- We are Running on Ketones. This is not a typical story; we are endurance athletes at different stages of our lives, who are experimenting with a low carb Ketogenic diet. We are not doctors or scientists, just athletes. Anthony is the youngest and the fastest, age 20, and prefers ultra road running. Eric (ZoomZoom), age 27, is ukulele playing mixed distance runner. Dan (SKA Runner), age 42, is new to running, prefers mountains ultras, and a bit of a computer geek. Bob(uglyrnrboy), age 54, prefers mountains ultras and loves to tele ski. This site,, will document our journey as endurance athletes implementing a low carb ketogenic diet in to our lives. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about our experiences.

What is a Nutritional Ketosis Diet? []

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fuelling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. This elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood is a state known as ketosis.


The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available through this web site, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE. does not recommend, endorse or make any representation about the efficacy, appropriateness or suitability of any specific tests, products, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, health care providers or other information that may be contained on or available through this web site. RUNKETO.COM IS NOT RESPONSIBLE NOR LIABLE FOR ANY ADVICE, COURSE OF TREATMENT, DIAGNOSIS OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION, SERVICES OR PRODUCTS THAT YOU OBTAIN THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

Ask us a Question . . . []

Next Week 48 Hours in the Slammer

Ok, so I'm not going to jail, but I am going into the metabolic chamber at the hospital as part of a study. This will be my 4th time locked away in the steel vault. It is actually really cool, I get a treadmill, stationary bike, weight set, tv/dvd, computer, and bed / toilet. While the study is designed to calibrate medical test equipment the data I get as a participant is exact calorie expenditures, and RQ for daily living and exercise activities. The best part is I get to eat what I want which means keto!

Until recently there was a carniceria situated near the hospital that sold pork skins so big that I affectionately called them Meat Watermelons. Sadly the place was demolished to put in a light rail before I could get a picture of them. This weekend I was out on business errands and found another place that sells slightly smaller misshapen versions of them. These things are perhaps the most delicious food in the world.

Length is about 5". The Meat Watermelons were exactly like a 11" long 2"x2" curved slice of watermelon.

In the last week many of my friends have been talking about going out to dim sum and I realized that there basically isn't a single item on the carts that would be keto friendly, not to mention keto-paleo friendly. So when I noticed that my local whole paycheck has a new freezer with local pasture raised organic nasty other bits I bought some chicken feet and made my own Dim sum.

Leftovers for breakfast the next day. The taste was 100% spot on. I guarantee the finest Dim sum gourmand couldn't tell it was a keto replica.

Lastly a few weeks ago FASTER delivered yet more lipid results. These ones were taken before during and after the run. I'll admit that I don't know much about many of the sub fractions listed. Hopefully someone out there on the internet can appreciate it.

Is Upgraded Coffee Special?

For about a year now I've been very suspicious of all Dave Asprey's products. I always wondered why he didn't publish the mold test data on his coffee and other competing coffees. In this clip you can hear Joe Rogan from Onnnit describe how his molds tests found upgraded coffee to be nothing special.

A recent report from Consumer Labs on coffee molds in general as been the final straw in the coffee issue in my view. Sorry this post isn't really related to keto, but since so many of us drink fat coffee as inspired by bulletproof coffee I thought that it was appropriate.

~zoom zoom

Is it true that most coffee is contaminated with mold?

Coffee beans, like many other agricultural crops and foods (oats, corn, peanuts, rice, wheat, cocoa, grapes etc.) are susceptible to contamination with mold. While some molds are harmless, others can produce substances called mycotoxins, which can be harmful. Of most concern in crops such as coffee beans are the mycotoxins ochratoxin A (OTA) and aflatoxin B1. However, as explained below, amounts found in roasted and brewed coffees do not appear to pose a health risk. In fact, you may be exposed to more of these mycotoxins from eating other common foods.

Ochratoxin A (OTA)
OTA may be harmful to the kidneys, and is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (IARC Monograph 2015 -- accessed from IARC Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans). There is no current FDA limit for OTA in foods in the U.S. but the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established a limit of 5 mcg/kg for roasted coffee and 10 mcg/kg for instant coffee (Fapohunda, Basic Res J Agric Sci Rev 2014; EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain, EFSA J 2010; International Coffee Organization 2005).

