/Tag: nutrition

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.


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

Comparison of Keto “Meal Replacement” nutrition, costs, net carbs, fat, and more

in 2017, when we went to our first KetoCon in Austin Texas, I noticed that quite a few of the vendors that were going to be there offered “meal replacement” products marketed to the keto eater – so I decided to do a comparison of the available options, mostly for myself so I could speak intelligently about what’s out there but I thought it would be of value to the community at large.

You can view the spreadsheet I’ve put together here. The table is sorted by whether it’s nutritionally complete and then by cost for 2000 calories. I put “meal replacement” in quotes for a reason: many of the mixes do not give you a nutritionally complete meal, rather they are more of a snack – honestly, you’d be better off grabbing some string cheese (you’ll notice I have an entry in the table for string cheese! =). You cannot use any of the non-complete products for more than an occasional “meal”, once a day at the most though you might want to limit consumption to 2-3 times a week.

The ones that are nutritionally complete are designed to give you all your nutrition for any given meal. Meaning you should get all your vitamins, electrolytes, fats, everything. In theory, you could replace a single meal, multiple meals in a day, or even go nuts and replace all of your meals without suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Personally, I like to call them “engineered staple foods”.

Earlier today, we got an email from a guy using Keto Chow that thought it was remarkable the change in how many supplements he no longer takes when using Keto Chow, you can see that at the top of this post. That email got me thinking about a photo someone posted on Facebook showing the difference in nutrition between their old “meal replacement” and Keto Chow using Cron-O-Meter (which I think is the BEST app for tracking a keto diet, period). I thought it would be good to show a similar comparison, I simply loaded up Cron-O-Meter and selected a meal of 8 different “Keto Meal Replacement” options to compare with Keto Chow, here’s what you get:

None aside from Keto Chow even come close to providing 1/3 of your daily vitamins and minerals, and most are extremely low calorie and low fat – like they’re not sure about this whole “keto” thing. I have no problem at all living for weeks or months on Keto Chow alone, I doubt that any of the creators of the other “Meal Replacements” would even attempt such a thing (and for good reason). I believe that if a product isn’t good enough for me, it isn’t good enough to sell to other people either.

Two of the nutritionally complete options require you to buy your own fat source (Keto Chow and Keto Fuel) and that’s included in the cost per meal based on Great Value Heavy Whipping Cream for Keto Chow, Chosen Foods Avocado Oil (also for Keto Chow), and Great Value Olive Oil for Keto Fuel. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on how much you use. Putting in the cost for 2000 calories on these two was weird. If you use 157ml of heavy cream in Keto Chow, it costs $10.86 – use 118ml (for 1600 calories a day) and the cost for 2000 calories goes up to $13.10. The same sort of thing happens with Keto Fuel (which could also use heavy cream instead of olive oil, that’s just what’s in the directions). You could also use your own fat source to amp up the other products to a higher calorie. Anyhow, because of this confounder, I’ve also included a cost per day for how much it would cost to get a full day’s nutrition based on the number of meals per day the manufacturer recommends.

By |2018-10-24T13:35:38+00:00October 24th, 2018|Categories: Future Foods, Keto Chow, Ketogenic|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Do Low Carb Diets Cause Early Death? (video)

This entry is part 204 of 205 in the series Ketogenic Diet

So there’s been a big to-do the last few days about a new study that purports to indicate that a low carb diet will cause an early death. The news headlines have been rather extreme, and it seems that everyone has forgotten the PURE study from 12 months ago. Regardless: our friend Ken Berry, MD, put out a video discussing, at length, everything going on in this study.

From the description of the video:

Do low-carb diets really lead to early death? Here is my response to the recent article published in the Lancet Journal of Public Health. I’ve included links below because I want you to actually read the study and verify what I’m saying. This topic is so important, and this field of science is so dubitable, that you can’t take anyone’s word about it, you need to read it yourself.

Harvard University currently is highly esteemed in the fields of medicine and nutrition research. The Lancet is currently highly esteemed in the fields of medicine and nutrition publication. But, if they don’t both stop publishing rubbish such as this as valid science from which we can glean valuable information, the reputations of both will suffer soon. Main-stream media’s blind, thoughtless parroting of whatever Harvard and the Lancet say is actually crippling both institutions, and destroying their credibility.

Your one life and your health are too important to entrust blindly and thoughtlessly to “expert opinion” you need to read and watch and research for yourself, and listen to your own body.

