Protein Contradictions

Much of the popular press writes that we should eat more meals a day. As an example (How Much Protein for Strength and Mass Gains?):

total protein amount should be spread out over 5 to 6 intakes a day

They advise the amount of protein to be:

For males, who aim at increasing muscle mass and strength gains, if you only train once a day, 2 g a kg should be more than enough (for women 1.2g /kg of bodyweight).

Let’s do the math here. Suppose someone is 75 kg (about 165 lbs). At 2g/kg that would be 150 grams of protein per day. If they eat 5 meals a day that would be 30 grams of protein per meal. The problem is that they will probably not ever reach the Leucine threshold at any of the meals (Protein Gurus – Part 2). As a result they will never maximize muscle protein synthesis.

Also the timing between protein meals should be 5 hours and that would be 25 hours of eating in a day. Doesn’t quite fit.

My current optimized method is three protein meals a day spread out by five hours (Muscle Protein Synthesis Meal Spacing Maximum). This can be challenging and does require advance planning for meals.


Jimmy’s Big Fat Experiment – Part 2

Jimmy had Keto Savage, Robert Sikes, on his podcast (19: The 90 Percent Fat Hack Protocol With Robert Sikes). Jimmy called him a nutritional expert (@4:20, 4:50). I have nothing against being self-taught on nutrition – that’s what I am. But I don’t think that Keto Savage is a nutritional expert. He is a body builder who does Keto. The thing I like best about Robert is that he publishes what he eats and his results even if they contradict the keto narrative. He doesn’t cherry pick through the data.

One thing that Jimmy could learn from Keto Savage is Robert’s own 4,000 calorie fat challenge. Robert went on a 2 month diet with low carbs and high fat and took his body fat from around 4% to 10%. If you are not used to looking at body fat numbers he went from very low to less low. I wrote about Robert’s test (Does Fat Make You Fat?).

To Robert’s credit he tried to do his best with Jimmy’s request since he viewed Jimmy’s calorie choices as too low on the low fat diet.


Taxonomy of Low Carb Studies

I’ve been collecting studies for a while and hosting them on GitHub at OpenKeto/KetoStuff. Here’s the structure of the studies.

Some of the studies can be put into multiple places so I picked one or the other place to put them without much pattern as to why. Classifying the LC Diet as Energy Input is possibly the key insight into this pattern. Also, the Effect of the Ketogenic Diet on Diabetes is under MetS.

With GitHub Desktop you can replicate the entire repository onto your computer or select individual files to download. Copyrights are the individual holders. Studies are reproduced here and were found on the Internet in general.



Energy Expenditure Same on Various Diets

An interesting study (J O Hill J C Peters G W Reed D G Schlundt T Sharp H L Greene. Nutrient balance in humans: effects of diet composition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 54, Issue 1, 1 July 1991, Pages 10–17).


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of alterations in diet composition on energy expenditure and nutrient balance in humans. Eight adults (three men, five women) ate a high-carbohydrate (60% of calories from carbohydrate) and a high-fat (60% of calories from fat) diet for 7 d each according to a randomized, crossover design. Six subjects were studied for an additional week on a mixed diet (45% of calories from fat).

For each subject, total caloric intake was identical on all diets and was intended to provide the subject’s maintenance energy requirements.

All subjects spent days 3 and 7 of each week in a whole-room indirect calorimeter.

Diet composition did not affect total daily energy expenditure but did affect daily nutrient oxidation by rapidly shifting substrate oxidation to more closely reflect the composition of the diet.

You can burn more fat and not lower your metabolism on a lower carb diet.


Exporting Data From Cronometer

I wanted to export my data from my macros tracking program, Cronometer. How to export data is not exactly hidden but it’s not obvious either. Under Profile, Account Information, Select the gear then Export Data…


You then get the options as follows:

Select the timeframe you want to look at. You can export all data if you want. You can then export the servings, exercises, biometrics (weight if you have a linked device) or things you have entered, and any notes. The output file is a CSV which can be opened by any spreadsheet program.

