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Jimmy Moore’s n=1 Experiments: Nutritional Ketosis Day 241-270

Hanging on Pardon the analogy, but after nine months of being on this “nutritional ketosis” experiment inspired by the book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek, I can’t help but feel like I’ve birthed something pretty spectacular in my own life as well as the lives of so many of you. I’ve heard and read about people (like Dr. Georgia Ede, Recomp Hacks, BJJ Caveman, Low So Paleo and the amazing folks doing this on the Low Carb Friends forum) who are experiencing some truly remarkable benefits to eating in the appropriate manner for their bodies to produce an adequate level of blood ketones (measured with the Precision Xtra blood ketone meter) to make that switch from being a sugar-burner to becoming a fat-burning machine.

It’s so much more than just simply cutting carbohydrates to your personal tolerance level–it’s also a deliberate action to be conscious of how much protein you are consuming without kicking in the gluconeogenetic effect where your body starts creating glucose for fuel when you consume an excess of protein beyond what your body requires. Additionally, consuming an appropriate amount of healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats to stave off hunger and cravings is the key to making this NK thing work so beautifully. Avoiding the key low-carb mistakes and embracing this high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb nutritional approach customized to the individual that doesn’t obsess over calories has been the missing element that so many of us who have been a part of the low-carb community for years have been needing to get us focused and back on track in our personal health journeys.

If you haven’t been following my n=1 NK experiment since May 2012, then I invite you to look back at all of my 30-day updates to see how my testing of this has been to date: Day 1-30, Day 31-60, Day 61-90, Day 91-120, Day 121-150, 151-180, Day 181-210 and Day 211-240. Additionally, I was given the unique opportunity to present a lecture about my NK experiment in a speaking tour through eastern Australia in November 2012 where I shared a 6-month update of my findings so far. I’m continuing to learn new things the longer I travel down this NK journey and I look forward to sharing more about those in upcoming lectures at the Become Superhuman conference in Spokane, Washington in early March, PaleoFX in Austin, Texas in late March and as a featured guest speaker on the 2013 Low-Carb Cruise leaving out of Galveston, Texas in May. Plus, when I’ve completed my one year of daily testing, I will be handing over all of the raw data tracking my food, exercise and blood testing results to a researcher who will attempt to get this published as a case study in a medical journal. COOL! And my publisher is already very interested in having me write a book about my nutritional ketosis experience after I’m finished writing and publishing the book I’m currently writing on reading your cholesterol test results.

Speaking of that cholesterol book, I’ve been typing away feverishly on that this week and I’ve got tens of thousands more words to write in order to get it completed. I’m so excited about the message we’ll be communicating in this book and can’t wait for you to see it when it releases later this year. But I REALLY need to get back to work on that, so let me share with you the latest results in my NK testing from Day 241-270:

AM BLOOD KETONE LEVELS

The low levels of blood ketones in the morning continued this month averaging right around that .5 millimolar mark for the lower end of nutritional ketosis. I still can’t help but wonder if you do this long enough that perhaps your body becomes quite efficient at utilizing the ketones for fuel so that they don’t show up in the morning readings as much as they do later in the day. This will definitely be something I’ll be watching in the final few months of my testing.

PM BLOOD KETONE LEVELS

In stark contrast to the AM blood ketone levels, the ones I’m seeing at night are consistently higher averaging around 1.8 millimolar during this 30-day cycle. I noticed when I did my every-hour-on-the-hour testing for a week recently that my blood ketones almost like clockwork saw a spike once the sun went down around 6:00PM. Coincidence? I don’t think so. There’s gotta be something happening at that point to drive up ketone production in the blood. Is it melatonin starting to kick in? And if it is, then that would explain why ketone levels are lowest in the morning time when serotonin production becomes more dominant. This is all just an educated theory right now based on the data I’m seeing. Again, I’ll be keeping a close eye on these trends.

WEIGHT LOSS DAY 241-270

After seeing a paltry weight loss of .6 pounds last month reflecting the Christmas holidays, I was ready to rebound in January working my tail off to see some good results. And while it’s never a perfectly smooth downward path, the net result was a 5-POUND WEIGHT LOSS. I’ll take it! My current weight of 240.2 is the lowest I’ve been since I started this experiment and I’m within a whisker of being back in the 230′s again…something I haven’t seen since 2006. You wanna hear something funny? I went through my closet the other day trying on clothes to get rid of the ones that are too big for me now and to see what actually fits me now. I was shocked to find clothes that I wore back in 2004 when I got down to 230 pounds fitting me perfectly at 240-something pounds. That’s encouraging to know that my body composition is changing with more muscle weight while I’m losing stored body fat. I feel like whatever happens from here in my weight loss is forging new territory not seen by my body since I began my low-carb journey. It’s exciting stuff and I’m happy to be sharing it with you.

