experience

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Effects of Keto on blood work in identical twins

When we went to Low Carb USA (San Diego) earlier this summer, over a meal I mentioned to Dave Feldman that one of our sets of twins had one doing keto (hereafter referred to as “KT”) for a year and the other not doing keto (hereafter referred to as “NKT”). Dave got really excited (that’s a SEVERE understatement) and wanted to know if we could convince them to get some blood tests to see how keto was affecting their cholesterol, insulin, glucagon, and other factors. Dave wanted to make sure they had similar activity levels. Both have Fitbits Alta HRs, you can see the raw data from those here (KT) and here (NKT). They are relatively close in activity 169,928 steps for KT vs 158,278 for NKT over a 2 week period before the blood tests. Sleep patterns are noticeably different: the Fitbit on KT recorded 5524 minutes of sleep, the Fitbit on NKT recorded 6388 for the same 2 week period; that’s 92 vs 106.5 hours.

The same 2 weeks leading up to the blood draw, each was taking Dave Feldman style photos of everything they ate, which proved to be the biggest annoyance for both during the experiment and they were looking forward to concluding so they could stop with that. This was to ensure that we had a record of what they were eating and that both stayed pretty much consistent with their food during the 2 weeks before the blood draw. The day of the blood tests came, KT was worried as she has had issues with blood and fainting – strangely KT had absolutely no problems at all with the blood draw and was done in about 3 minutes. NKT, on the other hand, went pale and ended up needing to lie down before the lab could finish the blood draw. We were very happy that she came out OK, though I doubt she’ll be donating blood anytime soon. =)

Before we get to the results I should explain that both parents in our home are quite strict with keto for ourselves. Two of our daughters are also strict about staying keto, though both are more “lazy keto” and don’t track carbs or such – frankly, it’s not really necessary. As young and healthy as our children are, simply the act of cutting out sugar and flour was likely enough to prevent problems in the future. Our other children are not doing keto and will eat candy, pizza, fruit, and such if given the opportunity – though we, as parents, do not buy anything non-keto anymore so it’s usually at school or when visiting.

Now for the data! Dave wanted to get a recording of his first read-through of the blood tests:

Most of the analysis was done by Dave during the video so refer there for commentary. If you prefer to look at the data yourself, you can either read it in tabular format on the “Twins” tab of this spreadsheet (the other tabs are data from previous experiments I’ve done) which also has % difference and absolute value difference columns for comparison, or you can grab the original blood tests in PDF format: KT, NKT. I’ve made some handy graphs (also on that spreadsheet in the “Twin Charts” tab) to illustrate some of the takeaways.

To start, we have a comparison of their NMR Lipid Panels. Nothing here is really a surprise at all, KT has higher numbers for all of the measurements except LDL size which is the same for both, this follows Dave’s hypothesis regarding the lipid system as an energy distribution aparatus. Both are low on HDL but have fantastic Triglyceride levels. Both also have a remnant cholesterol of 8. Dave has explained this better but this number represents energy parked in the blood in VLDL particles and you want this as low as possible since it tends to be a legit indicator of risk; an 8 is fantastic.

Both have really good fasting glucose.

Which should make their nearly identical Hemoglobin A1c not a surprise at all. This number represents the percentage of their red blood cell hemoglobin that has become “glycated” or exposed to glucose. It serves as a way to measure your average glucose over several months, usually 6 months. HbA1c is the test used to diagnose Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, although elevated HbA1c is a symptom of T2DM, not the cause. Most experts agree that the underlying cause is hyperinsulinemia or chronically elevated insulin levels.

Boom.

KT’s low fasting insulin doesn’t indicate how close she is to having hyperinsulinemia or her risk of T2DM or Alzheimers – that would require a Kraft test and measuring insulin response to glucose over time instead of once while fasting. NKT’s elevated fasting insulin does indicate that even without eating for 12 hours, her insulin was still elevated. For now, she’s likely to be able to handle that insulin load; but Dave feels that he’d like to see insulin below 10 in the future. This higher number for NKT was one of the few surprises that were in the test, most of the other markers fell in-line with what Dave expected to see based on the other results he has seen from both keto and non-keto subjects.

