What a day of carnivore eating actually looks like (Protein absorption per meal matters)

I often get asked, “Why can people eating carnivore eat as much protein as they want and still lose weight?”

Well there are several answers for that. One is that they may not have ever dieted before and will lose weight doing anything lower carb and reducing processed foods. Another could be that they are caloric restricting and this will always result in weight loss in the short term. What I want to look at today is adding onto the last article I posted about protein absorption per meal and looking at how that affects the macros and the actual amount of protein a carnivore is actually using as protein. This is the last article:

From the previous article, and the literature I referenced, a person can only absorb 0.25 to 0.3g of protein per meal. If you want to see the literature you can click the post above and it is all there. Lets break down a day of carnivore ala Shawn Baker style. This would be something like 2lbs of steak only. I will use a 145lb woman as an example because the math is easy. 🙂

2lbs of steak has 227g of protein. 

She is 145lbs or 66kg. 

She can only absorb 0.30g x 66kg of protein per meal. That is roughly 20g.

If she eats one meal a day that is 20g per day of protein she is getting as amino acid that will contribute to maintaining lean mass. The rest is converted to glucose or used as intermediates for metabolism or energy. 207g goes to other. 

If she eats 2 meals that is 40g of protein she contributes to lean mass and the rest is used for other and glucose. 187g goes to other. 

If she eats 3 meals a day that is 60g of protein she contributes to lean mass and the rest goes to other and glucose. 167g goes to other.

About 40% of the protein remaining gets converted to glucose so:

  • 1 meal – 82.8g is converted to glucose
  • 2 meals – 74.8g is converted to glucose
  • 3 meals – 66.8g is converted to glucose

Lets look at her caloric and macro intakes for these 3 scenerios:

2 lbs of steak:

  • 227g of protein
  • 172g of fat
  • 0 carbs
  • 2458 calories

Knowing what we know about protein absorption this is what it actually looks like for the 3 meal scenerios. 

1 meal:

  • 20g of protein (80 calories) – 4% of calories (she will be protein deficient and run into problems eventually such as sarcopenia (loss of lean mass))
  • 172g of fat (1548 calories) – 80% of calories (great)
  • 82.8g of carbs (331 calories) – 16% of calories (at OMAD she is doing similar macros to keto except with carbs and protein reversed)
  • 1959 total calories

At one meal a day she may be losing lean mass unless she does strength training which has been shown to stop losses though increased release of growth hormone. I would still be worried about long term risk of sarcopenia. 

2 meals:

  • 40g protein (160 calories) – 8% of calories (adequate)
  • 172g of fat (1548 calories) – 77% of calories (great)
  • 74.8g of carbs (300 calories) – 15% of calories (Getting closer to keto macros but pretty much same as above)
  • 2008 calories

3 meals:

  • 60g of protein (240 calories) – 12% of calories (probably perfect for her)
  • 172g of fat (1548 calories) – 75% of calories (pretty much the standard view of ketogenic fat ratio. Low for my liking but adequate for maintenance)
  • 66.8g of carbs (267 calories) – 13% of calories (still high for keto but for most this would be adequate for weight maintenance and even weight loss)
  • 2055 calories

You can see when we factor in the way protein is absorbed that she is restricting protein by a different mechanism. There is no way to store excess protein so if you eat a huge bolus in one meal you only get a small amount of usable amino acids. We do not have storage for excess amino acids so they are converted to a form for storage. That is glucose. Being that they eat no carbs other than the converted ones, the converted glucose is easily shunted into liver as glycogen and is used to maintain blood glucose. This is not a bad thing per se but you will see a common trend when you look at the blood work of a long term carnivores. You will see elevated A1c and a higher fasting blood glucose. That is because they are always converting amino acids to glucose and always have liver glycogen providing glucose for blood sugar levels. They A1c will not be crazy high but higher than even a moderate carb eater. If you look at Dr. Baker’s last A1c it was 5.9. My last A1c was 4.9. I have seen several posts in other groups from carnivores with similar A1c levels. 

I hope this helps get a better view of what unlimited protein actually looks like in a carnivore diet.

If you need help getting past a stall, getting your hair to stop falling out or on the other end of the spectrum you need help increasing exercise performance and body composition I have strategies for all of the above. 

Check out my coaching program here: http://www.MaritimeDietaryManagement.ca/Programs

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

Protein – How much do you need, how much gets used for lean mass maintenance and what happens to the rest?

There is so very much chatter about protein. How much do we need? How much can we use at one time? What happens to the rest? All of these answers are out there and it is so very sad that 99% of people that are guiding others have no idea what the actual truth is. The truth is that the numbers are pretty well established and there is a massive amount of study that has gone into determining these numbers. This is an area that separates the people with training (myself I hold 3 separate Certifications in sports nutrition and will be registered as a Holistic Nutritionist by October of 2019) and those that just pick and choose certain articles, studies and magazines to read and glean what they can from it. If you take the time to get an actual education in nutrition, they lay out the material and the studies. You can go and read them. No they are not all correct but they provide you with a more broad picture of the whole story.

Lets Start with what is required on a daily level. This is where most people just dump a number and leave it at that. The truth is this is just the starting point. If you require 100g of protein a day and you eat all of it in one meal, you are not getting what you need, because there is a max amount we can absorb at once, and you will have to use your existing lean tissue to make up the difference for the rest of the day. We can only process a certain amount at one time to generate maximum protein synthesis (building of new protein). I digress. We will get to that later. Short story is, I am going to show you what you need but don’t eat it in one meal and call it a day. You will suffer.

The average person requires somewhere between 0.45g to 0.75g per KG of lean mass depending on which source you look at but I generally use a safe 0.8g per KG of ideal bodyweight as a buffer. This exceeds all of the standards. That means for someone whose ideal weight is 160lbs (72kg) they require somewhere in the range of 32 to 58g of protein per day. Again, don’t think you can consume that in one meal and that will be fine. You can’t absorb all of that in one meal. I’ll get to that. For an athlete or someone who exercises daily, you will want to increase that amount. The recommendation for these folks is 1.2g to 2.0g per KG of ideal bodyweight. That means that 160lb person would require between 86g to 144g per day of protein. This comes from the latest studies and research from the official position paper from The Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. (ACSM/AND/DC, 2016). This doesn’t mean you will get no muscle gain at the low end and max at the top end. It is a range and depends on your training and some genetics. You can still make gains at the bottom of the range. I typically sit at the bottom of the range and have put on nearly 60lbs of lean mass in the last 8 to 10 years.


So what happens if you get the minimum and work out or get less than the minimum? Well we have mechanisms to deal with that and I am sure you’ve heard of one of them. Short term we will use something that the fasting proponents love, autophagy. If we get less protein then we need in our diet, our body is so intelligent that it has a system to recycle less than perfect proteins to use for protein synthesis. Fasters seem to think they have the monopoly on autophagy. They do not and it is probably the least intelligent way to achieve it. You can read about autophagy here:

Now if we do this chronically it can be somewhat bad but, unless you are fasting alot, which I never recommend because there are better ways to achieve it without starving, then there is very little chance you will run out of cells worthy of autophagy that you can use. That being said, if you are an athlete, you want to use the athletes protein requirements and try to stick to them. Again, you don’t need to go to the max 2.0g per KG every day as you will want to get some level of autophagy just to keep things tidy.

Now that we have our requirements setup, lets look at how much is useful at one time.

This is why I hate OMAD (One Meal a Day) and Fasting. They assume if you get your protein in you are good. This is wrong. Dead wrong. There is a maximum amount of protein synthesis the body can handle at one time. This is pretty well established. It happens to be 0.25 to 0.3g of protein per Kg of ideal weight or as I prefer to use, lean mass. The following studies show this.




Beyond this amount there is no benefit to tissue building. The rest is converted to either intermediates of metabolism or turned to glucose for storage. Lets use the same 160lb person as an example. That means this person (72kg) can only use 21.6g of protein for muscle/tissue development. If said persons daily requirement is 100g and they consume all 100g in the same meal they are only effectively getting 21.6g for the day. The rest is either used for enzymes, energy production or converted to glucose for storage. That is 78.4g of protein not used for lean tissue conservation. Where is the rest of the needed protein going to come from? Well there are two options. One is Autophagy which is great but how much autophagy can we do before we start getting into useful tissue that we are using? Can we continually run at a deficit of almost 80g per day for long? Unfortunately nobody has this answer but my common sense tells me it is unlikely and we will start catabolizing our valuable muscle.

A study at RMIT UNiversity, Austrailia, measured the rate of MPS during a 12 hour recovery period following resistance training when volunteers consumed 80g of protein either as 2 x 40g every 6 hours, 4 x 20g every 3 hours or 8 x 10g every 1.5 hours (Areta et al., 2013). They found that MPS was 31-48% higher when 20g was consumed every 3 hours compared with all other protocols. 


Similarly, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, found that evenly distributing 90g of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner resulted in 25% higher rates of MPS compared with a meal pattern that skewed most of the protein towards dinner (63g) with small amounts at breakfast (10g) and lunch (16g) (Mamerow et al., 2014).


If you consume more than 0.3g per KG you will not gain a single shred of extra benefit in terms of muscle growth. Again that equates to 21.6g for a 160lb (72kg) athlete. The average person will be more like 20g. That is the effective dose. If you are eating 50g per meal then your daily effective dose is more like 75g total for the day as opposed to 150g that you are eating. You are just converting the rest to either energy, only in the absence of adequate fat or carbs for fuel, intermediates of metabolism or glucose. 


