Tracking Ketones

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Project Infobox Question-icon.png
Self researcher(s) Mark Moschel
Related tools Ketone Meter
Related topics Diet, Metabolism, Blood tests and blood pressure, Food tracking, Ketones

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Has inspired Projects (0)
Show and Tell Talk Infobox
Featured image Tracking-ketones.jpg
Date 2016/11/17
Event name Bay Area Meetup
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Tracking Ketones is a Show & Tell talk by Mark Moschel that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2016/11/17 and is about Diet, Metabolism, Blood tests and blood pressure, Food tracking, and Ketones.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Mark tracks the ketones in his blood while he follows a ketogenic diet. He compares his findings to a colleague who follows the same diet and learns that their bodies react differently.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

Tracking Ketones

Mark Moschel

My name is Mark Moschel and my presentation is not on the screens. I’m going to be talking about ketones and the ketogenic diet. So, I’ve tried a lot of diets and I’ve been vegetarian, low carbs, low carb gluten free, paleo. I even did a 28-day chipotle diet which is as awesome as it sounds, yes and eventually I found Keto. And so, for a lot of people in this community, myself included I got here because of a health concern. So I was born with a heart condition and it’s never impacted me but it’s always kind of been there just lingering. And then one night in college I was out with some classmates, and one of those classmate’s kind of froze up and fell off his stool and he passed away. And I found out the next morning that he had died of a heart condition, a lingering heart condition very similar to my own. So, I started to think about my health a lot more after that, and I started to read about nutrition and enter this world of confusing diets. So the more I became involved with QS, the more I wanted to quantify these diets, and I found Keto and learned that it was a most measurable diet. So a quick recap of what Keto is it’s a very high fat, low carb diet and it’s really, your body switching from burning glucose for energy into burning ketones for energy. So you can measure what you eat, the macros and you can also measure the ketones in your blood, your urine and your breath. So, I did my first ketogenic diet experiment actually in 2013, and it was also the subject of my first ever QS talk. So, I found that my energy increased, my sleep quality went up, my cholesterol levels improved during that, and my food cravings went away. So however, I also found that it was difficult to measure all of this, and to keep track of everything that I was eating. I didn’t really know how deep I was into ketosis, and I eventually had a dinner at this devilish delicious all you could eat sushi buffet and I never quite recovered from that. So, fast forward to 2015 I go to Ecuador, I get a stomach bug, and this was another talk I’ve given in the past, but one interesting little titbit that came out of it was that intermittent fasting helped improve my conditions. And so sometime after that I knew that intermittent fasting keto kind of go hand-in-hand, so I got myself a whole bunch of canned fish and I started another ketogenic diet experiment. So, this time it lasted a week, and once again though I felt great during that week and I wanted to make this last. The only problem is I couldn’t get over this hump, so I’m sure that if anyone has tried it you kind of get this and getting that switch into ketosis. That is until I moved out here and I met Todd White, who I’m now working with and he’s been keto for three years and he’s helped me now become keto for three full months. So, I guess for the first time I did this I focused on mackerel, and the second time I only tracked was how many cans of fish I ate, which was 16 for anyone counting. But this time I wanted to see what was going on inside of me, and I wanted to see what I could learn from that data. So, I got myself a keto meter and a whole bunch of blood strips and I started tracking. So, the first round of measurements was in September and the data was all over the place as you can see. And so, I realized really quickly that I needed more context. I needed more data points as well, so I decided I would start taking samples more frequently throughout the day and I started doing this. So, I started doing samples every two or three hours. And I saw kind of this trend occurring over the first four consecutive days. It would be kind of low in the morning, drop after I worked out, rise a little bit after I had some bullet-proof coffee. Peak in the afternoon when I was fasted, and then decrease as I started to eat some afternoon snack and a large dinner. So, I thought this was really interesting, and after doing some research I learned that these were pretty common, so then I wanted to see if this pattern was regular. So, I took all my samples and I graphed them by hour, and you can kind of see a similar curve here. But really what I wanted to know was how was I feeling, so how could I correlate that data with how I felt. So, I was also recording this subjective one to five score for energy at that time, and I graphed that here and you can see it kind of follows a similar pattern. It peaks in the afternoon just like my score did. So, I don’t know if this is because my ketones were highest at that time, or if they both kind of go up together. So, I looked back at my 2013 data, where also I was tracking a one to five score, and you can see that my energy was increasing in the morning and in the early afternoon before I was doing the experiment and then after I started. So, then I took the one to five rating and looked at the average ketone level at each step, and you can see kind of again it implies that there may be some correlation here. At least they both go up together. A small sample size but still pretty interesting. So, then I wanted to look at how does my ketones compare to Todd. So, I’ve been keto for three months, he’s been ketogenic for three years. So, we did a little experiment where we each did everything the same, ate the same food and sampled at the same time. And you can see that we started at the same point, but very quickly his ketone level escalated much more faster than mine. Also kind of interesting is his followed a different shape, so I don’t know if that’s unique to each person or if he had done more samples you know, maybe his would normalize and look more like the same shape I had. But it implies that maybe it’s different for every person. And so, this was another experiment, Ramzy, another co-worker we tested at 8 AM on two consecutive days. And we did everything together those days, we ate the same food, and you can see we both started at the same place but ended up at a very different level. I was 0.6, he was 4.8. So, a couple of things I’ve learned. My score would fluctuate throughout the day with a whole bunch of variables impacting them. I still don’t know what’s optimal or what’s best for me, but it seemed like higher is better. Everyone’s ketone production is likely to be different or at least that’s what it seems right now. I also learned that these ketone strips are crazy expensive. They are adding up really fast. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting during all of this, not because it’s making me feel better, just because I need to invest all that lunch money into more ketone strips. So, what is happening next? Yeah, and the other kind of really big interesting takeaway is that this has kept me accountable. So actually tracking blood has allowed me to sustain things that normally would have kicked me out in the past. So, I have got through a bachelor party, a wedding, I’ve done a bunch of travel. This, I was especially proud of. I was in Vegas at a pool party and I tested before and after and this was all you could eat, all you could drink and sure enough I ended up still keto. Even more keto afterwards. So the only thing I haven’t successfully gone through yet is one of those devilish can eat sushi buffets, but that might be in the near future.

So, thank you guys.

About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Mark Moschel gave this talk.