Obesity Theories vs Common Sense

I’ve been speaking to various people and watching a ton of documentaries on various theories on why we get fat. I like to look at all of these theories and throw them at the common sense wall and see if they stick. Here are a few that we can take a peek into:

First and foremost lets do CICO (Calories in vs calories out)

We get fat because we take in more energy than we expend. To quote the great Gary Taubes:

“Saying this is like saying we get rich because we make more money than we spend.”

Sure this is one of the factors involved in getting rich but it explains nothing. How do we get the money? How much money do we have to take in vs how much we spend to be rich? If a financial advisor were to tell this to his clients he wouldn’t be in business very long yet it is perfectly acceptable that the nutrition community spouts this nonsense at us constantly.

Most historians would put the discovery of the calorie in 1848. So since nobody knew how many calories they were taking in before that and surely nobody had a fit bit to see how much energy they were expending back then the obesity rates must have been tremendous. Well since the military had a hard time finding men that weren’t severely underweight to fight in world war II I don’t think calorie counting can be the factor here.

Did we just get lazier? Well since the fitness industry didn’t exist prior to the 1970s and it is currently a 83 Billion a year industry I would say we are expending more energy than ever before. So are we eating more? From what I can find the average consumption in 1949 was 1880 calories compared to 2021 calories in 2010. So we are to believe that 140 calories a day on average has caused the obesity epidemic that we are experiencing today? Not likely. In fact I have a hard time even believing that we are eating more. Maybe the people at the very top of the scale are eating more but from being in the diet industry I can tell you that people on diets, and there are alot of them, are not eating anywhere near this average number.

Here is the problem with CICO. This calculation assumes we are a steady state machine that has a set output of energy. This is simply not true. It is very well documented from over feeding studies that weight does not increase exponentially as calories rise. Sometimes it doesn’t rise at all and sometimes it rises slightly and tapers off. Also from this study below you can clearly see that the more you cut calories and exercise the more the body lowers its output, Base Metabolic rate, to compensate. You eat less and move more and you burn less. You can see that even though the contestants of the biggest loser kept eating less and moving more, they gained the weight back.

Lowering of Base Metabolic rate in Biggest Loser Contestants

CICO is an over simplistic view and if it were true everyone would have been obese before the calorie was discovered. This cannot and will not be the answer as to why we get fat.

Rating: Hits the wall but slides right off

Now lets look at one of the new theories, The Micro-Biome!

This is an interesting field of study. Scientists would have us believe that little bugs in our intestines are making us fat or slim. There is a bit more to it than that and I can agree that various bacteria are beneficial to us. What I don’t buy is that we need to feed these bugs fiber in order for us to be healthy. None of the studies right now are done using a low fiber diet. We have no data showing what effect this has. I believe that eating fiber in the first place necessitates the need for all of the bacteria. It is a parasite/host relationship. The fiber is indigestible and blocks nutrients. In order for us to survive we have to colonize these gut bugs to digest the food for us and give back the nutrients that it blocks. Why not just skip the middle man and not eat the fiber in the first place.

In a recent study they showed that injecting the bacteria from a slim person into a fat mouse made it leaner. So this must prove it right? Bacteria controls how fat or slim we are.

Wrong and here is why.

Here are the questions I have to ask.

1. What was the fat mouse eating before the test? How did they make him fat?

Mice are not naturally fat. Did they make him fat on purpose? Were they feeding him something specific to make him fat?

2. What effect would them making him fat have on his ability to deal with the food they were feeding him during the test period?

If they made him fat eating a certain way and the food during the test period was different from that food then of course he wouldn’t have the gut bacteria to deal with the test food.

3. What was the diet of the person they used to inject the fat mouse with?

If this person ate a diet similar to the nutrient content of the test food then of course the fat mouse would now have the ability to better deal with this diet and get slimmer. He would be getting the nutrients from it that he would not have been able to get prior. This is called stacking the deck.

If we had to feed these gut bugs a certain diet and that diet requires a diverse amount of plant food and fiber, then there is no way I would be as successful as I am at getting people to lose weight. I can assure you that none of the hundreds of people I have helped are eating any amount of fiber. Especially since I have them eating less than 20g of total carbs per day. Try to get any fiber on that amount. Many of them eat under 10g total carbs a day. There are also thousands of people that live a completely carnivorous diet, no plants at all, and these people thrive. I myself have not had any amount of fiber for well over a decade. I am fit and athletic and rarely ever get sick.

In addition, before the advent of green houses and international food transport, there was no way anyone in Canada was eating any amount of fiber for 7-10 months of the year. We would have only had seasonal fruits and veggies and would not have the microbiome in place that “experts” are trying to tell us is the key to being slim and healthy.

Rating: Takes a bit of time but sure enough it hits the floor

This one is a fun one that I just heard. A virus that causes obesity.

Fat Virus

In the 80s in India there was a huge epidemic of chickens dying. It was hurting the poultry industry very badly. When they autopsied the chickens they found they all had a lot of fat and very fatty livers. They tested these chickens and found that all the ones affected had a common antibody for a virus. So they started infecting healthy chickens with this virus and low an behold, they got fatty livers as well. They then started trying this in mice and it seemed to happen as well.