CUMULATIVE WEIGHT LOSS DAY 0-270

Overall, this now gives me a TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS OF 66.0 POUNDS in nine months. Now that’s what I’m talking about, baby! I’m now just a little over 10 pounds away from being back at the weight I was following my 180-pound weight loss success in 2004. But one thing I’ve avoided doing as part of my NK journey has been to limit myself by placing arbitrary goals on what defines success with this. I think many of the improvements I’ve seen in my weight, cholesterol, inflammation, blood sugar and the like have made this a resounding success. But I’m not content with just packing up my bags, patting myself on the back for a job well done and allowing all of this progress to become unraveled. I fully intend to continue down this journey that is obviously right for me making the appropriate tweaks along the way to KEEP it working for me. That’s my wish for everyone in their own personal health journey to find what works for you, do it and shift things here and there when need be. Complacency with what you are doing in the absence of seeing results is pure insanity. There is something that will work for you–there just has to be a willingness to remain focused on discovering exactly what that is.

AM BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS

Getting blood sugar levels in line can be quite frustrating for a lot of people. During my week-long hourly blood testing last week, you’ll notice there weren’t wild fluctuations in my blood sugar throughout the day. Many marvel at how well-regulated my blood sugar was and I credit that to two things: eating high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb foods that don’t unnecessarily spike my blood sugar outside of a healthy range and the consumption of a supplement designed to manage blood sugar levels called Glycosolve with the active ingredient berberine. This is a powerful one-two punch for getting my blood sugar under control as you can see from my morning readings which average around 83 this month. I’ll take that!

PM BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS

My nighttime blood sugar levels were at bit higher at around 86, but again that’s pretty good in my book. The fact that I’m consistently getting normal blood sugar levels as opposed to the upper 90′s/lower 100′s when I started this experiment last May, that’s yet another sign of great success that has made this NK testing all worth it.

With just three months left in my official n=1 daily testing of nutritional ketosis, I’m still very interested in running any health tests you would like to see to gauge how this experiment has gone. All of the testing supplies and blood tests I have been doing as part of this experiment have been out-of-pocket expenses since I don’t have any medical insurance to pay for it. If you would like to contribute towards getting more health tests run, then feel free to share what tests you would like to see along with making a donation towards this effort through PayPal:






Or CLICK HERE to donate!

I received several requests lately from people curious about what my testosterone levels are in light of doing NK. As I’ve shared previously, my testosterone levels have tended to lean more towards the lower end of the spectrum and I attempted to remedy that with testosterone cream previously. On the advice of Dr. Jeffrey Galvin at Vitality Medical Wellness Institute in Concord, North Carolina, I had my PSA, DHEA, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, total testosterone and free testosterone tested with a blood draw on February 4, 2012 to see where I stand:

Dr. Galvin noted my PSA was fantastic, but my DHEA was a little low with that 190.2 reading. He suggested I take 50 mg DHEA in an effort to raise my levels to 500 ideally noting that this will improve my mood (hey, I’m a pretty happy guy already!) and shed more belly fat. Hey, I like that one! On the testosterone front, he said my levels are in the normal range but could certainly be enhanced by some hormone replacement therapy that is a lot more customized to my specific testosterone needs than the cream I was probably using previously. This also could contribute to even more muscle growth and fat loss in my final push to get my body where it needs to be to operate optimally and quite frankly look as good as it can. WOOT! I’m excited to see what will happen once we can get these things going. Stay tuned!

Again, if there’s any other health test you’d like for me to have done as part of my NK experiment to report on in future updates, then please e-mail me those suggestions to livinlowcarbman@charter.net. As funds allow, I will do as many of them as I can. What did you think about the results I saw in my n=1 experiment in Day 241-270? It’s always a pleasure getting your thoughts and analysis, so feel free to share in the comments section below. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing on my cholesterol book and hammer away at that as much as I can every waking moment. I promise you it’s gonna be worth the wait.

  • Eric – Golden, CO

    Jimmy,
    Perhaps some insight into the low AM ketone levels can be found on pg. 212 of A&S of LC Living. You’ve had major body composition changes and you may have to adjust your Fat, Carb, Protein ratios. Your DEXA shows a lot of new lean body mass. Perhaps a modicum more of protein?

    • LLVLCBlog

      It’s funny you mention this, Eric. I have actually bumped up my protein a bit and will likely talk about that in another column or my next n=1 update. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I have noticed a difference eating slightly more protein.

      • Hemming

        How many grams of protein do you eat per day now?

        • LLVLCBlog

          A little more than I was…probably closer to 90-100g on non-lifting days and around 110g on lifting days.

