What if you are gaining weight on TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

First, if you don’t know what TDEE is, look here:

What is TDEE

So I get the occasional person posting “TDEE doesn’t work for everyone. I am gaining weight.”

I have to point one thing out first. Eating to TDEE is not necessarily a sure fire way to lose weight and that was never the intent. Eating to TDEE is how to balance your hormones, ensure adequate energy intake to allow all body processes to operate as they were intended, to ensure you are eating enough food to obtain all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to perform all the complex biochemical reactions needed to make your machine function as it was meant to and to keep your base metabolic rate at a level that makes you flexible. Being metabolically flexible means that if for a few days a week you want to cut calories to lose a few pounds quicker, you can do that. You have room to drop calories occasionally. If you are chronically eating 1,000 cals a day and you stall, where do you go from there? 800? Then when you stall there? Zero cals a day? See what I mean? Metabolic Flexibility is important.

So what does it mean if you gain weight doing TDEE? Lets break that down:

What is TDEE?

The calories you use to get your TDEE is the number of calories a normal person of your age, height, weight and physical activity level should be able to eat, on a standard diet that is high in carbs, and be able to MAINTAIN THEIR WEIGHT.

That is the key idea here. You should be able to maintain your weight, even eating carbs and having elevated insulin, when eating this amount of food.

If you are gaining weight eating TDEE and you are also eating a ketogenic diet that is keeping your insulin low, this is a major warning sign. Red flag! Sound the alarm! You are in a very bad way. This typically only happens to people who have been following a very reduced caloric diet for some extended period of time. They have tanked their metabolism and can no longer burn through energy at a normal rate making it hard for the body to deal with incoming energy.

The reason people stall when losing weight is usually due to metabolic slow down. This has been measured and is pretty concrete as a fact at this point. You can read about a 6 year study following the contestants of the biggest loser, who used the principle of eat less and move more to lose massive amounts of weight, that showed even though they maintained their strict calorie restricted diet along with a heavy exercise regiment they all gained the weight back. It clearly shows a dramatic reduction in their base metabolic rate. They actually use less calories then they used to making it impossible to maintain weight loss. They are still eating nothing and still exercising like mad but since they are using less calories just to live than they were before they are actually at a caloric surplus. Therefore they gain the weight back.

Long term Changes in BMR after Biggest loser (severe caloric restriction)

So what should you do? Quit and go back to caloric restriction? Likely if you are trying TDEE you’ve already been down that road and it wasn’t working so that isn’t the right path. So what do you do? The answer to that comes down to what is happening when you are eating TDEE.

Eating to TDEE forces your body to try and deal with all of the extra energy coming in. If you are eating carbs or higher protein, this will result in weight gain due to elevated insulin. If you are eating keto, this should result in weight loss as well as high ketones because your fat stores will be releasing fat which will satisfy your energy needs and the incoming high fat diet will have no place to go but to get converted to ketones.

So why would you gain weight? Simple. As shown in the NIH’s study on the Biggest Loser contestants, you have forced your body to reduce your metabolic rate (the amount of energy it uses to function) so dramatically from years of starving it of energy that the amount of fat energy that is required from your stored fat is so very little that the extra TDEE calories you are eating simply cannot be effectively wasted. Even by converting them to ketones. There is only so much it can do.

So why continue with TDEE? Well that is pretty simple. Just as you can tank your metabolism, you can renew it. The longer you eat TDEE the higher it will rise. It may never get to where it was, although I think a period of exceeding TDEE can get it there or even higher, but it will rise and the longer you do this the higher it will go and the more energy you will effectively be able to use. If you were gaining the gain will slow just as the loss slows with caloric restriction. It goes both ways. Eventually it will taper off and even start to go in the other direction.

Once you have your metabolism right again, you can then play with some different, but responsible, strategies for weight loss. Some of these are but not limited to:

Short cycles of low calories followed by periods of TDEE or higher
Alternate day fasting

So in short, if your definition of TDEE working for you is losing weight right away, no it may not work for you. If you choose to look at it for what it actually is, a way to get your metabolism back to a healthy state, then it will work 100% of the time.

Keto on!

