science

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Keto Chow in Women’s World Magazine

Women’s World was doing a story about using Keto Smoothies – they contacted us here at Keto Chow to see if we knew people that had experienced success using Keto Chow. They also wanted to get some information from me regarding the efficacy of shakes/smoothies and a ketogenic diet. There’s a bit of a disconnect between my original responses and what was published =) Don’t get me wrong: I think that if 1 woman reads the article, starts doing Keto, and changes her life then the article and interview were a resounding success.

If you want to read the whole article, it should be available on newsstands right now.

Anyway, I thought my original responses to their questions were pretty good so I’m going to publish them here:

First, I need to know a little more about you. I read that you lost weight yourself (and your wife as well!) Can you tell me a little more about that including how much?

As of right now, I’m maintaining a 40lb weight loss over 4 years. Outside of ketogenic diets, that’s so infrequent that I’m considered a “unicorn” =) I started keto back on Oct 21, 2014. My wife was doing Whole30 (which is a lot like Paleo) and decided to join in on the fun when she saw my success (and her best friend went Keto, so they could meal-prep together). She’s down 30lbs.

Our story is about women who used keto smoothies to lose weight. They turned to keto smoothies because they’re easy to prepare, kept them feeling full and they could take them on the go. Jumping right in: Are smoothies/shakes a great option for busy people who are following keto? Why or why not?

One of the biggest problems with doing keto can be learning what you can and what you cannot eat. You’re turning the dietary recommendations on their head: you need to eat healthy fats, especially quality saturated fats. You need to get more salt. Whole grains are off the menu. It goes on! For people new to doing keto it can be daunting and potentially dangerous if they aren’t getting the right amount of electrolytes. This causes the so-called “keto flu” that’s one of the chief reasons people try keto and stop within a few days. It’s entirely avoidable by simply adding more salt to your diet but people may not know that. I see using a well-formulated smoothie or shake that is specifically designed for a ketogenic diet as an extremely useful tool, both for people new to a ketogenic way of eating, as well as experienced users that need something to get them through the “boring” meals and on to cooking a fantastic meal with family or friends. Having something you can turn to that you KNOW will be getting you the right nutrients is very nice!

Studies have shown that using smoothies/shakes as meal replacements can help dieters lose weight faster and without hunger. Do keto smoothies/shakes as meal replacements have the same effect? Why or why not?

I think they can, and in my experience (and the experience of thousands of people I’ve interacted with) it holds true. I think one of the main reasons it can help accelerate weight loss is that you have your nutrition tightly controlled for the meals you’re using a well-formulated keto shake. It should have ⅓ of your daily nutrition and the correct amount of protein and fat for what you need. Getting the right micronutrients (vitamins, trace minerals) lets your body have what it needs to heal; and when your body is healthy, weight loss comes along! Now I want to be clear on this: I’m talking about shakes that are designed for keto and have the right amount of nutrients in them, this isn’t just randomly throwing ingredients at a blender and drinking it. You’d need either a well-researched recipe or a product that’s been engineered and tested to be complete. A random shake/smoothie would only be suitable for occasional use (maybe 3 times a week and not more than once a day) whereas one that’s complete can be used as often as you feel like it. Personally, I’ve used the recipe I came up with for all 3 meals with absolutely no other food for up to 6 weeks and I know of others that have gone as long as 6 months for various reasons, but for most people: 1-2 times a day with some baked salmon or a steak with their family is more appealing!

Do you think keto smoothies/shakes might help a keto newbie do a better job of keeping carbs down and fat up?

Oh, absolutely! Both are particularly difficult as carbs tend to be in everything that’s convenient, and at the same time, they’re usually low fat! Having a shake that you can control the amount of carbs, and mix in some delicious heavy cream, avocado oil, or even straight-up avocados is phenomenal. Hit the right balance and you’ll be satiated and happy and look forward to the next one.

Can overeating keto-friendly foods slow results—especially in older, sedentary women?

