What happens when a hardcore Ketonian goes high carb raw Vegan for 14 days?

DISCLAIMER: Do not attempt any of this experiment yourself if you know you are insulin resistant and especially if you are diabetic. I do not recommend anyone attempt any of the experiments I do really. I am very familiar with my body and how it reacts to different strategies and how to test for various issues. Attempt this at your own risk if you choose to do so.

I was listening to my favorite podcast, Fitness Confidential with Vinnie Tortorich, and they were talking about Michael Arnstein. He is a fruitarian who claims to eat 50lbs of produce, mostly fruit, every day.

What is a Fruitarian

Who is Michael Arnstein

This got me thinking. It was first said that he ate 20lbs a day. I thought even this sounded crazy but let’s try it. After entering the equivalent of 20lbs of fruit only in MyFitnessPal and seeing that it was well over 1200g of carbs I decided this sounded like lunacy. After listening to an actual podcast with Mr. Arnstein he said he was eating veggies as well but mainly fruit. I decided I would take a different approach but still wanted to test this out. This will be an ongoing chronicle of the results.

I thought it would be fun to see the results of this after just completing my 5,000 calorie challenge. I gained essentially nothing (0.8lbs) eating 5,000 cals for 21 days. How much will I gain/lose at a deficit eating mostly fruit and some veggies? I will start with 7 days and may continue longer depending on how I feel.

Here is what I came up with:

For the next 7 days I will eat only the following:

Protein – I will stay as close to 60g a day as possible
Fat – 40g or less
Carbs – I won’t be specific but I will eat at least 2100 calories

This is ideal according to all the reading I have done for raw vegan diets. I also used the following TDEE calculator to figure out my TDEE for a vegan diet. Sculpted Vegan – TDEE.

According to this calculator my TDEE is 2700 cals and to lose weight I should aim for 2162 cals. If all that matters is calories and quality of food, then I should be in good shape here. All organic food. Very high quality and a 500 calorie deficit. After 7 days I should have lost 1 lb. Lets see. 🙂

Day 1:

Starting weight: 205.2 lbs

This is interesting. All winter I floated between 210-215 eating the same foods. As most of you know I did a 5,000 calorie 21 day challenge. I dropped weight while ramping up to that level. I started the challenge at 208.4 and ended at 209.2. Since then I have been floating at 204.8-206 while still eating 2500 cals a day roughly. For the last 2 weeks I did no exercise at all when I normally workout at high intensity 4-5 times a week. Clearly the lack of exercise had no effect on weight regardless of eating.

Breakfast worked out to be different than planned. The hemp hearts I got were not the same macros as the ones I searched. This changed the macros of the experiment slightly.

It is now this:


A little less protein than I like but we will see how it goes. It still fits in the ideal range according to most vegan experts. We are now at a 600 calorie deficit.

Blood glucose: waking

Blood glucose: 2 hours post

Blood glucose: 3 hours post

Finally back to pre-meal levels. Note that this was already high due to dawn effect. My normal glucose level this time of day is 3.8-4.5 where now it took 3 hours to drop when it is normally a 2 hour window.

Day 1 workout

30 minutes before my workout I had 3 bananas. My workout was OK but I had a terrible headache mid workout and was far more exhausted at the end. Not surprised as this is a dramatic shift in fuel. I also think I should have had the bananas at least an hour before the workout to allow them to digest.


Lunch was rough. It took forever to get it all down and I am so bloated 3 hours later that I look like I’m 7 months pregnant. I am also experiencing a fair bit of discomfort and have had 3 poops so far today. My normal is once per day. Blood glucose I didn’t get a chance to take it until 2.5 hours post and it was 5.0 so unremarkable. I will have to rework the day again for tomorrow to make it more manageable. I was extremely bloated all afternoon. Very uncomfortable. Finally felt slightly better before dinner.


Dinner was ok. Got through it. Alot of food. Volume wise not calorie wise. This was 570 cals.