Much of the concern about mold in coffee comes from a frequently cited study which found 91.7% of green coffee bean sampled (Coffea arabica from Brazil) to be contaminated with mold (Martins, Food Addit Contam 2003). However, it is important to note more than half the samples tested did not contain OTA -- only 33% were found to be contaminated with OTA, and of these, half contained levels between 0.2 and 1 mcg/kg (well below the European limit of 5 mcg/kg for OTA in roasted coffee). In addition, these beans were not roasted, which has been shown to reduce the amount of OTA in coffee by between 30-90% (Fapohunda, Basic Res J Agric Sci Rev 2014). Although one very small study found that ground roasted coffee retained between 22 and 66% of its OTA after brewing (Malir, Toxins 2014), amounts in final coffee products have still been found to be well below EU limits. In a study of 633 roasted, ground and instant coffee products commercially available in European markets, the average amount of OTA in roasted and ground coffee was 0.0008 mcg/g -- drinking four cups of coffee per day for a week would contribute less than 2% of the EU's tolerable weekly intake (Stegen, Food Addit Contam 1997). In comparison, it is estimated that people in Europe are exposed to 10 times that amount of OTA from weekly consumption of cereals.

Alflatoxin B1
Aflatoxin B1 is classified as a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (IARC Monograph 2015 -- accessed from IARC Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans). The FDA limits the amount of total aflatoxins (including aflatoxin B1 and others) in most foods to 20 mcg/kg (FDA Compliance Policy Guidance Manual 2014). One study of arabica and robusta varieties of ground coffees that were stored in humid conditions for 30 days found the aflatoxin levels to vary, ranging from 0.000094 to 0.002086 mcg/kg -- all well below the FDA's limit (Al-Abdalall, Can J Pure Appl Sci 2014).

As with OTA, roasting coffee beans significantly reduces the amount of aflatoxin B1, by an estimated 50 to 100%, and brewing coffee in a coffee maker appears to further decrease aflatoxin B1 that remains after roasting (Soliman, J Agric Food Chem 2002; Micco, Myctoxin Res 1992). One study of roasted coffee which had been artificially contaminated with aflatoxin B1 found brewing reduced the aflatoxin B1 that remained after roasting by up to 99%, depending on which type of coffee maker was used (Micco, Myctoxin Res 1992).

Overall, the risk of exposure from mycotoxins in coffee appears to be low, as they are significantly reduced during processing and roasting and brewing and have been found to be well below guidelines set by agencies like the EFSA and/or FDA. If you want to further reduce your exposure, however, it is interesting to note that caffeinated coffee may contain lower levels of aflatoxin B1 than decaf and that regular ground coffee was found to contain lower amounts of OTA than instant (Soliman, J Agric Food Chem 2002; Stegen, Food Addit Contam 1997).

Additionally, remember to clean your coffee maker, which can contribute to mold in your coffee. According to a study by NSF International, coffee maker reservoirs are among the top five "germiest" items in a household, found to be more contaminated with yeast, mold and bacteria than bathroom doorknobs and light switches (NSF 2011).

Note: There do not appear to be any studies of mycotoxins in supplements made with green coffee bean extract. While the beans are not roasted before extraction, the extraction process itself may eliminate mold. Some brands of green coffee bean extract, such as Svetol® do set a limit for total yeasts and molds (unspecified) in the extract, although this is not required by federal regulations.

More FASTER results released!

Short post, data dump.
I believe that this is the last of the individual results from the FASTER study. Now it is just a waiting game for the published study.

*Ketone values were edited 11/28/14 after being sent a revised set of data from the researchers.

This is from Phase 2.5 of a study I participated in yesterday helping to calibrate personal calorie monitors. They work by measuring evaporation off the body. I'll should get some resting metabolic rate info from it in the next few weeks.

Have a wonderful and keto turkey day tomorrow!
-zoom, zoom

Now With Moar (more) Ketones

A few weeks ago I received a calcium ketone salt in powdered form to test. The BHOB dosage per serving is identical to KetoForce.

I took 1 serving with 1 cup of water 15 min before morning exercise. I was otherwise fasted since 3PM the day before. Exercise was 1 hour long of either indoor cycling, crossfit, or olympic lifting practice.