So the average person (160lbs) that isn’t an athlete needs about 58g of protein a day. Don’t eat it all at once as only about 20g of that will be used for lean mass. The best strategy is to split it into multiple meals. As I have previously discussed, this should be geared towards your morning meal as the largest to honor the circadian rhythm. So about 20g each meal roughly. I hope this helps to illuminate some of the confusion around protein. We can see how quickly all of this gets out of hand with all the people who love to state all these crazy ideas like eat all the protein you like it has no effect or eating one meal a day is great. You can see that protein has an effect and it has an effect in many different ways. Make sure to listen to people with actual training in nutrition science and not just someone who thinks they know. There is a big difference and it can easily lead you down the wrong path.

If you need help getting past a stall, getting your hair to stop falling out or on the other end of the spectrum you need help increasing exercise performance and body composition I have strategies for all of the above. 

Check out my coaching program here: http://www.MaritimeDietaryManagement.ca/Programs

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

Autophagy – The good, bad and downright dangerous

There are alot of buzzwords that float around in the diet and fitness world. Most of them are under researched, misunderstood and used to promote ideas that have little to no backing in science. Autophagy is one of the biggest misconceptions being thrown around today. Nobody actually understands it and the methods typically used to try and achieve it are not only unnecessary but can be detrimental.

Lets break it down. What is Autophagy?

Autophagy has several purposes but the primary purpose of it is two fold in functionality.

  1. To provide essential amino acids to the body to enable it to continue proper function in the absence of adequate dietary intake.
  2. To clean up old, defective or just plain inefficient cells and recycle them in the best way possible.

The body is the most elegant machine ever created. The way it manages everything is complex and beautiful. Lets look at how it determines which cells are the best ones to use for autophagy:

Each cell has a series of receptors that accept different signalling proteins. In humans there appears to be 6 or possibly 7 different proteins for this purpose. 

The proteins will come along and attach to a receptor. The protein is like a scanner for the cell. If the cell is in pristine condition then the protein is released. If the cell doesn’t pass the test then the protein stays attached and another comes along and attaches and runs another check. This process continues until all cells are checked and prioritized. 

The body then has a map of what cells can be recycled and what ones are to be left alone. Cells with 7 proteins go first, then 6, then 5 and so on until only cells with no proteins attached are left.

Here is a picture of the process:

So in essence, autophagy is a very necessary and very beneficial process. Now what seems to be pushed is the idea that you have to do something out of the ordinary for this to happen and that we should strive for the very maximum amount of it. This is the problem with the diet industry. If something is good, the maximum possible amount of it must be better. The question I always pose is why would that be the case? We know more is not always better. Too much of anything can be bad. A little bit of tylenol is great for a headache but too much can kill you. So how much autophagy is good and how much is bad?

So the thing that has to be said first is, autophagy happens all the time. Constantly and for various reasons. It happens every night if you don’t eat for more than a few hours or so. How many hours of not eating? Nobody knows for sure. The body constantly needs some amino acids (protein) for various functions and we don’t have any storage for amino acids so after we eat protein it gets used for immediate purposes then any extra gets converted to glucose for storage. I shouldn’t actually say there is no storage for amino acids. There is a very tiny amino acid pool but it is so infinitesimally small that it cannot hold any measurable amount and is only for providing the small number of amino acids that might be needed for a few various metabolic processes. The main point here is that within a short amount of time after eating the body will start looking at the cells that have been marked for autophagy and using them for protein needs. This is how the body manages its resources and keeps things tidy.

Now depending on the persons diet and how often they eat, they may not get enough daily autophagy to be the optimal amount and to clear every cell that may be in need of clearance but if you are only eating 3 meals a day and are eating a ketogenic diet, chances are you are getting an above average amount. That would be good enough to keep the body working well. If you are chronically sick you could benefit from more than the average person. The question now becomes what is necessary to get more and how much more is needed?

Going back to the initial description of Autophagy, the primary reason for it is to provide the necessary amino acids to keep the body functioning normally in the absence of adequate dietary intake. Now the way most “experts” or “gurus” will advise you to get more autophagy is through fasting. Now of course that will do it but why is it necessary to eat nothing at all when all that is required is to limit sources of amino acids? There are no amino acids in fat. There are also no amino acids in carbs for that matter. If you dramatically cut back on protein intake would you not be getting inadequate amounts of amino acids? Why does it require you to not eat anything? Easy answer is that it absolutely does not require fasting. It only requires not eating enough protein.

So what is adequate protein? This will be very different for everyone and it can be very different day to day depending on what you eat. The standard definition of adequate has been determined by the WHO and FAO as 0.45g per Kilogram of lean body weight. That is what has been determined as the amount needed to sustain lean mass of the average person. To give you an example of how little this is, I am 200lbs and my lean mass is 173lbs or 78.5Kg. That equates to only 35.3g of protein to maintain my lean mass. For the average person that will be somewhere more around 20g per day. Now that does not mean that autophagy will not happen if you eat 20g per day. It really depends on how much protein is needed at any given time. If you eat all that 20g at one time then you will be getting autophagy for pretty much the whole day until you eat more protein. If you spread that out over 3 meals you will get less, but that minimum amount of protein takes into consideration that you will be using some amount of autophagy. Since the average health conscious person is likely eating more 3-5 times this amount per day and still gets a relatively adequate amount of autophagy, if they were not they would be riddled with chronic disease and cancer, then we have to assume that if you are eating this bare minimum amount that you would already be getting an above average amount of this amazing process.

There are several ways one can get to this limited amount of protein. You can do a fat fast where you just consume mostly fat all day. This will result in a massive amount of autophagy, if that is what you are really looking for and truly believe that you need more, as you are dramatically limiting protein intake. The upside to this compared to an outright fast is that you will still be eating so the body will not down regulate thyroid hormones and metabolism. Why would you do something to slow metabolism and thyroid hormones when you can get 90% of the result by just limiting protein.

Exercise will use a high level of autophagy. Especially if you don’t eat any protein before the workout. Here is a study talking about exercise induced autophagy:


To be completely honest with you, you can achieve a high level of autophagy by eating only fruit for a period of time. The average person will not be able to consume more than 1200 to 1400 calories of fruit in a day and this will result in getting less than 20g of protein a day. More than adequate to stimulate all the autophagy you would ever need. Some will say that this is going to interfere with weight loss. It isn’t. I wouldn’t call it a great idea to try and live for very long on fruit only but it will absolutely not interfere with weight loss and can actually increase it for most people. With the very small amount of fruit you can eat in a day you will never exceed your bodies ability to store the carbohydrate in muscle and liver glycogen. Once the carbs are stored there, insulin drops back down quickly and you are back to using fat. The interesting part here is, because there is absolutely no fat in fruit, all the fat you will be using that day will come from fat stores. Why is this not a good long term strategy?

  1. We need fat soluble vitamins as well as essential fatty acids. Since there are none of these in fruit, you will go down hill quickly. Not to mention the lack of B12.
  2. With continuously consuming this low level of protein, you will max out your back log of cells that are considered poor enough quality and will start using up valuable lean tissue. Look at people that have been fruitarian long term, yes this is a thing, and you will see that they are malnourished.
Former fruitarian YouTuber

Autophagy also can be maxed out to the level of muscle catabolism simply by not getting enough of the essential amino acids. There are 20 total amino acids used by the human body. 9 are considered essential and all must be present in the daily diet or the body will use autophagy to get them. The other 11 are considered non essential or conditionally essential due to the fact that they can be made from the 9 essential ones. It is still not a great idea to not get any of them because you may not be getting enough of the essentials to fulfill the bodies needs for this plus have enough to create the conditional ones and still end up with deficiency issues. This can be a huge issue with vegans. They often do not get enough of the essential amino acids from plant foods and the body will start increasing autophagy to the point where they are maxed out on poor quality cells to recycle and the body starts using valuable lean tissue.

This is a great example of how people feel amazing at first when they start a vegan diet but after some time they start to feel broken down. Their body uses up all the available crap cells for the amino acids they are not getting and will move onto good cells. The initial autophagy is clearing out some garbage built up over the years but the continued poor amino acid intake of their diet overwhelms the process and they start actually eating the good cells. This is why so many prominent vegan youtubers are coming out saying they quit veganism. Their body just cannot sustain the level of autophagy they are getting and they are breaking down.

The same can be said for people who fast. This is why it is not at all uncommon for people who fast often to develop issues like hair loss and extreme fatigue and trouble maintaining losses. They are maxing out the healthy level of autophagy and are actually catabolizing the good tissues. If you are losing hair, it is a good sign that your body has no more crap cells to use and is starting to sacrifice the creation of hair to try and slow down muscle catabolism. Often times people that have been fasting for long terms find that they gain weight much easier when they do eat. This can be because they have started catabolism of lean mass and this leads to a much slower metabolic rate. Since muscle is the primary user of energy in the body it is a very bad idea to be catabolizing it. Fasting can certainly do this. The end result for those that find they have trouble maintaining weight loss is too fast longer and longer and this only exacerbates the issue. This leads us to the last potential issue with autophagy I am going to talk about.

