Sep 12

START HERE (Pinned)

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  • If you’re wanting a video version of my research:
    • The most current presentation is from Breckenridge in this last February.
    • (Coming soon) A new one will be up eventually from the Low-Carb Cruise that brings the research up to the date of this post.
  • If you have seen your cholesterol rise considerably on a low-carb high-fat diet (like myself):
    • You may want to first visit the FAQ.
    • I would strongly encourage you to read through this blog and my own journey revealing the Inversion Pattern. Key moments were the Identical Diet experiment and the Extreme Cholesterol Drop experiment that I wrapped around the first presentation of my data for the Ketogains Seminar.
    • And finally, you may be interested in my recent discovery with regard to controlled carb swapping. (But note it is very preliminary)

Oct 17

New Adventures in Carbland

My current series of experiments have me doing a lot of carbs. I was shooting to average around 150-180g a day. But now I’m up to around 280g a day (roughly 8-9x what I was under keto). I’ll have more on that as the results of the experiments role out. (Or — shameless plug — you can watch them as they happen from my Patreon vlogs)

I’m trying to keep the carbs isolated to grain-based as much as possible and avoiding fructose (and thus sucrose). This entire experience has been interesting, to say the least. Here’s the good, the mixed, and the bad so far.

The Good Stuff

  • Less eating out stress. Without question, it’s a lot nicer to eat off the menu without giving the waiter a lot of instruction on what to subtract (buns, wraps, etc) and feeling like everyone else instead of “that guy” who stands out for appearing like the neurotic health nut.
  • Better manual energy boosting. I’ll cop to appreciating how I could just boost some carbs to fight off tiredness when battling a deadline. You know, the intentional sugar high, for which there’s not really a fat-based substitute at that degree. But yes, yes, I know this comes with a price to be paid soon after with the proverbial sugar crash. Note I’m not using anything with fructose (and thus no HFCS or sucrose), this is just aftermath of good ol’ grain-based carb rushes.
  • Low fasting glucose*. Yes, it looks like a typo, but it isn’t. And in fact, it’s what I was expecting per all the previous discussion on glucose sparing I do on twitter, I’m not at all surprised on a 2000 calorie, carb-centric diet that I’d see lower fasting glucose.
* Technically, this is really only a good thing insofar as that it looks better on a blood test. The net effect of morning energy levels, metabolism, etc. are likely negligible.

Mixed Bag

  • Running start is better, running middle and end worse. Unsurprisingly, as I’ve been doing some distance run training for the upcoming half marathon, I find my bursty beginnings feel a bit better since going carby. But after about the 2.5-3 mile range, I start to get a little slower and the experience is much less enjoyable relative to being fat-adapted. My hope is that this too will improve with more conditioning from the training.

The Bad Ju Ju

  • GI Stress. Long before this way of life, I would mention having on-again off-again stomach and gas pains in my lower abdomen. Most doctors said it was IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and gave varying vague advice on how to solve it. I eventually found out about Fructose Malabsorption and sure enough had a lot of improvement when cutting out high fructose corn syrup. But it was practically eliminated when I went keto… until now. Welcome back, pain. yay.
  • Dry scalp. I had forgotten this was a thing in the ‘ol pre-keto days.
  • Postprandial drowsiness. Okay, this I was fully expecting. But it’s still lame. 🙁
  • Broken circadian rhythm. While I’ve always had trouble with sleep schedules both before and during keto, I’ve definitely had a stronger routine with the latter. Now my sleep timing is much more erratic again. But I’m hoping this will level off more the longer I’m on the carb side of the fence.
  • Acne. Booooo!
  • Weight gain (see below).

Cheating on the Cheating

Humorously, I’ve actually had a tough time sticking to carbs with every meal because I just don’t enjoy them like I once did. Or maybe I just enjoy fatty meats and cheese so much more when keto. While at Gold Coast, I kept having “cheat meals” of high-fat, low-carb selections — like a juicy steak with loads of butter on the last night there.

