May 22

START HERE (Pinned)

  • 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)

Aug 21

Jammin’ with the ZDogg on #IncidentReport

I hadn’t heard of ZDogg MD until his video, A Real Doctor Watches “What The Health” went viral. 

The irony is that it popped on my radar initially from being attacked by vegan YouTubers I follow. Suddenly many of them were making “debunk” videos going after ZDogg and challenging his statements in the video. In case you’re wondering why I follow vegans among many anti-low carbers, you should know I try to proactively find counter opinions to the foundations of my knowledge constantly, as I think it is the best way to learn. (In fact, I’m currently making many local vegan friends here in town for a coming experiment of my own, but that’s for a later post.)

I then started watching the many, many other videos ZDogg was making with the help of his talented two-man crew, Tom and Logan. Without question, they are charting very new ground and actually making topics on medicine both interesting and entertaining. Sometimes he goes full music video, sometimes it’s a solemn discussion about healthcare workplace violence, but most of the time it’s ZDogg’s special blend of new perspectives mixed with impromptu humor that is wildly addictive.

When I found out they were based in Vegas like yours truly, I considered reaching out once I was back from the Low Carb USA conference. Finally, I fit it in at the end of last week, sending him to my Breckenridge presentation and in a matter of days we worked out my being booked to come for that Sunday’s “Against Medical Advice” show.

ZDogg and I had an instant rapport. Best of all, in just 10-15 minutes before the interview, I was able to chat up some key biochem stuff on lipids that he instantly followed. He was repeating back big-picture concepts I was trying to convey, but in his own words and I was extremely impressed. I remarked how I find that difficult to communicate to even low carb doctors most of the time. But would that convert okay for the camera?

No question, it was one of the best (if not the best) interviews I’ve had. We covered quite a bit and I was pleased with how natural and easy our dialog flowed. Afterward, we talked about my coming back for more appearances which I’ll definitely be looking forward to.

The entire experience was incredible and I can’t emphasize enough how much I admire ZDogg, Tom, and Logan for their impressive work. Mark my words, these guys are building something truly new and innovative, and I’m excited to see how far it goes.

Aug 17

The Game of Glucose

When I started my journey of Insanely Tracking Everything™ lifestyle, I naturally took to using a glucose meter frequently. I would capture mornings when I wake up and evenings when going to bed. But I likewise tested meals regularly as well.

Early on I happened to come across an article about the FDA insisting on tighter standards to be “+/-15% for home-use meters”. Wait… what??? A 15% margin up or down is considered the new, tighter range?

Early Results

I got a taste of this myself a number of times when I had a reading that didn’t seem quite right. So I tried doing retesting for at least two more times whenever that happened, like so:

Okay, that’s swell. But what if the one meter was off on its retests too? I decided to do some doubling up and got both an Accuchek and a Precision Xtra for some redundancy. Whenever the two were distant from each other, I’d do a retest with both.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work all the time either, as you can see here:

… riiiiiight. So on the second test the gap actually widens. Sure, I’d like to just expand the testing further, but this is already getting expensive as it is.

Here’s a loose collection of a few pictures from that time period where I was using both glucometers frequently. As you can see, the error range is pretty obvious given all of these were taken from the same site on my finger.

As you can imagine, I tried not to put too much stock into it past that point but continued to be sure I took measurements in the morning and evening anyway with my one remaining glucometer — the Precision Xtra.

A New Divide

This week on Monday before my lab blood draw, I used CardioChek’s glucose strip alongside the Precision Xtra and was stunned to see the highest discrepancy yet:

Not only do I already have some studies provided by the PTS Diagnostics people on the higher accuracy of their glucose component of their device, I also had a pretty obvious context… I was, after all, 14 hours fasted. Which glucose reading makes more sense to you for someone on keto in a fasted state?

Sleuthing Time

I then realized I actually had a nice bloc of data I hadn’t analyzed yet. All my previous CardioChek lipid tests included the glucose testing as well and I was careful to take the Precision Xtra glucose at the same time (and same site), but I was too focused on the lipids to see how that comparison was going. Well, today seemed like a good moment. So here it is:

   

Wow! Average difference was a whopping 16.36! And it was always higher, unlike the Accu-Chek from above. Again, remember this was from samples taken at the same time from the same site.

Naturally, I felt somewhat betrayed by my Precision Xtra in this moment. Not only did I trust the CardioChek numbers more, but the numbers themselves seemed to make more sense. Given 12-14 hours of fasting, wouldn’t it be much more likely my range would be in the late 70s to mid-80s?

Actually, this road gets quite a bit twistier…

So I decided to break out my spreadsheet and fill in the historical glucose readings I had in days where I also got a CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel) in my blood draw. This was pretty much since the middle of 2016 up to now. Thus I had quite a few data points to compare now. Take a look:

 

  Side Note: The higher 100s fasting numbers from 4/13 to 4/26 were the Carb Swap experiment and its reproduction. Thus, if anything, these numbers were expected to be higher.

(Crickets)

Um….

Okay, so I had a solid five minutes of being genuinely awe struck. The 0.19 might as well be 0. Was the device really that accurate? Sure, the deviation of the Precision Xtra vs the Lab Results wasn’t perfect, but certainly much tighter than it was with the CardioChek. Or to put it another way, was the CardioChek that inaccurate?!?

Oh Yeah

… And then I remembered I was actually making a very different comparison between these two sets.

  1. The Precision Xtra vs CardioChek was performed in seconds between each test.
  2. The Precision Xtra vs Lab Results was performed with 2 to 3 hours between each, along with lots of water consumed as well.