They then decided they were going to go to the US and start advancing the study. They actually weren’t able to get the virus imported due to regulations on shipping viruses from one country to another so instead, they went to the virus bank and spun the wheel and picked another random virus. They were floored that when they injected this virus into a chicken it got fatty liver. Wow, amazing. What are the odds.

Now they couldn’t go injecting this into people to see if they got fat so they decided they would test people to see if they had the anti-body for this virus. They tested slim people and fat people. Oddly enough, none of the slim people had ever had this virus while a whopping 1 out of 6 obese people had the anti-body present. Amazing. 1 out of 6 people had this virus. That clinches it. A virus causes obesity.

So how does that explain the other 5 out of 6 people that are still obese? Here is a more likely version of this story.

For those of you that don’t know what Foie Gras is, it is a delicacy that is made by feeding ducks a massive amount of grain and nothing else. This causes them to get fatty liver disease. It also makes it taste amazing but that is besides the point. What do you think the chances are that all these chickens where being fed crappy grain only diets? I would say pretty damn good since grain is cheap and it fattens up the chickens nicely for market. Unfortunately with fat comes fatty liver. Now it is a possibility that having this virus made them more susceptible to an inflammatory state which would speed up the fatty liver or it could also be that the inflammatory grain based diet made them more susceptible to getting the virus. Then injecting healthy chickens would also open them up to being more susceptible to getting fat from likely the same shitty diet they other chickens where being fed. Either way, it was not the virus alone that made the chickens get fatty liver. I am willing to bet that if they were injected with this virus and fed a diet of strictly bugs and worms, they would not develop fatty liver. As we know, this requires excessive carbohydrate intake and cannot happen with a natural diet like a free range bird would eat.

Side note this is what makes me crazy about A&W. They have a sign in the restaurants that advertise that their eggs are from hens fed a vegetarian diet. Well chickens are not vegetarians. They eat primarily bugs and worms and if you ever had chickens and saw one get injured in the pen, they love to eat chicken too. Hens are omnivores so I do not want eggs from a sick vegetarian chicken A&W. But I digress.

So these 1 out of 6 obese people that had this virus. Are they fat because they got the virus or did they get the virus because they were fat? Either way it still comes down to diet. I bet a months salary that I could still illicit weight loss out of these people using a ketogenic diet regardless of this virus.

Rating: Misses the wall completely

Finally Lets look at the insulin model of Obesity.

This theory states that insulin is the driving factor for storage of fat in adipose and if you keep insulin low weight will be lost. Since it is well known that when insulin is high, no energy can be expended only stored , I think this theory is pretty plausible but lets look at a study that claims to disprove it.

I can no longer get the full study as it seems to have been locked down behind a paywall odly enough. Here is the abstract where Kevin Hall claims to have “falsified” the theory that carbohydrate restriction and low insulin are better at weight loss than caloric restriction.

Carbohydrate-Insulin model of Obesity Falsified

How did he falsify this? Well he took a group of people that were over weight and he put them on a strictly controlled standard diet consisting of high carb and low fat. He put them on this diet for 4 weeks. It was also a calorically restricted diet that caused the men to lose weight. He then took the same group of men, who have been losing weight for 4 weeks, and put them on a low carb diet that had the exact same caloric intake as the high carb diet. He measured weight loss on the high carb diet and then compared it to the weight loss on the low carb diet. Because they were the same amount he claimed that the insulin theory was falsified.

Here is the problem with that. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it is very unlikely that you would ever lose the same amount of weight for 8 weeks straight. The fact that the men continued to lose the same amount as they did on the previous diet actually completely proves that lowered carb intake and lowered insulin is better for weight loss. In addition, he said there was no benefit in higher energy expenditure because the daily energy expenditure at the end of the low carb phase was within 2 calories of the high carb phase. What he doesn’t tell you is that in the first week there was an extra 150 calories per day being spent with the average difference in energy expenditure being 57 calories per day per man. Just because it tapered off at the end does not mean that it didn’t exist. What should have been done here is have the men on a diet that maintained weight for 4 weeks then put them on the same calories but using low carb. It would have been a dramatically different test.

Kevin Hall has been a long time proponent of calories in vs calories out. All he did here was to spin the data to try and prove his own confirmation bias. If you look at the data you can clearly see the truth.

Now lets look at my favorite example of how this theory works:

Before the advent of exogenous insulin the life expectancy of a type 1 diabetic was short. They would waste away to nothing and die of ketoacidosis. Why? This is how it works:

Without insulin there is nothing to stop the counter hormone glucagon from acting on tissues. Glucagon causes energy to be released from cells. It will cause fat to be released as well as glycogen from muscles. It’s primary job is to maintain blood sugar levels but it is supposed to be controlled by insulin. Without insulin to stop it, glycogen will be pulled from muscles until there is none left and at that point lean mass starts being catabolized to create more glucose. In addition glucagon pulls fatty acids from fat cells and since there is no requirement for energy from fat the body turns it into ketones. The ketones continue to climb without insulin to stop it. The blood sugar also continues to climb. Once ketones reach in excess of 20 mmol/L and blood sugar reaches in excess of 200 mg/DL, the person develops ketoacidosis and soon dies.

