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First Experiment Ketosis

Discussion in 'The Epi-Paleo Diet' started by persistence, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. persistence

    persistence New Member

    I decided to do an experiment with how easily I could go into ketosis and wanted some feedback on my results.

    Yesterday I set aside about four hours before lunch and had nothing but tea with either monounsaturated fat or saturated coconut oil added. I was adding about two tablespoons per cup, so a decent amount of oil. I would guess I drank about six cups of tea over the four hours. Oh, almost forgot I also had some Hershey's Unsweetened Baking Bar chocolate, which is 100% cacao. I think there is no sugar added on that, although they do list some carbohydrate on label. It's quite sour to the taste, so I don't think there is any substantial sugar or starch.

    At the end of four hours I have my ketones up to 1.6 mmol/L. I guess technically that means I am already in ketsosis at that point? I ate a lunch of fish and vegetables, no starches, and ended up peeking my ketones around 2.5 mmol/L about two hours after finishing that lunch.

    What I did notice during this experiment:

    1) My steady state glucose fell from the 95 to 110 level to 80 to 90.

    2) I had some sense of energy leveling out and not being so dramatically up and down.

    By the next morning ketones were at 0.2 mmol/L. Would it be typical to see them disappear so quickly?

    I would like to do some experiments going into ketosis and out. For one, I want to test what happens to my glucose when I try to enter ketosis rapidly in morning, before eating breakfast, by drinking some tea with lots of oil. (See other thread I started for this.) Does anyone see any harm in going in and out of ketosis frequently?
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    victor_dan likes this.
  2. Dali Dula

    Dali Dula Moderator

    Fat bomb breakfast - heat in small saucepan
    1tbs each of the following:
    MCT oil
    Coconut oil
    Heavy whipping cream

    In a big mug put two eggs (duck if you have them)
    Some cinnamon and vanilla
    3tbs unprocessed cocoa powder
    Add boiling water to fill mug half way
    Whisk up cocoa, egg, hot water
    Add melted fat, whisk till frothy
    I am not hungry for at least 8 hours after this.
    If you want no protein at all use just egg yolk instead of whole eggs.
    You could do this with coffee a la Bulletproof, but the cocoa is great and brings some resistant starch to the game.
  3. yewwei.tan

    yewwei.tan Gold

    Generally speaking, not eating anything at all is the fastest way to naturally get into ketosis. Coconut oil will definitely boost up blood ketone levels, which is probably why you're seeing ketones go up after consuming said meals.

    You've talked a lot about your glucose management issues. Do you normally see dawn phenomena? If so, that could explain the low morning ketone readings, and you should test again 4 hours after waking to see if ketones start to rise again.

    Personally, I generally wake up in the 0.5-0.8mM range, eat a fat-only meal for breakfast, and then get up to 1.0-1.5mM 4 hours post waking, and then usually hover anywhere from 1.0-2.0mM all the way until dinner. If there's any eating in between, it's almost always fat or very low carb/protein. After a regular day's dinner (roughly 100g protein), I'd be back to around 0.6-0.8mM 4 hours after the meal. This is all without consumption of particularly ketogenic fats. On days that I do specifically consume any form of MCTs, afternoon readings can get above 3.0mM.

    I should note that I tend to view clinically defined ketosis (>0.5mM BHB) as a leading indicator of an underlying state of high fat oxidation, rather than a be-all-end-all goal. The goal is to get your cells to be burning fat, and "going in and out of ketosis" really means switching between different energetic substrates. My opinion is that sustained fatty acid oxidation is probably something you want if you're trying to reverse disease. Ketones can act as the switch that tells your cells to burn fat, but aren't the underlying mechanism for optimal mitochondrial function as far as I know.
  4. persistence

    persistence New Member

    Wow, you are an animal. :)

    Some background here is that I may have some kind of fat malabsorption syndrome. So I am at the point where I need to do measured experiments with different types of fats and discover which ones do I absorb. This morning using monounsaturated fats wasn't moving my ketone needle at all. This afternoon, it only took two cups with coconut oil, and my ketones were at 2.5 mmol/L. I did primary research and found a study that says poly oils produce 2.5 times as many ketones as saturated fats. I would never eat poly oils, but it still makes it all worth testing some more. I never bought my ketone meter thinking that it would end up being used to diagnose my fat absorption defects, but it sure is going to be handy for exactly that.
  5. persistence

    persistence New Member

    Okay, great, but other oils - in absence of a large starchy carb meal - should also produce some ketones? I want the details because I have severe aborption issues, so for me getting ketosis to work without starvation may be tricky.

    I have a huge dawn effect. I can go from glucose 80 on rising to 130 without food on some days.

    Part of this is maybe cortisol getting out of control (I don't know). But surely part of it is I have defective liver glucose metabolism and something in the self-regulation system is broken. The liver is producing too much glucose.

