Nicotine aids lipolysis. What to do when you quit nicotine?


(Mark Rhodes) #1

My particular question is about Nicotine-Derived Nitrosamine Ketone (NNK) and whether NNK accelerates the production of βHB in the fat adapted individual much like other exogenous ketones?

Since I have quit chewing tobacco 9 weeks ago I have gained 12 pounds of adipose. My βHB averages are lower. It was 1.3, now I am .3. BG has gone up as well from an average of 4.9 to 5.5. In efforts to limit this effect I moved to lower and lower carb averaging 0-10 g a day. And now I am back to square one trying to understand my new ketone and glucose levels since nicotine cessation. If possible I would like to hack how my body is responding to the lack of nicotine.

Background Information Nicotine and Insulin Resistance:
After Ketofest 2018 I promptly came home and quit chewing tobacco because I too wanted my health story to be the best one I could tell. I met so many inspiring people and I knew I could continue my health journey by quitting tobacco and so I did. I immediately struggled with weight gain going from 17% BF to 22% BF with a 12 pound increase of adipose using a Dexascan before and after. I reached out to @richard who was not familiar with the effects of nicotine. No problem, let’s go find the science I told myself!!
Since then I have found that nicotine has an acutely positive effect on lipolysis through multiple mechanisms. Adipose itself remains insulin sensitive even as the muscle and other cells becomes insulin resistant. This means nicotine helps us use our fat stores. This is something that has been know since at least 1928 when Lucky Strike cigarettes marketed themselves as preventing a weight gain (see photos). Nicotine creates a preponderance of free fatty acids while acutely increasing mTor. This increased FFA through the hepatic function allowed for utilization of fats. It seemed that insulin could be ignored to some extent under the influence of nicotine!!! AND MY personal use was one tin a day or the equivalent of 4 PACKS of cigarettes!! So I was impacting my lipolysis heavily.

Stopping Nicotine does this:

The only way to reverse this insulin resistance was to take rapamycin which is not a good thing to do. This drug was invented to decrease chance of tissue rejection and helps inhibit the mTor and not to hack lack of nicotine…sigh.
I have decided it is better to be done with chewing tobacco and to have gained back some weight than be more slender and risking mouth cancers. Still it is discouraging. Since the beginning of September I have gone back to basic keto, no fasting and no timed meals in an effort to reclaim my previous βHB averages. This past week I once again started to get 1.2 βHB mmol and this morning got my first 4.9 in over 60 days!! Next week I plan a 5 day fast and following that either 18/6 or 3 X 36 hour fasts to help shut down mTor.

Any other suggestions based on how nicotine interacts or past experience is welcome!!

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(Adriana) #2

Really interesting topic, I started keto along with two friends and my mother; one of my friends is a heavy smoker and found the first weeks of keto super easy to follow, with no hunger or cravings and amazing weight loss, this may be one of the reasons.

(John) #3

Dirty little secret about nicotine is that it is a good appetite suppressant. That was one reason why, at one time, some young women didn’t like to quit smoking if it meant they would gain weight. Not trying to be sexist, but at the time, and from my experience, that was one of the reasons they often gave.

I was a nicotine user in my 20s and was able to get into great shape and keep my weight under control. I quit all forms of nicotine in 1993 in my mid 30s and have never been able to get back to a truly “good” weight since then.

Though that is clearly not the only factor - I exercised a lot, wasn’t married, and had that youthful metabolism we are blessed with at that age. Seems like with age (and marriage) comes other responsibilities so life becomes more than “work -> workout -> occasionally hang out with friends -> repeat.” I used to run, bicycle, lift weights, and play racquetball, all while working full time and going to college part time.

I sure seemed to get a lot more done in those days. It was pre-Internet so perhaps that had something to do with it. :slight_smile:

So I don’t know what to tell you. But from my experience, it is a real thing. You just have to work through it and maybe up your exercise a bit.


Very interesting. I’m following the topic. I was a Copenhagen user for about 10 years, but then switched to Swedish snus last year (it’s still tobacco and certainly not good for you but it is a lot safer than traditional dip/chew as far as cancer goes). Found out that we’ll be having a baby in about 6 months, and I want to quit even the snus before he/she arrives…certainly not good news to hear of your post cessation gains. :persevere:

(CharleyD) #5

Whatever you do, do not go overboard chewing gum.

The Maltitol, its syrup, and Mannitol in ‘sugar-free’ varieties are highly glycemic and will provoke an insulin response. Especially if you like to keep a fresh one in your mouth.

This will not help the redoubled efforts to lose the magic new weight.

(John) #6

You could try the nicotine gum. I tried it years ago as a quitting tool but it was just swapping one form of nicotine addiction for another. It probably did help me finally quit, though. But I’d rather not be addicted to anything, even chewing gum.