Here is an article showing how inhibiting glucagon in mice was able to keep them from getting sick from ketoacidosis.

Glucagon Receptor Knockout prevents type 1 mice from dying

Here is an article documenting the life of a type 1 in the early 1900s. The only thing that seemed to help him was a no sugar high fat diet. Everything else made him decline rapidly. Odd isn’t it.

Type 1 prior to Insulin

Here is an article on how type 1 diabetics have been known to purposely stop or significantly lower their insulin doses to lose weight. They get it a bit wrong in the article stating that they body can’t use food for energy but in reality what is happening is that the body can’t store any energy and without insulin glucagon is pushing energy out without any shut off.

Type 1s losing weight without insulin

Now if the lack of insulin in a type 1 causes dramatic weight loss, why would low insulin in anybody not result in weight loss? This is why fasting works. Insulin is low so the body is free to use fat stores for energy. Eat some sugar and that stops because insulin is released.

Rating: Sticks like glue

Hope this sheds some light into some of the factors of obesity and which ones stick to the commons sense wall or not.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

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

Check the details here:

Personalized Coaching with Coach Jack

Keto Adapted vs Fat Adapted (None of it means what you think)

There is much confusion in keto land about what all of this means and what the relevance is to weight loss. I will try to make it clear what these things mean, how they affect you and when they happen.

People often ask “How do I know if I am fat adapted?” or “How long does it take to become fat adapted?” or my favorite one from recently “When I am fat adapted does that mean I can carb up?”

First lets talk fat adapted.

I find this one particularly amusing. People assume they will hit some magical state where fat starts to melt off their body. This one is great; “When you are fat adapted you can eat less fat and your body will just eat away all your love handles.” Well in the ever so shortsighted of terms, it will. Then you will stall and be stuck for a good long time. There is no magic land where your body just decides that it will now use its stores of body fat as a primary fuel source. The body fat is meant for emergency fuel. Never for primary fuel and it will never be allowed to be used as such. If you cut your dietary fat down it will take from your fat stores to cover for the shortage in the short-term as it thinks that you are in an emergency shortage of food. If you continue to not eat enough dietary fat it will get wise to your treachery and shut you down. This is why 100% of people see a reduced loss week after week until stall city. That is not fat adaptation. That is just plain old caloric restriction. It doesn’t work in the long-term on a conventional diet and it won’t work on keto. There is no magic.

The truth is that we are fat adapted from birth. We are designed to run on fat and do so every single day of our lives. Well mostly at night but you get the drift. Whenever the carbs and protein are used up, we burn fat. We actually burn a bit of fat all the time no matter what. So we are already adapted to using fat as fuel. What people are getting at with this fat adapted term is actually more like being low glucose adapted. We are becoming better at running primarily on fat rather than primarily on glucose. The new state is not that we are getting used to running on fat or somehow now able to just magically use our emergency fuel as primary fuel, it is that we are getting used to not running on sugar. The reason we get more efficient at it and start to run better is because we are exercising the pathways that we don’t normally use, like Gluconeogenesis, and we are getting better and faster at fat oxidization. This is actually better deemed as metabolic flexibility.

When does this happen and how long does it take? This is a long process and I don’t know that it has an end. After more than a year being in constant strict ketosis, I still see performance increases. It is gradual and depends on how much you work the system much like aerobic endurance improves the more you work it.

Now Keto Adapted.

Again, we are all adapted to using ketones from birth. Babies actually flex in and out of ketosis all the time. Adults do as well. When you don’t eat for anything longer than 24 hours you will likely go into ketosis. If you do a severely caloric restricted diet you will likely go into ketosis. You can actually get into ketosis by eating a potato only diet. Strange but true. Ketosis happens when the body is in a state of inadequate glucose to feed the brain. This triggers ketone production to save the brain from energy crisis.

What people are getting at with this term is getting better at using ketones rather than glucose. This is again more about being metabolically flexible and exercising the pathways that are not commonly used when running off primarily glucose. It again is not some magic state that allows you to just burn off the body fat without regards to incoming food energy.

How long does this take? For some it is immediate and some it take a week or a few weeks. Most people think this is what it means when they get past the keto flu. I personally think this has nothing to do with keto flu. Keto flu is more about electrolyte imbalance and a withdrawal from carbohydrate metabolism.

Can you eat carbs and get back into ketosis once you are keto adapted or fat adapted?

This one I love. Actually I really hate it. If you are already looking for a way that you can eat all the carbs again and get back into ketosis fast, you are barking up the wrong tree. You are already looking ahead to failure. The ketogenic diet is supposed to be about optimal health. The anti-inflammatory properties, cognitive benefits and the weight loss are all directly related to not having inflammatory carbohydrates as part of the diet. If you are only just getting into this and already looking ahead to see if you can eat your precious carbs again, you are in the wrong head space.