I like to rename the file something like: “servings-2018-05-19.csv” since Cronometer just gives the file(s) the generic name “servings.csv”. You can then open the file(s) with EXCEL or Open Office or Libre Office. Here’s what the start of my file looks like:

Have fun!


Keto Podcasts

I listen to quite a few Keto Podcasts. They can be informative and in some cases entertaining. Here’s some of them.

  • The Paleo Solution Podcast – It might seem like an odd first choice but I really like Robb Wolf’s style. He’s one smart paleo cookie. He has quite a bit of keto content and has done keto for much of his adult life.
  • 2 Keto Dudes – There’s a lot to like with these two software developers turned keto dudes. They’ve had a similar journey to mine with overcoming Type 2 Diabetes and their interview format is flexible enough for them to have guests that aren’t exactly in line with their higher-fat views. I’d like to see these guys get closer to goal weight but their reluctance to do Protein Sparing Modified Fasts (PSMF) is really slowing down their progress.
  • Keto for Normies – Her voice can be grating and his can sound like a meathead but their hearts are in the right place. They aren’t afraid to try things like PSMF or Carnivore and report on their successes or failures.
  • The Primal Blueprint Podcast is hosted by Mark Sisson, author of a famous low-carb paleo blog Mark’s Daily Apple.
  • Ben Greenfield FitnessBen Greenfield is another really sharp guy with some good insights into keto and athletic performance.
  • Keto Savage – This is the guy who ate 4000 calories a day and gained body fat.
  • Keto Geek – A good science keto show.
  • Ketodontist – An orthodontist/dentist who lives keto and has some great interviews as well.
  • Keto Talk with Jimmy Moore – It is with great reluctance that I list this podcast. Mostly I am listing it because Jimmy Moore tends to have some pretty good guests. But Jimmy’s dramatics are a bit to take at times.

The same sets of guest often make the rounds on each of these shows. They all seem to have the same list of keto guests such as Dave Feldman (Cholesterol Code), Marty Kendall (Optimising Nutrition), Shawn Baker (Carnivore Diet), Ted Naiman (Burn Sugar Not Fat),  Robert Sikes (Keto Savage), Luis Villasenor/Tyler Cartwright (KetoGains). It does also entertain me that the podcasters often interview other podcasters.

I haven’t deliberately omitted any podcasts that I know of. There’s some I have not listened to yet so if I find a new one, I will add it to this list.


Does Fat Make You Fat?

There’s a belief in the Low Carb community that fat doesn’t make you fat. And to some extent there’s some truth in that. Most people are fat not because of the fat in their diet but because of the carbs in their diet. Here’s a typical infographic used by the Low Carb community which illustrates the point.

Experimental Data

Some people, myself included, have done experiments where we ate thousands of calories of fat for days or weeks and have seen little to no weight gain. However, there’s often not much data on the diet selected or timing windows. Did these people eat in a time restricted window?

Keto Savage n=1

Keto Savage did a two month challenge where he ate 4,000 calories of the keto diet. That was 350g of fat a day. He went from 4.3% body fat to 10.1% body fat in those two months.

He best part is that he logged his food and made videos as he went along. It is important to note that he did this “experiment” after he was on a weight cut for a bodybuilding show so he would have been at a reduced body fat level to begin with.

So, yes. Fat can make you fat – even on a Low Carb diet. It takes a lot of work, but it can.


CrossFit and Nutrition – Part 4 – CrossFit and the Zone Diet

There’s a claim made by CrossFit that the Zone diet is optimal for their athletes. Glassman wrote (CFJ Issue 21: Zone Meal Plans, May 01, 2004):

Our clinical experience proves the Zone Diet, by Dr. Barry Sears is the best nutritional model for optimal performance…

The Zone Diet amplifies and accelerates the benefits of the CrossFit regimen. CrossFit’s best performers are Zoning. When our second tier athletes commit to “strict” adherence to Zone parameters they quickly surpass their peers.

This claim has been reviewed (The Zone Diet and Athletic Performance. Sports Medicine, April 1999, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 213–228. Samuel N. Cheuvront.)