(Mark Rhodes) #7

I used Pur gum for the first few weeks and suspected it for my BG rise. Been on toothpicks if I need a pacifier for the last 7 weeks so that, at least, is not an issue.

(Mark Rhodes) #8

I stopped cold Turkey. Nicotine does other things with BP ,pulse etc that make eliminating nicotine the best option. As I am 9 weeks away and having broke one aspect of the cycle i should be content

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #9

Mark, I’m sorry that you’re having to cope with this, but agree that you are pursuing the best of the options.

I knew about the weight gain after smoking, but I guess I just assumed that was sugar-burners, not ketonians. Doesn’t the weight gain eventually go away, though, as the system normalizes? Or are we in unknown territory here?

In any case, prayers ascending. KCKO.

(Mark Rhodes) #10

Best I can figure is we’re in unknown territory. Those who show regaining former weight all used CICO. Likely I’ll need to adjust daily calorie intake. I’ll look at that as I do my upcoming fasts.

(Omar) #11

20 years ago I made several attempts to quit smoking

I just go cold turkey every time. what I noticed is the relation to wait gain. I thought then that smoking suppressas my appetite.

this stuff is amazing.

(Mark Rhodes) #12

@atomicspacebunny Your pretty sharp with this stuff. Have you had any nicotine information come down your way? Beyond the stuff I have listed here?

(CharleyD) #13

From Good Calories, Bad Calories, nicotine suppresses lipoprotein lipase:

From Protein Power, why Lipoprotein Lipase is important, what it does, and how to influence it:

Verdict, KCKO and it’ll come off. If you’ve quit nicotine, welcome back to mere mortalhood. Now you don’t have the wonderful molecule as your lovely assistant in weight loss so you have to be even more strict with the carb restriction.

(Todd Allen) #14

Reminds me of a paper I read on Alzheimer’s where a study was done, I think an epidemiological review, to see how bad were risk factors such as smoking/nicotine, coffee/caffeine and drinking/alcohol. The unexpected results were smoking and coffee appeared to be protective.

These sorts of studies are notoriously unreliable. But one could imagine that if nicotine suppresses fat gain improving insulin sensitivity that the results of the study are plausible. Still I expect other health negatives make taking up smoking a poor choice for Alzheimer’s prevention.

(Mark Rhodes) #15

What page is that from Protein Power? It is in my Kindle to read pile. I had read Gary’s information and in fact it was what made me spend the last 5 weeks researching this issue.

(Mark Rhodes) #16

I dunno Todd. Seems the Whiskey and cigar approach by these centenarians might have something more than correlation :roll_eyes: :joy:

(CharleyD) #17

I took it from around location 3688 of Protein Power in the PC app in Chrome.

(CharleyD) #18

Too much grit to die before they hit triple digits!


Since there aren’t many recovering chewing tobacco users, I’ll give you my n=1. I quit November 1, 2017. I only used a tin every 3 days. The 13 lb weight gain is what prompted me find keto. I replaced with sugar free gum.

I started keto March 1, 2018 with a 3 day water fast (stupid miserable). I had no problem with the first 20 lbs in 8 weeks. The next 6 weeks I went nowhere. I broke the stall by stopping sugarless gum and increasing calories from 1300 to 2000/day. That helped me with another 15 lbs.

I’m down from 6’0" and 237lb to 201 lbs and stalled again for last 4 weeks. I think I’m going to go back to restricting calories to get down the next 5 lbs (Where i promised my wife that i would quit losing).

So, in summary:

  • I didn’t have much trouble losing the weight gained from quitting chew.
  • Had to fine tune things to break the first stall.
  • I’m getting to an almost reasonable weight where things are definitely slowing down.
  • I feel like keto has actually helped me break the addiction to nicotine. I quit chew once for 13 years and wanted a dip every single day of those 13 years. Started again for 7 more years. This second quit has me not even thinking twice about tobacco after I started keto. This might be because I often substituted tobacco for a carb craving which I don’t have any more.
  • It is so liberating not to worry about having enough to make it through a camping trip or even a cross country drive. I do not regret quitting and I feel that keto actually helped.
  • Difference between me and you is that I quit 4 months before keto and you quit after (and you used 3x as much). My lipolysis may have stabilized in those 4 months. Yours might too.

As a final note, think of the scale carnage that would have happened had you not been followiing keto when you quit.


Love this story. I appreciate you sharing Gary.

Edit: Should mention that I was a user for about 12 years and doing roughly 1 to 1.5 cans per day for most of it.

I still miss Copenhagen on many an occasion (though the snus mostly abates the craving) but it was a huge step for me to stop and I’m glad I made it. I’m sure I’ll look back at snus the same way. Going to start weaning myself down in October. Makes me nervous…it’s like the only vice I have left now that I’ve gotten married and settled down!

Seem to be stuck