With that being said, once you get to a place where you are comfortable with your health and weight, if a family event or vacation comes up, you can certainly eat a carb filled meal and not die from it. Will you feel ill or inflamed or gain any weight? Likely all of the above. You will recover from it quicker the longer you have been in ketosis. You will get back into ketosis more quickly than before and the effect of the carbs will go away faster than they did in the past. That does not make it a good idea or does it make it beneficial to put yourself in and out of an inflammatory state. So if you are planning on getting “adapted” then carbing up every week cause you can get back into ketosis in a day rather than 3-4 days, you will not be doing yourself any favors long-term and probably set yourself up for a slide back in the wrong direction.

Does getting back into ketosis faster after eating carbs mean you are fat adapted or keto adapted?

Ketone production really depends on one thing really. Liver glycogen. When we have stored glycogen in the liver the body will not make ketones and even one step further, the body will start burning them preferentially to clear them from the system. Those that get back into ketosis fast are those that have a fast metabolism and are metabolically flexible enough to be able to switch back and forth between fat metabolism and carb metabolism. 

What does that have to do with getting back into ketosis faster or being keto adapted/fat adapted? The real factor that effects being able to get into ketosis fast after eating carbs is not being either of those things. It is about being insulin sensitive. When you are insulin sensitive, the body is very efficient at dealing with carbs. They body responds quickly at every turn. It sees the carbs and sends insulin out at just the right time and amount then shunts the glucose away to the liver and tissues quickly then clears the insulin fast. When insulin is cleared then the body will get back to using fat as primary fuel and it will use the glycogen (stored glucose) in the liver to maintain blood glucose and the brain will use it as well. There is only about 60 to 100g of glucose stored in the liver and this will not last long. Any amount consumed above that will have been stored in muscles and this is not a factor in returning to ketosis as it is saved in the muscles for intense activity and will not be used for anything other than that. You can still achieve ketosis with stored muscle glycogen. Only the liver glycogen affects ketosis. Once the liver is empty of glycogen, the body open once again to get back to making ketones. 

Someone like me, who is now extremely insulin sensitive, I can eat 100g of carbs and be back in ketosis in several hours. How? I go to the gym and clear out the stored glycogen with intense training so as soon as my workout is done I am back to making ketones. Because of my insulin sensitivity, I don’t have elevated insulin blocking fat metabolism during or after the training. 

The worst part about carbing up though is the fact that after eating low carb for any period of time we are phsyiologically insulin resistant and you will have very high blood sugar each time you carb up. This is normal and is meant to spare glucose during times of low carbohydrate availability. This prevents the body from making too much glucose via gluconeogenesis. If this didn’t happen the body would be burning through lean tissue at an amazing rate and that would be pretty bad. If one to were to return to eating carbs daily this insulin resistance would vanish and you would be back to a normal state as far as insulin sensitivity goes. Doing just random carb ups is actually dangerous as the elevated glucose will damage blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. 

How does one get to be insulin sensitive?

This is not all that easy. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity probably better than anything else. Intense exercise especially. The only problem is that intense exercise also complicates weight loss. I won’t get into that right now though. Other things that increase insulin sensitivity is proper diet and time. Eating breakfast is another great way to express the genes responsible for insulin sensitivity. Usually once one gets to a healthy weight and maintains it for a long enough period they become more insulin sensitive.

This is why carb ups are not a great idea for the majority of people. Most people with weight issues are not insulin sensitive so they will not get into ketosis fast and will likely feel really bad after a carb up. They will go back to low carb and go through a period where they have neither proper glucose to fuel the brain or adequate ketone production to offset the low glucose.

So you see it has nothing to do with being “keto adapted” or “fat adapted” at all. It is about insulin sensitivity/liver glycogen and insulin sensitivity is something quite hard to come by. For the average person, don’t worry about “When do I get adapted so I can eat carbs” and just start worrying about being healthy. Forget about the carbs. They never did you any good in the past and they won’t do you any good in the future.

I hope this gives you a more common sense view of what it means to be “adapted”.

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

Net Carbs vs. Total Carbs

This question must be asked 100 times a day.

The answer is yes you can do net carbs or total carbs. How is that for clear?

The question is what do I advocate and why?

The true ketogenic diet and the one I adhere to is 20g TOTAL carbs or less, adequate protein to maintain lean mass and a 3:1 to 4:1 fat to protein ratio. This is the original/traditional ketogenic diet and the one that I follow. That is what I advocate.

So can you do net carbs? Sure, you can do Atkins or LCHF if you wish. That is where the idea of net carbs came in. Not with a ketogenic diet. Will this work for you? Yes and No. Some people can get away with eating 100g of carbs a day and still maintain a very mild level of ketosis. The better question than can you get away with it is: Is it optimal for weight loss?

What are the things that people remove for net carbs:

sugar alcohol – Known to spike insulin and most have an actual effect on blood sugar and they make you have disaster pants most of the time. Not great.

Fiber – Fiber is a contentious item. Lets look at in greater depth.

