Jimmy Moore: Keto Clarity – #142
By: Dave Asprey
Jimmy Moore is the author of Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers, and the energetic personality behind the uber-popular Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show and blog. Jimmy burst onto the healthy scene in 2004 after losing 180lbs, and has dedicated his life to helping people get the best information possible so they can make the right decisions about health. Jimmy interviewed over 900 of the world’s top health experts in writing his newest book, Keto Clarity, and he comes on Bulletproof Radio to talk about the one-size-fits-all fallacy, why all fat is not created equal, and how to properly get into and measure ketosis. Enjoy the show!
What You’ll Hear
- 0:07 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:48 – Welcome Jimmy Moore
- 2:06 – Jimmy’s Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show
- 3:49 – The importance of responding
- 6:06 – Keeping the weight off
- 8:20 – Problems with a high-protein diet
- 10:43 – The effects of being fat-deprived
- 12:35 – Resistant starch and your microbiome
- 14:40 – The one-size-fits-all fallacy
- 16:22 – The formula for ketosis
- 21:04 – How to measure ketosis
- 26:39 – The optimal state for high performance
- 35:05 – Signs that you’re in ketosis
- 37:56 – Food labeling
- 40:17 – Not all fat is created equal
- 46:00 – Top four recommendations for people to go into ketosis
Dave: Today’s cool fact of the day is actually about Jimmy Moore, today’s guest. Jimmy never missed a day of school from 7th to 12th grade, and it’s kind of interesting because about 7.5 million students in the U.S. are chronically absent from school each year. People that miss that amount of school are at severe risk of dropping out, and the research shows that those kids who attend school regularly in their primary-education years, like Jimmy did, are far more likely to read well by the critical milestones. They test better on formalized testing …
Jimmy: Who cares?
Dave: … and graduate and go on to college. So, I guess, Jimmy, good for you, man.
Jimmy: I did all those things.
Dave: And you graduated from college at the age of 20, so you’re like walking evidence, n-equals-1 evidence of many things, including a little bit about weight loss, because in 2004, you started podcasting and you lost a little bit more weight than I did, like 180 pounds of weight, went off prescription drugs for cholesterol, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems.
I wanted you on the show to talk about your new book, something I’ve actually referenced in a couple things already, your book called Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL Is Wrong with My Numbers. This book is amazing, and it really clearly makes the case that maybe focusing on cholesterol exclusively, the way we’ve been doing so much lately, leads you to make the wrong dietary decisions and everything else.
Dave: Along the way, have you really interviewed 900 top health experts?
Jimmy: It’s probably closer to 1,000 now, Dave, if you combine all my podcasts and the different guests that I’ve had on. There were a bunch of interviews, podcast episodes, where I had 2 interviews in the same podcast, so yeah, it’s true, man. I’ve talked to everybody, including the great Dave Asprey.
Dave: Well, I do recall you had a conversation with a guy named Fuhrman that was particularly interesting on your podcast.
Jimmy: John McDougall?
Dave: Oh, was it McDougall or was it Fuhrman that you talked to?
Jimmy: Oh, Fuhrman refuses to come on my show, man. I personally invited him. I said, “Dude, I’m totally respectful to my guests.” I don’t care that we disagree. That’s actually a plus because I like having conversations, but, no, I got John McDougall. Now, mind you, I’ve had Dr. Dean Ornish on before. I’ve had bunches of vegans on before, but John McDougall looked like a fun one to talk to and fun he was, but in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
Yeah, he and I had quite the discussion, and it turned kind of nasty. He got real personal against me. Google Jimmy Moore, John McDougall, and you’ll get the best laugh you’ve ever done. In fact, for fun, Dave, it’s about a half an hour conversation. It’s real painful to listen to for a lot of people. I threw it up on YouTube. I sped it up, so I said the Chipmunk Version. So if you go on YouTube and type in the Chipmunk Version Moore or McDougall, you’ll find it.
Dave: That’s brilliant. I’ve got to say one of the things I like about your podcast, “Livin’ La Vida Low Carb,” is that you’re a nice guy. You’re respectful. You’re polite. People sometimes try and do personal attacks on you, but generally speaking, you keep your cool, and it’s not always that easy to do. So 900 people, including people you disagree with, and you’ve always been a gentleman. That’s absolutely bulletproof and something I really respect.
Jimmy: Thank you.
Dave: Now, you’ve already been on Bulletproof Radio. This was probably 50 episodes or so ago. I asked you for a story last time, but this time, I want you to tell me a story about something that helped influence who you are today.
Jimmy: Something that helped influence who I am today?
Jimmy: I used to work for a major food company. I won’t say their name, but you would recognize the name. I was the person that answered all the emails for that company, so I would get probably 3,000 emails with this company a day. It was a pretty large company.
Jimmy: And so getting all these emails, and I was the one person in the whole company that answered every single one. Now, obviously, with a company, you’ve got a lot of pat answers that you’re cutting and pasting and all that kind of stuff.
Jimmy: But that taught me so much, Dave, about how important it is to respond to people that now Jimmy Moore, the low-carb guy, the “Livin’ La Vida Low Carb” show host, people know me for that, now I’m like anal-retentive about answering emails. I get personally probably upwards of 500 to 600 emails a day, and I’m like, “That’s nothing, man. I used to answer 3,000.” I’m very grateful for that part of my history that kind of taught me the importance of responding.
That’s one thing people always say when they meet me in person is, “Oh, my gosh. You’re the most responsive person that I’ve ever had on an email.” Some people get emailed, and I know a lot in the paleo community, they like to, “Well, I’ll answer emails this time to this time during the week.” That’s great, but there’s just something memorable when you respond to somebody personally in a timely fashion, and that job really taught me that.
