Before I go into my intended series discussing my lab results and the changes I did or didn’t observe, I wanted to offer this small prelude.
A few days ago, I was putzing around the house doing some internet surfing and light reading when I came across the video above.
Then almost immediately after, I was reading an article at the back of a Time magazine and read a line that really jumped out at me. Even though it was written about a show I don’t watch and have never heard of, it just resonated with me:
“Enlightened” is about people trying to fix themselves without totally understanding the repair manual.
– James Poniewozik
Later on in the day I listened to Jimmy Moore’s “Ask The Low Carb Experts” interview with Dr. Peter Attia (you can listen to the podcast here if you’re interested). They discuss the idea that we really don’t know much about the effects of eating a low carb diet, and are just scratching the surface of things.
For example, all the reference ranges for our labs are constructed from a population consuming a standard american diet that is high carb. We don’t know what normal values are for people who are paleo or people who are in ketosis.
Jimmy Moore who has been in nutritional ketosis for the past 270 days now has a high total cholesterol, high LDL-C, and high LDL-P, to go along with a higher HDL. He had an earlier post about this around day 180 where he goes into his cholesterol history and shows his numbers for the past few years.
The problem is that we don’t know what normal cholesterol values are for people in ketosis. We don’t know if a high LDL-C or LDL-P has the same detrimental effect on people in ketosis as it does in people on a standard diet. These problems can be applied to every other test out there such as thyroid levels, HbA1c levels, hormones, etc.
There’s also early research coming out now about the beneficial effects of ketogenic diets on the treatment of certain cancer and are just scratching the surface of why and how this occurs. We still don’t know if this applies to all cancers or only specific ones, and why it works on one and not the other
There just hasn’t been enough research done looking at these things. The best we can accomplish at this point is to do our own individual n=1 experiments to find what works and what doesn’t until more data comes out.
Like the quote, I sort of feel like I’ve been trying to fix myself without a manual. The closest thing we have to a manual is what little research is out there (ie Volek and Phinney), which is still in a very rudimentary phase and has so much more to explore.
It’s almost as if the available knowledge we have is akin to one of the very early iterations of the Dragon curve in the video above, where we get the sense that there’s a pattern or that there’s something greater going on, but can’t quite tell what that is yet.
Only time and further experimentation will tell…