Is fiber essential? For something in nutrition to be deemed essential it has to have a clear and definable disease of deficiency associated with it. It also must be present in the body for the body to continue to live. There are many essential vitamins and minerals but fiber is not one of them. You can live and thrive without fiber and in fact many people have serious adverse reactions from eating fiber such as those with inflammatory bowel issues. I have thrived for 13 years with minimal to no fiber. In fact I have adverse reactions to fiber and become very irregular when I eat it.

No, Fiber is not essential.

Is fiber nutritious? Well since it does not actually get digested and it actually binds to many vitamins and minerals which limits or blocks their absorption, no it is not inherently nutritious. Some of the vitamins and minerals it blocks are Vitamin A, D, E, K, iron, zinc, and copper. All of these are vital and eating fiber increases the dietary need for them. Considering a large percentage of the population are deficient in most of these nutrients, I can’t see the logic in adding more fiber to further reduce the amount that we absorb.

What about our gut bacteria that feeds on the fiber? There has been some flimsy research about the fiber feeding the gut microbiome and these bacteria make some of the vitamins that the fiber blocks so it works out in the end. Well why try to feed bacteria to gain back some of the nutrients that the fiber blocks when you can just not eat the fiber in the first place and absorb the nutrients as they are coming in the food. Seems over complicated to me. Why try to colonize your gut with bugs to make something because what you are feeding them blocks the nutrients in the first place? I have enough to worry about trying to figure out how to nourish myself let alone worrying about what my gut bugs want to eat. I have not fed my gut microbiome any fiber in 13 years and I have no problems with nutrients or bowel issues. I also have no troubles maintaining a lean physique while eating all the food I could ever want.

Does fiber have an insulin response? – I work with type 1 diabetics from time to time. I’ve asked them many questions. One of which is, do you have to consider fiber when you dose insulin. The answer to this question was obvious to me. Unless you are eating glass marbles, nothing is free. Every degradable item you put in your mouth has a metabolic consequence. When a type 1 diabetic eats fiber you better believe they have to account for it. They have to account for protein and fiber and every other bit of food they put in their mouth. If they need to consider fiber when dosing insulin why would we think that it is free for us? If they have to dose themselves with insulin for fiber, our body is 100% dosing us with insulin when we eat it.

The reason people think that fiber is free is because of misinterpretation of data from studies.

Studies have long shown that fiber has a controlling effect on blood sugar levels. Because they are not seeing a rise in blood sugar when eating fiber or even when combining fiber with foods that normally raise blood sugar they are seeing less of a rise, they assume it is because fiber has some magic effect on insulin and it doesn’t affect blood sugar or insulin. That is just not looking at the whole picture.

The entire reason that fiber has this effect on blood glucose is not because it doesn’t effect insulin or makes us better at managing glucose. It is simply that the fiber binds up the food in the stomach and slows gastric empyting (digestion). When food leaves the stomach slower, of course blood sugar rises slower. It still rises. Just slower and more drawn out. You are not eliminating insulin response, you are just dragging it out.

This is absolutely beneficial for managing blood glucose levels if that is your only goal but that is not our goal. That is the goal of the conventional wisdom that is trying to figure out a way to still eat the carbs while not jacking blood sugar through the roof. That is looking at one small part of the whole puzzle and not addressing the underlying issue. Our goal is to keep insulin as low as possible for as long as possible. That is how weight is controlled. So just making the process longer and more drawn out is not doing you any favors and is very short sighted. Just like calling type 2 diabetes a progressive disease that can’t be reversed so “Here, eat your carbs but have some fiber and some insulin with it.”

So in Short, yes you can do net carbs if you want. Is it what I advocate? No. Is it keto? No. It is LCHF or Atkins. If you want to do LCHF or Atkins it can certainly work fine for many people. It isn’t ideal or optimal and it isn’t what I advocate. I hope this article helps clear up the how and why of my logic.

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

Breakfast is and always has been the most important meal of the day. Our parents knew this without science but here is some for you.

So I have been screaming about this forever now. The new magic bullet according to all the “experts” is that skipping breakfast and “fasting” until lunch is gonna get you shredded and burn all the fat. All the while little old me over here is calling bullshit. Our parents knew that breakfast was the most important meal of the day so why all of a sudden do we think we are smarter? Hell, there is even an ancient proverb: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. It seems the more “science” we have available the further we get from common sense and intuition. Well today I have some science for you that confirms that our parents had it right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

There was a recent study done at TAU university showing that eating a large breakfast actually expresses genes that promote weight loss. Our entire body is controlled by clocks. Timers that are controlled primarily by the light/dark cycles. The master clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the brain but there are peripheral clocks located in the organs and even in the fat tissue that make the entire system work harmoniously. The SCN starts off the process by prepping the digestive system to handle food but the act of eating food is what actually signals the body to synchronize the clocks and starts the process of gene expression that allow the body to become efficient at energy management. Not activating these genes has been shown to slow lipolysis (burning of fat) and increase lipogenesis (creation of new fat). Scientists in this study had people eat the exact same calories for the day but the only difference being that the one group ate a bigger breakfast and progressively smaller meals while the other group ate in the opposite pattern. Smaller breakfast with dinner being the largest meal. Not only were they able to measure the gene expression but the larger breakfast group showed greater insulin sensitivity, better glucose management while the large breakfast group had a 33% lower triglyceride level while the smaller breakfast group showed a 14% increase. Same calories, same food but dramatically different results.