Dave: Well, I’m blown away because I’m struggling with that, as well. I’m getting hundreds of emails. Some of them are very heartfelt like, “You changed my life. I got my brain back.” I imagine you get a lot of those, too.
Dave: I’m always, like, I want to reply to everyone, but I probably don’t have the same rigor that you do in that, even though I would like to.
Jimmy: You will, man. You can become a bulletproof e-mailer.
Dave: An email ninja, that’s my plan.
Dave: Now, I’ve known you in person. We’ve met several times at different conferences we all go to about nutrition and all that sort of stuff, and I’ve seen you thin and I’ve seen you less thin. It’s been 10 years since you just dumped masses of weight in a similar way that I did. What have you gone through in the course of keeping this weight off? It always fluctuates for everyone, whether they’re fat or thin. Your weight isn’t stable, but you’ve learned some interesting things along the way, so kind of walk me through that. It’s really interesting.
Jimmy: Yeah. It’s fascinating that people expect you, when you lose weight, whatever that bottom-line weight was, you’re just supposed to stay there the rest of your life. I’ve never understood how that works, and it really doesn’t make sense even when you kind of stop and think about it from a common-sense standpoint. Why would you stay there? Your body’s going to fight you tooth and nail to get back to homeostasis. Homeostasis for me, circa pre-2004, was 400 pounds, and so I’m fighting against that.
I know you and I talked about this when we were talking about my last book, Cholesterol Clarity. We talked about maybe some of that metabolic damage can improve over time. I do believe that still, Dave, but I still believe your body’s still fighting you tooth and nail, so you have to make strategies that will help you get there, which is why the ketogenic diet for me has had to step in where low-carb alone wasn’t enough.
Dave: You cut carbs, but you had to go specifically ketogenic?
Dave: One of the things that I experienced when I was losing my weight was I lost 50 of the 100 pounds I needed, and then the rest of it just stuck right around the mid section.
Dave: It just wouldn’t go, and it wouldn’t go. Even though I was doing very, very low carbs, I still … I only a couple times when … This is going back more than 10 years. Only a couple times did I get a pink stick when I’d pee on a keto-stick.
Dave: It used to just drive me crazy like, “Maybe I’m not trying hard enough, and I’ll eat even less vegetables.” My problem was one that I think you’re pretty familiar with, excessive protein, right?
Dave: Talk a little bit about what you learned about protein.
Jimmy: Man oh man, we have always heard that a low-carb diet is one that is high protein, as well. The media loves smacking us with that high-protein, low-carb diet, and they’ll even assign it to Dr. Atkins, who if you ever read his book, it was never ever high in protein. It was always high in fat. So when I read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance in 2012 by Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney, that was the first time I really ever got the whole idea of protein being an issue. Volek and Phinney wrote extensively about this, and I had heard about it from different people over the years.
Dr. Ron Rosedale, I know, who is one of my experts in Keto Clarity, he mentioned that. For years, he’s been talking about that and the whole gluconeogenesis. That word’s been out there a little while. When I went to a conference in 2006, a low-carb conference, they were announcing all these different scientific updates and that G word kept coming out, and I was like, “I’ve never heard of that before.” This is not new. What’s new about it is some of the ways to implement it.
We’d been told just eat low carb, and that’s ketogenetic. Uh-uh. Moderating down that protein and ramping up the fat, I mean, probably more fat … Bulletproof Coffee really has been a Godsend to a lot of people to get them into ketosis. You know, and I tell people this, I love you, man, but I hate coffee. I even hate your coffee. No offense, I just don’t like coffee, so I would just much rather eat the Kerrygold butter straight up and I’m good, or with a little bite of food.
So, yeah, moderating the protein has been probably the biggest mistake most people make when they start a low-carb diet. Chicken breast is no longer a health food. Stop eating it thinking you’re eating something healthy for you. It’s just giving you more problems than you want.
Dave: It’s kind of funny. In the Bulletproof Diet Book, I write about some of the sources of food cravings, and I tell you, if you eat just protein with no fat and no carbs, you’re going to have a ton of food cravings because the body is, like, I’ve got to process this in the liver and I wanted some glucose or some ketones so I might have a little bit of mitochondrial fuel to do it, so then you end up kind of getting cranky. Have you noticed that around high-protein, low-fat, calorie-limited dieters? Is there a personality change that happens?
Jimmy: Speaking of John McDougall. I say that in jest, but think about it. Think about these people that have those anger issues, and I’ve often thought out loud. With my wife, I’ve talked to her, and I say, “I wonder how many of these people that are involved in school shootings and some of these other things that are just horrendous acts, that they’ve lost their mind, I wonder how many of them have fat-deprived brains and that’s what caused them to do those things?”
Dave: I’m certain of it, Jimmy. Not that that’s what caused them to do things, but I’m certain that there are people walking around with fat-deprived brains, and it affects your higher level of cognitive function first.
Dave: In fact, a lot of the first chapter in my book is specifically about that. One of the crazy things that I discovered in the course of the research on the Bulletproof Diet is that it takes 600 days to replace half your cell membranes, just the lipids in them, so even if you start drinking Bulletproof Coffee or eating butter or whatever, it’s going to take you 2 years before your cell membranes function the way they should for just half of them. To get 75% is 4 years. You’ve been doing this for 10 years, so you’ve probably got a very different cell-membrane structure than the average American at this point.