Coach Jack

For help with your ketogenic Diet you can sign up for personal coaching with Coach Jack. Visit Personal Coaching with Coach Jack for more information.

What do I think of Miracle Noodles (Konjac Flour – Fibre in general actually)

Konjac Flour – Miracle noodle (low carb noodles)

Many people are just wanting to constantly try and make keto look like their old diet. The market knows this so these companies are constantly trying to find was to cheat the body into thinking it is eating food when it is actually eating frankenfood garbage.

There are mixed results on this stuff. From a WHO food additives safety report they show “no harm” but they did show weight increases in groups fed the Konjac flour vs. that of the control group which would seem to indicate a significant insulin response as the only factor between the two groups was the Konjac Flour addition to the feed. Calories and macros where the same for both groups. It also showed some increased insulin sensitivity but do we want insulin sensitivty or do we want low insulin?

There was also some evidence of enlarged colons in Konjac fed mice vs control groups. Colon enlargement is not a good thing and is a sign of underlying disease caused by inflammation. It was also shown that test animals given Konjac flour showed significant reductions in their ability to absorb vitamins and minerals therefore reducing their overall blood concentrations of various vital nutrients. This is typical of most fibre though. These results were duplicated in human subjects as well. Water soluble vitamins did not appear to be affected nearly as much as fat soluble ones mainly due to the effect of the fibre interfering with bile acid absorption which is vital for the absorption of most fat soluble vitamins as well as most minerals.

There was some evidence that diabetic test subjects (human) given Konjac flour with glucose showed significant decreases in in blood glucose and blood insulin levels at 30,60,90 and 120 minutes post prandial but showed significant increase at 180 minutes as compared to control. So that is not a benefit. Is it better to have lower levels short term or long term? I say long term is better. There were results that showed overall lowered fasting blood glucose after 30 days which could be promising but a total of 45 side effects were reported such as loose stool, flatulence, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain, sounds, or distension of the belly.

Some of the studies showed some reduction in bodyweight but it wasn’t determined if this was adipose or lean tissue. Weight loss is not always a positive benefit. It is not positive in sick people and the loss in weight could very well be due to the konjac causing malabsorption of vital nutrients.

There was some evidence as well of improved cholesterol but I think most of you know how I feel about the importance of cholesterol in overall health.

So it is a pretty mixed bag but to me the bad outweighs the good:


Lowered short term blood glucose
potential weight loss (could be bad)
Insulin sensitivity increases
slowed gastric emptying
Reduced Cholesterol


Weight increase (odd that some studies showed increases while others showed decreases)
Increased Blood glucose/insulin 180 minutes post prandial
Reduced ability to absorb vital nutriets
Enlarged colon (inflammation diseases)
Many gastro-intestinal side effects

Again I stand by my stance on whole real food vs man made frankenfoods. You cannot cheat your body into thinking it is eating nothing when you are eating something. Eating stuff like this has many effects. It is not like eating a glass marble. It won’t just pass through with no metabolic effects. You can’t cheat the system.

WHO report on Konjac Flour safety as a food additive

Plants are not necessary for Vitamins and Minerals Pt. 2 (they aren’t all that nutrient dense either)

Again I want to preface this with the statement. Plants can certainly be a healthy part of a ketogenic diet. If you like them then please feel free to eat them so long as they do not kick you out of ketosis they are perfectly OK. My point is that they are not necessary to get all your vitamins and minerals and they are in no way shape or form more nutrient “dense” than animal foods.

Yesterday I showed a graph with all the vitamins and their sources. What this chart showed was that animal products out gunned plant foods in every vitamin even when the deck was stacked in the veggies favour. A large 1 cup serving was used for every plant food vs. a very small 1oz serving of animals foods.

This clearly showed that plants are not the nutrient dense powerhouses that the rest of the nutrition world would have us believe.

The same can be demonstrated for all the minerals. As you can see every animal food has a best, good, or adequate source of each of the minerals. Even with the very small serving size I have used.

So there you have eat. Eat plants because you like them. Not because they are vital, necessary or “nutrient dense”.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

The effects of Exercise on a ketogenic Athlete and how to use protein to this advantage

Coach Jack talks about what happens to the ketogenic Athlete when he hits the gym for some intense workouts.