Larger breakfast leads to expression of weight loss genes

Here is another study showing that eating a large breakfast with a smaller lunch and actually skipping dinner was far superior in weight loss than eating larger meals later in the day. The largest shift in BMI was experienced by those eating a large breakfast a small lunch and skipping dinner while the smallest change was from the group who skipped breakfast. Even the group eating a small breakfast and a large lunch had a better shift in BMI than those skipping breakfast. The study did show that optimal changes in BMI did occur when observing a large fasting window of approximately 18 hours but the best result was from those observing the fast from after lunch until the following breakfast. Thus why I advocate a breakfast to breakfast fast and nothing more.

Eating larger breakfast results in dramatically reduced BMI compared to skipping breakfast

These studies clearly demonstrate that our ancestors and even our parents had some sense of intuition around when it is most beneficial to eat. Somehow with all of our science we have lost this common sense. It seems the more data we look at the farther we fall from the truth. I am truly thankful that there are finally some scientists that are starting to look at ancestral patterns and view them for what they are.

Hopefully this will get you thinking about how your parents and grandparents lived and ate. They didn’t have the issues of obesity that we have today and there is something to be said about that. Science is wonderful and has saved many lives but sometimes we can’t get out of our own way. Rather than looking for new answers to old questions why don’t we look back to when the problem didn’t exist and use science to figure out how and why. New answers are not always the best answers.

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

Coach Jack Reviews “10 (Mistakes) Killing your ketogenic Diet Plan”

You can read the original article here. You might have a better idea what I am talking about:

10 (Mistakes) Killing your Ketogenic Diet Plan

I got this posted in the Common Sense Keto Group. I like to read these things and see if the writer is legit or if they are just another hack.

I read the first point and went straight for hack but by the end they had a couple points. Most of what they said was slightly riddled with misunderstandings of human physiology and the mechanisms behind keto but overall it wasn’t the worst thing I have read.

Here is my review:

10. Heavy workouts are bad:

Wrong. Please show me some science showing that this is how this works. You can’t cause there is none. The glycolytic work can be fueled by ketones, yes some amino acids but these can and will be pulled from amino acid pools and also the glycerol backbone from fat can be used to fuel the process. Even if some lean mass was taken to fuel the workout so long as you eat a bit of protein after the workout that lean mass will be put back and with the heavy workout and increased growth hormones from keto, you will put on more wonderful lean mass. Not to mention that ketones directly down regulate gluconeogenesis which is part of the reason a ketogenic diet is muscle sparing. Heavy workouts are absolutely fine on keto.

9. Eating out is a bad idea.

Fair enough. This is kinda true but there are some safe bets. Steak and eggs. Easy peasy. You can still eat out with friends and even if there are some hidden ingedients it won’t end your life so long as this isn’t a common occurrence. You can’t really be a hermit.

8. Don’t eat processed foods.

I can’t argue with that. Complete agreement. Eat real food.

7. Too Much protein is bad.

The point is accurate but the idea of it turning to glucose is wrong. Protein doesn’t just turn to cake when you eat to much. It is first used to repair lean tissue, some goes to the amino acid pools for storage (very small amount) and the rest does have to get dealt with so it gets used for energy directly. This is not very efficient and a lot of energy gets wasted in the process but if you’re using protein for fuel you are not using fat so any fat you eat with the protein is going to your love handles. The only time protein gets turned to glucose is when the body needs it. Gluconegenesis is demand driven so it is not automatically turned to sugar. How much protein do you need? According to the WHO it is 0.45g per KG of ideal bodyweight. The US government states 0.8g per KG of ideal weight. I am 205 and train 2 hours a day every day. I eat 60-90g a day. Typical woman needs no more than 40-60g.

6. Lacking magnesium and potassium.

True. Also sodium. Other than that, can’t argue.

5. Carb ups are stupid.

I completely agree. The whole idea of a carb up is crazy and the “science” behind them is based on a complete lack of understanding of the metabolic process behind it. Can they help with a stall or accelerated weight loss? Anecdotally yes but it isn’t because of the carbs. It is because the carbs stimulate appetite that is typically blunted in a low carb/ketogenic diet which prompts a large increase in caloric intake which resets leptin signalling which can spark an increase in metabolism. Same thing can be accomplished simply by eating a huge ketogenic high fat meal. Eat 500, 1000 cals more than you normally eat on a day but make it ketogenic. Same effect as a stupid carb up but without the addiction issues, carb hangover and without being kicked out of ketosis for multiple days.

4. Heavy Cardio is “eating your muscle”.

This nonsense again. Cortisol spike do not “eat your muscle”. I explained this stupid idea in point number 10. I have been low carb for 13 years and have been doing crossfit at a very high intensity for 7 of them. I have added 50lbs of awesome lean mass in that time. I have yet to have my muscle “eaten” by cortisol. Also, HIIT, if you’ve ever done it is pretty much the most intense cardio workout of your life. If something is spiking cortisol that is gonna do it. Yes you will get kicked out of ketosis but you will be right back in within an hour or so and the benefits you get out of the workout will outweigh the short window you are out of ketosis. Just give back the protein you took away. Not a big re-feed. 20g of protein will do the trick.