Jimmy: Sure, and it’s only been since 2012 that I’ve gotten purposeful in being ketogenic, and so, yeah, I’m probably about halfway through that process now, ramping up the fat, because I’ve always eaten what I thought was pretty high fat. 55% by every definition would be a high-fat diet, but maybe it wasn’t enough, and for me it was not enough. I had to get closer to 80, 85% before I fully started seeing those benefits that the ketosis would give me.
Dave: Are you worried about your gut health? I mean, one of the things that a group of resistant-starch experts would say is that if you eat that much fat, bacteria in the gut aren’t really good at eating fat, so you’re going to not have enough lactobacilli, and the end of the world is near. By the way, I’m not opposed to resistant starch. I use resistant starch after antibiotics. I actually use it in the evening sometimes with good results, so this isn’t anti resistant starch. But were you worried that that much fat was going to mess up the bacteria in your gut?
Jimmy: If somebody wants to eat resistant starch, I’m certainly not against them. I actually had Richard Nikoley host a show on my podcast, and so I’m definitely not against it. For me, personally, I have not seen the benefits that people have been talking about. I haven’t personally tested it yet, so I can’t really say yea or nay on that. All I can say is … We do address this in Keto Clarity, by the way. We have a Frequently Asked Questions section right in the middle, kind of like Psalms is in the middle of the Bible. Open up the middle of Keto Clarity, and you get FAQ, Keto FAQ.
In there, one of those questions that we address is this very one: can you mess up your gut microbiota? I mean, it’s one of many criticisms that are put out there that we address in the book, but that’s one that … It’s just not showing in the science. There was a study that was cited in January of this year. I don’t have it right in front of me, but basically it showed that a very-low-carb, very-high-fat ketogenic diet actually improved the gut bacteria.
I think sometimes these memes get out there, and people just latch onto them and believe those just as much as they would a randomized-control clinical trial. The two are not the same. Let’s see it studied a little more before we start jumping to conclusions.
Dave: Yeah. I did jump to a conclusion on resistant starch and a high-fat diet and the conclusion is: try it for a couple months and see what happens. That’s the conclusion.
Dave: I know some people who their gut bacteria look better, but their allergies went away. When I ate most resistant starch, my allergies got worse, so there’s a lot of personalization here. How do you address that criticism of the things you’re recommending in Keto Clarity, where people say, “Yeah, but I’m different.”? Are there core principles that are valid for everyone? How much variance do you expect?
Jimmy: Right. Thank you for that question because this is something people are like, “Well, what’s the macronutrient ratio that’s ideal to get into ketosis?” I’m like, “Heck if I know.” People have to get off this one-size-fits-all formula. One thing that we really push hard and I know it’s the heart of what you do, is the whole concept of testing yourself. You really have to test. It’s what I love about Ashley Tudor’s work is she’s always talking about doing all these experiments. She’s more of a madman at doing experiments than you are. Yeah, I have ketonics actually.
Dave: If you’re listening …
Jimmy: Can I have mine? Can you bring me my Ketonix?
Dave: If you’re listening in your car, I have this new USB-powered thing called Ketonix. It’s a thing you blow into to measure your ketone levels. We were just talking about self-measurement, so I’m just waving it around to tease Jimmy basically. Ashley Tudor was also a guest on my show. She wrote Sweet Potato Power, and she’s a total sweetheart. She’s just a really brilliant person and very, very quantitative. Whenever I get someone on this show who’s just measured the crap out of stuff, it’s like hats off to them.
I tend to be in the middle. I’m like, “Track what you hack,” so if I’m working on it, I’m going to track it, but I found that I was sometimes … In the early days of doing this, I was trying to track everything, and I just got stressed by that. So now I track sleep and all that because, well, it’s built into my mattress. It doesn’t matter. I wake up, and I get an email report of how I slept. I didn’t have to plug something into my forehead.
Jimmy: Yeah. You asked about the formula, and the formula is this: it’s a 3-legged stool. First, you’ve got to find your carbohydrate tolerance level, okay? That’s going to vary from person to person, and there’s various ways you can do that. A blood glucose monitor certainly helps with that. You can see how you respond to any given stimuli, any given food.
Another way is something we talked about the last time I was on the show talking about Cholesterol Clarity is testing your triglycerides, and if those are over 100, you’re probably eating too many carbs, as well. So, look at your triglycerides number. If it’s under 100, you’re spot on for your carbohydrate tolerance level, so that’s a big one.
Dave: Did your carbohydrate tolerance change?
Jimmy: It has slightly changed. When I first started, it was probably 20 to 25 grams was all I could handle, and then I was gaining and having health issues. I’ve found now I can do about 30, maybe 35 grams, and I’m talking total carbohydrates. The net carbs stamp is horrible.
Dave: Wow. Including broccoli carbs?
Jimmy: Including broccoli carbs. I love avocados, and those have a whole lot of carbs when you eat the whole one. At least when you eat 30 to 35, it’s got a whole lot of carbs.
Dave: Yeah, 30 to 35 avocados is very manly. I’ve never eaten that many, so hats off.
Jimmy: No, no, no, no.
Dave: I know. I’m just …
Jimmy: You’re hilarious.
Dave: I would try, though.
Jimmy: Hey, you know what? If Harley Johnstone, the Durian Rider, can have 30 bananas a day, I can have 30 avocados a day. You know what? You’re going to inspire somebody to start a blog “30 Avocados a Day.”
Dave: Yes. That’s brilliant.
Jimmy: With Bulletproof Coffee, of course.
Dave: You are so smart. I’ve got to say the saddest thing that happened to me in the last day was when in Albuquerque, New Mexico, airport … I was down there filming for my toxic mold documentary … I was trying to bring onto the airplane a little half pint of guacamole with New Mexico green chile, and the TSA stole my guacamole. I’m still wounded by this. I was like, “Can I please just eat it?” Yeah. Sorry, to take you off track there, Jimmy.
