Blood Ketones During Regular Fasting
diet and weight loss
Mark Moschel is experimenting with a Ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and doing multiple blood ketone testing to measure his ketogenic state. Mark discusses the ease of measuring himself on a ketogenic diet. One can track ketones in the same way one tracks glucose in blood. In this video, Mark talks about how he did his experiment and what he learned.
So I am possibly obsessed with eating, maybe even addicted. I mean I do it like multiple times every single day, so I decided I should quantify this. So I collected a bunch of data, threw it into this fancy graphing application and came up with this. And as you can see, I do appear to be obsessed with eating. And not surprisingly, this is actually the exact opposite of my willpower every day, which I also graphed and the same application and you can see coming up next.
But it’s therefore kind of ironic that I’m now going to talk about abstaining from food and not eating. And this is a continuation of a talk that I gave at a Quantified Self meetup last year, where I was following a ketogenic diet and tracking my blood ketones during that time.
The ketogenic diet is a very measurable diet. You can track ketones in the same way you track glucose in your blood. And I was curious to see over a long period of time how that would affect me.
So I’m now going to share a kind of two takeaways from that talk that inspired this talk.
So the first graph that you’ll see coming up next takes about 100 samples, a little bit more of blood ketone readings and boil it down into this one insight, that showed that on average I felt better when my ketones were higher. And ketones are a source of energy that are broken down from fat cells and can you know compliment glucose.
And so what this showed is when I had the highest ketone levels, the highest ketone readings that’s when I felt the best. This next graph shows four consecutive days’ worth of samples and you can see that it was in the early afternoon every day at the end of an intermittent fast that my ketone readings were the highest.
So taking these two insights I realized if my ketones are highest when I’m fasting, and I feel best when my ketones are high, then the next hypothesis would be what happens if I extend that fast. What would that look like, how would I feel? So that’s what kind of led to this experiment.
So I decided to start with a three day fast and I’m going to talk about the results of that first one and then I’ll go into another fast that I did as well.
And so I tracked ketones and glucose using an Avid meter and I tracked how I felt before taking any samples by kind of just reviewing how much energy I felt like I had at that time.
So first, the ketone readings, you can see here’s my sample from each day. On average it went up every day. So by the third day of the fast I was averaging about 3.0. you can see there are some dips after heavy workouts. This is the same data just on a continuous timescale, and you can see it peaked in day three and then actually continued to stay fairly high into day four which is the day after the fast ended, which I thought was kind of interesting. I wasn’t expecting that.
Next you’ll see glucose, which I didn’t think to measure on day one, but I started that on day two. And again it peaks on working out, but otherwise it stays fairly stable around 50 to 60 on average, and then you see that last peak on day three after the break to fast meal.
Putting these together, there seems to be an inverse correlation here, when glucose is high, ketones seem to be low and vice versa, which kind of make sense. Your body’s using both and so when it’s using both the other one starts to rise.
And then how much energy do I feel right now. This is on a scale of one to five. One being very low, five being I feel I’m on top of the world. You can see that I averaged about a three every day, but the notable thing here is that it was the third day of the fast that I felt my best. So I averaged almost a four that day, about a point higher.
So graphing these two together, there seems like maybe again a possible correlation here. When energy is high it seemed like ketones were also a little bit higher on average. So this kind of affirms that finding from the previous talk.
So this was the first fast, and just to kind of summarize what I learned, ketone levels did increase every day. Though heavy workouts temporarily dropped ketones and increased glucose.
Ketones and glucose seem to have an inverse correlation, ketones and how I felt. How much energy I had, seemed to have a direct correlation, and ketones continued to remain high, even one day after the fast ended.
But this was just one sample. I wanted to see that if I did this again, would I get the same results. So I decided to do another three day fast, but this time throw in a bit of a twist.
So I’m in the wine industry, so that means I drink wine almost every night. And I followed a ketogenic diet, and I do a lot of blood testing so I know that drinking wine doesn’t kick me out of ketosis. But I wanted to see what would happen if I only drank wine. So naturally, you know, what would happen if I fasted and just drank wine during that time?
So like any good Quantified Selfer, I decided to do a little experiment for science.
So I set a hypothesis and I had a feeling I’d have a pretty good buzz going from this. And I collected a whole bunch of data. Again put it into this really fancy graphing calculator or this application.
So this was after 48 hours of fasting I decided to drink a bunch of wine. The y-axis here is the degree of inebriation. So measured in the unit known as the buzz. The x-axis is number of drinks, and you can see after the first glass I was feeling pretty good, but then quickly kind of de-railed into very buzzed and forget what happened beyond that.
But I was also measuring my ketones, my glucose and again this energy, how I felt during this time. So we’ll see that coming up in a moment. And what you’ll notice is that it’s a very similar graph to the first fast.
So this is just zooming in on just the wine. You’ll see that the first glass of wine led to no change in glucose or ketones. The second glass led to a slight dip in ketones and a slight increase in glucose. And then the third glass led to another small dip in ketones and actually a drop in glucose which was kind of surprising.
There’s more on the graph here that’s not showing up, but if you zoom out on this, the graph actually looks the exact same as the first test, as the first fast. So you would see that the same pattern appears. It peaks on day three and actually continues to stay high into day four. And I also did glucose which was also an inverse correlation just like in the first one between glucose and ketones.
And energy again kind of matched the ketone curve, except when my ketones were at their very highest, about a 5.0 which is the highest I’ve ever done, my energy dipped. So I don’t know if that’s an anomaly or that’s kind of my threshold where I reach or you know, start to not feel as good.
But what I learned here is the second fast really matched the first one and affirmed a lot of those findings. And added to it that three glasses of wine didn’t really impact my ketones or glucose, small impact but a quick recovery afterwards and had a really early buzz, which was kind of a technical term for the industry.
So my next thing is to try to extend this. So I’m curious what would happen after day four or day five, so that’s the next experiment, but like it said on there, I’m sure that everyone is wondering am I still obsessed with food? And while I’d love to answer that question it’s almost lunchtime and I really have to be going, so thank you guys.