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I've been doing a longer experiment with ketosis for about two years now. I started naturally slipping into ketosis when I started intermittent fasting and found that I really loved the way it felt.
Most people have very little knowledge of what ketosis is and how it works -- if they've ever even heard the term at all. If you fall into that camp and would like a quick primer, this Reddit "Keto in a Nutshell" is a great place to start.
Here's an update on what I've learned after experimenting with putting my body into a regular state of low-grade (~1 to 1.5 millimolar) ketosis for the past two years:
This is what I looked like back in 2010. I weighed 250 lbs, a 38" waist and I was on the verge of metabolic syndrome -- and I didn't even know what that meant until 2015. If you're not sure either, but your numbers are like mine, this would be a very good time to read up about it, because those with metabolic syndrome are at a 5x higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and 2x the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It's really hard for me to post that photo -- and in fact, that's one of very few photos of me shirtless, because I hated being that guy in those pics. I don't even recognize myself in that picture. My mental image of myself was never being that out of shape. But I had gone from being really in shape in my 20s to really out of shape in my 30s.
I've spent the last two years crawling out of the hole I dug for myself, through a combination of intermittent fasting, exercise, and ketosis. Here's a picture of me trying new clothes on in 2017. And let me tell you, it felt amazing to go shopping for new clothes after donating my old wardrobe of XL shirts and 38" waist pants that was now too big for me.
All of that sounds like a personal success, right? Well, not so fast -- what about my blood work results while on ketosis for the past two years? Here are the results of seven blood tests I've taken in the past seven years:
Although my triglycerides went down to 70 from 202 and my HDL (the good cholesterol) went up to 65 from 38, my LDL (the bad cholesterol) also went up, from 135 to as high as 201. Must be all the saturated fat that comes from eating bacon and other high-fat foods while on ketosis, right? And we all know that saturated fat is really horrible for our bodies, yes? The funny thing is that I no longer believe that's true. In his book "Eat Fat, Get Thin," Dr. Hyman, the director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, references large reviews of randomized trials, observational research and blood-level data that show no link between saturated fat and heart disease. He now believes saturated fats actually provide a net benefit to health so long as they're not ingested alongside a high carbohydrate diet (this NY Times interview provides a good summary):
When my higher LDL came back, I also ran an LDL-P test to test for the small LDL particles that are belived to be really bad. These small LDL particles are the ones that form plaque in arteries. My LDL-P numbers were off the charts, in a really bad way, scoring 2,155.
My primary care physician was concerned enough that she ordered a CT scan to find out if I had any plaque build-up in my arteries after doing ketosis for two years. And I literally just got the results back today:
Zero plaque, thankfully.
So what have I learned, and where am I going from here?
I'll break what I've learned into what I know to be true, and what I think to be true:
What I know to be true:
What I think to be true:
Here's what I'm trying next:
I've started experimenting in three-month tranches, with blood panels in-between. These are the experiments I currently have queued up:
Just started: Instead of keeping myself in an always-on state of ketosis through diet, for the next three months, I'm going to experiment with more of a "pegan diet" to see if that can lower my LDL while maintaining my other numbers.
Up next: I really want to try a "pescatarian keto" diet, where I keep my body in ketosis, but get my fats from fatty fish vs. other meats.
I'm also continuing to fast two days per week and exercise regularly through the experiments above.
And there's one last experiment I'm intrigued to try: A friend from college, Frank, is commercializing a ketone ester into a product called KetoneAid . I tried it for the first time this week and I'm pretty excited about it. Dr. Richard Veech is Frank's wife's godfather, and Dr. Veech has been studying ketones for the past 40 years at the NIH. Dr. Veeh states "A true ketone ester is a salt free and non racemic (D-bhb) drink that replicates the secondary fuel that the body produces during times of starvation," and this is what Frank is working on bringing to market. The cost to develop this kind of pure ketone ester has traditionally been $1,000 per gram. Frank is working to bring that down to $1 per gram.
