The Burger Curve

Just as we began getting started at Talking20, we were fortunate to have a friend lend us their mass spectrometer. While this particular machine does not allow us to see everything we’re looking for, we can see molecules that are in the blood in very high concentrations. It turns out the molecule that I personally need to be looking for, cholesterol, shows up in the blood at very high mg/dL concentrations.

Burger_01My co-conspirator and friend, John, decided to help establish this test with the tools we already had.  We used the T20 Spot Cards (available here) to collect several drops of blood on a ten different cards, ten times times throughout one day. This followed up on an earlier experiment I had done where we saw unexpected results after eating 4 burgers (data to come later), John decided to run the following experiment:

T20 at Home Experiment:

While collecting his blood drops on ten T20 Spot Cards throughout the day, approximately every hour for 10 hours, John did the following:


  1. Eat nothing in the morning.
  2. At 2:00pm he ate one Burger, with Fries, Chicken McNugget’s and a Chocolate Bar.
  3. At 6:00pm he ate lots of Oranges.
  4. At 9:00pm he ate some Thai Salad.

After each meal and in between John filled a spot card and this is what we saw (click the image for larger view):

T20 Results:


What this shows is that after he consumed a burger, fries, chicken nuggets and a chocolate bar, we observed his cholesterol go to twice the baseline level that he woke up with in the morning.  Furthermore this occurred approximately one-and-a-half hours after the high fat foods were eaten.  This is also consistent with the first results seen with Heather’s Burger Curve (story coming soon).   What’s also interesting is when John finally did eat oranges later in the day, his cholesterol did not show the same spike!

OrangeThis is a bit of a surprise to me, and not something I remember being told about in med school.  In fact, because to do this type of experiment you would usually have to sit at a lab all day and have tubes of blood drawn from your arm for 10 hours, and pay for each of those tests individually ($30-50 each), this would ordinarily be very hard to demonstrate.  We are not sure that it has ever been done! Please let us know if you know of any similar examples and how this result compares!

New Questions:

We wonder now what other types of food do to this in comparison to the burger, fries, nuggets and chocolate bar used here.  We also wonder how the food was prepared, and if that makes a difference?   Also, we wonder how long it would take for his baseline levels to go back to normal, as they did not seem to completely go back down over our time course. How long would that have taken? What was happening to other molecules like his triglycerides , HDL or glucose?  How about the other vitamins and minerals in the food?

We hope this provides an example of what’s possible with T20 Spot Card as a new kind of tool for us to find out about what’s happening inside our bodies, and how they respond to what we put in it.  As a team I can say after we did this we are struggling to look at burgers the same way as we used to!  There is much more to learn!  Now you can see for yourself! Order some T20 Spot Cards here.  We are looking forward to what you discover about cholesterol and the other markers we have included free with each card!

Your body is talking to you. Let’s find out what it’s saying.

Experimental Notes:  Absolute values of cholesterol run during this experiment will be provided in a follow-on post update.  Total caloric intake will also be reported.   Relative values shown here are validated with internal standard curves run for Total Cholesterol.  Experimental protocols will be published shortly. 


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