    But I have noticed that entering ketosis resets my glucose setpoint. This afternoon, I entered ketosis for the second time, and almost instantly my first glucose test after entering ketosis is at 83.

    So my insight for further experiment: maybe a prediabetic can try to enter ketosis again when getting up in morning, and use this to reset / alter the shape of the dawn effect, and get glucose down lower, faster.

    This is a great data point for me. You are saying it takes your body about four hours to digest the fats you eat for breakfast and start to register additional ketones? I was expecting my ketones to rise within one or two hours of eating fats in morning. If it takes four hours, then that doesn't work for purposes of adjusting the dawn effect.

    Which diseases do you think it reverses besides diabetes?

    What do you think is the underlying mechanism for mitochondrial function?
  6. yewwei.tan

    yewwei.tan Gold

    I think eating fats allow for more ketone production, so long as your body can break them down quickly enough. If I'm not wrong, ketone production is induced by:
    1. low blood glucose relative to energetic demands
    2. more acetyl-CoA than the TCA cycle can deal with
    MCTs, are then the "most ketogenic" fat mainly because they get shunted straight into the bloodstream without much processing at all, where they are rapidly beta-oxidised to form acetyl-CoA.

    So you should keep up with the coconut oil strategy (which is 14% Capric and Caprillic acid). However, I don't know if your fat malabsorption issues would come into play here. For example, if bile production is too low, then you're not going to be able to metabolise a fat like olive oil fast enough to get you into ketosis faster (than not consuming the oil). Again, MCTs side-step this mechanism and end up right in the blood ready for beta-oxidation. In the meantime, you should probably investigate the cause of said fat malabsorption.


    For me personally, I actually see the same blood ketone pattern even through fasting; I was experimenting with not eating until 12pm (5-hour post waking), and ketones basically continually rose through the morning. But it's always lower in the morning than it is in the afternoon, and this pattern has been consistent for 4 months now (I transitioned fully from a low-carb diet to fully keto in about September of last year -- so about 6 full months).

    It's more likely that activity jacks up my ketone levels more so than anything else. For example, it's pretty common for me to see ketones go from 1.0mM to 2.0+mM over the course of some simple low volume resistance training (example: 3x5 chinups, 5x5 weighted dips, 3x10 accessory pulling movement). Endurance activity doesn't spike ketone levels as high for me, but that's more likely because they're being used up pretty quickly after they're produced.


    There's lots of "mainstream" research regarding ketones and their therapeutic effect on cancer. But basically we're just getting a reverse Warburg effect happening, which cures tons of diseases (CPC8 is a good read in this regard)

    All I'm saying is that the things that you need to do to stay in prolonged ketosis provides mitochondria with the appropriate building blocks for energy production, and makes the cellular environment more favourable. But let's not forget that being in ketosis is just one way to effect that environment, and isn't exactly the the "make-or-break" factor. Again CPC8 goes into some detail, in particular the sections 'The Mechanism', 'The Mechanism Origin', 'RETURNING TO THE MECHANISM OF ONCOGENESIS: GEEK FEST', and of course the section 'WHY KETOSIS MAKES SENSE WITH A LOW REDOX/DELTA PSI ' -- http://jackkruse.com/cpc-8-quantum-brain-cancer/
    Albert83BCN likes this.
  7. persistence

    persistence New Member

    This is great and thanks. Do you know of a good source to read an overview of how different fats metabolize?

    So given your description, I suppose I could end up not metabolizing some fats well at all and other fats well enough to put me into ketosis. I guess I have to run some experiments.

    I have really high LDL particle counts. This may reflect a leaky gut, and / or I might be a hyper responder to high dietary cholesterol or saturated fat intake. So I was keen to replace coconut oil and other oils known to raise LDL with monounsaturated since it has a much more benign effect, while avoiding the nasty inflammatory effects of poly oils. It would be a sad outcome if I only digest the oils that raise LDL.

    So can you confirm it takes about four hours for you to see ketones rise when ingesting fats that do not contain MCT? How long does it take with MCT?

    How long after your last meal does it take before ketones are below 0.5?

    It sounds like you are experimenting with starvation as a way to induce ketones, which is fine, but it isn't a method I want to use. I am trying to gain weight and strength.
  8. persistence

    persistence New Member

    As long as you brought this up, could you explain the theory of how ketones might slow cancer growth in light of the Reverse Warburg Effect?

    This Wiki article contains the sentence "In support of this notion, two high energy-rich metabolites (ketones and L-lactate) which fuel the mitochondrial TCA cycle, dramatically promote tumor growth and metastasis, without an increase in tumor angiogenesis."