Gaining Fat Easily

Since closely tracking my weight while researching for the last two years, I’ve found it extremely difficult to gain weight on keto — even when I’m trying. My 5000 calorie experiments would get me 2 or 3lb above the baseline of 180lb, but only after five days. But hey, with the magic of simple carbs via bread, I’ve found a way to break through that ceiling and ramp my weight up to a brand new 189lb. Depending on the next experiments, it might be going higher still… and I don’t think it will be lean muscle

Raphael Sirtoli of Break Nutrition called me the “Christian Bale of nutrition” and I think I’m definitely demonstrating that right now. Certainly, I didn’t think I’d be going through all this along with bringing on extra body fat for the sake of science. But then, I didn’t think that with the 82 blood draws (and counting) either.

Just for the Record

If it weren’t for my research, I’d just be back full throttle on keto right now. Before starting this phase, I thought there might be a risk I’d become re-addicted to simple carbs. Honestly, I think I’m more ready to break it off than ever. Like seeing an ex-significant other that your older, more mature self can recognize as a terrible match. “What did I ever see in them?!?”

Bonus Addendum

I had this post in draft form for the last several days without too much changing. But this morning I had one more possible negative to add, although I’ll need to see it a few more times to be sure. I was doing a training run and on around the fourth mile, I had a bit of a progressively worse cough to the point where I had to slow to walking. This was a nearly identical effect to the one I had when training in ’09 long before keto. At the time, doctors I talked to thought it might be “exercise-induced asthma” — which seemed odd to me given it only showed up with the distance running, not biking, lifting or really anything else.

Fast forward to the last couple years and I had actually forgotten all about it as I hadn’t had an “episode” in a long time. Then lo and behold, I get that very familiar effect this morning and it gets me wondering. I’d want to see more than one of these events to be sure it isn’t an isolated incident. But don’t mistake my curiosity for hope!

Oct 12

Blood Pool – Reader Contributed Test Results

Note from Dave–

I’m so happy this work by Craig is finally going up on the site. There was an extraordinary amount of work put into this post, not just in the writing and visuals, but in the meticulous effort he has put forth in mining all the data throughout the site. Extra thanks to Matt’s amazing contribution as well in processing and developing the data set.


Introduction

Readers of this blog often share the results of their test results in comments, tweets, and emails. I’ve been collecting and labeling these into a dataset.  This article presents a summary of the nearly 200 data points extracted from the comments through October 1st.

Special thanks to Matt Allington who put together the interactive visualizations for this post.  Matt is a Power BI reporting professional (and LCHF advocate) at http://exceleratorbi.com.au.

Lipid Scores

Looking through the comment history, I found the most consistently reported metrics were those from a basic lipid panel:

  • Total Cholesterol (TC),
  • Triglycerides (TG),
  • High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C)
  • Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C)

What’s great about this quartet is you can use the Friedwald equation to verify their consistency or to interpolate the missing fourth score, if not provided.

Units are also easy to detect and convert.  The most commonly used units are mg/dL in America and mmol/L in Europe.  I made a heuristic to guess the units based on their range, and converted everything to mg/dL for display purposes.

Other test results were much less common. These included particle counts (HDL-p, LDL-p), glucose, HbA1C. See my previous post for recommendations on the best tests to get.

The Data

Caveats

I recommend reading any study or presentation of health data with a grain of salt. In this case, take two:

1. Bias – These data were self-reported, not scientifically sampled. I would suspect that most readers found this site after switching their diet to LCHF, and probably after getting a high cholesterol score.

2. Accuracy – This data is not independently verified. In very few cases have I actually seen the corresponding Labcorp/Quest report. Contributors may also have misremembered or made a typographic error when submitting their comment.

Summary

Here’s are the results:

N

TC

TG

HDL

LDL

TG/HDL

Standard

34

222.7

104.8

62.6

139.7

2.2

LCHF

134

330.9

94.7

76.4

234.9

1.6

Zerocarb

3

530.0

120.7

81.7

424.0

1.7

Fasting

4

329.6

152.3

46.5

253.0

3.6

Commenters on CholesterolCode.com reported an increase of 95 mg/dL LDL-C on LCHF compared to a standard diet. This makes intuitive sense, since the primary job of the lipid system is to deliver TG energy, and LCHF uses more energy from fat, so you’d expect more “boats” in the blood.

However, due to increased HDL and decreased TG, their reported TG/HDL ratio decreased by 0.8. Although most doctors will panic about 100 points of LDL-C, TG/HDL is a much better metric. So just judging from this data, on average LCHF dieters are at lower risk of CVD than standard dieters.