For cycling I exercised at the same perceived effort as normal but at the end my average power up up 10 watts.
For crossfit I used the same weights and repetitions as normal. My breathing was much easier than normal. The limiting factor was muscle fatigue not cardio.
For olympic lifting I used the same reps and repetitions as normal. My breathing was much easier than normal. The limiting factor was muscle fatigue not cardio. Perhaps I had slightly more focused attention.

I did 3 sessions of each type of exercise. I did do some Ketonix measurements, but I didn't do any blood ketone measurements.

At first I thought that the taste was spectacular. However, for the first few times I took KetoCaNa I got a little bit of a queezy feeling about 20 min after ingestion. I then started to dislike the flavor as I associated it with the queezyness even though I stopped feeling it after the first few days. I took a week break from KetoCaNa and when I came back to it I once again thought it tasted pretty good.

I think that this would make a good addition to a race day nutrition mix.

Recent Keto Recipes

I've been using Shan curry mixes as dry rubs on various meats before grilling. I've used salmon, beef, chicken, and lamb and they all come out amazing. No marinading is required. Below is a picture of my two favorite flavors so far.

My most favorite food in the world (at the moment) happens to be home made steak tartare. While it is a good spread for cucumber, celery, radishes, etc. I've found putting it on a piece of Virgil's Green Chille Beef Jerky (1/2 the price at Costco) to be like catnip.

1 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp Green Onion diced
2 Tbsp Red Onion diced
3 Anchovy Fillets (1.5 tsp fish sauce can be substituted)
3 Cloves of Garlic diced
1 Tbsp Capers (pickle relish / pickles dill or sweet can be substituted)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Cayenne Pepper to taste ~ 1 tsp
Salt to taste ~ ½ tsp

Home Made Mayo:
  • 2 egg yolks @ room temp
  • ½ cup oil (¼ c Coconut Oil + ¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil) an extra 1/2 cup of oil can be used if using very lean meat.
  • 1 tsp vinegar (½ tsp red wine + ½ tsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp mustard

  1. Food process the onions, anchovies, garlic, and capers to finely chopped blend. Set aside.
  2. Food process egg yolks, vinegar, and 1 tsp mustard for 4 seconds. Then place 4 or 5 drops of oil mixture in.
  3. Food process very slowly drizzling in oil to make mayo. If it comes out soupy you can still use it.
  4. Blend mayo, the veggies from earlier, ground beef, 1 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard, and spices to taste.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
I usually use the eggs from my own chickens but I also trust the Owl Canyon Eggs for Grant farm:

I've mostly used ground beef from a cow share that I purchased, but have also used grass fed free range organic 100% USA meat from the store, and venison from this years hunt.

~zoom, zoom

Spinning on a Keto Cheat

This week I just finished up phase II of a calcium / osteoporosis cycling study. I participated in it last year and for all 4 of my rides I was required to eat this not so keto breakfast 3.5 hours before riding. Thankfully I didn't have to eat it before my VO2 max rides.

Oatmeal 35g, Whey Protein Powder 12g, Rasins 9g, Walnuts 10g, Brown Sugar 3g, Eggbeaters 95g, Canola Oil 6g, Baked Potato 125g, Butter 4g, OJ

The procedure was a 1 hour ride at 70% power of max power at VO2max. Then 4 hours of fasting. I ate my potatos cold in an attempt to get a little RS into the diet and was well back into ketosis after the fasting.

While results are preliminary it appears that cycling uses up an enormous amount of calcium for muscle contraction.

Lots of other lab tests were run including a DEXA scan. Here are some of the results.
Differences from last year:
BF% 8%-> 14%
Bone Density Hip 0.2 -> -0.4
Bone Density Spine -0.6 -> -0.2
VO2max absolute 3.74->3.64
VO2max relative 56.9->48.1
Max Watts 250->275
Max HR 186->178
TSH 2.89 -> 1.1
Serum Calcium no change
Vit D no change

It's a little depressing that my only cheat meals in the last 2.5 years of keto have been hospital food.

Resistant Starch Experiment

I spent the last week kayaking the Green River with my dad. I decided it would be a good chance to try 2 Tbsp 2x per day of raw potato starch and combine it with some probiotic supplements, Primal Defense Ultra and Bifidus Balance from Jarrow Formulas. I ate exactly the same thing every day of the trip as shown below:

Honestly eating this way I didn't feel any different from standard keto. Energy remained constant and hunger was non existent. Starting in the evening of the 3rd day I had some mild flatulence which continued for the remainder of the trip. I only had water or decaf green tea to drink. Every day included  10+ miles of paddling and one or more hikes from 2 - 12 miles in length.

