Abstract

In December of 2018 I (Chris Bair), decided to do an experiment where I would eat only Keto Chow for all of my food: 3 meals a day, roughly 300 meals during the course of the 100 days beginning January 2, 2019. Surprisingly, another Keto Chow user volunteered to also do the experiment, providing the opportunity to turn the N=1 into a N=2. This is interesting because I’m a rather tall male, our volunteer, Beverly, is a shorter female with an energy requirement approximately 1000 kCal/day lower than mine.

This experiment was an attempt to prove longer-term viability of Keto Chow being used for a sole source of nutrition. Additionally, it was an opportunity to further validate the effects of different types of fats on blood markers and test some new fats, primarily butter.

Experiment Methodology

In the original blog post about the experiment I outlined the basic design of the experiment and the goals, but the short version is:

  • For the first 6 weeks, the focus would be on weight loss
  • For the following 8 weeks, I would use different types of fat in my Keto Chow and have weekly blood tests to measure my lipid system’s response to that variable.

This experiment served as a follow-up to the previous 42 day experiment I did in early 2018.

  • I was already eating a ketogenic diet at the outset of this experiment.
  • During the course of the experiment, 6 days a week, I would use the P90 program for exercise, not to be confused with P90x.
  • January 2 is the first weigh-in for the contest – it establishes the “baseline” against which the individual progress is calculated. The contest looks for % change in body weight.
  • The first 6 weeks (up to day 42), my primary goal was weight loss, I was later surprised to learn that the weight loss challenge was 9 weeks, not 6. Oops!
  • After the weight loss phase, I would change to a science phase using different types of fat for a 2 week period:
    • Keto Chow with just heavy cream for days 42-44 to recover from the fast and then get a blood test for the baseline of the science portion.
    • Keto Chow with just heavy cream for 2 weeks.
    • Keto Chow with just Avocado Oil for 2 weeks.
    • Keto Chow with Avocado Oil and MCT Oil for 2 weeks.
    • Keto Chow with butter for 2 weeks.

Test Plan:

  • On day 45, both of us had blood tests taken, these were repeated every week (Friday) at the end of that 7 day period.
  • My weight would be tracked using a Withings (Nokia) scale. Beverly logged her weight manually
  • Every day we both tested blood ketones using a “KetoMojo” blood tester due to the lower cost per ketone test. I also tested my breath acetone using a LEVL meter
  • I took body measurements using a “Zozo Suit” – which is a black suit with white dots. A phone application uses the dots to create a 3D model and outputs full body measurements.
  • I had a DEXA scan done at the end of the experiment (I totally spaced doing one at the beginning)

Food Logs and Nutrient Analytics

One of the main criticisms of Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me” is that he absolutely refuses to release his food logs. You can’t take an experiment, even an N=1 experiment, seriously unless you can look at the data. Here are my own food logs for the entire experiment: Cronometer Full Nutrition Report (includes daily food logs and analysis) The data was collected using Cron-O-Meter.

Measurements

I started this experiment at 244.016 lbs. on January 2. The final weigh in on April 12 was  200.107 lbs. – meaning my total weight loss for the 100 days was 43.909 lbs or 19.91 kg. I averaged a 0.439 lb weight loss per day over the 100 days (it was 0.49 up until day 80).

Here are all of the measurements I took plotted on a graph, you can see the raw values on the “Zozo Suit” Tab of this spreadsheet.

Starting Measurements

Starting Measurements

Ending Measurements

Ending Measurements

Test Results (Blood and others)

Beverly and I each did 9 blood tests during the experiment. The easiest way to look at the results is by reading this spreadsheet – specifically the “100 Days of Keto” tab. Here are some of the graphs from the spreadsheet.

Note that the spreadsheet and the graphs have data from all of the experiments I’ve done thus far.

Chris Blood Tests

Beverly Blood Tests

Experience

Chris’ daily video log updates (and accompanying text summaries)

I’ve had several other people that have been interested in doing their own 100 day challenge, asked if there were any things to watch out for. Here is my short list:

  • Socially it can really be a drag to not be eating solid food/only eating Keto Chow, people can be funny if you have the audacity to… not eat? Tell people beforehand so they aren’t surprised and don’t freak out and insist, especially if they’ve taken the time and trouble to prepare something special. Honestly, it’s a bit like telling people you don’t eat bread, but somehow worserer. Wait staff usually doesn’t care if you just want a drink though.
  • From a digestive standpoint, there’s something fundamentally different about doing 3 meals of Keto Chow a day: some people get the runs, some people get stopped up. A probiotic tends to help either way. It took me about 12 days to finally take my own advice this time around.
  • Make sure you have a good supply of blender bottles, especially if your kids like to swipe your KC but don’t like to mix replacements. I think we have 30 at our house (bottles, not children that swipe KC).
  • Learn how to prepare a bunch of Keto Chow at a time. My personal preference (more on that below) is to do 3 at a time using butter.
  • Get some good sugar free gum, that should satisfy any need to chew. While you’re at it, if you have any dental procedure you’ve been putting off, it’s a perfect time.
  • I notice that after about a week of not chewing gum, my mouth feels “coated” – goes away for a few hours with drinking but comes back until I grab some gum.