If you look at blood glucose readings right after an intense fasted/keto workout you will see a pretty dramatic rise in blood sugar.

Is it because you eat a bunch of carbs during the workout? Nope. Here is what happened from start to finish on a day I did a keto workout up to the point of the last reading which showed high glucose.

7:30 am – Breakfast of 4 eggs and coffee with 1/4 cup HWC
11:17 am – took glucose reading and left for gym
12:00 pm – Workout

Front squats
5 reps @ 135
5 reps @ 185
4 reps @ 225
3 reps @ 275
2 reps @ 295
1 rep @ 315

WOD (Workout of the Day – crossfit term)

3 rounds for time
25 lateral hops over barbell
25 Mountain climbers
15 Hang power cleans at 95lbs

Time: 4:04 RX’d (Means I did the workout as prescribed or as it was designed)

Extra work: Ring pushups (pushups but instead of hands on floor you have them on gymnastic rings hanging 3 inches from the floor)

40 reps

1:15 pm – took Second reading
1:20 pm – ate 2 eggs and some brie
2:55 pm – took third glucose reading

So what happened to cause the glucose spike? (typically 3 mmol higher than baseline)

When you workout with any level of intensity you need Glucose. When you do Anaerobic activities like heavy explosive lifts or high intensity workouts you have to utilize the glycolytic pathway (pathway that uses glucose for fuel and is responsible for most high energy/explosive activity). Many anti-keto fitness types would lend you to believe that low carbers can’t perform these types of workouts or suffer at them because they are unable to use the glycolytic pathway. This simply is not true. I can tell you that I was one of the fastest people to finish this workout today and I also had the heaviest front squat in the class. I did not suffer one bit and I can assure you I had zero carbs for fuel.

The fact is that you must and will use the glycolytic pathway. It is going to happen and the body will use it not matter what the “fitness experts” tell you. It is the second pathway to get used in a chain of pathways and gets used regardless of the fact that you do or do not eat carbs.

So where does the glucose for the glycolytic pathway come from? Great question. I have 4.0 to 5.0 mmol/L of glucose sitting in my blood. Why on earth would I not be able to use this? I can and I did. Here is exactly what happened:

I start doing heavy front squats and this requires glucose for that glycolytic pathway so the muscles start pulling it out of the blood. But won’t I go hypoglycaemic? Well if I wasn’t full of ketones to run my brain, yes I would likely get light headed and pass out, but since I am full of ketones, my brain runs very well on them while my blood sugar is being used to fuel my exercise. Now the blood sugar can’t continue to drop without actually risking some issues so the low levels will signal cortisol. Cortisol starts yelling at the pancreas to release glucagon. Glucagon’s job is to get energy out of cells and into the blood. It does this by signalling the liver to start that wonderful process called Gluconeogenesis or GNG for short. This process kicks into gear and starts converting glycerol from fat as well as amino acids from the amino pools or if those are not adequate it will start pulling them from lean mass. This process supplies all the additional glucose to keep the blood glucose level up in addition to providing all the glucose I need to finish the WOD well ahead of most of the other carbed up Crossfitters.

Now what happens when I stop working out? GNG doesn’t stop right away. It takes time to ramp down so it keeps turning amino acids (protein) and glycerol into glucose until it has time to ramp down. How long does that take? I honestly don’t know. I do know that because of this you see that we have a huge rise in blood sugar that is nearly 3.0 mmol/L above my baseline. This was also detailed in the FASTER study conducted by Dr. Stephen Phinney. They tested the muscle glycogen of low carb athletes and carb fuelled athletes post workout and found that they had nearly identical levels. This means that the infamous “carb load” after a workout is not necessary as most typical carb fuelled gym types would have you believe. The idea is that the carbs spike insulin and this helps get the protein into muscle and restore lost muscle glycogen. Well you clearly don’t need to “Carb up” to get glycogen into muscle and I speak about the protein getting there coming up. 🙂

FASTER study

What is the effect of blood sugar this high? That is right. Insulin response to get it back down. So while exercise is great, I get an insulin response right after which means I am not losing weight anymore. What else is going on here you ask. Well since I’ve already laid out the fact that all that glucose likely came from amino acids and amino acids likely came from your lean mass, and you already are going to have an insulin response, what can we do to maybe mitigate some of the amino acids that were taken and also take advantage of that ever so Anabolic (muscle building) effect that insulin has? Eat some protein!!!!