The other surprise was the low glucagon levels in both. A typical level is 50, and one would expect KT to have higher than normal levels. While hers is higher than NKT, both are abnormally low. Glucagon is something that Dr. Benjamin Bikman presented about at the 2018 Low Carb Breckenridge conference, interesting stuff.

So, in summary: It’s interesting to note the difference in the LDL numbers of the two. Many professionals are of the opinion that LDL is causal in atherosclerosis and would insist that KT has a higher risk of heart disease in the future. The cool thing with this data is that genetically they’re identical, with the same environment, same living conditions, same lack of cholesterol-lowering medication. They actually have almost the same triglyceride numbers too! NKT and KT both are handling the glucose load really well (that’s rather expected, given all the machinery is still new and fully functional). It is important to note the massive difference in their respective fasting insulin. So many of the chronic diseases in modern society are a direct result of too much insulin: chronic hyperinsulinemia. NKT is in danger of hyperinsulinemia causing problems in the future which is something to be truly concerned about.

By |2018-12-05T08:55:14+00:00November 23rd, 2018|Categories: Ketogenic|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Others using Keto Chow to conduct science!

Siobhan Huggins recently posted about her half of an experiment where she was tracking biomarkers while changing around the amount of fat she was using. We were super happy when she approached us about using Keto Chow for the experiment. I (Chris) have done my own experiments using Keto Chow to tightly control variables, which is difficult to do with nutrition unless you’re using something like Keto Chow – it’s cool to see others using Keto Chow for science as well.

Siobhan was going for 6000 calories a day during parts of the experiment. That’s a REALLY difficult thing to do unless you’re using something like Keto Chow:

I’d say, in this case, the inconvenience of having to drink 6 shakes a day was far outweighed by the data I got in the process. Lipoprotein(a) coming from a baseline diet to a high calorie/high fat phase provided some useful information that – of course – leaves me with even more questions, and possible future experiments in mind, for sure. Plus, it wasn’t too bad, as the very kind staff at the hotel where the conference was taking place offered to store my shakes in the front office fridge so they could stay refrigerated until I needed them. I’m extremely grateful, as this made the whole process much less of a hassle, and allowed it to go as smoothly as it did. The food served at the conference actually did look quite appetizing, but in this case the sacrifices of citizen science won out over the freshly carved meat they were serving.

Even with that said, I must say that my diet over the conference weekend was definitely more appetizing than what Dave was eating – as he expressed multiple times! I’m sure he’ll be mentioning that himself, however, in part 2

Sometimes science is hard =) You can read about the entire experiment and see all the cool graphs and data over on cholesterolcode.com.

By |2018-10-24T08:32:16+00:00October 24th, 2018|Categories: Future Foods, Keto Chow|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Invite to participate in the 2018 “Complete Food” Survey

Keto Chow was originally (and still is!) designed to be nutritionally complete, that’s one of the core fundamentals. I wanted something I could eat without having to worry about getting some weird vitamin or mineral deficiency so it’s set up to give you at least 1/3 of your daily nutrients in each meal. Do you have to eat 3 a day? Absolutely not, but you can if you are so inclined. There are other “Complete Foods” – most are in Europe and only a very small minority are designed for a ketogenic lifestyle (like Keto Chow).

About once a year, there’s a survey sent out to find out more about how people are using the complete foods/future foods – we’ve agreed to promote the survey that Queal is doing right now. So, if you want to head over and answer some questions about Keto Chow, please do!