An extreme version of excess autophagy is anorexia. These people eat so very little that they never get adequate protein. The body must continue to function so it burns through its lean tissue leaving the poor person a walking and talking skeleton. Eventually the body starts catabolizing the organs until finally the diaphragm is completely catabolized and the persons lungs fill with fluid and they die. This is a horrible disease that nobody should ever have to suffer with but this is autophagy to the extreme degree and if we start letting people think that more is better then this can certainly be the end result. It is like an addict chasing a high. I know this is an extreme example but after working with thousands of people I have seen this start to come to fruition. 120lb women coming to me wanting to get leaner and they are already fasting for 2-3 days at a time, or more, and barely eating. This is the next stage. It is frightening.

Enough of the depressing stuff. Let me summarize:

  1. Autophagy is the bodies way of providing adequate amino acids to keep the daily functions in motion in the absence of adequate dietary intake. It also happens every time you have not eaten for a number of hours.
  2. This can be achieved in several ways that do not require not eating at all.
    • Simply restricting protein intake (how much is unknown but less than 1g per KG of ideal weight is likely to provide an above average amount)
    • Fat fast. This will restrict protein enough to promote a massive level of autophagy without restricting total energy and lowering thyroid hormones and metabolic rate.
    • Not really recommended for long term – a fruit only fast can induce a dramatic level of autophagy while also not restricting total energy intake. It can also increase fat loss temporarily but may leave you deficient in various nutrients and essential fatty acids. Use with caution and preferably with the guidance of a professional.
    • Exercise – working out without consuming protein before the workout will induce a high level of autophagy and will also give you all the other benefits of physical activity. Win win.
  3. Fasting is not the best way to achieve this and may leave you depleted, catabolic and losing your precious hair. Not to mention it will lower your thyroid hormones as well your metabolic rate.
  4. Vegans are prime examples of too much autophagy. Inadequate intake of all the essential amino acids will lead to excess autophagy and lead to catabolism of vital lean mass. Most vegans quit as a result of the inevitable breakdown of the body.

I hope this has helped you to better understand Autophagy and some better ways to achieve it. I think there is alot of things the keto community has gotten right but there are still way too many untested and unscientific methods that are being pushed without adequate thought put into the actual processes, mechanisms and potential risks involved. We have come a long way but still have miles to go before we can get humanity back to a place of Common Sense.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

If you need help getting past a stall, getting your hair to stop falling out or on the other end of the spectrum you need help increasing exercise performance and body composition I have strategies for all of the above. 

Check out my coaching program here: http://www.MaritimeDietaryManagement.ca/Programs

What causes insulin resistance?

There are lots of theories on what causes insulin resistance. Some would tell you carbs do it while others will tell you it is fat that causes it. Others even say that insulin itself causes insulin resistance. The honest answer is that all of them play a part and it is not any single factor.

My favorite way to understand issues is by looking at various illnesses and the effects they have. There is one in particular that is perfect for this issue. It is called Lipodystrophy. This is a disorder of abnormal fat accumulation in the body.

What is Lipodystrophy

Various issues that accompany Lipodystrophy

These people have the appearance of being very lean and even like a ripped up athlete yet they are actually extremely sick. One of the most prominent issues with lipodystrophy is insulin resistance and diabetes. How can someone be so very lean yet be insulin resistant and even diabetic? That is what brings us to the true cause of insulin resistance. We will get back to these poor folks later and how this all ties in but first lets look at the process of how insulin resistance develops.

This is how it starts:

We have storage in our body for carbohydrates. We can store a given amount of glucose in muscles and liver in a form of carbohydrate called glycogen. This will be determined greatly by how much muscle mass a person has. Someone with more lean mass will naturally have more space to store glycogen. When we eat carbohydrate the body will quickly push the glucose into liver and muscle and it gets converted to glycogen where it stays until it is needed. This conversion to glycogen is important. Once it is in the form of glycogen it can’t leave the muscle or liver passively. It has to be converted back to glucose so it doesn’t just flow out all the time. So long as we keep our carbohydrate consumption low enough that we never exceed this storage capacity then we will never become insulin resistant. The problem with todays society is that we do exceed this storage capacity and we rarely empty it out. This is when the issue starts but we are still not insulin resistant yet.

So a bit more about why the conversion of glucose to glycogen is important before we move on. People assume that if we eat carbohydrate we only burn carbohydrate until it is all gone, then we move on to burn fat. This is completely incorrect. We only burn through glycogen in a few scenarios. The rest of the time we use a small amount of glucose but mostly fat. These are the two main scenarios:

  1. When we first eat carbs and our insulin is elevated.
    • Until insulin returns to a low enough level, we will continue to burn carbohydrate because insulin locks up fat cells so fat can’t be used. In a normal person the insulin will be low enough within 2 hours or less. The more insulin sensitive you are the faster it will return to baseline and you will be back to using mostly fat for fuel. That is how the body works and this is partially why most people tend to exceed their glycogen storage. They are eating lots of carbs and filling up glycogen stores then they return to using fat for fuel. They never actually use any of the glycogen because they don’t workout with intensity. Intense exercise is really the only way to pull glycogen out of storage.
  2. During intense physical activity.
    • Intense physical activity, anaerobic/glycolytic, requires glucose for fuel. This is what people are talking about when they say we need carbs to exercise. They are not wrong about that. The part they are wrong about is that we can make all the glucose we need for exercise through gluconeogenesis in the absence of exogenous carbohydrate. Our liver will make glucose when needed through a chain of events that starts with low blood glucose. The body will pull glucose from the blood when needed for intense exercise and this will cause a stress response which pumps out cortisol. Cortisol signals the pancreas to release glucagon which goes looking for glucose. If we have glycogen stores it will start the conversion of the glycogen back to glucose for use but if there are no glycogen stores the glucagon will signal gluconeogenesis to start and make glucose from amino acids. So that is the other instance when we will use primarily carbohydrate.

Besides these two scenarios we primarily use fat for fuel. No matter who you are or what diet you are on. You do not have to use up all the carbohydrate you eat for fuel before you use fat and this is part and partial to the entire issue. Because we move back to fat for fuel when insulin goes back to baseline we end up having all the carbs we ate sit in the glycogen stores. If we don’t engage in high intensity physical activity to empty the stores we will just keep filling them up until they no longer have any more room. Where do the carbs we eat then go?

If we continue to consume carbohydrate after the glycogen stores are full it has to go someplace. It cannot sit in the blood as glucose is toxic to the blood. The next step is to convert the excess carbohydrate to fat. Now this is not necessarily a problem and this is why people are so stuck on the calories in vs calories out (CICO) story. In this sense it is absolutely correct. If you exceed your daily capacity to store carbs in glycogen and start storing fat, this is still not an issue so long as you use more calories than you store. See how that works? When you have exceeded your glycogen stores by eating carbs and never use the stored glycogen then CICO 100% applies but if you never eat carbohydrate and never exceed that storage, the story changes dramatically. We won’t get too far into that now. Lets get back to insulin resistance.

So lets now look at what happens when we consume a normal diet that is high in both fat and carbs and how this is what causes insulin resistance. You have exceeded your glycogen stores and never empty it out. You continue to eat carbs so the carbs have no place to go so they get converted to fat and get stored in fat cells. What exacerbates the issue is that you are also eating fat. That fat also has to be stored in fat cells as well. So we now have a double whammy. We are turning carbs to fat and because insulin is high we are also storing fat as fat. We are now starting to develop an issue. We all have a genetic ability to grow and create new fat cells. This is why some people can seem to eat whatever they want and never get fat, we hate these people, while others can get to 600lbs and still not be diabetic. We call this the personal fat threshold.

Once a person hits this threshold, this is when the problem really begins to snowball out of control. This is the beginning of insulin resistance. Once we reach maximum fat capacity the cells become insulin resistant. The insulin can no longer push fat into the cell because they are full. This is when we stat building up fat in the organs. I am sure you’ve heard of non alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is the point where one is officially insulin resistant. This is when blood sugar starts to rise and stay elevated. The body will not allow glucose to stay elevated without trying to fix it. Its response is to increase its insulin production. The increased insulin production will actually force the body to create new fat cells. This is why people will suddenly start to gain more weight when they have been at a set weight for a long time regardless of wether they are eating more. In order to actually grow fat cells in a lab insulin must be used. Insulin can create new fat cells and this can be seen in people who inject insulin. If they do not rotate spots of injection they will start growing lipomas (fat growths) in the injection spots.

The next step in the process is the burnout of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. After the body trying to fix the problem of high blood glucose by forcing the pancreas to over produce insulin, the cells will actually start burn out. At this point the diabetic person will need to start injecting insulin to maintain the process because the pancreas is now unable to produce the increasing amount that is required. Most people with T2D will notice they get a spurt of weight gain when they start injecting and this is because the increased insulin load results in further creation of fat cells. It is a viscous cycle.

Sorry this has been so long but it is a complex story that few people actually understand. Now that I have layed that out, I will get back to why people with lipodystrophy perfect display the idea of personal fat threshold and how that leads to insulin resistance.