3. No exercise means you can’t adapt?

Well tell my 300 lb self that. I lost 125lbs in 9 months doing zero exercise. Guess how much weight I lost exercising? Negative 50lbs. You don’t exercise to lose weight, you exercise to increase lean mass and decrease fat mass. You can absolutely adapt and you can absolutely lose massive amounts of fat not doing exercise. Exercise is very beneficial but it also brings an added set of complications with it. You need to change your eating strategy to deal with what exercise you are doing. This is like telling people that are either too large to exercise or have an injury just to forget about ever losing weight and being healthy. Typical fitness industry bullshit.

2. Not enough Sleep.

No arguments from me on this. Sleep is critical.

1. Not enough fats? Absolutely in 100% agreement. Number one mistake that 90% of other ketogenic “experts” make is spouting the “fat is a lever” idiocy. Fat is not a lever, it is the key and you will not just pull the fat you don’t eat from your body fat. That is not a ketogenic diet. That is a low fat diet. That is jenny Craig or weight watchers.

Overall The author had a few good points but like most “ketogenic experts” they are missing some vital understanding of human physiology. Another case of Knowing just enough to be dangerous.

If you want some help with keto, want to break a stall, fix your broken metabolism or just want free access to ask me whatever you want 24/7 you can sign up for personal coaching with Coach Jack.

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1200 Calories a day will make you sick (In case all the other reasons I gave you aren’t good enough)

In previous posts I’ve discussed the many reasons why caloric restriction is bad. I won’t reiterate the discussion here but you can read some of the other reasons here:

Fat is not a lever (calories don’t matter)

Why you’re losing more hair than weight

Now, I am going to forget all of that and try a new approach. I am referring to VITAL nutrients that we CANNOT GET without eating adequate amounts of food. Why this new approach? Because despite that massive amount of evidence that a human being cannot be healthy eating 1200 calories a day I still get people arguing that they feel great and they do amazing and lose all the weight on 1200 cals (or less) per day. Well frankly it is real frustrating coming from a nutrition background knowing the truth and screaming it all day but still having those people avoiding the truth. We even have many ketogenic “experts” actually recommending these amounts of calories to their clients. Even though some of these people are very intelligent, they don’t stop to think about the stone cold hard fact that there is much more to human nutrition than calories and macronutrients. That, I think is one of the major downfalls of the ketogenic movement. A lack of focus on the minutia with too much focus on the 30,000 foot perspective of only macro focus.

If you Look at the picture above, you will see an actual day of food consumed by an actual person. I won’t name names but if you read this, yeah I am talking about you. This was actually the best day of eating out of 7 days. Not great. You will see that I have laid out RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) amounts for each vitamin and mineral as well as the actual amount in the servings of food this person ate. As you can see, he/she is moderately to severely deficient in 19 of 25 vitamins and minerals. They are actually mildly to severely deficient in 23 of 25. These things are needed to fend off disease and make the body function the way it should. Deficiencies in any one of them can cause severe illness not to mention completely ruin your metabolism and make weight loss next to impossible.

I am going to choose just a few that they were the most deficient in and lay out the issues associated with these deficiencies.

Vitamin K (97.5% deficient)

Symptoms include:

– bruising
– petechiae
– hematomas
– oozing of blood at surgical or puncture sites
– stomach pains
– risk of massive uncontrolled bleeding
– cartilage calcification
– severe malformation of developing bone or deposition of insoluble calcium salts in the walls of arteries
– In infants, it can cause some birth defects such as underdeveloped face, nose, bones, and fingers.

Copper (97.28% deficient)

The characteristic hematological (blood) effects of copper deficiency are:

– anemia
– Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets)

Copper deficiency can cause a wide variety of neurological problems including:

– myelopathy
– peripheral neuropathy
– optic neuropathy.

Calcium (84.7% deficient)

Symptoms of calcium deficiency include:

– confusion or memory loss
– muscle spasms
– numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face
– depression
– hallucinations
– muscle cramps
weak and brittle nails
– easy fracturing of the bones.

Choline (75.6%)

Symptoms of a choline deficiency include:

– low energy levels of fatigue
– memory loss
– cognitive decline
– learning disabilities
– muscle aches
– nerve damage
– mood changes or disorders.

Magnesium (74.2% deficient)

Magnesium Deficiency Clinical Conditions:

– Depression
– Dementia
– Chronic fatigue syndrome
– Asthma
– Colon Cancer
– Epilepsy
– Parkinson’s disease
– Sleep disorders
– Fibromyalgia
– Migraine headaches
– Osteoporosis
– Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
– Chest pain (angina)
– Cardiac arrhythmia
– Coronary artery disease
– Atherosclerosis
– Hypertension
– Type II diabetes

Iron (70.6% deficient)

Take note of the brittle nails and thinning hair. This will sound familiar if you have read my previous discussions on why 1200 calories is dangerous.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include:

– fatigue
– dizziness/lightheadedness
– pallor
hair loss
– twitches
– irritability
– weakness
– pica
brittle or grooved nails
– Plummer–Vinson syndrome: painful atrophy of the mucous membrane covering the tongue, the pharynx and the esophagus
– impaired immune function
– restless legs syndrome
– Anemia

This is only 6 of the 23 vital nutrients that 1200 calories a day leaves you deficient in. I am not even completely sure that these are the very worst of the issues associated with all of them. There could be far worse consequences.

