Jimmy Moore recently published his blood work obtained during the fall of 2014. I’m truly appreciative of Jimmy’s willingness to publish information as honestly and transparently as possible, and I use him as a model for publishing my own data.
I’m particularly interested in Jimmy’s test results because like me, he too is someone who has developed stratospheric cholesterol levels while in ketosis. This has been a topic of great interest to me lately for obvious personal reasons and I’m doing my best to find as much information on this little known subject as possible, most recently exploring the thoughts of Dr. Dayspring as well as the possible effects of specific Apo E genes.
All the data I’m examining has been provided by Jimmy himself on his blog, livinlavidalowcarb.com. If you’d like to read his posts directly you can read them at the following:
The areas that are colored in orange specify when Jimmy has been in Nutritional Ketosis. His Nutritional Ketosis experiment officially began on June 2012 after he read Volek and Phinney’s Art and Science of Low Carb Performance, and officially concluded after a full year on May 2013. If you’d like to read about his experiences during this time you can check out his N=1 page here.
Over the course of this 12 month experiment he lost a whopping 78 lbs, going from 306.2 lbs to 228.2 lbs, which is pretty damn impressive.
Since the conclusion of his experiment, despite not publishing his blood glucose and blood ketone numbers, Jimmy maintains that he has been consistently in ketosis via his blogs, podcasts, and twitter feed.
Now with his latest blood tests from Fall 2014, he states that in the interim, he has re-gained approximately 30 lbs and currently weighs in at 275 lbs. This means that from May 2013 when he weighed his lowest at 228.2 lbs, he re-gained a grand total of 46.8 lbs.
He attributes this weight gain to the stresses of writing, publishing, and promoting his last two books: Keto Clarity and Cholesterol Clarity (you can read my reviews here and here). While I’ve never published anything, I do know enough about book promotion from reading third party accounts that I can completely understand how stressful the whole process is… especially the traveling back and forth for book signings repeatedly crisscrossing time zones.
Jimmy is quick to highlight the improvement in both his Total Cholesterol and LDL-C numbers (alas, he did not get an NMR Lipoprofile) and has this to say about it:
“In May 2013 during the writing of Cholesterol Clarity, I wrote blog post entitled Could Your Poor Dental Health Be A Hidden Cause Of High Cholesterol? where I shared about the extensive and expensive dental work I had done by a holistic dentist who cleaned up the infections from multiple root canals I had done as well as the removal of some mercury silver amalgams from my early twenties (after crunching on sugary hard candy often as a kid). In that post and in my book, I noted that unresolved chronic bacterial infections in your mouth could be one of the reasons why your cholesterol levels can go up and I posited at the time “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I recheck my cholesterol numbers…and magically all of my cholesterol levels drop back down to normal again?”
The only thing that has really changed since my last cholesterol panel is the dental work I had done. It’s so amazing to see this stunning change and yet doctors are totally missing this reason why cholesterol levels have gone up and are reaching for their prescription pads to administer statins instead.”
Regarding his TSH and other thyroid numbers, Jimmy says:
“And finally, despite all the negative comments about the thyroid health of people who eat a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet that are made and promoted by well-meaning people in the Paleo community like Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet (which we addressed fully in Keto Clarity), the reality is all the weeping and gnashing of teeth about this is much ado about nothing. These numbers are outstanding despite the fact I eat ketogenic pretty much all the time. I got these superb results in my thyroid numbers because I eat a well-formulated low-carb, high-fat diet with adequate calories. This nonsensical low-carb = hypothyroidism meme that has become so popular in recent years needs to end right here, right now.”
At this point, you may have noticed that I didn’t color in his 2014 results in orange and here’s why. I wanted to congratulate Jimmy on the improvement in his numbers and of course wanted to learn more about how he achieved those results… so I asked him! And this is what he said:
@bjjcaveman No. Lost ketones often.
— Jimmy Moore (@livinlowcarbman) November 6, 2014
Well this of course caught my attention, I mean losing ketones often indicates that he wasn’t consistently in ketosis… and to me ‘often’ tells me that he spent more of his time out of ketosis than in.
This alone can explain the changes in his Total Cholesterol, LDL-C, and TSH, and is something I’ve written about in many of my prior posts, most recently in my Keto Clarity review
Therefore I have to disagree with Jimmy’s ‘much ado about nothing‘ statement regarding the relationship between eating low carb and thyroid health, especially in light of his response to my thoughts on this subject in my review of Keto Clarity.
I mean, the change in Jimmy’s TSH was eerily similar to what happened to me when I ended my own nutritional ketosis experiment.
The same can be said about his total cholesterol and LDL and the drop that I witnessed in my own numbers when I ate more carbs.
Regarding LDL-C, one of the current theories as to why it can increase in folks on ketogenic diets is simply because of the weight loss. The theory goes something like:
Weight loss = fat burning = increased release of fatty acids into the blood stream = increased LDL
I don’t know enough to say whether this is true or not… all I can say is that in my case, my LDL was high both when I lost weight AND when I gained weight.
With respect to this theory, the fact that Jimmy was gaining weight from the conclusion of his nutritional ketosis experiment until this point may also explain the change in his numbers.
Again, I want to reiterate how much I appreciate and respect Jimmy’s complete transparency and honesty as well as his willingness to engage with me in discussion. These are my favorite things about him!
Jimmy of course knows his body way better than I do and he may be on certain medications or supplements or a special workout regimen or whatever that he hasn’t fully gone into yet. Some of this stuff can be very personal and I wouldn’t begrudge him for not sharing everything.
This may in part explain how he arrived at his conclusions… but considering the information that is available to me, I just can’t 100% subscribe to the conclusions he’s drawn regarding his latest test results… and I hope that I’ve provided a clear enough explanation so you can see why.
I’m not saying that the whole dental amalgam and dental infection thing WASN’T the reason behind the change in his numbers, I’m just saying that the fact that he spent most of his time out of ketosis is a pretty big confounder, and from what I know is a more likely explanation.
What do you think?
UPDATE – 12/4/14
Jimmy had this to say via twitter:
@bjjcaveman Not shabby. Only one correction. While not in constant ketosis, I was still in it likely 85% of the time. Very carb/protein…
— Jimmy Moore (@livinlowcarbman) December 1, 2014
@bjjcaveman …sensitive. So very easy to fall out of it will stress, lack of sleep. All good in the end.
— Jimmy Moore (@livinlowcarbman) December 1, 2014
So there you have it.