Blood glucose 1 hour post dinner was 6.0. Highest I’ve seen in a long time.

Day 2

Weight: 204.4

Surprised that it actually went down but I do float up and down a bit. Lets not get excited yet.

Spent the whole night feeling constipated. Bloated and painful. I did have a bowel movement in the morning but it was not pleasant. Painful. It was dark black.


Breakfast was OK. So much food but I got through.

Had two more bowel movements after breakfast. It is like it is coming out as I eat. Lots of visible solid food in the poo. Gross. Still bloated and painful belly 2 hours after breakfast. There is no way on earth Michael Arnstein ate 50lbs of vegetation a day. I ate roughly 10lbs yesterday and I felt like I would explode after each meal. I call bullshit.

Day 2 workout

I ate 1 hour before this time and I felt better. It was a hard 20 minute workout of nonstop movement. I felt great until 15 minutes in and I absolutely crashed. Hit a wall. I was ahead of everyone until that point then I fell a full round behind. That is what I don’t miss about being a carb burner. If I had been fat fueled I would have been steady all the way through.


Big lunch. Blended it in the ninja.

1/2 lb kale
1/2 lb berries
1/2 lb mango
1/2 lb cantaloupe
1 cup Almond milk

Crazy bloated again and had 2 large bowel movements again. Blood glucose 1 hour post at 6.1 mmol/L.


3 clementines
3 tbsp Hemp hearts
1/2 cup almond milk
400g cantaloupe
100g carrots

No problems here. Felt fine. I think I am adapting.

Day 3

Weight before bathroom: 206.2
Weight after bathroom: 204.4!!! Wow. That was an experience.

Went for my workout early today so ate at 5am and worked out at 8am. The workout was fine and didn’t see any issues. Strength was off a bit but that could have been nothing other than a bad day. Endurance held up but it was all very short glycolytic work so I am not surprised the fruit held up well.

Lunch was same as normal. Blended in the Ninja. No major issues other than lots of bathroom visits.

Went for a 5 hour tattoo session today. Not abnormal for me. This will be my 5th 5 hour session.

This is new though. About 3 hours in, it had been 4 hours since eating, I started to get the shakes, was extremely cold and my vision got blurry. Just from experience I felt like this was low blood sugar. I stopped and ate 3 bananas and within 15 minutes I was good to go. Felt fine for the next 2 hours. I have always been able to sit 5 hours straight with no breaks and no issues. A bit scary.

Dinner was same as always. Felt Fine. Nothing remarkable other than alot of headaches this week. It is not like I never get them but it is frequent this week which is abnormal.

Day 4

Weight: 205.4

So up 1 pound from yesterday and up a total 0.2 pounds week to date. Not terrible.

Nothing extraordinary to report for the rest of the day. Bloating is no longer going on. Still having really frequent trips to the bathroom. 5-6 times a day. Thirst is non existent. All the water in the fruit is completely satisfying my thirst. I usually drink 2 litres a day but this week I have not had more than 1 litre and often less than half. I am very sleepy in the afternoon now and get very hungry at night.

I bought some figs and dates to spice things up. These are good. I can’t eat many as they are so sweet.

Day 5

No weight today as I am at my camper for the weekend. Brought all my fruit and veg and my blender and will stick to it while here.

I have noticed that my recovery from working out is very poor. usually I have very little soreness and can work out 5 days in a row. I only did 3 days this week and now 2 days after my last workout I can still barely walk. Mental clarity is not as good but still decent.

It is 10:32am. I have had my normal breakfast and 2 cups of coffee with almond milk. I have had 3 bowel movements already. Where is it all coming from? It seems that every time I eat I go to the bathroom immediately after. Clearly I am not absorbing all that much of this food. If I don’t lose at least a pound over the week I will be shocked. Of the 2150 cals I am eating I cannot imagine I am even getting 1500 cals absorbed.

I have decided I will do 14 days. I won’t do more than that for sure as it is getting too daunting and expensive.