My dad subsisted on 2 keto peanut butter cookies for breakfast, one apple, tangerine, plumb, serving of bacon jerky, serving of cashews for lunch and the same tomatoes and beef for dinner. The fruit is not part of his diet back home. Low carb high fat paleo has done wonders for his health over the last year. I'm so proud.
Can you see the tent on the river bank in the picture? It's just a dot and we aren't even up at the top yet.

Keto in Europe

The breakfast on my British Air flight was both Keto and Paleo without modifications. Part of what is called a full breakfast in the British Isles. Great start to the trip! Eating in Ireland was a bit tougher. Hard to find veggies of any sort. No culture of cheese despite being a dairy capital. England and N. Ireland have terrible coffee. Awesome Keto tapas meal in London pictured. Also had amazing Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian. Very international city and lots of people commute to work by running!  (A bit harry for cyclists). England has wonderful local markets outside of London with tons of fresh meats, cheeses, and produce. All organic and pasture raised. See the pic of free range eggs sold unrefrigerated at poundland (dollar store). Now I'm cycling down the Danube in Germany and Austria. Breakfast is a buffet of meat, cheese and eggs every day. Packing lunches of meat cheese and veggies. Dinners are a schmorgasboard of veggies and meats. Coffee is awesome here and I was tired of all the English tea.

Get Fat on Keto? Yes you can!

This is my 6 month weight lifting and DEXA update. I stopped running Sep 7 and started weight lifting Sept 23. I replaced running with nearly daily cycling. Dietary wise I started incorporating nuts and dairy when I stopped running. I stopped both of these on Jan 1st. While running I restricted protein intake to 80-100 g/day. I have not limited protein since and have been in the 130-180 g/day range. Never hungry and never full. 16/8 IF 6 days a week as feels natural and fits my schedule. Plenty of CT. Wasn't tracking calories at any point for my eating. But, based on periodic food logs taken randomly though the year I know that my daily intake is ~2000 +/- 600. I've been strictly keto for 2 years now. No cheats. Periodic and regular BHOB and breath AcAc testing has shown steady and deep ketosis.
4.7% BF -> 17.1%
+ 23 lbs of fat
+ 9.2 lbs of muscle
Almost all of the weight was put on in the first 1.5 months. Here are some comparison pictures
I've got a pic with my shirt on from the day of the first DEXA
The values below are for Tissue (% Fat) which is your percent body fat calculated using only soft tissue not including your bone mass. The segmentation between the regions is performed by the operator / technician. Several other factors make it so that the "overall" catagory is not the direct sum of the catagories listed above. For example Gynoid and Android regions overlap with other regions.

 The T-score is a comparison of a person's bone density with that of a healthy 30-year-old of the same sex.
My T was .4 and -.4 for the first and second scans respectively.  
I know based on another DEXA scan that in the 2 months leading up to the Aug 24th scan I gained 5 lbs of lean and lost 5 lbs of fat.

-zoom zoom



Fat Lean %BF Fat Lean %BF Muscle Gain Fat Gain
L Arm 0.3212 7.722 4.0 1.7908 9.6272 15.7 1.9052 1.4696
R Arm 0.3124 7.4734 4.0 1.8458 9.7042 16.0 2.2308 1.5334
Trunk 2.9722 64.3676 4.4 13.123 68.4794 16.1 4.1118 10.1508
L Leg 1.1528 21.8504 5.0 5.4076 25.3748 17.6 3.5244 4.2548
R Leg 1.199 22.6754 5.0 6.0412 26.4022 18.6 3.7268 4.8422
Android 0.4312 8.9496 4.6 2.3716 10.9164 17.8 1.9668 1.9404
Gynoid 1.4476 20.2158 6.7 5.7882 25.0052 18.8 4.7894 4.3406
Overall 6.4966 132.6974 4.7 30.7956 147.763 17.2 15.0656 24.299

Total Scale Weight 143.6
Total Scale Weight 176
Total Weight Gain 33

Total DEXA Weight 146
Total DEXA Weight 178
Total DEXA Weight Gain 32

Total Bone Weight 6.6
Total Bone Weight 5.9

Trying Glutathione and Revisiting Potential Allergies

I was given a small sampler of reduced glutathione and I've been experimenting with it pre workout. It seems to be reducing the perceived effort but doesn't appear to increase overall performance. It seems like it might play a role on days when you don't feel motivated but are otherwise in fine shape for a difficult workout.

