Book Reviews Nutrition/Weight Loss

Tips for Maintaining a Low Carb/High Fat Diet

Excellent video worth checking out, courtesy of

In the interview, Dr. Phinney stresses the importance of dietary fat comprising the vast majority of one’s diet. No surprise there (for me), but what was surprising and really quite discouraging is that if you eat an excess of carbohydrates, even over a relatively short period like a single day, and come out of ketosis then it is as if you are starting all over again. Dr. Phinney uses an excellent metaphor to explain this: it’s like walking along the top of a narrow sand dune (hill?) – it’s really tough getting there and there is little room for deviation once at the top.

I have not read Dr. Phinney’s new book, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable, but definitely now have it on my must-read list.


5 replies on “Tips for Maintaining a Low Carb/High Fat Diet”

No idea. I don’t know anything about either condition, let alone both. I doubt your doctor would know either, in relation to LCHF. This is one of those situations where you will likely have to do some research on your own and then weigh your options. Good luck.

I’m a bit confused about two conflicting ideas on your blog entries. Like you, I hit a wall frequently when combining weight lifting with low carb dieting. It seems that you have re-energized yourself both with CarbNite at times, and with greater amounts of saturated fats at other times. Which method is better for energy and resistance training?

I should add that I am a middle aged female looking to increase muscle mass and fitness while not necessarily lose any more fat. I am at about 20% body fat now which is low enough for me. Many days though, I have absolutely no energy and the training session is extremely difficult on those days.

Hi S.B.,

I’m surprised more people don’t mention the contradictions/inconsistencies in my posts, as related to weightlifting and low carb, as looking back over my posts I am completely inconsistent/contradictory from post to post.

Recently I tried the CarbNite thing (this is the program touted by John Keifer of I lasted 2 weeks on it and gave up, because stuffing myself full of sugar on a Saturday night once per week sounds fun but I found my stomach hurt and I was bloated for the following 3 or 4 days. By the end of the week I had lost the weight gained as a result of the ‘CarbNite’, plus a pound, but weight loss wasn’t my goal – I had already achieved the weight loss that I wanted and I simply wanted to gain more definition/muscle tone. So I switched to just adding in some high glycemic carbs a couple of nights per week, post-weightlifting session. I’ve been doing that for about 6 weeks now and that has really helped a lot. I definitely have gotten more muscle tone over the last month or so after doing that.

I know that Dr. Peter Attia, Phinny/Volek and Pearlmutter, etc., will insist that you can do high-intensity training on “low carb” (meaning < 50g per day) but for me it simply was not working. And I tried - for the past 3+ years. But it simply wasn't working for me with weightlifting. I either didn't gain muscle mass/lose body fat, and/or I felt like shit with a lack of energy. My posts about my doing the "Starting Strength" program are an example - I did that program pretty strictly for months at a time and while it resulted in some increases in the amount of weight I could lift, even that was slow progress and I did not gain *any* definition in my musculature, which was my real goal. Also, an important point I want to make is that I also saw no benefit from adding in 'slow carbs' or starches like sweet potato, post-workout. For me, I have to eat some high-GI/sugary stuff a couple of times a week to see actual muscle gain and increased definition. It doesn't make sense but it is working for me so I will keep with it. Keifer prescribes something like this and calls it "Carb Backloading." I definitely think he's on to something with that program. I think "CarbNite" as prescribed, where you literally gorge on junk for an entire evening, is not very useful unless you are not working out much and/or just doing cardio maybe. Or you are interested in pure results at no concern over costs, like bloat/weight gain/upset stomach during most of the week! : ) If you're like I was, then the thought of eating a high-sugar treat a couple of nights a week, post-workout, seems ridiculous. But all I know is it is working quite well for me and I'm going to stick with it and see where it goes. I definitely have gained more muscle definition over the past 4-6 weeks as a result. After just re-reading your comment, I would recommend you try the following: 1. Have a 'CarbNite' - go crazy for one night and eat a bunch of junk. That should replenish your muscle glycogen. Notice how you feel the next day as a result. 2. Especially since your focus is on gaining muscle mass, then calories are important. Commit to lifting heavy 3x per week and eating a high-GI post-workout meal and/or treat (cookies, ice cream, whatever). Try it for a couple of weeks and see how you do. That's what I did and I was surprised to find I was leaning out some, definitely getting more muscle definition, and feeling more energetic during my workouts. You asked which is better for resistance training - saturated fats or carbs? I think the science is clear - carbs (sugar) are. But they also result in increased body fat. So it's a balance. One thing to consider is that carbs = insulin spike = fat gain, which is the mantra of the low-carb pundits, but keep in mind that insulin does not just trigger the increase of body fat. It also promotes and increases other things, and I'm finding that muscle is one of them. So using some quick spike carbs is a useful tool. Like everything - try it and see how it works FOR YOU. There is no one way that works for everyone. God knows I've tried them all : ) Let me know how you make out! mark

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