Eating protein at this time is ever so optimal. It will get shunted directly to where it needs to go, replacing the amino acids taken from stores during GNG and because you already had an insulin spike coming, eating protein now will have a net zero impact on the days total insulin load. Bonus.

Less than 2 hours after a very high glucose reading, my blood glucose level is almost right back to where it had been prior to any exercise. This likely means that all insulin is pretty much out of my system and I am right back to using my body fat for fuel. Isn’t that just the neatest ever.

Another little cool idea is that the protein actually helps the blood glucose lower faster. The idea behind this is the fact that because protein has an insulin response but has no actual glucose load with it, that it will lower blood glucose and stabilize it. Since the insulin comes but the protein doesn’t actually add any extra to the mix, this seems to make sense. I tested that theory. Below is a pic of my blood glucose 2 hours after a workout on a day where I didn’t have anything to eat after the workout. Notice that it is not nearly as low as todays. I can’t say for sure that is the reason but since the workload that day was similar and I eat the same thing every day, the hypothesis seems sound. Take a look.

I hope you found this informative. Science is fun. 🙂

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

Why it is better to eat nothing at all than eating very little (fast or feast don’t starve)

Coach Jack Explains why fasting is better than caloric restriction

As far as we have come in our understanding of why insulin is the driving factor in weight there are still those that keep insisting on starving themselves calorically, eating several teeny tiny meals a day and wondering why they are not seeing success.

While I am not the biggest fan of fasting, if done right, it is much more effective than caloric restriction. Keep in mind it has to be done right and cannot be done everyday. We need times of feasting to keep the body from going into a state of malnourishment from lack of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids (protein).
Here are two scenarios that I hope will make sense.

A person with a Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) of 2500 calories is the subject for both:

Caloric restriction (eating at a deficit or CICO):

This person decides they want to eat 3 meals a day and a snack at 1500 cals (1,000 calorie deficit)

Breakfast – Every time you eat you spike insulin no matter what you eat. It just is what it is. While insulin is up you aren’t using fat for energy. All they are getting for energy is the calories they ate for this meal.

Lunch – Again we are spiking insulin so no fat is liberated fro energy while insulin is up and in all likely hood the insulin from breakfast has just come down so we didn’t get any fat usage or at least not any significant time under a low insulin state.

Dinner – Again insulin is spiked. Like lunch we didn’t get any benefit of low insulin so no fat, or very little fat got liberated for energy.

Snack – Same story. Spiking insulin so as to not allow fat utilization.

At the end of the day our poor friend used 1500 (maybe 1600 since he may have had a small time under low insulin between meals) calories for the whole day while his actual need is 2500 cals? Where did he get this extra energy from if insulin was always up? It didn’t come from anywhere. It can’t.

This is what causes metabolic slowdown. The body needs energy and the demands aren’t being met due to chronically elevated insulin. In order to for you to survive the body has to forego various processes that require energy so as it can keep the energy ingested for vital processes like beating the heart and functioning of the brain. It will forgo things like hair and nails and body heat. You get cold and hungry and crank and bald. Sounds like fun right.

Fasting from Breakfast to Breakfast (24 hour fast)

Our friend decides today he is going to have a nice ketogenic breakfast consisting of 5g of carbs, 20g of protein and 60g of fat the fast for the rest of the day. He still have a need of 2500 cals so lets look at what happens.
Breakfast – Insulin spikes so energy is only available from food ingested.

Lunch – Insulin has dropped since breakfast but since there is no additional energy doing in, insulin stays low and fat is free to be released from fat cells to provide whatever energy is required. No problems.

Dinner – Since our friend has yet to eat again, insulin is still low and fat is flowing from cells and satisfying whatever energy requirements are needed.

Snack – what snack? Low insulin so fat is his snack.

So this guy only ate 650 cals today but since he kept insulin low, the body does exactly what it is supposed to and uses that backup fuel source to meet the requirements. He didn’t starve or lack any fuel because we have a near unlimited resource at our disposal. So long as insulin is low that is.