I've started taking night classes for a Wilderness First Responder and EMT certification. If there is one thing that the instructors have drilled into my head it is to not use latex gloves (use nitrile). Why is this important to keto? Well several of the instructors have developed  latex allergies over the years of working EMS. They now carry 3 epi pens each to keep from dying if they accidentally touch latex. Eggs, specifically the whites, have the potential to create allergies either on their own or by conveying other substances eaten by the chicken. Many of us eat lots of eggs so it may be something to lookout for. What is the science behind this, well I haven't read up on the published studies myself but I do have some anecdotes from my 4H backyard chicken club. The discussion came up when I mentioned the custom feed that I created and order with a small buyers club. I don't include any wheat, soy, or corn and have a 1:1 omega 3:6 ratio in my feed. It turns out that one of the club members is crazy allergic to store bought eggs but isn't for the eggs from her own soy fee chickens (she is allergic to soy products). Another members wife was allergic to shellfish and after feeding oyster shells (common practice) to her chickens rapidly became allergic to eggs. You are what you eat eats?

-zoom zoom

2013 Review and Looking to 2014 (G. Anthony Kunkel)

For my dietary year-end report skip down to the "----" on the left side..
As I settle into 100 mile weeks for my winter base, the time has come to look back at the year. I've raced 22 times this year, counting track meets with multiple events as one race, from 400 meters to 100 miles. I've won 6 races, from 1500 meters on the track to 50 miles on insane, washed-out/flooded, trails. I finished the year with the RRCA Western Regional XC Championships earlier this month where I pulled off a second place finish (like 30 seconds behind) to a guy way out of my league in terms of road speed.
My biggest problem this year has been race selection. I need to start picking races based solely on the level of competition. Winning a race nobody has heard of isn't going to get me closer to running professionally at this point. Denver Rock N Roll 26.2 was solid for that reason, maybe another big city marathon should be in the cards for next fall.

To stay strong and sharp, and keep training enjoyable, I'll be racing my first season in snowshoes this winter. The Beaver Creek Series is the first weekend each month from January to March and had offered prize money in years past. Winning the series would be a big deal for me. And racing 10k's at 9000 feet, in snow, with my feet weighted, is gona be a great way to prep for April's big goal race.
The first ultra on my calendar is the USATF 100k Road Championships on April 12th, a race that seems almost perfectly designed for me (gently rolling, road, and just over 50 miles) and one with fast enough dudes (and ladies for that matter!) that my chances of a top-3 are small to say it gently. -However, a win there would mean a chance to go to Europe and represent team USA, something that needs to happen before I retire from this craziness. This will be the biggest race of my running career to date. I'm also planning on the Platte River Half Marathon the weekend before to build some confidence with a PR, hopefully a 1:18:xx.

May will be spent almost purely training on trails and climbing. I'll get out to Golden Gate Canyon State Park at least once to camp on the race course for Dirty Thirty and get used to the idea of running fast there. Also, BoulderBoulder is a must and I have to run it well, so that'll cost me a a few days of training, a 35:15'ish would be the "A" goal as of now.

Next will be the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k in June, right here near Golden, Colorado. This one has quietly become extremely competitive and is too close to home to ever justify missing. If I can get halfway decent at climbing I'll be ready to kick some elite ass here.
My end of summer "A" race is the Silver Rush (Leadville) 50 miler in July, one more that brings out serious runners every year. And it fits me well: non-technical, 50 miles, and close to home so I can train on the course.

This is the year; my stock is gona quadruple in the next 10 months! Any companies wana buy in now?