By |2018-08-21T08:33:30+00:00August 21st, 2018|Categories: Ketogenic|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Chris on the FanPress podcast – the history of Keto Chow, nutrition, and more

This entry is part 197 of 205 in the series Ketogenic Diet

This podcast was recorded a while ago (January 28, 2018 to be specific), took Steve a while to get it posted – probably because it went kinda REALLY long. I have to say: this is by far one of my favorite podcast interviews so far. Steve let me (over) indulge myself and give a rather complete history of Keto Chow and my journey thus far. It was also nice to be talking to someone who really likes what I’m doing. I just checked my email and I have one from him way back from May 2015! This one will be tough to beat. It goes on rather long at nearly an hour and a half but if you’re up for it, I recommend checking it out!

Clinging with all their might

This entry is part 192 of 205 in the series Ketogenic Diet

OK, so I recently did an experiment where I consumed the same 2000 kCal a day for 6 weeks. I was messing around with the source of the bulk of those calories, mostly using different fats but the final week I substituted out all of the saturated fat I ate the week prior, and instead ate candy. Remember – still the same 2000 calories. I had been losing weight pretty consistently the 5 weeks I was living on fat. I gained weight the week I was eating the same 2000 calories from carbohydrates. It’s all documented ad nauseum on the experiment page, with data, graphs, DEXA scans, and more. I posted about it on reddit and have gotten some rather interesting comments from people who insist that the type of calorie is irrelevant and the only cause for weight gain is eating too many calories and not exercising enough. I’m rather forthcoming with my views on the subject (I think sugar is fattening and fat is not).

Today I got the best one yet. I said:

It’s like saying “Bill Gates is rich because he saves more money than he spends” or “The room is crowded because more people entered than left”. Sounds rather silly right? That’s because it’s the EFFECT and not the CAUSE.

To which they replied:

Bill gates isn’t rich because he saves more money than he spends. He’s rich because he takes in more money than he spends… which sounds an awful lot like calories in calories out.

Wait…. what? I’ve never had anybody actually think that “he makes money” is the CAUSE and REASON Bill is rich (as opposed to his ruthless business acumen and the lucky break he got with licensing QDOS, among other things) but if that’s what someone wants to believe, that’s what they want to believe.

By |2018-02-26T15:37:14+00:00February 26th, 2018|Categories: Keto Chow|Tags: , , , , , |0 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 43 (done)

This entry is part 43 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

Took my final blood test and had my final DEXA scan. I did some updates to the experiment page too. Should have the blood test results by Wednesday of next week.

By |2018-02-16T15:51:37+00:00February 16th, 2018|Categories: 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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:

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 40!

This entry is part 40 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

So close… only 9 meals left! It’s getting harder and harder to only eat the food in my experiment. I thought I had some kind of superhuman ability to stay on track, turns out it was likely just the result of solid keto eating. Making dinner for everyone else and not eating any of it hasn’t been a problem and now it’s REALLY hard to not take a bite.

For kicks, I made a crono-o-meter “recipe” of what I’m eating this week – mostly so it would generate a nutrition label so I’d have something to show people that question what I’m eating this week. Here’s a comparison of that and when I’m doing heavy cream:

Carb Week Heavy Cream Week

Those that say “nay” will likely take issue with the amount of sugar and sodium in the carb week, but if you click on the image and pull up the full nutrition info and check out the vitamins and everything else you’ll see it’s nutritionally complete still.

By |2018-02-13T09:50:31+00:00February 13th, 2018|Categories: 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 38, my mouth hurts

This entry is part 38 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

One thing I forgot to mention in the video: The previous 5 weeks were a little hard to not eat the amazing keto food around me. These last 2 days I’ve started getting a nearly overwhelming compulsion to snack and eat all the things! This is new and quite unwelcome. Previously I was quite satisfied drinking my chow and done. Now I’m starting to get legitimately hungry and it’s happening all the time. It could be a function of “I’m eating sugar I could eat that handful of goldfish crackers” but I think it’s more of the sugar and my insulin sabotaging me.

My mouth is really starting to hurt. Dunno if it’s the sugar, the citric acid in the skittles, or the chewing – but inside my cheeks are pretty raw. I might need to start swallowing the skittles whole. I’m happy that I haven’t had any crazy headaches or digestive issues yet – sure it would make for a more interesting result but since I’m talking about my own comfort, I’m good with boring and just not feeling as peppy as normal with some minor bloating and flatulence thus far (oh, and my mouth hurts =).

My weight did go up a little this morning. I’m honestly surprised it hasn’t gone up far more already. I know from personal experience that my body will pretty quickly replenish glycogen (the opposite of the “whoosh” people get when starting Keto) which adds water weight rather quickly. The awesome thing about keeping this experiment isocaloric and regimented is that I’m eating the exact same amount of calories as in the previous phase of the experiment so even if I wanted to “spike” my results by eating more I couldn’t, so the results will be undeniable.

By |2018-02-11T08:56:21+00:00February 11th, 2018|Categories: 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment|Tags: , , |0 Comments