More info about the survey and last year’s data can be found on https://completefoodsurvey.com/

By |2018-09-20T07:48:00+00:00September 19th, 2018|Categories: Future Foods|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Using Keto Chow while camping, hiking, traveling, etc…

I have people asking for solutions they can use for doing keto while camping, hiking, staying in a hotel (with or without refrigeration), or otherwise traveling. I thought I’d share some of my recent experience. The headline image above is from when I was making Keto Chow for 2 of my kids and my wife.

July 2018 has been a little crazy for me; with Keto Con, a 4 day-30 mile hike, family vacation, scout camp, Ketofest, and Low Carb USA all strung together. Particularly challenging was the hike, and later the scout camp with my oldest son since I wouldn’t have any refrigeration nor anything resembling a kitchen. The camp also wanted $6 a meal for amazing dishes like spaghetti, or grilled cheese sandwiches. My plan for the days I would be at camp was to bring:

They did have lots of clean, cold, mountain spring water available. The basic routine every meal went like this:

  1. I would grab my dry blender bottle.
  2. I’d put in the amount of avocado oil I wanted, it was marked on the side of the blender bottle with a marker to make measuring super easy.
  3. Add a scoop of Keto Chow powder.
  4. Add the water.
  5. Shake it up – from step 3 to step 5 you want to minimize time as much as possible to avoid clumps, try to hit fewer than 5 seconds.
  6. Go help some kid with something for 5 minutes (this lets the protein dissolve more so it’s not gritty).
  7. Drink
  8. Use the soap, water, and bottle brush to wash out the bottle – this is easier with hot water but I’ve used cold without problems.
  9. Leave the lid off and let the bottle dry.
  10. You’re ready for the next meal.

In the cases that I had access to refrigeration, using heavy cream was also an option instead of avocado oil. That entire sequence (steps 1-10) only takes maybe 5 minutes, not counting however long you take to drink the meal and it’s super handy when it’s raining but you already have your Keto Chow in your tent with you

So, there you go – a week’s worth of Keto Chow weighs around 1000g with 21 meals worth of avocado oil clocking in around 2000g (about a half gallon worth). Provided you have access to water, you can stick to a strict Ketogenic diet easily (oh and depending on the flavor you get, your net carbs for the DAY will be around 1.5-4g (more for chocolate compared to salted caramel and the others).

By |2018-07-31T11:57:39+00:00July 31st, 2018|Categories: Keto Chow, On Tour|Tags: , , , , , , , |1 Comment

A Keto family vacation

We recently did a family vacation down to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. When planning it, we decided to do all keto food for all 10 people going. It actually turned out really well and allowed a few of our children who hadn’t ever tried doing keto an opportunity to give it a try. Sadly they’ve gone back to eating carbs away from home but at least they recognized how crummy they felt eating candy the first time after the trip.

We rented a house (because frankly, it was cheaper than getting 3 rooms at a hotel, more comfortable, and overall better!). The kitchen was quite nice and there were enough beds for everyone that wanted their own bed could have one.

Our staples on the trip included:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream – mostly for making Keto Chow but we also used it to cover keto pancakes.
  • Costco rotisserie chicken breast – makes the chicken salad really easy, just add mayo and other seasonings.
  • Keto Chow – perfect for drinking while driving!
  • Far too many almonds.
  • Low carb tortillas from Sams Club – they’re 5g of net carbs each so I didn’t eat them frequently but for little kids they’re perfect.
  • Carb Control yogurt from Kroger – also 5g of net carbs, not the end of the world but you don’t want them all the time
  • Eggs – with 10 people we went through almost 9 dozen Xlarge eggs.
  • Cream cheese – for the tortillas and to make keto pancakes
  • Sugar-Free syrup.

FYI: the recipe for the keto pancakes is silly easy – 8 ounces of cream cheese + 8 eggs in a blender. Blend. Cook. Done.