Day 6

Still no weight. I won’t be able to weigh until Sunday night, today is Saturday, but looking in the mirror I don’t look like I have gained. Still seeing the definition in my abs.

Nothing abnormal to report as far as meals go. Still having very frequent bowel movements. After 3 days off from the gym I can finally touch my legs without pain. That is nice. I have also noticed my tattoo is healing very slowly. Normally after 3 days it wold be in full peal mode. Today is day 4 and it has yet to start to peal.

For next week I think I will change the diet a bit. I will continue to be vegan but may incorporate some different protein sources. The kale and algae powder is killing me. I will be adding 1 cup of cooked navy beans. I will soak them overnight with baking soda as per Dr. Gundrys instructions in order to reduce the lectin content. This will keep the protein the same without having to eat so much Kale. I know it is not raw vegan but it is still vegan.

Day 7

Weight: 203.0

Amazing. This has been very eye opening. First I will say that despite the fact that I have lost weight, I am still sticking to my conviction that this is not healthy. Here is why:

1. My gym recover was non existent. I could barely walk for 3 days after my last workout. Usually I have no soreness.
2. My tattoo normally starts peeling 2 days after I have it done and is completely healed by day 5. This time it just started peeling on day 5. Day 7 and it is still not even close to being healed.
3. Constantly tired and I get dizzy if I go more than 4 hours without eating.
4. My blood sugar is constantly elevated. It is now taking 3.5 hours for it to come down in the afternoon and never comes down after dinner. It goes higher and stays higher well after 4 hours. I am assuming all the fiber is slowing the gastric emptying but since there is so much sugar it is also keeping glucose elevated longer. By the time it comes down I am eating again. That can’t be good for the old A1c.

This has given me some theories that are very interesting:

1. My insulin sensitivity theory on being more insulin sensitive in the morning and more insulin resistant at night seems to be bang on. The reason why was slightly wrong.

Checking my blood sugar throughout the day I can see an increase in how long my glucose stays high. In the morning it takes under 3 hours to clear. In the afternoon it takes 3.5 hours. At night it stays elevated for a very long time. Yesterday it was at 8.0mmol/L 4 hours after dinner.

What is happening:

As the day goes on cortisol gets lower and melatonin gets higher. Melatonin has the ability to sit in insulin receptors but not the ability to open cells to allow glucose in. By doing so it blocks the ability of insulin to open the cells to glucose and keeps the blood sugar high. This part I was right about.

The part I was wrong about is why. I thought it was to store as much fat as possible for the night so you can live off fat. I now think differently. I think it is to keep blood sugar as high for as long as possible so you can use that at night and save fat for real times of famine. Our ancestors would not have had alot of fat to use so they would have wanted to preserve it for a real emergency and not use it up every night as they slept.

Major problem with this method is that without ketones, you turn to gluconeogenesis before fat metabolism kicks in and you will be using some lean mass during the night. That is why, I think, growth hormone increases at night. To try and counteract the loss of lean mass. This is potentially why people on keto tend to gain lean mass without working out. Ketones down regulate GNG so rather than the growth hormones simply counterbalancing the losses it goes to increasing lean mass.

2. Sugar does not turn into fat very easily. Clearly it doesn’t as I am eating nearly 300g a day of the stuff and losing weight. Fat goes to fat stores and sugar fills glycogen stores and stays in the blood when those are full.

The problem is not eating high carb or high fat when it comes to weight gain. The problem is both at once. If you eat high fat and low carb you have low insulin and don’t store fat well. It has no where to go so it gets converted to both waste ketones and BHB.

If you eat high carb and low fat you don’t have any fat to store but you have higher blood glucose and too much exposure to insulin. This is why vegans are lean even though they eat so many carbs. The ones that do get fat are eating too much fat in the diet I would assume.

This has been a rather enlightening day. Very interesting indeed.

Day 8

Weight: 202.0

This is the lowest I have been in a year and I had to really work at getting there. If weight was my only goal in life and I didn’t care about health I would probably do this more.