          • Hemming

            Thanks a lot Jimmy!

          • http://www.facebook.com/Sourpusscandy Leslie Sourpusscandy

            Jimmy, would you please share what your macros/calories are averaging these days? thanks much !

            • LLVLCBlog

              I’m probably personally closer to 80/15/5 now without regard to calories.

              • http://www.facebook.com/Sourpusscandy Leslie Sourpusscandy

                Thanks for sharing this. I’m at 76/18/6 so in the right neighborhood. eating 1300 calories, 2 meals/day, eat when I’m hungry, stop when satisfied. no night snacking! I’m doing Keto but like Whole30 (no dairy) D18 feel good!

  • stacey ferguson

    Hi Jimmy,
    I’m wondering if you are taking body measurements in addition to scale weight each week? If you did, you could estimate your % body fat and then know your body composition–and how much is change in fat weight vs lean body mass weight–Maybe some of these months that show small drops in weight are actually big drops in body fat along with gains in lean mass. Tracking changes in body fat % instead of just weight, would give a more accurate picture–and I bet, for you–since you have been doing weight training, some amazing results. Your actual fat loss might be something closer to 75 pounds of fat lost with 9 pounds of lean body mass gain! (or maybe even more???)

    • LLVLCBlog

      Excellent thoughts Stacey. While the weight loss is interesting, it certainly isn’t the primary reason for doing this NK experiment. So I have not been specifically measuring my body measurements during this testing. I can tell you they’ve shrunk. :D

      I am doing period DXA scans and they do show muscle growth along with fat loss, so I know I have added muscle while losing this weight which would explain the clothes fitting me better now. I think your guesstimations on my body composition are probably pretty close.

  • docww

    Jimmy–I really like Stacey’s comment about body composition. I have measured over 18,000 body composition readings in my patients and long ago I realized that there is a very poor correlation between percent body fat and weight, size and BMI. You can easily lose weight even as your percent body fat increases. This is typical for people who under-eat to lose weight. They are losing lean body mass even as their body continues to store fat–not exactly what you want.

    Based on my experience, I suspect that you are losing mainly fat, not lean body mass on your ketogenic diet. Have you tried one of those scales that measures body composition using bioelectrical impedance?

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yes, I have a Tanita scale. Interesting info.

  • LLVLCBlog

    Email me buddy. I’m happy to help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/miroslav.karpaty Miroslav Karpaty

    Hi Jimmy,

    I’m curious whether the cognitive improvements which you described in day 61-90 (improved mood, energy levels, etc.) have been stable, did they improve or did they downregulate over time?

    In case they did not downregulate, would you say they were similar to positive side effects described by Matt Stone in his blog?
    http://180degreehealth.com/2010/06/the-catecholamine-honeymoon

    I personally did experience this kind of improvement several times, but it always mysteriously disappeared. I’m wondering whether it was because of some “low-carb mistakes” or whether Matt Stone is actually right and this kind of cognitive improvement simply isn’t sustainable.

    Thanks and good luck with your experiment!

    • LLVLCBlog

      If anything, those improvements have gotten even better the longer I’ve done this. I’ll share more in my next update.

      • http://www.facebook.com/miroslav.karpaty Miroslav Karpaty

        Thanks, I’m really curious about your next update. Somehow I can’t believe Matt Stone’s theory that this state is unsustainable. It feels so natural! Like I was really my true self :)

  • http://twitter.com/GaryAlthiser g2011a

    Amazing job, Jimmy. Bravo!!!

  • J_Buddah

    The main reason why blood ketones are lowest in the morning is because you spent seven, eight hours being sedentary. Also in the morning time your body releases cortisol and when you release cortisol you release blood sugar from your liver. When I tracked my blood sugar in the morning I see a slight jump once I get active about 10 mg’/dl sometimes and then at night time it drops to its lowest level. Also Dr. Bernstein recommends that you never cross 83 mg/dl EVER because that is when you start releasing insulin. Studies have shown that once you cross 83 mg/dl heart attack risk increases.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Exactly right!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Sourpusscandy Leslie Sourpusscandy

      thanks, good to know! I’m about half way through Bernstein’s book.

  • Sharvo

    Another question … what is the shelf life/expiration date of the Precision blood ketone strips you’re using? If I buy in bulk, I don’t want to buy more than I’d use before expiration.

    • LLVLCBlog

      I have varying expiration dates. A big lot expires in June 2013. Email me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cows1990s Colin P. Müller

    I love how the disingenuous anti-LCers among us all have the same indictment of Atkins: “As soon as you go off it, you gain all the weight back!” Sounds more like an endorsement of Atkins to me! Of course we gain the weight back if we go back to carbs and make it the center of our diet. That’s the point, dum-dum!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirk.bloomer Kirk Bloomer

    I’m on day 43 in NK. I’m not as precise as you Jimmy. I take measurements most weekdays in the morning before eating. Ave ketone = 1.46 and glucose = 83.7. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Outstanding job Kirk!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirk.bloomer Kirk Bloomer

    oh, and down down 4 kilos (9 lbs)

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yahoo!!!