Because they cannot create adequate fat storage they do not have the inherent protection that fat cells create. They cannot take any of the glucose they eat and convert it to fat so they immediately start developing fatty liver and other visceral fat stores. They immediately become insulin resistant because they have no place to put the excess glucose or fat. You can see how this perfectly demonstrates the idea of the personal fat threshold. If they never exceed their glycogen storage they would also be completely fine. This leads me to believe it was a genetic adaptation. Likely these people evolved in a place where there was inadequate carbohydrate available. They never developed the need to create fat cells. I am sure there is some inherent advantage in this type of environment as there tends to be with this type of issue. What that advantage is, I have yet to figure that out.

So it is not carbs alone or fat alone or insulin alone or even lack of exercise alone that causes diabetes and insulin resistance. It is especially not obesity that causes either of them. You can be as lean and ripped out as an elite athlete yet still be insulin resistant if you have a low personal fat threshold. You can also be 600lbs and super morbidly obese and not be insulin resistant or diabetic.

I hope this was clear and helped further your understanding of these complex issues. I tend to brain dump all of the data in my head sometimes. It all makes sense up in the attic of my mind but sometimes I wonder if it translates to paper. Let me know what you think. 🙂

If you need help getting past a stall, getting your hair to stop falling out or on the other end of the spectrum you need help increasing exercise performance and body composition I have strategies for all of the above.

Check out my coaching program here: http://www.MaritimeDietaryManagement.ca/Programs

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

Common Sense Keto Beginners Guide

Common Sense keto (CSK) protocols can be a bit daunting for some people initially. The idea behind CSK is to get to a point where everything is optimal for increasing metabolism and health in order to get the best and longest lasting weight loss. The end point can be a hard place to get to for some people. Especially for those that are brand new to keto. The point of CSK is not to necessarily stay at that level forever, just until you hit maintenance weight. By this time you should be flexible enough anyway that you can eat more protein or maybe even a bit more carbs and still maintain weight. I personally still eat to the CSK protocol most of the time and it suits me just fine. It is perfectly fine but some may not want to do it forever. Keep in mind though, you will always have to watch the carbs and to some extent the protein but you will be able to get more flexible eventually.

The goal of this guide is to show a path to optimal. For the optimal CSK protocol you can look here:


If you are brand new to keto and have never done it before then you want to start off with the very basics:

The easiest way to get started is to just google keto recipes. 

This in no way is ideal but it will get you a basic start and some practice at just eating low carb. They often contain foods that will have adverse reactions or sweeteners that are not optimal but if you have never eaten low carb or keto it will get you started. The ultimate goal is to not make recipes. The goal is to just eat foods in their natural state. Meat, eggs, dairy, some veggies. That is the end goal. Foods that you would have been able to find before grocery stores existed. This is a decent resource for keto recipes but you can find hundreds of different recipes just by googling “keto “insert food name here”:


Learn how to determine carbohydrate content of foods.

Either look on the food label or get yourself a tracking app like www.myfitnesspal.com or www.carbmanager.com and determine the carbs in all the foods you are eating. Don’t worry about “net” carbs, just count total carbs and initially try to get them under 20g or as close as you can. 20 total grams is the ultimate goal but you may need to titrate them down. You likely won’t get into ketosis if you don’t get below 30g though so be aggressive with cutting out the carbs.

Ideally you will want to be only eating meat, eggs, cheese, heavy cream (avoid milk), and low carb veggies and maybe some nuts but you want to try and limit nuts as they can cause weight loss issues and can be inflammatory. Initially you will be able to get away with more however and still lose weight so you may do OK with nuts. Here is a list of my personal choices for low carb veggies that are the safest for health:


How often to eat?

Most people think they need to cut calories to lose weight. Well that is true if you are eating a high carb diet. Keto works for different reasons. The biggest problem with cutting calories is actually that it is not sustainable because you can only starve for so long before you crack and start to eat more. When you cut calories you lower your metabolism. When you lower your metabolism and you do crack and start to eat more, you gain all the weight back. That is why diets fail.

Keto works because it keeps insulin low and keeping insulin low will allow the body to use fat for fuel. There is little to no need to cut calories unless you are eating too much carbohydrate and too much fat together. There is a time where too much protein can affect weight loss and that we will address when we get more advanced. For the complete newcomer, you will be able to lose weight just by cutting carbohydrate.

So how do you determine if you are eating enough to not lower your metabolism? Eat 3 meals a day. With breakfast being the most important and the largest portion of protein and carbs. We are most insulin sensitive in the morning and eating at this time causes the expression of genes that make you even more insulin sensitive and allow you to better control weight. Read these articles to see why breakfast is important:



Besides eating 3 meals a day the only other thing to begin with is to not snack. Every time you snack you raise insulin slightly and this slows down your weight loss. Just eat your 3 meals a day and that should get you in the right range to start with.

Moving forward towards TDEE

You should be fine doing this for a few weeks to get used to low carb eating. The sooner you start refining things the better so don’t sit here too long. You may be losing weight and be getting excited but you can actually be losing too much weight. I know, sounds crazy but it is true. Study after study has shown that the most lasting weight loss is in those who lose 1-2 pounds per week maximum. If you are losing more than this you may be losing too fast and slowing your metabolism. This will make things difficult later and cause you to hit the dreaded “stall” everyone is always talking about. You will definitely want to start looking at the amount of calories you are eating. We refer to the amount of calories one should be eating as Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

This number is relatively high and is why some people find it hard to get right to CSK protocols. I assure you though it is the normal amount of calories you should be able to eat and not gain weight on a standard high carb diet so it is an amount you should be able to lose weight on keto. If you can’t eat this amount and lose weight this means your metabolic rate is too low and you need to get it working properly again by eating appropriately. The first step to getting there is seeing where you are. Start tracking everything you eat in one of the trackers I mentioned above. Compare it to your TDEE which is explained here:


Once you see where you are then you can come up with a plan on how to get there. Start increasing calories from fat at each meal. Do this as fast as you feel ok doing so. The goal is never to make yourself sick. Just work at it as fast as you feel comfortable doing. Here are some of the foods I use to get more fat and less protein and carbs:

Fat sources:

  • 3 cups romaine with 4 tbsp of olive oil – 54g of fat (3g protein and 3 carbs)
  • coffee with 4 tbsp HWC – 20g fat (1g protein and 2g carbs)
  • 2 eggs fried in 1 tbsp butter – 26g fat (13g protein and 1  carb)
  • 4 egg yolks – 18g fat (11 protein and 2 carbs)
  • 0.5 cups macadamia with 2 oz cream cheese – 57g fat (8 protein 11 carbs)
  • 2 oz triple cream brie – 24g fat (10 protein and 2 carbs)
  • hollandaise sauce – 31g fat (2 egg yolks, 30g melted butter, lemon juice to taste and whisk together. Put on meat or whatever you want) (5 protein and 1 carb)
  • Boursin cheese 2 oz – 24g fat
  • 0.5 cup macadamia sauteed in 2 tbsp butter – 62g fat (5 protein and 9 carbs)
  • Half an avocado – 11g fat (1 protein and 6 carbs)
  • 10 olives – 5g fat (0 protein and 2 carbs)
  • 1 tbsp butter – 12g fat (0 protein and 0 carbs)
  • 1 tbsp avocado mayo – 11g fat (0 protein and 0 carbs)
  • 1 tbsp macadamia butter mixed with 1 tbsp MCT or coconut oil – 22g of fat (4 protein and 3 carbs)
  • Liver pate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liver_pâté – tons of fat with little protein and tastes amazing – (100g is 28g fat with 11 protein and 2 carbs) 
  • Raw Cacao butter – (10g of butter is 10g of fat with no protein or carbs)

What about carbs?

Carbs need to be below 20g to have this be optimal. That doesn’t leave room for much outside of the low carb veggies so use them sparingly. “Don’t I need veggies?” No you don’t. Keep lowering the veggies until you get below 20g and don’t waste any of the carbs on anything questionable like keto products with “net” carbs or keto treats. Look at the carbs in everything you eat and ensure everything is carb free as possible. All carbs count. Even fiber. Work the carbs down as low as you can. If that means eating no plants then so be it. They are not essential. I have been essentially plant free for over a decade and I thrive. There is also a rapidly growing carnivore community that is thriving. If you like plants and want to use carbs for those then so be it. Just don’t eat them out of a need. You can and will thrive without them. Here are some articles detailing why plants are not necessary unless you like them and why we count total carbs not net.





What about protein?

So protein can be an issue with weight loss as well. The body can only use so much protein. Protein is only needed to rebuild tissue and to provide some enzymes for other body processes but the amount you actually need is very low daily. Most people way over consume protein and any excess cannot be stored. It can only be used for tissue turnover or it has to be used as energy or converted to glucose for storage. Since the goal of keto is to use fat for fuel you don’t want to be using protein and you certainly don’t want to turn it to glucose.

The next goal is to start lowering your protein intake to maximize on fat loss. All we need for protein to keep from losing lean mass is 0.45g per KG of lean body mass. That is not very much. For example, my lean mass is 171 lbs or 77.7 kg. That means my requirement to not lose lean mass is 35g per day. Now I don’t want people just to get the minimum because protein is where we get most of the nutrients from on keto. A safe and reliable number I find to be useful is 50g for women and 80g for men. This number will give you what you need to maintain plus enough to build some lean mass and give you some added nutrition without leaving much to convert to glucose or be used instead of fat. Now you want to start lowering whatever you are eating for protein now down to these targets. Do this by just making the servings of protein containing foods smaller in each meal. Rather than having 6oz of steak have 4oz and so on until you reach the target number.

