritional ketosis. As far as I can tell, she hadn’t even measured her blood ketones yet, only urine. When I return from Australia, I’ll talk with her about what went wrong.

  • LLVLCBlog

    I’ve never allowed myself to be “hungry” because I’m eating enough fat/calories in that one meal to keep me satisfied for hours. If it’s a hearty enough meal, then I’m good for upwards of 20-24 hours. For example, last night around 6:30PM I had ribs on my final night with Tom Naughton’s family. I was in a fasted state the entire drive home to SC from TN today and ate around 6:30PM. This is pretty typical.

    • abdurbrow

      Like Jimmy, I too have found that with enough fat, that I really don’t want to eat for a long time (upwards of 8 hours.) I remember one time I had two pieces of fatty salmon and just couldn’t waste the fat that came off the fish. I wasn’t hungry for two days. That was the first experience that taught me not to fear fat. Prior to that I had been a low fat dieter (to no success btw.) I had been taught as a teen that I had to eat low fat, but when I didn’t need to eat for 2 days, I just knew that it had to be bogus. After all, just how many calories (of course I was still calorie phobic at that time.) was in a piece of fish? And if I wasn’t eating for a couple of days (btw, did I mention I lost 6 pounds.) what kind of calorie deficit was it?

      Anywho, what I’m trying to say is: try pushing a little more fat at your meal and see if you don’t last longer. (don’t make yourself sick of course.)

      • LLVLCBlog

        I think people would be surprised. And the fasting is totally spontaneous to being properly fed and nourished. The linger effects of fat-phobia have fooled us into thinking there is virtue in being hungry. No, only torture IMHO.

  • LLVLCBlog

    I’m most certainly leaner. We’ll see if the DXA scan shows fat loss/muscle growth. I say yes. :)

  • Stuart Hechinger

    Do you find that you are maintaining lean muscle mass? A tanita innersan if used about the same time daily keeping your hydration near the same should be able to tell as I found this interesting article to explain why I had muscle loss after years of searching it blends Dr Ron Rosedale idea of mTOR and Paul Jaminet Perfect Health Diet.

    I remember Jonathan Carey also has hypercholestrolemia and both you had high LDLparticle# and I might also suspect I have it as I am a hyperabsorber and I think Dr Davis at TrackyourPlaque suggestion of using a CardioCheck tester to test post-prandial trigycerides has solved many problems isolating which fats cause the problem. Otherwise I was surprised Dr Dayspring did not suggest this to you

    http://heartdisease.about.com/b/2012/10/19/two-novel-drugs-for-familial-hypercholesterolemia-recommended-for-approval.htm

    I am no doctor but have been following heart issues with DrDavis subscription blog for a few years and might also suggest you check your CalciumScore to be on the safe side and also knowing if you are genotype ApO-?/4 would help perfecting your dietary choices.

    If I can be so bold as to inform you there is a health optimization forum just started at http://www.hearlifetalk.com it is free, without commercials, and moderated and anyone is welcome to joint and wish you the best as I have heard you say it is your health that is important and the weight is a secondary consideration or something to that affe

    • LLVLCBlog

      I have a Tanita scale and the body fat has come down. The DXA scan will tell the tale of what’s happening. I’m going to see Dr. Daysrping in his VA offices in Richmond in December for a full work-up to see what’s going on. I already had my heart calcium score run–ZERO! And I’m an ApO genotype 3/3.

      • Stuart Hechinger

        then I would recommend testing to see if you are a hyper-absorber and although it is rare for a 3/3 to have this problem it does happen and you could also have a sensitivity to fish oil and even coconut oil. I did mine with HDLabs but here is another one http://www.bostonheartdiagnostics.com/science_portfolio_cholesterol_balance_test.php

        I also have a zero score CAC but my cartoid intima from an ultrasound is only normal for my age. You might also ask about this as it has worked well in cases I know about.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21768544

        I wish you luck.

        • LLVLCBlog

          Thanks! I hav several ideas when I return from Australia.

  • Lori Christ

    I get so excited when you do a NK update!
    Thanks again for all the info, I couldn’t have begun my own experiment without reading about your experiences.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Lori! Keep at it.

  • http://www.fatguyweightloss.com Fat Guy Weight Loss

    Was comparing your AM blood ketones to blood glucose and there I am seeing a very consistent inverse coorelation between the two of them especially when you look at trending up/down.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yep!

  • Gary

    Jimmy, is there anywhere online that lists locations and prices of a DXA scan? I’d love to get one myself.

    • LLVLCBlog

      If you Google your city/state and DXA then you should find one near you.

  • Tim

    Thanks for the continuing inspiration. I started NK not too long ago and quickly saw some weight loss and boosts in energy consistency/endurance. But then I began experiencing leg aching/cramping, unrelated to activity, and most strongly at night, so I suspected a mineral deficiency.. A quick google of “ketosis leg pain” turned up many results indicating this was an not uncommon condition, usually transient or remedied with mineral supplements. I already supplemented with magnesium, so I then tried adding potassium to no avail. It wasn’t until I added calcium to the mix that the pain resolved. Despite the amount of dairy I consume, the calcium amounts in sour cream, butter, and whipping cream are quite low. Looks like I need to increase my broccoli and sardine intake! Just wanted to throw that out there in case other readers experience similar issues.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks for sharing. Also, don’t skimp on salt as per Volek/Phinney.

      • abdurbrow

        Yeah, usually you need all of those: calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. I try to get some celery which is a great natural source of potassium.

        • LLVLCBlog

          Avocados are also a surprisingly rich source of potassium.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.diego.diaz Derek Diaz

    Is it possible that your stall is related to the 3 Oz. of chocolate you eat per day?

    As you near your ideal weight your fat loss will slow and small carb sources like the 36 grams of carbs [which contains 18g of sugar per the ingredients list on the box, 9g of which is fructose] in your Taza dark chocolate could be hamstringing your progress.

    Also, since fat loss is really about hormonal effects and not calories, it could be that the chocolate has negative effects hormonally. Chemically the active ingredient in chocolate that makes us alert is only one hydroxyl group away from being chemically identical to caffeine, which causes insulin resistance.

    There is no pubmed research on the effects of chocolates active ingredients that point to insulin resistance that I am aware of, so I do not want to cause unnecessary controversy, but an absence of evidence does not necessarily mean evidence of absence. There has been no research as of yet into the possible bad effects of chocolate that I am aware of. A focus on the good effects is all we ever see. My question is if the caffeine like substance in chocolate has deleterious affects on our long term hormonal status and consequent fat loss strategies.

    I have often wondered about the hormonal effects of chocolate with relation to fat loss and your stall makes me wonder if it could be related.

    Of course if you grew tremendously due to your gym work outs then this can be removed as a potential cause. Looking forward to your muscle results from your scan on Nov 11th.

    Best of luck,

    Derek

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peggy-Holloway/520343437 Peggy Holloway

    Just to say again that my partner and I are amazed at the phenomenon of NK as avid cyclists. He is 70 and I am 59. I did my first “century ride” the end of the summer and rode the first 75 miles in a fasted state. We stopped for breakfast at that point not due to hunger or lack of energy but to rest our backsides! We ate steak and eggs, then did the other 25 miles feeling full of energy. I’m not biking as much these days as I am a college professor and busy this time of year (living in Nebraska where the weather isn’t the best either), but I regularly go for long days teaching, etc. on a breakfast of egg yolks and bacon and don’t eat until dinner at 7 or 8 pm with no lack of energy. In fact. I seem to be much more energized and active than my 20-something students!