  • LowCarbHiFatCurious

    Hi Jimmy,

    I’ve just cursorily read Volek’s book, The A&S of LoCarb Performance and thought it would be interesting to try this low carb, high fat concept not specifically for weight loss (I could lose a little fat in some spots, but I am already fairly lean, particularly for a woman) but for sports performance. And maybe I’ve missed the whole point here, but it seems fairly challenging to keep calories under control whilst on this diet given the three parameters I must maintain which are a 5% carb / 80% fat / 15% protein macronutrient ratio, less than 50g of carbs and at least 120+g of protein – these ratios and protein requirement suggest I have to eat about 3225 calories per day with 2580 of them coming from fat. It seems an impossible amount to eat – even as an extremely active athlete (~3+ hours of Crossfit per day) I’m eating less than 2000 calories without feel hungry in the least bit, eating 3225 to get the macro proportions right would just seem insane.

    I have ordered by not received my ketone test monitor, so maybe once I receive it I can monitor my ketone levels and adjust my protein/fat ratio so my total fat percentage is not so high (As I realize this is going to be different for everyone). As of now I’ve had very little luck getting it up past 65%/70% – my macronutrient ratios look something like: 11% carb / 24% protein / 65% fat. I believe 60% is in the realm, but I’d love your thoughts on this, given your experimentation.

    Also, here’s an easy calculator to play with macronutrient ratios and calories here: http://www.freedieting.com/tools/nutrient_calculator.htm

    Thanks in advance for your help, and great job with this blog. I think this experiment is fascinating, so thank you for sharing and congrats on all your hard work paying off!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thank you! I think measuring your ketones will be an eye-opener. And I wouldn’t be worried about a massive part of your diet being fat. It’s why I’ve done so well on this experiment.

  • ikeone1@yahoo.com

    Jared Fogle (Subway guy)

    425 lbs. Lost 94 lbs. in 3 months; 245 lbs. in a year.

    Jared Diet:

    Sleep through breakfast (college student)

    Lunch: 6-inch turkey sub with no cheese, no mayo, but included veggies and spicy mustard with a bag of Baked Lay’s chips and Diet Coke. (600 calories)

    Dinner: foot-long veggie sub and Baked Lay’s, Diet Coke. (800 calories)

    VERY LOW FAT AND PROTEIN, HIGH CARBS.

    Went from 10,000 calories per day to 1400-1500 calories.

    Still has his Levis size 58.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Not sure what your point is. Jared found what works for him and so did I.

      • ikeone1@yahoo.com

        Calories restriction works.

        Most folks fine if simply control calories.
        Low carb ok if you have diabetes or certain other conditions. Follow Dr. Bernstein for good results. Much of the rest borders on quackery. In my opinion as 25 year diabetic.
        Sent from my Kindle Fire

        • LLVLCBlog

          Calorie restriction happens naturally on high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb.

          • ikeone1@yahoo.com

            I want more balanced approach…I naturally prefer substantially less fat. We can agree to differ; make our own choices. Good luck to you!
            Sent from my Kindle Fire

            • LLVLCBlog

              You do what’s right for you. But the balanced issue is about as useless as the everything moderation mantra:

              http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/low-carb-gives-just-the-balance-we-need/818

              • ikeone1@yahoo.com

                Please don’t apply YOUR experience to me…you do specify you are conducting a n=1 experiment. Just as you have often opined, find what works for you and follow it. That’s what most people do. As the saying goes: Your mileage may vary.

                PS I have listened to your podcasts, read your blog(s), followed comments from others, been on many low carb websites, etc. for a long time. One thing is clear: I haven’t seen ANY who agree totally with what other well versed folks say. Nothing more to offer; thanks for the attention you gave me.

              • LLVLCBlog

                I’ve merely stated people Gould find hat woks for them and do it. That has been my message from day one.

  • http://twitter.com/Laszlo_Almasy Laszlo Almasy

    So I saw the Eat, Fast and Live Longer PBS show:

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/apr/02/eat-fast-and-live-longer-michael-mosley/

    I got motivated to start my first fast today. After working on my yard around mid day, I measured my glucose and it came out to be 134 mg/dl. Last time I measured it in
    the morning after waking up was 84. My ketones was 0.7 and I’m on a LC diet even
    though I haven’t lost a lot of weight.

    Is glucose supposed to go up while fasting?

    Thanks.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yep, it can.