Jimmy: No, you’re good. You’re good.
Dave: Avocados are near and dear to my heart. You were saying 35 grams of net carbs.
Jimmy: You had me at avocado. Yeah, so starting off with the carbohydrate tolerance, and mine’s right at 30 to 35 grams. Then you move to the second leg in that stool, and that’s protein. We’ve already talked about this, why you need to moderate down protein. I started at 120 grams just to see how I’d do, and then found I didn’t do as well with the ketone production, so I kept bringing it down and down and down till it got to 80 grams on a non-exercise day. I was doing well in that level of protein.
So 30 to 35 grams of carbohydrate, 80 to 100 grams, closer to the 100 on lift days; then the rest, the third leg, is saturated and mono-unsaturated and, of course, omega-3 fats. I love using the upgraded brain oil. I love that stuff. It will artificially raise your ketone levels for a few hours …
Dave: Oh, my goodness. Oh, no, terrible.
Jimmy: … really, really high, but if you want an energy boost for a workout, dude, use that stuff because it really, really works. I love it, but my go-to fat, obviously, is butter. I love grass-fed butter. I love full-fat meats and cheeses. I love cream. Those are all saturated fat. Coconut oil, all saturated fats. Then mono-unsaturated fats, you’ve got the avocados we were just talking about, avocado oil, macadamia-nut oil, and olive oil. Those are all really good mono-unsaturated fats.
Doing that, finding your carb tolerance, getting to your protein threshold, and eating fats to satiety, and then the fourth element in that, if you want to add a fourth one, is make sure you’re testing to see where you stand. Don’t assume that that’s ketotic and producing ketogenesis. You really need to test to know where you stand, and don’t do it with urine ketone tests.
Dave: Now, that’s a big one. A lot of people listening to this are probably going with ketone, “You know what? What just happened?” There’s a lot of tech there. We’re talking about the fat-burning bodies in your blood, and this happens when you don’t eat a lot of carbs. Your body uses this alternative fuel source, and it makes you feel really good as one of the side effects, including losing weight being the other one.
Dave: If you think you’re doing this, but you’re not, what happens when people, say, get really, really into ketosis? When you’re using a blood stick meter where you can measure this, how far into ketosis do you go?
Jimmy: Yes, so can we talk about the different ways to measure that?
Dave: Yeah, people don’t know that.
Jimmy: So people will know what we’re talking about because …
Dave: Review it again.
Jimmy: Last time I was on, I know live on the air I did a live demonstration of the blood. But let’s talk about the three. Let’s talk about the keto sticks, the urine ketone sticks that people have traditionally been measuring ketosis. I know Dr. Atkins promoted it in his books. One of my experts in the book … We had 22 total experts plus myself and my co-author, Dr. Eric Westman, so 24 people that kind of know what we are saying about ketosis.
One of them is Jackie Eberstein. She worked with Dr. Atkins, and she said, “Everybody who came in used the urine sticks.” Well, that’s because in the 1970s and ’80s, that’s all they had. They did have some newer technologies come in the ’90s where they could temporarily test for breath ketones, but now here in 2014, we have 3 different ways that we can measure.
There’s 3 main ketone bodies in the body. The first one is the one in the urine that the keto sticks measure for. That’s called acetoacetate. Acetoacetate, when you first start off, if you’re trying nutritional ketosis and you’re like, “Hey, this sounds really cool, Jimmy and Dave. I want to try it,” you start off … Those are probably okay in the first couple weeks, so get you some. There’s like 50 of them for $15 down at your pharmacy. You pee on it, and it goes pink to purple to black to whatever. It shows you if you’re burning fat for fuel and at least spilling it over into your urine.
Well, what happens, though, Dave, that’s disturbing to some people is they start losing those urine ketones despite doing all the right things and restricting their carbs and moderating their protein and eating fat out the wazoo. They don’t see urine ketones anymore. It doesn’t happen in everybody, but it happens in a certain segment of the population.
Dave: It happened to me.
Jimmy: Oh, so yes, and it doesn’t happen to me, so it just shows you there’s variability there. What’s going on? Well, the acetoacetate is being converted into beta-hydroxybutyrate. That’s the ketone body. I was trying to say the key ketone. The key ketone body in the blood is beta-hydroxybutyrate. It transfers this acetoacetate into BHB, beta-hydroxybutyrate, so that’s why measuring for blood ketones is so much more accurate if you’re going to be measuring for ketosis. Right now, it’s probably still the gold standard for measuring for ketosis.
Now, you waved this little thing in front of the screen a while ago. I’m showing the Ketonix again. There is new technology that’s on the way, more than just Ketonix, but this is the only one right now that’s on the market that measures for the third ketone body. It’s in the breath, called acetone. Acetone has shown in a couple of good studies it matches very well with beta-hydroxybutyrate levels.
So you could prick your finger, and if that doesn’t bother you and you can test blood, by all means, do that, but it’s very expensive, unfortunately. But if you want a cost-effective way, this Ketonix device is $100. It’s developed by a guy in Sweden who has epilepsy. He wanted to do the ketogenic diet to control his seizures, and so he developed this thing because nothing like this existed. But there are some really cool ones on the way. Maybe you’ve heard about these, Dave, maybe not, but there’s a lady out in Arizona who’s got a company called Invoy Technologies, and they’re developing an FDA-approved breath ketone device. They’re trying to do it the right way.
Dave: FDA-approved does not just mean … It costs …
Jimmy: Yeah, I know.