My days numbers yesterday further confirmed my theory on insulin sensitivity decreasing through the day following the cortisol curve.

Morning was 5.1 and was at 4.8 within 1.5 hours post meal. Before dinner it was 5.5 and 4 hours post dinner it was still at 6.1.

My tattoo is still not healed. This would be 7 days post session. Usually by day 5 it is completely healed. Today it is still pealing like it normally is on day 2. Very interesting and troublesome. Reminds me of how poorly my diabetic father heals from any wounds he has.

The pooping has slowed down. I am only going maybe 4 times a day rather than 6 or 7. That is nice.

Day 11

Nothing has changed in the last few days other than the weight is still coming down. My tattoo is still not healed after 9 days. Again normal healing time is 5 days tops.

Current weight: 200.8 lbs

Lowest I have been in 3 years. Last time I was even close to this was 2 years ago and right after a 5 day fast. Within 3 days of stopping the fast I was back to 205lbs.

I am still in shock that this is happening. As an adjunct to a regular keto plan this could be super beneficial for breaking stalls but I have to caution that this may not work for those that are extremely insulin resistant and could be dangerous for those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

I have scheduled blood tests for Tuesday of next week. I predict my LDL will be dramatically lower, my trigs will be at least 40% higher and my HDL will be lower. This is further that this is not sustainable. There are other reasons that this is not sustainable like you could never eat out again and you would likely hate life. I can’t wait to have a nice ribeye.

Day 13

Still at my camper so no weight.

This whole experiment has really changed my perspective. I never in my life would have thought I could eat this much sugar and lose weight. It has allowed me to see a different point of view and has kind of showed me that when listening to the hard keto side and the hard vegan side, they both kind of sound the same. Both blame the staple of the other when it is not fat nor is it carbs that cause the obesity problem we have. It is the wrong combination of each that are the problem.

The Vegans would have you believe that fat somehow clogs your insulin receptors and makes you insulin resistant and the keto folks tell you that carbs makes you insulin resistant. Vegans will say it is big pharma that keeps us eating meat and fat to keep us sick and keto advocates say the exact same thing about carbs. Both think it is a conspiracy. They may be right but, I think the greater conspiracy is being played out by keeping everyone confused and fighting.

So fat clearly doesn’t make you insulin resistant since I have been eating 80% fat in my diet for over a decade and I am the furthest thing from insulin resistant you can imagine. If this were the case I would be diabetic right now. I have been eating nothing but sugar for 2 weeks and my blood glucose barely gets past 120 and returns to a normal level in relatively short amount of time.

Do carbs make you insulin resistant? This I can’t say for 100% yes or no. There are plenty of people that eat high carb and are not insulin resistant. I now do not think it does.

So if neither one of these makes you insulin resistant what does? My theory, yes it is only a theory so don’t quote me, is that eating high carb and high fat causes you to store dietary fat as fat and once your body approaches it’s genetic capacity to create new fat cells it starts to become more insulin resistant. I think this is why you see some people that are really thin with diabetes and some people that are obese and still not insulin resistant. If you can still create new fat cells you won’t become diabetic. Now at what level of carbs vs fat content of the diet start to cause you to become overweight? I think this is very individual.

That being said, I still believe with all my being that keto is the best way to live for overall health. Carbs are clearly inflammatory. Just the fact that it has been 13 days and my tattoo is still pealing is more than enough to make up my mind there. Again, I am normally completely healed by day 5. There is also the fact that my workout recovery is terrible. I can’t walk for days after a workout. Also, my wedding ring is tight at 200lbs when it falls off my finger at 210lbs when I am keto.

For strategic weight loss I now believe that periods of high carb and very low fat can be beneficial. I never in my life thought I would be saying that but this is exactly what I think makes me different. If I see something happen with my own eyes that completely refutes my belief I will change my belief. I will never let my bias get in the way of what actually works and can be proven. It benefits nobody.