Drag around, it’s a 360 photo:

By |2018-04-13T11:56:13+00:00April 13th, 2018|Categories: Keto Chow, Ketogenic, On Tour|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Results and conclusions from 6 week fat experiment (42 days of Keto Chow)

This entry is part 44 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

I have my analysis done on the data from my 6-week experiment doing Keto Chow for all my meals and swapping out different types of fats to see how they impact my lipid panels. It’s all chronicled over on the page about the experiment, along with an extensive array of graphs and other fun stuff.

I also proved that at least in me: eating 2000 calories a day of mostly fat with some protein I’ll lose weight. Switch that to 2000 calories of mostly carbohydrates with a little fat and the same amount of protein (and again, the same 2000 calories), I will gain weight.

Fun stuff!

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 41, blood tests back

This entry is part 41 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

I was watching a video by Dave Feldman (where he had to keep pausing to eat skittles, it was great) and he talked about fructose malabsorption causing him digestive issues. I don’t think I have that problem which is why I haven’t had really bad problems during this phase. Again it seems that I dodged another bullet for which I’m grateful. I’m still anxious to get back into keto. Yesterday I bought the brisket and ribs for the meetup, they’re currently in the Sous-Vide cooking for a few days and I’ll finish them in the smoker on Saturday.

Got my Coconut Oil week blood tests back – REALLY interesting stuff. I’ve entered the data into the spreadsheet (check it out!) but here are some of the highlights:

  • I hit an all-time low LDL-P (particle count): 567. It’s down 43% from 996 the week before. 👍 (you’re looking for under 1000)
  • All time low LDL-C: 56, down from 78. 👍
  • I brought back down my triglycerides from 148 to 103 👍 (you want this below 100)
  • My HDL-C went WAY up (52% to be exact): from 40 to 61 👍👍👍 (you want this as high as possible)
  • A1c is still steady at 4.8 👍
  • Fasting insulin went WAY up, from 5.2 to 8.4 – the highest I’ve recorded so far. 👎

This test was the first time I saw a departure from the previous inversion pattern of LDL-C and Triglycerides which would go up and down opposite of each other. I don’t know if it was the high amount of MCTs in the coconut oil or what. Regardless, I can handily say that consuming almost entirely saturated fat for a week made my blood tests look AMAZING.

Here are some of the graphs from the spreadsheet:

Guests on another great Keto podcast: Ketonian Korner

Miriam and I (Chris) were guests on another awesome Keto podcast a while ago and it was posted yesterday: Interview with Chris and Miriam Bair Keto Chow

I should have posted about this yesterday but ran out of time with everything going on (live broadcast, replacing the fat in my Keto Chow with candy for an experiment, finalizing packaging for Keto Chow 2.1)

By |2018-02-10T07:24:22+00:00February 10th, 2018|Categories: Keto Chow|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 36: Carb Week Begins (with a live stream)

This entry is part 36 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

OK, here we go!

You can view my glucose tests as I take them on the “Sugar” tab of the spreadsheet here.

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 30, “fun” with coconut oil (actually MCT oil)

This entry is part 30 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

So yesterday was my first day doing Coconut Oil, the package of the one I was using said “93% MCTs” so I should have seen this coming. About 20 minutes after I drank my first one I felt a bit weird and dizzy… and ran to the bathroom. Second One a few hours later was kinda the same story. The third one last night I felt really dizzy, so much so that I had to sit on the sofa instead of playing Munchkin which made Levi really sad.

So today I’m switching to a different liquid coconut oil: Carrington Farms. I’ve used it in the past and didn’t have any gastrointestinal issues. I’m hoping that it works well. I ran to my local “Walmart Neighborhood Market” this morning not knowing if they would have it, turns out they had 3 different brands of liquid coconut oil! That was unexpected. Anyhow, if this doesn’t work I’ll switch to using less coconut oil and some heavy cream since this week is all about saturated fat.

By |2018-02-05T08:35:53+00:00February 3rd, 2018|Categories: 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment|Tags: , , , |0 Comments