Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Adrian Ballinger on Everest

Back at the end of 2015 Mike Brampton and I had a conversation about climbing Everest.

Based on Graph A from Fig 3 in D'Agostino's rat paper

Therapeutic ketosis with ketone ester delays central nervous system oxygen toxicity seizures in rats

our conclusion was that summiting Everest might be best achieved using a ketogenic diet. I know nothing about extreme climbing or the culture which goes with it but it came as no surprise, via Mike, that they carb loaded and carb loaded and carb loaded. You know, sugar has its own partial oxygen supply built in to the molecule. No point trying to burn fat if there's no oxygen*. Understandable but, obviously, completely incorrect. I think Mike had been trying (frustratedly) to convert altitude folks to fat centred thinking for some years before this.

*It's true that there is no point trying to burn fat under anoxia. But given some oxygen ketosis pays dividends.

So it was interesting to pick up this link on Facebook:

How Adrian Ballinger Summited Everest Without Oxygen

This fits in with Veech's concept of increased metabolic efficiency per unit O2 consumed when burning ketones and D'Agostino's discovery of an "unexpected" rise in arterial PO2 in rats gavaged with a betahydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate combination precursor, while they were breathing room air (PaO2 from 100mmHg to 130mmHg, pardon the archaic units).

Very gratifying, even if completely different from the approach taken by Naked Mole Rats and their fructolysis.



bill said...

When I saw that headline, I too wondered
whether they tried being fat adapted, but
couldn't find any info on their diet.
Thanks for this.

bill said...

After reading the article with its prominent
video ad for Hiball Grapefruit sugar drink
in the middle I'm more confused. Here's
Hiball's ingredients:Purified Water, Fair Trade Certified Cane Sugar*, Sour Cherry Juice Concentrate*, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine*, Vitamin Blend (Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)), Panax Ginseng Extract*, Guarana Extract*.

Is he keto or not?

Rob said...

Directly from the written article ...
The solution, Uphill decided, was to [help Ballinger] become a fat-burner. In practice, that means Ballinger has embraced a ketogenic diet, limiting the calories he eats from carbs to just 10 percent of his daily intake, and getting 60 percent from fats and 30 percent from protein. A typical day includes an incredible 4,000 calories of seeds, nuts, meat, cheese, and “loads of avocado and butter." Which might sound pretty great on paper. “It takes getting used to,” Ballinger says. “I used to be the guy who would eat a whole pizza every day, and I loved pasta, baked goods, and my carbohydrate gels while I was working out. Removing all of that has taken a major shift.”

bill said...

Here's the link to the grapefruit drink:

It says one can = 40 grams of sugar.

If you do the math 4000*10%=400cal
That means that leaves 4.444 grams of
carbohydrates in whatever else he eats that day.

Doesn't sound keto to me.

It would be hypocrisy shilling for this company
if you truly believed in the benefits of keto.

Peter said...

bill, there you have me. I'm an utter failure at advertising. I find the concept of watching an ad, for anything, pretty incomprehensible. Ballinger was eating 4000kcal/d, 10% carbs, 400kcal, just over 100g combined with extreme exercise. That's ketogenic, certainly fat burning. How much money changed hands over the video ad is anyone's guess. I don't see Ballinger as a keto evangelist, he just needed a tool to fix a problem and people with greater depth of knowledge gave him that tool. He was probably happy to take the juice money too. Who knows, he might even have used the juice within 400kcal! He's not one of what Tom Naughton calls The Annointed, trying to tell you what to do. That's for you to decide, not Hiball. Nor me.


bill said...


I understand your comment, but you look
at Hiball's website and Ballanger is
prominently displayed on the front page:

...like "our energy drinks helped him get to
the top." Which is a load of...
I'm here to point out hypocrisy where I
see it. This is just one more reason
people are confused.

Peter said...


http://dilbert.com/strip/2014-11-06 One of my favourites.


Wout Mertens said...

In a way, if he accepted their money so he could go to Everest, and they get their money selling energy drinks, those drinks /did/ help, even though he could not have done more than sip them :)