Once you have your carbs and protein in check and your calories where they should be you are now eating in the optimal way to ensure your metabolic rate stays high and you are running on fat for fuel. The weight should come off slowly and reliably for years to come. It might not be fast but it will be reliable and long lasting. Now once you have all this sorted and you have eaten to your TDEE for 6 weeks at least you can start playing with some more advanced strategies to get weight to move a bit faster. Keep in mind though that you still don’t want to be losing more than 1-2 lbs per week. We will cover these later but first I want to cover some other important factors. Foods to avoid and supplements.

Foods to absolutely avoid:

  1. Sweeteners (artificial or “natural”)

Sweeteners are number one thing I cut out. Sweeteners are chemically similar enough to glucose to fit in the receptors in the mouth that signal glucose is coming. This is why they taste sweet. The point of these receptors is to signal that glucose is coming. This starts a chain reaction which includes insulin secretion in the stomach. Insulin secretion is something we want to avoid as much as possible. When the gut is expecting glucose and it doesn’t come (there are more sensors in the gut to detect it but the sweeteners get broken down differently than glucose so they don’t activate the gut receptors) the gut will send a signal to the brain demanding what it was promised. This is called cravings. These cravings will continue until you either give in and produce some carbs or you just suffer through the cravings.

It also starts a possible chain reaction of negative events because of the insulin secretion without the actual glucose. If you secrete insulin without glucose there is a potential for hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). If the blood glucose drops to a level below what the body wants, it can cause a release of stress hormones like cortisol to signal the body to create more glucose. If you start this you will get increased blood glucose. This happens to me if I take stevia. I get high blood glucose. The stevia lowers my already low blood sugar and I get a cortisol spike and a subsequent glucogenic reaction resulting in elevation of blood sugar which in turn releases more insulin. Depending on how insulin sensitive you are you may not see this result but you will definitely get an insulin response. All of that just trying to satisfy a desire for sweet. Hardly worth it.

2. Pre-packaged foods and powders

Any powdered “food” like protein powders have ingredients in it that are not optimal for human consumption. Stabilizers and modifiers to keep them from hardening and to make them mix easier. These are not real foods and are not good for you. This includes collagen supplements. You can get all the collagen you need in eggs. Those are real foods and have a complete profile of useful amino acids and nutrients.

Any pre-packaged food is going to have preservatives and poor ingredients in it in order to make it shelf stable. Eat foods that are natural and that would have been available before there were grocery stores.

3. Fruits/berries

These foods are full of both glucose and fructose. Both sugar. There is no place in weight loss keto for these and they actually signal genes for weight gain. Animals eat fructose when they want to fatten up for the winter. If you are a bear getting ready to hybernate then you should eat fruit and berries. If you are a human trying to lose weight it isn’t a great idea.

4. Nut flours

As a treat for a special occasion there is nothing wrong with having a fat head pizza or a keto mug cake or something like this. These are treats and should be treated as such. For someone trying to lose weight these should be avoided. They are high in omega 6 which is very inflammatory.

5. Lectin containing foods.

See my article on approved veggies: http://commonsenseketogenics.com/safe-vs-unsafe-veggies/

6. Oxalate containing foods can be an issue for some as well:

See this article on Oxalates: http:// http://commonsenseketogenics.com/oxalates-one-more-reason-why-plants-are-not-the-best/


In a perfect diet you wouldn’t need any supplements. A perfect diet is not something anyone has with the exception of maybe some indigenous hunter gatherer tribes like the Maasai who eat lots of meat, raw dairy and consume the blood of the animals. During a weight loss phase it would be impossible to consume enough of the foods you need to consume to get enough nutrients. This is true for any weight loss diet wether it is low fat or low carb. Ideally one would eat lots of high nutrient organ meats, raw dairy and eggs to get all their nutrients but that is not going to be doable in a weight loss phase. Maybe the end goal after weight loss is achieved.

With that being said here is a list of the supplements you need on low carb:

Basic Supplements

Optional Supplements:

Supplemental fats for best metabolism boosting

So this should be more than enough to get you started and get you moving towards the ideal way of eating that will keep you running optimally and losing weight for the long haul. Now I will briefly cover how I speed up my weight loss while also not cutting calories and not slowing metabolism.

Calorie cycling:

This is a basic strategy used by every nutritional coach. Usually it is done by cutting calories lower than TDEE and keeping them low until weight is lost then slowly coming back up to regain metabolic rate. This works but it is hard because you starve at the low calories and often gain some of the weight back when you bring the calories back. I do it a little different.

It is called reverse Dieting. Rather than decreasing calories to lose weight, you increase calories above TDEE to raise your metabolic rate then drop back to TDEE or just below. This has the same result except you don’t slow metabolic rate and you don’t starve. 🙂

Typically the way I do it is I go up by a large number of calories. I normally eat 2500 calories a day. When I reverse diet I go to 4,000 or sometimes even 5,000 cals a day. This is hard as well. Eating that much food is difficult. I find it almost as hard as starving but not quite. 4,000 is not too bad but 5,000 is very hard. You can follow my last 5,000 calorie challenge here:


I typically do this for anywhere from 7 to 21 days. The goal here is to eat as much as you can without gaining weight. I only gained about 2lbs while doing 5,000 cals for 21 days. That is acceptable.

For someone beginning you could start by going up by 500 calories above TDEE. You will have a hard time keeping protein and carbs down so just increase your macros and keep them in the range of these percentages:

  • 3% or less carbs
  • 13-15% protein
  • 80-85% fat

If you don’t gain weight on 500 calories after a week go up to 1,000 more calories and do another week. After two weeks that should be sufficient. Go back to TDEE or even 200 calories less than TDEE and stay there for a few weeks. Repeat this cycle. This is reverse dieting. 🙂

I hope this has been helpful in getting started on the keto diet and to move you in the direction of optimal eating for the best possible metabolism and lasting weight loss. If you still feel you need help I do offer personal coaching. I am certified in sports nutrition and am currently completing my Registered Holistic Nutritionist Certification. With 14 years of experience in the keto diet I have seen and done it all and can help you achieve the success you want.

Check out my coaching program here: http://www.MaritimeDietaryManagement.ca/Programs

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

Everyone needs to stop fighting. Carbs don’t cause obesity or diabetes and neither does fat.

So there are two defined sides in the diet debate right now. One side says that carbs are the devil and they make you fat and diabetic while the other side says that fat is the anti-christ and is all that is evil in the world. Neither side is right and I will tell you why. 

Neither fat alone or carbohydrate alone makes anyone fat or diabetic. There are other issue at play which make me decide which diet I prefer and think is more healthy but we will leave that out of this. All we are talking about today is obesity and diabetes.

All of this is pretty easy to explain just looking at some very basics of human physiology.

How is energy processed if we only eat carbs?

  1. Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose primarily and using insulin it is pushed into cells. 
  2. It is converted to pruvate which is then converted to AcetylCoA which is the input for the Krebs cycle which makes ATP (cellular energy) and high energy electrons of NADH which are fed into the mitochondria to fuel the Electron Transport Chain. This makes even more ATP for fueling the body. 
  3. Whatever glucose we can’t use for energy is converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and the muscle. If we happen to exceed that storage the glucose will get converted to fat for storage in fat. 

Now lets look at this for the average woman pretending she only eats carbs.

Now this is a normal woman with no metabolic conditions. Let us not just assume we are talking about any woman here. 

Lets give this woman a weight of 150lbs with an average amount of lean mass being 112lbs. She works out an average of 3 times per week. 

Someone this size can store about 1,000 calories worth of carbohydrate in the muscles and liver as glycogen. That is not going to fat. She also has a resting metabolic rate of approximately 1,500 calories and a Total Daily Energy expenditure of about 2,200 cals. What does that mean exactly to this carb only eating woman?

Lets just look at resting metabolic rate for fun. She will use 1500 calories just to stay alive in a day. She also has approximately 1,500 calories worth of storage in her muscles and liver. That means that she will have to consume at least 2,500 calories worth of only carbs before she will start actually storing any as fat. That is alot of food to get in 2500 calories worth of carbs only. It is hard to do. I’ve tried. With no fat to eat with carbs it is not very pleasant and there is too much fibre to do it easily.

Now what happens if she consumes fat with this?

Since the carbs require lots of insulin, any fat you eat with this will be sent directly to storage and it will not be used until all of the carb energy you are eating is used. It is meal based as well so it would look like this:

  1. Meal is eaten with fat and carbs.
  2. Fat is stored while carbs are used for energy. 
  3. If energy need is met and there are carbs left over then leftover carbs are sent to muscles and liver for storage. 
  4. Once insulin comes down fat will start to be used but not solely fat. The body will draw on some glycogen as well from the muscles all the time but at rest more fat will be used. Still, there is always a mix. 

All of this is fine so long as you use up all that fat you ate for the last meal before the next meal. If you don’t happen to use it all before you eat again then the same process repeats and you just add more fat and more glycogen to the storage pools. This is what happens on most peoples diets. Carbs and fat are too high for energy needs in a meal so they store fat and use glucose. They then eat again before they have a chance to use all the fat that they stored at the last meal. They keep adding to the pot of both glycogen and fat at every meal. Eventually the glycogen stores are full at every meal and the only storage they have left is fat. This is the start of obesity. 