Dave: It costs 3 times as much, and you’re not allowed to say how it works. I totally [inaudible 00:24:19].
Jimmy: What’s funny is that somebody on another podcast I was on said, “Let’s see. The FDA is involved in something you blow into. It’s not a food. It’s not a drug. Why are they involved again?”
Dave: No comment.
Jimmy: Yeah, exactly, exactly. That’s on the way, hopefully, by this fall. I actually was a part of the study of that device. I haven’t seen the device because I’m a part of the study, and they’re trying to get FDA approval, but hopefully, we’ll see that one and, of course, I’ll share all about it when that happens.
Dave: Wow. I’m excited.
Jimmy: Then the other one is in Japan. They’re working on an iPhone app that you have this little device that plugs in, and you blow right into your phone, and it shows your reading right there on your screen. It keeps graphs and all this, so really exciting developments. I predict in Keto Clarity that by the year 2016 we’ll be seeing breath ketone meters on store shelves.
Dave: In my view of the future, and I’m asking … I’m assuming it’s yours … you’ll go to Walgreens, and you can buy a glucose meter where you stick blood in, and you can buy a breath meter for ketones.
Dave: And they have a few other ones. There’s cholesterol measurement kits and all that. But do you think it will be as ubiquitous for people to measure ketones as it is for them to measure blood sugar?
Jimmy: I think if this idea of ketosis catches on a little more in the research realm and books like mine hopefully help to popularize this …
Dave: You’re talking about your new book Keto Clarity, not your first book Cholesterol Clarity, even though I switched them at the beginning of the podcast because I guess …
Jimmy: I ignored that part.
Dave: I saw the alarm in your eyes like, “What the heck?” But yeah.
Jimmy: I roll with it, my friend. I roll with it.
Dave: They both ended in clarity. They both started with a “Kuh” sound. Keto Clarity is your new book by the way. All right, everyone listen, Keto Clarity.
Jimmy: Listen, when you’ve interviewed John McDougall and gone through that process, nothing surprises you on any podcast again.
Dave: I mean, you’ve got to start feeling sorry for him at some point. We’re sitting here ripping on the poor guy. I’m sure he means well. He’s just wrong, okay?
Jimmy: (Sighs). What were we talking about now?
Dave: We were talking about carb levels a little while ago.
Jimmy: There you go. Yeah.
Dave: Now, I’ve been experimenting with adding more carbs back in my diet, partly because of the resistant starch. I’ve been doing it only in the evenings because there’s a lot of research around sleep quality, and I’m maybe, first and foremost, a sleep hacker. Then quality of sleep isn’t something that I’ve always had, by a long shot. I’ve been learning more about the reasons why and why I end up noticing all these little hacks, because I probably never was a gifted sleeper. So having some carbs at night, like the honey trick I wrote about 3 years ago, where you have a little bit of honey. I’m like, “Well, take some MCT to keep your ketones up. You don’t want to lose your ketones, but you might just want a tinge of glucose.” It’s led me down a path.
I can do 100 grams of white rice at night. Of course, I’m not in ketosis in the morning, but I don’t gain weight, and I feel good, and I don’t have any other signs of problems. My fasting blood sugar is 86, but in the morning I have Bulletproof Coffee, and a half hour after I do that, and I’m using the Brain Octane Oil, I measure my ketones and they’re like 0.8 or 1. So I’ll go from 0 to 1 in a half hour, which technically, I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to do, but when you’re using …
Jimmy: It goes really fast. Yeah.
Dave: It does, and then I ended up feeling really good all the time. So I ended up having, at the same time, glucose and ketones present so that the mitochondria in the brain or elsewhere that like glucose can have it and those that like ketones can have them. This isn’t a physiologically natural state necessarily, but damn, it feels good. What do you think about that?
Jimmy: I’m not a big fan of necessarily some of these ways to artificially raise ketones as your normal sense of getting into ketosis. I think if you do it nutritionally, Dave, you’re probably going to reap other benefits that you wouldn’t necessarily get doing it through MCT oil or through ketone esters or through beta-hydroxybutyrate salts. Those are all great tools for people that are using it therapeutically like for cancer or Alzheimer’s or maybe even exercise performance.
I think you need to try to do it as nutritionally as you can. Although you say doing that your blood sugar stays normal, one of the highlights that a lot of people do when they raise it artificially is they have high levels of blood glucose at the same time as high levels of blood ketones. I don’t think that’s as good a state as the elevated levels of blood ketones that come from nutrition, while simultaneously the blood glucose comes down into the 70s, maybe even 60s, naturally because of the elevated levels of ketones.
Dave: Without getting super technical for everyone listening to this, and we are getting kind of technical, but this is just too fascinating not to. What we’re really doing is we’re talking about what is the optimal high-performance state for people who want to lose weight and feel good all the time. There’s a very valid argument that says exactly what you’re saying, like, pretty much don’t eat carbs or eat very, very, very few of them. I’ve had guests, including you, on the show, including Bree Schaaf, world champion athletes who are just kicking ass.
When I went on basically 1 serving of green vegetables a day, tons and tons of fat, and meat to try and replicate an Eskimo-like diet, I ended up, within 3 months, I developed new food allergies. I had super-dry eyes. My sleep was ruined. I was waking up 9 times a night, and what happened is that my gluconeogenesis wasn’t very efficient. My ammonia levels were high, and I couldn’t make enough mucous to line my gut or even to make tears and boogers.
This is also one of those things where there’s a set of people who just love that, and then there’s another set of people who probably, at least on some refuel basis, require some carbs to make mucous and to do other basic functions. How would you recommend people know what’s that number for them? Is there a process that you went through?