I tried an early sample of KetoneAid and it was amazing. We tested my ketone levels, and they shot up to 3.4 millimolars within 15 minutes. Several hours later they were still above 2 millimolars. This won't mean much to people who don't track their ketone levels, but it would normally require a five day fast to get up to that level of ketosis. Here's a bit more about what this means:
When you're in ketosis, you don't get hungry as quickly because your body is in a mode where it's burning the fat stored in your body for energy. Drinking KetoneAid catapults your body into ketosis in 15 minutes, which means:
Here's my experience trying KetoneAid for the first time:
Here was the followup 50 minutes later:
Here's a picture of the bottle (front & back):
Here's a picture of my ketone levels after 50 minutes:
 Re: Ideal diet: The word "diet" gets pretty twisted in our society. When I refer to "ideal diet" I'm talking about a long-term way of eating vs. a temporary diet.
 Re: Frank's just starting to ramp up production of KetoneAid: He's going to do a kickstarter once he gets ramped up; you can register to learn more on his website, www.KetoneAid.com. It's really, really, really hard to produce a quality ketone ester. I'll ask Frank to post some follow-up comments explaining why.
The Game of Thrones season finale was tonight, and I thought this picture was a pretty apt analogy of the insurgent role software is starting to play in a business' ability to dominate not just their industry, but multiple industries:
Amazon is now closing on its acquisition of Whole Foods, and this WSJ article headline sums up the impending carnage that acquisition will cause in the retail sector:
I've never tried this myself, but I've heard it works extremely well -- and in fact, I'd love for someone to try this and then post a comment on this blog (ideally w/ pics!) describing how it goes:
As I've written about in the past, I've learned with Armory about the importance of putting customers at the center of the company's focus.
If you're the founder of a B2C startup, here's a great way to interview prospective customers:
"Experience is what you get right after you need it." - James C. Wofford
Armory is the startup I've always wanted to create. I'm applying everything I've learned over the past fifteen years from previous startups.
Below are some of those startup lessons explained as a series of Matryoshka Russian stacking dolls, with the customer sitting at the center, encompassed by product, company and tribe.
Build The Product Around The Customer. This sounds obvious, and I thought I knew how to listen to customers, but I've never done it like this before, and now I see companies of all sizes missing opportunities to build value around their customers' needs.
When Isaac, Ben and I started Armory late last year, I found a lot has changed since starting my last startup, Socialize, in 2008. There's a suite of new tools available to instrument a startup that didn't exist eight years ago, including:
I haven't yet blogged much about Armory because we've been busy building. But if you'd like to learn more about the Software Revolution and how Armory is involved, head over to our Company Manifesto. I've also written a CEO Manifesto that describes the main jobs of a CEO in a startup (and the importance of creating a Tribe culture), and if you're interested in working at Armory, take a look at why life is awesome over here!
If you're generally interested in startups, head over to my "So You Want to Start A Company..." hackpad with my best tips on startups.
One of my best "get things done" tricks: is that I focus on the "last mile" of whatever I'm doing.
Here's a picture to illustrate what I mean:
Most of the work went into building I-40. But for the three houses in the circle above that live off of Lomaki Road, most of the value came from the last mile of service roads that were built to make the interstate accessible.
I see people spending a bulk of their time on the big parts of a project -- the equivalent of building I-40. But then they leave the service roads -- the details -- un-built, which means they never actually unlock that value.
It just blows my mind how little we know about our bodies and how to keep them healthy. Most people I talk to aren't happy with the state of their bodies. They either feel like they're too fat, or too skinny, or some other complex. And it's not just feelings -- many people, especially on the Western diet, are too fat. And in fact, are clinically obese but don't know it. That described me for a decade. I was literally on the verge of metabolic syndrome and didn't even know it. That's incredible: I was putting my self at double the risk of coronary disease, diabetes and a slew of other diseases and I didn't even realize it. I see that same benign neglect of the body in most people around me. There's a general dissatisfaction of their bodies, but very little action taken to improve it, and I think it's because most people are a combination of confused as to what the best path forward is, and reluctant to make big changes without being sure they're making the right ones.
