Written by Christopher Kelly
April 8, 2014
It’s been about three months since I started my N=1 ketosis experiment and I’m really making progress. There was no “low carb flu” or any other symptom, I’ve been feeling great the whole time despite my blood ketones remaining stubbornly low around the 0.6 - 1.0 mmol/L mark. Technically this is still nutritional ketosis, but I couldn’t help wondering if I could be doing better.
Moderating protein was key. Julie makes seriously delicious food and it requires a little discipline not to gorge on meat when I’m hungry after a long bike ride. Doing so would always result in a fasted morning blood glucose (BG) reading above 100 mg/dL.
I knew that an average BG of 94 was probably not helping me get deeper into ketosis so I tried three different supplements. BioMatrix Support Glucose (chromium) and Thorne Research Diabenil (bitter melon) did nothing for me. Then I tried Thorne Berberine-500 and pow! Within days BG was down into the 70s and I was still feeling great. Last night ketones were up to 1.9 without any assistance from aerobic exercise.
Switching to a Paleo diet vastly improved my concentration but ketosis has taken this to a level I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.
Traditional wisdom says that all but the very lowest intensity aerobic exercise requires glycogen and yet I’m now able to ride 106 miles alone over windy mixed terrain on 3 teaspoons of coconut oil. When I got home from this ride I wrote an article that lead to the first sale of this website as a product. I've never been this productive in my life! The next day I went out and rode a further 3 hours on plain water alone.
I wish I could measure this on a daily basis but I’m sure that inflammation and oxidative stress from training is much lower. Riding the bike, even hard intervals just doesn’t take it out of me the way it used to, and when I get home I still have energy to do other things which is really important for me.
In the 3 months since I started I’ve lost 4kg and now my weight is 62.3kg (I'm 175cm tall). The numbers from the power meter on my bike have stayed pretty consistent, and I feel strong over difficult terrain so I’m confident there’s no significant loss of muscle mass.
Fat, not too little, mostly saturated. I’ve been using a rather wonderful app called Cronometer to keep a food diary. It’s not free but it is good. The database is comprehensive and the micronutrient reports are fantastic. I doubt they’re absolutely accurate but they allow me to track changes from day to day. Eating a wide variety of vegetables, especially leafy ones as vehicles for fat (mostly coconut oil, butter and tallow) has maximised nutrient density. No more than 30g of protein (about a palm sized piece) per meal and no more than 90g daily. I've exported a month's worth of food diary data here.
Fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. Finding your perfect health diet may not be trivial and you might require some assistance.