----Now to the dietary analysis:
This year had more incredible races than ever before and I credit it to my diet almost entirely. I train hard so I can run faster, but I eat a low-carb diet so I can enjoy running more. -those two are largely independent. Devil Mountain was 100% conclusive for me that I'm doing the right thing for my running. Feeling amazing from miles 18 to mile 45'ish is worth any price. I get goosebumps just thinking back to those miles. Carbs won't get you there.
Even my shorter races are more enjoyable if feel. When I did my first winter (2011/12) with a huge base building phase I noticed a huge increase in how shorter races felt, part of that was due to the liberating effect of knowing that 5ks and such were no longer "my race." They felt more playful; all the sudden I could hop in a 5k and run it like a dog: hard but smiling and with my tongue out! This past summer (after about a year in ketosis) I felt that same joy, and lack of brain-darkening feelings, at both a 1500 meter race on a track in Boulder and at the Pearl Street Mile. Both of those were done with hardly any speedwork and not far off PR times from sea level. But the way I felt was beyond explanation: as my body flooded with acid and my legs began to rebel, my brain remained as clear and focused as it was at the starting line. I used to think this phenomenon was just a good race. I'm not convinced there's some ketone-related science related to it. Perhaps ketones help maintain brain function even in an all-out race such as the mile/1500.
I came across at least one study that seems to support this theory:
"Hypoxia induced preferential ketone utilization by rat brain slices"
"These results are consistent with the hypothesis that ketones can be used in addition to glucose as a substrate for brain energy production even during reduced oxygen availability."

And I'm still getting faster, enjoying running more than ever, staying injury-free, and feeling healthy.
My ketogenic eating staples this year, things I ate almost daily:
-almonds and almond -butter and -flour 
-grassfed butter
-peppers of all kinds
-meat of all kinds
-leaves of all kinds

See you in 2014,
G. Anthony Kunkel

Weight Lifting Month 2

If you missed the first months results and my background in weight lifting the post can be found here.
I continue to increase both my reps and weights. Some highlights from the last few weeks are:

600 reps in 25 min for my back, bi, and shoulder day.
Pyramids on leg day finishing with 600 lb leg press for 10 reps.

My trainer is trying to create muscle confusion by frequently varying the weights, reps, and order. This makes it difficult to directly compare certain exercises from week to week. He severely limits the frequency of dead lifts and squats citing that it takes at least 2 weeks to recover from them. They are my favorite so I wish I could do them more often.

Rigorous scientific method has been defeated by the capricious nature of life. I wanted to use the same camera, lighting, poses, and photographer, but the camera breaking was the first thing to go wrong.
None the less I've done the best I can.

To be honest I'm very embarrassed by these pictures. My mental image of a beautiful body is firmly rooted in a distance running perspective.


I have been able to keep my measurements scientifically rigorous.

  10/11/2013  11/11/2013  12/11/2013 
weight 155.5 170 167
hips 98 102.5 103
waist 85.5 90.5 88.5
neck 36.5 37.5 39
biceps 31 35.5 33
chest 102.5 108 106

I'm not exactly sure what to make of the numbers and pictures. Waist to hip ratio, and weight indicated a lower BF% from last month but still worse than at the start. Biceps when down in size despite increasing my 20 rep weight by 10 lbs. Clearly the pictures show muscle and positional a symmetries. I've had these for a long long time and I hope that weight lifting will help to balance everything out. Here is a picture from this time last year 12/5/13:

-zoom zoom

Making Your Own Chocolate

After all the discussion on the facebook page about Lily's and Lindt's chocolate bars I decided to revisit my old recipe for making them myself. I did a reformulation using Dr. Lagakos' anti-brainfog, pro-gut health, chocolate blog post as a guide.

Ingredients for 100g of 95% Dark Chocolate:

60g Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
25g Cocoa Fat or any fat that is solid at room temperature.
10g MCT
3g   Ground up Dandelion Root or Chicory Root (or other GOS source - Galactooligosaccharides)
2g   Sugar Replacement

Melt bakers chocolate. Best to use a double boiler but not necessary.
Add in fat source and melt it into the chocolate.
Add MCT.
Grind up GOS and sugar replacement in coffee grinder into a powder and add to melt.
Pour into muffin tin or similar and put in refrigerator or freezer.

Extra Notes: You don't have to use bakers chocolate. You can use undutched (not alkali processed) cocoa powder. 32g of cocoa powder and up the solid fat source to 53g total.
I used a blend of erythritol, stevia, and  lo han guo powder. The 2g amount is for 1:1 replacement with sugar. Don't put in 2g of stevia or it will be way too sweet. To make the chocolate less dark just add a little bit more sweetener. Don't put any liquids other than pure fat into the mix or it will not come out right. Other powdered flavorings can be used like instant coffee to make mocha or BCAAs for protein. If you want to put in nuts or fruits place them in your muffin tin and pour the chocolate over it. To completely enclose the nuts in chocolate fill tin 1/2 way, freeze and then add nuts and pour 2nd batch over the top of frozen first batch.