HDL versus LDL

Here’s the scatterplot of LDL and HDL, interactive link here.

In this chart you can clearly see the increased LDL for LCHF (black dots) compared to Standard (red dots). The gain in HDL is visible too, but less obvious. Although there are only 3 data points, Zerocarb (yellow dots) stands out for having among the highest LDL.

HDL versus TG

Here’s the scatterplot of HDL and TG, interactive link here.

In this chart, you see the LMHR cluster (LCHF in black) in the <100 TG, >100 HDL zone. I’d be most concerned about the health of the cluster of in the 200 TG, <50 HDL zone (mostly Standard diet in red).

How to Contribute

Want to have your data included in the next version of this post? Glad to have you onboard, citizen scientist!

The easiest way is to post a comment to this blog (on this or any article).  In the content, include the 4 numbers of TC, TG, HDL, and LDL keeping the same units. Also, include whatever context is relevant, but be sure to include your diet.  Here’s a sample:

I’ve been on a low-carb, high-fat diet for the past 12 months.  Here are the results from my most recent labs from September 2017.

TC 350

TG 100

HDL 80

LDL 250

If you also happen to have results from your previous diet, we’re excited to see the change. Just include the old numbers and context in a second block, similar to the first.

The Nitty Gritty

Labels

I used the context of the comment thread to try to assign labels to each data point. I wanted to know the the diet, lifestyle, exercise, date, and any other commonly-reported factors that might influence the results.

The primary label I consistently applied is the diet.  Here, I assigned to one of 4 mutually exclusive categories.

Standard – Broad category of diets that follow the food pyramid’s advice to emphasize “fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy”. Typically <30% of calories from fat.

LCHF – Broad category of diets that limit carbs and embrace fat. Typically >50% of calories from fat.

Zerocarb – All-animal product carnivorous diet.

Fasting – Any fast of 3 or more days leading up to the test.

 

I noted other labels, but their reporting was more ad hoc:

Duration – When available, I added a duration as a qualifier to their primary diet.

Exercise – Anything from endurance, strength, high-intensity intervals, to vigorous walking.

IF – Intermittent fasting. Any form of time-restricted eating including 16:8, one-meal-a-day, alternate day, etc.

Test <X> – To distinguish multiple tests in a simple post.  Typically X will be a year.

Losing Weight – If the contributor reported a period of weight loss during this test.

Lowcal – The contributor reported lower-than-usual eating leading up to the test, as per the Feldman protocol.

Highcal – The contributor reported higher-than-usual eating leading up to the test, as per the Feldman protocol.

Non-fasted – If there was any reported eating in the 12-hour window before the test. These points are excluded from calculations.

Duplicate – If the contributor posted the same test result in multiple comments. These points are excluded from calculations.

Methods

I downloaded the raw comment database and wrote a script to process the data.  The script worked over a csv data file with the lipid scores, lifestyle tags, and thread context.  It generated an updated version of the data file with standardized units and an html page with the scores highlighted.  It could also generate rows for candidate comments that looked like they might have a data point. In the end, I still had to type numbers into a sheet, but I had some nice tools to validate my work.

Oct 10

Gold Coast 2017 – Photos from the Road

The decision to head to Low Carb Gold Coast was actually made just a few months ago. My wife was able to score our plane tickets on points and miles while likewise cashing them in for hotel stays through most of the trip. (As an aside, she’s so serious about these kinds of deals that she’s actually gone to two conferences on the subject)

I was originally planning to see if we could attend when I reached out to Rod Taylor, but after a few email exchanges I ended up on the speaker roster. This had good timing given I knew I’d be very close on some new research to share as well.

As with the other events, when the video becomes available, I’ll definitely be posting it here. Until then, here are a few pictures for highlights.

     

 

 

Sep 25

The Lipids – a Parody of The Simpsons Opening

’nuff said.

Sep 20

Siobhan Debuts on 2 Keto Dudes

Our very own Siobhan Huggins was on 2 Keto Dudes for a really fantastic talk. They got into Full Geek with a lot of in-depth discussion on immune response, modified LDL, and the receptors that love them! This should be required listening for anyone interested in the process behind lipids and their role in the larger process of atherosclerosis.

Lipid Dysregulation with Siobhan Huggins

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