    That seems to say that ketones promote tumor growth?
  9. yewwei.tan

    yewwei.tan Gold

    I'm saying that regardless of whether I eat fat or not, my ketones start out low, and then rise progressively through the day to the same degree. (No carbs or significant amounts of protein of course) In other words, I don't need to eat to get ketones levels up, but if I did eat some fat, I'd still be in ketosis anyway.

    With MCT, it's very fast. After even 1 tablespoon of NOW foods MCT in the morning (which should be 1:1 ratio of C8:C6), I'd go from 0.5mM to >1.5mM within 15 mins, and then usually settling around the 1.0-1.5mM mark an hour later. If I take MCT in the afternoon, I can easily spike levels to 3 or 4mM, which is usually accompanied by lots of jitteriness :confused:

    These days, I'm doing a mostly 2 meal a day system, starting the day with a cup of cocoa with butter and MCT oil, and then a small handful of nuts. This gets me ketotic really quickly and I can basically stay there for a long time. My subjective metric in this case is mental alertness -- I'm a computer programmer, and can usually tell when my brain is "working off ketones" so to speak.

    Ketones tank very fast after eating any form of protein or carbs thought, which I think can be attributed to insulin secretion (which starts the moment you put food into your mouth). Typically it's like 0.2-0.3mM right after, and then takes 4 hours to climb back into the >0.8mM range.


    I can't see how something like pure C8 and C6 MCT would raise LDL, and I wouldn't necessarily say that high LDL particle count is a bad thing -- it requires the context of your other lab values, so you know how best to interpret that reading.
  10. Dali Dula

    Dali Dula Moderator

    I have never monitored ketones other than my quarterly urine labs which are always drawn am after 14 hr fast. I did not show ketones at all for over two years after starting paleo/keto. My ability to consume fat increased during that period. The last two labs showed ketones. I pretty sure I can tell when I am ketogenic, taste in mouth changes, breath can change, and energy level. At what level does BG stop ketosis? Do high ketones work with high BG? I will also see post prandial rise in BG with a pure fat meal. The endless rabbit hole continues......
  11. nicld

    nicld Gold

    Glad to see that I am not the only that this happened to.

    This is a great discussion guys, thanks. Now that spring might arrive next week, I will try switching to more coconut oil and MCT and see if that effects by ability to get the strips to read. I read if one is well hydrated the level of ketones will be diluted.
  12. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    This is an awesome thread...

    I think there's something in here for women - particularly how ketosis, and ketone production are impacted by their environment. I think this is why its harder for women who are metabolically deranged (Waives hand) to get in and stay in ketosis. Its also why I think some women can loose easily in ketosis, and why others can't. Its also why some need a higher calorie count that (Gasp) may include more carbs. I loose weight when I'm eating more food (Its totally and electron thing) and I gain when I eat less. Why does this happen? B/c women carry on the line. we're so sensitive to epigenetic signals so we can inform our progeny. I think this is why HCG works for some women and not as well as others, given their particular redox potential and their environmental influences. Its also why Light, Water, and Magnetism is so important. I need IR radiation via the photo electric effect way more than I thought I did... w/o it I struggle.

    I think Jeremy highlighted this well in the Q&A - not everyone can follow Jack's recommendations to a T, b/c of their own separate N=1. Some of us can and some of us can't be zero carb. Some of us need different combinations of foods to make things work for us.

    So we're still refining what works and what doesn't.... how to get into Ketosis to balance disease reversal, without crashing the system. This is why N=1 is so important.
  13. nicld

    nicld Gold

    AMEN Gretchen. I know for me when eating almost no carbs I still could not get the strips to go above small, so frustrating.
    Shijin13 likes this.
  14. persistence

    persistence New Member

    What do you attribute the jitteriness to? I find too much MCT Oil makes my heart beat too hard. It's not a pleasant sensation. It feels like metabolism is upregulated and not controlled well.

    What we really need is a 24x7 continuous glucose / ketone monitor so we can quickly grasp the speed and magnitude of different dietary inputs.

    High LDL cholesterol is not necessarily bad. But high *particle counts* correlates in the research very well to risk of cardiac death. In fact the highest risk group in some studies is people with both low cholesterol and high LDL particle counts. Track the number of particles, not the total cholesterol.

    There is famous research by a guy named Goldstein that demonstrates how - in some animals and people - high cholesterol or fat intakes in diet can cause downregulation of LDL receptors. If your body is overproducing LDL, it cannot then be cleared from the blood. I could post some of his old papers if you are interested, but he has one discussion from 1984 that is classic where he compares rabbits to rats. Feed the rabbits high fat in diet and their LDL receptors downregulate and they become hyperlipidemic. Feed the rats the same diet and the LDL receptors do not downregulate and the LDL level in blood stays normal in spite of high dietary fat. Goldstein speculates some humans are like the rabbits and some are like the rats. Note that the above is NOT about familial hypercholesterolemia. That is a genetic condition where the LDL receptors never work correctly in the first place. There is no downregulation involved.