So if just the idea of a slowed metabolism and hair loss was not enough to convince you that your awesome caloric restricted diet is the best way to lose weight, please take this into consideration.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

If you want to learn how to break that stall or just learn how to optimize your ketogenic diet, you can sign up for personal coaching with Coach Jack. He is a certified nutrition coach who specializes in Ketogenic nutrition and has helped hundred of people break their plateaus and achieve optimal health through a Common Sense approach to the Ketogenic Diet.

For more information or to sign up please visit the site below:

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Here is an actual screenshot from the daily log of this day of eating from their MyfitnessPal

If you want to fast, do it the best possible way (Don’t fight Cortisol)

#Keto_coach_Jack ‘s Sciency Thoughts

#PublicServiceAnnouncement – This post is about fasting and a new method of fasting. If what you are currently doing is working for you and you are happy, please don’t change it. If you want to try something different that may suit you better and may yield better results, please keep reading.

Fasting: Could there be a better way?

One of the most talked about topics in the keto world today is fasting or intermittent fasting (IF). There are definitely some well documented benefits to fasting, but there is more to the story than meets the eye and it is not a simple one-size-fits-all approach. I will get to the possible better way but you’ll have to be patient. I like to be detailed. Patience is a virtue.

In order to bring this all into context, I have to talk about a very important hormone and it’s one that often gets a bad rap. I’m talking about cortisol. People call it the stress hormone and, because it’s associated with stress, they assume it’s bad. It is actually very vital and when it doesn’t work properly it can put you in real danger.

One of cortisol’s primary purposes is to get a burst of energy into the system when it is needed, like when you’re being chased by a bear or getting through a very tough workout. This is sometimes referred to as the “fight or flight” response. How it accomplishes this, at least in the keto adapted person, is by telling the liver to pump glucose into the blood through gluconeogenesis (creation of new glucose either from glycerol from fat or from amino acids from protein). Now that I have brought cortisol into the fold, I will get into the whole mess of how it links to fasting and how we may be able to do it better. Remember how I said patience is a virtue? You need it with me. I’m long winded.

OK. Here is the meat of it all: Cortisol has a natural rhythm and response. It spikes at given times and for a certain reason. At least, for a hormonally balanced individual it does. The first time of day it spikes is as soon as you wake up. It does this to help you wake up and have energy to start your day, and then tapers off and becomes lowest at night so you can go to sleep. If cortisol spikes first thing in the morning, this means we have higher blood sugar in the morning. If we have higher blood sugar we also will have higher insulin.

Fasting is characterized by having consistently low blood sugar and therefore low insulin. If we fast from 7pm until noon the next day, when cortisol spikes in the morning (and then spikes blood sugar and insulin), technically we are physiologically breaking the fast when we wake up and not actually fasting for a full 17 hours as intended.

If your blood sugar and, in turn, insulin is spiked in the morning anyway, wouldn’t it be pertinent to take advantage of that natural spike by eating a nice breakfast and having the insulin clear all of the energy at the same time? You aren’t technically fasting anymore anyway, so eating at this time will be taking advantage of the already high insulin response and could open up a better way to fast. If your natural cortisol rhythm is high in the morning and tapers off throughout the day, maybe it would be better to fast from the afternoon until the natural cortisol spike in the morning. Hormonally speaking, this seems like the most metabolically sound method. Would this not better manage insulin and therefore make for a better fasting experience? I think so.

So here is my theory:

The typical fasting method is fasting from say 7pm until 12pm the next day. This is 17 hours, but if you wake at 7am, you are spiking your cortisol and thus insulin and therefore are physiologically breaking your fast. Essentially you are fasting from 7pm until 7am. This is only 12 hours rather than the 17 that was originally intended.

#keto_coach_Jack ’s approach would be this:

Fast from 2pm until you wake up the following day. Say that is 7am. Providing you don’t work out or get chased by a bear in that time frame, you will have a full 17 hour fast. Eat when you wake up and take advantage of that already spiked insulin.

#IfitAintBrokeDontFixit – Again, if you are happy with the traditional way you are fasting, keep doing it! If you are curious to see if there may be a better way for you, please feel free to try this. Am I guaranteeing that this will work wonders? There are no guarantees. Its just my sciency thoughts.


If you would like help with your Ketogenic Diet you can sign up for personal coaching with Coach Jack. For more information, to read client testimonials or to get in touch with Jack visit:

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

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

What is TDEE

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

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

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

What is TDEE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keto on!

Coach Jack

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

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

Konjac Flour – Miracle noodle (low carb noodles)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

WHO report on Konjac Flour safety as a food additive

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keto ON!

Coach Jack