I’ve bashed on carb ups for a very long time. I think that is because people do not lay it out correctly and those that practice it rarely look any better for it. I think if done correctly you can set yourself up for optimal weight loss. The different programs I have tested in the past never worked. The reason they didn’t work was there was no differentiation between carb loading and just eating high carb and high fat foods. One specific one even stated that you could eat cake or donuts to do your carb meal or day. This is where the problem begins. In order for this to work it has to be good quality carbs that are also low in fat.

I am currently testing this on some other people to see if I am correct. Again, this is only for weight loss and not for the best possible health and if not done right with the right candidate it will likely backfire terribly. What the right frequency is for maximum effect and the least abuse is yet to be determined. Also what if any bounce back will be encountered has yet to be seen.

Day 16

Yesterday was the last day of the test.Yay!!

Final weight: 199.8 lbs !!!!

I have not been this weight in a very long time. This morning I went to see my doctor and I explained to her what I was doing and she looked at me very puzzled as she usually does. All I can do is laugh. I can’t wait until she sees my lipids. I gave her my prediction and I hope I am right. She pulled up my last panel and she said my results are always troubling but she has seen me swing them around wildly so she can’t say anything. She said today that she would need a whole new medical school to treat me. “Just keep doing what you are doing as it is clearly working.” Don’t worry, I will.

I made the mistake of going out to eat right after. I ordered a big meaty breakfast. I forgot to tell them not to bring the homefries. Yeah I forgot. I made the mistake so many people do and figured, it won’t hurt me. They were good but I have been feeling like crud ever since. My workout today was brutal. I struggled through but as soon as the carbs were gone from the homefries I hit a wall. For the last two weeks I have had plenty of carbs to run on as I would eat 1 hour before the workout. Not today.

Interesting enough I checked my ketones and the result was surprising. I guess I am very keto adapted. 🙂

I will keep updating so everyone gets to see if there is any issues with the rebound when going back to keto. I think I should be fine tomorrow but we shall see.

Keto Day 4

So technically this was the result of only 3 days of keto. Today is the morning of day 4 back to keto.

Weight: 197.4

Still dropping weight. I have not been this weight in 5 years. I was resigned to the idea that I was at my optimal weight at 210ish. I have not dropped much below this in a couple years. I can get down to 201lbs if I really fight and do crazy unsustainable things but never below 200 and never does it last more than a couple days.

Yesterday before lunch my ketones where 1.9 mmol/L and my blood glucose was 4.2 mmol/L. Pretty much exactly what I was before the experiment. I was back in nearly optimal levels of ketosis after 5 hours of resuming the keto plan and have just continued to see higher ketones and lower blood glucose. Like nothing ever happened. I guess this is what they would call metabolic flexibility. What an interesting experiment this has been. So eye opening.

10 Replies to “What happens when a hardcore Ketonian goes high carb raw Vegan for 14 days?”

  1. It’s pretty obvious that when you dramatically change your diet you will have problems with digestive tract. Bacterial flora and internal signalling must adapt. Same goes when you travel to exotic places with different bacterias found on food and all over the new environment. People often get Traveler’s diarrhea, because new bugs, that are not harmfull for natives, ‘fell into conflict’ with your internal bacterial colonies. I heard statements from vegans that when they tried meat after many months of pure plant based regimen, they felt similary awfull as you with your experiment, they too get the bloating and cramps.

    Slowly some people start to recognize that our bodies are very good to adapting to both, keto and vegan diets. These mechanism evolved with environment, temperature and light and those are not taken into account when science is done.
    Mitochondria can produce ATP from sun exposure, that is propobly why on sunny days we tend to eat less and feel less hungry. Vegan Diet adaptation could evolved in very sunny environments and could be better in those. Winter (for example in scandinavia) is dark and cold, and there were not many plant based food sources. Deprived from sun, we adapted to fat and protein burning which are rich sources of ATP, on top of that cold exposure ignites many mechanism that protects from lack of sun. Fasting ignites universal protective mechanism for both seasons, I doubt that people used to eat 5-6 meals a day. Obesity and diabetes chart curves are corellated with both snack industry and chemical industry rise. Eating snacks puts you into constant insuline release and we cannot go into autophagy detox mode and get rid of excessive environmental toxins and demaged cells.