I hope this all made sense. It did to me. 🙂

Again, keep in mind that if you do this everyday, the body will catch up to you. It is pretty vital that we get in our various vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids (protein) that is required to make all the important metabolic processes happen within the body so doing this chronically will not lead to greater success but greater chances of slowing other metabolic processes down.

Remember that feasting is more important than fasting so while it may be a tool in the arsenal it shouldn’t be the only one.

Keto on!

Coach Jack

Someone is Feeling threatened by Keto Me thinks!! (The Pro-Carb “Experts” are at it again)

“A group of leading international and Australian experts say the evidence on the health benefits of eating whole grains is “unequivocal” and those who avoid them are increasing their risk of disease.”

Oh I think the science is pretty damn equivocal!

“Australians risk increasing their chances of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer if they cut quality carbohydrates high in cereal fibre from their diets, experts say.”

Who are these experts you ask?

“the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC) – a group of about 30 nutrition academics, epidemiologists and scientists”

International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium? You think they may have some conflict of interest? How is this different from listening to The Sugar industry saying “Oh yeah sugar is totally safe and harmless.”

These people should be charged with manslaughter or gross negligence at the very least.

Not eating carbs increases risk of Diabetes – “Experts” warn

Protein requirements

Coach Jack explains protein requirements!

So I get a lot of pushback from other “experts” as well as many of my clients about protein requirements on Keto. I will now address the issue.

First point I want to bring up is based on the whole idea of fasting. I am not a fan of fasting for many reasons but it raises exactly the point I want to make. There are many documented cases of people fasting for extended periods of time. There is an article posted to the NIH where a patient was followed for 382 days of a medically supervised fast. This man consumed nothing but water, vitamins and electrolytes for over a year. He lost a massive amount of weight and reported only minor health concerns which cleared themselves up with minor and temporary supplementation of vitamins and/or minerals. This man lost virtually no lean mass. The amount was negligible.

382 day fast

Now keeping that in mind, if this man was able to fast for over a year with no protein intake at all, why on earth do we think that we will strangely start catabolizing lean mass if we don’t eat at least half our body weight in protein? Does that really make any logical sense?

Our body’s have an abundance of amino acids and proteins available. We are constantly recycling proteins as well. This is what autophagy is. When proteins in cells become damaged or stop functioning optimally it is broken down into its base components and added back to the amino acid pool for recycling. Now these are no longer complete sources of protein but so long as we are intaking some forms of complete protein they will be able to fulfil the need. This greatly reduces the amount of protein we require to repair our lean tissue. Add to this the fact that Ketones are amazingly protein sparing you have the recipe for a vastly reduced protein requirement.

Now I don’t agree with vegans or vegetarians very often but there is one point they make that I 100% agree with. Excessive protein is damaging and has potential to increase the risk of cancer and aging. I believe it is from the China study where they say that optimal protein is about 10% of calories. I tend to be pretty close to that. I prefer 10-13% but that is ballpark. This seems to be where I see the most success is in this range. For myself and my clients. Protein is insulinagenic for one. It causes a spike in insulin which is the enemy to weight loss and it also stimulates the mTOR pathway in a detrimental way.

mTOR is arguably the most important pathway in the body. It senses all nutrient sensors and makes a judgement on wether a cell replicates or stays alive longer and replicates at a more opportune time. Cells can’t have it both ways. They can either replicate a lot or they can stay alive for a long time. mTOR is in charge of this decision and the decision is primarily factored by protein intake. mTOR is also linked to increased risk of cancer and more rapid spread of cancer. If cells are rapidly and frequently replicating there is far greater chance they will replicate in an irregular way. Irregular cell replication is Cancer. One of the best ways to help with cancer is protein restriction. In addition, the more cells replicate the faster they age. You want to reduce the effects of ageing, you reduce mTOR. The video below is a great discussion on mTOR.


So now with us knowing that we can fast for prolonged periods with no protein and not lose lean mass and that protein actually stimulates insulin and increases risk of cancer and speeds up the aging process, can we please get off of this crazy idea that we absolutely need tons of protein. Lets stop listening to the bro science and start thinking about life and longevity.