-zoom zoom

Interview with Dr. Lagakos

Dr. Lagako's blog covers many of these topics in depth with citations to sientific research. I suggest reading some of his latest articles on the relationship between urine and blood ketone values in regards to circadian rythms and also his article on gelatin .

Interview: Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Here is a summary transcript of the interview:

0:00 In your book you describe several situations in which a calorie is not a calorie. I found the discussion of HGH particularly fascinating, yet you do not recommend it as a fat loss supplement. Why not?

A group of patients take HGH and regardless of the amount of calories it favorably affected nutrient partitioning. More calories went into building muscle and less into storing fat. The example was used to demonstrate that nutrient partitioning is very important and mediated by hormones. HGH has a lot of use in treating conditions but may not be good for those that are already healthy and already engaging in regular exercise. High intensity exercise is a known stimulus for natural HGH. Adding HGH might not add extra benefit. There are not many studies on athletes. Just stick with high intensity exercise until more research is done on athletes.

2:02  It appears that Nicotine has similar body re composition properties as HGH although perhaps it works on different pathways. Any thoughts on using nicotine patches as a fat loss aid?

Nicotine would be a vitamin if it were not addictive. It does have a lot of beneficial effects on cognition. It is a potent anti inflammatory agent. It improves insulin sensitivity. The strongest aspect is its ability to help attenuate appetite especially in those that are overweight. It might not work as well in an athlete except in improving cognition. It may help prevent post exercise soreness. Tobacco products decrease insulin sensitivity but nicotine by itself does not.

4:20 If you are already eating a ketogenic diet is there any reason to further control blood glucose.

No insulin sensitizing agents are useless to ketogenic dieters. If you are not being exposed to dietary carbohydrates then you have little need for a high level of insulin sensitivity. If you are adapted to a ketogenic diet you insulin sensitivity may decline a bit but that doesn't matter because you don't have insulin spikes without carbohydrates. Berberine, cinnamon, and bitter melon might have benefits reducing oxidative stress but they when it comes to the ability of managing blood glucose levels it doesn't matter to low carb keto dieters.

5:51 What is the mechanism of the insulin sensitivity agents?

There are a couple different. Some work on the amylase enzymes to prevent the digestion others act at the insulin receptor to dispose of the carbohydrates faster. There is a wide spectrum of mechanisms.

6:20 You push a lot of protein in your book. There is a big concern about too much protein kicking you out of ketosis. Is there a use for the blood sugar controls to prevent this?

These are two different issues. Consuming too much protein will not raise blood blood glucose levels. When you eat protein above your minimum requirements amino oxidation will occur in the liver in preference to fatty acid oxidation, which is the main method of ketone production. Also liver glycogen stores will increase decreasing the bodies need to oxidize fatty acids.

8:00 There is discussion by doctors that if you don't have more than 15 or 20 grams of protein in a single serving the amino acids will get used by the gut lining instead of going into the blood stream.

I don't believe that is true. If you have a lower protein intake the body will try to capitalize on it more efficiently by increasing protein synthesis. The gut does use certain amino acids. Most ingested glutamine will be metabolized in the intestine. Very little of the branch chain will bypass the liver and the intestine and go strait to the skeletal muscle. Other amino acids will be metabolized by the liver.

9:55 If you have all of your protein in one sitting you might stimulate excess amino acid oxidation so it might be better to have two meals of protein instead of one meal. Do you want 10 meals of protein, probably not.

10:20 What about large amounts of protein causing aging.

Protein may stimulate cell turnover and cell growth. When it comes to protein quality in the diet not sure how much high protein effects longevity. Virtually no human studies on the issue.

12:10 You pose a hypothesis our lifespan might be determined by the total calories consumed. Does eating amino acids instead of protein avoid the calorie countdown.

Even the BCAA that are shuttled directly to the skeletal muscle have calories and energy.

13:50 What about cold thermometers revving up your metabolic engine and aging you faster?

I'm not an expert in this at all. You can increase your brown adipose tissue by doing it. Some athletes do it but the data is very mixed. Most studies use very different CT protocols and give very different results. It could be helpful but should not be giving a blanket endorsement.