Jimmy: I haven’t experienced any of those kinds of things. I’m not saying they don’t happen. I’m just saying I personally have not seen them happen. I had a lot of practitioners amongst those 22 experts, and of course, Dr. Westman is a practitioner, and I asked every single one of them that very question of what about all these side effects that are talked about when you go very low-carb ketogenic. Invariably, they all said, “We’re not seeing this as a normal part of our patient population. It’s just not happening, at least to our patients.” So I’m not saying anybody is lying here. I’m just saying maybe let’s take a look a little closer at other factors beyond the ketogenic aspect that might have contributed to this.
We did address the mucin issue. I know Nora Gedgaudas cited a study that we included in the book, as well. We tried to address all those complaints that have been put out there. I know the hypothyroidism one is a big one that’s brought up quite often in the paleo community, and it just breaks my heart that there’s some people that are turned off to even trying a ketogenic diet because of the supposed calamities that happen that probably may or may not ever happen to any individual that would try it.
Dave: Yeah. If you haven’t tried doing a month of ketosis, honestly, you probably haven’t lived because you’re going to find your brain can do stuff that maybe it only does on Bulletproof Coffee because one of the reasons Bulletproof Coffee feels so good is that when you make it with the Brain Octane Oil, you experience a brief period of what it feels like to be in ketosis because your brain’s saying …
Dave: … that’s what I wanted all this time. Right?
Dave: It’s kind of a gateway drug to ketosis, you could say. What I ended up recommending and what I’m doing with the Bulletproof Diet in the book is saying any time you get the body in a certain state and you try and hold it there forever, it starts to get used to it. It starts to resist, so you want to cyclically go into ketosis. Go into ketosis, but come out once a week. Eat something. Don’t eat a bunch of garbage, like cherry turnovers and …
Jimmy: The John Kiefer references there.
Dave: I was trying to remember who it was who was talking about cherry turnovers.
Jimmy: John Kiefer.
Dave: It was John Kiefer, and it’s like …
Jimmy: He’s one of my experts.
Dave: Oh, is he? Okay. It’s one of those things, where okay, you could eat trash with bad oils and gluten and all that stuff, or you could just allow your blood glucose to come up without increasing the toxic burden on your body. When I look at that kind of logic and I look at what happens with people … and some of my clients, by the way, have after 2 months of essentially very low carbs, like, my sleep quality goes away or my zest for life is down. I feel like I’m lacking, so then they have a few carbs and they feel better. So it definitely works out that it’s different for different people. Do you know, is there an optimal amount of time that you would go in ketosis before you flip out, or are you one of those 6-months-at-a-time kind of guys?
Jimmy: Well, I stay in ketosis practically all the time and don’t have these issues. I wonder, Dave, and I’m just having a conversation here. I’m wondering if some of these issues that come up, maybe it’s a hypo-caloric state. As much as we want to say we’re not fat phobic anymore, sometimes people say, “Well, I know I shouldn’t have too many calories,” so they cut down on the amount of fat they consume, which is a bad idea when you’re trying to be ketotic.
Dave: Oh, yeah.
Jimmy: So you want to up the fat to get adequate calories. I think that might be part of the issue that sometimes people have those bad feelings when they go this way. They’re not testing for ketosis. They’re just assuming that they’re low carb and that they are automatically in ketosis. Uh-uh. You’ve got to use one of those 3 methods we talked about earlier in order to know where you stand, so I have a whole lot more questions. Again, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen that this would cause problems for some people. I believe that does happen, but I think it’s again one of those things you need to test.
Yeah, I think 30 days is a fair amount of time. I would say at least 3 months, give it hard core; give it all your go; be adequate calories. Don’t overdue it on the protein. Find your carb tolerance level. Do all those things that we talk about in the book, and if you do that for 90 days, and you see no benefit, by golly, try something else.
Dave: Amen. All right. Now I’m going to ask you a couple personal questions, Jimmy.
Dave: Do you still have keto breath?
Jimmy: (Puffs). No.
Dave: All right. Keto breath, just so all of you know, the first time you go into ketosis, you’re going to get the worst breath ever. What’s going on there is your body stores a lot of toxins in fat, and you’re actually burning that. In fact, if you lose weight too quickly, it can increase the load on your liver. It can give you brain fog. It can make you tired, give you bad skin for a little while.
One of the things that contributes to this kind of bad breath … And the reason I ask you is my suspicion was that you didn’t, and I don’t either when I go into ketosis. It goes away entirely because, once your system is running clean, this dragon breath that’s really quite horrible actually just stops.
Jimmy: Well, one thing I will say is I can tell when I’m in ketosis from my mouth. That freaks people out. They’re like, “What’s in your mouth?” It’s kind of a thick feeling. It’s not like it’s anything tangible per se, but on the tongue, you can kind of feel it. When I wake up in the morning and I’m getting ready to blow on this meter, I can almost predict what my level of ketosis will be based on how I feel in my mouth. It’s pretty cool actually.
Dave: Yeah. I don’t know if there’s words for it, but there’s a feeling of ketosis, and once you’ve measured it enough times, you just know, “Yeah, I’m in ketosis. I’m in mild ketosis or not.”
Dave: I would say go into ketosis and play around with this until you know what it feels like. That advice is the same whether you’re heavy, whether you’re not heavy, whether you’re a woman or a man at a different age. This is a state that your body clearly can run into. There’s more than enough evidence for it, and it can change the quality of your life dramatically and lower the risk of a bunch of diseases.