So while I don't necessarily have answers, I can offer a plan to help you begin your journey to figure it out, and the good news is, it's a very simple plan and so easy to follow that I guarantee this will work for you like it has for me. (Or "Your money back!" so to speak) You just have to decide you want to try. Here it is, step by step.
Step 1 in DROdio's "Achieve Your Body Goals" Plan: Adjust Your Attitude (Seriously.)
The very first thing you have to do is decide to take control of your body's fate, and not to let yourself feel like a victim. You are not a passenger along for the ride. You are driving. You have to believe that you impact the outcome with your actions, because you can, and you will. I have. For over a decade I felt like a helpless passenger. As my metabolism slowed down, I'd continue to put on the pounds and couldn't figure out how to stop it. I started hating the scale; hating that I was becoming someone other than who I knew I really was. It wasn't until I took this first step that I was able to take control. You have to really want to do this.
When I turned 39 last year, I knew I was in trouble, and although I hadn't recognized quite how bad my health had gotten, I knew enough to realize I had to do something about it. On my 39th birthday I vowed that by 40, I would be back in the kind of shape I had been in a decade earlier, when I'd turned 30.
Today is my 40th birthday, and I've not only hit that goal, but surpassed it. I might be in the best shape I've ever been in. I'm in much better shape that I was when I turned 30. Possibly even better shape than I was when I turned 20, back in 1995. In this blog post I'm going to share how I did what I never thought I'd be able to do: Take control of my body and health for the first time in my life, which would require me to overcome my genetic predispositions and a tortured relationship with food.
The formula is equal parts motivation + relationship w/ food + relationship w/ exercise. So let's break it down in that way:
I'm about to take you down a deep rabbit hole, on a path that will challenge what you believe about nutrition and health. This is a journey of experimentation, and I encourage you to keep a very open mind, and in fact, I hope you decide to experiment with these themes yourself. I'm not a nutritionist or doctor, but I am very passionate about finding ways to optimize my body and health (especially as I age), which is why I've been doing intermittent fasting for the past five months -- and that experience has been life changing. I've gone from XL to medium sized shirts, from a 38 to 32 waist, and most importantly, from 34.7% body fat to 24.5% (and my goal is to get under 20%). Intermittent Fasting has put me in control of my body for the first time in my life.
And just when I felt that I was really starting to figure it all out, this rabbit hole opened up. And it's called ketosis.
In addition to intermittent fasting, I'm experimenting with ketosis through the end of 2015, which is triggered by eating a ketogenic diet comprised of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. Yes, that's right -- in order to lose fat and become healthier, I'm going to eat mostly fat. The mind blowing counter-intuitiveness of that statement is why I'm writing this blog.
But before we can talk about this ketogenic approach to nutrition and health, we have to understand how the body uses two energy sources -- glucose and ketones -- and why, with your diet, you are probably only ever tapping into glucose (and how that may be making you unhealthier, especially as you age).
I wrote this post in August 2014 comparing Betterment to Wealthfront, so it's been about 15 months, and I thought it'd be a good time to check in on relative performance, as a buddy of mine recently wrote:
"I saw your post on betterment. I'm thinking of moving everything over to a roboinvestor. What's your thinking on betterment vs wealthfront, and whether you'd just dump everything on there?"
As I wrote in my original post, I put $5k into both Betterment and Wealthfrontto test them against each other. To date, both have under-performed the S&P 500 by a considerable margin. S&P is up 10% since August 2014. Betterment is down by 2% and Wealthfront is down by 5.4%. So, should I just have invested in the S&P 500? And as per my other previous blog, Show Me The Money: Six Strategies to Put Your Cash to Work, how should I re-allocate based on this new data? And what would I recommend to my buddy? Let's dig into the data a bit to come to a conclusion: