My journey from average to lean

Someone asked me today about how I got so lean. The short answer was, it was pretty damn difficult. In all seriousness though, it prompted me to actually chronicle my journey from healthy weight but not lean to where I am now.

Picture 1 (left) is before I ever started overfeeding. I had been fasting, doing lazy keto and just generally not tracking. I had looked this way for about 10 years. My weight was always between 210 and 215lbs. I had been doing crossfit at this point for about 8 years as well as running various races from 5k to half marathons. Picture 2 (right) is after a year of over feeding cycles and never skipping a single meal. The weight was a hard fought 201lbs.
You can see I was lean. 6 pack and visible striations in muscles. I still had a flap of skin around my waist. After 10 years of having these love handles and skin I decided to get them removed.

You can see the before and after in the next series of pics. It was a long recovery and I lost some muscle mass after the surgery as I couldn’t train for about 4 months.

The next series of photos is 4 months post surgery. I had lost some lean mass and was sitting between 187lbs and 195lbs. I then started eating like a bodybuilder. 5-6 meals a day with 25g of protein each meal and also adding carbs before and after training. I gained weight but didn’t gain much if any fat. I got to 212lbs then reduced carbs and started to drop weight. I kept pre workout carbs but lost all other carbs. Maintained 5 meals a day. Dropped to 205lbs.

The final picture is after 2 months of only pre workout carbs (100g) and still doing 4 meals a day of 25g of protein each meal. I have been able to drop out of ketosis before the workout and be back in 2 hours post and remain there for the rest of the day. This has allowed me to maintain all lean mass despite the level of intensity I train with. 2 hours a day and 7 days a week with a mix of cardio, high rep lifting and very heavy olympic lifting. The current weight is 200lbs and it seems to stick there.

So you can see that it was not a simple journey. I didn’t simply eat to satiety or when hungry. I didn’t just eat one set of macros and presto. There was a lot of adjustment and trial and error to get things dialed in and there was a bunch of surgery to get rid of the loose skin. I was lean before the surgery. I didn’t get the surgery to become lean. I did that through diet manipulation. The surgery was just to remove the damaged and stretched out skin I had left from my weight gain and loss.

The skin that was removed was 38 inches long and 8 inches wide and only weighed just over 2lbs. There was little to no fat removed. Just skin.

This is why I get so riled up sometimes when people say things like “I have been at this for 8 weeks and I am not seeing the results” or “Fasting eats up your loose skin.” None of this is true or even logical. I fasted for a year and made no progress in weight or skin removal. I did lose weight fasting but over the course of a year it all came back. Every time I would fast I would lose and then when I would eat I would just gain it back. Just like any other calorie restricted diet.

I hope this gives some insight into what it takes to get very lean. If you want help to achieve this, minus the surgery of course, then you can use the link below to sign up for coaching or you can ask any question you like using the contact form.

Keto On,

Coach Jack

Does eating extra fat make you fat? – A response to Dr. Fungus.

This is a response to this article by Dr. Jason Fung:

First let me start by saying Fung is a Kidney Doctor. Not a weight loss doctor. He developed all of his ideas like everyone else on the internet. By Googling.

Of course you can starve some weight off people. Of course if you don’t eat your insulin levels will drop and you won’t need to take exogenous insulin if you are diabetic. This is all common sense to the nth degree. 

What is well known is that as you do any calorie restricted diet you lose less and less weight each week until you stall. Why? This is simple human physiology. Your metabolism slows to become more efficient with the energy you give it. This is to keep you alive as long as possible with less food than you should have. Not eating (fasting) is the most extreme form of caloric restriction. There is nothing less than zero calories. To think that for some reason that when you eat nothing your metabolism doesn’t slow down or that it actually speeds up is just pure idiocracy. If your metabolism didn’t slow with zero caloric intake you would rapidly burn through your body stores and start utilizing your organs for fuel. This is completely counter to anything that even remotely resembles common sense and the fact that anyone thinks this nonsense could be true simply boggles my mind. 

Now on to the article:

  • He hits the nail on the head with the MCT and coconut oil as added fat and how this can cause people to stall or not lose. These are oils that do not contribute to mitochondrial biogenesis (creation of more mitochondria) and we know that mitochondria are the energy factories of the body. The more we have the more energy we make from the food we take in. This means a faster metabolism. If you are consuming large quantities of these oils of course you won’t speed up metabolism and may stall or gain. Don’t use these fats if you want to lose weight. That is why I wrote this article. 
  • Leptin – His ideas about leptin are madness. He says if you eat fructose you will overstimulate leptin and get leptin resistance and leptin resistance causes us to get fat. Sure. Fruit is full of fructose. Find me a fat fruitarian. They are pretty damn rare. I eat a metric ton of fat and my leptin levels are almost non existent every time I get tested. 
  • Fat absorption. He kind of knows a bit about this but he is very basic in his explanation or understanding. One of the two. Fat does not get absorbed in the intestine as chylomicrons. Some fats, like MCT and a large portion of coconut oil, get directly absorbed into the intestinal wall and go right to the liver where they must be used for energy directly or converted to ketones. This is because they are short chain fatty acids and can bypass the normal absorption. This is an issue for weight loss as it represents an excess energy crisis. Longer chain fatty acids, like the majority of other fats, get packaged into chylomicrons which are a form of LDL or lipoprotein carrier that takes them into the lymphatic system and then to fat cells. None of this is really all that relevant anyway except the differentiation of the absorption directly by MCT/short chain fatty acids.
  • Leptin resistance causing fat not to get burned or not increasing metabolism. Nonsense. Leptin resistance is just a theory. There is no conclusive evidence that it exists at all. If it did, then theoretically, it would act like insulin resistance. Lets look at insulin resistance and how it works. 
  • Cells do not respond to the normal amount because they are “resistant” so the pancreas makes more and more to try ad clear the blood glucose. Eventually the signal is strong enough and the blood cleared but because there was so much insulin, the insulin resistant person sees a massive drop and they go hypoglycaemic. 
    • If it was true that leptin resistance is causing metabolism not to rise then the same would happen right? Leptin would build up and build up until the cells finally do respond and you would have a huge jump in metabolism just as in the case of insulin resistance causing hypoglycaemia. Completely asinine to think this is the case. 
    • If you eat the proper fats then metabolism will increase through the mechanisms of mitochondrial biogenesis which I have detailed in the link above. Hormones explain part of the issue but they are not the only art of the equation. 
  • Treat Obesity, not nutrient deficiency. This statement alone should be enough to make anyone run for the hills. If you are obese don’t worry about nutrient deficiency? What the actual fuck did I just read? Often obese people are the most in danger of nutrient deficiency. This should be the one statement alone that makes anyone run for their lives away from anything Fung has to say.    

Jason Fung constantly says he has nothing to gain from fasting yet he makes a living by selling fasting. Clinics that focus on fasting. Online coaching for fasting. Books on fasting. I recently saw him endorsing a “fasting tea”. How is this not making anything from fasting? Of course he is trying to sell you something and frankly it is false bill of goods. The fact that he says don’t worry about nutrients makes me furious. Great, you’ve treated obesity but now you have severe malnourishment. Great. 

You don’t have to starve yourself to treat obesity. This was known in 1953. Alfred Pennington was far ahead of his time and saw first hand that caloric restriction didn’t work because of the fact that it lowered metabolic rate. He saw that you could keep people eating very high calorie as long as you restricted carbs but kept fat high and that this would allow for much easier weight loss without a reduction of metabolic rate. 

Fasting will eventually die off. People will see how damaging it is to the metabolism and how, like every other calorie restricted diet, any loss of weight during a fast will quickly return when you eat again. Like calorie restriction the only way to keep weight off or moving in the right direction is by constantly upping the ante and fasting longer and longer. Eventually this becomes a losing battle as you have to eat sometime. 

I just hope we figure it out sooner than later before we make the current problem with people not able to lose weight even worse. 

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

Do you have to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight?

Some say that it doesn’t matter what diet you follow so long as you are in a caloric deficit. Is that true and what does that mean?

So being in a caloric deficit means that you are taking in less calories than you expend. So how much energy do you expend? How do you know and what determines that?

What do I think about all this????

I agree. For the most part. You do lose weight in a caloric deficit and when I work with clients I put them in a caloric deficit. The difference is that I determine what it means to be in a deficit and I never keep calories low for a long time.