It’s a really good idea, and there’s nothing wrong with jumping out and going right back in, but if you jump out and you eat a bunch of gluten, the next day, you’re going to have cravings. You’re going to eat more gluten, and you’ll end up eating bread for 2 weeks before you get fat and your pants don’t fit and then you feel bad about it.
Jimmy: The good news is you can get back in rather easily once you’ve gotten out. If you’ve been well keto-adapted and you have one real food-quality safe-starch meal, you will get back into ketosis very quickly just from that 1 meal, but if you have cherry turnovers, sorry John Kiefer, but that could be problematic. Don’t go hog wild.
Dave: Yeah. I had a really hard time with that, that kind of discussion line. Like, it’s fine to say don’t eat carbs at night, but raw honey has more glycogen in the liver, or there are just clean sources of carbs and that matters as much, at least in my experience of working with people and in my own research. Not eating a bunch of toxins and MSG and bad oils is as important as eating enough fat.
Jimmy: Hear, hear.
Dave: Well, back in 2004, Canada, a country where I’m grateful to live now, eliminated food packaging that said low carb or no carb because they said, “There’s no reason low-carb stuff is bad.” What would you do to food labeling in the U.S. or in Canada that would maybe help people understand what we’re talking about?
Jimmy: I think if we put a graphic on the front packaging of every single packaged food that had teaspoons of sugar in this product, and it would have physically a spoon with sugar kind of all overflowing in it, and divide the carbohydrate content by 4 because really most carbohydrates are going to turn into some form of sugar in the body once they’re consumed. So if something has 48 grams of sugar in it, I want to see a little package that has 12 spoons that are all lined up, and that’s what you’re consuming in this product. I think that would be such a visual that people could not ignore.
Dave: You wouldn’t line them up in the shape of a skull?
Jimmy: I wasn’t going to go there, but sure. Why not?
Dave: That is something that I hope happens. Right now, it’s been such a problem because you see these things that are packaged by mostly big-food conglomerates. Lately, I saw Hot Pockets advertised as protein, and they’re actually jumping around singing a song on TV saying, “Look, they have protein.” There’s some sort of proto ham in there made out of algae. God knows what it is. But like, “Protein, protein.” They’re doing the protein dance, and I’m like, “What kind of other crap is in there?”
Dave: Of course, there’s a ton of sugar in there, as well as every bad fat they could find.
Jimmy: I wish truth in advertising would require these companies that promote a protein thing … Like, Cheerios now has a Cheerios protein. Have you seen that nonsense on the store shelf? You look at it. What is the vast majority of what’s in it? It’s not the protein. It’s carbohydrates, so should they be trumpeting the refined carbohydrates they have in these products? I think so, if it’s truth in advertising.
Dave: Yeah, chocolate frosted protein bombs are still not good for you.
Jimmy: Chocolate frosted protein bombs. That’s funny.
Dave: It’s a Calvin & Hobbes reference, for those of us who still remember it.
Jimmy: Yes, I caught that one.
Dave: Good, good. One of the other things that drives me nuts when I see it just in the media is when people just talk about fat, and this goes back even to Atkins. Atkins wasn’t that precise on the type of fat.
Dave: On the Bulletproof Diet, I’m like, look, at least half your calories come from fat and ideally 70%, and of the fat you eat, at least half of it is saturated.
Dave: Most of the time, we sort of see this poly-unsaturated, mono-unsaturated, if you’re lucky, on a label, but they’re trying to minimize saturated fats, and you don’t know the length or type of saturated fat. It’s entirely hidden, and it turns out the shorter the length, in general, the more the benefits you’re getting. So, I would love it if it didn’t just say the amount of fat, but if it said the type of fat in a little bit more detail, and you just never see that.
Jimmy: Well, and we’ve got to stop groups like the American Heart Association putting out radio ads. I heard one just on my radio earlier driving in the car, where they’re still saying, “We need a health meter when you’re buying foods, and when you buy healthy fats like canola oil and corn oil and have those as the replacement for your butter and those other unhealthy saturated fats,” so that we’re getting kind of this reinforcement of the negative message about what kind of fats are healthy.
In Keto Clarity, we’re quite adamant about high fat, but I’m quite adamant that we’re talking about saturated and mono-unsaturated fats primarily … of course, omega-3 fats are in there, as well … not vegetable oils. Cholesterol Clarity, hopefully, we scared you half to death to ever want vegetable oils because they’re highly inflammatory and causing all sorts of problems. Yes, they’re lowering your LDL-C, but at the expense of increasing your inflammation, so be very careful and be very mindful. Mayonnaise is not healthy. Even though it’s high fat, it’s all omega-6 fats, so you’ve got to be discerning about what you mean by high fat, and we try to give people good guidance on that in Keto Clarity.
Dave: I couldn’t agree, except when you make mayonnaise with Brain Octane Oil, it changes the equation.
Jimmy: And bacon.
Dave: And bacon, yeah. You don’t want that olive oil flavor in mayonnaise.
Dave: I, for years, experimented with the right way to make mayo, and you ended up having a hand blender and doing every little thing possible, but getting it with the right flavor is possible with just the right amount of vinegar, a pinch of mustard.
Dave: But you buy that commercial stuff, it’s oftentimes full of sugar, as well.
Dave: But what would happen, Jimmy, if someone said, “All right, I want to go into corn oil ketosis,” because you can do that, right?
Jimmy: Yes, yeah.
Dave: Just walk me through the 2-week process of someone who’s basically drinking corn oil every day as the primary source of fat?
Jimmy: Yeah, you could do that. It would be highly unpalatable to me. I would rather have butter.