Why ketones can rise so high and how that can be bad or good

Coach Jack explains why you may get very high ketones

So you just measured your ketones and they are super high. The highest I have ever seen is 7.6 mmol/L. This is actually high enough to spike insulin so it is unnecessarily high. It isn’t dangerous but not necessary. Now why does this happen?

This will happen if you are already in a state of very low insulin, like if you’ve been fasted for 3 or more days or if you’ve maybe eaten 90+% fat for the day so far, and you eat a meal that is again very ketogenic. Like 90% or higher fat content. If your insulin is already very low, your glucagon (energy releasing hormone) is high.
This hormone is like a bouncer in a club at 3am kicking all the drunks (fat) out of the Club (fat cells) so they can go home (to the body) and sleep (get used by the cells for energy). So long as the bouncer (Glucagon) is pushing people (fat) out of the club (fat cells), no new people (more fat) can go in to the club (fat cells). So you eat a high fat meal (more people wanting to party) but at this time but that bouncer (Glucagon) is not letting nobody (fat) come in. Since he (Glucagon the Bouncinator) has kicked a bunch of drunken club goers (fat) out of the club (fat cells), the streets (your cells) are flooded with drunken people (fat) and there is no room for the incoming flood of people (fat) that have just showed up on the scene (just been eaten by your mouth). The police (your body) has to figure out what to do with these excess people (fat) since the bouncer (glucagon) is pushing the drunks (fat) out into the street (your cells) and there is no way they can get into the club (fat cells). The police (your body) can’t have all these people (fat) just hanging out free in the streets (your cells) so they start shipping some of them off to the drunk tank (Ketone supply). This is why your ketones are so high.

This state is actually the only scenario where eating too much fat can cause weight loss stalls. Since high levels of ketones can also cause an inulin spike, and I believe that level is around high 6’s or low 7’s since I have never seen higher than 7.6 mmol/L, eating excess fat in a state of already high ketones can cause a spike of insulin which triggers fat storage. It has nothing to do with fat being a lever since this level of fat intake is only achieved in circumstances that are very unlikely. You pretty much have to be at near 100% fat intake for the day which is not the usual issue. Usually this only occurs later in the day if someone has either fasted all day or just had BPC all day. It could happen early in the day for someone who has adrenal or thyroid issues since they don’t have the morning glucose spike from the dawn effect to clear some of the ketones from the overnight fast.

Hope you enjoyed story time with Ket_Coach_Jack! 🙂



Fat does not cause weight loss Stalls – Calories don’t matter (Energy balance matters)

Coach Jack’s Rant of the Day

The idea that fat consumption can slow or stall weight loss.

I’ve seen this Meme more times than I can count. It is the absolute opposite of the whole idea of Ketogenic diets.

It isn’t about the calories and that is where he is wrong. He is correct that you can over consume fat but it has nothing to do with calories because the body doesn’t know what a calorie is and it is so very hard to do.

Fat can be over consumed to the detriment of weight loss but only in the respect of energy balance. If your insulin is low energy will flow unabated from cells. That energy is fat if you’re ketogenic. If fat is coming out of cells and saturates the body with the energy it needs to operate, any incoming fat will be either converted to blood ketones and stored, wasted as heat energy by brown adipose, wasted in the urine as ketones or in the breath as ketones. The issue of it slowing weight loss only comes into effect if you consume so much plate fat that your blood ketones rise to a level that is about 7 times higher than the average. About 7.0 mmol/L is where I suspect that insulin kicks in to lower them since the highest levels I have ever seen was 7.6 mmol/L and it was followed quickly by a subsequent drop in both ketones and glucose levels. This is indicative of an insulin response. I have only seen this level in 3-4 people and it took a massive amount of fat to get them there. Much more than the average person could even tolerate. If insulin kicks in, wether from ketones of glucose, weight loss stops.

This is the only way Dr. Westman is accurate in his statement.

Calories in and calories out is the essence of what has failed us in weight loss for the last 50 years. It has never worked yet even the “experts” in the ketogenic community still push this idea. Putting a pretty bow on caloric restriction is still putting a bow on a turd. No matter how fancy you dress it up it is still a turd.


If he did say this, Dr. Westman is wrong