Now lets look further down the road at when Diabetes starts. 

You are eating a meal of mixed fat and carbohydrate before you use up your stored fat and glycogen. You are constantly adding to fat stores and are starting to gain weight. Everyone is different in the amount of fat they can store genetically. This is why some people seem to stay lean no matter what they eat. We hate those people. The thing here is, they are not lucky. There is something called “Personal Fat Threshold”. This is a persons genetic ability to create new fat cells or to grow the ones they have. Personal fat threshold dictates how much extra dietary fat or carbohydrate will be able to get stored in adipose tissue. Once someone exceeds this limit is when the trouble starts. That is when fat starts to accumulate in the organs and especially the liver. Once this happens they are well on their way to diabetes. Once we reach our personal fat threshold this also means our metabolic ability to handle energy is now dramatically diminished. We no longer can handle our 1,000 cals of carbs for storage because that is full. We can now only handle the 1500 calories of our basal metabolic rate. That is bad news already since this woman is already exceeding that level enough to overfill all storage already. She will now start accelerating fat gain. 

Once the personal fat threshold is hit, the cells start developing a resistance to having more glucose or fat pushed into them. This means the energy we consume in excess of what we can use is staying in the blood. This is very dangerous to the body. The initial response is to increase inulin output to deal with the high blood glucose and fat levels. This is when you see people with high blood sugar and high blood triglyceride. No place for either to go so they sit in the blood. 

Now the increased insulin will actually force creation of new fat cells despite the fact that we have hit the personal fat threshold. This can be seen dramatically in people that inject insulin. If they inject in the same spot too often they will start seeing fatty lumps grow in the area only. This will keep the person gaining weight and keep the disease from progressing for some time. It keeps going like this until the body stops being able to make insulin fast enough to create new fat cells. This means the blood sugar and trigs start climbing again. This is the point where their doctor prescribes insulin. The added insulin will then promote the further growth of more fat cells which again gets the blood sugar levels down. Eventually the pancreas burns out and they can no longer produce their own insulin. They are then going to need far more insulin to compensate and are considered insulin dependant. This is bad news. This is pretty much end stage Type2 Diabetes and they will have to be on insulin for the rest of their lives. 

This is the progression of Type 2 diabetes and what happens if you eat carbs  and fat together in the wrong amounts. Now this being said, if you can somehow manage to keep your energy intake precisely low enough that you can use up all the glucose you consume and use up all the fat you stored before the next day of eating starts again, you can control your weight. It can be done but as we all know that is not easy. 

Now lets look at what happens when you just eat fat.

When you only eat fat, fat will go into storage. Just like it does with the carb and fat meals. This is true. The difference is, you don’t have carbs to use first so the fat might go into storage but it is a revolving door. It comes out just as fast as it goes. .

  1. You eat fat and it goes to storage.
  2. Since fat has very little insulin response the storage doors remain more open. 
  3. Fat is broken down to AcetylCoA, which we said was the fuel for the Kreb’s cycle that creates ATP (energy) and high energy electrons that feed into the mitochondria and the Electron Transport Chain to produce more ATP.
  4. If there is extra fat than what is needed for energy, since there is no insulin present it can’t be pushed back into cells for storage so it gets converted to ketones. 
  5. Ketones have an additional storage in the blood which does not cause weight gain and they can also be wasted in urine and breath. 

So that is neat. We can actually sore ketones and waste them. So if we have excess fat energy we can actually waste it unlike glucose that must be stored. Now ketone levels can get to a point where the body will stimulate an insulin response but that is very high and from my experience it is hard to get there. The insulin response will stop fat from coming out of storage and force your body to use exclusively ketones which will lower the ketones to a safe range. Not really a big problem and again this is rare to see anyone reach these levels. 

Now if you start adding carbs to this high fat meal the same things as we discussed above will happen. The fat will be stored while the carbs are dealt with and if you don’t manage to use all the fat that went into storage before your next meal the weight will climb and the same metabolically damaging process will occur. 

So we can see now why carbs nor fat in isolation is the cause of obesity or Type 2 Diabetes. 

I have proved this several times my self by eating only fruit for a period of time. I don’t gain weight and I often lose. Now that won’t be the case for everyone. People that are very insulin resistant already will not lose weight like this because their insulin levels will just remain too high for too long from the fruit to allow any fat to be used from storage. But if someone is metabolically normal, they can eat very high levels of carbohydrate and not get fat or diabetic. They just have to remain below that threshold of energy intake that they can adequately use up all the fat they store at meal time before the next meal. It is just much harder than not eating carbs at all and more fat. 🙂

I hope that all makes sense. Here is a link to a test I did on eating all fruit for two weeks. It discusses same thing a bit more along with some of the negative side effects I saw from eating high carb.


Keto On!

Coach Jack

If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.

Check the details here:

Personalized Coaching with Coach Jack

Keto does not defy the First Rule of Thermodynamics

If there is one thing I love hearing from the CICO world is that you can’t break the 1st rule of thermodynamics.

Here is the rule:

Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change forms.

This is a fair statement. Opposition to the idea that the keto diet allows for the consumption of more food while still losing weight constantly scream that this can’t be true because that breaks the first law!! Well I will show today that it absolutely does not and it is extremely simple minded and unscientific to think that it does.

Let us look first at the simplistic CICO model.

This is literally what they think. We are a simple machine like a car that we pour calories in and then we must run enough to use all those calories or the balance is left in the tank as fat. They honestly think that we are as basic as this.

Let’s look at what really happens.

This is probably even simplified a bit. As you can see, things are not so simple as fuel in minus fuel used equals fat left. There are thousands of processes running in the background that determine what is done with food coming in and the type of food we eat is a dramatic determinant of what happens.

For todays discussion lets just look at what happens with carbs vs fat to make things simple. We will look at them in isolation. Carb only diet vs fat only diet.

Carbohydrate Metabolism:

– Carbs enter as food.
– carbs can consist of fiber (soluble and insoluble), sugars (glucose, fructose, maltose, etc.) and starch. It gets more complex but this is adequate for the discussion.
– Soluble fiber can be digested by the bacteria in the gut to produce short chain fatty acids and used for energy where insoluble cannot. You can already see where this is getting more complex than the CICO model allows.
– Sugars get absorbed right away while starches need to be further broken down which requires slightly more energy than simple sugars. Again it gets more complicated.
– Once everything is broken down to simple sugars then the simple sugars are not yet energy. Insulin is needed to push the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. The glucose then has to go through a process. This is called cellular respiration and looks like this:

This is how ATP, the bodies energy is made. Now the body will only need so much energy, this is your metabolic rate or your TDEE, so if you eat more than you need then the rest will go to store as fat right? Not exactly.

The body likes to protect a certain weight. If more energy comes in then it will do some fun things to try and waste energy. Things like increase NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). This is things like fidgeting and blinking. The body will actually make you move more involuntarily just to waste extra energy. See how fun and smart the body is! Now if you constantly consume more carbohydrates than you can store/use then eventually the body will reach a limit where it will not be able to waste as much so there are a couple options.

1. Store it as fat
2. Store it as glycogen
3. Store as blood sugar.

Since blood sugar has to be regulated tightly the storage in blood glucose is not possible above a stable limit so I guess it is fat or glycogen. This is when CICO works exactly right. If you exceed what you can store as glycogen or use then you gain weight.

Now lets look at fat metabolism:

– Fat enters as food.
– It is broken down into fatty acids (short, medium and long chain)
– Long chain have to be packaged into molecules for transport around the body (lipoproteins)
– short and medium chain get passed right through the intestinal walls into the blood and direct to the liver
– Fatty acids do not require insulin to be pushed into cells.

The process of fat going through the system is essentially the same at this point as it is for glucose but instead of the first step being Glycolysis and converting glucose to pyruvate, fat goes through beta-oxidation and is converted directly to AcetylCoA which can be fed directly to the citric acid (kreb’s) cycle. There is alot more to it but I will leave it at that for simplicity. Fat also creates much more ATP (energy) from each of the steps than glucose does.

This is what the process looks like for fat:

Now is where we get to the point of how keto can allow one to eat more while still being compliant to the First Rule.

The difference between fat and carbs for cellular respiration is this:

– Carbs only make 2 AcetylCoA molecules to feed the citric acid cycle. This cycle has a limit of how much AcetylCoA it can process. If by chance there is too much glucose in the system that the cycle gets overloaded then there are only a couple fates for carbs.

1. Storage as glycogen
2. If you are already stocked up on glycogen then it must be stored as fat

– Fat makes many more AcetylCoA than carbs. Even a short chain fatty acid makes 5 acetylCoA. This can quickly jam up the citric acid cycle.

When the cycle gets backed up from fat, something magic happens. Ketones are created from the excess AcetylCoA! It gets better though. wait….

There are three types of ketones that get created. Acetone, Acetoacetate, and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate. Why is this magical? Two of these are wasted. Acetone in the breath (keto breath) and Acetoacetate in the urine. Beyond that, we now have a whole new storage option available that is not available for carbs.

So this is what happens when fat backs up the citric acid cycle:

1. Excess gets converted to ketones
2. Some gets wasted in breath and urine
3. You can store a bunch in your blood.

The big difference comes in when you are consuming carbs and fats together. The carbs have to get used primarily which means the fat will wait in storage while if you limit carbs, fat can be the primary fuel source and it doesn’t have to stay in fat. It can completely fulfill the energy cycles needs and any extra can be converted to ketones for wasting and stored ketone energy.