Jimmy: Yeah, you could do that, but what’s going to start to happen is … and your lipids will improve. You’ll have LDL cholesterol come down like a champ, and you may even see a bump up slightly in your HDL cholesterol. Obviously, trying to be ketogenic, that’s going to help with that, but the problem is it starts becoming inflammatory, like we were just talking about. Inflammation is a big, I guess, anti-ketogenic property.
You’ll be having 2 fighting forces at the same time: the ketosis, which is anti-inflammatory, but then the corn oil would be inflammatory. Before long, the inflammatory state is going to overtake you. The bottom line is: don’t do that. Drink Bulletproof Coffee. Have your butter with your meals. Make your own mayonnaise. We actually included a recipe for making mayonnaise in the book. So, yeah, there’s ways to make it happen, but definitely not with the omega-6 seed oils.
Dave: Would you be concerned if someone used olive oil as their primary fat?
Jimmy: A little.
Dave: Yeah, me too.
Jimmy: Only because a lot of the olive oils that are on the grocery store shelves today are not 100% olive oil. Speaking of the FDA, they can legally put omega-6 vegetable oils in up to 40% in some of these olive oils, so be very careful about olive oil. I just hate the taste of it personally. I’d rather cook with coconut oil, macadamia-nut oil, avocado oil, and butter. Did I mention butter? I even butter my bacon. I’m just kidding. You want to get the right kinds of fats, so olive oil, yeah, if you must, but there are better ways to get fat in your diet.
Dave: There’s a study out of UC Davis that said that 69% of olive oil they tested on the shelf wasn’t all olive oil.
Dave: So I do use a little bit of it for flavor. I never cook it because it oxidizes easily.
Dave: Actually, on a salad, I’ll pour MCT, and then I’ll drizzle olive oil because I don’t want that much omega-6 anyway. Even though the taste of olive oil is really nice, I would be concerned. I have a lot of people, when they first come to the blog and you probably do too, where they’re like, “I thought olive oil was healthy because I somehow got the memo that canola was bad, so I switched to olive.” It’s like, “Well, it’s healthy-ish.”
We are coming up on the end of the show. I’m just looking at the clock real quick, and you’ve already answered the top 3 questions: what are the things most important for kicking ass at life and making it more bulletproof. So I’m going to modify this.
Dave: What are your top 3 recommendations for people to go into ketosis, just top 3 most important things if you want to get in fast and stay in?
Jimmy: Sure. Well, it’s going to be real easy because it’s kind of the 3-legged stool we talked about, but finding your carb tolerance. You absolutely have to do that first. If you’re not watching the level of carbohydrates that you’re consuming … and it’s going to vary. I mean, I’m as low as 30. There’s some people lower than me. There’s some people that are athletes that can have 125, 150 and still be in ketosis. I know Ben Greenfield talks about that himself.
So, it’s not going to be a, well, what’s the right level of carbs for me? I have no idea. You kind of have to figure that out for yourself. Get out your glucometer. Let’s see what’s going on in the blood sugar after you eat a given carb and see what happens. Test that and see. That’s number 1; that’s the absolute must.
In fact, in Keto Clarity we provide an acronym to help you remember all this: KETO, K-E-T-O. The K in KETO stands for “keep carbs low.” Then the E is “eat more fat,” which we’ve been talking about the right kinds of fats. You’ve got to eat the saturated mostly and mono-unsaturated fats. Get your omega-3s in there. Avoid the omega-6s as much as possible. That’s the second letter in KETO is “eat more fat.”
T is the “test ketones often,” which we talked about all the various ways that you can do that. Definitely, don’t assume you’re in ketosis just because you’re doing all the things that we talked about. You really have to test to know where you stand. Then the O, which is … I’m cheating because you said 3, but there’s 4 in KETO. O is “overdoing protein is bad,” which we’ve exhausted all the reasons why, but just find that protein threshold level, and if you do that, you’ll be a … what would you like to say … a kick-ass, keto, bulletproof man or woman.
Dave: I love it. Jimmy, your 2 books, Cholesterol Clarity is the first one, and the second one, Keto Clarity, are well worth reading. If you regularly enjoy this podcast, this is the kind of stuff you’ll like because it’s not just Jimmy writing. It’s that, Jimmy, you’ve gone out, and you’ve done sort of what you do in your own podcasts and what I do, is you talk to the experts. You bring them onto the show, and you bring them into the book and really, really dig in on the topics.
I really like the way you’re pulling the content together in those books. They’re well referenced, well researched, and maybe a different spin than you get from just reading 1 point of view. It’s pretty well balanced, and you certainly have an agenda, to educate people about it, but hats off for producing really good-quality content.
Jimmy: Thank you, and we’re excited about our next Clarity book. I’m not going to tell you about it just yet, but it’ll be a big topic in health. Dr. Westman’s already agreed to sign on again, and we’ll have lots of moment-of-clarity quotes from the experts again. Thank you for having me on your show.
Dave: You’ve got it. Tell people your URLs for the books or any other things you want them to know so they can find you. You’re a pretty easy guy to find, but …
Jimmy: Yeah. Keto Clarity, we have a book website, ketoclarity.com. That’s k-e-t-o. We also have one for Cholesterol Clarity, cholesterolclarity.com. Then if you want to find me, livinlavidalowcarb.com. Or if that’s too much to remember, just google Jimmy Moore, and I’m the whole first page.
Dave: Nice. Not a lot of people can say they’re the whole first page of Google, Jimmy.
Jimmy: I’ve been doing this a while.
Dave: Thanks again for coming on the show and sharing your knowledge and just for keeping at this. For a very long time, you’ve been a voice of reason and a true gentleman while you’re doing it, so I appreciate that.
Jimmy: Thank you.
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