Yes. Most “keto friendly” snack foods are low in carbohydrates and work great for occasional use, but you eat 4 or 5 and suddenly you’ve blown through half your carbs for the day. Also, many are high in protein and low in fat, not having the fat in there makes them less filling and too much of the protein can hamper your progress. This effect is especially amplified in older women who will often have to work especially hard to stay on track. They’re really facing an uphill battle. One thing that helps everyone is to eliminate snacking. Try to only eat at mealtimes and let your body enjoy having a rest from elevated glucose and elevated insulin. If you can, you might even try grouping your meals together: skip breakfast, eat a late lunch and an early dinner. That “intermittent fast” will get food out of the way and let your body heal!

Would keto smoothies be a good way to help prevent overconsumption of keto foods?

If you’re not experiencing the results you want with a keto diet, using a well-formulated shake or smoothie will indeed help keep you from having too many “keto friendly” foods. Especially if you’re adding the right amount of fat for your needs to the shake, you may even have a hard time finishing it all because you’ve gotten your fill.

Do you think keto smoothies have the potential to help some women lose weight more quickly? If so, what type of women might benefit most?

I think that women who have a busy schedule, don’t know how or what to cook, or that simply need a convenient go-to meal would benefit the most from using smoothies as part of their keto diet. Having the nutrition, calories, carbs, and more so tightly controlled gives women the opportunity to meet or exceed their goals or better health and weight loss.

What are some guidelines for making a keto smoothie? (ie: ? amount fat, protein, veggies to use or not use, fruit to use or no use, etc)

The key to making a good keto smoothe right is going to be to get the right amount of quality fats, adequate protein, keeping the carbs as low as possible, and getting the right micronutrients. There are a bunch of online “keto calculators” that can help you establish how much fat, protein, and carbs you need in a day and you’ll want to plan accordingly. You’ll need to limit the amount of fruit, remember: it’s nature’s candy and your liver doesn’t care if the sugar is “natural” or “organic” – it just sees sugar. Adding a few berries for a touch of flavor usually works well and doesn’t add too many carbs. Mind you: we’re talking about 3-4 blueberries or a pair of strawberries, not a full container! Avocados are excellent and full of potassium (way more than a starchy banana!). If you can tolerate dairy, look for heavy cream or unflavored and unsweetened full-fat yogurt. Milk, especially skim milk, is loaded with sugar and should be avoided. Unsweetened almond milk is OK to replace water but it’s low in fat so plan accordingly. Green leafy vegetables are a good addition but you need to avoid tubers and other vegetables that grow in the ground like CARROTS – the plants store sugar and starch in the roots and you don’t want that! Don’t be afraid to add salt to your smoothie too. That salt is vital to keeping the “keto flu” from ruining your day. Avoid seed/vegetable oils, they aren’t what you want – olive, coconut, and avocado oils are actually fruit oils and work great!

Any particular ingredient or ingredients that you feel would make a keto smoothie particularly powerful?

  • Avocados are absolutely amazing and work great if you’re mixing up your smoothie in a blender. They have high-quality fats, lots of potassium, are very low in carbohydrates and taste pretty good (to me!)
  • MCT Oil is a fantastic source of great fats made from refined coconut or palm oil. Your liver turns it right into ketones which can help get you into a deeper state of burning ketones (or “ketosis”). Be aware that most people can only tolerate 1 tablespoon at a time of MCT oil, trust me: you don’t want to overdo it!
  • Almond or other nut butters are also a great addition in limited quantities. They give a great taste and add some quality fat and protein. Make sure you don’t go overboard, they have a fair amount of carbs.
  • Erythritol is probably the best thing to use to add some sweetness to your own smoothie recipe. It doesn’t hurt dogs like xylitol, doesn’t raise blood sugar, and pretty much counts as 0 carbs for most people. The powdered version dissolves more easily.
  • Heavy cream is fantastic (and what I use for most of my own shakes!) It adds an amazing taste, great creamy mouthfeel, is low in carbs (0.4g per tablespoon), and the fat profile is exactly what you want. People with lactose intolerance can often handle as much as a half cup per meal without problems.

What are the best fats to add to a keto smoothie and why?

The best fats for your body are going to be the ones that don’t oxidize and that means saturated or mono-unsaturated fats. Poly-unsaturated “vegetable” (seed) oils react easily and cause all kinds of stress on your body and damage to your cells. It’s a bit much to go into here, but there’s never been a link between saturated fat and heart disease (though they’ve spent 50 years trying to prove, unsuccessfully, that there is one!). To the contrary, studies show that eating more saturated fat is associated with lower MORTALITY or lower risk of dying from everything (which is really the goal, right?). That means dairy, avocados, coconut oil, butter, and olive oil are what you want and the processed seed oils are what you do not want. It’s pretty much the opposite of what the dietary guidelines USED to say back in the 80s, they’ve been slowly changing those guidelines over the last few years without calling attention to the changes.