Results and Conclusion

Heavy Whipping Cream

Saturated fat has been considered “bad” for health since Ancel Keys falsified data (“conveniently cherry-picked and omitted confounding data” if you prefer) in his “Seven Countries” study in 1953 as a way to corroborate his preconception that eating animal fats were bad for human health. A myriad of Senate committees, USDA policies, and other recommendations have followed – giving us the current common belief that saturated fat will “clog arteries” even though fats can’t traffic through your blood unless they are encased in a lipoprotein.

Despite all that, my blood tests on HWC look quite good; with lower triglycerides, relatively normal HDL numbers, and LDL numbers that are irrelevant to all-cause mortality but rather normal as well. =) Given the amount of saturated fat I typically consume via HWC, most diet experts would assume I would be dead already. My first blood test with HWC, I was finishing up my “weight loss” phase and had been using MCT oil with HWC – that appears to be reflected in the blood test results.

Avocado Oil

The next phase where I was using the primarily Monounsaturated fats in Avocado Oil (hereafter “AO” – thanks =) there was a serious reduction in my LDL-P, about a 30% reduction, Beverly saw a reduction as well on her second week. My Small LDL-P was a bit all over the place, and both our LDL-C reduced, likely due to the reduction in saturated fats. Unfortunately, this also meant a reduction in my HDL-C – which is a marker I very much DO care about. My Triglycerides continued going down and both of our total cholesterol also came down.

Avocado Oil with MCT Oil

Replacing 15ml (per meal) of the AO with Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil caused a dramatic change in both of our lipid panels. I saw a 58% increase in triglycerides, Beverly saw 34% – this is particularly interesting because when I previously did a week of liquid coconut oil (which was 50% MCT) I saw a reduction in Trigs and increase in HDL, the opposite of what both of us saw with AO and MCT. I think that may have something to do with the other long-chain saturated fats present in the coconut oil. Regardless, based on what I saw and especially the abysmal HDL-C I went down to (26!?), I do not plan to use AO and MCT in the future.

Butter

Butter was an interesting experiment, I didn’t expect it to work out as fantastic as it did. Originally I thought I would need to mix up each meal warm and only would be able to use the savory flavors. Boy was I wrong! Using a blender and warm water, the acacia gum will emulsify the butter and hold it in suspension even after refrigerating. You can consume it cold as-is, or warm it up. But all of that is irrelevant if the blood test shows it to be problematic.

Most importantly (to me), my HDL-C went back up using butter (Beverly has always had amazing HDL numbers, nearly always above 90 throughout the experiment), both of our triglycerides went back down (no more MCT oil apparently does that); my fasting insulin, CRP, Remnant (VLDL) Cholesterol and small LDL-P, all came down with butter.

One of the things I like a lot about butter is its lipid composition is extremely high in very stable fats that do not readily oxidize, 63.33% of the fat is this fully hydrogenated fat. 25.92% is mono-unstable and will slowly react with oxygen, and a VERY small percentage is poly-unstable (readily oxidizes) with only 3.75% of the fatty acids being comprised of that kind (full compositional analysis is on this page ). Additionally, of the stable/saturated fats, you have a good number of short chain fats (6.45% of total fat), medium chain (7.77% of total fat), and an astounding 26.75% of the total fat content is C16 with 16 carbons. Palmitic Acid, as it’s known, has an F:N ratio of 0.48 which means it does some VERY cool stuff in your cells. If you want to really get into it, Dr. Michael Eades can explain what that all means.

Conclusion

Butter appears to be a winner

  • Butter costs less than Heavy Cream and Avocado Oil. Using pricing from my local grocery store I get $1.229 per 1000 calories for HWC, $0.981 for AO, and $0.796 per 1000 calories for butter. That same 1000 calories of butter have 0.08g of total carbs compared to 8.35g for the HWC.
  • Butter does not contain any controversial carrageenan or other emulsifiers you find in Heavy Whipping Cream. Personally, I don’t care about them but some people get quite excited about them.
  • Butter has a better impact on my blood markers.
  • Butter is easier to store, it freezes exceptionally well is compact.
  • Butter is easier to transport. The salted variant is quite stable without refrigeration for a good amount of time, it won’t spill (unless you get it too warm =), it’s not in a glass bottle that will shatter. Should also be noted that TSA currently doesn’t care about butter, unlike a bottle of oil.
  • Butter tastes amazing. Personally, I prefer the salted butter because of the additional sodium and salty taste, especially in the chocolate flavors of Keto Chow (Chocolate, Mint, Toffee, Peanut butter, etc…)