The problem with just putting people in a chronic deficit is that the body adapts to caloric intake. If you cut calories from 2500 to 2000 the body will initially take 500 calories from body fat per day and you will lose roughly 1lb a week. This might continue for 5 weeks or maybe only 2 weeks and weight loss slows or stops. This happens because the body slows metabolism in order to keep you from losing weight. If it continued to use the same amount of energy than those that are lean would quickly waste away and die. Today we don’t really have any danger of this but for most of our evolution we were lean and this was a real danger. Our body still works that way. So you can cut calories and lose weight for awhile but that slows and stops. Everyone that has every done a diet knows this.

So you keep cutting and cutting until you are down to 1000 calories. Great but what happens when you stall here? Well hopefully you have reached your goal. If not then you are in trouble aren’t you? You can’t really cut more than this can you? What if you have met your goal? What do you do now? Do you keep eating 1000 calories a day for the rest of your life? How sustainable is that going to be? Most likely you won’t. You will either quit tracking all together or even worse go off the diet. So what happens if you do either one?

In all likelihood, you will eat more if you aren’t tracking. What if you eat 1500 calories? Same thing that happened when you cut 500 calories. Your body is adapted now to eating 1000 calories and burning 1000 calories. If you eat 1500 that is 500 more than your body is used to eating. You will gain roughly 1 pound a week for a bit of time. As it slowed when you were losing it will also slow down when you are gaining. First week you might gain 1 pound while the next week it might be 3/4 of a pound and so on until you adapt to the new caloric level. This is how the body works. It adapts.

So what does all this have to do with my view on caloric deficits?

Well like I said earlier, I determine what that deficit is. How do I do that? I use the body’s ability to adapt its metabolic rate to match the amount of calories coming in and the ability of keto/high fat to limit weight gain. I increase calories very high which in turn makes the metabolism faster. Once I get metabolism high enough I then can create a new deficit that is still adequate yet not low enough to really cause issues with health.

So do you need to be in a deficit to lose weight? Yes, but you get to decide what that means. 🙂

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:

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

How does the body actually deal with energy from carbs/protein/fat

Most people think that the body deals with energy from foods in a specific order.

  1. Carbs
  2. Protein
  3. Fat

The common analogy is that carbs are fast burning twigs or paper, protein is a log and fat is long burning coal and that you have to burn through them in order. They seem to suggest that you only get to fat burning when you first burn through carbs and protein. This is fundamentally and actually comically wrong.

Take this video from my least favorite company. The MLM (pyramid scheme) company Pruvit. They sell those useless ketone supplements that they claim will have you burning fat just from drinking ketones. Just in case you want to ask, they don’t help you do anything other than have ketones in your blood. Waste of money.

This is how it actually works. I will try to get as detailed as I can without being too detailed and I will mostly focus on how it works in a person who is metabolically healthy and eats mostly a ketogenic diet as this creates the most healthy metabolic fueling system.

When we eat a mixed meal of carbs/protein/fat all food gets broken down into smaller parts in the stomach. It then moves to the small intestine where it gets further broken down into its base components.

  • Protein gets broken down into amino acids.
  • Fats get broken down into fatty acids
  • carbohydrates get broken down into simple sugars

According to the rocket surgeons above, you would have to burn up all the carbs and protein and all the fat would be stored. In a very basic sense, yeah that is sort of what happens in the short term but that is so basic that it doesn’t look past the surface at all. It is like looking at the earth from space and saying “Oh it’s just a ball.” There is so much more to it than that and there is so much more to energy partitioning in the body.

This is what actually happens. Again, this is in the context of a mostly ketogenic dieter.