If someone wants to purchase a pre-made keto shake, what should they look for and what should they avoid?

Look for something that’s not just a protein “snack” – too often you’ll find a shake that’s been rebranded as “keto” just because they added a little MCT oil, or they’re adding lab-created ketones. For a smoothie to be something you can use consistently, and not have it leave you hungry and with a vitamin deficiency, it needs to be designed for complete ketogenic nutrition. The label will have a bunch of vitamins and minerals that may be hard to pronounce but don’t let that deter you, all vitamins are “chemicals”. I’d recommend staying away from shakes that have “BHB” or ketones added to them, those are great for performance athletes or seizure patients; but if your goal is to lose weight, you want your own body to be making ketones for you (for free!). Look for “nutritionally complete” and I wouldn’t be worried if it’s not “organic” or “all natural” – with a keto diet you’re eliminating the stuff that should concern you simply by getting rid of processed carbohydrates.

If someone is replacing two meals a day with a keto smoothie/shake, how much would you say they could lose in 48 hours?

For optimal success, keto needs to be an all-in thing. You can’t have two keto meals, then eat french fries and donuts and expect it to work. Doing 2 meals using a quality keto shake and then having a good keto dinner is a great way to go. When you first start doing keto, there’s often a “whoosh” of water weight loss that can happen in 48-72 hours. It’s your body using up sugar bound to water in your muscles and liver – yes it’s water weight, but it will stay off so long as you stick to keto. Now: not everyone experiences the “whoosh,” so don’t get discouraged. I’ve seen people healthily lose 8lbs right off the bat and continue losing 10-15lbs a month, but your results may vary and it’s much harder for women than for men. Men tend to lose pounds and women tend to lose inches, especially at first. Your body is doing a remodel and that may not show on the scale at first. The key is to Keep Calm and Keto On (or “KCKO” as we say)!

And why would you say this would be a great jumpstart for someone who is just trying out keto for the first time?

Using smoothies is a really great way to control your food and give you something actionable you can work on. Especially at the beginning when you’re new to everything and unsure what you can or can’t eat, it can lead you through the rough patches to success.

If women start this before an event do go to during the holiday season will they be able to drop weight in a short time? Why or why not?

Many women will be able to use keto to quickly drop weight before an important event, it’s the release of the water weight that goes along with starting keto. Usually even more important than the initial weight loss will be a reduction in water retention, inflammation, puffiness, and looser clothing. If you’re planning on starting a keto diet, take some measurements and some “before” photos so you can track your progress. The scale isn’t the only measure of success, so don’t get discouraged if your husband loses 10lbs after a week of keto and you don’t. And be aware that for greatest success, keto is a way of life – not just a quick diet. You can’t expect to keep off the weight if you go back to eating what made you heavy to begin with!

What’s the most you’ve seen someone lose in 24 hours on keto?

I know a lady that lost 5lbs in 24 hours (and kept that off).

In 48 hours?

8lbs

What’s the most you’ve seen someone lose in total on keto?

I know several people that have lost over 100lbs (and kept it off for years!), I think the most weight loss I’ve seen is 250lbs.

What words of advice do you have to readers who are interested in adding a smoothie/shake as a meal replacement to their keto diet?

  • If you’re making your own recipe, I’d recommend adding the ingredients as well as your other food into a good tracking app like “cron-o-meter” so you can make sure you’re getting the right nutrition, keeping your carbs down, and getting enough electrolytes.
  • If you’re using a recipe you found, pay attention to the nutritional information provided, and you might want to do the same “track it in an app”!
  • If you’re thinking about buying a pre-made shake mix, make sure it has the nutrients you need and that it’s not just a protein snack. Look for shakes that allow you to customize the amount of fat in each meal so you’re not getting too little or too much.