To summarize:

CICO for carbs meets the laws because the first law says energy must be balanced. It cannot be destroyed or created.

Energy Balance = Energy in – Energy out + Energy Stored (as fat or glycogen)

CICO for fat also meets the law.

Energy Balance = Energy in – Energy out + Energy stored (as fat or ketones) + energy wasted (as ketones)

The reason why you can eat more on keto and still lose weight is because we have additional means of dealing with energy. It can be wasted and stored in an alternate location compared to carbs. There is no defiance of the law.

I hope that all makes sense. I will be doing a youtube video on this in the future as well and hopefully that will make it even more clear.

Keto ON,
Coach Jack

If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.

Check the details here:

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Fasting and Metabolic Damage

During fasting thyroid function becomes severely dysfunctional.
Not only does free T3 drop but reverse T3 rises. This is the worst case scenario. Reverse T3 (rT3) is not even looked at by most doctors so you may have normal TSH/T3 but still present as hypothyroid. You can still be having all the negative symptoms like difficulty losing weight and extreme fatigue yet the doctor will tell you it is all in your head. 
Reverse T3 is a disposal form of the active thyroid hormone. When fasting or calorie restricting, it builds up and blocks receptor sites so that any active T3 cannot get into the cells. This essentially disables thyroid function and shuts metabolism down to Just enough to keep you alive but slow enough not to have any weight loss. This is how people can fast and lose little to no weight. Those that do lose some weight often see it come back as soon as they eat again. This is because all they lost is mostly water weight. 
This is a life preservation system. If this didn’t happen you would die of starvation very rapidly when food is not available. Your metabolism would keep running on high and you would quickly consume all your muscle and then your organs. If metabolism stayed high you would continue to use glucose for the cells that need it at a high rate and this requires either glucose coming in or it will use your protein (muscle and other tissue) to fuel gluconeogensis to make glucose. Your body shuts down metabolism to a bare minimum to keep you alive as long as possible in order to survive through the starvation period. It does this to save you and there is a cost. It saves your life but it does damage to your thyroid and metabolism. Doing it enough will do permanent damage and this is why so many women are having to take thyroid medication now and so may more are suffering the symptoms but are yet to be diagnosed. Once doctors start testing and understanding the role of rT3 I think we will see the number of diagnosed cases rise dramatically. 
If you look at the most prolific promotors of fasting in the keto community they are:
Jason Fung: Has admitted publicly, though Megan Ramos (Director of IDM), that they do not fast people more than 24-36 hours except in extreme cases and only under strict supervision. They ensure it is safe by check their blood work constantly to ensure safety. He himself does not do extended fasts on a normal basis . This is a video where Megan Ramos (Director of the IDM clinic) admits that they rarely do any fasts beyond 36 hours. She changed her presentation based on a presentation against fasting given by Stephen Phinney which I speak about later. 
Listen to this talk. This is how fasting can be done safely. In clinic. With supervision. She discusses the very key aspects of doing this safely and that includes diagnosing issues that may be problematic like former eating disorders, obsessive behavior and bullying from weight issues. All of these can lead to obsessive fasting which can be extremely dangerous. I still don’t think it is necessary but if you really want to do it, do it in a clinical setting where you can be led safely through it. This is not something that anyone should ever do on their own.
Jimmy Moore: Jimmy wrote the book “The Complete Guide to Fasting” which recommends fasts as long as 21 days and more. People doing this level of fasting on their own is something that Dr. Fung would never recommend. It is not only stupid but dangerous. Blood should be checked regularly in order to assure there is no danger of any nutrient deficiency. Dr. Fung does this in clinic but all those at home doing this as recommended by Jimmy do not. This is unethical .Jimmy has gained back massive amounts of weight and despite his continued dedication to fasting he can no longer lose weight. He blames this on “Metabolic damage” and he is right. This is caused by his continued fasting and nothing else. He successfully lost 170lbs around the exact same time I did using Atkins just like I did. I believe he started Atkins in 2004 and I started in 2005. We both followed the 20g per day initial phase of the program fro the whole time we were losing weight and didn’t cut calories. We both lost massive weight. If his reason for not losing weight is metabolic damage from when he was obese the first time why was he so easily able to lose it then but now he can’t? The reason is because he has caused his current metabolic damage by continuing with these extended fasts. 

Like Jimmy, I was insulin resistant, I was poor, I was sick and I was obese. I was metabolically damaged yet I am still able to maintain my weight loss and continue to lose weight year over year. Why? I don’t fast and I don’t calorie restrict. That is it. Other than that we had the exact same experience. 

Lets look at what fasting has done for Jimmy:

It has gotten worse. If fasting was beneficial should he not be getting leaner with all the many multiple day fasts he is always doing? He appears to be getting more metabolically damaged not less. Why can’t he see it?

I read Jimmy’s book. Primarily because I thought it was written by Dr. Fung. It turns out it was written by Jimmy and made to look like it was written by Fung. Fung was only a contributor. When I read the book I implemented the recommendations.

I started the year at 214lbs. I did extensive fasting periods. Way too much from what I now understand. I likley spent 3/4 of an entire year in a fasted state with alternate day fasting and numerous extended fasts ranging from 3-5 days. I ended that year at 215lbs. Really beneficial right?

The only time I had this type of results when I was doing paleo and eating 1500 cals a day. Complete stall. This past year I have not missed a single meal. I have also spent 42 days eating 5,000 calories when my normal intake is approximately 2500 calories. I started this year at 215lbs and I am currently sitting at 195lbs consistently. My lowest weight in 6-7 years and I also have the most amount of muscle mass I’ve ever had. With no fasting.

Carl Franklin (Two Keto Dudes): Carl often talks about the latest extended fast he is doing. From 7-14 days is what he refers to mostly. He is also still obese and can no longer lose any weight. Despite his constant fasting. How can a person not eat for 14 days and not lose weight? Extreme metabolic damage. How does one cause this? By shutting down their thyroid with fasting. He has now gotten himself to a point just like Jimmy where he can no longer lose weight no matter what he does.

Luckily Carl has not gained any weight back but he clearly is not having any success in losing anything with his continued fasting. Why continue to starve yourself if there is no measurable effect? Yes he lost alot of weight but at 297lbs he is still obese and is now stuck and cannot seem to lose anymore. From what I understand he didn’t start fasting until late into his weight loss.

The one common factor in every person I work with that is having a hard time losing is thyroid function and that they have a long history of calorie restriction and fasting.
It is a clear fact that low calorie drops metabolic rate. What is the most extreme version of calorie restriction? Fasting.
Here are some articles I wrote with links to studies showing the fact that caloric restricting and fasting lowers thyroid function:
Here is a video by Dr. Stephen Phinney Discussing why he disagrees with fasting. I don’t agree with his estimates on lean mass loss and there are lots of reasons I don’t think it is accurate but mainly because the physiology dictates that lean mass preservation is taken as priority. What he is using as an extrapolation is what very active people see when fasting and only in the short term. The act of the body shutting down thyroid decreases the amount of lean mass losses. You will still lose lean mass though. There will always be a need for some glucose so if you are fasting you will need to get that from somewhere. Some of it will come from autophagy (breaking down of unnecessary/defective tissue) which is why it is said that fasting is good for autophagy, but some will still come from lean mass. For me that part that is bad is the thyroid shutdown and the more fasting you do the more damage you do.
Lastly I want to discuss something that someone brought up in the facebook group.
“But I know people that do long fasts and they feel great. They are full of energy and don’t feel cold. How can it be true that thyroid function drops?”
Lets look at what happens in fasting:
1. Caloric intake stops. Insulin and blood sugar drops.
2. The body continues to use glucose to fuel the tissues that need it.
3. Thyroid starts to down regulate metabolism to preserve lean mass
4. After a full day all possible glycogen stores are gone and blood sugar starts to get very low.
5. This causes an increase in cortisol in order to trigger gluconeogenesis to keep blood glucose stable and prevent hypoglycaemia.
6. Epinephrine and adrenaline are also released as a result of the low blood glucose. These are the reason people get surges of energy and clarity when fasting. Especially in later stages like day 2 and 3. This is for one reason and one reason only. To give you the energy and mental clarity to HUNT AND GET FOOD!!!
This whole process is one of survival and not one of some magical fountain of youth or magic healing process. It is survival of the fittest and nothing more. It is the body doing everything to keep you alive long enough to eat again. No animal in nature is foolish enough to purposely go without food. Except humans.
Our ability to use science to dig into the mechanisms of how the body reacts to eating or not eating is amazing but it is also our greatest enemy. It led us to “fat is bad” and “eat less and move more”. Two of the greatest mistakes of our time and now it has led us the next great mistake. “Fasting is good for you and will help you lose weight!”
Don’t let this next big mistake ruin your thyroid and your ability to get healthy and maintain that health. Just eat the right foods and enough of it to keep your body functioning properly and the weight you lose will stay off rather than creeping back like it has for so many others.
Keto ON,
Coach Jack

If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.