The reason for this gap with #2 is that I always take my glucose first thing when I wake up (along with ketones, BP, etc). Since I try to time my fasting period around 14 hours each time I do a blood draw, that means I’ll likely have a gap in time until I can go to get the lab test. For example, I often eat at 6-6:30pm the night before, but wake up at 6am the next morning and thus wait until 8-8:30am before having my blood drawn.

Moreover, I always drink lots of water on the morning of the blood draw, typically 2-2.5 liters. (As an aside, this has potentially created a confounder with a few of the metrics, such as electrolytes. But I have to maintain this behavior until I can change it in isolation to see what the differences are specifically.)

So with this in mind, it is indeed likely my glucose fell in this span of time between my morning Precision Xtra test and my visit to the phlebotomist. But boy, wouldn’t it be coincidental if that margin of difference just happened to fit so well with the outcome of the lab results!

Naturally, this is where Scientist Me wants to have a lot of money to do all three tests at the same time from now on. Then I’d find out for sure who the odd man out was.

Aug 08

Low Carb USA 2017

This last weekend I gave a presentation at Low Carb USA in San Diego. I was invited to speak by the lovely folks of ApoE4.info and was excited to have a full hour to provide more explanation and depth to both the lipid system and my research. In fact, this may be my personal favorite presentation yet. Given it was early in the conference on a Thursday, I assumed it would be a mostly empty room, but to my surprise, it packed out to standing room only.

I certainly have to express my sincerest appreciation to the ApoE4 group as they were extremely organized and accommodating. As a group, they were both gracious and wickedly smart, and I thoroughly enjoyed our many chats throughout the weekend.

The rest of the conference I was networking with many people regarding my research and picking up many tidbits on others’. I was able to catch about 2/3rds of the presentations. But I wished I could have caught more.

I was extremely thrilled to run into Sara Hallberg. We got to chat briefly about Virta and how the study was going and touched on hyper-responders, exchanging a few insider notes between us. There is a key piece of information I found out about which will apply to my research directly but won’t be public until their paper comes out — which should be pretty soon. When it does, I’ll share what that is and how it applies to my work. Her presentation was one of the best of the conference and had an enormous impact. Once available online, I highly recommend it.

The presentation I most enjoyed by far was from Dr. Dwight Lundell, “ED, no not that ED!” The ED stood for Endothelial Dysfunction and it was something I found to be of critical importance with atherosclerosis early on in my education on lipids. The endothelium is, after all, the scene of the crime. In fact, I consider it the most overlooked factor with regard treatment as it is inconvenient to the larger Lipid Hypothesis altogether. Dr. Lundell found this out for himself when he began asking tough questions on it after his retirement.

 

I was also fortunate to share many meals with some of my favorite people in the LCHF movement as well. Ironically, this was one major conference I was planning to pass on, and now I’d consider it one of the best experiences I’ve had yet.

A Quick Note to Commenters…

I hope to have more bandwidth to catch up on comments toward the end of this week. I’ve certainly been feeling my limits these days, but I’m fortunate to have Craig helping out and providing a lot of feedback regarding the research on this site.

Jul 31

Bananas, San Diego, and Patreon

I’ve got quite a lot in my Inbox now and I’m definitely exploring my limits these days. But to save time on answering many similar questions, I’m going to give a heads up on what’s ahead…

This Week

  • I just completed an experiment where I ate primarily meat for the first three days, then added bananas at various amounts for seven days following. This was a sister experiment to the isocaloric carb swap I did a couple months ago, where I used bread as my primary carb source. My write up on that won’t be for a while due to the other items I have ahead of it below.
  • This Thursday I’ll be giving a presentation at Low Carb USA in San Diego at 6:30 PM (Room TBD). It will include the data from the Ketofest Cholesterol Experiment, including a cool new graph I’ll post here later.

The Patreon Solution?

Following Low Carb USA, I may have to slow down again and do more contract work.

While I’ve been approached on doing sponsorships before, I’ve had to turn them all down. Direct financial compensation from a business entity risks concern it could influence my data — which is a valid critique.

One thing I’ve been pressed on by many is to start a Patreon channel as a means of being funded directly by individuals. I’ve always been a bit reluctant as I genuinely want the helpful materials I make available for anyone to be free.

But recently, I’ve been thrown a few new ideas that are making a lot of sense. For instance, I could vlog the day-to-day “sausage making” of my experiments for interested viewers (and apparently there are many more than I would’ve thought). They would get more of a heads up in how things are going and even a sneak preview to the raw data as it develops — but I’d still write up the refined data and materials for free on the blog as I always have.

Even if it didn’t cover my bills (unlikely), what amount it raised would directly influence how much time I could devote to expanding on the research where I’d otherwise have to earn with contract work instead.

Jul 21

Welcome Craig to the Blog!

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been pretty stretched thin these days. Lots and lots of growing pains. My presentations, appearances, and social presence are now having me find limits I didn’t even know I had — and this doesn’t even account for the experiments themselves. This is made even more difficult by the fact I need to likewise earn money on the side to pay for the bloodwork and bills.

Needless to say, I’m bad about asking for help. But to my relief, someone else has been pretty persistent about providing it. Craig is someone I’ve been in correspondence with for a while, and who I got to recently meet in person. We are definitely kindred spirits in both software development and gaming. Moreover, he is a hyper-responder as well with a keen interest in likewise learning all he can about the lipid system.

He’ll be helping me here on the site and with a number of things associated with the research and data. Moving forward, we’ll be ultimately forming a Cholesterol Code Working Group that will have even more team members eventually. As I say often, this thing is certainly a lot bigger than me, and without question, it is feeling that way more with each passing day.

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