15:10 Are you increasing the mitochondrial density by doing CT?

You could be. The response of the mitochondria to the cold is increase uncoupling which could cause some oxidative stress down the line. The ketogenic diet will increase the number, function, and quality of mitochondria. Especially after 3 months. You will no longer be tired, you can do high intensity workouts and have increased endurance. The primary mediator of that is the affect of the diet on the mitochondria. From an athletic perspective the keto adapted state is critically dependent on the mitochondrial response.

16:50 After keto adaptation it seems that the actual BHOB values don't matter as much to how you feel and perform. Is that because you are running directly off of free fatty acids.

You should still be using ketones for some things. Your brain will still be oxidizing ketones. The urine ketone strips are a little iffy. You should register above 1 mM if you've adapted. The best measure of adaptation is how you feel and perform.

18:40 Do you know of any other quantitative measurements?

The blood meters are pretty good. Urinary a distant second.

19:00 Deep ketosis?

The number one factor in the level of ketosis and how easy getting in is patient history. The duration you've been on the diet. It is a direct reflection of their mitochondrial performance.

20:20 Calorie math?
Probably more than 4 lbs of muscle has been formed in 1 month where 15 lbs were gained on a ketogenic diet. Water weight gained would be low because you are ketogenic. Being an ketogenic athlete does amazing things for nutrient partitioning.

21:40 What about salts after the transition period?

When you switch to low carb it involves abandoning industrial processed foods which have a lot of salts. Without the carbohydrates you don't have much insulin which means you waste body salts a bit. This is magnified in a ketogenic state.

23:02 Insulin is more fat promoting than muscle building.

If you infuse just a small amount of insulin cells will completely stop fatty acid utilization. This small amount of insulin is much smaller than the amount required to build muscle or store salts.

23:50 What about gut function and thyroid function.

Gut stuff isn't in the book. Gut biome thrives on carbohydrates which are absent on a ketogenic diet. This doesn't bode well for gut health. The patch for this is fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kefier. If you experience gut problems, bloating or constipation you really should consider fermented foods.

26:44 I started on a resistant starch protocol from feedtheanimal blog. Take potato starch with the fermented foods as prebiotic. Mix the PS with MCT oil. If I don't have gut health issues no reason to do it?

If you don't have gut health issues don't supplement. Only needed if there is a concern.

28:07 Talking about thyroid. Carbohydrates are not necessary. If you have symptoms of hypothyroid it is because of energy deficit. Keto diets are notorious for spontaneous energy reduction. Adequate calories and fat with weight maintenance should not be experiencing thyroid issues.

30:20 The healing properties of ketones seems to be incredible. Ketone salts are very interesting.

I just did a blog post about that in a recent blog post. When you infuse ketones into cells there is a huge increase in power output. Ketones are a super fuel.

32:15 If you want to experiment with the ketogenic diet you have to go longer than a month. The first week is difficult and athletic performance will take a hit.

33:20 What about re-feeds?

Carb re-feeds are unnecessary aside from emotional or psychological support. If you are in an energy deficit for too long you might want to ensure you get adequate calories.

34:47 I've avoided libido issues by eating a lot every 14 days or so.

Females might experience amenorrhea and may not cycle which is a normal response to energy deprivation. There are a few intervention studies I've posted on my blog. Testosterone levels increase with saturated fat.

37:20 Do you follow the lipid issues with low carb diets?

Trigs go down with decreased carb intake.

39:10 I prefer zetia to statins for cholesterol lowering drugs. I think high HDL is most improtant.

My personal quest is to remove omega 6 from my diet.

40:00 The benefits of that alone are tremendous. These oils are usually oxidized before consumption. Raw nuts probably are not so bad. Its better to get rid of vegitable oils.

41:02 Have you heard the theory that omega 6 are pro inflation resolution?

The major mediators are going to be the omega 3 from fish. There have been cell and animal studies about omega 6 but I think it will be omega 3s. I don't see a need for omega 6 in the diet.

43:22 Saturated fat is quite resistant to oxidative stress, so it is a good way to reduce oxidative stress in the body.

43:40 May readers send you questions.

I'm on twitter at caloriesproper you can email me at drlagakos at gmail or you could go directly to the website and leave a comment.