And finally, here is what was condensed out of my responses:

By |2018-12-14T11:55:12+00:00December 14th, 2018|Categories: Future Foods, Keto Chow|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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

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

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

Comparison of Fitbit Charge and Oura Ring – activity and sleep tracking

I was intrigued talking to a friend about the first generation Ōura ring he had and decided I wanted to try it out for myself. I also had a Fitbit Charge HR and an Android Wear (not WearOS because they didn’t update it, I’m not bitter) watch that I was using. I figured a comparison is in order! All of the following data can be found on this Google Docs Spreadsheet.

One feature that Oura champions is heart rate tracking. Because the ring is snugly on your finger, they can do some cool stuff with tracking how variable your heart rate is, they also use the HR data for tracking sleep (just like Fitbit does). So here is how the Resting Heart Rate compares with the Oura and Fitbit:

It looks like the Fitbit is taking a longer average rate, while Oura is doing a shorter sample window but I’d say they’re both showing similar things.

Speaking of heart rate, let’s see how sleep tracking compares. In this graph, I’ve added the values from Sleep As Android, a sleep tracking program that I run on my phone as an alarm clock and tracks sleep. I actually have data going back to 2015 (I sleep more now since I quit my day job and stopped going to work at 5:30 am). Sleep As Android added support for using an Android Wear/Wear OS watch for tracking movement and heart rate to indicate sleep cycles, otherwise you stick your phone on your mattress and it measures the movement.

The plots for Fitbit and for Oura are REALLY close. Easily within a reasonable margin of error. SAA + the watch tracks at about the same, except it shows me sleeping about 0.5-1 hours longer on a given day. I suspect that the Fitbit or Oura data is more accurate since both are far more consistent with their heart rate data. SAA will often not show HR data at all.

OK, what about activity tracking? I’m right-handed and have Google Fit tracking on my left hand with Fitbit and Oura on my right. Fitbit has an option to select “handedness” – if you wear the tracker on your dominant wrist, it lowers the sensitivity to account for more non-step movement from that hand.

I’m guessing that having my Fitbit on the dominant hand with the lowered sensitivity accounts for the consistently lower numbers from Fitbit.

So what’s the take-away from this? It seems that the Oura ring is a very comparable sleep and activity tracker. The Fitbit has some other features that are lacking in the Oura (Social challenges against other users, differences in workout tracking, no way am I wearing the Oura while weight lifting) but I think I’m done wearing two watches – the Oura works good enough. If you happen to work in a profession where the ONLY allowed jewelry is a ring, the Oura would be phenomenal.

By |2018-10-03T11:48:27+00:00October 3rd, 2018|Categories: On Tour|Tags: , , , , |2 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 @kendberry.md 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

Freestyle Libre Continuous* Glucose Monitor

To start, let me preface this with: I do not have Diabetes, either type 1 or 2. I did have “metabolic syndrome” before I started Keto 3 years ago but my glucose levels were always fine. I didn’t ever get my fasting insulin tested back then but I can only assume I was on the way to becoming a type 2 with higher than optimal insulin levels.

Anyhow…

Some months ago, there was a thread on a local Utah keto group that caught my interest. A lady was talking about how cool it is that her “Helo LX” watch claims to have support for measuring glucose “coming soon” (as of this writing, it’s been coming soon for a year and there’s no indication it will ever come since it’s not possible to do). That got me started down a bit of a rabbit hole. Another user on the group mentioned he had an actual CGM that was relatively cheap. I’m a bit obsessed with instrumentation so I asked what his setup was. Turns out he was using a new type of glucose monitor that can be adapted to serve as a “continuous” glucose monitor for about $75 a month, with or without insurance.

It may be helpful to check out Nerdabetic’s video playlist about the Freestyle Libre to get you introduced to all this craziness. Done? OK let’s go!

Abbott (the manufacturer of the Freestyle Libre) has a program in place that gives a $35 discount (the same you get with insurance) for people without insurance and it is possible to get Group #, BIN, and Member ID# codes that can be used as secondary insurance on top of your insurance (or get a free prescription discount card from www.Familywize.org or similar). The default price for a 3 pack of sensors is $110. Insurance brings that down to $75, though there are apparently ways to get that down even lower (top comment). If you happen to already have a Dexcom, Abbott will give you the libre reader and sensors for free.