  1. The carbs initially spike insulin
    • This shuts down the use of fat and puts the body into storage mode. At this time it is true that the body will use only carbohydrate for fuel or at least more so. It really depends on the inulinagenic load of the meal. Lets assume it was very high. For right now, as insulin is high, carbs are the majority fuel source. At the same time as insulin is shoving fats into fat cells it is also shoving glucose into muscles (reserved for high intensity exercise) and liver (reserved for blood glucose management). We have storage in these locations for carbohydrate just as we have fat cells for storage of fatty acids. The form changes which actually locks the fuel away in these locations. The form is glycogen and the fuel needs to be converted back from that form in order to be used for fuel again. This is why we don’t use all the glucose first. More on that later. The difference is that these stores are limited where fat cells are nearly unlimited. Once all glucose is put away into this storage, insulin levels return to normal and we start using fat again. Regardless if we have used up all the carbs or not. This will happen faster the more insulin sensitive a person is.
  2. Since insulin is high, fat cells are not releasing any fats. They can only store.
    • All fat in the meal will go to storage so the body must use glucose as fuel until insulin levels drop. Again, the more insulin sensitive you are the faster insulin will drop and the faster you can use fat again. As they drop there will be an incremental increase in the amount of fat being used. Already we can see that the above video is factually incorrect. We rarely ever use only one fuel source. We are usually using a different precent of fats vs glucose depending on insulin levels. More insulin means less fat and more glucose and less insulin means more fat and less glucose.
  3. Protein has been broken down into amino acids. The building blocks of the body.
    • Unlike the uneducated scam artists at pruvit, protein is not a fuel. It can be used as a fuel but only in emergency situations. The only time it will be used for fuel is in the rare instance where insulin is high but glucose levels are low. This is a rare occurrence. The only time this could ever really happen is in someone with severe insulin resistance. Insulin levels could be very high for prolonged periods of time which could potentially cause exhaustion of glycogen stores. Once the glycogen is all used, if insulin is still high, the body will turn to protein because the insulin is holding fat hostage. Other than this instance, protein is never used as a fuel source. It is either used to rebuild tissue, used to create enzymes for other bodily processes or if eaten in excess of body needs, will be converted to glucose in which case it could be used as fuel.

Now that we have that broken down properly lets look closer at what happens as we go on about our day after the meal.

If we are just sitting around doing nothing or just working at a desk, the body does not require any fast acting fuel for this. It is most content to run on fat and it will do so primarily. Now what about those stores of glucose? The glucose that was stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen has a specific use. Since glucose is a fairly valuable commodity and is in limited reserve, it is locked up pretty well. It needs a chemical change to make it available as glucose again. Until it is changed it is locked up and will not leave the glycogen storage.

The liver is a fairly good about letting go of glycogen. The primary job of the liver glycogen is to maintain blood glucose levels. Thinking in context of a ketogenic dieter, we don’t need much glucose. The brain will use some blood glucose while the liver is full of glycogen and the brain pulling glucose from the blood will cause a low blood glucose state. This low glucose state will spike glucagon a bit but only slightly. That is all that is needed to release glycogen from the liver. This will keep the blood levels at a safe range. We are still using fat at this time as insulin is not raised above baseline. This use by the brain will deplete the liver pretty quickly. There is only about 100g of glycogen in the liver. The brain can and will use about 130g in a day and there are other things that require glucose lke red blood cells. This 100g will not last long. Once the liver is depleted, the body will return to making ketones from fat regardless of muscle glycogen levels. The brain will start using ketones and the need for glucose is now dramatically diminished.

There is a large process that has to happen for muscle glycogen to get released to the blood so this doesn’t happen unless it is critically needed as in the insulin resistant scenerio. It stays locked up there simply due to the complexity of the process. Once liver is depleted you can still have as much as 400g of glycogen in muscles but it will not be released to general circulation and will not be used unless there is a large energy demand that requires glucose. Like if a bear is chasing you. Only then will that glycogen get used. If there is no bear chasing you, you absolutely won’t be using this source of glucose. Light exercise will use some of this but will still use more fat than glycogen. The percentage of fat vs glycogen will shift with intensity of exercise. Yet again we see how the majority of the fitness and diet world are dead wrong. We don’t have to burn up all our carbs to use fat. We can have 400g of carbs sitting in our muscles and it will happily sit there until it is needed for escaping a bear. Or just high intensity exercise. I like the bear analogy better. 🙂

So no, we don’t have 3 sources of fuel in our body. We have 2 sources of fuel and one building block that can be used for fuel in an emergency. This is a huge reason why so many are confused. There is far too much misinformation out there coming from people who have little to no actual understanding of how the body actually partitions fuel.

I hope this sheds a little more light onto how we actually use fuel in the body. Below you will find some resources if you want to learn more about glycogen metabolism as well as the bodies different energy systems.

Keto ON,

Coach Jack

Conversion of Glucose to Glycogen
Conversion of Glycogen to Glucose
Regulation of glycogen metabolism
The body’s energy systems

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:

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:

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:

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:

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 or 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 pateâté – 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:

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

See this article on Oxalates: http://


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:


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:

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