Applying the Zone’s suggested protein needs and macronutrient distributions in practice, it is clear that it is a low carbohydrate diet by both relative and absolute standards, as well as calorie deficient by any standard. Reliable and abundant peer reviewed literature is in opposition to the suggestion that such a diet can support competitive athletic endeavours, much less improve them.

The notion that a 40/30/30 diet can alter the pancreatic hormone response in favour of glucagon is also unfounded. The Zone is a mixed diet and not likely to affect pancreatic hormone release in the same way individual nutrients can. Although the postprandial insulin response is reduced when comparing a 40% with a 60% carbohydrate diet, it is still a sufficient stimulus to offset the lipolytic effects of glucagon.

Many of the promised benefits of the Zone are based on selective information regarding hormonal influences on eicosanoid biology. Contradictory information is conveniently left out. The principle of vasodilating muscle arterioles by altering eicosanoid production is notably correct in theory. However, what little human evidence is available does not support any significant contribution of eicosanoids to active muscle vasodilation. In fact, the key eicosanoid reportedly produced in the Zone and responsible for improved muscle oxygenation is not found in skeletal muscle. Based on the best available scientific evidence, the Zone diet should be considered more ergolytic than ergogenic to performance.

Robb Wolf has written a response to this paper (The Zone and Athletic Performance). I like Robb’s response to one question there:

Coach Glassman has called Atkins “The Zone for Sedentary people”.

We ONLY need carbs for intense activity. Glycogen drives most crossfit activities but it is a battle for some to take in adequate carbs to drive that activity AND still be under the insulin radar. I simply do a bit more strength work in preference to the high volume met-cons. I can recover from this workload with fewer carbs. I may not set the CF world on fire but it works well for me.

Here’s a very short study (J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Feb;16(1):50-7. The acute 1-week effects of the Zone diet on body composition, blood lipid levels, and performance in recreational endurance athletes. Jarvis M1, McNaughton L, Seddon A, Thompson D.).


Metabolic Burn Rate

I took a look a while back at Metabolism and Aging. The chart in that article shows the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is an estimate of how many calories you’d burn if you were to do nothing but rest for 24 hours. BMR represents the minimum amount of energy needed to keep your body functioning, including breathing and keeping your heart beating.

Total Energy Expenditure

But you probably do more than that and there are various additional calorie burners such as any activity, etc. Even the digestion of food consumes calories with each of the macros burning a different percent of their calories to digest the calories. See the article – Thermic Effect of Food and Metabolism of Food.

All of these lead to something that I call the Metabolic Burn Rate. It’s a composite number made up of the ratio of your caloric intake (at maintenance) to your body weight.

My current body weight is 165 lbs and my caloric intake is around 2400 calories. That’s a ratio of 14.5 calories per lb.

How is it that Fat People Seem to Eat Less?

When I was 285 lbs people commented that they rarely saw me eat. And I ate very little food. I wish I had food logs to help make the point so I have to go from memory. Here was a pretty typical day for me:

Here’s the macros for my pre-Low Carb diet.

I may be underestimating carbs since my Insulin pump shows my daily carbs as higher (200 grams of carbs a day on the average) but I’m not too far off. It must be a fairly accurate representation of my caloric intake  since my weight was stable (and I can estimate my caloric usage to work the number backwards).

Calories In/Calories Out?

Here’s my claim that is amazing and few people will believe. In spite of the fact that I have lost 120 lbs my number of calories expended per day is nearly the same. It’s all due to activity level.

But, let’s pretend like I am wrong about all of this and show the same thing from the Calories calculator. Looking at both weight/calories numbers side by side:

Nearly the same amount of calories but at quite a different weight. The difference is activity level.

  • My metabolic burn rate used to be 2552/285 = 8.9 calories per lb.
  • My current metabolic burn rate is 15.7 calories per lb.

My Advice to Fat People

  • Don’t exercise if you are 285 lbs.
  • Do Low Carb.
    • Lose a bunch of weight.
  • Then add activity as you are fit to do so.
    • In fact, it will add itself nearly automatically as you lose weight.