Check the details here:

Personalized Coaching with Coach Jack

Dementia Tsunami

This is a response I wrote to an article that was on the front page of our local paper last year. Several people have been sharing it from my personal feed lately so I thought it would be good to repost here.
I have never written to any news publication but today I had to.
This article was in the local paper today. It seemed fitting as I have been ranting like a lunatic about this very issue for months or more. The article was in regards to the growing elderly population and the increasing number of cases of dementia and Alzheimers cases. Having a grandfather and uncle suffer from these diseases I am very familiar with the struggles. All they did was talk about how we need to prepare care programs for them and how we need to find out what causes it.
We already know and there have been hundreds of studies showing why. This is my letter to the editor.
“Good afternoon,
I have never even considered writing to an editor before regarding an article in any publication but after reading todays front page I felt I had to address this.
Having a grandfather that suffered his last months with this disease as well as my uncle currently battling a severe case of Alzheimers I am all to familiar with the struggles the many affected families face.
While I absolutely love the fact that this was addressed in the article, what I find deplorable is that in this day we are still talking about what to do to better handle people suffering and that we still need research to determine the cause. I have been researching what causes this disease heavily for almost a year and it has become very evident to me there are some very simple factors that are contributing to this and while age makes us more susceptible to these disorders, it is not the major factor.
My grandfather was 94 years old before he finally went into a home. This was mostly due to the passing of his wife. Until she passed he was taking care of her and the household just fine. One day in particular I remember speaking to him and he was complaining about his back. I asked if this was normal and he replied “No, I was playing around on the 4 wheeler and went over a little jump and landed too hard.” He was 92 years old. No signs of dementia at all. After his wife passed he felt it was too difficult to manage on his own. It was very shortly after his entry to the facility that we started to notice a quick decline in his faculties. It progressed so rapidly that it was kind of shocking. We just assumed it was nature taking its course. Soon he didn’t even know who we were. He passed away not knowing he faces that were there with him in his final days.
Only recently, since completing my certification is sports nutrition and researching the science behind diet and its effect on disease, did I start to see the big picture. Then after spending a week in the hospital with my wife and seeing what they would bring her to eat at every meal did it start to become more clear. In the months that followed I would dig deeper into the causes of dementia and Alzheimers. I stumbled on a book called The Alzheimer’s Antidote. It was absolutely mind blowing. It connected all the dots.
These diseases are not a disease of age but of diet. The whole problem with the people that are affected by these terrible afflictions is that they cannot properly utilize glucose in the brain. Alzheimer’s is actually being referred to now by many experts as “Type 3 Diabetes” because it is a problem of metabolizing glucose for fuel in the receptors of the brain causing them to be malnourished. This causes them to shrink and when the synapses shrink they cannot properly send signals across them. Think of a spark plug in a cars engine. If the gap is just right the spark is hot and the engine runs well but if the gap becomes too large the electricity cannot properly jump the gap and the engine sputters. It is the same with the synapses of the brain. These disorders are simply an electrical misfire of the brain.
When I looked at the food that was being served in the homes and hospitals it was very apparent to me why our elderly are declining so quickly. The foods served are almost exclusively carbohydrate and severely lack in healthy fats. Our body requires fat to absorb vital minerals and vitamins. Our brains are comprised mostly of fat and even our sex hormones are derived from fats. If the issue with these disorders is a problem of metabolizing glucose, then why on earth would we be feeding people a diet that is primarily carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is converted directly to glucose in the body and the brain will try and fuel with this preferentially but if an affected persons brain cannot metabolize it, what will it use for fuel? Nothing. It will starve and the cells start to shrink and die. Thus the onset of dementia and Alzheimers.
In addition, I think about the poor woman in the story. My first and probably a safe guess is that she is either pre-diabetic or already a type 2 diabetic. My next guess is that she is on statin drug for controlling cholesterol. First, diabetes is a disease of glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This is a precursor to dementia and Alzheimers for the most part. Again this comes down to a problem with diet and not age specifically. All very controllable and reversible. On to statins. They have been shown to increase risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and a host of other issues. They are being given to people far too easily without ever being really needed. Especially in the elderly. Having higher cholesterol in your later life has been shown n study after studu to be protective of brain function and shows a decreased risk of all cause mortality. There is virtually dozens of studies showing they do absolutely nothing for preventative care and very little for post cardiac event care either. I am 39 years old and a 6 year crossfit athlete and because my LDL cholesterol was slightly elevated I was offered a statin with no other risk factors. I won’t continue down this path for now as I could write 10 pages on this subject alone and am currently working on a study with a prominent researcher in the Cholesterol field that may go a long way towards changing the way statins are prescribed. I’ll just get back to the issue at hand.
So in summary;
1. These disorders are due to poor metabolism of glucose for fuel in the brain.
2. We continue to feed these people the fuel that they cannot use to fuel their brains
3. We are perplexed when the cells shrink and die even though we are starving them for fuel.
4. We exacerbate the issue with the carbohydrate laden foods we serve them in care facilities.
5. We give them drugs to lower an arbitrary number that has no causal relationship to cardiac issues but actually pushes them closer to dementia and Alzheimers.
6. We look at ways to care for them after they have it rather than ways to stop it from happening even though it is right in front of us already.
So am I just ranting or do I have a hypothesis on how to correct it? I do have such a thing.
There is an alternate fuel to glucose that the brain is very happy to use. It is called ketones. They are produced by the body in the absence of substantial carbohydrate. It is a natural state that infants are born in and continue to be in while breast feeding. It was the way our ancestors survived for thousands of years when they got their food from being hunter gatherers rather than going to grocery store for bread and pasta.
The state in which I speak of is called ketosis and has been used to treat neurological disorders like epilepsy for over a hundred years. It can also be used to treat and reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimers, dementia and a host of other metabolic disorders. All it requires is a dietary change that includes eating real food like meat, eggs, fish, cheese, nuts, seeds and non starchy veggies. How hard does this sound? Not at all!
I now this sounds ideological but it isn’t. I suggest anyone suffering with this disease read the book “The Alzheimer’s Antidote” by Amy Berger. It may change yours or your loved ones life forever. Please note that I do not have any affiliation with the author but the book is too important to not speak about. I hope this letter does more than make it to your inbox and deleted as it has such an important message that so many have heard and used already to save themselves from this terrible plight.
Jack McAnespy Pn1, CF-L1″

LDL is NOT associated with Heart Disease!!!! Stop with the madness!!!

This is something that really grinds my gears. Every day we have someone posting in the facebook group about how their LDL is up and their doctor is putting the fear of god into them and telling them their heart will explode if they don’t get on a statin ASAP!

Here is a study that really makes me fume.

LDL levels in 136,905 people hospitalized for heart attacks did not indicate risk

Here are the parts that really get me:

1. The general consensus for a health LDL level is:

– Less than 160 if you have less than 2 other risk factors (family history/diabetes/etc)
– Less than 130 with 2 or more risk factors
– Less than 100 if you have had a prior event (heart attack)

Now if you look at the data, the average LDL score was 104. Well below the normal range. Furthermore, if you look at the study they show that half of all admissions had LDL less than 100! What is more telling is that more than half of the admission had less than 40mg/DL of HDL when the optimum level is more like 50.

2. If you look at the below chart you will see the vast majority of all events occurred in those with LDL of less than 160mg/DL which is the acceptable level. Here in Canada we don’t even discuss LDL when it is below 190mg/DL Why? Is US LDL more dangerous than Canadian LDL? This is suspicious at best.

Even beyond that, look at the highest level. People that have 220mg/DL have a far less chance of heart attack than those that have levels well below the 70mg/LD level. 10 fold less chance. If LDL is causal how does this data explain that?

3. The take away from this was that LDL targets are too high!

What? How on gods green earth does that make sense? Looking again at the chart above you can see that this doesn;t make sense. People with LDL of 200 had the same rate of heart attack as those with 30mg/DL! What good does lowing LDL more do? Clearly nothing. The only thing that I can gather here is that you want to have 30 or below or 200 or higher and you are good to go. How does that make LDL a valuable marker for anything? It doesn’t. This is nothing but straw grasping and an attempt to increase statin drug sales. It is clear.

Study after study mimics these same results. People have all ranges of LDL and still have heart attacks yet there are a few commonalities. They all have low HDL and higher triglycerides. This is a sign of inflammation. Inflammation causes heart attacks not LDL.

If LDL was causal then the charts would look much different. They would look like this:

At the end of the day does it make any sense looking at this report that we can use LDL as a marker for health. It makes far more sense that risk is more associated with inflammation and most importantly, high glucose and insulin levels. These are causing the damage and LDL is just doing it’t job by bringing cholesterol to fix the problems.

Like blaming fire fighters for fires because they are at the scene. This needs to end.

One last example to show that LDL is not a cause. Familial Hypercholesterolemia.

Before the rise of processed food and sugar consumption these people lived just as long or longer than anyone else and the have the highest level of LDL of anyone. Today they tend to have the highest risk of CVD but that is only correlated in with people that are overweight and diabetic. If you look at the population of fit and healthy people with FH they see a similar risk profile to anyone else. More over, they tend to have a higher survival rate when they do have heart attacks.

This is an article I wrote that discusses this in more detail and has 2 studies linked.

More about Familial Hypercholesterolemia

If these people were not at risk before and still don’t seem to be at risk if they are not diabetic or overweight then LDL has no relevance. It is the inflammation.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.

Check the details here:

Personalized Coaching with Coach Jack