    1. This is not anything I do not already know. I totally expected to be bloated. I have been experimenting with varied nutritional strategies for over a decade. Also, I go down south (Mexico/Cuba/Dominican) 2 – 4 weeks each year. I go from a straight ketogenic diet to a free feeding of meat/fruit/veggies/grains/sugar. I eat freely of anything I want. I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I have never once gotten travellers diarrhea or experienced this type of bloating. Keep in mind I eat lots of foreign fruit while there. I buy foods at street vendors in local cities. Never though have I consumed this much volume of raw fruit.

      I am sure with enough time the bloating will reduce. What I am more concerned with is weight and glucose levels. I will likely continue this past 7 days to get a better view. I would like to also schedule some tests. I am sure my LDL level will reduce but I am curious to see what my trigs and HDL will do. I think these will flip and the HDL will go low and trigs high. I would also like to get an ultrasound of my liver to see if I accumulate any fat there. The last scan I had I had little to no liver fat.

      As for sun exposure and eating less. That is not even remotely true in my case. I ensure I get plenty of sun exposure. It is summer here right now. We have maximum daylight. I am not any less hungry and I do not eat less yet I maintain a lower weight in summer than I do in winter with no changes to eating. This is primarily related to the sun exposure and the amount of melatonin in the system. Daylight inhibits melatonin and melatonin causes temporary insulin resistance as a mechanism to store fat for the overnight fast. Part of our circadian rhythm. I also do not experience this when I go south. I eat like it is the last meal at every meal and typically gain a fair amount of weight yet when I get home and go keto again I lose it all in half the time I gained.

  2. You seem really knowledgeable, can I pick your brain on something?

    I’ve been Keto almost a year, on a weight loss journey for a few years and lost over 90 pounds to date. I’m going to Europe for three and a half weeks and have decided that life is to short and I want to enjoy the food from different cultures. But I’m petrified that I will gain a lot f weight. Any suggestions/tips to reduce the amount of weight/water weight I’ll gain?

    Background info- I’m a woman , 5”3, I weigh 175 (goal weight is 140, 15% body fat). I plan on working out still in the morning while in Europe and possibly intermittent fasting (eating later in the day)

    1. I can’t say I blame you for wanting to experience this. You will gain weight. There is no way around that. The only thing you can do to minimize it is to try and keep the foods as close to keto as possible and to keep the portions ultra small. If you are going with someone else order one meal and share it between the two of you. Enjoy your experience and get back to keto as soon as you return.

  3. This experiment is fascinating! I’m watching it with interest. Thanks for sacrificing yourself for the sake of science.

  4. Great article, so glad that I found this website! I dropped about 100 pounds going high carb, mostly vegan over the last 4 years but I’m stuck on this last 15 pounds of belly fat so I started researching keto. I started a vegetarian keto regime 4 days ago and look forward to reading more of your articles. -Michael

    1. Glad you liked it. This was one of my most profoundly eye opening experiments. It completely opened my eyes to the fact that you can eat high carb and still lose weight and gave me some great insight into the vegan/vegetarian community and why they might fear fat so much. I think it would be awesome if some low fat advocates would do the same and try a high fat regime for 14 days just to see that they can have success from the other perspective. For me it was truly eye opening.

  5. Would be interesting to see if you lowered the fat even more by taking out the avocados and almond milk.

    1. Oh I did. The lower the fat the better it works but the big problem is the inflammation. I decided to try it for a few days after I had surgery and I became so swollen it was painful. Went back to keto again and swelling gone.

      1. Good to know. Thanks. Look great after your surgery. You looked great before too. It’s amazing how much inflammation we live with without ever knowning it until we do keto.

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