    That's why I think blanket statements about "saturated fat is good" or "saturated fat is bad" are not meaningful. They can be either, for a given individual, based on how they process fats.

    I don't know of any tests that would identify whether a given human is like the rat or the rabbit. Probably there is a way to test it, but I am guessing it is done at some obscure research level. I would love to know about such a test.
  15. persistence

    persistence New Member

    All interesting questions.

    If your ketones are the result of intentional fasting, then eating carbs is going to shut down ketosis. That I understand.

    What if you are ingesting MCT Oil and that is getting shunted to the liver to produce ketones. Now you ingest some carbs. Is the MCT Oil going to simply stop being digested and not produce ketones while glucose is being used? I find that hard to believe. Any citations anyone?

    If in fact you can force ketone production *while eating carbs*, then you get the basis for my original observation: maybe the presence of significant ketones in the blood when eating carbs downregulates your glucose production.
  16. persistence

    persistence New Member

    First, buy a real Ketone meter. Those pee-pee strips are not good enough for detailed experiment.

    Second, try to take a lunch with no starchy carbs, then set aside the next four hours for an experiment. Try to take two tablespoons of MCT Oil every 30 minutes, and then test your ketone level every hour. I think you are going to find that with an easily-absorbed oil like MCT you will jump into ketosis, dramatically, and quickly. For me it was like being five years old and making my first jump into the shallow end of the pool, then getting out and feeling good I had survived.

    I think you then build on those little experiments. It's like learning scales on the piano in order to later be able to play music.

    For me, I am going to hire ketogenic nutritionists to coach me on this. I want to be completely in control of this and become very knowledgeable about different fats and how they process.
    MouseBandit likes this.
  17. persistence

    persistence New Member

    I'm learning a lot in this thread as well.
    nicld likes this.
  18. yewwei.tan

    yewwei.tan Gold

    Ha, I think I'm getting my terms mixed up here. I really meant to just casually mention the Warburg hypothesis (not warburg effect) and then say that being in ketosis is one way to improve cellular function (CPC8 goes into all the detail).

    For more mainstream biology work, just catch all the recent interviews with Dominic D'agostino, who basically talks about everything in CPC8.


    With that said, this is one of those cases whereby Wikipedia gets things really wrong (by not providing us with the full details). Here's a blog post on Jimmy Moore's site, where he brings in great researchers like Thomas Seyfried to comment on the studies which that Wiki article is based off -- http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/do-ketones-fuel-cancer-the-low-carb-experts-respond/10124

    Again, read CPC8 is amazing in that it gets down to the details of all of this.
  19. yewwei.tan

    yewwei.tan Gold

    Me personally, I'm really a luddite (which is why I work as a programmer -- you can't defend yourself from what you don't understand). I don't think we need continuous monitoring of ketones or blood glucose to make good improvements in our health, provided that your already motivated to make changes.

    ItsTheWoo comes off as one whiny blogger, but ignore the vernacular and she sometimes makes lots of sense -- http://itsthewooo.blogspot.com/2014/03/uber-ketosis-not-necessary-and-possibly.html <= that's a post talking about why "extreme" levels of ketosis may not be necessary, and that "being a fat burner" is really what you're after.

    In other words, use ketosis as an indicator that you are a fat burner, and not the be-all-end-all goal in and off itself. That's personally why I spend the money measuring my ketones -- not to try and best my last reading, but because if I see that those readings are diverging from my usual pattern, then I know something is wrong, and can better start the diagnostic process. (Via Negativa)


    Regarding LDL-P, we're in agreement that it's important, and Peter Attia has a great series regarding cholesterol -- http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-vi

    I will still say that it's one number, and I don't know your particular LPL-P value, and how that value has fluctuated over time. And again, it needs to be taken in context with the rest of your lab values.


    Finally, when I say I get "jittery" when my blood ketones go above 3.0mM, I don't experience any heart palpitations or much negative physical symptoms. I just have a huge urge to engage in physical activity, and my mind can get very focused on very repetitive activities. I have no idea about the mechanism of such observations other than "it's the ketones!".
    Josh and Shijin13 like this.
  20. persistence

    persistence New Member

    Oops, better exercise caution on how you implement my suggested experiment with MCT Oil. Go slow on dosage and watch for diarrhea. Another user here - confirmed by Google searches - say that some users get an extreme laxative effect from MCT.

    But the general idea still holds: if you can find the right oil and the right dose, taking that on its own after a non starchy meal for several hours should put you strongly in ketosis and you should be able to measure that with a meter. I had no problems getting ketone readings of 1 to 2.5 mmol/L.
    Nueng KetoDaddy likes this.

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