*The Freestyle Libre differs from true continuous monitors (and likely circumvents a bunch of patents) by making you tap a reader device to the sensor in order to gather data via NFC, It’s a bit like paying using your phone. You tap and get the last 8 hours of readings. The official Libre reader device costs another $100 or so  and for my usage is only useful for starting up the sensors. Here in the U.S. There are some interesting limitations to the Libre sensors (that only apply if you use the official reader):

  1. After starting a sensor, it won’t give you data for 12 hours. Abbott recommends starting a new sensor before the old one expires…
  2. In the U.S. sensors only work for 10 days. Everywhere else they work for 14 days, meaning you can go for 4 weeks on 2 sensors instead of 3 sensors. If you use a 3rd party app, it’ll also work for 14 days.

There are several phone apps (mostly Android) that can talk directly to the NFC tag on the Libre sensor, making the official hardware reader almost unnecessary. You can initialize the sensor using an Android app called “Glimp S” – but the NFC hardware in my Pixel device has weirdness so I just use the Libre reader for that one thing. I don’t know if there are any iOS apps that can start a sensor, I’m guessing not without additional hardware.

Here’s what I did:

  1. First I had to convince a doctor to write a prescription for one. In the United States, they’re only available with a prescription. I made an appointment with my doctor, and when I told him I wanted one he was a bit baffled as to why I wanted one. I didn’t want to get into my history of n=1 experiments but he thankfully decided to go for it. Ultimately my history (pre-keto) of having “metabolic syndrome” was sufficient for the script for the Freestyle Libre.
  2. I started using Glimp and direct NFC but I had to reboot my phone every time I wanted to get data off the Libre.
  3. I ordered a Blucon Nightrider that takes the NFC data and sends it over BlueTooth every 5 minutes. It’s apparently compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Soon there will be similar devices like the T-mini (Poland) and MiaoMiao (China).
  4. I’m using xDrip+ to pull data from the Blucon > Libre. iOS users should check out Spike.
  5. I ordered an arm-band holder for the Blucon so I could keep it in place during the day
  6. When you start up a sensor and are using xDrip or one of the other apps, you have to add some blood glucose calibration points. I use my trusty KetoMojo for that. As time goes on, it’s a good idea to add new ones every few days. Below are some examples of: sensor is a few days old, shows 48 blood glucose. I added a calibration point and it shifted the readings up to 89. A few hours later I added another one and it was already right-on at 92.

So now we come back to my doctor’s question of why I’m doing this. Well, #1 it’s interesting to see how my blood glucose reacts to food and activity. For the most part my readings are really stable because I stay pretty strict with eating keto. #2 reason is that I’m planning on incorporating the data into future n=1 experiments. Should you get one yourself if you’re not diabetic? Probably not, unless you’re crazy like me.

By |2018-07-03T16:04:39+00:00July 3rd, 2018|Categories: Ketogenic|Tags: , |2 Comments

KetoFest 2018 – Coming up this July in Connecticut

Richard and Carl of the “2 Keto Dudes” Podcast hosted a really great keto conference last year (which we attended) nearby Carl’s home in New London, Connecticut. They’re planning on doing it again this year on July 20-22 – but it will only happen if enough people sign up for the Kickstarter to make it happen. They’re at 66% of their goal with 11 days left.

If you are near that area and want to attend (or you’re like us and are planning on attending, despite living on the other side of the country) please check out their campaign. There are only 15 of the “VIP Party” slots left – we missed out on that last year; we’re stoked to be going this time.

We’re also going to be at KetoCon in Austin, Texas – June 15-17 if that’s close to home for you.

By |2018-03-20T10:04:36+00:00March 20th, 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!

http://fanpress.co/show3/

Keto Chow at the Low Carb Breckenridge 2018 Conference

This entry is part 193 of 205 in the series Ketogenic Diet

We returned yesterday from the Low Carb Breckenridge. It was really an awesome time. We met a lot of great people, hung out at the “cool kids” party house, ate some yummy fat (along with a little protein =) – I consider it a rousing success and I still haven’t even gone through the stack of annotated business cards to follow up with people yet! Photo Gallery:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/tvZBAtxJoqfjR8qH3

I had a chance to do a “5 Minutes of Fame” quick presentation about my most recent experiment – ended up at 2:47 which left extra time for Siobhan Huggins to go 6:57 =)