Monday, July 9, 2012


Recently, Jimmy Moore, in his Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Blog, shared that he started a new n=1 experiment that was inspired by his reading of the new book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (2012) by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, who also authored The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living (2011) and, along with Eric Westman, The New Atkins For a New You (2010).

In this newest book, the subject of blood ketone testing is explained in detail.  In the "olden days", we had to use urine testing strips for testing ketone levels, and the results were less than consistent.  Back in 2000, my husband, Bill, lost around 30 pounds eating very low carb but never turned a strip purple, which is supposed to show evidence of ketosis.  I, on the other hand, did not lose any weight, and my testing strips turned as dark a shade of purple as they could.

Today, there is a new over-the-counter system available to test blood ketone levels.  Although designed for diabetics, this system can easily be used by people like myself and any other non-diabetic who wants to get to the bottom of why they are not losing weight eating low carb.  Jimmy Moore explains here how he is testing his blood for evidence of ketone bodies with a handy dandy hand-held meter which is very similar to the blood glucose meters that you can buy in any pharmacy.  One drawback is that, although the meter is pretty cheap, the testing strips for ketone measuring are pricey at $5-$6 per strip, but I guess it would be worth it to achieve the results that you have coming to you!  Typically, one strip is used each day.  You can find the meter and the strips on here and here.

I bought my meter from Amazon, but I bought my strips here, because they were much cheaper.

Jimmy explains how it has become obvious to him, after testing his blood for ketone bodies, that although he has been diligently eating low carb all these years, he has probably been eating too much protein for his system.  And anyone who has been low carbing for any amount of time has heard that excess protein, beyond what the body needs, will be turned into glucose and will hamper ketosis.  Even a zero- or nearly-zero-carb diet will not produce weight loss if too much protein is being eaten.  I'll let Jimmy tell you the details of just what exactly he is eating now, but suffice to say his protein intake is less and his fat intake is more, along with his regular low carb.

Jimmy spent a few days visiting with Tom Naughton this past week, and Tom was able to witness first hand the new way Jimmy is eating and losing weight, and blogged about it here.  Tom bought one of the meters, too, and is hoping to shed those last couple of pounds himself.

Obviously, I have found this very interesting!  Anyone who has read this blog knows of my struggles to get rid of my remaining visceral fat.  Although I am thrilled that I have lost 17 pounds of body fat in the last three years of low carbing, currently, I am still carrying around an extra 20 pounds of body fat that I would love to get rid of, once and for all, and the idea that this might just be the answer has me, well, pretty excited!

Today, I tracked my grams of fat, protein and carbs for the first time since last summer.  Drs. Phinney and Volek advise that you should be eating between 0.6 and 1 gram of protein for each of your pounds of lean body weight.  With my goal of lean body weight at 99 pounds, I should be eating between 59 and 99 grams of protein per day.  In the past, I've tried 99 grams per day and more, but the results were bad, so this time, I will go to the low side and see how that works.  Today, I ate 160g of fat (84.7% of total calories), 47g of protein (11.1% of total calories) and 18g of total carbs (4.3% of total calories).  I was not hungry all day, eating mostly fat with a little bit of protein and carbs for breakfast and lunch, and a normal-ish dinner of salmon patties and salad.  I also did some interval training outside (6 intervals of slow walking interspersed with fast-as-I-could-go sprints) before it got too hot outside to bear.

I really want to buy the meter and the strips to see if I am in ketosis, but money is tight and I have not decided whether I need to spend the money yet.  If I start losing weight by just eating this new way, I may skip the meter all together.  But I love data, and I probably will not be able to resist forking over the cash to do at least 10 days worth of testing.

I started out this morning at 147.4 pounds on the scale, with a body fat percentage of 36.3%.  I wonder what I will weigh next week?  Golly, I hope this is the answer I have been looking for!

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